I am now on Day 12 of (fishless) cycling. I'm using a 'Live Nitrifier' that my LFS sells, mostly as an experiement to see if it helps speed things along.
Ammonia - 2-3ppm
Nitrite - 2ppm
Nitrate - 5ppm
The Ammonia and Nitrite have been stable, the Nitrates have been about 40ppm until yesterday when they dropped to 5ppm. So things are happening.
Day 8 baby pest snails turned up, all the plants I have were from other peoples tanks, I'm not surprised in the least.
The plants have been doing okay. There was a lot of melting, but that seems to be ending. I moved the lily to the back left corner and you can't really see it as the big tall leaves melted off, but there are some smaller leaves still vibrant so I think it will make it. The crypts are also looking better. I was at an auction on the weekend and picked up a great little bunch of anubias petite (I centred it in the rocks on the right side, it looks like a wee little bush) some java fern windelov that I just need to attach to something before I add it, and a nice sprig of anubias nana (not added yet).
I still have the two lights making do for now. I think I'll be ordering a Nicrew this weekend. I've also got an estimate from a glass shop on a custom lid that's very inexpensive that I'll order on Thursday (need to go into the shop).
And I added the wee mini sponge filter that I had soaked in the Live Nitrifier to help seed the cycle. That will come out when things are running smoothly. The plants are too dense in the back for me to hide it, but as it's temporary I figure that's ok.
Starting to think about fish/fauna. With the baby pest snails (which at the very least I hope are helping with the cycle), I am considering getting an assassin snail. But I was wanting a few MTS to help aerate the sand, and I really like mystery snails, nerite snails and ramhorns, so not sure I was an assassin. Maybe I'll just borrow one first to take care of the pests, then rehome it when I want to get different snails. I'm also sourcing out a betta, some pygmy cories, and some amano shrimp for when the cycle is complete.
Enjoying the process!