Originally Posted by summersea
One other question - if I keep adding ammonia to keep it between 1-2ppm how will I know the cycle is complete? I have read posts that say when it hits 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites but if I am constantly adding the ammonia source doesn't that ALWAYS keep the ammonia from zero?
One day I will have figured out all this cycling stuff lol
Like was said, eventually the ammonia will be 0 ppm despite you adding it every day. That's when the first half of the cycle is complete. Then you will do it all over again with the nitrites. One little thing to mention - if your nitrites are really high once the ammonia portion is complete, then do a water change to drop the ppm. Many a cycle have been stalled out due to really high nitrite readings. You will STILL have to continue adding ammonia every day though, so don't stop just because the ammonia part is done. Then the nitrites will rise (because the ammonia you are adding is being consumed and converted to nitrite), and then it will fall to 0. At that point you still have to continue to add ammonia, because you are feeding and growing the ammonia bacteria and the nitrite bacteria. The final product is nitrate, which is either consumed by plants and/or removed with a water change.
So from here, you will know your cycle is in tact because you will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites when you test. Your nitrates will be steadily increasing because you are feeding ammonia every day. This is the time to add fish.