I've been reading these posts with sad sympathy as they all recall some of my earlier days in marine aquaria. I have kept Freshwater aquariums for about 25 years and about 4 years ago decided to try a marine aquaria (atually - extraordinary pressure from my Son). So I settled on a 125 gallon.
I make this post not to provide technical assitance - as it is clear that the posts above seem to be really reasonable and providing you with some great sugestions. But more so to give you some encouragement based on the experience of someone who arrived at the same point. After cycling my 125 with a wonderful Niger Trigger I started adding fish (I foolishly added way too many and too quickly). My losses were extreme and I truely felt awful for the fish and mildly bad for the loss of cash. After months of losing fish I was soon ready to toss the towel in. I approached my LFS
and asked if he wanted to buy the whole set-up for a cut rate. He gave me very similar advice as some stuff posted here. In the end my problems were related to PH
bounces (I finally got an electronic probe - probabaly the single most important thing I did), ick (due to PH
and temp bounces) and macro parasites.
Well the tank was empty at this point and I added only one fish (advice of LFS
) - a Naso Tang and with in about 2 weeks it looked like he was going under. The LFS
had tested the water - which was ok. They talked me through a freshwater dip. 1 month later he was doing great. After another month he was still great. One more month, I added one more fish. I waited 2 months this time before adding anything again. To my suprise I was finally on my way.
My tank has been very successful since then and a great deal of enjoyment but boy, did I come close bulldozing this tank into a nearby ditch.
Bottom line (and I think some said it earlier), Knowledge - key to success, but certainly a close second - go slow, very, very slow.