12-06-2007, 01:16 PM
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If you purchased ALL the rock at once, you'd only need to wait ONCE. This time varies however. While most tanks tends to cycle within 3 - 5 weeks, there are many organisms that survive for several weeks but are weakened greatly, and die off the following days or weeks afterward. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, as the ammonia they produce will be eliminated by the live rock, as the porosity harbors much beneficial bacteria. You will, however, most likely see a cycle regardless of how good your LR is. Unless the LR is transferred immediately from their tank to yours, organisms will die, especially if it's a 10 or 15 min drive. Even if the rock is kept moist, there will still be deaths - there is a lot of life within the rock that we don't see. Although I will say that there are some hardy hitchhikers, I have 4 brittle starfish (that I know of), and my LR was kept in my van, without water, in a Styrofoam box for about a half hour since I had to buy groceries. LoL.
Cycling it separately in a bucket/container is possible, but extremely inconvenient and imo, counterproductive. Stocking the rock all at once is probably the easiest and best way. All the rock establishes itself at once, no buffer time in between.
Good luck, and keep us updated.