(Posted this to wrong section the first time)
I've had saltwater tanks for about 25 years (minus the past 7), and it seems like a lot has changed. Never heard of the fishless tank cycle before reading this forum. Cycling for me has always taking months, and my preparation of the tank before fish is a few days to a week. I know I'm fixin to get bashed here, but;
I always start with a live rock in a dark tank with no light for days.
Add damsels and monitor chemicals
partial water changes to balance toxins
after 4 to 6 months no more water changes ever, just top off due to evaporation.
I also use undergravel filter, that seems to have lost favor as well. I understand about the trapped material in the substrate. I use 1/2 sized undergravel filter seperated in the middle (currently a 10gal in a 36 gal
tank), and alternate sides with the powerhead.
Only time I can remember losing a fish, is when I added an aggressive fish to the tank. That's my old school method;
With that said, we hope to get a much larger tank next spring (46 gal
is smallest I've ever had), and I think I'm gona try the fishless cycle on it. I'll try any thing once, twice if i like it