...or is this the joy of setting up a 10 gallon tank?
I started cycling May 3 using one shrimp. After 4 days my ammonia was off the chart (using API) and I did a water change and got it down to about 3. Things went per usual: ammonia came down, nitrite went up. Nitrates showed up quicker than expected, but that is not a bad thing. I did a water change last Sunday (the 22nd). Nitrates came down to about 20. Ammonia was 0, nitrites were still high. I decided to have LFS
test my water to make sure it matched my results. This is when the real fun starts.
They used a Tetra test and they showed my nitrates over 100! They confirmed ammonia was 0, and high nitrites as well. So I bought a Tetra nitrate kit and played.
I tested the cycling tank with the Tetra kit and also came up with 100 nitrates. I tested my fresh water tanks with the Tetra and came up in the orange (12.5). I tested everything with the API kit and it always came up orange. Every time. Even for the cycling tank. So, I decided to stick with the Tetra test for now. Lot date on the API nitrate is 1010.
So, on Tuesday I did TWO water changes. But the nitrite was still purple (using API) and the nitrate was still red (using Tetra).
These are all 50% water changes. And I have done a water change each day this week trying to get nitrates down per the Tetra test. Each time the nitrites start blue then turn purple pretty quick. After a water change the nitrate red is less dark, but it is still in the red. Then the next day is darker again.
This morning for fun I tested with both nitrate kits again after the water change. Tetra still shows red, API barely turns orange.
My gut says to just keep going and water changing each day as long as my nitrates are red on the Tetra. Eventually the nitrites are going to be blue and I will have my water tested at the LFS
again before adding my fish. But I wonder about monkeying around so much during the cycling process.