Years ago when I started to keep reef tanks the only bacteria on my radar were nitrifying bacteria. The goal after cycling a tank was to have a healthy population of this good guy bacteria. Nitrifying bacteria provide biological filtration and are responsible for breaking down organic waste in a reef tank.
It was a pretty simple process to cycle a tank when live rock was readily available since the rock was already colonized with bacteria. All you had to do was add the rock to the tank and perform a few water changes. Along the way you test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to determine when the cycle is complete. No bottled bacteria was necessary.
Fast forward to today. MORE