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Nick's new 14g biocube


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#1
nwin

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Current shot: August 18, 2012
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Benny the blenny says what's up!

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Well, I've been into freshwater for a few years and finally took the plunge into saltwater. Since I have to move around every few years, I really didn't want to deal with a big tank, so when I saw the biocube on clearance, I jumped at it.


MODS:

Removed tab from chamber 1 and 2 to increase flow
Removed both false bottoms and sponge in chamber 3
Removed bioballs
InTank media basket has filter floss on top, purigen in the middle, and nothing in the bottom
Cut screens in front of fan to allow twice as much air to come in.
upgraded stock fans to these.
Two more fans added to feeder lid

Equipment:

Hydor Pico 1200
Koralia Nano 240
Hydor Flo Deflector
Steves Leds 14g biocube retrofit (9 royal blue luxeon leds, 5 neutral white LEDS)

Stock:
B/W ocellaris clownfish
pearly jawfish (Deceased :( )
Tail spotted blenny
CUC (nassarius, cerite, florida cerith snails, trochus snail, 3 hermits)
1 cleaner shrimp
1 peppermint shrimp
1 pom pom crab
1 emerald crab (Deceased)
2 random zoas
frogspawn
ricordea
dragon's breath macro
red grape algae


I bought some live sand and Red Sea Coral Salt which came in today, so I mixed up the distilled water to the correct salinity and went and bought some live rock...just about 15 pounds. I figure I'll let this go for about a month to make sure things are going correctly and everything is establishing itself well, and then we'll move on to a clean up crew.

March 3, 2012

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I've got a magnet cleaner coming in the mail soon, to get rid of all the cloudiness on the sides, and I think running the filters will help clear it out a bunch as well. I'm not completely sure if I'm going to keep the layout of the rocks as it is yet, but we'll see. I have some epoxy putty to set them together once I'm sure though.

I did notice this little guy though...any ideas?

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That's it for the upgrades for now. I've got a digital thermometer coming also, so I'll remove that other thermometer to get it out of the way. The bulbs are good for six months, so I'm thinking I'll use them for at least that long and then *maybe* move to LED...not sure yet, though.

Now some questions!

What's everyone think of the placement of the LR? I've got it so there's at least an inch of clearance on each side of the tank.

I do have a test kit, so I'll start testing the parameters tomorrow and see how things are going with that.

As for lights. I turned them on for the pictures, but should I have them on a timer or anything like that for now or should I keep them off? It's the stock biocube, so I've got the 2 led's, the actinic bulbs, and the white's. I know I have to keep the LED for the chaeto on about a 12 hour cycle, so that will be good to go, but I wasn't sure about the others and for what times to keep them at.

I've also heard I should switch out the two sets of white and actinic bulbs so that the fans run on a reverse setting? Why would this be beneficial, is it recommended?

My ultimate plan is to get some frogspawn, zoos, mushrooms, 2 clownfish, and then other things are up for debate. I was thinking a yellow head jawfish, but I'm worried my arag alive aragonite might be too large of sand for him to use as burrowing? Not too sure yet. My wife saw a dragon face pipefish today when we were getting the LR and fell in love, but I told her we have to wait and see what will happen with the tank and what's best to go where.

Suggestions are always welcome!

edit: Also looks like we might have some aptasia. Is this the thing where I should go out tomorrow and get some aptasia X or will I be good with ordering it through amazon and getting it on Wednesday?

Edited by nwin, 18 August 2012 - 04:48 PM.


#2
nwin

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Decided to change the placement of the rocks before I put some epoxy on them to keep them in place.

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I'm happy with the look of it, but I used too much epoxy in some noticeable places which I'm not liking...hopefully the growth will take care of most of it.

Here's to waiting for a month to get everything stabilized!

Edited by nwin, 07 May 2012 - 04:43 PM.


#3
nwin

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Alright, 3rd week in!

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The epoxy held really well in one spot, but in all the other spots it just came right apart. So, I decided to rescape it once again. This time, I'm just letting gravity do the work...I'm not going to worry about epoxy, it seems pretty sturdy so far.

I've had the lights coming on during the day for the last 5 days or so. I also put in a raw shrimp for a day and the ammonia shot up to .5 ppm. The shrimp was pulled yesterday and ammonia is sitting a bit below .25, nitrites 0, which I find a bit odd, nitrates 0-5ppm, salinity 1.025, temp 78-80. Turns out my thermometer is about 2 degrees warmer than actual temp, so I can stop freaking out when it reads 83 degrees.

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This is making me think the diatom bloom is in full swing. There was a bit yesterday, and then a ton today on the fans, rocks, and dirt, so that's good to see.

I already ordered a CUC and told John to please make sure I don't receive any extras. Here's hoping.

#4
tiggs

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Looks like you're off to a good start!

#5
nwin

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Looks like you're off to a good start!


Thanks!

More diatoms today, ammonia is somewhere between 0 and .25. I swear it's 0, my wife says it's between 0 and .25. We can't seem to agree with these darn API tests...

CUC comes tomorrow! I never thought I'd be so excited for snails!

Then I guess it's another 3-4 weeks of waiting to get my first fish or coral...not sure yet. My friend said go for a fish first, given the reasoning that I've had FW fish before, I'll know what a sick fish looks like, whereas I wouldn't know what a sick coral looks like. Unless I go for something really hardy like a zoa or something...

edit: OH and I got my timers in today! The acitnics come on from 9am to 9pm. The whites come on from 10am-8pm, then the moonlight LEDS and the Fuge LED go from 9pm-9 am.

I'm not bothering with the heater for right now...temperature seems to stay fairly steady between 78-80 or 81 without it.

Edited by nwin, 22 March 2012 - 05:47 PM.


#6
altolamprologus

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Your tank is coming along nicely :) The "little guy" in your first post is a white ball anemone (Pseudocorynactis sp.) They are harmless little non-photosynthetic nems that will eat micro crustaceans in your tank. If you want it to reproduce, you can feed it.

You're the type of man who passes by sports illustrated and grabs encyclopedia brittanica when you take a dump, huh?

Did someone mention Alto ???
Im GAGA for Alto !!

I'd give you a hug but you might stab me

29 gallon reef; 20 gallon angler lagoon

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#7
nwin

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Your tank is coming along nicely :) The "little guy" in your first post is a white ball anemone (Pseudocorynactis sp.) They are harmless little non-photosynthetic nems that will eat micro crustaceans in your tank. If you want it to reproduce, you can feed it.


Interesting and thanks for the ID! Right now my stocking might include either a pistol shrimp ora cleaner shrimp. Do you think those would be ok with that anemone?

#8
altolamprologus

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Interesting and thanks for the ID! Right now my stocking might include either a pistol shrimp ora cleaner shrimp. Do you think those would be ok with that anemone?

Yes, either of those would be fine. Pseudocorynactis anemones are harmless to just about everything.

You're the type of man who passes by sports illustrated and grabs encyclopedia brittanica when you take a dump, huh?

Did someone mention Alto ???
Im GAGA for Alto !!

I'd give you a hug but you might stab me

29 gallon reef; 20 gallon angler lagoon

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#9
phoenix91

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Looks good. I like the rocks how you have them now, i like the little cove in the left hand corner.

#10
nwin

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Looks good. I like the rocks how you have them now, i like the little cove in the left hand corner.



Thanks I'm glad I rearranged the rocks too! I think it looks a lot better!

Good to know that the anemones are harmless.

I've seen a TON of what look to be little pods on the glass today. Also, my reef cleaners order came in today! I didn't ask for any overstock because I was scared of getting too many, and John did just as I requested! The snails are already quick to work and it doesn't look like I had any die off that I can tell. There might be one little guy but that's it!

All the tank readings are at 0 except for nitrates which I'm thinking is about 5 ppm. Time to wait a while longer.

What would everyone say is a good time range to start adding the next phase? 2 weeks? a month?

I'm thinking my stocking list will be as follows:

2 clownfish
1 yellow head jawfish
1 cleaner shrimp
1-2 pom pom crabs

I have no idea what frags I'm going to put in there. Since I know nothing about them, I'm guessing some zoas or something? I have no clue about those...so I guess it's time to start reading up on that!

#11
nwin

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March 25, 2012: I've got snails!

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I ordered the 10g quick crew from reef cleaners and they've been at work hardcore! It came with:
10 Dwarf Ceriths
3 Nassarius
6 Florida Ceriths
2 Large & 2 Small to Medium Nerites

I made a note to John to not include any extras, and he happily obliged. It seems like the large Nerites are doing an awesome job, but it looks like they are leaving a *LOT* of waste behind. I'm going to check the levels later today, but man, who knew a snail could poop so much!

I'm definitely wanting to upgrade my fans and found some on new egg that might work, but there just isn't a lot of information on the wiring of them. I have 2 wires on the current fans and the ones I want have 3 wires...not sure what I'll be doing quite yet.

Anyways, a LOT of the diatom is gone and I seem to have yet another aiptasia!!! Argh. This is probably about the 10th one. I killed off 5 or 6 of them the first go around with some aiptasia X but now every couple of days I spot another one pop up. Just killin em off slowly...

#12
nwin

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Alright, so the CUC has done a great job...diatom is completely gone and the rocks and tank are looking very clean. However, GHA is starting to pop up a bit on some rocks and the back wall. I think the lights were on for too long as I had actinics on for 12 hours and whites on for 10, so I toned that back to 9 and 7 hours, respectively.

Ammonia crept up a bit, it's between 0 and .25 right now, which tells me that the tank is adjusting to the new bioload. I'm going to test daily and if it creeps above .5, I'm guessing I'll do a PWC to bring that back down and keep the livestock safe.

Suggestions?

#13
swilbert76

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Tanks looking great!! The third wire on the aftermarket fans will not be used, just tape it off or wire cap it. If you have any questions there's some great write ups on here about changing out the factory fans, and if you still have questions I'll be more than happy to answer them.
Also I saw that you removed the sponge in chamber 3 and that your running an InTank media basket in 2 with mico-algae. Just be careful, as the algae takes off in growth it tends to want to grow through into the 3rd chamber potentially clogging your pump. My friend just had this happen in his tank, the Cheato grew into chamber 3, the pump clogged and got hot trying to pull water. Anyway it started pumping hot water into the tank and by the time he got home his tank was 94 degrees. He lost everything.
On a brighter note I put my sponge back in and will not be having that problem ;)

#14
nwin

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Tanks looking great!! The third wire on the aftermarket fans will not be used, just tape it off or wire cap it. If you have any questions there's some great write ups on here about changing out the factory fans, and if you still have questions I'll be more than happy to answer them.
Also I saw that you removed the sponge in chamber 3 and that your running an InTank media basket in 2 with mico-algae. Just be careful, as the algae takes off in growth it tends to want to grow through into the 3rd chamber potentially clogging your pump. My friend just had this happen in his tank, the Cheato grew into chamber 3, the pump clogged and got hot trying to pull water. Anyway it started pumping hot water into the tank and by the time he got home his tank was 94 degrees. He lost everything.
On a brighter note I put my sponge back in and will not be having that problem ;)



Hmmm, interesting about the chaeto. I took out the basket about 1.5 weeks ago and trimmed it back. How often do you think I'll need to check on it? I still have that sponge...maybe I'll throw it in and just once a week I'll take it out and wash it in distilled water to get rid of nitrates.

Thanks for the info on the fans. They should be getting here anyday now!

#15
nwin

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Alright, fans came in yesterday, so that's the project for tonight/tomorrow!

I checked the tank levels yesterday, and all zeroes, so it took care of the extra bioload quite quickly. Also seems like the GHA has been gobbled up by the CUC.

Now here's the question. What to add next?

I ultimately am going to go with 2 clowns, yellow head jawfish, and a cleaner shrimp.

Someone told me to add the jawfish first as they can be a bit timid. Just wondering when would be a good time to add him? Wait a week to make sure parameters are good? Since the CUC has done such a great job cleaning up diatom/GHA, do I need to supplement them with some fish food anytime soon?

#16
altolamprologus

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Give it a week and monitor all parameters before adding the jawfish. Snails don't need to be fed, but if you have hermits or anything else that picks up uneaten food, give them a tiny amount of food every couple days until you get the first fish.

You're the type of man who passes by sports illustrated and grabs encyclopedia brittanica when you take a dump, huh?

Did someone mention Alto ???
Im GAGA for Alto !!

I'd give you a hug but you might stab me

29 gallon reef; 20 gallon angler lagoon

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#17
nwin

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Give it a week and monitor all parameters before adding the jawfish. Snails don't need to be fed, but if you have hermits or anything else that picks up uneaten food, give them a tiny amount of food every couple days until you get the first fish.

Would it be a better idea to add the cleaner shrimp first?

#18
altolamprologus

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Would it be a better idea to add the cleaner shrimp first?

It doesn't really matter. Although some people have issues keeping cleaners alive so you might want to get the jawfish and get your maintenance routine down first before getting the cleaner

You're the type of man who passes by sports illustrated and grabs encyclopedia brittanica when you take a dump, huh?

Did someone mention Alto ???
Im GAGA for Alto !!

I'd give you a hug but you might stab me

29 gallon reef; 20 gallon angler lagoon

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#19
maleaco

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Looking good!

#20
nwin

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Looking good!



Thanks!

Got the fans in yesterday and installed em today! Only took about 10 minutes all in all! They're a bit louder than stock, but you can definitely tell they are moving more air. I'm interested to see how high the temp gets with the lid closed today.

I'm thinking I *might* take a ride down to the LFS and grab a zoa today. Params are still zero across the board.

edit: scratch the zoas...I started to make my tank safe for the incoming jawfish and ensured all the rock is at the bottom of the tank. It doesn't look as great now since some of the rock is buried in the sand and I created quite the tornado in there. Guess I'll wait till it settles to see what it looks like and what changes I can make...

Edited by nwin, 31 March 2012 - 12:34 PM.


#21
nwin

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April 1, 2012
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Another day, another Aiptasia! Had to kill a big one today that my wife noticed...Aiptasia X seems to be doing the job, I think maybe I'm just hitting them accidentally or something and that's why they keep popping up? Who knows.

The big thing today is that I had to rearrange the tank yet again...lol. I am planning on getting a yellow head jawfish next week and I needed to take all the rocks and make sure they were touching the bottom so that when the jawfish gets here he doesn't kill himself by burrowing under a rock! So I did that and stirred everything up, but parameters are all still 0, so that's good! There's a lot of coralline growth on the rocks so that's good too! Hopefully it will start to spread to the back soon?

My snails cleaned up the diatom and most of the GHA in record time. Today I looked at the tank and noticed two strange things...the first was one of my big cerite snails on it's back, looking like it couldn't get up, so I uprighted him and stuck him on a rock. The next was this:
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It's like a trail of sand or something on the back of the tank...any ideas?

Anyways, salinity is still 1.024-1.025. I had it at 1.026 when I started and I've only been topping off with distilled water...my refractometer might just need calibrated. Who knows.

Edited by nwin, 08 April 2012 - 03:22 PM.


#22
hirschy75

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Thanks!

Got the fans in yesterday and installed em today! Only took about 10 minutes all in all! They're a bit louder than stock, but you can definitely tell they are moving more air. I'm interested to see how high the temp gets with the lid closed today.

I'm thinking I *might* take a ride down to the LFS and grab a zoa today. Params are still zero across the board.

edit: scratch the zoas...I started to make my tank safe for the incoming jawfish and ensured all the rock is at the bottom of the tank. It doesn't look as great now since some of the rock is buried in the sand and I created quite the tornado in there. Guess I'll wait till it settles to see what it looks like and what changes I can make...


Do you have a link to where you got those fans? I'm assuming I'll need some for my little 14 BC I'm starting :)

Good tank btw

#23
nwin

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Do you have a link to where you got those fans? I'm assuming I'll need some for my little 14 BC I'm starting :)

Good tank btw


If you go to the first post of this thread, there's a link to them on newegg. :)

#24
Flaming Reef

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The ever changing rock work. :D I keep mine to the same theme but the tweaking, which still involves the same number of avalanches and squishes!, continues on. Looks nice though. I suspect a snail is culprit for the sand trail. What led you to decide on the jawfish?

#25
nwin

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The ever changing rock work. :D I keep mine to the same theme but the tweaking, which still involves the same number of avalanches and squishes!, continues on. Looks nice though. I suspect a snail is culprit for the sand trail. What led you to decide on the jawfish?


I remember seeing one at an aquarium years back and fell in love with them and the way they act. When I started this tank, I knew my wife wanted one or two clowns, so the jawfish is kind of my fish in the tank. They just seem to have such great personalities. It was between this or a pistol/goby combo, but the jawfish won out because how awesome his burrowing skills are.

Now just to try and find one local!