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I'm cycling a brand new 10 gallon aquarium. I started it five days ago, seeded the aquarium with ammonium chloride solution until 4 ppm level was reached, then seeded it with Microbacter 7 to start the nitrifying bacteria population. The water turned cloudy yesterday, so there is a bacterial bloom (right on schedule).

I am doing the 30 day fish-less cycle method. There are no live plants, fish, moss balls, nor snails in the tank. I test chemistry daily.

Before filling the tank, I washed all the substrate and silk plants with tap water, using a strainer and flushing until the water was very clear. I used de-chlorinated tap water with a pH of7.0, TDS of 90 ppm and phosphorous of 1ppm max.

I checked the phosphorous in the tank yesterday and it was 10 PPM! Huh? Did it leech out of the substrate? Or the activated carbon bio-filter?

I plan to reduce phosphorous levels by planned water changes.

One more thing. I have been using small amounts of API Proper PH 7.0 to hold the tank pH at 7.0 during the cycle. Could this be the culprit? I put in 1/4 teaspoon in the filter every day. Th pH spiked from 7.0 to 7.6 on day two. That's why I added this stuff.

Maybe I should let the pH swing and fix it at the end of the N2 cycle?

Day 6.

The NH3 ppm dropped to 2 ppm, no increase in No2-. I removed 3 gallons and replaced with3 gallons fresh dechlorinated tap water.. PO4 still at 10 ppm...No pH Proper 7.0 added.
 
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