Background: 30L glass tank; filtered (Hagen Elite Hush 10); heated; gravel substrate; planted (hygrophila, bacopa and crypt); driftwood; cave; using API Master Test Kit; resident 1 male VT, 3 weeks into cycle.
A couple of days back I came home to find my tank had completely clouded over, to the point where I could barely see Kiedis. I immediately tested the water and the ammonia was through the roof. There was also a thick white film on the surface and throughout the tank, it stuck to the sides and all the plants, and had an almost jelly like, stringy texture. Kiedis was showing no signs of stress and carrying on like normal.
As recommended by users here, I did an 80% water change and treated the water with what I had on hand at the time (Nutrafin Plus, Nutrafin Cycle and API Ammolock). This barely improved the situtation.
Yesterday morning I purchased some Seachem Prime, came home and pulled everything but the gravel from the tank and started cleaning the gravel like never before. It took me three buckets of water to clean the gravel with a vacuum! Each time I had to refill and empty the tank, so essentially I did a 100% water change. The gravel was full of plant matter and fish waste even though I vacuum once a week.
I'm not sure what this will do for my cycle, I may have killed it, but with the ammonia levels so high I had little choice. Ammonia is still showing in the tank at 0.25ppm, so I'm using a slightly higher dose of Prime than recommended. The tank is also still a little cloudy after putting the plants and decor back in (I had these and all the filter media sitting in a bucket of old tank water, so only the gravel got a really thorough clean).
Have I handled this situation right? I didn't know what else to do at the time. Kiedis is fine, a little unhappy that I had to replace his sponge filter baffle with a plastic bottle one (the sponge was holding a LOT of the white gunk) but I'm hoping he will get used to it. If he starts tail biting then I will look into getting a new filter with less current.
Sorry for the novel, but I don't want to leave anything out. From here I plan on keeping up with partial water changes / gravel vacuuming every 2 days, as well as dosing with Prime (using a higher dose when needed). Not sure what else I can do...
What do you think I should do from here?