Question about fishless cycling
So I finally have a tank set up for one of my bettas (I now have 5, but that`s another story, lol) and I originally decided to do a fishless cycle. I went to 5 different stores looking for pure ammonia, but only one of them had what might be useable...it said "clear" ammonia, and the label said it "contained" ammonia. It had no color, but when I shook it, there seemed to be some fizzing going on, so I didn`t buy it. I also called several places with no luck....
So today I went to a lfs and bought 2 live potted plants. Both are now in the tank, and I am going to start setting up my 5 gallon, so one of the plants will go in there.
My question is, would it be ok to just use a live plant in each tank to do a fishless cycle? Should I take some of the planting material out of the pots and put it directly into my filter? Maybe throw in some fish food to break down into ammonia? Will I go crazy waiting for the tanks to spike and finally cycle completely?
Also, if I`m not adding ammonia (other than the fish food) do I still need to do daily readings, or will 2 or 3 times a week do?
Sorry if these sound like dumb questions. I`m new to this.