I did my intro earlier today so now here is the situation. I got a 20 gal
. set up on 7/26. Got the filter going, the gravel substrate (30 lbs) rinsed and put in, filled up w/ tap water, added dechlorinator and aquarium salt, rinsed and put in plants and decor, got heater going, added bubble stone, and lastly put in 2 Marimo moss balls. I left it sit until 8/3 when I went into the pet store. They reassured me that as long as I had a test kit (which I do- API Freshwater Master Test Kit) that I could cycle with fish in. Although my instincts told me otherwise I did it. I put in 3 longfin gold zebra danios that day along with some API Stresszyme. I tested for ammonia every day (sometimes twice a day) after that. I did not feed for 24 hrs and after that I fed sparingly. Although my ammonia did not go above between 0-.25 I had my first fish loss on 8/11. Since the others were doing fine I assumed that one may have been ill. I did a 25% water change anyway. I had my second loss on 8/12. So I took the live one back to the pet store b/c I knew it's fate would probably be the same. They tested the water and got the same thing I had been: 0-.25 ammo, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. The only answer they gave me was that my pH was high- 8.0 (however theirs is the same at the shop). I went to another shop and they told me I probably got "bad fish" and encouraged me to get more. Which I did not do. So now I am waiting for the cycle to finish before I add more fish. But the ammonia is not spiking. It tested .25 on 8/13 & 8/14. And it tested .5o 8/15. Should I have enough ammonia in there by having 3 fish in there for little over a week? I have also been adding food this week. Should I buy some ammonia to add in there? Or just be more patient?