I have a new fish tank with:
New Tank (no fish yet):
. acrylic saltwater tank with:
Magnum 350 - canister filter and BIO-wheel
Skilter 250 protein skimmer
200W Visi-therm heater
Light and cover
40 lbs. medium gravel
I purchased the tank, stand, light, and cover used, and then went to a good fish store that was strongly recommended to get everything else. The guys at the fish store had lots of good ideas for me to help start up my new tank, but they also said to check with others for a wide range of ideas. They also sold me a tap water filter (from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) to clean the water before putting it in the tank. I will start reading a few books on new saltwater tanks. I would appreciate any advice on starting up my new tank. Here is the startup process that I am planning on using:
1. Clean a new 5 gallon plastic bucket with tap water. Should I rinse it again with filtered water (from the tap water filter)?
2. Put the new gravel in the bucket with tap water (should I use filtered water here too?), and stir it around for 15 minutes. Then dump out the water and repeat several times, until the water is clear.
3. Arrange the "clean" gravel in the bottom of the tank.
4. Clean the 5 gallon bucket with tap water, and then rinse with filtered water.
5. Fill the bucket with 5 gallons of filtered water (the filter produces 5 gallons of water in 30 minutes). Then add the 1/2 cup of the salt, and stir for 15 minutes. Can I use warm water (the tap filter says it can filter water up to 90 degrees)?
6. Add the 5 gallons of salt water to the tank, and repeat step 5 eleven times to fill tank with 55 gallons of water.
7. Install the heater on one side of tank, and place the thermometer on the other side.
8. Install the filter and BIO-wheel system. Should the outflow of the filter push the water past the heater?
9. Install the protein skimmer.
10. Adjust the tank temperature to 78 degrees.
11. Check salt levels with hydrometer and adjust to 1.020, and check other chemical levels like PH) with testing kit.
12. If everything is OK after 48 hours, then add a few "cycle" fish (is that the correct term?) to get the eco-system and tank stabilized before adding "nice" fish. Let the fish float in the bag for 15 minutes, then add a cup of tank water to the bag, then add another cup after 30 minutes, and finally release the fish into the tank after 45 minutes.
13. If everything is OK after 3-4 weeks, then add a few more fish.
I have a few questions before I get started:
1. Is my equipment, supplies, and accessories appropriate for a beginner?
2. Do you think my "startup process" looks OK?
3. Any other advice would that would be helpful.