First I would like to say that I've been reading these forums for months now for advice on fish and setup for both fresh and saltwater fish and this is one of the best forums for information and DIY aquatic projects around.
Alright here's the deal. I'm new to salt but not to fish in general. I've been keeping freshwater fish for years and finally decided I was experienced and financially stable enough take the plunge into saltwater. I gave my nephew my 75 gallon African Cichlid tank for Christmas and so I could clear up space for a saltwater set up. (two birds one stone. doesn't get any better than that)
My setup so far:
30 gallon(still cycling maybe? I'll explain below)
Future upgrade to 150 gallon coming as well once i get the hang of salt(already have the tank)
gravity 1.025 on the dot
with 10 gallon sump on the way
Coralife Super Skimmer 65 Protein skimmer(off for cycling)
40lbs live sand
25lbs live rock (fiji rock from my friends established tank) +20lbs dry curing in tank while cycling
30" T5 HO
Can't remember the brand name off the top of my head but bulbs include:
2 x 24W T5 HO
2 x 24W T5 HO
2 x Dual LED
No livestock yet, but will be getting:
one fu-manchu lionfish (due to having a friend close by that has cared for these and can provide any assistance I might need because I know they can be tough)
sand sifting star later after the tank is running for awhile (my friend has had a lot of success in keeping these with lions and they keep the sand clean and are reef safe)
Now for my questions. My first question is I'm having a problem(or not?) with my cycling. I know the cycling process when starting with new tanks and the proper chemistry testing from dealing with freshwater. Everything is reading zeros across the board which is a good thing. The sand and rock I got were from an established tank, but the water is new of course. I've had it going for probably three weeks now and my numbers have not gone up at all. Do you think I have skipped the cycle due to having established sand/rock already without any die off since it came from literally four doors down the street from me?
If this is the case should it be safe to add my livestock now or perhaps is there anything else I can do to make sure? I just don't want to harm the fish I put in plus due to not having a local fish store around here I have to order them online and I would hate to see it die due to the stress of shipping, especially since fu-manchu lionfish have a rough time with shipping anyway and then going into a tank with bad water to compound the situation. That would be heartbreaking and expensive and something I would love to avoid.
my next question. I know lighting isn't a big deal with a FOWLR
tank and that's what this tank will most likely remain for awhile until I get the hang of caring for the fish I put in it. No need in killing everything in a tank due to trying to learn too much at once, but eventually I do want to try some of the easier to keep corals and was wondering if these lights would be enough due to the depth of the tank. I know some require very little light, but I don't want them to just survive, I want them to thrive as well. My aquascape is set up more like an island with the rock being stacked up in the center back of the tank, not against the glass though, with lots of caves for hiding and overhangs for the lion, and the sides are open areas for swimming all glued into place for safty. I'll try to get a picture sometime this next week of it. it'll be easier to show you then to explain it I guess. I really like the island style more then the entire reef wall look.
Question number three. I have one powerhead in the tank right now and it seems to move the water really well. I'm not sure the type of powerhead because it's used(from the same friend that will be helping out) and he's assured me it's a really good one. I dropped some sand in my tank(with the rock in place) and watched where it went to see if there were any real dead spots before I added the rest of the sand. Kind of a dry run for the powerhead. I know that it's not just about providing movement for the debris and things in the water but for the actual fish in the tank to provide a simulated real world current. Do you think one will do or should I add another on the other side of the tank? I also have a HOB
filter that I use for surface agitation with few bits of live rock and activated charcoal to help keep the water nice and clear so that provides some movement on the other side of the tank, but not much and even less after I get the sump because that will be taken off.
I have a few other questions too but I guess this will start me in the right direction. lol Sorry for such a long post, and thank you in advance