So I finally decided to just go salt on my biocube. I stumbled across a semi-local reef store and some amazing help from the owner and the folks on the forum there. Very glad I found this store, the owner is just great. Bought 27 pounds of cured live rock from him at $4.99/lb and it's gorgeous rock with a lot of great life.
Sooo the live rock is in, the water has settled a bit (still is a little cloudy) and I'm seeing signs of life already. The first night I spotted various worms, a tiny white starfish with stubby legs (didn't get a picture of him as I was rushing out the door and stupidly told myself he would be right where he left himself when I got home. Um. No.) various small snails, some tiny featherdusters and some tiny...things. I can't even describe them. They are tiny, and things.
The temperature is stable at 80F, salinity is at 1.023. Readings are good across the board. Am still researching when to start adding a CUC and what to add. Will be weeks yet so I have time. Any suggestions appreciated.
The substrate is rather deep and a mixture of live sand and blue/black find marine sand. At first I regretted mixing the white live sand in there but now I rather like the mixture. I like the blue and black in there as it adds a bit of color and it's unique. I get a little tired of looking at white sand bottoms on reef tanks sometimes, but then again, I'm always a fan of the unusual and ugly.
Featherduster. Found various of these on different rocks...easily startled. There are also a few tiny red ones.
Teeny the Snail. I named a snail I will probably never lay eyes on again and have no hopes of telling apart from any other snail in there. *makes crazy finger-twirling-around-temple-sign* I've seen 5 more snails since.
The tank the first morning.
No idea what that little growth is. Bueller? Bueller? Am assuming its a sponge
Starfish. I also saw one like this the first day, only it was white.