FWIW, I just started a 50g and here is what I did:
filled tank with distilled water, and about 4 gallons of well used old tank water
added caribsea aragonite dead sand (didnt rinse, probably should have at least a little) and a 1/2 bag of (rinsed) crushed coral
-cloudy as hell-
ran for two days with my main filter and a temporary HOB filter. - both filters were seeded with used filter pads and I also had a bag of ceramic rings that ran in my old tank's filter area for about a week. I also ran chemipure elite from the start.
-cloudy as hell-
added reef crystals salt to water - 1.025
-cleared cloudiness in two hours!-
added about a cup of live sand from my old well seasoned tank (grabbed it from top layer to bottom layer and fanned it out evenly across my new tank's bed)
added two small 3" rocks from my old tank that were dead but I let sit in my tank for a couple weeks in the sand bed. I figure some good bacteria attached to it.
added two decent sized pieces of LR a couple days later from the LFS
waited a week
added 5 more pieces of LR and just placed on sand bed. pulled most of the deadish looking stuff (halmedia) off of the LR before inserting and gave a little dunking bath.
added light, 4 hours a day to keep decent macro on LR from dying
killed crab hitchhiker, let sit on sand bed
added mushroom and zoa frag to see what happens. Was expecting algae bloom but it never came.
tested water, 0 levels, 2ppm nitrate (I figure my test kit is bad, who knows, the corals look great so I dont care)
added a single dose of Dr Tims one and only and two bags of PODS (pods still alive and seem to be doing well)
waited two weeks, all seems good. skimmer (tunze 9002) was being emptied at least once a day, tank is smelling a bit better, almost no smell.
Added a few more corals and detritus (crabs) clean up crew last night. I see the tiniest amount of brown algae on the front wall of the tank. Backed off lights just a bit till the rest of the clean up crew (snails) gets here friday.
Thats it! I dont think I ever had a real massive cycle, but I think I got some really good LR - lots of stuff still living so I think there was minimal die off.
Key takeaways - seed tank slowly with known good bacteria from a algae free tank. Add in stages, let the tank catch up, enjoy!
I may eat my words in a couple weeks or something but I dont think so. the tank looks very healthy, corals opening, crabs milling about, etc.
First two rocks and smaller pieces
Neat coral, never died.. in fact filled in most of the white areas already.
Edited by Sub, 31 May 2012 - 01:07 PM.