Skip buying Live Sand and just buy the stuff from the LFS
that is not alive. I am not sold on the idea of buying live sand. Some folks around here have found that they can find the same type of sand (aragonite) at Lowe's for MUCH cheaper, but I haven't been able to. Not your typical sand box sand, but a certain brand and type of sandbox sand that comes from the same quarries as the Carrib Sea stuff.
Ditto on the LR
/Base Rock. You can look for "reef bones" online and save a ton of money including the shipping over the LR
, or you can find a good LFS
that has the same type of thing. They usually have some Marine Safe dry base rock in stock. You don't want anything with silicates (i.e. Lava Rock) as that will lead to algae headaches. Just ask them and I am sure they can help you out. If the LFS
says you can use any rock, then either come back here and ask before you buy or go to another LFS
I started with about half Base and half LR
several months ago, now the Base rock is all sorts of colors from the coraline algae that seeded from the LR
Just go in with your eyes open, whatever money you budget for this hobby will go up by about 50% to 75% when you start buying and needing more stuff. Save money where you can so you can spend it on the other stuff that will come up.
Oh, and don't forget the test kits. I like AP's, the NO3
kit especially is the easiest one I have found to use.