I apologize if this has been posted before, I tried to find something similar by searching but couldn't find anything super similar. I think this might be because to me there are several weird things going on, but they could be totally normal?
I started a fishless cycle in my 25 gallon tank about 4 weeks ago and have periodically noted several instances where the water will be slightly cloudy, and then the next day it will totally be fine. In the tank I have normal gravel, First Layer Pure Laterite, one larger decoration, one small decoration, and 4 live plants.
When I started the cycle, I used this Calculator
to calculate how much ammonia to dose for 4ppm and did so. Presently my readings are as follows (using API Masterkit):
Ammonia: 4 (Was definitely closer to 8 a few weeks ago)
I was under the impression that there would be a clear drop in ammonia/rise in NitrIte, then a clear drop in NitrIte, rise in NitrAte, but that does not seem to be the case here. Could this be from adding too much ammonia accidentally at the start?
Additionally, one of the plants has been dying over the weeks. I have been doing my best to prune dead leaves, but it doesn't seem to matter. On the plants as well as the decorations there is a very fine white material that can't be seen on the surface but when touched goes up into the water. It is white and appears cottony/whispy.
If there is any other info that I can provide that will help, please let me know and I'll do my best
Thank you in advance for any and all advice and help!!