Boricuamed's 46g Reef Tank build

  • Hello All,

    I have decided to get back in the hobby after a 3 year absence. My goal is to have a 46g Bowfront reef tank. It is being done in 2 stages:

    Stage I.

    Cycle and establish a 25g "mini-reef" that will later on serve as a refuge for the 46g show. The main reasons for doing this are: 1- Budget, and (most importantly) 2- It allows me to pace myself in such a way that when the 46g is ready to accept inhabitants, I will have learned the basics well enough to limit problems/issues.

    Stage II.

    Cycle the 46g tank, and then transfer the contents of the 25g into the 46g. At this point I will transfer the "show pieces" to the larger tank, leaving some of the LR and sand in the now- 25g refuge. The idea is to custom drill the 46g tank to fit a custom-built stand, and accommodate the necessary plumbing.

    To date I have accomplished the following:

    25g tank is about 10 weeks old. It currently contains one medium-sized rock that has some corals, sponges, algae, etc. It has been in the tank for about 4 weeks now. I will get more LR next week. Since the cycle is complete, and the water params are stable, I want to add about 5-8lbs of rock per week, so as to not provoke any spikes. I measure the following params every 3 days: Alkalinity, Ca, Salinity (as SG), temp, Nitrates. These are today's results:

    Alkalinity: 9dKH
    Ca: 410ppm
    Salinity: SG of 1.025
    Temp: 76F
    Nitrate: 5ppm

    These results have been +/- 5% for the past 10 days. I will monitor for 6 more days before performing a complete water test and introducing more LR. I am curious as to how I can establish a "confident trend", so that I can predict better when to add or when to hold off more livestock.

    I will keep all of you posted on the progress...