By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with John

John writes...

Hi Bob,

I have read your articles in FAMA for yeas, and have a new 90 gallon overflow system with custom 30 gallon sump. I'm getting 80 pounds of live sand along with having 90 pounds of live rock shipped to me. I have read 10 different ways to set up a new tank. Should I fill the tank halfway up then add the rock and lastly the sand, or should I put the rock in before water then add sand. What is the best way to do this?

Thank you very much for your time,


Bob replies...

Hi John,

Thanks for your email, and that's a question I've seen several times over the past few years. My preference is to add the sand first to the empty tank, which should be level before filling. Then place a towel on the bottom sand surface and slowly pour the premixed seawater upon the towel so as to prevent having a lot of cloudiness in the aquarium water when finished filling. Fill only to ¾ full. Then place the live rock as desired, and finish filling the tank. Start all your pumps and filters except your protein skimmer, as that should not be used for the first two weeks, as that could slow the formation of the nitrifying bacteria.

Hope this helps.



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