Hello, So roughly about a month ago I decided to move to a larger tank (20 gallons), My 10 gallon tank was fully cycled and would constantly read ammonia levels well under .25 ppm every 10 days before doing 10-15% partial water changes. Unfortunately ever since I got this new 20 gallon tank I've been having such a hard time to get it to cycle fully and have tried pretty every technique that I could possibly use.
My current fish are 5 mickie platies and 3 black skirt tetras.
So basically my idea was to use the so called "seeding method", after intalling my 20 gallon tank and waiting 48 hours for the ph to neutralize, I removed entire filter (filters at 100 gph) and placed it in my new tank. The ammonia levels stayed at bay for at least a week and even the nitrite levels started rising but then my ammonia levels started rising faster my nitrite levels which would imply the growing nitrifying bacteria just wasn't keeping up with the ammonia load. So I reduced the ammount of food my fish were getting which was already not too much btw; soon after, I register .50 ppm so I thought adding fish bacteria (safestart) would alleviate the problem and probably jump-start the process but my plans failed miserably and my ammonia levels continued to rise to 1 ppm and eventually to 2ppm and nitrite levels have gotten down completely but I notice my fish were extremely active despite high levels of ammonia so sth was not adding up and after testing my ph it came out at 6.0. As many of you know already, ammonia becomes ammonium under 7.0 ph which as far I understand is less toxic than ammonia (NH3) but it also means that bacteria can't grow with ph levels that low so the Ph levels needed to be brought up. As of now, I'm battling ammonia at 4ppm with 40-50% with daily water changes using prime as my dechlorinator since it neutralizes ammonia but I don't see my ammonia levels going down which is starting to make me worried and quite sad frankly
so my question is should I continue with the water changes? and can the nitrifrying bacteria grow with ammonia levels that high (4 ppm) ?
is there anything I can do at this point? I already added two live plants thinking it would help with the ammonia but so far everything has stayed the same. My Ph has become stable at 7.4-7.6. Please reply back, I really need help from you guys.