Thanks for that I don't feel confident enough at this stage to have a heavily planted tank instead of fishless cycling with ammonia, although I like the idea of doing that one day. So my plan is to have some live plants to make it a nicer environment and hopefully reduce my nitrates a bit as my tap water is quite high, but I'm also having silk plants. Eventually I'll go fully live but I just want to learn slowly. I'm fishless cycling with ammonia at 4ppm but I don't have any live plants in there yet, I'm planning to get those when I'm cycled and then keep bringing it to 1pmm until I have my fish.Do be careful with the plant idea of making the cycle un-important. The quantity of plants is a VERY subjective thing as I thought I had a heavily planted tank. I added 12 1" fish and had a nitrite spike indicating that the tank still cycled. I worked out why but haven't posted anything on it yet. Suffice it to say that plants keeping the ammonia levels low, near unmeasurable, does not negate the fact that nitrosomona bacteria will still develop to produce nitrite which is not as readily absorbed by the plants due to the constant, although low, levels of ammonia. The low levels of ammonia (compared to the pure ammonia cycle method) do allow the nitrospira (the current version) bacteria to grow quicker and earlier which keeps the second stage more manageable but it still needs to be monitored for sensitive fish.
At least the plants can mitigate a "crash", which also seems to be a misunderstood process.
Minimum plant load for the truest silent cycle would be at least 1 fast growing stem or medium sized surface plant for every gallon of water. I had 30-40 plants in a 37 gallon tank and it wasn't quite enough to eliminate the cycle.... so instead of a silent cycle, I had a "quiet" cycle. I didn't have ALL fast growers though, that was my problem.
If you are going to fishless cycle with a low plant load then you are probably better off but if you are adding pure ammonia, don't get it too high or it will kill the plants and extend the cycle time. 1ppm or less constantly will serve you better than the listed 4ppm and it will also reduce the time for the cycle to complete. Others may disagree (probably everyone:roll but I bet none have actually worked out the math of the cycle.