Originally Posted by eatsomepopcorn
My suggestion is to cyle with one fish. The tank will stabalize over a period of about two weeks. You know the tank is ready when amonia and nitrites read zero on a test kit or take your water in.
So here's the problem with cycling with 1 fish (or any fish for that matter). Let's bypass the obvious fact that you'll be purposely putting the fish into a toxic polluted environment for the sole purpose of creating waste (ammonia) which could be done many other ways. Soo... anyway...
You cycle with 1 fish. 1 fish will create the exact amount of bacteria to support 1 fish. Then you add 1 or 2 more fish.. Not enough bacteria and your cycle starts all over again. Now you've got 3 fish in a potential toxic cesspool. As your number of established fish goes up the impact on adding 1 or 2 more decreases due to the amount of bacteria already established. So that makes it good to be fish 8, bad to be fishes 4-7, horrid for fishes 2-3 and quite possibly lethal for fishy #1. Not sure you've researched saltwater fish prices.. but lose a few and you'll be looking for the nearest bridge.
Now, cycle with pure ammonia (or another non-live ammonia source) and you build a huge colony of bacteria.. More than you need..Then add a couple of fish and the bacteria colony will die back to support multiple fish.. Now your in the range where adding 1 at a time, over time is less of an impact.
Also, cycling with fish you'll be constantly testing the water to determine it's toxicity to your fish. Then changing water and testing and changing water and testing. (BTW have you seen the price of salt mic?.. but I digress). Cycle with ammonia.. no water changes till the end. Periodic testing along the water.
O and yea, you won't start off in the hobby you have chosen (collecting and caring for saltwater fish) by torturing your first few...