Hi jnj, and welcome to the forum!
I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties. It's really hard getting started, esp. taking over another's tank, which was how I started. I'll give you a link for some really good articles, which included an article on how to cycle a tank when you already have fish:http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-154837.html
. Be sure and check these out, cause they will help you to know how to proceed, as well as to help you to understand what questions to ask.