Originally Posted by paintedpink24
Okay, I'll take back the fish and I'll get some of my mother-in-laws media to cycle the tank faster.
Is there any fish I CAN keep? I really like the corys and catfish and would like to keep one of them if possible.
First, I want to congratulate you for being more sensible than many people in your position. It's not fun to have to scrap a stocking plan in process and start again. That said, I do truly believe that this will be the best choice for you and the fish!
To answer your question, you could keep the corys, but they should be kept in groups of at least 5. That would put you pretty close to capacity. Maybe you could add a single Betta or something similar that would patrol mainly the top part of the tank with relatively low bio-load. You could possibly add some inverts (snails/shrimp) down the road as well.
You could also get away with keeping your Tetras and adding another 3 or 4 of those. Again, you'd be pretty close to capacity, so the Corys would be out of the question at that point. Maybe a more solitary bottom-dweller in that case.
Snagging some filter media from an established tank should help in a hurry. If you want to consider adding live plants, they will help stabilize the tank even more quickly. A single floating plant would be appreciated by your fish and the right choice might even contribute nicely to the decor.
Again, thank you for being so open-minded and willing to consider some tough advice! Please do keep us posted on your progress.