I recently started cycling my tank last week (6 days ago) and I've been testing the ammonia every other day and the ammonia is staying at a steady 0.5 ppm ammonia. So today, I tested my nitrites also and I noticed it was at 0.25 ppm. My API freshwater master test kit isn't broken because I just got it less than 3 weeks ago and it doesn't expire until 2016. Is my tank going through a really quick cycle? I've been feeding the fish tank flakes every 12 hours as a source of ammonia. Also, before I started this cycle, I attempted to cycle about 2 and a half weeks ago but I stopped because I thought since I wasn't using any gravel, the beneficial bacteria didn't have a large place to live.