I settled on cycling my tank with fish food as it seemed straight forward as I would be buying some anyway. Except, I want to keep shrimp, so what I bought were these "shrimp pearls" that say they hold their shape in water for 24 hours.
But I'm beginning to wonder if that was a bad idea as I have been feeding the empty tank for 8 days and the ammonia test is still showing 0ppm! Is that to be expected with the rate at which the food would probably decay or should I buy something else?
As a side note the tank is also running sliiiiightly acidic - pH 6.6 - but my understanding was this would slow bacteria, not stop it completely. The spider wood is growing white fluffy stuff on and there's something brown growing on the edges of the filter so something is growing even if apparently whatever bacteria turn the food into ammonia are not.
I think 8 days isn't very long but I'm a bit concerned in case I just keep feeding it and create some kind of biological disaster.
I filled in the bit on my profile about my tank but it's like this:
- 50L tank
- Aquael Pat Mini internal sponge filter (up to 400l/h)
- temp 23-26C from one end to other
- bottom layer is Tetra Active Substrate (not very sure about this but it said it's good if you want to plant)
- top layer is fine black inert gravel
- decorations are dragon rock, spider wood, and a little piece of drift wood
- haven't actually planted anything yet
Thank you anyone who has time to point me the right way!!