I am VERY excited to have found this site. We're getting over 5 more inches of snow up here in the Northeast. I hope everyone else is a lot warmer and with less snow
I was asked to introduce myself and my interests in joining. I have owned an 55 gallon tank (see added photo) for around 15 years now. I started out with a community tank, but quickly fell in love with Oscars. I KNOW a 55 gallon is borderline for a fish that large, but I purchased one anyway and owned him for the next 14 years. He passed away this past January. It's amazing how you can get so attached to a fish
My entire family felt the loss.
I immediately decided that I'd like to go back to a community tank. I wanted the variety and enjoy "decorating" my tank. I'm no expert, but it's a fun side of the hobby for me. My Oscar wouldn't allow ANY decorations in the tank. Clearly he needed the room any way.
So, here's where my first few questions come in. I'm embarrassed to say that I rarely tested the water in my tank once it had cycled. I watched my fish very carefully. Only had one bout with disease which I immediately dealt with and cured. Other then that, the tank remained disease free. I KNOW that Oscars are fairly hearty fish and highly tolerant of "not so great" conditions, but I really tried to keep things under control. I did weekly 25% water changes and was religious about my two filters (a Magnum 350 canister filter, and a penguin 350 bio wheel filter). Once he passed I am ashamed to admit that when I did test my water, I was NOT thrilled with the readings. I HOPE it didn't contribute to his passing.
So right now I have a fishless cycling tank. I'd LOVE to introduce fish into it in a controlled and humane way to get this started, BUT it's been over 14 years since I did this. Here are the readings in my tank as of yesterday:
Ammonia - 4.0 ppm
pH - 6.6
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 60 ppm
Any advice on what to do next? Since I CLEARLY have ammonia (too much i know!!!) in my tank, can I just let it continue to cycle on it's own, OR can I introduce a small group of fish to help? I have already done my fish plan and wanted to have Tiger Barbs as one of them. Can they tolerate my tank and help the cycling?
I am wanting to do this right so I'm fully ready to be as patient as needed....
Looking forward to being a part of this forum and site. I HOPE to be able to contribute some day as I learn as well. THANKS!!!