No, you can leave the uncleaned rock in the tank - it will take a bit longer to fully cure (depending on the amount of dead sponges, algae, etc. on the rock...) but in the end everything dead will decompose just the same. As they decompose the dead organisms will be consumed by microscopic organisms and bacteria, and will disappear naturally, so no need to clean the rocks later.Should I take the rock back out and clean off or let it go and if I do let it go will I have to clean it at some point later before stocking?
Yes and no :y220d:Does lighting and temp have any importance while cycling?
YES! The better the water flow (and surface agitation), the more O2 will be available in the water. With higher flow the availability of O2, food, and waste removal to/from the organisms/bacteria in the rock and/or deep sand bed will also be better, thus allowing for a higher concentration of bacteria/organisms per area of substrate.Should I add the powerhead now while cycling to get better circ?
If you are planning to use live rock and/or a deep live sand bed as your "filtration media" you should not run any filter media in the Aquaclear - just use it to increase the water circulation.Will there be an issue when I swap the filter for the skimmer when the cycling is done?
How long is a piece of string...And how long should I expect for the cycling to complete?
I have never used this method because I don't like doing things "unnaturally" - e.g. you are now adding extra chloride, which is not needed. More importantly, with DIY rock your only source of bacteria is the LS. Are you sure that the sand was really "live sand" when you bought it? Did/does it have lots of little critters in it? If not, you probably wasted your money...I have been using ammonium chloride to cycle my tank, my tank has some LS in the sand bed and DIY rock.
It has been one month, the ammonia level is at ~2.5ppm, nitrites are at ~1.5ppm and have come down from 2.5-3ppm in the last week, nitrates have come up but not by much based on the tests I have it looks like almost 1ppm.
I am concerned because the ammonia level has not come down very much - am I being impatient or should I do something (a water change?) Will the ammonia eventually be reduced to 0 by bacteria?
This would have slowed the rate of bacterial growth, but not by much, so this is most likely not the problem.note that the first month I had no heater and the water was around 70 degrees. Now I have a heater, any advice on what to set the heater?
That's fine, and to be expected in a new tank.pH tests say 8.1 and my strip tests read slightly below 8.