So yesterday I finally was able to pick up the live rock & sand.
We pulled it all out of a nice 75 gallon tank and the rock was then transported completely submerged to my house. I kept a thermometer in with the rock and it never even fluctuated more than 5 degrees the entire time so I am hoping for little or no die off. I didn't weigh the rock but according to the guy I bought it from I have about 150lbs of live and about 40lbs of base rock.
After giving the base rock two really good baths I put it in first... then the sand and finally the live rock.
A couple of the pieces of the live rock were really big. I tried my best to set it up so that the rock faced the same way in my tank as in the previous tank but there are a few rocks that have a side or two exposed that probably weren't before. Several pieces of the rock has star polyps and mushrooms on them. There are large quantities of tiny tube worms too. I also noticed about 10 brittle stars, a couple snails, a few hermits and a couple tiny white starfish that snuck in with the rock. Oh, and unfortunately I noticed three small Aiptasia anemones. Once the tank becomes somewhat stable I will be injecting them with lemon juice or be looking for a peppermint shrimp. The rock has no visible nuisance algae which I was happy about.
I also bought two nice pieces of live rock that had some caulerpa growing on it. Both of those pieces went into the sump - I put one in the "live rock chamber" and then one into the refugium. I also put some cheto in the refugium. The guy I got all of this from was taring down his tank so the algae was free - hope it lives.
I am hoping with all this live rock that my cycle is a very small one.... we will see.
As far as the sand goes - I took about 150 pounds of aragonite from him. I kept out about 4 cups worth and then rinsed the rest really well for a long long time. Found lots of bristle worms and copepods in the sand. After completely rinsing it I put it into the tank and refugium. Ended up about 2-3 inches deep. I also added a tiny bit of the live sand as well to hopefully help seed the sand.
About 2 hours after putting it all in I turned on the lights. I expected things to be cloudy but all things considered the water was really clear and is crystal clear this morning 15 hours later.
I did the best I could with the aquascaping. There are lots of openings for good flow and plenty of shelves etc.. for adding future corals.
5 hours after putting in the rock and sand - my water tests:
= about 1.025 (my refractometer has not showed up yet so this measurement is from my hydrometer)
Temp = 78
Ammonia = .5
PH = 8.1
Nitrate = 0
Nitrite = 0
My skimmer is not broken in yet I guess... thing is producing so many micro bubbles that I have opened it up all the way yet still get it foaming over.