hi everybody, i am very new to this forum... in fact i just signed up :) i have seen a lot of posts by various users but the more i learn about them...the more i'm scratching my head saying wuuuuttt? I wanna buy a bimac for they are easy to care for plus the fact that they r very common. anyways.... i have a list of q's down below. btw... i do have a sorta tight budget so i rlly don't wanna buy anything expensive. 1) what is salinity? how do u test it? 2) what is a good filter and NOT EXPENSIVE? 3) how can u tell if the water has been fully cycled or matured? 4) what is the pH lvl have to be? 5) Can i use distilled water that says that it has been processed using reverse osmosis,advanced filtration,ozone,and distillation technologies. if i can't use distilled water then wat kind of water is best for them? tap water w/ water conditioner perhaps? 6) how do u prevent octo's from escaping? what do u use? 7) how do u get rid of nitrate and if u buy a new tank then there should b no copper right? 8)what's a protein skimmer?