Nitrate shouldn't even be showing at all in the absence of ammonia followed by nitrite.
A tank sometimes cycles even when the keeper doesn't want it too. Some seem to have trouble. Just guessing, but it may have something to do with the amount and type of nitrifying bacteria present in the air. I just heard of someone who tried starting their cycle using garden dirt, because a type of bacteria related to nitrosomonas is found in soil. But so are a lot of other not-so-good bacteria. I don't know the outcome.
OK, I just re-read this thread. You have a fish waiting on this tank....since late August (?) Go ahead and set him up in the tank. Use Prime or Amquel to keep the ammonia converted to ammonium. Keep up with your water changes to keep the ammonia down below 0.25ppm.
No reason he should have to put up with inferior accommodations, even though you're doing the right thing but having trouble. Read OldFishLady's article on fish-in cycling in the "Bowls and Habitats" section.
I forgot to ask you about your pH and hardness (GH and KH). If your water is very soft with low pH, the bacteria will have a harder time reproducing.
Last edited by Hallyx; 10-22-2012 at 08:36 PM.