Hi. I'm pretty new at this and was wondering what advice someone might have on setting up a new aquarium.

I recently obtained a 29g tank and a heater and would like to set up a freshwater community tropical tank. I'd like to plant the tank, but I don't know what I should do for cycling it.

The end goal would be to have some small schools of smaller fish (guppies/tetras/platties) and a nice planted environment with some driftwood.

Where I am at right now is that I have the tank, filter, heater, hood & light fixture, and a stand. I chose not to buy substrate or plants or decoration until I found out a bit more.

Should I but the plant substrate and plants (plus a plant light) and just put them all in there to cycle the tank? Should I wait until I have my driftwood soaked and ready to put in before cycling? Also, I read somewhere that adding a raw shrimp (from the grocery store) is a good way to have constant levels of ammonia released into the tank. Is this a good fish-less cycling method?

Your advice is greatly appreciated!