New to saltwater, what is/will this stuff be?


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I picked up another live rock today, because my 50 gal tank looked so empty with only 3.75 lbs of live rock in it so far (its only a week old) so I got another chunk today. The normal guy wasnt there, he was having some lady that didnt know anything run the shop today, and I found a piece of live rock with what appears to be coral on it...? It may be a stupid question, but will this stuff continue to grow? or is it likely that it is dead and was still on there from the wild? I only have 2 19w light bulbs and from what I understand that wont support coral...? Ive taken some pics, i've got some other random stuff growing and was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction as to where its going, or what I'm going to need to do to make it grow? also any other advice for a beginner? I'll post links to the pictures I took here:

This is the cool looking coral thing: - Free Online File Storage, Internet File Sharing, Online Storage, Access Documents & Files Anywhere, Backup Data, Send Files

This is the cool spikey coral formation thing, not the best pic but i have a compact digital camera that focuses on its own and it doesnt like my fish tank...: - Free Online File Storage, Internet File Sharing, Online Storage, Access Documents & Files Anywhere, Backup Data, Send Files

And this is my other live rock, just random red and white gooey stuff all over it, what will this turn into? I bought this one while the main guy was there and he was naming it, but i have no idea what that means to me... - Free Online File Storage, Internet File Sharing, Online Storage, Access Documents & Files Anywhere, Backup Data, Send Files

Hopefully the pics work, if not someone let me know and ill try and find a better way to upload them? Or can I do some html inserts in the actual post?
Hello and welcome! You'll like it here :D.

For the first picture, if it's completely white, then it's just dead coral skeleton.

Is the cool spikey thing hard? If so, I would also guess that it's dead coral.

The white gooey stuff looks like a sponge to me.

To insert the pictures into the post, you need to post the code, not html.

You have around 40 watts total on a 55 gallon tank, less than 1 watt per gallon. To support the easiest, least light intensive corals you need around 4 watts per gallon. The lights that you have now will be fine if all you want to keep is fish, but in the future when you start thinking about adding corals, anemones or clams, you will have to buy new lights.

What kind of filtration/skimmers are you running?
yay, a response already! I'm not sure what my tank is exactly... its not a 55, its too short, but online I did a calculator thing and it said 50.xxxx its.. 48x12.5x18. For a filter I have a skilter 400, with a built in skimmer, and some older black thing... Some aqua-tech thing, just to increase water flow on the other side of the tank. I'm not sure if the spikey thing is hard, i was afraid to touch it in case i broke/killed it... I could check, what about that bigger coral formation on the side? Also i've got more questions you may be able to answer? ive been sitting around for days watching my tank and wondering, then I go into the store today and the guy isnt there, so i couldn't get any questions answered... About cycling and nitrates and stuff. He set me up with everything i should need he said, but i didnt get any form of nitrate tester? just a hydrometer, skilter, salt, live sand, crushed coral, and a tank that had the 2 24" hoods with lights that was used for a good deal.
The first day I went in and got a live rock and a damsel i took some water and he tested it, PH was perfect, salt was good, and he said everything looked good, 2 days and my first velvet damsel is doing great, today i was too overly excited to get more stuff in my tank so i went to get another rock, and i wanted 1 more fish for now, and I hear im rushing things, so I guess i'm done with adding any fish for a while now. But with the cycling process, im kinda worried. I couldnt even sleep well last night, I kept waking up to check the water temp cause i wasnt sure if it was going to keep stable if I had my air conditioner on in my room or not, but it stayed fine, I just got up like 4 times in the middle of the night to check it. About the nitrates, thats what im worried about, with adding fish so soon because im not a patient person... ive got about 3 inches of fish in my 50 or so gallon tank after only like... 4 days, is this ok? I have live sand and crushed coral, which i think is a buffer so its a good thing?
You do need test kits. The basic ones you MUST have on hand for now are: pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Here's how your cycle will go: Ammonia will spike, then drop. Nitrites will spike, then drop. Nitrates will spike and will stay elevated. Once your ammonia AND nitrites are at 0, do a water change, around 20% of your tanks volume (which, with the dimensions you gave, is basically a 55 gallon). At this point, your tank is done cycling and you can add a fish or two.

Live rock is an excellent natural filter. You want to aim for 1 to 2 lbs of live rock per gallon, so you would want 50 to 100 lbs. Live rock is EXPENSIVE, especially if you buy it locally. But at Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums, you can get it for around $3 to $4 per lb.

Keep in mind, since you are starting with so little rock, anytime you add rock in the future you are probably going to start another cycle.

What are you using to cycle now anyways? I don't think that little amount of rock would be enough to complete a full blown cycle. You should add a piece of shrimp (the eating kind you get at the grocery store) and just let it rot in the tank. This will start your cycle for you.

The easiest and best way to get nitrates to drop is just to do regular water changes. A good standard is 10% of your tanks volume once a week, or 20% every two weeks.
Do not add any more fish until your tank finished cycling. Or they will probably die. Cycling using fish is not a good idea. It can take several weeks for the tank to cycle, so hold on!

Aragonite sand is better than crushed coral. Crushed coral will likely lead to nitrate problems down the line because it traps crap and dead stuff.

In this hobby if you're not patient, all you'll gain is an empty bank account and lots of dead animals. Take it slow, you'll be glad you did.

Oh, and DON'T get anymore damsels. They are super aggressive fish and will try to kill anything you add to the tank from now on. They usually kill any fish that they can get their hands on, and I had one that killed any coral I tried to put near its territory. They are some of the worst fish you can get, in my opinion.
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Hey Bro, can you post some pics of your whole tank, and the filter... Pay close attention to what Biff and others say on this site, they know what they are talking about... You will love it here, when I first started I belonged to like half a dozen site like this, but this is the only one I stay on... Post some more pics of your setup and let us know what your goals of keeping stuff are and then we have a better understanding of your needs are... Definately pick up a test kit that includes Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate to start off, that way you can keep track of your cycle...
Welcome to the reef,Like Biff said,you'll like it here.

Your tank is roughly 47 gallons.
And you do need to slow down.Only bad things happen fast when it comes to saltwater tanks.
And within 6 months,you'll hate that crushed coral.Trust me,I have first hand experince on that one.
I can see the pics, they just open on a different tab when I click the link.

First off welcome to the reef, Seems like Biff has got ya going in the right direction. Take your time with this hobby, speed will get ya in a lot of trouble. Plus taking your time, asking questions will save to aggravation, not to mention cold, hard cash... No question is too small... Ask away...

Post pics, we all love pics here, a lot of people use photobucket, or the site here for hosting pics, makes it really fast for posting pics and stuff...

Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket
Yeah, just from what the guy at the pet shop said Damsels are a good first fish because they are hardy and will live through the cycling and stuff. But they are really territorial from what im seeing, each one has its own rock and they are very reclusive kinda, as cool as they look, they spend a lot of the time hiding and rarely venture out around the tank... unless thats just cause they are new and scared yet? What do you guys suggest doing with fish that you dont want or arent compatible with something that you really do want in the future? And for live rocks from that site that you posted the link for pretty cheap, how much is shipping? Its sometimes hard to find that out with out setting up an account and actually buying stuff from the site before they tell you how much it will cost to ship... The local shop is like $8/pound for live rock... which seems INSANE to me... Ive got around 9 lbs so far in there.. here ill try snapping some pics of my setup, but my camera hates my aquarium for some reason...
Welcome to the site!

I can see your pics and although I'm late,the first 3 picks looks like dead coral skeletons.I've ordered live rock from them,expect shipping to be around $40.
Damsels are extremely hard to catch... Nothing much you can do about them once they're in there, since they are also almost impossible to kill. Rule #1: Don't believe everything the salesmen (i.e. fish store employees) tell you! Cycling with damsels is always a bad move! If you must cycle with a fish, at least use one of the least aggressive ones, like green chromis.

$8/lb is an average price for live rock. Buying it online is still cheaper. You can put it in your shopping cart and it will calculate shipping, but you can cancel the order before you place it if you don't like the final price at Drs. Foster and Smith.
Alright I snapped a few more pics by request, give me some feedback, such as rock placement.. heater placement? right next to the intake on my main filter ok? temp has been holding pretty good for the last day or so. ill just post some pics and let me hear any comments please! thanks!