I'm losing patience and faith and hope and everything else for this tank of mine. I set up this Fluval spec v on March 8, added conditioned water, a bottle of TSS plus and ammonia up to 2 ppm. Testing next morning: March 9 (Day 2) pH ———————7.6 Ammonia ————1 Nitrite —————- 0 Nitrate ————— 40 Temp —————- 80 F After that it was progressing nicely for 5 days, then I added another 4 drops of ammonia to bring it back up to 2 ppm and it got stuck. Ammonia stayed at 1 ppm for the next 5 days. No nitrite readings and nitrate stayed at around 40 ppm. I added another bottle of TSS, redosed ammonia to 2-3 ppm and waited. From day 11 to day 17 of the cycling process, it was moving along. I test every morning between 9 and 10 am and every time ammonia would drop slightly, when it was at 0.25-0.5, I would add 3-4 drops. Still no nitrite, but nitrate rose to 80-160 (bright red but not that dark on the API kit). Then on day 18 it happened: pH ————————7.6 Ammonia —————0.25 Nitrite ——————- 0.25 Nitrate —————— 80-160 Temp ——————- 82 F Added 4 drops ammonia = 3 ppm On day 23 ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, and nitrate about 80. I added 5 drops ammonia and after 24 hours ammonia was 0.25. nitrite 0, nitrate 80-160. I thought it was done and did a water change to start getting rid of the nitrate. And that's when it all became weird. Ammonia spiked once and went back to 0 the following day, then nitrite spiked again, and again, and again... I add 3 drops of ammonia and 24 hours later it's at 0, but the nitrite is always at around 5 or more unless I do a quick water change. It's always off the chart, and nitrate is always between 80-160. And to make it even more confusing, the pH doesn't stay at 7.6 (my other tank is always at 7.6), it keeps going down to 7.2. Today's readings: April 11 (Day 34) pH ——————— <7.6 Ammonia ———— 0 Nitrite —————- 2-5 Nitrate ————— 80 Temp —————- 82 F I don't know what to do. Should I wait for it longer? Or should I just clean it and restart? My other tank (same fluval) cycled with TSS in 10 days. This one... I don't know what's wrong. I use Ace Hardware store ammonia to cycle, always conditioned water, I didn't touch the sponge in the filter when I did the water changes, which took me 5 minutes and the sponge remained wet at all times. The only difference between the two tanks is the first one had the plants in it from the beginning while this one only has two small pieces of driftwood. Any advice? Please, help, I'm ready to give up.