Originally Posted by Paigeypie
Thanks for the welcome David!
I definitely need new lighting, the lights are incandescent, so I'm going to get a good fluorescent light strip to replace the one it came with when the time comes to get plants. Thanks so much for the help!
Save your money. There is nothing at all wrong with incandescent fixtures, now that we have the compact fluorescent bulbs. And over a 20g a fluorescent (tube) fixture will be a waste of money. I have a two-bulb incandescent fixture over my 20g with two 10w "daylight" GE bulbs and the plants thrive. Get a CF bulb with a kelvin rating of 6500K or close, usually they call them natural daylight or similar. GE, Phillips and Sylvania make them, and you buy them at hardware stores. They only cost a couple dollars for a package of 2. Ideal plant light; a photo of my 20g is attached--this is just a "plant" depository, so not aquascaped or anything.
On the cycling, add some live plants first, then a few fish. With live plants and very few fish, there will be no discernible cycle and no resulting stress on the fish. You need a good number of plants. As you are going to have plants, get them first.
Be careful buying plants in fish stores, esp chain stores. Many sell terrestrial plants and they will not last. We can help you with plants, and there are many of the common ones in our profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. Lots of fish and plant profiles so you can find out all about them and avoid acquiring plants and fish that will not work in your setup.
And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.