I've been trying to do a fishless cycle for a 5 gallon tank (for a betta fish) for 6 weeks and was starting to get impatient, so I did some more research into the methods I was using, and my heart sank when I found the 'Just set up new aquarium' thread in this forum. I seem to have fallen into the same trap, except I have probably wasted a lot more time and money. I'd been using Fluval Cycle under the assumption that I didn't have to add a source of ammonia. The thing I don't understand is that from what I've read, I shouldn't have any nitrites or nitrates in the tank because there's no ammonia for the bacteria to feed on, right? But despite ammonia tests having read as 0 throughout the process, I currently have nitrates at 20 ppm and nitrites at 2.0 ppm, and those levels have been more or less the same for the last couple of weeks. Is it possible that some ammonia got into the tank somehow, from the gravel or something on my hands? Admittedly I didn't start testing for ammonia until about 2 weeks in, so maybe whatever ammonia that was in the tank spiked and dropped before I started testing. In which case, that would suggest that I'm currently in the nitrite spike phase and that tank will be fully cycled soon? Or is does it sound like it's all messed up and needs to be started over, in which case, how would you recommend that I proceed from this point? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I couldn't find an answer for this specific problem elsewhere.