I am excited to join the community here and I hope you can all extend a hand of help for the complete novice that I am
I have just started my cycling nad I have my poor volunteer Damselfish gasping for air on day three, as the ammonia levels are now nice and high in the tank. First things first, I have a small 20 gallon setup, with special coral gravel lining the bottom. I have the bio filter with wheel, the power head, and the heater with thermometer. I have about a million questions to ask and I hope I don't come off as too lost, but here goes:
1) is there any way to "help" my poor little damsel ease it's pain as it goes through the change from toxic ammonia to toxic nitrite?
2) How long should I run the power head each day?
3) Should I turn up the oxygen content of the power head, or should I use it as purely a "water mover"?
4) I have some small shells I collected on a Caribbean beach. Is it a good/bad idea to drop these dozen or so shells into the tank as it cycles? Is it ever a good idea?
5) do those test strips you stick to the inside of the glass to measure the chemicals really work, or am I better off with the testing kit I bought?
6) I've heard horrible things about the damselfish and any new inhaibtants I might add in 6 weeks or so, once I cycle the tank. This limits my intention to add clownfish, which I am told is NOT compatible with the damsel. What fish CAN I add later?
7) live rock vs. plain rock vs. ornaments. This question will make you all laugh, but I have no idea what the advantages, disadvantages of each may be. I see live rock is SUPER expensive. When can I add it, if I do at all?
Gosh, I have about a dozen more questions, but I feel as the new kid on here, that I should spread my questions out a bit. Mostly, I wish I had used live rock to cycle my tank, as I feel horrible about torturing my poor damselfish as it looks like it's in high stress right now. Would adding the shells move the process faster? I slipped in another question...did you see that?
Anyway, long post. I hope you guys can help me. I have many,many more questions!