I started my cycling on my tank at the beginning of this week using a piece of raw shrimp. The rock that I usd was dried although it had been used by another reefer. Between the organics on the rock and the shrimp that I added I have been getting readings on ammonia and nitrites. I started adding my saltwater to the tank on 4/7 and finished filling it on 4/8. On Monday 4/9 I added my piece of raw shrimp. I decided to go ahead and test my water to give me a base line on where I was starting. Ammonia was 1.0ppm Nitrite was 0.5ppm, did not test on nitrates. On 4/10 test results were Ammonia 2.0ppm Nitrite 1.0ppm, I also have what I believe to be a bacterial bloom that started white hazy cloudy water. From my experience in fw this is usually a bacterial bloom. On 4/11 test results were the same as the day before. Today 4/12 my test results are Ammonia 4.0ppm Nitrite 2.0ppm and I tested on Nitrates and got a reading of 20ppm. What I am wondering is if I should leave the piece of shrimp in for a little longer and let my ammonia and nitrites get a little bit higher before pulling it out, or go ahead and pull it out?
Also another question that I have is that my pH has been testing consistently at 7.8 since I started testing. I test at about the same time each day, late morning. I noticed from what I have read that most people have their pH above 8. At this time I do not know what my alkalinty is, do not have a test kit for that yet, and from what I remember alkalinty and pH relate to one another higher alkalinity helps to stabilize the pH while with low alkalinity the pH can change. I know that with my fw experience keeping water parameters consistent is more important than having the ideal range. With a pH of 7.8 as along as it is keeping consistent will I be okay with fish and in the future when I am ready to move on with corals will they be fine with a lower pH? Thanks for your suggestions and advice.