Originally Posted by RandallW20
I'm assuming it has to run a cycle just like freshwater.
This is what makes saltwater such a difficult transition. Even the most simple assumption is incorrect. Yes, you have to have bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite, but the cycle process is the least important concern when it comes to the maturing process of your aquarium. Also, the cycle does not determine when you should consider the aquarium to be stable and ready for fish.
Additionally, you have additional bacteria present that consume Nitrate, provided you set the aquarium up correctly.
The best advice I can give you is to read some of the "build" threads on this website. Here are some good ones to check out: http://www.fishforum.com/saltwater-f...t-build-21969/ http://www.fishforum.com/saltwater-f...und-2-a-20611/ http://www.fishforum.com/saltwater-f...f-build-20018/ http://www.fishforum.com/saltwater-f...t-2-75g-21314/
I would also spend a lot of time on this website reading the monthly magazines. Pay careful attention to the "Tank of the Month" columns: April 2009 - Volume 8, Issue 3 - Reefkeeping Magazine
You will want to own a book called "The Reef Aquarium" by Jullian Sprung and Charles Delbeck. In fact, you should buy the entire 3 part volume.
You should also consider subscribing to Aquarium Fish Magazine, Aquarium Fish International, and Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine.
Finally, I will leave you with this. The basics of a marine system are Live Rock, Live sand, protein skimmer, water flow, and lighting. There is nothing from your freshwater background that will help you with these topics. You are starting from scratch. Additionally, you will be testing regularly for pH, alkalinity, and calcium, and Nitrate, at MINIMUM. The alkalinity and calcium relationship is probably the single most important topic of education that you will want to understand clearly for long term marine success.