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A few years ago, a filter went out on a 29 gallon tank. I was away at work, so I came home to dead colony of Neoloamprologus pulcher. I was so upset that I just drained the water, disposed of the fish, and left it sitting there.

Last month, I decided to get it started up again. Replaced the sand, replaced the filter, rinsed the rocks, hosed down the tank and wiped it down.

I attempted to fishless cycle with the shrimp in a media bag and wringing out a filter sponge from another tank. Current water parameters: 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and 160 ppm nitrate. This has never happened before, and I can't figure out what caused that much nitrate. I did one 25% water change in week 2.

Do I need to empty out all of the water, rinse the filter media, and start all over again? And what could have possibly caused this much nitrate? Did I possibly not clean the rocks off enough?
Depending on the shrimp, but let's say it is a jumbo and estimated to be 20g for a shrimp, and 25% of it is protein (as far as I can find online). Let's assume maybe 27 of the 29 gal is water.

Following the calculations laid out here, from a single shrimp you get about 38ppm ammonia. Not quite 44ppm, but pretty close. 38ppm ammonia still would produce 138ppm nitrate or so if all of it is converted to nitrate. But that's kinda a very 'optimistic' set of assumptions.

Plus, you also did a water change during the process.

So... yeah kinda weird, but eh.

I'd chalk it up to slight inaccuracies in the measuring process, whatever it may be.
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