Well, the day I've been anxiously awaiting has come to pass. We finally have nitrites in the freshwater tank! It's a low amount, but this is the first day they've even been detectable, so I'll take it!
For those who might not know, when you go through a fishless cycle you have to keep adding ammonia (or something that produces ammonia) to the tank, along with some sort of bacterial material to create what would naturally occur in time with fish in the water. Ammonia + ammonia eating bacteria = nitrites + nitrite eating bacteria = nitrates. Once you hit the nitrate phase and the ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria are clearing the tanks of the toxins in about 12-24 hours, then you're safe (more or less) to start adding fish.
Unfortunately this can take many, many weeks. We started the cycle on Feb 14th (don't worry, we romantically added ammonia and Biozyme to our fish tank :) ) and only today did we finally see traces of nitrites. We're still probably three weeks away from having fish in the tank, but it's one step closer. Besides, it's been kind of fun to do my little science experiments every afternoon to check and maintain the ammonia and bacteria levels.
Tonight I start cleaning and setting up the brackish water tank and we'll start the cycle all over again. I've decided to put both fish in the freshwater tank as soon as it's ready so that they can finally be free of the hospital tank (all three of us are tired of this situation and we still have a long way to go) and then I'll slowly acclimate Mr. Black to the brackish tank once it's ready.
Photos of the freshwater tank soon.
I know I'm being nerdy giddy...I've never done this before and I'm just so excited that it's working. :)