Kingfish I'm new but even I understand the nitrogen cycle starts with ammonia. Bacteria eat ammonia produced by fish/ invertebrates as waste, or from left over food waste. This creates nitrites that are eaten by another 2nd bacteria that produces nitrates.
Ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic in any concentration to under water pets. And altering the ph from what your tap is is more harmful than allowing your pet to acclimate to the ph that is already present. You want to add bacteria fine your set on that so do it. But for your pets sake stop adding ph adjusters randomly. Make a schedule to wean the pet to your local water supply ph using the chemicals or stop using local water and buy the water you need. You asked for advice. They all told you the standard parameters and useful info you needed. Now check the expiration dates on your master test kit, then shake those test bottles for a minute each before you use them, check the specific instructions for each test, follow them to a T and recheck water parameters.
Your not going to over test but you can under test when starting out.
Something else you can and should do is call your water department and ask if they use cloramine or chlorine. They can tell you.