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Some "kinda newbee" questions please

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Am ready to get restarted after a 20 year hiatus with different circumstances so I have a few questions and really need the help.


1- I live very close to the gulf of Mexico and can easily get clean seawater.  I intend on using seawater for water changes but should I start with seawater or alternately di water and salt mix as a starter?   I am thinking this might be better and keep algae growth down.


2-what the heck is "dry" live rock ?  Does it do any good?


3- for a 20-30 gallon tank with " easy to care for corals " is a wave pump or pumps needed? Or just circulation pump?


4- is a dosing system needed or can I do it by hand ?  ( I've got plenty of spare time)?


5-I have been very interested in red sea max nano system but it is out of stock with no available in stock date from red sea or anybody else.  I liked this because it is a complete system and I don't have to be concerned about equipment fitting and stuff.  Is there an equivalent because no one has a clue as to when I can get one?



Thanks to all you folks who have contributed and will respond.  I've learned a lot



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Welcome to Nano-Reef.com.

  1. A lot of people that live by the ocean still use artificial salt mix, in closed aquariums, to ensure purity.  Natural seawater is usually collected well away from the shoreline.  Then it's typically filtered prior to using it.  You can test it for nitrate and phosphate, but pollutants don't show up on our kits.  However, if it's truly pristine, then go for it.
  2. There is no such thing as dry live rock.  There is dry ocean rock, and there is cured and uncured live rock.  Dry rock doesn't contain nitrifying bacteria; however, it might still contain dried organic matter (which will begin to break down when submerged and can cause an ammonia spike).  Live rock which has been cycled is called "cured".  Uncured live rock hasn't been cycled, or has been exposed to conditions which can cause die-off (and thus experience an ammonia spike).  Live rock usually contains other non-bacterial life (biodiversity), while dry rock contains no beneficial non-bacterial life (although this life can be seeded in a number of different ways).
  3. For an easy to care for mixed reef tank, I'd recommend around 30 times total turnover (which includes all flow).  Something that generates wave patterns isn't required.
  4. You can always dose manually.
  5. There are a number of all in one aquariums to choose from.  Maybe someone else can recommend one for you.
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Everything Seabass said! 


You can easily manually dose the tank when you get to that point where the tank requires dosing. Depending on your coral choices, waterchanges might be all you need.


You can even top up freshwater manually for evaporation, you don't have to have an ato.


A wavemaker or powerhead is fine both provide water movement. You don't have to spend $300 on water movement to achieve a successful reef.


One i can higher recommend is the Tunze nanostream 6020. Awesome little thing that offers a ton of flow and can be used vertically or horizontally.


They have the 6040 if you want to be able to control it. 


You can always go with an all in one tank. They are super easy and convenient. No plumbing, no extra room needed for a sump.


The innovative marines are great and waterbox is popular too.



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The advantage with seawater is bacteria. The vast majority of problems with younger tanks is there's not enough competition for algae and it takes a very long time to grow a bioload to keep nuisance algae in check. Seawater gets you there much faster.


I have a very heavy stocked 20L with SPS and manually dose even though I have a dosing pump in the closet. Smaller tanks are erratic in terms of alk/calcium consumption and it less hassle to just manually dose.

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I've used only natural saltwater collected from the Atlantic for 11 years. My LFS collects it from an inlet, then runs it through sterilizers and filters. The few times that I did check it, it had 0 TDS (Total Disolved Solids). I'm sure any algae issues that I've experienced over the years was a result of neglect and/or over feeding and not the water.  


No such thing as dry live rock!


On my 29, for the 1st several years I only had a filter pump. a powerhead, gyre or wave maker will help to alleviate dead spots in the tank, but is not necessary depending on the corals you choose.


Again, depending on the corals you choose, you will probably not even need to dose at all. regular weekly or bi-weekly water changes should suffice. However, I personally will never run a system without ant ATO (auto top off). This replenishes fresh water that you need to replace daily due to evaporation.


There are a lot of all in one options out there. Innovation Marine and coral life biocube are the 2 that I have had. Check out https://www.bulkreefsupply.com


Good luck and welcome to nano reefing!



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Thank you all for the responses


appreciate it

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