ok so a little background. i bought a 29 gallon tank about a month ago as a graduation present to myself. the goal was to make a freshwater community tank. desired fish were ropefish, among others but ive always wanted to have ropes. the wonderfully unhelpful people at the store gave me a few beginner tips like letting the tank set up for a few days before adding fish. (as ive learned now a few days is not nearly enough time to set up a tank) i thought it would be nice to have some live plants in the tank so i put ribbons in, white and gold i believe. i tried to put in some ropes a few days later as you can all guess they didnt stand a chance. they wouldnt eat when i feed them which left me constantly cleaning up the uneaten food. the only helpful fish person ive met recommended a few small rosies as the rope fish might eat them. i tested the water and ammonia levels were really really high. *here is where i think i made my biggest mistake* in a desperate attempt to save my ropes i used a chemical to help bring the ammonia levels down. the ropes however still did not make it. through researching cycling im attempting to cycle my tank using the rosies which are still alive and well. its been a few weeks and the nitrate nitrite levels still arent coming down. ive recently read that some of these chemicals though making the ammonia safe to the fish still can register on the tests as nitrate/nitrite and that these chemicals in the end slow down the cycling process :(.
for any of you who actually read this im sorry it was so long but i wanted to give the background of my tank.
so to my question.
is there anything i can do to figure out if the ammonia tests are being skewed by my idiotic mistake.