I just recently finished cycling my 20 gallon and got some shrimp, and are picking up fish this weekend.
However, I live in florida and my 29 gallon at my girlfriends place in NC has been up and running for nearly 4 months now, and we still have not cycled it.
The 29 gallon does not have live plants, she has the opposite of a green thumb!
It's running a fluval C3 and an aqueon 30 gallon filter, sand substrate.
We recovered from a carper cleaner man incident about a month and a half ago when we think somehow chemicals reached the water when the man cleaned the carpet, because we lost all but 3 of our 16 fish.
It currently houses an angel, 3 cories, a dwarf gourami, 5 five banded barbs, and two electric blue rams.
All the fish seem happy.. and every fish we've had in it since day one has shown no signs of stress after the first 24hrs of being introduced.. and everyone is always super active.
We bought two fish to start after running the aquarium, we used dr tims and waited a few days then bought fish as i trusted all the science in the chemicals.
We use prime as condtioner.
We got an ammonia in readings such as .25-.75 at some points, and i even remember us getting a nitrite reading at some point, unless it was a faulty test.
Our aquarium never showed nitrate. So i've had her doing small water changes every single day now that she has a python to keep the levels down. It's been forever now, and our fish show no signs of being sick... nor have any of the fish ever.. However i was reading an article on here about bacteria in the freshwater aquarium, and read that in water below 7.0 PH ammonia actually ionizes and turns into ammonium which is practically harmless... We've tested our PH and it's definitely very very low, it's always been either the lowest or 2nd lowest on the API master test kit for PH, which i think is 6.6 or 6.8.
Could this be why our aquarium wont cycle? I know she does a lot of water changes, but its only 3-4 gallons a day to keep the ammonia readings down, and she's conditioning the water ofcourse when she changes it, so prime would be keeping the ammonia bound until the next day anyhow.
I'm just stunned, i even tried a second bottle of dr. tim's with no result.
She test for nitrates and nitrites and always gets 0. Everyday i ask and it's .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate.
I'm really looking for a solution to this issue, or an explanation, as i've cycled aquariums before and had friends do cycles with fish and even with 5 gallon water changes a day for 2 months they still come out with the result of completing the cycle.
I believe it was Byron the expert who wrote the article, so maybe he can clear up the ammonia - ammonium exert in case i took it the wrong way
and to add to this, the angel was the FIRST fish we bought, and he is still kicking, and one of the most active fish we have, with the biggest appetite.