10-09-2006, 11:06 PM
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Hi and welcome.
Your LFS is nuts.
I'd keep an eye on them as I think they are just looking to bilk money from you. Sorry to be so blunt.
10 pounds of live rock for a 55g? What? The average shop will tell you about 1 lb per gallon and it had better be some nice porous rock. I have almost 3 lbs per gallon in my tank. The more the better. I fear that at today's prices of about $8 a lb that your LFS assumed that if they tried to sell you 30lbs at once you'd have balked and not gotten into the hobby. From what you've written I think they "felt" you out. Basically sold you what they thought you'd pay for but didn't want to see you leave due to sticker shock.. that can be a really bad way to get into the hobby.
Next your lighting isn't sufficient for a fish only tank.... Ok it is but seriously you probably have a 40w bulb and that's less than 1 watt per gallon. You'll want at least 5 wpg to begin playing with coral unless you stick with mushrooms and softies. You'll get bored with that and want acros and SPS. I'd recommend at least 7wpg for SPS however you attain that be it flouro or metal halides.
I hope your lfs owner did not just nod his head in agreement as you listed your possible wants for fish in the tank. You mention that he told you your lighting would be great for corals so he knows your intent. Butterfly fish eat corals, triggers can eat corals. Triggers can injure and or harass most any fish. Some can be very chill but others can be demons. When it comes to reef fish think small. The smaller the better. The trick to maintaining a reef is to keep it nutrient poor. Heavy feedings and large wastes from large fish will pollute the tank which will kill corals. Think blennies, gobies, chromis, clowns, anthias, and maybe one wrasse. These are the perfect types of fish to keep in a reef. In a 55g I'd keep the amount to a minimum as well. Maybe 3 or 4 fish total. With a tank full of corals, snails, stars, inverts, and hermits you'll not notice the "lack" of fish.
If I were you I'd check for a new LFS in your town. You are now preparing for the cycling process. This is where you wait as long as you can until you buy anything live for the tank. And I don't mean like 3 days. How about 3 months? Your tank will probably cycle in a month, meaning that fish will be able to survive. The longer you wait the more microfauna will establish in the tank. Things like snails that came on the rock will breed. Copepods, decapods, amphipods will establish colonies. These are all important parts of a reef tank. Introducing fish to soon will wipe out the small colonies and they may never bounce back.
You just found out you have plenty of time to ask us questions and I hope that you feel you will get straight answers. You do not list any other important factors about your tank. Things like filtration, skimmers, sumps, pumps, powerheads, timers, brand of salt mix, what type of "sand" did you get? Aragonite I hope. These are all very important and I think our members can help you make informed decisions that will only make your experience easier and expedite your results.