quick reef newb questions
) Whats the ideal protein skimmer for a 40 gallon reef tank measuring 36x21x12
2) Temps are at 77F and sg level is at 1.024. When I purchase the live rock and sand, will I just have to place the rocks as I wish and then wait or do I need to jump start the ammonia level by adding either pure ammonia or a dead food item?
3) What is the temp range for a marine tank. It has hit low's of 76 and highs of 79.6.
4) How much turbulence should I see in the water? I have one koralia on the side wall facing the front wall to create a circle of turbulence, should I purchase another to place on the opposite side?
5) Should I go with a thin sand bed or a very thick sand bed? I have heard both options work.
6) What is the best lighting to purchase so that I do not limit myself to what kind of coral I can keep. I wanted to go with t5's but apparently I will not be able to house LPS or SPS, only soft.
7) What kind of creatures should I purchase as a base for a "cleaning crew"
8) What will I be looking for after adding the live rock to know that my tank is ready for coral and/or fish
9) Should I install the skimmer now or once the tank has cycled?
My current set up/what I would like to create:
Filtration: Live rock, sand bed, skimmer and an eheim canister
Tank size: Mentioned above
Lighting: Not sure yet
Tank type: Reef with corals, looking at soft mostly if not completely soft only
Any other info I might have missed to help in answering, let me know.
Appreciate any advice.
1. I personally would get a nice skimmer, read reviews to find one that is quality. At the moment i have an MRC-MR2 on my 46 gallon bowfront. it is rated for i believe 300 gallons. for sure overkill but i knew i was upgrading. the skimmer i had on before that was an ASM mini G which is an in sump skimmer and it worked well for me. so i suggest keeping in mind future upgrades and something that will work well to fit your needs. if your looking at some skimmers i can give you my input, but reading online reviews is your best bet to see a broad response of opinions.
2.if you get cured live rock, the die off ( what occurs from transfering it from the store to your tank ) should be enough to jump start your cycle. get a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, ca, mag, alk at the very minimum. your also going to want a refractometer to test salinity which can be found on ebay fairly cheap. keep an eye on your levels and you will know where your cycle is at.
3. 78-79 degrees. stable is best. what are you using for checking temperature?
4.as using my 46 as an example again, i am alittle shy of 3,000 gph (gallons per hour) i started with two hydor K2s but experienced a cyano outbreak so i switched out 1 for a K4 (1,200 gph) my return pump is a mag9.5 (900 gph)
what number hydor do you have? i would get another to put on the opposite side of the tank. your going to want the least amount of dead spots without blowing around sand.
5. 1/2 inch or less, no sand or 4-6 inches. any other depths trap detritus and debris causing issue. stay away from crushed coral substrate, it causes problems.
6.this is very un-true. i use t5s and keep some SPS, mostly LPS and softies. ofcourse there are some corals you just cannot keep with t5s but theres a decent selection. metal halides will offer the most options, but may heat up your tank to much so you will be looking at getting a chiller. when getting lighting keep in mind any future upgrades. IMO/IME its best to get the best skimmer and lighting you can.
7.i like snails and hate crabs, which include hermit crabs. really its personal preference but snails are a must. a variety is best as each snail has a different job.
8.testing you water to see where you levels are. you dont want to add anything until you know. you will see a diatom bloom, which will come and go and is usually a good indicator to slowly start adding some snails.
9.this doesnt matter. some will say it will slow the cycling, really it doesnt matter. keep in mind a skimmer will take a week or so to "break in" they need to build up a slime inside to skim properly.
get rid of the canister filter. these are far worse then better in a reef or any saltwater setup for that matter. they trap debris causing issues. use RO/DI water. take your time, take your time, take your time. i said that one 3 times because it cant be stressed enough, so take you time. it honestly saves money, livestock, headache and your enjoyment in fishkeeping in the long run. look in your area for a local reefing club. they are great for learning and picking up equipment. if you have any questions feel free to ask.
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