No Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, Now Decent Levels Of Each

kanzekatores

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I use API Mater's test kit. Yesterday I was doing a water test for all my parameters, expecting it to be the same as always, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates. I figured the low nitrate levels before were due to my plants, I had saggitaria and a Java fern. But now all the sudden 0-0.25 ammonia (it's really hard to tell the color), 0.25 nitrites, and 4-5 nitrates. I know it's nothing to worry about, but just curious of how it could have happened and if the nitrite could start to rise. It's almost as if my tank hadn't been cycled until now or something.
I have had some changes to the tank lately, I ordered new plants: more saggitaria (2 plants) and frogbit. Some of the frogbit seems to be doing perfectly well, green and reproducing, while some other leaves are yellow/ grey and deteriating. Maybe it's the dead plant matter? It's a 10 gallon tank, 16 inch Current LED strip light, eco-complete black gravel, 2 nerite snails, 1 honey gourami, 6 ramshorn snails (which I just added a few weeks ago). I also have been periodically adding Seachem potassium and seachem flourish, and I also put in some more flourish tabs in the gravel ( could it have been those?), and, I've had an API water softener pillow in for a few days now (it worked! GH jumped from 15 to 8). The funny thing is I tested it right after a water change and it showed all these higher levels of ammonia and nitrite/nitrate.
Could it be a combination of the ramshorn snails and frogbit? Just curious. And how should I stop it from getting to unsafe levels? (if after a water change it showed higher levels, it could have been more before then.) Should I up my amount of water changes per week/month? I usually do one a week, and a big gravel syphoning/big water change every month.
 

LMO

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Can you test your tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate - if the results were higher just after a water change it could be this. If this comes back as 0 the dead leaves could be the problem as your bacteria colony will have more waste to process than usual.
 
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kanzekatores

kanzekatores

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The tap water tests all zeros, plus I use seachem prime which is supposed to detoxify it. But thanks it was probably the leaves.
At least it's a relief to know my filtration is working since I've had no nitrates for so long I thought there might have been something wrong there.
 
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kanzekatores

kanzekatores

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pH used to be pretty high, 8 point something, but that was when I tested it around the beginning of August. Now it's down to 6.6, could be because of a big water change where I put in lower pH/neutral water, or water softener pillow. All fish and invertabrates are healthy, but I'm trying to balance it out at 7.3
I tried putting in Seachem Acid Buffer for a bit, then gave up on that. I usually have driftwood in there, which is supposed to soften the water, but I took it out and am putting it through soaking/boiling processes to release it's tannins. But I think before I took it out, the water was usually at about 7.6, now maybe after without it it jumped up to the 8's
Or again could be the water pillow
 

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