Setting up

I picked up my 29 gallon tank this weekend.  Along with that, I found a working power filter, air pump, air tubing, heater, gravel, and thermometer.  So I’m almost ready to start my fishless cycling.

This week, I’ll be cleaning everything up.  Scraping the old algae off the tank, rinsing the gravel, washing the driftwood and decorations, and then I’ll be ready to start fishless cycling.  I’d love to get some plants in the tank before I start the cycling process too.
Fishless Cycling –
The short of it is, I need to get some beneficial bacteria in my tank (on the surfaces, gravel, and filter media) that will eat the ammonia (waste) and turn it into nitrites.  Then I need to also get some bacteria that will eat the nitrites and turn it into less harmful nitrates.  So all I have to do is dump ammonia in my tank, crank up the heat a little (80-85 degrees), get the filter and air pump going and leave it alone for a week or so.  Then I’ll add more ammonia (to keep feeding the bacteria), maybe wait another week and then for the final test, after 24 hours of adding more ammonia, the tests for ammonia and nitrites should come out to zero or close to.  Then it’ll be done and I’ll be able to throw in some fish.  I’m thinking I’ll let it run for about a month or two just to be safe.  That’s why I want plants in there.  At least it’ll have something going on in there.  Maybe observable growth.  Something to tide me over until I get fish.
My ideal world (if I could be as greedy as I wanna regardless of tank size)*:
Apistogrammas (they’re beautiful)
Dwarf Rams (German Blues)
Cory cats
Angelfish (a pair maybe)
Shrimp
Realistically:
Dwarf Rams (2 to 4)
Cory cats (6)
Shrimp
*All captive/farm raised because they’re easier to adjust to and will survive better in an aquarium.

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