It seems under 1ppm would be ideal. I also like the idea of cycling with a bucket. I don't think it will be necessary in this case though. I'll be adding a bunch more plants soon and just seeded the filter with some media from a well established filter. Should be cycled enough for shrimp in no time.
No need to cycle with heavy initial planting. However shrimp do need more established tanks than fish because of their dependence on biofilm and such
Yah, I didn't plant this one as heavily as usual right away. It's got a lot of growing in to do. And it will take some time, it mostly consists of crypts, ferns, anubias, and moss, all slow growers. A few stems. I will probably add some more stems soon though to help fill it in.
Some plants are more tolerant than others.
To grow a good bacteria colony, yet keep the ammonia lower do this:
Add enough ammonia to test 1.0 ppm.
Keep on testing and adding ammonia twice a day as needed to bring it back to 1 ppm.
This will grow almost as much bacteria as bringing it back to 3 ppm once a day, and is much easier on the plants.