-Don't rinse the filter while you are cycling.
-Don't mess with the pH of your tank. It fluctuates while the tank cycles. It will steady out later.
-Cycling with fish is tough on them. It poisons them, burns their gills, damages their organs, and often kills them. Since you are cycling with fish in the tank, it would not be unexpected to have caualties.
-If you aren't already doing so, daily water changes with Prime will help your fish stay a little safer while the tank cycles
I just noticed that you say in your aquarium info that you are "fixing" you pH. It's really better not to mess with it. Most fish will adapt to your pH, and it's dangerous for them to have pH fluctuate. Once your tank cycles, frequent water changes will keep pH from dropping too low. At that point, if you still want to raise pH for any reason, adding crushed coral to the tank will raise it naturally.
Can you get some Prime? Or Amelquel+? They detoxify the ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours, until the next daily water change. It's really better for the fish if you have them. Don't know about Amel+, but Prime at least isn't expensive.
Ah. two investments, then, that I would strongly advise you to make. One is Prime. The other is a good quality liquid test kit such as the API master kit. Prime can save your fishes' lives, and impossible to tell where you are in the cycling process without a liquid test kit. Strips are not accurate.
Shop around online. I got my API online for 12 dollars cheaper than they had it in the store.