40 Gallon Live Rock, No Fish yet, any advice appreciated


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Hello All,
I would still call myself a novice at the new and exciting hobby.

I have been doing lots of researching and very eager to learn, your advice & thoughts of my current setup & future plans would be greatly appreciated.
I appreciate who ever takes the time and effort to read and reply to me with any comments as there is obviously so much advice that could be given.

I have a 40 Gallon Tank given to me, which was previously used as a freshwater Aquarium.
I am planning to upgrade to a 175 Gallon Tank, but want to get a better understanding before I upgrade. I have bought some overkill equipment hoping I can use it when I upgrade in a year or so.
Fluval FX6 Filter (1500L)
Hydor 1600 + 5600 l/h Powerheads
TMC V2 300 Skimmer
Fluorescent Marine T5 45W Blue & White Lighting

I have just added some 7Kg Bluestone & 5Kg Fiji Live Rock both cured.I have had a lot of ammonia in the tank currently reading at 4.0ppmAmmonia.Hoping this will help my biological filtration complete its cycle.
Tank has been running for 3 weeks.

Protein skimmer is not running as I believe it should be.As others I have seen running on the net, are creating a lot more foam. mine has no foam just lots of bubbles. Been running for 4 days

My Hydor 5600 l/h may be to big/ powerful for the little tank, but what I have heard, you can never have to much movement in the tank.

Is my Live Rock stacked in the best way, I believe I have defiantly placed it in the most aesthetically looking way with the best sides facing forwards, and have tried to create as many nooks, caves and surface area as possible. I really do not want to move the rock unless absolutely necessary. I also want to add Soft Corals to the live rock, so is the structure suitable for that.

My future plans for this tank are to have Live Coral & Reef Safe Fish

I have uploaded a video to try and help you get a better understanding of my Setup and question with my Protein Skimmer

40 Gallon Marine Aquarium - YouTube
the stacking of your rocks is all on how you like the main thing is that it is stable dont want to come home to rock water and fish on the floor
Rock work looks good, and yes, that is a SHIT-ton of flow in that size tank. I'd try aiming it at the rock to cut some of the flow down. Also, I'm not sure if it was wise to use a tank that was previously set up for freshwater. I can't for the life of me remember why, I know I have read that somewhere, and even heard it on this forum (I think). You're only doing FOWLR right? That's a 2 bulb T5 fixture right? If so, you'll only be able to do soft corals with that (and probably not even all softies). I'd get at least a 4 bulb fixture for that tank if you're going to add corals eventually. Other then that, looks pretty good. Your cycle should take about 4-8 weeks. Once you see Nitrites start to spike, you'll see the Ammonia start to drop shortly after. After that, your Nitrites will turn into Nitrates. After you see your Nitrites are completely gone, wait a few days, then do a 20% water change and you'll be ready for your first fish. Welcome aboard, glad to have ya :).

Also, I'd get rid of all the media inside the Canister Filter. The pads in there will start to breed Nitrates. Take it all out and replace it with Live Rock Rubble and Sand. Much better filtration. The Live Rock will help keep the Nitrates (Which aren't nearly as harmful as Ammonia or Nitrites [But can be in high quantities]) lower. And the one sure fire way to lower Nitrates, is by doing water changes. :)
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Anthony really pleased with your reply,
I have been stuck with a good canister media combination for awhile and have not found mush apart from the usual carbon and biomax media.
I added some left over bluestone live rock rubble into the canister filter about 2 weeks ago.
Any further advice into your suggested sand and rock combo would be great.
I have 3 sections currently set up as 4x carbon bags top, live rock middle and biomax bottom.
I know a canister filter is by no means the best solution but is my only option as I not have the room for a sump.
Light info is great advice, I just don't want to invest to much further cost into this tank as it is not ideal, and would like to upgrade to a 200 gallon tank in the future
I would like to add soft corals in the future
Can you suggest any corals that would cope with my curren 2 bulb T5 light setup
You have been a great help
You rocks look great, but I would be careful if you get any creatures that sift the substrate or move it around, My engineer goby caused a major colapse one day on me. That flat rock on the left near the top probably has enough lighting for some soft corals. I had some green star polyps do AMAZING and spread like mad in a 10 gal tank with 2 20w standard style florescent bulbs (t8?), one blue actinic the other daylight(5500k i think?)

As for your skimmer, the bubbles look about right, but it looks like it has no protein to skim. The proteins are the bad stuff that makes the foam. A lot of people throw a raw table shrimp in their tank to get the cycle going faster, then you would see that skimmer foaming haha.
Thanks for your reply Ryan708

Have been really pleased with the live rock, really starting to show some colour now, have got 8 Turbo Snails and 2 Algae Herbit Crabs which are doing a great job of cleaning up the rock.
Good advice regarding unstable ground due to Shrimp etc activity.
Thats the last thing i would want. Any suggestions to avoid this, or just a good idea to make sure its foundations are not being moved and shift some more sand around the rock if needed.
I actually just purchased a Green Star Polyps yesterday along with a Blue Mushroom. Great to see the Green Star open its buds up each day.

In regards to the protein skimmer, i agree with the quote that there is not enough protein to start it foaming. I am happy to wait or would you suggest to add a raw shrimp to get things started.

Thanks for your responce

If it's a Four Chamber Canister, I'd do it (Just how I'd do it) : Bot - Top: Sand - LR Rubble - Sand - LR Rubble. If you do though, put like a screen netting under the sections with the sand, and use a little courser sand. The Fine stuff will just fall right through.
I wouldn't use sand in a canister filter !!! Water flows thru it and will be like a miny sand storm and if you use screen to keep it packed it will eventually get clogeed and be just like having clogged filter floss.

If I where you I would just use it for Carbon Live Rock, And maybe Chemy Pure, It will also help with having some nice flow in the tank. If you wanted you could add filter floss in the top section, so that you could change it fairly easy. When using filter floss you want to change it out ever 2 to 3 days if not it will just store nutrients and make your nitrates go up.
I didn't have any problems with sand being blown around when I did it lol. I used coarse sand, with a net, and never had any clogging :o. But, maybe just 4 chambers of LR rubble, like, larger pieces, smaller pieces, large pieces, smaller pieces? LR is great filtration :p
I guess I can see what you mean if its in a neating, I tought you meant like spreed flat over the surface of one of the compartments. That's why I could see it flying around or clogging if its help compact.
Yeah, that would be awful. I used almost like mesh netting for a screen door, and tucked it at the bottom. Poured course sand and filled the chamber up. Did that for two chambers, each was about 3" deep. So, between the two, about 6" of sand in there, and the rest was filled with tiny/small pieces of LR rubble. Worked pretty well :p
I think that's too many turbo snails. They won't have anything to eat. You want a variety of tiny ones eventually. Astera, (sp), cerith, nerite, etc. But 8 turbos is a whole heck of a lot of turbos.