Alright so I have had my betta for a month now, and have been trying to cycle the 5 gallon tank for 3 weeks. Initially it was just him in there for a week with me changing the water whenever ammonia got high. Then I started adding Seachem Stability to the water like the instructions on the bottle suggest, and doing a 50% water change every time ammonia got to .50ppm, which usually was every two days.
After 3 weeks of doing that, i was getting no nitrite or nitrate readings at all, so clearly it wasn't cycling. I then decided to just leave the ammonia in and detoxify it so the fish wouldn't be harmed, hoping the bacteria would get started eating it. That hasn't appeared to work either, as ammonia was almost at 2ppm yesterday with no nitrites or nitrates in sight.
3 days ago I decided to buy Tetra Safestart after reading numerous reviews for it saying it can cycle small tanks in like 2-3 days. I added the recommended dose when i got home with it, and was still detoxifying the ammonia once a day using 5 drops of prime so the fish wouldn't get sick.
I then read in the Q&A section on Tetra's website that using prime can harm the bacteria in Safe Start, so I guess I should go back to just doing water changes instead of keeping the ammonia higher and detoxifying it?
I did a 30% water change to bring the ammonia under 1ppm today, and added more safestart, hoping the bacteria will start eating the ammonia. Does anyone have any tips for using safestart to start a cycle? Or any tips in general? Are 5 gallon tanks just really difficult to start a cycle in? The fish has been perfectly fine during all of this, swimming around happy as can be.
The tank has a Azoo Mignon 60 filter with fluval biomax cylinders and a sponge in the chamber. I have kept it at 81* with a heater. It is also fairly heavily planted with anacharis and wisteria. I feed the fish 2 pellets in the morning, and 3 pellets at night.