Howdy, just joined to hopefully tap into the knowledge base from time to time. I have been lucky so far. It did take me like 7 weeks to cycle my tanks. 30 long was free but the accessories were not. Have a few Red Ch Shrimps, 8 neons and 6 black neons, 6 Glo Danios and 4 Glo tetras and Cories.
I'm using a UGF with a power head and a Whisper 20 originally but I'm using that to break in a 20H I also got for free. It's dirted and swimmers went in there after day two. I guess I am lucky. I have some diatoms after 2+ months in the 30 long but it's early(knock on wood). Using a Power head with sponge on the 20 along with the Whisper and it seems I dodged that bullet. I have the Prime, the API Master Kit and a TDS meter for my shrimps. This hobby isn't cheap! Damn those free tanks : )