My tank seems to be looking at little better. At least no more dead fish over the weekend. I went to my LFS and took in some water as well as the dead fish. They were SHOCKED to say the least, my water was ok considering. They said for my area the PH is normal and everyone here has high PH as we have a very high PH content in our tap water so the fish should be adjusted to that pretty well. As for the nitrate it's come down a little and they said since I have an undergravel filtration system and had to remove the carbon filters to do meds it will bounce around a little as it's not getting as much help, but to keep doing water changes each week after medicating. They advised me to change meds at this point since the ich was getting better and only 1 fish still had signs on it and the tail and fin rot was getting worse. Now they gave me Melafix to use along with some medicated fish food to kill anything internal to see if that helps as I can use both of these together. The fish seem to be acting better as well. Not sure if it's the meds or just weeding out the sick fish?
Yes, we adjust new fish we purchase with a similar process we float them for about 20 min or so to let the water temp adjust, then change out half the water in the bag with tank water and let them sit again for another 20 min then change out half again for another 10-20min before adding them.
Over the weekend we purchased a small tank to use as a QT tank as I have been advised to do this with ANY new fish I purchase. Especially since my tank was doing great until my last purchase of fish...lol We only purchase 2-3 fish at a time, and things were good until the last set we purchased.
As far as the undergravel question you asked, we do a gravel cleaning every month normally, but were told to do it about every 2-3 days while medicating for ich to help remove it from the gravel.
Here is our current set-up:
55gallon with underwater gravel filtration with 2 tubes w/ carbon and 2 additional powerheads for water filtering flow
2- Blue Gourami
1- Gold Gourami
1- Dwarf Paradise Gourami
1- Dwarf Gourami
2- Cory Cats
2- Rosy Barbs
5- Tiger Barbs
6- Head & Tail Lights
1- Red Tail Shark
Temp Housing: 1- Tinfoil Barb
(Baby) and 1- Bala Shark
**We are currently in the process of cycling a larger tank for these two so they will not stay in this tank long.