Yesterday about 2:00 pm, things were bleak.
Tank was cloudy, and stunk, fish were nose up at the surface, there was a surface film, and circulation appeared greatly reduced. Plus I had lost six very valuable fish in the prior 4 days. And my API test had shown for almost a month, no NO2 or NO3 and just a "tad" occasionally, of NH3 (.25). Finally there were a bunch of nasty looking bubbles, in the surface scum, at the end of the tank opposite the spray bar.
I learned/finally understood that my tank probably had never really cycled, and based on information on this forum, that the stream from the spray bar needed to break the surface.
So, I repositioned my spray bar output to disturb greatly, but not to lose contact with the surface, straightened out a minor kink in my filter outflow line that I have no idea where it came from, and briefly detached the filter and dumped some vegetative junk out of the inlet (minor).
And, I installed the frame of my DYI hood, with two 48" 40 watt 6500K bulbs in place of 2 18 watt 9000K bulbs that were about 20". My thought was with watt/gallon at .72 maybe the plants were not crankin' enough to clean things up. Now I am at 1.6 Watt/Gallon.
Anyway, by 10:00 last night, I had good surface circulation and the film and bubbles were gone. More importantly, the fish were no longer nosing the surface, but were in mid water column and active. It also seemed the tank was less cloudy, but that may have been wishful thinking.
Got home at about 4:30 today.
1) Tank was near pristine (I would say 90%+ clear)
2) Fish all doing fine
3) No scum or bubbles, and circulation great
4) AND NOW FOR THE BIG ONE:
My 5:00 pm test showed NH3 at .5ppm, NO2 at 2.0 ppm and NO3 at 5.0 PPM. This is the first test I have ever done that had ANY NO2 or NO3...so I think I am finally cycling!
By the way, all my CPD's, Pork Chop Rasboras, and Cherry Barbs as well as all the cats made it through the awful period of time. Just the Rams and the Rainbowfish did not make it!
Do I need to do anything other than be patient.? My plan is test tomorrow at 5:00 again. I don't plan on water change until Saturday, but if NO2 stays up at 2.0 ppm, should I change some sooner?
I took another water test before posting just to make sure I was not dreaming and the readings are true.
Please let me know what I need to do next. Thanks for all. As always welcome you comments and opinions.