Starting my first 29-gallon marine and been researching a ton of info all over the web. I think I have a plan and curious what you guys "in-the-know" think.
I've got 45lbs of dry rock from bulkreefsupply and 40lbs of sand. I'll be picking up the tub of salt this weekend to get things going. It seems, the best advice I've read, is to mix/fill about half the amount of the aquarium, test, heat, then add the rock, sand, the rest of the mixed water and the powerhead. Does this sound fine? During the curing of the rock, are weekly water changes best or top-offs acceptable?
In the long term, the plan is to wait for the cycle to finish, then add one of the invert packs from liveaquaria for my tank size, let them acclimate for several weeks to a month, then start to add fish. I'll be looking at a HOB protein skimmer because I don't have room for any of the sump/plumbing setups I've seen.
As fish go, my wife prefers a clown so we'll be going with a pair (small and bigger as I understand)....happy wife and all that. :lol:
Your advice is greatly appreciated and I am open to any changes and suggestions. Thanks for reading!
First off let me be the first to say Welcome! It sounds like you have a good plan. I cheated as I went with cured live rock and live sand to start my tank. My cycle was pretty quick, 3-4 days. Yours will take much longer due to starting with base rock but will be much cheaper to start out with. Some people who've started from scratch like you're doing will be along to help and keep you going in the right direction. Update us often and keep asking questions.
I'm not running a skimmer but someone will be able to suggest a good one for you to run with your set-up.
Thanks for the reply! I'll definitely take and post pics of the process as I go along. I've read some good reviews about a few different skimmers so lack of noise is a big deciding factor as this tank is in our bedroom.
Appreciate the info!
welcome to the addictive world of saltwater!!
i have two tanks, a 14 gallon and a 29 gallon, both oceanic biocubes. the best advice i can give you is to be patient! don't rush into fish or inverts until your tank is completely cycled and do lots and lots of research when you are selecting your stock. too many times, a person new to saltwater can get "talked into" buying a fish or coral or invert that isn't a good "beginner" choice and they end up getting discouraged when it dies.
looking forward to watching your progress!
If you are using dry rock, it is possible that you will see a short cycle, but a long "algae cycle". Live rock has a tendency to have already gone through this, so you don't see it as often. Whenever I use dry rock, I tend to see about four weeks of a heavy hair algae outbreak, which eventually recedes. I am trying something different this time and am "cooking" the rock in two five gallon buckets with powerheads to get it more "Live" before I add it to the tank.
HOB skimmer is fine. I have used a Coralife Needle Wheel, Red Sea Berlin Turbo X2 and a Marineland SeaClone Skimmer all as HOB skimmers (although the Coralife and Berlin were HOB in the sump, they still did the job). Do a lot of research on a skimmer and do not skimp on it. It is the best investment you will make for your tank.
I am glad to see you are being patient. It will pay great dividends in the future...
What you have down is on the right track.
BH50 Reef Octopus Nano In-Tank - Small HOB Protein Skimmer | CoralVue
Tunze Comline DOC Protein Skimmer 9004
Thanks everyone for the welcomes and responses! It's good to know my obsessive reading has me on the right track. The first rule I learned in each of my freshwater tanks is patience so the cycle will happen as it does. I'm going to take this slow and easy to ensure the money I've spent doesn't go to waste and the tank is as healthy as it can be.
@Reefing Madness - Thanks for the links, those were two of the top 5 I've been looking at.
I'll keep everyone posted on the progress and appreciate the info!
here are some pics of my progress.
The rock/sand/water are placed in the tank with a powerhead moving the water and a heater keeping things a toasty 78. The powerhead is an older AquaClear 30 I had lying around, on my way now to pick up 2 better ones to really get things moving.
It took a couple of tries to get the rock how/where I wanted. I like the fallen rock motif so I mixed up the pukani and fiji where they stacked nicely. The water is very cloudy from the sand, which I fully expected, and already looks way better than yesterday. Now, it's the waiting game and carefully picking out the cleanup crew (starting small). More pics to come next week as the cycle continues!
I'm extremely excited over the progress made but was nervous every step of the way.
So the sand has finally settled down, and it looks great! Salinity is in the target (1.025) and as hoped, ammonia is pretty high! I'll post some pics today or tomorrow.
Now, patiently waiting for the cycle to complete. In the meantime, I'm looking at liveaquaria to build a cleanup crew. The plan is to use one of their pre-packs as a template to build my own at a fraction of the size. I've read in many places to start small on a cleanup crew to ensure there's plenty for them to eat.
Also, looking into the idea of adding a sump/refugium to add volume to the tank. My hope is to build, test, and have it working before the fish are added.
I also want to thank everyone above for their help and support along the way. I appreciate it and look forward to pinging you along the way.
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