Yes I am in a new tank cycle because here is what happened.
On June 4, 2011 I bought a 20 gallon tank and just a week later on June 11, 2011 I put 6 Cardinal tetras in it. I thought it was safe to do so since I added Nutrifin Cycle before adding the fish.
3 Cardinal tetras died and then I added 10 more the next day ending up with 13 cardinal tetras. I also bought one Corydoras catfish at that time and later inherited 1 baby Platy
At that time I discovered Ich on the Cardinal Tetras and treated with Tetra Lifeguard for 10 days between June 12 - June 22, 2011 to be sure even though the box said treat for 5 days. I also raised the tank temperature to 86 degrees.
I reduced the tank temperature to 82 degrees, and upon testing my water 9 days later about July 1, 2011 noticed the ammonia was 1, nitrite 5 and nitrate 20. At this point my tank was already running about a month, but maybe the Tetra Lifeguard altered the biological cycle. About July 6, 2011 I added Fritzyme bacteria to try to establish biological bacteria and lower nitrite. Now it is July 10, 2011 and the nitrite has not changed.
Last night I discovered 4 ick spots on one of the Cardinal tetras. This morning I discovered several ick spots on several of the Cardinal Tetras. Incidentally I have been feeding them live brine shrimp and yesterday bloodworms at which time I added more Fritzyme.
I think I have been overfeeding the fish since they were so anxious to eat lots of live food.
Consequently I have discovered 2 ick outbreaks June 11 to 21 and now again July 9, 2011 just about 2 weeks later. Apparently Ick never got eliminated the first round or else I reintroduced it through some live food or adding a plant to the main tank. Nonetheless it has been a very frustrating experience.
I am sure there are preventative measures I could have taken like cycling the tank before adding the Cardinal tetras and adding salt before adding the fish etc.
I have read some good things about Rid-Ich and how other people were successful in eliminating Ich with it, but also a lot of disasters where it killed their fish. Furthermore I hate the idea of using formalin and contaminating my tank with Malachite green but I have read they are effective, but many fish like tetras and catfish are extremely sensitive to these chemicals.
My tank has about 20 live plants in it - mainly swords and I hate to damage them with salt, or hurt the Cardinal tetras and Corydoras catfish with salt.
They survived the temperature increase and Tetra Lifeguard treatment last time, but I am not sure it was effective.
I am leaning toward adding 13 teaspoons of salt to the already 4 teaspoons of salt I have previously added to the 20 gallon tank since I am sure 3 gallons are displaced by the gravel making it about 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon and raising the tank temperature to 86 degrees again.
I am not sure if I should add the Tetra Lifeguard again to the salt I am adding. The package says it is a non-antibiotic agent that treats the signs of disease. Active ingredient is 1-chloro-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-4-imidazolidinone.
Furthermore there is a warning on the package that says:
NOTE: Not suitable for scaleless fish, invertebrates, or newly set up tanks. It did not seem to bother my newly set up tank last time and the scaleless Corydoras catfish survived as well as the Cardinal tetras without one of them lost.
As of this time since I added an additional 5 teaspoons of salt to the previous 4 teaspoons giving 9 teaspoons of salt to the tank and almost a bottle of Fritzyme bacteria, the Cardinal tetras seem to be ok staying midtank.
I also have 2 external filters running in the tank cascading water on the top. A Marineland Penguin 150 and an Aqueon 10.
The tank really looks beautiful and I hate to loose these fish or the plants.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.