Originally Posted by TheReefSweetheart
Thanks all - I found a 110 gallon that I'm hoping to buy in the next couple weeks and start cycling it.
That would be awesome!! I want a 180 gallon tank, or bigger. LoL
I will suggest with that size tank, be prepared for an expense with the live rock and sand you will need. This is not a bad thing as you can do an awesome looking FOWLR
tank with just rock. A rule of thumb is the same amount of live rock for the size tank. That's a lot of rock, and I know when I bought 50 pounds of it it cost me around $250. So I hope that will not throw you off from that big of a tank!
HOWEVER!!! I did buy nothing but live rock, and I could have bought base rock, and mixed it in with live rock. This would be cheaper! Basically base rock is just rock that is not live, and used for decoration. Anything you put in your tank will become a home for beneficial bacteria. The live rock is just rock that has the bacteria already on it, and comes fully cycled from you LFS
So you can buy around 10 or 20 pounds of the live rock, and much more of the base rock and mix the live into the base rock.
Another way of doing this is buying rock that is not cured. This just means it's live rock that has not been sitting in a tank for a long time. This will actually cycle your tank, as the rock will have a lot of die off causing the ammonia source in your new tank. The important thing when doing this, is to make sure you got big enough power heads to keep the water moving in your tank, and your filters going as if you had fish in the tank.
This is what I am talking with uncured live rock.
Live Rock and Live Sand: Live Saltwater Aquarium Rock and Sand
Live cured rock is already at most LFS
, and they sale it for a lot more, because you don't have to cure it. You can technically put it right into your tank ready to go.
Base Rock means nothing is one it, no bacteria or anything! A lot of people buy this rock and seed it with the uncured or cured live rock.
Than you got live sand, now I had done nothing but live sand in my first tank. I had no water issues after the cycle. In my 55 I bought new sand (Only 30 pounds), but used my old live sand on top. I used 50 pounds of the live sand. Live sand runs about $37 dollars a bag that has 20 pounds of live sand, and I think it was worth it. Again, you can get the cheaper sand for around $20 and that has 30 pounds in it. For a larger tank, I would mix it up, and buy the cheap sand, and only a few bags of live sand to pour on top. Makes it cheaper, plus the other sand will become live in a few months anyway. I have a nice 3 to 4in sand bed in my 55 and I would recommend that to you.
I would learn as much as you can on this site, while planing your tank. Welcome to the boards and I hope your flame is doing well!! Good luck and have fun!!!