I am fairly new to this hobby but have used the forum for every stage of my set up.
I now have a beautiful planted tank, still in its early stages, still battling the algae, but my fish seem happy.
I used eco complete and then planted pretty heavily from the start.
I sprinkled a little fish food in each day to hopefully kick start my ammonia build up and tested ever other day for all parameters.
My parameters never showed any spike and I had experienced what is called a silent cycle.
Rather than do a bad job of explaining what this is, probably best to search for that on this forum or other sources, donít feel I'm being lazy, I just wouldnít want to give the wrong information.
I know what you mean about having to wait, but during the set up of my tank I was able to reposition scapes, play with filters, pumps, etc, all without putting any fish in danger.
On a final note, even though I have relatively little experience, I donít feel that is needed to air a view on using fish to cycle a tank.
Just because something can 'cope' with living in a hostile environment, it doesnt mean that it should be done.
With so much information about fishless cycling out there, those who condone using fish make me a little angry.
Surely one of the main delights of this hobby is to have living creatures thrive and grow in an environment created by us, the hobbyist.
Seeeing a shoal of minnows display to each other, whilst shrimp carry on with their substrate buffet, all ignoring the chain loaches chasing each other around the bogwood is a joy, a real joy.
Watching fish gasp for air, because of actions instigated by you, with the knowledge that this would happen, is not.