I have just started to set up my saltwater system. I am using a 60 gal. tank with a maxi jet 900 powerhead, a cheap Tetra Whisper power filter (no filter media just for added circulation), water heater and tomorrow I will have a protien skimmer. The water has been in the tank for about 4 weeks now with 2lbs of live rock and 60-70 lbs of my own made rock. I also have about 5" of sand and substrate mix on the bottom.
I opted to make my own rock from substrate, crushed coral and sand mixed with potland cement, as I came accross a large amount of it for free from a local pet store that was closing. I also thought this would be much cheaper opposed to buying all live rock. So I guess I'm propogating my own rock and sand. I know this is a very slow way of doing it but, I don't plan to add any fish for at least a year or two.
So, I made my rock, gave it a 24 hr dose in vinegar, then I rinsed it 4-5 times and let it soak in freshwater for the last couple of months. I performed a complete water change weekly on the man made rock to ensure that there was no left over toxins that could be harmful to fish or my saltwater setup.
After this long process I introduced the man made rock to my saltwater system. (3 days ago) I have noticed that the water has changed drastically during this cycling process. My ph has went from 8.4 to 9.0. but the salinity has dropped to 24 ppt and specific gravity is at 1.018. I have also noticed that there seems to be a white slime build up on the powerhead and in the overflow of the power filter. I have no idea what this stuff is. I'm thinking it's either calcium or salt build up?
Also I am using a 36" actinic blue strip light and natural sun hits the tank for about 6 hrs per day.
This tank is going to be a FOWLR. I plan on letting it cycle for at least a year so I can get the tank stabilized and learn as the tank matures. I am also aiming for a nice covering of coraline algae on my rocks. I'm new to this hobby and am very interested in learning how to do this properly and have fun. I have 4 other freshwater tanks at home that have been very successful for me and now I want a bit of a challenge and to see some more vibrant colours.
I will be seeting up a SUMP once I get a bit more established. I hear this is the way to go and is more maintnance free, so to speak.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.