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Hi! This is one of those checking my thinking posts. If you missed my previous post I have been out of the hobby since 2007 and not sure I remember everything from then and for sure don't know if I am up to date on all the changes. Below I am going to list out my plan for the tank I plan on using to get back in and some of the equipment I am thinking of. If you have any of this and looking for a new home for it I am open to buying used. I have a handicap that limits my mobility to a power chair as well as restricts the use of my hands a good deal so going with something simpler and smaller so my daughter can help me with it. I expect the tank to have a couple of fish but mostly coral and a good invert cleaning crew. Thanks in advance for any time or help you can offer. 

Red Sea Max E 170 45 gallon AIO includes skimmer, lighting, system pump, Power center

Finnex HMH 150 Watt heater

45 lbs Live Rock - I am not seeing a lot of LR used, has something changed here?

Live Sand 40 lbs

Alternating flow powerhead Tunze 6055?


Salt mix (Whats good anymore? I used to use one that came in a white milk jug style container)

Glass scraper


What else?




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Yeah RO filter 

Used rock...pukani is banned wild.  Everything is man made now or you buy someone else's tank rock.  I can get you pukani live but it's out of state.  Tons of it though 😂

Red sea is always a good way to go for sure!

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Thanks, yes I do have an RO unit. (Good thinking though, I am no longer able to carry a couple of those big jugs around like I used to.) 

The Rock 🤯! Mixed feelings on that. I don't like the idea of destroying the reefs by any means, on the other hand the thrill of what is going to come out of the rock I just placed in my tank is gone now? I have to admit the random hitchhikers is what originally attracted me to saltwater. I still see a handful of places claiming to have live rock one from Fuji and the other with a leased location off of Florida (currently closed from Covid) Are these sites not legit? Whats the story with the pukani live?


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Dry rock and live rock both have advantages and disadvantages. There are a couple companies that put dry (mined on land) rock in the ocean and let it sit for a year or two then harvest it as live rock. This is legal to do. Just can no longer take rock off a reef anymore. And you can take some steps to process this rock to get rid of some of the bad hitchhikers that won't kill the good bacteria on the live rock (the reason for buying live rock). You can also do things to the dry rock to help get rid of the nitrates and phosphates bound up in it. This does take longer to do though. I think KP Aquatics is still shipping live rock.

Dry rock


No unwanted hitchhikers.

Cheaper than live rock


No biodiversity added to the tank. Yeah you can add bottled bacteria but it is not the same as what comes on live rock.

Many people are having problems with dinos that start with dry rock. ( dry rock may have nitrates and phosphates bound up in it and leach out into your tank,then you may use product to lower these and bottom out your nutrients which will cause dinos )Many thread about this on other sites.

No cool hitchhikers.

Longer tank cycle

Rock can leach nitrates and phosphates leading to algae problems later.


Live Rock from the ocean


Lots of biodiversity

Cool hitchhikers

Shorter tank cycle



Unwanted hitchhikers

Can have lots of algae

More expensive than dry rock


Live Rock from another Tank


Established rock with biodiversity (know the source where it came from)


Rock my have nitrates and phosphates bound up in it and leaching out. 

May have infestation of things you don't want, like algae, tons of bristle worm,  ich or other disease and parasites and many other things. (know the source of where it came from)


There are probably other pros and cons to each of these that I am not thinking about right now. 

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