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How did you cycle the fresh water tanks if you didn't allow matter to decay in them before adding fish? Did you use pure ammonia instead? I cycled my salt the same as I did my fresh, by throwing a hunk of organic matter in there and letting it rot. Cycling the SW tank isn't that different from the FW tank, it's the same idea, so how did you cycle your FW tanks?
 

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Let me clarify.
The general concept is the same. The general concept is that you are growing a bacterial filter and in order to do so you will need a food source for said bacteria. I fully understand the difference in pace at which it occurs and that the bacteria is living in a different medium than in the FW tank. At no point was I suggesting that a SW tank should be set up in the exact same way as a FW tank.

I was referring to the idea that the bacteria must be fed with waste, during the fw cycle you still see, as with the sw cycle, the spike in ammonia, followed by the spike in nitrites, followed finally by the presence of nitrates and the reduction to ideally zero in ammonia and nitrite all before fish should be added to the system.

Adding fish without feeding the cycle is not a fishless cycle, letting a tank sit empty and run for several weeks doesn't complete the cycle unless the bacteria has a food source no matter if you are starting FW or SW. The cycle cannot begin until there is a food source for the bacteria either as decaying matter in the tank in the case of a fishless cycle, or in the form of fish poop in the case of a fish cycle. That is why I was asking what the OP used to cycle his FW tanks, as they said that they cycled their fresh water tanks before adding fish. I want to know what they fed the bacteria in order to do that? IE, how can the SW process be explained in terms the FW aquarist already understands.
 

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Many people who have FW tanks do not even know what a cycle is.
That's a really broad brush you're painting with, the nitrogen cycle is one of the very basics of FW fish keeping. Also the more you talk about fresh water setups the more inaccuracies I see in your statements, changing filter media weekly for one is a huge noob mistake in fresh water fish keeping. But this isn't a fresh water forum so I will not get in to detail about it out of respect for the OP and the forum in general, this isn't the place.

For now I will assume, since the OP was the one who brought it up, that they do understand what the nitrogen cycle is. If not, then there is a great thread on here that explains it in detail. What I did was ask a question in order to help form an analogy to explain things because for me, my understanding of how my fresh water systems really worked, has so far made the change to salt 100% painless (except for my wallet).
 
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