Hi everyone and apologies in advance for a rather lengthy first post. I have joined this forum to pick your collective brains because despite having owned a tank for some time now I am still a novice in the grand scheme of things and I have found myself in the rather undesirable situation of having to cycle a well stocked tank!
My last tank met a rather sudden end (don't ask!!!) taking with it my previous filter!! I had to stock my current 100L tank and run it un-cycled with an undergravel filter, which in itself wouldn't really have been a massive problem as I took the gravel and squeezed the filter sponges from my old tank to seed the gravel filter and initially all went ok. I thought I'd better get on the case and ordered myself a new external filter to make sure my fish weren't forced to live in poor conditions in their new smaller accommodation, in which they'll have to stay until I can afford a new ideally 500(ish) litre tank.
This unfortunately is where the errors have been made!! Initially I ran both the gravel and external filters at the same time, but after doing some reading which probably should have been done some time ago I realised that the undergravel filter was to a certain extent fighting against the external filter so I removed it and everything was going to plan that is until i wrongly thought my filter had cycled and switched on the built in uv
steriliser which wiped out all the bacteria including the bacteria that was still trying to colonise my filter, leaving me in my current situation of cycling a well stocked tank!
I've been testing every day and doing PWC
's every time ammo/nitrite levels approach or reach 0.5 ppm
and am now seeing nitrate readings and thankfully my fish seem happy and healthy despite the less than perfect water conditions and this leads me to my 2 main questions.
1: do any of the products like tetra safestart or nutrafin cycle actually work to speed up the cycling process and should I use one now or stick to what I'm doing?
2: how long after the toxin levels in my tank normalise should I wait until I switch on the uv
Thanks and again, apologies for the lengthy introductory post!