Read my post again. If nitrates have shown up it is cycling (unless you're using fertilizer which can show nitrates in my experience). And yeah, your LFS guy was wrong...get used to it. I had one tell me Texas Holey Rock was inert...and it's THE aquatic store downtown. You get wrong info, it happens. FSS isn't supposed to leech ammonia. I've got it in two tanks and they never leeched ammonia, I supplied it.