So I'm starting a 55 gal
reef tank. So far I have either bought or already have from my prior sw
tank: tank, stand, protein skimmer, 100 lbs of live sand (was originally going to convert my 92 sw
but found getting a new home for an 13" Oscar is not easy - hence the overabundance of sand), RODI
unit, heaters, test kit, bin full of powerheads, UV
sterilizer, and a refractometer.
1) I was going to get about 40-50 lbs of base rock and add about 10 lbs of live rock. It seems there is a lot of hype about marco rocks - but those go for $2.15 a lb. I found Carib Sea base rock for 89 cents a lb (supposedly fossilized coral). Are Marco Rocks that much better, or should I go with the cheaper option?
2) Is it necessary to cycle with RODI
water, or can I start with conditioned tap water or distilled water and use RODI
water once that tank is cycled?
3) I don't have a filter. I have a 12 or 15 gallon bow front aquarium sitting in the garage. Is there a economical way to create a sump filter from that? I did a cursory review of premade sumps (sans pump) and it seems the cheapest I could find is $200. Seems a canister filter rated for 100 plus gallons is far cheaper.
4) I lack lighting. I have a 34" compact florescent light left over from my 30 gal
reef tank a decade ago. I'm not looking to maintain anything more than maybe some mushroom coral. Any suggestions for a economical lighting option?
I will have stocking questions, but those are a long way off.
Thanks for any help.