I've been doing a fishless cycle in my 14 gallon long aquarium using the fish food method... things seem okay so far but I wanted to double check a couple of things so I can make sure I don't mess up my cycle and can tell when it's completed. I'd also like to mention that I added a mature sponge from our year old downstairs aquarium to the filter and have two bacteria cultures that were used as well.
I've done a lot of research but just wanted to clarify a couple of things. I understand that the purpose of a cycle is to establish a colony of beneficial bacteria that converts ammonia to nitri
te which is then converted to nitra
te. Of course these things need to be tested for... introducing my partner in "crime": the API Master Test Kit, which I will use to test the water every day. If I am understanding correctly...
At first I should get a reading of ammonia, which will gradually rise. It will spike and after should gradually begin to fall as nitrites rise in its place.
After a while the nitrite levels should peak and then gradually start to fall as nitrates become apparent.
Once ammonia and nitrites reach 0ppm and nitrates are being read at a consistant level the cycle is complete.
Is the above correct? Is there anything I've missed or gotten wrong? I did a water test today and got the following results:
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrites - 2.0 ppm
Nitrates - 10 ppm
My results confused and worried me a little, I suppose I'm looking for reassurance as to whether or not these readings are normal during a cycle and if there is anything I need to do to lower/increase the readings further. Do I need to do any form of water changes during the cycle or is it better to leave well alone until its complete? I'm sorry for asking a question that may have been asked countless times as well.