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I was really hoping to do the ugly phase and 4 months of lights out in a tub rather than my new tank lol
I don't know how well that method works out; it's not really a common practice. You really just delay the ugly phase until when you tun the lights on, not prevent it. You can watch the follow-up on that method from the BRS dude Ryan about how he left his lights off and let his mullet grow for 4 months and when he turned the lights on, he had tons of dinos and too long of a mullet.I was really hoping to avoid the 4 months of “dark” so that by the time I get the new setup in the new apartment it is ready for lights on.
Super insightful. You are 100% right. I need to re-examine my approach. Thank you! I cannot thank you enough. I am looking forwto this next journey. It will likely be trying, but I should start smaller to make sure I ready for itThat is understandable. I don't wish to burst your bubble, but I honestly don't see the end result you are hoping for. Part of building a new tank IS the ugly phase. It CAN be limited to an extent, but avoided entirely? Unlikely.
We have not even begun to explore your plans for livestock here. The variables in a new tank are enormous. The advice we can give is limited to our own experience and reading.
Reefing is the "top end" of aquarium keeping. The simplicity of many other tanks, simply does not bear out when it comes to reefs. These are specialized and dynamic systems that require a level of patience and maintenance that are simply unnecessary with most other aquariums.
Spend your time between now and your proposed move, reading everything you can about your envisioned reef. Study fish compatibility, coral compatibility, Needed water parameters for the stock you intend, feeding habits, nutrient levels, and on and on...
Cycling the tank is but the first and smallest step.