Need some advice and/or instruction.
Hello all! I'm a complete noob to aquariums.
Recently a friend of my mom's gave my husband and I a stocked 29 gallon Coralife Biocube aquarium. She also gave us what seems to be an extremely basic run down of how to care for it. You know, 'rinse these filters then buy new when needed, change some of the water every month or so, use this toothbrush on the rock, this magnet on the glass, and this toilet cleaner thing on the back'. I have yet to really clean it because it is intimidating. When she gave it to us there was a whole lot of reddish brownish algae looking stuff all over the back of the tank and on the rocks so after having it set up in the house and letting it rest for about two weeks (to make sure we didn't shock the fish to death in transit) we went and purchased a couple of snails and 3 hermit crabs. They did WONDERS within about 6 days.
The tank already had a Clownfish, a Dottyback, and some kind of green flower looking things. The fish and the tank are about 5 years old.
Some advice I'm looking for is how to clean the back of the tank where the filter and all of that stuff is. Can I just wipe it with a cloth or a paper towel? I've watched some videos but none of the stuff in the back of those tanks seems to look quite like all the doohickeys in the back of this one.
Also, not one of the videos showed someone wiping the live rock with a toothbrush; is it okay to do that? I assume it would be because she did it for so long but I just want this tank to be fantastic.
As far as the water... She explained that I should just follow the instructions on the back of the salt bag and go from there. That's what I did when we got home with the tank and had to put water back in it. I did however ask her where she had the water tested or if she had a testing kit (read about that the morning before picking up the tank). She just shrugged and said she hasn't taken the water to have it tested since before she put the fish in (5+ years ago!). Is this something that is absolutely necessary?
I'm sorry for all the questions but a lot of this stuff I don't quite understand yet unless it is in layman's terms. Any general advice would be appreciated as well.