When I was younger I had several tanks, and was completely oblivious to the nitrogen cycle which was obviously pretty cruel for my fish.
I recently decided to get back into the hobby, and bought a little 54 litre/14 gallon tank and thought i'd go with the whole fishless cycle thing.
I got the ammonia up to 4ppm etc, and have been monitering ph to ensure there was no dramatic drop. I attempted
to seed the tank with some gravel from a friend's tank to speed up the cycling process.
The issue is that it has been 3 weeks now and my test kit (API) is displaying no drop in ammonia, and there are no signs of nitrites.
Here are my two areas of concern:
1) I'll admit to using cloudy ammonia, only as pure ammonia is incredibly difficult if not impossible to come across here in New Zealand. Actually, the only reason I ended up using it was reading about several other fish keepers here that had cycling success with cloudy ammonia. However despite this I am philosophical to the fact that there could be a chemical in the cloudy ammonia that is killing any bacteria.
2) The filter is a pretty rubbish Juwel internal filter that came with the tank- with a sponge inside it, and no ceramic media or anything good like that. So I am wondering if my lack of bacterial growth could be to do with the filter not being an ideal place to harbour bacteria.
All in all the whole process has become incredibly frustrating and all I can think to do is to buy and aquaclear HOB
filter, somehow source some ceramic media to seed it with- and see if anything changes. However I don't know whether I'm going to have any luck with that either.
Sorry for this massive post, and it would be amazing if someone could give me a little advice