I've had a 20 gallon tank since January, and I've been struggling to get it cycled and ready to go, so any help here would be appreciated.
I will start this off by saying, I know that there is a problem with my tap water. By testing my tap water directly (using two different brand test kits), I have found it to have a tiny bit of ammonia, but also around 4 ppm nitrIte. There is also a small amount of nitrate, but obviously the high level of nitrite is alarming. The water company has no interest in helping me, or looking into this.
When I initially started cycling my tank, I thought this would be a good thing because it would get the cycle going quicker. What I have been doing is:
1) Dose the tank up to about 4ppm ammonia
2) Wait about a week until the ammonia drops to about 1ppm
3) Dose the tank back up to 4ppm ammonia
4) Wait about a week until the ammonia drops to about 1ppm
5) At this point, the nitrite and nitrate levels are very high (off the charts), so do a 50% pwc with prime treated tap water
6) Dose back up to 4ppm ammonia
I have been doing this for a while, but it doesn't appear to be getting anywhere. The ammonia is obviously being converted to nitrites (the 4ppm ammonia is gone after about 3-4 days), but no matter what I do, there is always about 4ppm nitrites. I was hoping it would naturally be converted into nitrate, but that isn't happening.
Do I need to use different water at this point? I have a filter built in to my refrigerator, but was advised not to use that because it would filter out things that the fish would need.
Again, any help would be greatly appreciated.