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Step 7 - Make Aquascaping Adjustments & Add The Substrate


Once the tank has finished cycling:

Turn off all equipment, siphon out and save about 1/2 of the saltwater in the tank, and make any final aquascaping changes or adjustments desired.

Add the substrate media to the tank.

Target a 1/2 to 1 inch deep layer.

A 1/4 to 1/2 pound of an appropriate coral sand substrate medium per gallon of tank water volume should be sufficient.

Use a plastic cup or small container to scoop up the substrate, then gently pour it out onto the bottom of the tank, spreading it out by hand to fill in the empty spots around the live rock, and under it if using PVC racks or frame supports.


If the substrate medium gets on top of the rocks, it can easily be removed by using a turkey baster to blow it off.

Once the substrate has been added, fill the tank to the "fill line" with the saved saltwater you removed earlier, restart all equipment, recheck the "fill line" and top off if needed.

After substrate has been added, the tank will appear cloudy, which is normal. Usually within 24 hours the fine sediment particles suspended in the water will clear as they settle and/or are filtered out.

Let the tank run for at least a week to allow it to settled out and stabilize before adding fish to the system. Test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, particularly when using live sand, because it is not unusual for "some" additional cycling to take place, and this will tell you when the tank has settled out.

Next > Step 8 - Purchase & Add Livestock

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