The different holes on the rock are fine, they just add the surface area needed for benefical bateria to colonize. I do recommend adding at least a little LR
to the base rock so there is something to seed it. You would be surprised at the amount of visable growth on the rock when using some good quality LR
. Cycling noramally takes about 6 weeks. I suggest just throwing in a raw shrimp from the grocery store to kick off the cycle and feed it during the process. The air pockets are normal...you can sift your sand if you want to get ride of them, otherwise they should let loose on their own.