It's been 5 weeks and I think I crashed my cycle. I'm new to fishless, but I've cycled with fish-in (horrible experience watching the goldfish try and survive) and I've cycled with borrowed substrate. I have a cycled 25 gal but I can't use any substrate, etc. because of an outbreak of ICH last month.
So here it is: I set up my 10 gal with all the decorations, gravel, filter, heater. Added tap water w/prime. My tap already has .50ppm of ammonia so I didn't add anything extra. Only adding 2 bettas so I don't need a ton of bacteria.
3 weeks of my ammonia at .50 and then it went to 0. Nitrites immediately started to show and spiked at .50ppm. They went down to .25ppm but then back up to .50ppm. Confused I checked the ammonia. It was back up to .50ppm!
Here's what I think I did: During the nitrite process I continued to add small cups of tap water to keep the ammonia bacteria eating. However, I think my last does of 4c of water didn't have the water conditioner. I think I killed my bacteria with the chlorine from my tap. So here I sit with my ammonia at .50ppm and my nitrites still hanging at .50ppm too. GGGGRRRrrrrrr! Am I starting over??!!!
I'm just a few years old in this hobby and I'd love to hear your guy's expert advice and opinions. I have another 10 gal to cycle after this one and it's just torture.