Ok, I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, cuz, well, I'm a fish rookie. I spent almost two months cycling my 20 gallon tank, the ammonia came and went, nitrites came and started to fall off, with nitrates showing steady shortly after the nitrites started. So no prob, ammonia was reading 0, nitrites 0, and nitrates were bout 5ppm. I put 3 glofish in the tank (1 died), had an initial ammonia spike, but the parameters settled to Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate was less than 10ppm, it stayed settled for 3 days, on the afternoon of the 4th day, ammonia spiked heavy to almost 1ppm, I did several PWCs to knock it down, and now the tank's parameters are just all over the place. Oh and I took about a cup of rocks from my mother's established tank (it's been up and running for 5-6 years) to help mine along toward the end. I'm having to do daily water changes to fight off the ammonia, but am still showing nitrates. I'm confused. What am I doing wrong?
I also used another cup of rocks from my mother's tank to cycle my GFs 10 gallon tank, the tank has been up and running for about a month, but when I added the rocks, I added the speckled molly, which is now dead. but the tank did the same thing as my 20 Gallon, the parameters spiked at first, then settled for 3 good days, then ammonia spiked quickly.
Long and short, what the H*LL am I doing wrong? I'm careful to not clean the filter in anything but old tank water, I keep the temperature steady at 74 degrees, I'm just at a loss. It's been 2 months and it's just not acting like a cycled tank... The water is good that I put in it, I don't have any chlorine (I'm on well water) the natural PH is kinda high (bout 7.8) I'm just confused how a tank acts this way?