Kate's Aquarium - Update
It's been very rewarding watching Kate enjoy her new aquarium. She interacts with it multiple times a day and always gets a big kick out of it. The fish-in cycle process has been very challenging and the purpose of this post is to keep a log.
I conduct daily testing to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The ammonia spike lasted for 2-3 days and now reads zero daily. A day after ammonia reading zero, nitrite spiked and we're now on day 8 of having nitrite readings hovering around 1.0 ppm. I've been doing daily or ever other day water changes as well as adding Seachem Prime to control ammonia and nitrite. While I get readings of 5.0 ppm for nitrate I'm not sure how or where it's going.
The aquarium is planted with 10 various species of plant. Perhaps the plants are consuming the nitrates? I tested the tap water for nitrates and the results indicated 0 ppm.
The tank is estimated to be 3 weeks old. The first week all I used was Top Fin ReadiStart. I assumed it was a de-chlorinator however realized my error about a week into the process. That's when I incorporated Seachem Stability and Prime into the aquarium.
I followed the directions for Seachem Stability with an initial dose for 40 gallons. Every day after I would add two cap fulls for maintenance with additional doses as I made water changes.
I'd also dose Seachem Prime as I made water changes, however I'd use a full capful (treatment for 50 gallons) while doing 50% water changes or roughly 20 gallons. My thinking was to contain the elevated levels of ammonia and nitrite.
I'm currently using an Marineland Bio-Wheel Emporer 400 with 2 x filters and 4 x AquaClear 70 sponges and a pre-filter sponge. I also use an Eheim Pro Wet/Dry Canister Filter (2227). Inside I use two trays full of Eheim substrat.
I've purchased a CO2 kit to install within the aquarium. I'm currently waiting for the parts to arrive and will follow up once the systems are in place.