This site, and its contributors, have been a great source of information, and I'm grateful for all the painful trial and error that I've been spared because of your help. Please don't misinterpret the tone of my question as a criticism; it is a sincere attempt to separate fact from tribal lore. I've heard the reasoning for waiting 3 months to cycle a ceph tank, but this recommendation still sound more like tribal lore than science to me. For one thing, it doesn't take into account any of the factors that can affect cycle time, like the temp difference between a 60 degree bimac tank and a 73 (?) degree tropical tank, or the use of live rock vs a wet/dry filter for filtration. It just says "3 months". Is that a worst case scenario?
For all other animals the cycle is deemed to be finished based on actual observations of the levels of contaminants. Why do cephs get a magic number of days instead? Isn't it true that if I can dump in the amount of waste an octopus would produce, and watch the contaminant levels quickly go to 0 as the bacteria do their thing, then I have proof that my biological filter is ready for an octopus, regardless of how long ago I started the cycle.
Sure, an octopus produces a lot more waste than a reef tank, but not a lot more than say 150% of the octo's weight in fish, right? If I have a tank with say 12 ounces, total, of live fish living in it, and my filter maintains reef-like water parameters, then (assuming I remove the fish) isn't it true that my tank could easily handle an 8 ounce octopus? If my cycle gets to that point in six weeks, why wait six more weeks??? If I'm still not there at three months, why would it be OK to put an octopus in my tank?
Am I missing something here? Does anyone have any actual experience that can either support or refute validity of the above water-parameters-based approach?
Please don't get offended by my skepticism about the 3-month rule. I'm not challenging any people here, I'm challenging an idea. It would be a shame if this thread degenerated into hurt feelings and personal attacks. I'm just a wannabe octo keeper hoping to learn from the first-hand results of you experienced veterans.