This is my first fish less cycle and it's been about 3 weeks and for the past 2 weeks nitrites are so high they are unreadable ammonia is fine but I think I am overwhelming my bacteria now what do I do.
Do you have a bottle of Prime or similar water conditioner? If you use TSS, you'll have to wait 24 hours for the effects to wear off before using. From my understanding on Seachem website, you can use Seachem Stability 30 minutes after using Prime.
I have already Dechlorinated the water prior to cycle, the bacteria for breaking down ammonia is fine it's just the nitrite problem but I might just buy some seachem stability but I have a question. Isn't seachem stability used when your starting a cycle and not in the middle of one?
I think the original issue is getting kinda sidetracked. With sky high nitrites, that's what's slowing down your cycle. You can add bottled bacteria, but if your nitrites are that high, it may be a waste. Do large back to back water changes until you have readable nitrites. This is the easiest way to rectify huge nitrite spikes. You want to keep your nitrite at or below 2.0 ppm. Also as long as you know your tap doesn't have nitrates, you can test for them to get an idea whether or not nitrites are being converted.
By getting your nitrites into a readable range, it will help the bacteria work more effectively. It may take several very large water changes, but its the most effective way to get over this phase.
Bacteria lives on surfaces, not in the water column. Mainly in the filter, and some in the substrate as well. Water changes won't harm your bacteria at all. Just make sure you use a dechlorinator anytime you add new water into the tank.
I know they do not live in the water column and mainly in the filter but during draining the tank wouldn't some surfaces would not be surrounded ny water killing the bacteria and the filter would be off in this big of a water change
About 95% of your bacteria is in the filter. I generally leave my filters on for smaller water changes. For larger ones, I put my media into a small container with tank water while changing. Also if you're using TSS and need to do a water change, treat the new water and then let it sit for at least 24 but preferably 48 hours before using it for a water change so that the binding effect of the prime wears off.