After having kept numerous freshwater tanks, I have decided to start up my first saltwater tank using an empty 30 gallon that wasn't being used for anything currently. It is currently cycling (initial setup was 6 days ago) and has about 40 lbs of live rock supposedly pre-cured from a lfs, and 30 lbs of aragonite live sand (which came from pre-packaged bags). I have a Marineland MaxiJet 600 in circulation mode (instead of powerhead mode) which is rated to push 750 gph. I also have two old Aquaclear HOB's (a 20 and a 30) with no media I put on to circulate water before I got the Maxijet. I plan initially to perform weekly water changes of about 5 gallons instead of getting a Protein Skimmer, though in the future I may add one. I plan on keeping fish as well as a variety of corals, and have a 6-bulb T5 coming (6x39W bulbs [3x10k, 3xActinic] with 4 LED moonlights).
My current water parameters (as tested yesterday) are:
pH - 8.0
Ammonia - 1.5
Nitrite - ~0 (may have been slightly high, but not to the second color on the test kit)
Nitrate - 40
KH - 10 degrees
Ca - 400
PO4 - 1.0
(Test kits used were Tetra for pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and API Reef Master set for Nitrate, KH, Ca, and PO4)
I do not currently know the salinity as the hydrometer I purchased will not give me an accurate measure (it drastically changes every time I test, even if immediately repeated; I do have a refractometer ordered). The water was purchased from my LFS pre-mixed so I assume it's at least close to where it should be, but I forgot to ask when I bought it and haven't been back in yet.
pH seems a little low to me, but is it low enough I need to concern myself with it? If so, what is the best method for raising it higher? I don't want to use buffers, I would want something to permanently take care of it.
I haven't yet decided on the stocking of the tank. I am assuming my wife will want for me to put a clownfish or two in there, which I would lean towards an Ocellaris over a Percula, but am open to thoughts concerning this. Other potential fish I am interested in include:
Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse
White Banded Possum Wrasse or Tanaka Pygmy Wrasse
Purple or Helfrich's Firefish
Yellow Watchman or Wheeler's Shrimp Goby
Court Jester Goby
Gold Assessor Basslet
Yellowtail Blue Damsel
I certainly would not put all of these in there, but am open to thoughts, suggestions, concerns, etc. about any of these fish. I would also ideally like to have a few shrimp in there, but that is not a necessity.
I look forward to hearing any advice or feedback from experienced reef keepers.