Figured I would put this up here, I will get pics in the near future, they are on my home computer right now. Over the weekend, I set up my 90 gallon tank with a 40 gallon sump under it. I began with seperating the sump into three sections and have some minor leaking from the overflow I will fix on thursday when i get some parts i am waiting on. After the tank was standing, I cleaned some aragonite sand from a cichlid tank I took down and mixed it with 2.5 gallons of mangrove mud.
Getting it going: I put 4.5 gallons of fresh(as in collected the day before) mangrove mud in the bottom and promptly cut my finger on a shell that was mixed in. This filled about an inch. Then after smoothing the mud out, I put down the mixed mud and sand and smoothed it out. Thats about an 3 inches worth. On top of that i put down a layer of pure aragonite sand which added another .5"-1" to the substrate.
I put in 40 pounds of LR. Normally I would have went 75/25 baserock/LR but I am putting so little in the tank i figured i would go all the way, plus I really liked the pieces I got. I put this in the corner and a few more in the other corner. Wow that was more expensive than i remember and the LR was only 7.50, but its cool looking Haitian rock. I also got 10 pounds of rubble for the center chamber in the sump.
I hooked up the lights, plugged in the heater and pump. Still missing one nozzle for the return but had the other one in place and the alternating SQWD is working flawlessly.
Its still a little cloudy but i can see the back of the tank now. I have a few fiddler crabs running around, I dont expect them to last though, lots of pods, and a few snails and a small clam came in the mud.
I am planning this to be filled with macro algae and later some sea grasses so I didnt hook up a skimmer. All the research from people with macro tanks points to skimmers not being very helpful in this case and most people do not use them. For fish I am getting pipefish and perhaps some shrimp gobies and pistol shrimp along with a variety of other shrimps. Not planning on corals except nuisance leathers or over growth from my reef tank. Its going to be awhile before I add any real livestock except some grass shrimp. I am figuring there will be enough die off from the mud to not have to worry about adding any dead shrimp or cycle fish.