I have been fishless cycling a fluval edge with the pre-set fluval heater and tahitian moon sand and nothing else for 4-5 weeks now. I did not have starter media from another tank (none I trust I'm afraid), but used Hagen's Cycle to jump start it (although I quit adding it). I am also using Ace Hardware's janitoral ammonia with no other additives.
In the beginning I definitely did not properly measure the ammonia I put into the tank and a few times the ammonia levels read off the API text kit chart (above 8 ppm) until I got a baby medication measurerer and got it consistent at about 2 ppm. Now it is cycling the ammonia very fast and clearly cycling the nitrates as they have read off the charts. But the nitrites are off the chart at above 5 ppm for the last couple weeks.
I have done 2 PWC, the last one I did %50 and the nitrites are still off the chart. But it brought the nitrates down from off the charts to it's current reading of 40-80 ppm.
Do I need to do more water changes until the nitrites are readable? And will the nitrifying bacteria ever catch up or should I let the ammonia eating bacteria die off a bit? Right now they are eating up 1-2 ppm a day easily. And with such high nitrate levels clearly there are a lot of nitrite eating bacteria.
I am only planning on having one betta in entire 6 gallon aquaclear filtered tank. And I am concerned that since he willl not be creating 1-2 ppm ammonia a day, that there will be significant bacteria die off that will create an ammonia spike. But should I keep feeding this amount on ammonia anyway?
Also I do have a 50 watt adjustable heater on my QT tank. Should I swap it out for the fluval heater while it cycles? The fluval is pre-set to 78, whereas I can go higher with the other. Will it make a difference at this point?
The ph on it is about 8, which I thought is good for cycling, but I will use ro water before putting a fish in that.
I also ordered tetra safe start and dr tim's one and only bacterial additives which will be arriving tomorrow. Maybe they will help with nitrite spike?
Thanks for reading and I appreciate any responses!