I have added 80 lbs of Live sand and 75 lbs of curated live rock to my 75 gallon aquarium. At this point is there anything I need to do to start the cycle or will it start on its own? Also, how long does a cycle usually last? I bought the live rock from a lfs that was already curated.
I plan on running the tank without a filter. Do you recommend while it is cycling to run a filter? Also, should the protein skimmer be on or off during the cycling process?
Filter floss or sock from an established tank will/should introduce all bacterias necessary to complete the nitrogen cycle, and is more effective than putting any type of quick start from a bottle that enters the water column. All these bacteria will grow on their own if you feed the Tank as that food breaks down, this just speeds up the process by putting the bacteria in straight away.
Protein skimmer... takes nutrients out of the tank. Taking them out while initially cycling the tank will lessen the spikes and slow the process. If you want to run the skimmer at a way low level so no skimate makes it up to and gets collected in the cup, that's fine.
Leaving the display tank lights off during cycle will help you avoid any nuisance algae from growing while nutrient spikes get hi