@fijiwigi - The hard coral on the right of picture 3 and the Xenia in picture 4 is what I added. Everything else is hitch hiker. The LFS
said that those are both hardy and will be a good test to see if the tank is truly cycled, and if it can support coral life. Only paid $5 a piece for the small frags.
1) I am using RO
water. I do mix my saltwater before hand, and though I do not use a refractometer, I took my glass hydrometer into the LFS
, they calibrated it and I have a mark where it should be. The glass hydrometers are very consistent, so know that it is calibrated, it should do fine. I understand that a refractometer is still the best, but this is my first tank, so I don't want to dump too much into it just yet.
2) On the third day of the tank, I got a huge ammonia spike. In fact, the LFS
thought I would start killing off the bacteria on the LR
. They suggested I get fully cured, aged LR
to help. You can tell from the pictures which of these are that. They helped quite a bit. Then my nitrites spiked a couple days after that. All should be well. I am now at 0 on both. Also, I was using Stability, which is live bacteria out of a bottle. That helped a lot as well.
3) My substrate is found here: Marine Reef Aquarium Substrates: Arag-Alive
It has stuff that is supposed to help with New Tank Syndrome too.
4) From the pictures, you can see that I have a protein skimmer. It is the Oceanic BioCube skimmer. Rated for up to a 29g. Again, not the best, but it does what it was designed to do.
5) For the moment, I am pretty much stocked, except I want one more fish. Thought about a goby, but don't want to run into issues with the Emerald crab eating it. Again, I have 3 Mexican turbo snails, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 emerald crab, and 2 percula clowns. I did jump the gun by adding everyone so fast, but so far ammonia and nitrites are 0. We shall see. (One of the reason why I tried to go as hardy as possible).
@clearerphish - Xenia is the forth picture, unless there are two different species of xenia.