I've just joined the forums and am relatively new to fish keeping. A while back me and my wife had a ten gallon tank and kept a few tetras and assorted tropicals in it but had to get rid of it. Now we have just been given a 55 gallon tank for free so we have decided to get back into the fish games.
Like the novices that we are we didn't do our research well and failed to cycle the tank properly at first. I'm sure this is handled all the time but I couldn't find specifically what I need answered. We tried to stock the tank too quickly and most of them were sadly fatalities. Right now what we have left in the tank is one pleco, one mystery snail, and one blue gourami.
What would be the best way to make sure the tank is safe for more fish? Should we introduce one or two more to help the cycle along? I'm not sure that the Gourami himself will do enough for the cycle by himself in a tank this large. If so will it take longer? I plan on buying a test for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates so I can check the cycle but right now all I have is the 5 in 1 Jungle test strips that don't apply numbers to everything but here is what the parameters are right now:
Nitrates: Little to none
Hardness: I interpreted it to be somewhere between 150 and 300 ppm
Alkalinity: High (~300 ppm)
Any help would be greatly appreciated and sorry if this is the same question that's been answered 100 times.
P.S. We also had some ick and treated for it. We did a 50% water change after the last treatment. That probably messed with the cycle and chemistry so I thought I'd throw that in. Our Gourami is recovering well though, he's a trooper