I underestimated the amount of time I needed to make RO water but snuck in under the wire. I liked using the refractometer and feel more confident about it. I compared it with the plastic hydrometer and they were off by .003. However, both were in the 'safe zone'. So, my water parameters were (tested all of 'em for practice):
s.g. 1.024 , salinity 30
ammonia, nitrite, nitrate 0 (obviously)
Calcium 500 ppm
Alkalinity 3 meq/l
In summary, I ordered 20lbs of the premium LR, uncured, nano package from premiumaquatics.com. They were very friendly, very professional, answered all my questions and shipped that day. Took exactly 48 hours to arrive. Here are some pix.
Sorry if the pix are boring, but, for any of you who never ordered live rock like me, here is how it arrived:
The shipment arrived with wet paper but no water. Didn't really have an odor.
As you can see below, my LR rubble was separately packaged. Notice the good red and green coralline algae.
I removed 1/3rd of the seawater, placed some of my live sand towards the back and then I tried to arrange the rock as an atoll, or C-shaped. It wasn't easy with the rock pieces and small tank size. I wish I spent more time as a kid doing building blocks. It wasn't easy trying to get the rock to lock...I may even try a rearrange. I then added live sand, leaving room for a bit more when the live sand from a live tank arrives (around 5lbs). After most of the dust cleared...and trust me it was pea soup, I turned the lights on to take a pic for the thread:
I have a cave on the right, a reasonable C (indentation in the front), an open hole in the top back, lots of crevices. I might adjust the rock on the left.
Here is another shot that shows good green coralline algae and directly below it, pink coralline algae. None of the lfs's where I live had rock with this color:
So, time to cycle. Then we await a little algae growth, then it will be time for the 'cleanup crew'. I'll leave the lights off for now and let things settle. Supposedly, this thing can get quite rank. We'll see. And.....I'm not going to torture everyone with daily water parameters.