Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Missouri united states
First,8 ppm ammonia is twice what is suggested for inital dose and fishless cycling.
Second, nitrification don't work that fast with or without seed material to render ammonia at that level to zero and nitrite reading would be high for a few days at least.
I think you are wise to be suspect of test results or person performing the tests.
Of all the tests that our hobbyist grade test kit's allow us to perform,the nitrate test results are the most unreliable.
About as reliable in my view as the numerous bacteria in a bottle products that promise to cycle the tank immediately.
My two cents.