Today is a very important day. CRAZY things have happened. It's particularly important because NOW is the moment of "will high nitrites stall the cycle?" From here out, I have a lot to prove. I'm not sure why I am placing so much importance on this working out :P
a) pH CRASH! Dropped to 6.23
has dropped to 2.5 (from 6, 24 hours ago)
holding at 83 like yesterday
d) PO3 holding at 5
e) Ammonia dropped drastically. It is now 4ppm (down from 12 yesterday). This means that tomorrow, ammonia will be gone.
f) Nitrites. This one is TOUGH. I even did a 1/10th reduction and it is STILL pretty dark purple. It is a BIT lighter than yesterday's 4ppm guesstimate vial. I'm going to make a guess largely on that and call it 30. The math is not necessarily lining up though, because ammonia converts to nitrites and nitrates at a specific rate, and 30 seems high. The problem is that I can't really accurately read either nitrites or nitrates. See the next step for more thoughts and for my final estimates.
g) NitrAtes I am guessing now at 20 as the vial has acquired a reddish tone. I did a 50% reduction and it had the light orange of 10ppm. BUT it COULD that the reduction was more in between 5 and 10... placing current nitrates more at 10-15. It's SO HARD.
For NitrAtes to be 15, that would mean that 4ppm ammonia has been processed through to nitrAtes. If I dosed accurately to 16ppm to start, this would leave only 8ppm ammonia, which would only be 21.6 nitrites. If I overdosed ammonia to 17ppm on accident to start, there could be as much as 24.3. The nitrItes vial is very dark. I really think it's too dark to be only 21.6. I also ran a test with the seachem nitrite test and it instantly flew off the chart (which tops off at 25)
SO. For mathematics sake, and assuming that no ammonia or nitrites have magically entered the system, I will go with the following:
/4 - 4ppm
I think these are fair and reasonable estimates.
Next time I run this experiment (and there WILL be a next time) I will carefully have several control reference solutions in order to avoid the issues of guesstimation that I am having this time. This time we might have to settle more for the process than for perfect accuracy. In the future I will be able to learn better from my mistakes this time.
Fun fact... I did 13 test vials today. LOL.
I call today very important because there is 24 nitrites in the system and another 10.8 will shortly be added when the remainder of the ammonia is processed. I will NOT be doing a water change.
Edit to add: Added 2tsp baking soda to raise pH to 7.5