Hello! I’ve come across various FL posts when researching the best way to start a new aquarium. I decided to go ahead and create an account for some advice and answers that I will most certainly have in the future. This will not be the first time that I’ve owned freshwater (tropical?) fish, but it is the first time I’ve set up a tank and forbid myself from going to my local Petco/Petsmart to pick up some neon tetras and guppies after letting the tank run for a mere 24 hours (following the instructions from said pet stores). Yeah. I’ve about given myself a concussion with all the face palming I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks. Please realise that this was 10+ years ago, when I was pretty young and naive. I have since learned after owning many reptiles, arachnids, and amphibians that taking the advice of places like Petco and Petsmart is not advisable; it’s better to do plenty of research and ask the advice of people who have many years of experience with the creatures you wish to care for. That being said, I am definitely new to keeping aquariums the right way. The tank I’ve set up is 20H. I realise that bigger is better when it comes to tank size, but my landlord only allows fish tanks up to 20 gallons. I’d like to upgrade in the future, but for now I’ll have to settle. To make things a little easier, I’ve decided to go with artificial plants along with 20 lbs of decorative rock to cover the bottom. I purchased the 20 gallon kit from Petsmart and added a bubbler and air pump. I’m doing a fishless cycle. After letting the tank run for a few days, I added Ace Janitorial Strength Ammonia and brought it up to 4ppm on Friday, August 16th. I added a 3oz bottle of TetraSafeStart on August 17th. I’ve been keeping the ammonia at 4ppm up to today. Nitrites have yet to show, and my pH is 7.6 my temperature has stayed at a steady 82 degrees. Some questions or concerns: - To be honest, I’m a bit concerned of how high the pH level is. Though I’ve heard the bacteria I need wouldn’t mind the higher level, the fish I would like to add would not find it very comfortable. I’ve heard adding peat moss to a tank’s filter would help lower it some, but I am unsure how to use it in a way that keeps a preferable pH level stable long term. Could someone give me some advice? - I feel kind of bad for not providing my future tank inhabitants with actual live plants. Are there any hardy plants that would do well with the lights that come with the kit? Perhaps some that would be forgiving to a beginner aquarist? And finally, does everything sound okay? The cycle hasn’t started yet, is that normal with everything I’ve done so far? If not, is there something I’ve done incorrectly? Hopefully it’s just because it hasn’t been long enough. I’m certainly willing to be patient if it means doing things right. Thank you for taking the time to read my intro. I look forward to hearing from some fellow aquarium enthusiasts!