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rO.oster's 29G Biocube Experience


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#1
rO.oster

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Hey everyone!

At long last, I finally have reached the point where I can start to log my adventure into the saltwater world. When I was younger I kept live bearing freshwater fish, and always dreamed of having a saltwater setup. Now life affords the possibility so I aim to take things slow and enjoy the entire process.

I have been lurking and reading threads here since last November 09, deciding to go with an all in one for the sleek style and DIY modability. Having to deal with all the retailers and research into all the products has been a long process in itself, trying to balance a low price with ensuring the right operation.


Current equipment:

  • Oceanic BioCube 29G with BC stand
  • Nanotuners Heatsink, 10NW/17RB/3CB CREE 3W running with 2x 750ma dimmable Thomas Research Drivers
  • Vortech MP10ES wave-maker
  • Hydor Pico Evolution 1200 fuge pump
  • Hydor Theo 150w heater
  • inTank media / fuge basket
  • Lifeguard BIG digital thermometer/alarm
  • GFI outlet
  • Coralife Deep Six hydrometer
  • API reef master / saltwater master test kits (pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Calcium, Carbonate Hardness, Phosphate)
  • Aquatic Life 115 mini internal nano protein skimmer


Tank Media:

  • 30lbs Caribsea Seaflor Special Grade [1-2mm]
  • 20lbs BRS Fiji Dry Aquarium Eco Rock (Locktite putty secured)
  • Instant Ocean Reef Crystals salt mix
  • 2.5lbs live rock picked from the LFS. It turns out this rock was covered in aiptasia, bubble and many bad hair algae. After seeding, I eventually destroyed this rock.


AIO modifications:

  • On the back of the aquarium, I relocated and enlarged the Chamber 2 cutout in the paint for the refugium light mod. The dimensions are approx. 6" wide x 8" tall and allow the chateo media rack to be fully illuminated.
  • Refugium light is made from a 72 cubic inch current install 4 junction gang box, 3w NW Cree LED @ 350mA. It is secured with velcro, lined with mylar on the interior, and spray painted black to match. Passive ventilation only.

    fuge2.jpg

  • Cut plastic tab between chamber 1 and 2 to fit the U channel sent with the media racks.
  • Removed the false bottom, carbon filter and plastic filter holder in Chamber 1.
  • Removed the bio-balls and false floor in Chamber 2. Inserted media rack(s). Filter floss in top rack, 100mL Purigen in the middle, and Chemipure Elite in the bottom rack.
  • Removed the blue sponge between chambers 2 and 3 as well as the green tube and 90 degree fitting in Chamber 3.
  • Plumbed a 5/8" ID tube straight to the exit hole from the Pico Evolution 1200. Removed nozzle from display side of exit.
  • Increased airflow through light by removing the metal light reflector grating covering both fans.
  • Upgraded lighting by adding 1 x 36w PC bulb. I modified the reflector to house the moon lights (glued to reflector) and lined to back with mylar.

    3lights.jpg

  • Replaced stock fans with 2 60mmx25mm Vantec duel bearing fans. Removed stock transformer controlling the fans inside of the hood and instead ran in parallel to a 12V .35A wallwart.

    vantec_stealth_120.jpg.



DIY0002.jpg DIY0003.jpg DIY0004.jpg


The substrate received a good rinse and the base rock was scrubbed and rinsed as much as possible. Despite the effort, foreign matter and debris still remained in those rocks, they are far from clean. The RO/DI finished filling after spending the 4th of July weekend looking at a pile of rocks at odd and difficult angles. I added cured seed rock two days later, and today I take my first set of readings:

7/09/2010
Temp: High 83o Low 80o
Salinity: 1.025
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 1.0ppm
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm



Thank you for all your help NR, hopefully I can give some back by logging my run. Bring on the cycle! fingerscrossed

Edited by rO.oster, 06 January 2013 - 02:55 AM.


#2
rO.oster

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Saving this spot for the LED DIY :ninja:

#3
Edelmango

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I'm gonna follow you.....I have a very similar set up. :D
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Nanotuners 3.36 w/Silenx fans
Rapid LED dimmable
StevieT Media basket
Tunze 9002 w/InTank cup
Koralia 750
Ecotech MP 10
Hydor Pico 1200 return
MJ 900 return
R2 Solutions Extreme Moonlight
BRS reactor w/ GFO & MJ 900
JBJ ATO

2 Picasso Clowns, YWG, Red Firefish

GSP, Red Lobo, Green Trumpet, Purple Trumpet, Frogspawn, Orange acan, Pink acan, Green toadstool, Purple tonga shroom, Green/Red metallic brain, War coral,
Yellow tip torch, Florida Ric, Green Zoa, Eagle Eye zoa, Blue Zoa, Hammer Coral, Pom Pom Xenia

Peppermint Shrimp, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Orange sea star

#4
rO.oster

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Well as you can see I have aiptasia. Any suggestions? As more life emerges I can see there are a number of baby ones on this rock as well, I need to quash this before they spread to the dry rocks. Can I get a very small peppermint and have it pick it clean and then return it to the LFS when they are all gone? Else can I grab a pair of tweezers and try and try and pick off all the aiptasia parts? I'm sure they would all close up when i moved the rock.

Also I am concerned about the sponge. I read if you piss off a sponge it can nuke your tank, and aside from getting rid of my aiptasia problem, I don't want this happening in the future. Should I pick it off the rock? Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Edited by reeferRudy, 11 July 2010 - 11:43 AM.


#5
SlowGoing

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I shall be following you, as well! Just started the process last week.
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#6
XIII

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Great aquascape.

If I were you, I'd just remove that rock piece with the aiptasia and get a different piece; safest way to be sure.

#7
KERZMES

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Well as you can see I have aiptasia. Any suggestions? As more life emerges I can see there are a number of baby ones on this rock as well, I need to quash this before they spread to the dry rocks. Can I get a very small peppermint and have it pick it clean and then return it to the LFS when they are all gone? Else can I grab a pair of tweezers and try and try and pick off all the aiptasia parts? I'm sure they would all close up when i moved the rock.

Also I am concerned about the sponge. I read if you piss off a sponge it can nuke your tank, and aside from getting rid of my aiptasia problem, I don't want this happening in the future. Should I pick it off the rock? Any suggestions?

Thanks!

there is a process where you take out the rock from the aquarium and u put it inside fresh water for a couple of seconds, it did work form me but my aiptasias werent that big, good luck with that

#8
Meengineer0128

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Nice setup. I would just swap out the rock and save yourself time and effort. Also, trash the Hydrometer and get a nice refractometer. The front end cost may be a bit, but in the end, the readings are more accurate. I had the same hydrometer that said my tank was at 1.027. Bought a Milwaukee Refrac with the two calibrating solutions and it turned out my tank was at 1.025. Any literature you read will tell you that they can be off if your tank temperature is not at what the hydrometer was calibrated too. You won't have that problem with a refrac. Just my .02. Welcome to NR.
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#9
rO.oster

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Great aquascape.

If I were you, I'd just remove that rock piece with the aiptasia and get a different piece; safest way to be sure.


thanks, your scape helped inspire me! But unfortunately, there is only 1 LFS serving the capitol of AR, and this was the BEST piece they had. I tried buying some of their sand from an established tank to seed my sandbed, and they literally told me I don't need that, it comes from the LR, which is true I know, but there HAS to be sand dwelling creatures in the ....sand to help speed things up? :huh: what do you think about that sponge, should I pick it off?


there is a process where you take out the rock from the aquarium and u put it inside fresh water for a couple of seconds, it did work form me but my aiptasias werent that big, good luck with that


i've read about some fw dips for emergency cases, i need to do more research to know when this is appropriate


Nice setup. I would just swap out the rock and save yourself time and effort. Also, trash the Hydrometer and get a nice refractometer. The front end cost may be a bit, but in the end, the readings are more accurate. I had the same hydrometer that said my tank was at 1.027. Bought a Milwaukee Refrac with the two calibrating solutions and it turned out my tank was at 1.025. Any literature you read will tell you that they can be off if your tank temperature is not at what the hydrometer was calibrated too. You won't have that problem with a refrac. Just my .02. Welcome to NR.


thanks a lot, props to a fellow engineer, i see your av around the office hehe B) certainly, a refractometer would be most ideal. i think i need to take a water sample I've taken measurements on and have them run a test (if they do that sort of thing) to see what my differences are. is there a universal calibration temp for the deep six's?

thank you all for your help, i know ill have a lot more questions, all input welcome :)

Edited by reeferRudy, 14 July 2010 - 09:15 AM.


#10
Coraline Kati

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Great scape...I'm diggin the arch!
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#11
rO.oster

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Great scape...I'm diggin the arch!


rawr :D

7/13/2010 Sunset, 7 Days into cycle

The beginnings of a brown bloom starting to form. Parameters are as follows:
Temp: 82.0o
pH 8.0
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 1.0 ppm
Nitrate 10ppm

Seems like things are progressing as planned. I am on a 12 hr sunrise/sunset lighting cycle with 8hrs on the white 10k. Moonlights and fuge light on 10pm to 7am. I modified the shiny metal reflector plate that covers the fans inside the splash shield, totally removing the thin metallic grating by snipping down the center, folding, and cutting off the grating. This now allows air to more freely pass through the compartment and has stabilized my temperature swing to just 79.9o-82.1o. I might still upgrade the fans and run with a wallwart to remove the heat further.

my media racks arrived from that T guy, they are pretty freakin sweet -_-

#12
rO.oster

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FTS 7/15/10


What can brown do for you? I am starting to see little tuffts of green sprouting from the gravel, this is certainly new growth! The LR seems to be making it ok so far, but it has at least 10 aiptasia on it (lots of really small ones) . I think I will wait 2 more weeks for a CUC and grab the peppermint shrimp then to combat. Today I visited the LFS and compared my deep six hydrometer to the guys refractometer. In my case, my device reads .001 too high. So If I am hitting 1.026, I am in good shape and will be maintaining a 1.025 salinity. He also hooked me up with two handfuls of sand directly from a running tank, this I spread around my sandbed to seed it up with the worms and different organisms.

So for now I guess I'll leave the sponge in place. I sure would like a second opinion.

Edited by reeferRudy, 31 December 2010 - 10:30 AM.


#13
rO.oster

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I am glad I could seed my sand with some very live sand from the LFS. Found this dude last night so I had some camera fun.

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#14
Degener8

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Boiling water and a syringe are good.. especially since your still cycling it won't do any harm to the cycle to boil a few aptasia and it won't damage the bacteria cultures..

just boil some water in the microwave.. take it (very hot be careful) to the tank side.. load up a syringe and hose the lil monsters down.. : )

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#15
rO.oster

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Boiling water and a syringe are good.. especially since your still cycling it won't do any harm to the cycle to boil a few aptasia and it won't damage the bacteria cultures..

just boil some water in the microwave.. take it (very hot be careful) to the tank side.. load up a syringe and hose the lil monsters down.. : )


thanks! I would think walmart sells the syringes? so far all i have is a baster and i was afraid of killing too much coralline around it with the big flow it does, i really have a lot of shades of red, pink, and purple. its amazing!

#16
rO.oster

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FTS 7/22/2010


Temp: 81.9o
Salinity: 1.025
pH: 8.3
Ammonia: 0 mg/L
Nitrite: 0 mg/L
Nitrate: 0-5 mg/L
Carbonate Hardness dKH: 7 (140 mg/L)
Calcium: 400 mg/L
Phosphate: 0.25 mg/L

Where to begin? What I find most funny is that I am now spending very little time browsing the forums in the evening, and mostly being caught gazing distractedly at my ever developing tank. This thing literally grows and changes in front of my eyes, it holds me captivated.

Sunday July 18 I ran my tests and turned up pH 8.3, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate 0, salinity steady @1.025. I know since I am using dry rock/seed live rock to cycle my tank that there wasn't much of a cycle to occur, rather I will need to be in it for the long run to properly seed my rock with the bacteria and life necessary to maintain larger lifeforms. What was astounding is that in the matter of about 48 hours, the brown diatom bloom shedded off of the rock and substrate (I had to replace my floss twice in 2 days), and was replaced by growing hairs of algae. As of now some of these stands are like 5 inches long and wave erratically in the current. I am enjoying the progression.

I moved my MP10 to the left side of the tank, and I am using the return from the Pico Evolution to actually disturb/disrupt the flow at the surface of the water right above the MP10. This is so I can run it at 80%ish (when it hits the high points in Ecosmart modes) without sucking in a whirlpool of air. It also acts to further push the direction of flow towards the fuge grates, and effectively swirl the water around in a circular motion in sync with the fuge return, creating awesome flows everywhere in the tank. So far I am very pleased.

If the pics seem cloudy, that is because the tank is cloudy. It is filled with thousands of little white tiny fleas (copeopods i presume), and they cover everything inside of the tank, and float around in the water column. Its crazy, Ill turn up my MP10 and cloud them up as they all swirl around. The aiptasia don't even fully extend because they just sit there hungrily grubbing them up. This is a great sign, I think this weekend I will pick up a small ball of chateo for the back. Everything seems to be well if not better (pod explosion) since I started running the fuge light for 8 hrs during moonlight time. My temps have stabilized even more, they now range from 81.5-82.5oF. I will do my first 20% water change this weekend, and then 10% every week.

Can anyone tell me if the glowing green on my rocks is green coralline, algae, or pineapple sponge (spores?) spreading everywhere? You can clearly see it, I never recall seeing stuff this color in tank threads before. It really pops under the lights. See the pics attached, can someone please advise what this glowing green stuff is?

How long should I wait for my CuC? Recommendations for what to get? I think I am going to avoid the standard Hermit Crab, though I really want to enjoy their antics as its apart of Nature as well. I might be convinced yet. ;)

Edit: The purple is actually OLD coralline on the dry rock, the green is what's new.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Week3GreenGlow.JPG
  • Green_glow_comparison.JPG

Edited by reeferRudy, 22 July 2010 - 07:09 PM.


#17
TheMac86

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Looking good. Go with scarlet red reef hermit, they are reef And snail safe.
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#18
Coraline Kati

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The golden brown bloom was beautiful while it lasted. Now those algae are really working it..remind me of the Grinch!

Edited by Coraline Kati, 10 August 2010 - 05:53 AM.

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#19
Solarflare8806

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I remember when I first got my nanocube and I watched as it transformed from barren to brown to green then lots o green. I remember that when the bryopsis grew i was really intrigued with it. I let it spread all over my tank. I really loved the billowy appearence of it.


I regretted letting it grow tho. . . . . I had to re-scrub all the rock in my tank which was a pain, and it really never went away. I thought my CuC would take care of it but I couldn't find anything that would eat it or at least make it disappear. I eventually had more problems with it down the road growing on my corals and inhibiting their growth.

Anyways your off to a great start! Good luck and have fun!!

#20
rO.oster

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I remember that when the bryopsis grew i was really intrigued with it.


well you just opened up a whole can. i am still on the fence deciding whether its Hair algae or Bryopsis, and i don't think my LFS has any turbo snails :o

i can say, that the pieces sticking out of the single middle continuous stalk look more like the soft hairs on a tomato plant, sticking out in all directions; and less like a feather, fan blade style

Edited by reeferRudy, 15 August 2010 - 10:06 AM.


#21
rO.oster

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Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games....

The green hair algae has gotten crazy out of control, so I payed a visit to reefCleaners.org and got the $15 quick crew, freebie macro, and some empty shells for my hermits to grow into. They arrived two days later and I am happy to say that there was like 100 dwarf ceriths, not the stated 20. I also got hooked up on the empty shells too, so overall I am very happy with the 100% survival rate.

Posted Image


I will admit I got burned by the LFS, they had me at $2.50 per snail when I bought 7 ceriths a week before. I tried asking what they went for, but didn't get a response until i saw the final price at the register. I contemplated bringing it back, but their karma overall isn't all that good so I didn't want to ruin any good vibes.

I did pick up a tiny chunk of xenia, 7 blue leg hermits, and one peppermint shrimp to battle the aiptasia. I placed the live rock near the nook the peppermint has taken refuge in. I saw it tear aggressively into the rock a few times (like my dentist with her pick), but the last few days its been pretty dormant. Overall it is very shy. The blue leg hermits add some very fun antics to the tank, not to mention some series GHA choppage.

Posted Image


The tank teems with life and beckons with possibilities. Invertebrates infiltrate into every nook and cranny, their waste offering more food to fauna and beneficial micro organisms in order to balance the ecosystem. The presence of invasive new life shifts the balance of power into a new direction.

Edited by reeferRudy, 15 August 2010 - 10:06 AM.


#22
KureReefer

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Wow Rudy! It's really fun watching your tank grow!

Looking forward to seeing more!

#23
rO.oster

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Wow Rudy! It's really fun watching your tank grow!

Looking forward to seeing more!



thanks a lot!

my peppermint shrimp died, I am very upset. I should have known better, the introduction of the CuC and the algae consumption probably shifted my levels onwards to the next stages. I need to relax and let this cook for a while. I did a 20% water change today. I tried using hot water to squirt on the airtasia but it didnt work well, or rather, i didn't have a needle siringe to inject them with. I cooked a few down until they were a nub of jelly, but they grow back amazingly fast and resilient. I have aiptasia-X on the way along with some chemipure/purigen. this should help further bring down any irregularities. i will try again for a shrimp, but only when my system can maintain it.

Now that I have all the extra CuC, it has really pushed me into action to set up a quarantine tank. rather, my better half can set it up, and be involved with the process. We bought a 5.5gallon tank, and I've got a AC70 on the way. A nice DIY ahead with that. More to come later, lets hope everything holds out during vacation, one stock fan is already staring to scream for a minute or two upon start up. We are still hotly debating LED build vs. a 25w PC simple deal. No fair, she can't get LED before mE!!!!!! :o

Edited by reeferRudy, 31 July 2010 - 06:27 PM.


#24
SlowGoing

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I've got a 10 gallon tank that I am hoping to turn into a QT, as well.

Only have a 50W heater, power head, filter, thermometer, sand, atm ... I need lighting!
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#25
Primeval

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So for now I guess I'll leave the sponge in place. I sure would like a second opinion.



I'd leave it alone for now unless you planned on completely replacing that rock piece.