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MantaMatt's first saltwater tank


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Hello all!

Ok so I started a thread in the beginners section attempting to knock out some specifics, but I wanted to make a fully dedicated thread to my set up!

So the tank that I am going with is an Aqueon Evolve 8 that I got for pretty cheap at a local Petco. Not what I though would be ideal for my first venture into saltwater, but it will have to do, plus I cant deny the beauty of the thing.


My final plans with this tank is to hopfully be housing a small assortment of Inverts, a few small, colorful soft corals and a clown or other small fish. I know this is going to be a long and tough journey, but im excited to see how it goes! As of this post I have done literally nothing. The tank is empty (And sitting on my dresser) but I have bought and researched a ton of stuff to help me get rolling.


Things I have:
Evolve 8 Tank

Instant Ocean salt solution (10 gal)

5 gallon bucket (Picking up two more tomorrow)

10 gallons of distilled grocery store water


Things on order:

ATC Refractometer

Hydor Koralia 240 Powerhead


Things I need to get:

Live rock

Live sand

New lighting system

Filter media

More salt

More water

2x heaters (One for the tank, one for premixed water)

Test Kit


The items on order should be here mid week, which is when I will be buying the live rock and sand and moving forward with cycling!! So let me know how you think im doing and ANY suggestions or opinions are ALWAYS welcomed. This is my first dip into saltwater aquarium, so go easy on me :)




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Hey all! Update on the new tank. I was able to get the live sand and live rock into the tank, added the saltwater (A perfect 1.025 ppm) and let it sit for the last few days. Initially I didnt rinse the sand so the dust took a while to settle, but other than that, everything has been going perfectly. I finally got around to buying a bunch of essentials this weekend like thermometers, heaters, mag float, extra salt ect. including the API marine test kit. I tested the water and everything seemed to be about normal. How long should the nitrogen cycle start to show its face? The live rock and sand has been sitting in there since Tuesday afternoon and it seems like the ammonia level seems suspiciously low. Of course it might just be my impatience! What do you guys think? I definitely know that I will be buying some more live rock to help fill out the tank more, which should introduce more beneficial bacteria into the system, helping the cycle to maybe speed up some. Thanks!




Salinity: 1.025 ppm

PH: 7.8/8.0

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm

Nitrites: 0 ppm

Nitrates: 0 ppm











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Nice little tank! Well since you started with live rock and live sand your cycle technically shouldn't take too long to go through. Although you may want to add a source of ammonia in the tank just to make sure your bio filtration is doing its job. I always liked the raw shrimp approach. Leave the shrimp in there for a day or so then pull it out. After another day retest your water and see if there is any difference. You'll know if your tank is cycling if your ammonia is spiking and your nitrites begin to rise.

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