12-31-2011, 03:54 PM
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Problems with fishless cycle
It's been a while since I've tried getting my twenty gallon fish tank through the "cycle." I originally tried cycling with fish (this was when I was particularly new to the hobby and did not know my options). I failed at that and felt horrible having fish die during the process, so I looked into the fishless cycle and a few months later decided to start again. I have been going at it for about four weeks with very little success.
I decided to start from scratch once the fish cycle failed so miserably. Set up my aquarium, made sure the tap water was treated properly, added live bacteria and started adding ammonia. I used pure ammonia, got to a level of 5ppm and waited for it to drop so that I could work on it again and then get a nitrite spike. It's been about 3 weeks since that first ammonia spike. Needless to say, I'm just stuck there.
Here is the confusing part: the ammonia has not dropped one bit, my nitrites are at 0 ppm and the nitrates read 20 ppm. I'm using an API test kit (the one with the tubes, not the paper test). I had the idea of testing my tap water for ammonia and got a reading of 2 ppm. My guess is that something somewhere is contaminated and my ammonia tests are no good.
Where do I go from here? What steps can I take so that I can ensure a more successful cycling process? Any help would be appreciated.