My Reef Tank Journey Begins

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GrampsReef

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I just started to put together my new 55 gallon reef tank. It's the second time I've set one up; but, its been over 20 years so I have to relearn stuff.
Today's lighting is so much better than in the 90's and it is also a steep learning curve for me. I'd really like to start small at around $200.00 to $300.00 and add on as I go. So, any advice on lighting would be appreciated.
As of today I have the tank, salt, aragonite, filter, air pump, chemicals, and other necessities. Basically everything to start the 6 week cycling.
I'm a wood worker so I'm building my own stand out of Hard White Maple. It should be done today. So, the water should go in tomorrow or later this afternoon.
I've added a few pictures is anyone is interested. I'll add more as the tank progresses. It's an exciting time for me.

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Beautiful stand!

The hard white maple is gorgeous. Will you be staining or painting the stand?

And most importantly - are you available for hire?
 
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Your stand is beautiful! My great grandfather was a woodworker and I have restored a few of his pieces. Excited to see your tank set up!
 
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Beautiful stand!

The hard white maple is gorgeous. Will you be staining or painting the stand?

And most importantly - are you available for hire?
Thank you. I love the look of natural wood. I am applying a Simi gloss coat of Polyurethane to it to bring out the beauty of the wood. The doors will be drop panel with Walnut accents. I'm keeping it simple so I don't distract from the beauty (I hope) of my new reef tank :). I am available for hire to make custom stands and other items.
 
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What is your filtration setup?
I'm using a Marineland Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel power filter. I'll likely add a protein skimmer. That is similar to what I had in the late 90's on my 72 gallon reef tank. I'm planning on making my first trip to Exotic Aquatics today or tomorrow to get some advise and possible lights and live rock.
 

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I'm using a Marineland Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel power filter. I'll likely add a protein skimmer. That is similar to what I had in the late 90's on my 72 gallon reef tank. I'm planning on making my first trip to Exotic Aquatics today or tomorrow to get some advise and possible lights and live rock.
You may want something with a surface as well as subsurface intake. I've heard a lot of good things about the Seachem Tidal series (the 55 model would work well) - and it's got some neat features like the maintenance alert and Sicce pump.
 
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GrampsReef

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You may want something with a surface as well as subsurface intake. I've heard a lot of good things about the Seachem Tidal series (the 55 model would work well) - and it's got some neat features like the maintenance alert and Sicce pump.
I appreciate the advice. I will keep that in mind.
 
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I just got back from my first trip to Exotic Aquatics in Plano Texas. Their staff is awesome and has helped me with starting my new reef tank. I picked up 50 pounds of live rock, 50 gallons of saltwater, and some other stuff. She even gave me what she called her new tank prescription (guide). I'll finish my stand (without the doors) tonight and set up the tank tomorrow. Exciting time.
 
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I made some progress with my tank today. I painted the back with a black mat finish, wired a new independent 20 amp circuit with a GFCI receptacle for it, put the final coat of polyurethane on the stand, brought the tank and stand into the house, added Aragonite and live rock, and added enough salt water to cover the rock. I want to let the setup settle into the carpet and get it level before I add more water. Plus, I am exhausted. LOL. I'll continue to work on the stand while the tank cycles.
 

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GrampsReef

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It's day 4 of my 42 day torture period (waiting for tank to cycle). No light and no live stuff for 42 days. At least I got 30 more pounds of live rock put into the tank. I'm thinking about getting some fake fish to put in it. LOL.

I'm going to Aquashella tomorrow at 11:00 as an "Early Bird". I'll be dropping by the R2R booth.
 

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Now 10 days into the cycle process of my new tank. I set my ammonia level to 2.0ppm on October 28th. Since then my Nitrites peaked at 1ppm and dropped to 0ppm on October 30th. Ammonia was down to 0.5ppm on November 1st. Nitrates have been steady at 10ppm. I just started to see some signs of green algae, some kind of worm on one rock, and the red color that came with some of my live rock is now turning crimson. According to the post on the cycle it appears that I am past the pre algae stage and maybe into stage 4. But, I really don't know for sure. Any comments are appreciated. Like, do I have the status correct and do I add lights?
 

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GrampsReef

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My tank has fully cycled in 10 days. My adviser at Exotic Aquatics agrees and said it was likely due to having 80 pounds of live rock from the start. Now to do a water change, add the lights, and get some snails, fish, and other new tank stuff. Slow but steady is how I will approach this. :)
 
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I finally finished the doors for my new aquarium stand. The stand and light mount is made from Hard White Maple and has a few Walnut accents. I'm really pleased. Now to figure out the best arrangement inside of the cabinet for all of the stuff.
 

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GrampsReef

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Nice looking tank ! I’m not surprised it cycled so fast with so much live rock. Now let’s see the fish ! :)
Thank you. The parameters are where they should be. But I think it’s still cycling. It now has the rust looking algae and some brown.

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