When it comes to marine aquariums the most challenging and expensive is a reef aquarium. These aquariums are filled primarily with corals and other invertebrates, with actually very little to no fish. The corals and invertebrates are the main focus of the reef aquarium and require careful planning as well as regular maintenance.
The first step is to assemble your aquarium and cure the live rock. Add sand to the bottom of the tank and prepare your saltwater in a mixing container so that the specific gravity is exactly 1.025. Use a small bucket of the prepared saltwater to rinse the live rock and remove any organic debris and then arrange them in the tank as desired.
The protein skimmer and main filtration system should be run to have constant water movement, but the lights should be off at this time so there is no undesirable algae growth. For a period of four weeks you should change fifty percent of the water in order to cure your live rock.
Any organic matter should be siphoned out at this time. You also want to test for ammonia and nitrite to ensure they are at zero. The pH should also be tested and should ideally be between 8.1 and 8.4.
Next add the first inhabitants. First is a thirty gallon deluxe algae attack pack with snails and crabs. Follow the acclimation guidelines and be sure to turn the lights on and off every twelve hours for two weeks. At this time you can add your corals with a twenty-five percent water change and an acclimation period of two weeks.
On week eight you can add aqua-cultured corals and give them an acclimation period of two weeks. Lastly, on weeks ten and twelve you can introduce fish and invertebrates with a twenty-five percent water change and a two week acclimation.