After a couple of months of research and planning, the tank is set up and running. We decided on the RSM 130L (34g) because of the clean look, and the 'all in one' aspect appealed to my partner in this project, Mrs. Nugget. Being the chemist by training, and a stickler for details by nature, she's a good offset to my rather impulsive and 'do it myself' nature. I'm also the one more likely to look to the forums for answers and information, she's more 'book driven.'
It makes for an interesting dilemma - go with what she knows from what she's read, or go with what I've read online? You'll see in this thread some of those items (some sooner than later), but keeping the peace has it's price.
So, I've read many of the threads on this topic (including StevieT's mega-thread -- very helpful), and at the same time, got a few books for mrs.n. to 'edumocate' herself - The Conscientious Marine Aquarist (Fenner); New Marine Aquarium (Paletta); and Marine Fishes (Michael). Between the two of us, even after a couple months of this, I don't think either of us feels entirely 'confident' in what we are doing, but as noobs go, this is probably as good as it's gonna get.
Having kept a 10gal freshwater tank for a couple years, I have some ideas on cycling and the importance of water changes (especially in a smaller tank), but there are so many more variables in a marine tank, we are going to try (against my nature, but with hers) to go slow in this build.
Let's start off with a problem: the lack of highly-regarded LFS in this area. Yes, I've found a few, and heard about more, but for every good thing I hear, there are at least 10 bad reviews. So, I'm still looking. My preference would have been to start the tank with liverock and sand from the LFS, to start to build the relationship, but that didn't work out.
So, with the tank scheduled for delivery yesterday, I went ahead and ordered the liverock and sand from Premium Aquatics, as they have had some good reviews on this forum. 1 20lb bag of the Arag Alive Western Carribean; 1 20lb bag of the Arag Alive Special Grade 1-2mm. For the liverock, went with 20lbs of the Fiji and 20lbs of the Timora - both cured. With 2 day shipping, I'm expecting a little die-off, which I'm hoping is enough to start the cycle for the tank.
Last night, when setting up the tank, I realized that one of the two T-5 CF bulbs is not working. I haven't heard back from Red Sea on it yet (assuming they are bailing the Gulf of Mexico out of their Houston office), but I'm hopeful they will send a replacement. Meanwhile, I'm hoping having only 1 fixture won't hurt the cycle.
Today was water day. Before anyone starts, let me point out that this is peace-keeping point 1. According to Mr. Fenner, using tap water is perfectly acceptable in a reef tank, "in spite of what you might hear from others regarding RO/DI," provided you age the water appropriately. So, tap water and the Red Sea salt mix went in this morning, and have been circulating since. At the time this peace-keeping decision was made, I had already ordered the LR / LS, so I've got to figure out how to deal with that - because I don't think Mr. Fenner would think that 24 hours was the appropriate aging.
I have a few shots of the set up, with water becoming salty, but haven't figured out how to upload/attach pics yet... will work on that later today.
So, other than adding 5 tangs tomorrow, is there anything else I should be looking at? (j/k)
Thanks for listening!