I'm not giving up just yet; I can't really as all through this nightmare I've had the fish below in quarantine waiting to be introduced into the main tank.
I have taken all the rocks and pebbles out of the tank* (as it makes the tank hard to clean properly with the gravel cleaner) and given the tank about a 50% water change, thoroughly vacuumed the gravel and set the filter up as dragonlord suggested.
I'm going to run the tank as if it was being cycled again. Is there anything else I should consider doing?
*I suspect a couple of the rocks may be rainbow jasper, which apparently is best avoided
Where did you get the rocks from never heard of rainbow jasper so will check that out but it is always best to buy from a reputable fish place as the rocks should be safe for fish use so this may have been the problem
I got them from Maidenhead aquatics, so I just assumed they would be ok.
It will make the tank easier to clean without them anyway so i'm going to leave them out for the time being. Not sure if the fishless cycling is going to do much since the reading for ammonia and nitrite were 0 when the fish died.
The rocks should have been ok then if you bought them from Maidenhead aquatics as for cycling the fish tank again, if the readings are ok then you should be able to put your other fish in although would add if you can a black filter pad to remove any medication that may be left in it, just add some fish food to keep the filter fed and compare the readings from both tanks
Ok, I'll put the carbon (black) pad in tonight and let it run without the fish until monday, doing a partial water change tomorrow night.
I'm away all weekend so wont be able to monitor the fish if i put him in the main tank straight away, so i'd rather wait until the monday - plus i'd like to get some esha 2000 just incase!
Eventually i may put the rocks back in but one-by-one just to make sure if anything is wrong with them i know which one it is.
To be honest I haven't been too impressed with the Maidenhead aquatics near to me - I found their attitude of "there's nothing we can do" towards a fancy goldfish that obviously had a swimbladder problem (floating upside down, torn fins, missing scales etc.) and was being attacked by the other fish didn't impress me at all.