Don't know on prices but hermits are pricey generally. Online vendors are cheaper but only in bulk which you would need the tank to mature some (as long as you can wait...2 months or so for me...) before getting a full CUC. I will say that my cycle took a long time...about 5 weeks. What are your nitrates at? I have heard of crazy high nitrates stalling a cycle. I think it was at least 800+ nitrates though. nitrite eating bacteria take longer to seed than ammonia eating bacteria.
"What kind of name is Poon?"
29 gallon hex, canister filter, too much live rock, two powerheads. Tank setup June 2012. Two clowns, fire shrimp, 2 chocolate chip starfish, 3 snails