Originally Posted by saltydoggunny
I just set it up today and I understand that it has to cycle for about 6 to 8 weeks. I'm planning on this being a reef tank.
There is a misunderstanding in this statement. Given that you plan to do a reef, I hope you already have live rock. If you do, then the live rock itself will determine how long the "cycle" takes. If the live rock is cured, then the aquarium will complete an ammonia and nitrite cycle in a few short days or possibly a week. If the rock is uncured, then you should wait for it to cure at the LFS or cure it at home in a separate container prior to adding it to the aquarium. In this case, after adding the cured live rock to your aquarium, it will still only take a week or so for the tank to cycle.
Your statement above suggests that a bacteria colony needs to develop somewhere to reduce ammonia and nitrite to zero. This is a freshwater principle that is often applied incorrectly to a marine system. Again, the live rock will house all the necessary bacteria to prevent ammonia and nitrite readings.
On this subject, a picture of your setup would prove very helpful. Moving on...
The equipment and overall setup sound acceptable. Do realize, your skimmer is a low budget model that will be pushing its limits on a reef aquarium of 38 gallons. The square neck and top/down input of the water flow make this model rather outdated. I have one myself and have found it to be one of the least effective skimmers I have ever owned. I actually moved it to my quarantine tank because it was useless anywhere else. Given this, I would suggest that you only keep soft corals, and avoid the more demanding species. Truthfully, you could have done a lot better on the skimmer choice for a similar price. This part is disappointing.