Help with confusion on my PH, Ammonia and Nitrate Levels in uncycled 10 gallon planted tank

Gage6

So Currently I have a 10 gallon planted tank with fluval stratum substrate and some api root tabs. The plants are one Amazon sword, two Java fern, and one anubias and planning to add some more plants to make it nice and lush. It’s been set up for about two weeks and I seem to be having some issues with plant growth/nutrient deficiency and have been hesitant to add fertilizer although I have some seachem flourish on hand ( I do realize this is a micro nutrient rich type of fert lacking macros). I have been testing my waters in prep for starting my fishless cycle I’m going to use Seachem stability and dr tim’s ammonium chloride to cycle it. I tested my waters yesterday and got a reading of PH 7.6 ppm, Ammonia 50 ppm ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 0 ppm Nitrate all good apart from ammonia. So, in hopes of balancing out my ammonia a little bit I decided to do a 25 to 30% water change which I added seachem prime to to dechlorinated it . When I went to test my water this morning the pH dropped to 6.0ppm, ammonia stayed at 50 ppm. Nitrites stayed at 0 ppm but now I’m getting a reading of 20 ppm nitrates which were 0 before the water change. Again I did dose the water with prime prior to adding it when doing my 30% water change yesterday so it shouldn’t be coming from there.
 

carsonsgjs

Your java fern and anubias need to be taken out of the substrate and attached to wood or rock - they will rot and die if their rhizomes are buried in the substrate. The stratum is likely the culprit of your ph drop too.
 
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Gage6

Thank you for the reply! The only thing that is confusing to me is that the ph was 7.6 ppm even when I had the stratum in there so that’s why the drop is confusing. Another thing to consider is that it could be possible that the ph from the water that I did the change with was different but I tested it and they were to the same.
 
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Kate1018

just lost post so trying again. I am going all out on adding plants to combat ammonia in my big cichlid/catfish tank, 90 G with 20 G sump. Added 2 HOB filters to sump tank. Added Java fern & Anubias yesterday, ordering more. NH4 not very high, would like to see yellow for once & not pale green on API tests
Your java fern and anubias need to be taken out of the substrate and attached to wood or rock - they will rot and die if their rhizomes are buried in the substrate. The stratum is likely the culprit of your ph drop too.
Yes, exactly what my consultant google says. Cut off the plastic plants purchased when I didn’t know any better & used the ceramic bases to anchor the live plants
 
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