In a great find on Thursday, I came across Blue Sierra Exotics in Issaquah and their awesome Anniversary Sale. We headed over before Kevin’s football game yesterday morning, and came away with 70-some lbs of live rock (about 80% Fiji, the rest Marshall Islands), 80 lbs of substrate, 2 maxijet 600s, a power filter, a return pump for our sump, 2 heaters to replace the faltering one that came with the tank, an overflow box, and tons of tubing and sponges for about $650. We were both extremely pleased. This will bring our pre-fish total on expenses to about $1080, which is about half of what we were told to expect for a 55 gallon tank. Not bad!!
I have to personally commend the Blue Sierra folks. The store was packed, and even so we never waited more than two minutes to talk to someone. Everyone we talked to was knowledgeable, helpful, and took their time answering our questions. (Best of all, they talked to *both* of us, instead of doing that obnoxious “converse with the male in charge” thing that’s happened at other fish stores, car dealers, etc. Their eye contact was split 50-50% — way to overcome one of my biggest peeves!!) They had a good selection of brands, the prices were reasonable, and their fish all looked happy. I’m definitely going back. If any Seattle area fish people are reading this, I recommend them highly.
When we got back, I spent about 3 hours washing the substrate. You can see the milky water in the bucket along with my 3 handfuls of substrate. It continued to look like this for about 7 rinses, and then the water would gradually get clearer.
I gave up after about 30 lbs worth due to rubbed-raw hands. Kevin did the last 10 lbs or so when he got back from the game. Thank goodness substrate is one of those one-time things in setting up the tank. We still have another 40 pound bag, unopened. I think another 10 pounds or so of the stuff would probably look good, but between having to wash it out and the prospect of getting $45 dollars back for returning it, I think that bag may stay unused.
Kevin spent a bunch of time this afternoon buying more tubing and setting up the protein skimmer, sump, overflow box, and return pump. Everything’s flowing well now, although we have a lot of tiny bubbles. Hopefully those will settle down as the water gets a chance to run. Here he is with the tank as of last night (the water looks so cloudy due to the substrate. It’s settled down a lot since, and now our only cloudiness is coming from the bubbles.):
We’re both so excited about this.