Okay, I'm not a complete beginner, but I'm still pretty new, and this situation has floored me.
I had a single peacock cichlid in a 40 gallon tank (and I know there should have been more, but every time I added any, including the ones I brought him home with originally, he killed them all, so he was alone).
I test for nitrites and nitrates at least weekly, and do a water change every Sunday afternoon.
By Tuesday I noticed a greenish-yellow film growing on the glass, I tested the water, and nitrates were high (can't remember the numbers, but very bright pink on the simple strip test). I did a water change that night to get them back down to normal levels again, and scraped the green/yellow film off the glass.
Yesterday the fish was fine when I left, and the woman that comes in to feed my cat around 3 said he looked fine to her (she's not a fish person, but she said he was swimming around and following her like normal). When I got home at 6:30 he was dead and covered in white fuzz, and the green film is back.
The only thing left in the tank is 2 snails (they appear to be fine), which I will move to a small tank that I'm going to turn into a snail and shrimp desktop tank, but I don't know what I need to do to clean this tank now.
I'm not trying to clean it and put a new fish in tomorrow, I just want to clean it well and not have to worry about new fish I put in. I just don't know if that requires a complete empty or what?
So, basically looking for guidance on what to do. I have no fish I'm trying to save, so there is no worries about that. Just.. what do I do now?