I have a new setup going still (1 month old). Used crushed shells i bought used from the LFS so the cycle started fast but it is taking a while to finish. As of yesterday: 11/07/04 Ammonia = .2 mg/L Nitrite = 1.6 mg/L Nitrate = around 110 mg/L Phosphate = 2.5 mg/L pH = 8.2 calcium = 400 mg/L salinity = 1.023 previous history: 10/24/04 pH = 8.1 Ammonia = 0 nitrite = 5+ salinity = 1.023 calcium = 420 10/15/04 pH = 8.2 ammonia = .5 nitrite = 5+ salinity = 1.021 10/09/04 pH = 7.7 ammonia = .1 nitrite = .25 low range nitrate = 50 salinity = 1.021 10/07/04 pH = 7.7 ammonia = 1.2 nitrite = 20 salinity = 1.021 I haven't done a water change yet. Just been topping off with fresh. I did make the mistake of setting up the tank with water from tap before knowing any better, but i'm told after probably 3-4 once a month 20% water changes that it'll be fine. I fully understand the nitrogen cycle, but I can't figure out why the levels are still up a bit. I'm going to setup an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all my tests so that I can plot on graphs from now on. As of the last time i had the LFS test (10/24), they said to just keep waiting out the cycle... now that my nitrite is down to 1.6 instead of off the chart at 5+ ... it's pretty obvious that the nitrite step is in place... however everything i've read says that the best way to temporarily take care of the now high levels of nitrates is to do a water change. I do think i have an issue with the final step (nitrate to nitrogen gas). i do not have sand on the bottom of my tank, just fine crushed shells. I do not have a whole bunch of circulation right now, however (one maxijet 900), but i'll be adding another 900 or 1200 for the opposite side of the tank. Do i do a 20% water change now? (50G Bowfront Fish-Only setup with 5 damsels, 3 hermets, 6 turbo snails) Thanks!! This hobby is so exciting .