Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Use the ammonia to do a fishless cycle.
Set it all up, tank, substrate, decor and filter. You can plant, too.
Then do enough water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite under 5 ppm. This will grow nitirifying bacteria the fastest. Nitrifying bacteria need some minerals, so make sure the GH and kH are at least 3 degrees.
Whenever the numbers drop to 0 ppm and hold then you can do a really big water change, the nitrate may be sky high (I have heard of triple digits in a non-planted tank). Then add fish.
If the plants are thriving they might also be removing a lot of the ammonia, so there is not such a large population of nitrifying bacteria. You would know this by the lower NO3 near the end of the cycle. Still, when the ammonia and nitrite hit zero and stay there, it is cycled and ready for fish.