I tested the water last night, and found massive amounts of NitrAtes. So it looks like I am now in the final stages of cycling. My plan is to transfer the HOB filter sometime next week, and add starter cultures of daphnia and dero worms sometime shortly thereafter.

I feel like I may have inadvertently invented a new fishless cycling technique: cycling with snails! The cycle was getting exactly nowhere, for the longest time, but within two weeks of adding the MTS, bam! filters are cycling at breakneck pace. Now that I think about it, I cycled my (former) 60g tank with plants in, which coincidentally also brought in some snails and it was totally cycled in aout two weeks, tops. So maybe I'm not crazy. My hypothesis is that the snails, as scavengers with hard little shells, become good carriers of beneficial bacteria, so adding them is not unlike obtaining a filter squeeze to help things along.

Anyhow, I am on Cloud Nine, and cannot wait to start the "real" work of creating a live food culture with this tank.