I think the best way to cycle a tank is by throwing a cocktail shrimp in as the ammonia source. This will start the process off and you can track it with a test kit. You will want to test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Cycling the tank makes the rock 'live' as the bacteria base is built up on them.
You want to make sure you are using ro
water in the tank. If you make it yourself or buy it, that is up to him. I like to make it myself.