I am spanking new at this, but educating myself as quickly as possible. Day 1 -My girlfriend and I walked into a LFS and wanted fish. They sold us a 10 gal. glass aquarium starter kit, two small goldfish (Fantail and black moor), and a fiddler crab. So in summary: 10 Gal. Whisper mini filter w/ no bio-filter 10 lbs. gravel flake food 50 watt heater 30 W incandescent light hood "super strength" Tap water conditioner - Aquarium Pharmacuticals, Inc. I believe the Black moor was diseased or stressed from tha get go. Within a week, (Day 6) I went to a different LFS, having realizing that I got screwed, and tested my water to see what was up with the moor. Ammonia off the charts. I was told to buy a whisper bio-filter cartridge, cycle and aquarium salt. I inserted the cartridge (I had to cut it to make it fit because the filter that came with it had no place for it). Then I added 2 Tbsp. salt and half the bottle of cycle. 3 more days(Day 9) = dead black moor + upset girlfriend After a couple days(Day 11), the ammonia levels were not going down and I had been doing large (20-50%) water changes at least once a day since day 2. (Day 13) So, I bought a penguin 200 filter and water test kit and ran both filters and did only one 20% water change a week as instructed by another LFS. By Day 15 the test showed lower ammoinia (2ppm) and higher Nitrites (2ppm). On Day 17 the ammonia was 0 and the nitrites were 5ppm. Now, as instructed by the LFS, I added the other half of the Cycle bottle because ammonia was at 0ppm and nitrates were high. On Day 19 the fantail abrubtly turned yellowish and got fin rot. I went to the closest Petco and bought a hospital tank and tetracycline and put the fish in the new tank. About 30 min, after that he died. The ammonia in the original tank was still at 0 and the nitrites at 5ppm+. After a week or so like this( one fiddler crab running around) the nitrites dropped to 2ppm and my girlfriend wanted to add a "lobster". So, we went to the last LFS (Day 22), the one that sold us the cycle, and bought a blue lobster and an asian tiger lobster. They said that two crayfish in a ten gallon tank was pushing it but should be fine if they have many places to hide and they will probably eat the crab eventually. And also, They said that the nitrites will probably be at 0 in a "day or so", so we can stock it. And, just for kickers get 5 guppies so that there are some fish... :S Well, now its Day 30 and the nitrites are still at 2-3ppm. Ammoinia at 0. whats the deal???? When will the nitrites go down? What does cycle do? Current status of tank: 10 Gal. FW glass 30 W light incandescent 75-78 degrees Ph - 7.4 hardness - unknown ammonia- 0 nitrites- 2ppm nitrates - 20 ppm (same as tap) penguin 200 bio-wheel 6" airstones 1/4" gravel 15lbs. rocks (for hiding) 20-40% water change daily 1 very small feeding daily wth: 1 fiddler crab - 1" 1 asian tiger lobster - 2" 1 blue lobster - 2" 5 guppies - 3/4" Now that I've read all the posts here(many, many of them). I feel like an idiot and am embarrassed to write this. But, I need help. Now what can I do? I need to get this aquarium cycled. And what, if any, effect did "cycle" have? BTW I really love this hobby so far and have acquired a 55 gal tank for free. I'd like to avoid this disaster in the future. It tortures me that I didn't get better information in the begining. All fish stores were given the complete history of the tank.