No BIO-wheel and other concerns
I wanted to thank everyone for their excellent advice and support. Here is a quick summary of my situation:
1. This is my first tank.
2. My tank will be a fish only tank to start out with, but I would like to add some living rock, coral, and live plants later.
3. I would like to have a clownfish (Nemo), a Blue Tang (Dory), and a fish that looks like a shark (I hope this does not minimize how serious you take me, because this tank is really for my son -- but I am extremely committed to creating the best possible habitat for my fish). His 3 year birthday is in a month, and we hope to have the tank ready for at least one of these fish on this birthday.
4. The tank is a 55 gallon acrylic with a Magnum 350 canister filter, Red Sea's Prizm skimmer, 200W Visi-therm heater, light, cover, and 40 pounds of medium crushed coral.
Now I have a few more questions about setting up my tank:
1. I returned the BIO-wheel, because it would not fit on my tank. Is my current filtration system good enough, or is the BIO-wheel required. I do not want to add living rock yet, but I would like to add a significant amount of dead coral and rocks to provide more surface area for the good bacteria to grow. Is this OK, or do I need more bio-filtering? Does adding an air pump help? Is there anything that I can do? I may be able to fit a small BIO-wheel on my tank now, do you have any recommendations?
2. I have leveled my tank stand, and I put a very thin rubbery material between the tank and the stand. I was told that this will help ensure that the tank is perfectly level and relieve any stress points caused by an uneven surface on the stand. Is this a good idea, or will it cause other problems?
3. I would like to start the cycle process with the "raw shrimp" technique, because it seems to be the most human way without chemicals. How many shrimp do I need, and how long do I leave them in there?
Thanks again for helping me out!