Hello from Key West!!


Reefing newb
:whoopee!:Hello everyone my name is Brad. I just got back into reefing after a 10 year break. Wow technology has changed! This time i want to start completely from scratch. With dry rock. Id like to have a 90-150 gal reef tank and a fairly large frag tank all on the same 40-60 gal refuge. Also after I'm up and running I would like to be able to sell RO/DI water, Pre-mixed saltwater, and Live Rock.

To start, all of this will be contained in 2 - 45 gal Rubbermaid Brute garbage cans (one for DO/DI freshwater storage/top offs, and the other for curing and cycling my dry rock) outside but covered and out of the sun. I've purified my water with a Bulk Reef Supply 4 Stage RO/DI system. Added the appropriate amount of Instant Ocean Sea Salt Mix (SG 1.023) to my saltwater can. There is 25lbs of BRS Reefsaver EcoRok inside the saltwater can curing since 2/22/13. One powerhead churning the water. One heater to keep the temp around 75 degrees on colder nights (I read that a lower temp is optimal for curing and cycling). I added one of those lil hanging ammonia level monitors to be able to frequently check the water during cycles without having to bust out the test kit so often, and have a baby thermo dangeling with is to assure that the heater is running properly.

My Questions:
#1: What is the best way to introduce the correct bacteria to the saltwater and cured dry rock to start this cycle? I have hurd of people adding raw shrimp and fish, or Janatorial Strength Ammonia to the tank to kick start the process. Obviously some form of carbon filtering must be necessary to keep the smell down during decomposition. Im trying to avoid adding already live rock and sand but if its the best way to go its what in going to do.

#2: Should I be running a protein skimmer during this time? Wasn't sure if this would remove stuff that the system will need to promote good algae growth.

After my rocks have cycled and stable Im moving all this over to an aquarium changing 100% of the water for fresh saltwater. At this point Im going to start the refuge.

Any tips or info will help guys!! Thanks for reading.....-Brad