So this is my first tank and I'm having some trouble with the cycling process, which has been going on for 10 days. I have a 125L (33 Gal
) Juwel tank with a Juwel Bioflow M Filter pumping at 600l/hr. My first layer of substrate is ADA Power Sand Special topped off with ADA Amaznoia II. I planted a significant number of plants before filling the tank with water.
After the first day, my test results were Ammonia: 5ppm, Nitrite: 5ppm and Nitrates: 0ppm. I proceeded to do 15% water changes daily for the next 10 days, which resulted in Ammonia: 2ppm, Nitrite: 5ppm and Nitrates: 5ppm. on the tenth day, I did a 50% water change, which lowered the Ammonia: 0.5ppm, but the Nitrite is still at 5ppm, which surprised me. The Nitrates went up to 20ppm!
Now I understand that Amazonia leaches quite a lot of ammonia, but I'm not entirely sure where the Nitrites are coming from and how they haven't reduced after a 50% water change. I'm also not sure if the ADA Power Soil Special is contributing to the Nitrite levels. Another issue is that despite having planted a decent number of plants, there is still a good amount of surface area of Amazonia not covered by plants and is immediately exposed to the water, which I've heard is not ideal.
I've been dosing Seachem Prime, Seachem Flourish Excel and Seachem Stability (not sure if I need to use this). My plants went through a bit of a melting phase during the first week, but I have since noticed new bright green leaves and growth on several plants.
I understand that there are loads of threads on this subject but I can't seem to find a consistent answer regarding my Nitrite issue. Also, some have said that I should be doing 50% water changes every day, while some say 10%. Some say I shouldn't do ANY water changes for about a week so that the beneficial bacteria can have the opportunity to grow. Am I doing anything wrong? Is there something I should be doing instead? How much longer can I expect the cycle to last?
I'd really appreciate the help on this guys as I'm really lost on the matter.