good info, good info, im definitely feeling more confident now!
ok time for the "duh" questions guys, you all knew it was coming, lol
whats a refractometer and what does it do?
Measures your salinity or salt content very accurately cost more than hydrometer
whats a hydrometer and what does it do?
Measures your salinity or salt level kind of accurately cost less than refractometer
what is a protein skimmer and what does it do?
Protein skimmer uses air bubbles to "catch" trash/debris in your tank that gets by your mechanical filtration, such as food, poo, and organic/inorganic matter. Helps to keep nitrates from rising as fast as well. So less water changes/smaller water changes
what will the hob
filter have in it? live rock? polymer floss? regular carbon cartridge?
All of the above if you have room. But like I said I would run a canister with a phosphate absorption media and carbon in it. If you're set in HOB
I would run rock in it with filter floss to catch large debris
how long does cycling take before i can add fish?
Roughly anywhere from 4-10 weeks. You're test kits I describe later will tell you
how about an android app to keep me on track?
Can't help here haha
parameters i should keep stable?
Ammonia-0, nitrite-0, ph-7.8 to 8.2 ish but make sure it stays steady wherever it is, nitrate just keep below 20ppm, phosphates- as close to 0 as possible, temp- 76-80 degrees as long as the temp doesn't fluctuate more than 2-3 degrees throughout the day it's good, other than that the rest of the parameters are for reef tanks and I would get the hobby going and make sure you're up to the challenges before you buy any coral since they all need pretty stable water parameters. Also you can practice keeping you Calcium at ~500ppm, magnesium at ~1300ppm and Alkalinity at 7-9 DKH
to get ready for a reef tank. Also higher magnesium levels will combat algae outbreak from my understanding.
whats considered stable?
anything else im missing?