False Positive Nitrite Test - Update
Nitrite in this tank is now zero; it began dropping dramatically three days
ago and has been plummeting ever since. The log phase of bacterial growth
is some kinda impressive.
For everyone's info: I removed the coconut shells, soaked them in
dechlorinated water and then tested - no nitrite. At that point I put
them back in the tank. Nitrite began falling slowly at that point, so I
didn't bother to isolate the driftwood for testing.
So what I've learned is this - toss in some dying plant bits, a little
bacteria in a bottle, don't filter for a few days and voila -
"artificial" tank cycling.
Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and ideas.