I've been keeping fish for 6 years now, so i like to think i'm somewhere around "intermediate" when it comes to issues with tanks. This is my first post to one of these forums, so please bear with me, as i need to be as descriptive as possible here...
I was required to move, and also out-grew my 29G setup, and therefore bought a 55-gallon and set it up in my new apartment about a week before moving out of the old one. this 55 gallon tank was used. i thought, "perfect, no cycling needed". i thought i'd give the awful tap water (chloramine/ammonia mix instead of free chlorine in the new water) a chance to get settled into my new Filstar XP3 and since i had all the ornaments, gravel, and hang-on filter from this guy's tank, + 7 days before adding new fish, i figured i was in good shape. daily testing of water parameters yielded low ammonia (from the tap water, or so i thought), 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate. (using API freshwater liquid test kit).
I dropped the new fish into my tank the day i moved in, and everything was fine, until 1 week after move in. ammonia hit 1-2ppm and nitrite at .25. testing today (1 week later) ammonia is at 0ppm and nitrite is so purple i cant tell if its 2.0 or 5.0ppm, but either way its entirely too high. the fish are visibly stressed. so, in desperation, i un-hooked my XP-2 filter from my 29 Gallon tank (currently empty of water...for 2 days now, and added it to the xp3, hoping that the bacteria from my XP-2 hasn't been destroyed from spending 2 days drying out. I also added half of the gravel from my 29 gallon tank (this never fully dried) into the new 55 gallon setup.
I never expected the tank to re-cycle. i thought there was more than enough beneficial bacteria in the tank, but apparently I was wrong. To make matters worse, there is now a rapidly developing case of Ich, (which i know can happen when fish are stressed out, their immune systems dont function as well). Here are my questions:
1. The amount of water flow is a LOT right now using both filters on a single 55 gallon tank, but i feel incorporating an established filter (assuming the bacteria hasn't all died off) is worth the increased flow. thoughts?
2. I have a 12X (36 watt) TurboTwist sterilizer and i'm debating whether or not to hook it up. My immediate thought is, any lag that this could cause to the re-cycle of the tank could be outweighed by the effects on UV killing the Ich while it is in the tomont stage. thoughts?
3. i know the UV wont eradicate the ich by itself. However, since the tank is cycling, and the fish are already stressed enough, i'm very hesitant to add medication to the tank unless given direction to do so by an expert.
4. do i just perform daily 25% water changes despite the tank being mid-cycle? turn on the UV-filter? how long will it take before i know whether or not the added filter & gravel are helping the Cycle? considering nitrite levels generally continue to grow before converting to nitrate, i find this very difficult to tell if its helping. do i CONSIDER treating the tank for Ich right now with something like malachite green? my gut says no.
5. In hind-sight I know i've made a couple huge mistakes here (letting my old filter dry-out), but please go easy on me, its been a hectic few weeks.
6. despite having extremely hard water, i've seen the PH steadily drop from 7.4 (tap- 2 weeks ago) to 6.6 (today). since my buffer is extremely high, how concerned should i be by this? my last tank took 6 months for the PH to drop to 6.6.
7. i found out today that the guy who sold me the tank was "nice" enough to take all his ornaments out and clean them in diluted bleach. awesome.
Thanks to everyone for your advice in advance.