Okay so my wife and I have had a Betta in a big jar for about a year. We decided he deserved an upgrade so a few weeks ago we went out and purchased a 20 gallon starter kit. Gravel, fake plants, etc. Of course being total newbies we just filled the tank, added water conditioner, and put the Betta in. We then researched what kinds of fish can live with Bettas, so we got a couple albino bristle nose pleco, a couple octicinclus, four glass cats, and six ghost shrimp. Everything was good for a few days. Then one of the glass cats died, then an octocinclus died, then a shrimp. I started doing some research and come upon the nitrogen cycle—which we absolutely did not do. So I went out and bought an API master test kit today. We also added a live plant. Ammonia was crazy high somewhere between the 4 and 8 ppm colors. PH was also off the regular chart so i had to use the high range PH which came in at about 8.2 So i did about a 40% PWC, and used an ammonia neutralizer. Two more ghost shrimp died this evening. My tank set up: 20G high Quietflow 20 78º heater 1 Betta 3 Glass Cat 2 Albino Bristlenose Pleco 1 Octicinclus 2 Ghost Shrimp My questions are: 1) what is the best way to get my tank to cycle with fish already in it? 2) Will the pleco and octicinclus slow down/delay the cycle? I ask this because I know the nitrifying bacteria grow on surfaces (hence why you want to have a lot of surface area in your tank), and they seem to scrub every surface they come across 3) will using an ammonia neutralizer delay the nitrogen cycling? 4) will using tap conditioner delay the nitrogen cycling? P.S. Here is a pic of the tank.