So I wanted to tell my POV and wasn't sure where to post it. So here goes ;
My way of cycling a tank takes about 8 weeks total, but the tank has at least a few fish in it.
I'm one that hates an empty tank. So if I don't have access to other tanks I do start a tank with 1 or 2 fish. PWC
weekly or as needed. My fish live. I never get huge spikes of Ammonia. I know that is Heresy to many of the fish gods on here. It's just what works for me and for my happy customers. I use Prime and add a bit extra the first month.
I do not advocate major chemicals. I do support testing your water !!
Yes, I worked at a major chain store. But I fought the good fight and tried to balance between people who would NOT stare at an empty tank and wanting to buy the entire stocking list that day !!
So I had them start slow. 2-3 fish max. Only adding more fish after water tested ok. Yes, tanks showed low 0.5 Ammonia, but I kept the fish alive and they were able to add fish gradually.
I had customers show up in tears after killing their 2nd or 3rd tankful of fish
my method, while NOT the ideal, worked for them. I turned them from wanting to sell the tank, into happy fish keepers. One customer showed up with pics of his 30 baby Cherry Barbs. The exact same Barbs I sold him to start his tank with. Another had Angel fry that did grow up.
My "starter" fish in my last tanks were 3 Harlequin Rasboras. My trio of Cherry Barbs all lived. My Rasboras and Barb starter fish are still going after years. They are about 5 years old now. (I know these fish do better in large shoals)
My current 10g, I used seeded filter from existing tank. Aged water from other tank. And live plants. My tank cycled in a week or so.
I added Otos after the first week. I added my RCS once the Ammonia was back at zero. That took about another week. Anytime you add livestock, esp. to a small tank you can get mini cycles. Weekly PWC
usually takes care of that.
Did not lose a single Shrimp. Lots of babies now. Tank is about 5 months old ?
My starter Rasboras