I recently resurrected my old 29 gallon setup from my parents basement. It's been empty for almost a decade but was previously up and running without incident for a number of years. I've also had a few successful 10 gallon tanks going strong when I was much younger.
So I obviously had to buy a few new things to get my 29 gal
setup running again. My old whisper power filter was not up to the task so I got new fluval filter. Already had an air pump, a bubble bar, some gravel, decorations, heater, hood/lamp, etc. Got everything cleaned up and confirmed the tank was still water tight. Got it all set up and running about 4-5 weeks ago and my local store suggested I add a bottle of bacteria. Did that and added in 4 harlequin razboras, a black phantom tetra and two platys. Everything was going well and I tested the water regularly.
I know the cycling process was not yet finished, but after about two weeks I had not lost any fish yet and while my tests still showed some ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, I added in a few more fish. I now have 3 pearl dannios in there along with 2 red blacktail variatus.
Two weeks or so after that and still have not lost a single fish (which actually surprised me quite a bit....I figured I would have lost at least one by now!). I've been doing water changes about once a week. I remove about 3 gallons and add in a fresh 5 gallons or so treated with Prime. Just this last week I took a look at the filter elements and decided to rinse them out (in the bucket of water I had just removed from the tank). As soon as I did that I realized it could have been a mistake. Did I just remove whatever beneficial bacteria that had been accumulating in the filter? My most recent water test (earlier today) showed about 1-2 ppm
ammonia; .25 ppm
nitrite and about 5 ppm
I'm looking for any other advice anyone might have about keeping this tank going and finishing off the cycling process. I'm also wondering what other fish might be a good compliment to this tank? I had originally planned on an angel or two but I'm realizing that I'm getting close to max capacity with what I already have in there. So I'm thinking that instead of one or two angels I could go for a few more smaller fish. My local shop suggested a pair of ram cichlids (I think thats what he called them) and the standard guppies or barbs or something alone those lines as well as maybe a cat of some sort. Any other suggestions?
I'm also wondering if Prime is the correct thing to use with every water change. I know its a great de-chlorinator but since it also removes ammonia is that setting me up for an unstable tank down the road? Should I maybe switch to a different product that is solely a de-chlorinator?
Thanks in advance for any advice; and sorry for the long first post!