Ah how long has it been out of water? You could definitely float it, but if it's been out for a while (I don't know how long a "while" is either, though), then it will pretty much be useless. And no problem, but I may be off for the rest of the night, I need to study for a chemistry test!! Good luck with your boys :)
And don't worry if the cartridge won't help anymore. 30 gallon is a nice size, so cycling will probably be made easier on them.
You are and have been cycling the tank as we speak....do research the nitrogen cycle...but in short what that means is the bi-products of the fish- ammonia converts to nitrite and then the nitrite to nitrate, this process can take 4-8 weeks depending on pH and water temp, water changes are needed when you cycle with fish for the safety of the fish.
To make this easier on both you and the fish, make water test with a master test kit and test the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH each day, with any ammonia or nitrite reading you need to make water changes until the readings are 0ppm, once you have readings of ammonia, nitrite 0ppm and nitrate 5-10ppm for several days without water changes you are cycled.
*note: daily water change but only vacuum substrate one time a week to keep NB intact, swish filter media in removed water only when flow has slowed to keep NB intact. Use dechlorinator with all new water if on city water supply. Keep water temp within a couple of degrees from new and old water to prevent temp shock issues
Without the testing products make 25-50% daily water changes to keep the fish safe, long term injury from ammonia burns and scar tissue from the healing of ammonia burns can cause long term problems for the fish and it can be very stressful on them as well.
Thanks again. I completely understand. I'm supposed to be doing Philosophy homework right now. The filter has been out for a while. I'm going to float it though, just in case. How long should I leave it in?
25-50% everyday? I can do that. The filter cartridge is kinda dirty, I was thinking of rinsing it but I'm afraid this will defeat the purpose. Should I just leave the cartridge out and plan on daily water changes?