High Nitrites and Nitrates
I have this 36 gallon that has been cycling for about 7 and a half weeks with fish cause I wasn't smart. It's my first aquarium and has 9 neon tetras (was supposed to be 5 but the lady got sick of trying to seperate and count them, so free fish).
Its had zero ammonia for about 2 weeks and nitrate levels for about 1 week. I watched the nitrites for about 3 days where it stayed at a consistent .25 - .50. I thought it was cycled and just some leftover nitrites so i did a large water change. Now a few days later both nitrites and nitrates have spiked beyond what they should if it was cycled.
I've read several articles and forums but they all seem to say once you start seeing nitrates your cycle should quickly complete, not have more spikes. I use API test kit and prime to protect the fish. The filter is a sponge filter which i read was fine and the low flow works well with the stock i want. Tank is medium-heavy planted(?) with several small anubias, seaweed, frogbit, java moss, java fern, dwarf hair grass, jungle val and crypt wendtii.
Any guidance very much appreciated!