Before I start, let me apologize in advance that I'm saltwater ignorant, longwinded and sometimes hard headed....lol.
Ok....I've got a really good deal from a local LFS
on a 55gal. This setup comes with the tank, hood, stand, a Penguin 400 filter, cheapo 200w heater, InstantOcean salt and hydrometer, and 40lbs. live sand (my choice of type). Cost is $369.
Ok....here's my questions. I've had freshwater tanks before but this is my first saltwater.
1. From reading the other posts I've decided to go for a 4" DSB
. Can I get the Southdown playsand on the bottom and put the LS
on the top to make 4" or should I add more LS
? Like more of a 50/50 mix.
2. With the DSB
how much LR
should I get? How much to start (min) and how much total?
3. I can get an unlimited supply of a non LR
from another LFS
for really cheap. It is reaaaaly porous and light-weight with a sandy texture (I can't remember the name but it's specifically for saltwater.) Tufa maybe? Anyway, my question is can I use that as base rock and use LR
to seed it. And what ratio would be good? eg.60%non-LR
Sidenote: The problem with the live rock situation is there are only two LFS
here that sells LR
. It is really expensive (7-10lbs) and it looks mostly NOT live. Brown, dull, hardly any life on it, no algae of any kind etc. I plan on using LR
.com as most everyone here recommends their product.
4. What testing supplies do I need while my tank is cycling? Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Any others?
5. What size/cap. powerheads do I need for this tank to start? And do I need them for the cycle?
6. Eventually, I want to build a refugium/sump. When and how should I do that? I have no clue on how to build one but very good at building things.
7. When should I get a protein skimmer? I understand the Bak Pak 2 is recommended.
8. Should I change my filter to a better one right now (I know it's not the best) or should I wait? What brand/size?
I'm trying to space out the costs over a couple of months. I plan on the cycle taking about 1-2months. Adding 1 fish every 6 weeks or so after the cycle up to about 5-6 fish plus a few inverts. 10% water changes bi-weekly (already have a tub and powerhead for it). 6 week QT
for all new fish (already have a QT
setup minus water).
Another sidenote: Here's the kind of LFS
advise I'm dealing with: They advise adding 4 damsels after 24hrs after tank setup. Protein skimmers are not needed although they have them on all their tanks. They have very few fish and the tanks look bad inside and out. As I said before, the LR
is terrible. 40lbs of LS
is plenty for my tank. Low prices. ETC.
However, there is another LFS
nearby that has gorgous tanks, is always willing to help/advise, lively fish that eat enthusiaticly. But have a limited stock due to space. Higher prices though.
My plan is to buy my equip online or at LFS
#1 and all my animals at LFS
#2 unless someone has a recommendation for an online LFS
Ok.....I think I'm done now. Wake up! Get up, do some stretches, get some coffee, rest your eyes. And please come back and help me with some of this stuff. I know deaths/failures are going to happen but I don't want them to be from my ignorance.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP IN ADVANCE!!!