I'm brand new to this forum, and just as new to fishkeeping, so please forgive my ignorance on both subjects! I'm currently trying to perform a fishless cycle for my 2.5g Aqueon Minibow. I filled the tank with some gravel/substrate, a small porcelain hollow rock cave, a live small amazon sword, and another fake plant which I may remove for space. Its running the factory filter that comes with the tank, along with an Aqueon Betta filter with Volcano bubbler.
My plan is to get a small betta for this tank which is why I was thinking about taking out the factory filter (current may be too strong) after establishing the tank with the volcano betta filter.
I had no idea about the nitrogen cycle before I was given this tank so I have been researching and trying to piece my way through. All tests performed using API freshwater master test kit. My tap water: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, ph 7.0. I used seachem prime to condition my water before filling the 2.5g tank
Start of cycle:
-1/8/22: started with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrates. ph 7.4-7.6: added entire 3.38oz bottle of tetra safestart plus
-1/10/22 added some fish food to start the cycle, water reading later that day: ammonia 4ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate 5ppm. 1/11/22-1/13/22 results were similar
-1/13/21- 1/14/21: ammonia 1ppm, nitrite, 0, nitrate 40-80ppm
(I wasn't home to test 1/15-1/16/22)
-1/17/21 ammonia .25-.50ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate 40-80ppm, ph 7.4
---At this point I was thinking maybe my cycle was nearing the end so I did a 1gallon water change, conditioned my water and added to the tank. Post water change test (1 hour later): ph 7.4, 0 nitrite, 0-0.25ppm ammonia, 20-40ppm nitrate. After, I added a pinch of fritz ammonium chloride powder and tested an hour later: ammonia was 4.0ppm (hoping this would disappear in 24 hours)
-24 hours later i tested on 1/18/21: 2-4ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, nitrate 20-40ppm
-1/19/22 ammonia 1-2ppm, nitrite 0 ppm
, 40-80 nitrate, ph 7.4
I have never seen nitrites during this cycle. I also used some 5in1 API test strips to see if those register any nitrites in the tank and they do not either.
Should I continue to watch my ammonia drop, and redose until it completely disappears within 24 hours? Is it possible that my nitrites are being eaten so fast i never register them on a test?
----(side note, as of today I'm returning the fritz ammonia chloride powder since its hard to properly dose such a small tank and purchasing Fritz Aquatics Fishless Fuel Ammonia Solution for Aquariums 2 oz, as recommend by Fritz website).
I understand patience is key for cycling but I just want to make sure I am heading in the right direction. Thank you for any feedback or assistance!