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megability

Megability's BioCube29 Build Thread

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megability

(July 18th, 2009)

 

Right, so this is going to be a "build thread" for my new BioCube29 tank. Even though this is my fist tank, this is something I have always wanted to do and I'm very excited about it. I am confident I have the dedication to learn this rewarding hobby to it's fullest and build an outstanding tank - in between my full time job, graduate studies, and life in general... ;)

 

I chose the BioCube29 from Oceanic because it's an "all-in-one" system and looks great too. On the matching stand, it will sit in a perfect spot between my living room and kitchen walkway, and be the center of attention.

 

Starting to put everything together, I used steam-distilled gallon water from Walgreens, Instant Ocean salt mix, 40lbs of Aragonite sand and 30lbs of "Kaelini" Live Rock from Tonga. This rock is a bit on the expensive side, but well worth the one-time expense in my opinion. It looks great, came with tons of colorful coraline algae, very porous with holes, nooks and crannys, and came with lots of of (good) hitchhikers too. I am also using 10lbs of smaller Fiji live rock in the back filter chamber in place of the bio-balls.

 

After some "aquascaping" to make everything aesthetically pleasing, I basically let the whole system "cycle" for several weeks, taking water readings every day or so. I never really had the expected ammonia spike, nitrite spike, and nitrate spike, probably because the live rock was doing a great job right along. But I did get the expected brown algae bloom about 3 weeks in, at which time I did a 5g water change.

 

That's it for now - soon to come; hitchhikers ID, fine-tuning water parameters, and adding my critters...

 

38.jpg

 

======================================================

Latest Full Tank Shot - Please Check Out My Thread for all the Build Details

 

FTS%204232.jpg

 

... and click here for a huge 2400x1800 version if you want an even closer look...

 

Current Inhabitants as of September 2011:

Tomato Clownfish

Tail-Spot Blenny

Six-Line Wrasse

Half-Bar Goby

Arc-Eyed Hawkfish

Yasha Goby

Hector's Goby

 

Montipora coral (red, blue, and an encrusting green)

Zoanthids coral (Bam-Bams, Tubs Blue, Dragon-Eyes, Eagle-Eyes)

Caulastrea (trumpet or candy cane coral)

Hydnophora (horn coral)

Tubinaria (scroll coral)

Euphyllia (torch coral)

Clavularia (green star polyp coral)

Acropora coral

Pulsing Xenia coral

Dendrophyllia (firecracker coral)

Heteropsammia (walking dendro coral)

 

Rose BubbleTip Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)

Porcelain Crab

Red Starfish

Nassarius Snails (6)

Margarita Snails (6)

Astrea Snails (2)

Jenner's Cowry (Jenneria pustulata)

Edited by megability
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coolwaters

you should really think about getting a RO unit. for a 29gallon it will pay for itself pretty fast.

 

doing water changes will help with the diatom issue. also u should get a good CUC. dont recommend getting hermit crabs. their more trouble then their worth...

 

if you love how the rocks look then price isnt much of an issue.

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megability

(July - August, 2009)

 

As my tank cycled, my live rock came to life. Below are some of the creatures I have noticed in the last several weeks...

 

Amphipods - these guys look a little like fleas, with sort of a humped and rounded back. They scurry about the rock, mostly at night, often flipping onto their back and pushing off again like little swimmers. I have really only seen a couple or so, I think, but they've gotten a lot larger in the last couple of weeks, and have molted several times. One of these days, they're gonna end up some tasty food for a deserving critter...

 

Typical tube worms, feather-duster worms, bristle worms, etc.

 

Brittle Stars - I started to notice them as they began to let their arms dangle out from the rock crevices, hoping to snag some food as it drifted by. I have noticed a ton of them now, probably at least 30, and some have grown almost too large for their crevices. They remind me of inmates sticking their arms out through the bars, looking for attention. :lol:

 

Sea Stars - I have seen a couple, small, off-white and pale blue guys cruising around from time to time. I have read that some sea star hitchhikers can be bad for your tank, but these ones appear to be the good kind, and they are tiny so far at any rate, we'll see if they're "keepers"...

 

Sponges - Several small sponges in several colors. I thought these would die off eventually because they were exposed to air, but they seem to be doing fine. A couple have grown quite well.

 

Zoanthid Coral - Too my surprise, there was a colony of 5-6 bright orange zoanthid polyps on one of my live rocks. It took a couple days for them to open a little, and for me to notice, but they seem to be doing much better now and growing they're tentacles back.

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megability

Thanks "coolwaters" - I have actually just begun looking at getting an RO or even RO/DI unit recently. And when you tack on the benefit of better drinking water too, it really seems like a great choice over just my Brita filter.

 

As for Hermit Crabs, not to get ahead of my slightly back-dated post but you are right - I have gotten a couple for my tank so far and they are clumsy and have knocked some stuff over. Let alone dumb and messy eaters. :D I think I will keep a couple small Hermit Crabs just to have some, but am basically gonna stick to snails for my clean-up-crew.

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megability

(August 2009)

 

It appears the BioCube's filter is pretty worthless, as expected, plus it was hindering flow after about a week so I threw it out. I also snapped off a chunk of the plastic barrier in the back, between chamber 1 and 2, to increase flow even more. I then added the popular ChemiPure filter bag on top of my live rock filter in chamber 2, just below the "water grate" plastic tray that came with the system.

 

I initially bought and ran BioCube's Protein Skimmer, but it appears this is bad idea for such a small reef tank. Skimmers possibly rob coral and others of needed nutrients and trace minerals. It seems there are opinions either way on this, so I may add it back at some point, but for now frequent water changes should remove any organic buildups just fine.

 

The only other mods to the stock system so far are 2 Hydor Koralia power heads, the "Nano" with 240GPH flow, and the "1" moving 400GPH. I also added the "Flo" rotating water deflector for the return line to add "chaos" to the water movement :P

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coolwaters

hermits will kill and eat anything that is sick or dying. even though theres a good chance that it will survive. so thats why ppl hate them.

 

are you using stock lights?

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megability

Yea, stock lighting for now... I understand BioCube29s have pretty good stock lighting, with a 36 watt 10,000k days and a 36 watt true actinic 03s, but am certainly open to other options...

 

I may upgrade the return pump soon, 243gph stock sounds good, but I am not sure how much restriction the rotating addition adds, since it's powered by the pressure.

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megability

Clean-Up-Crew:

 

I still have a few small Hermit Crabs that I am debating returning, but mostly I have snails. 20 Nerite (they have smooth shells with cool designs) a couple Astrea, a couple Margarita, and a half-dozen Nassarius snails. The Nassarius are my favorite, they're actually fun to watch as they bury themselves, stick their snorkel up to smell the water, then come hauling out of the sand from time to time to patrol the tank or when I put some food in. They're pretty damn fast too, for snails... :P Being as they are carnivores as well, I am not sure if I should get any more, but they are cool.

 

Along with my Bristle Worms and Brittle Star hitchhikers, this team seems to be doing a good job so far...

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megability

Soft Corals:

 

Zoanthids - My bright orange hitchhikers seem to be making a full recovery, growing all their skirts back and getting much fuller. I also bought a few different color types to brighten up the tank; "Radioactive Green Dragon Eyes", Green Bay Packers", and "Eagle Eyes" - There are so many cool color combos with these corals it's hard to resist getting tons more...

 

Green Dragon Eyes:

 

Zoanthids%20Green%20Dragon%20Eyes%202953.jpg

 

 

Eagle Eyes:

 

Zoanthids%20Eagle%20Eyes%203425.jpg

 

 

Green Star Polyp - Came on a plug that didn't look right in the tank, so I peeled it off and just lay it down on a patch of flat rock with nothing else on it. It has grown about a half inch already to I think it's fine with it's new home. It does have a brittle star living under a part of it now; he waves his arms out in the water from underneath. :)

 

Star%20Polyp%203437.jpg

 

 

My LFS gave me a small rock with a couple of stalks of unknown coral growing on it, I will have to ID soon, but it looks like some Xenia, just brownish and not that colorful. It has already grown a few more stalks so it seems to be happy... (edit: turns out it is probably Anthelia, each polyp has its own stalk)

 

Xenia%203411.jpg

 

 

Large-Polyp Stony Corals (LPS):

 

Torch Coral - Two heads I split apart to place in different parts of the tank. They seem to be doing fine, fully extended and just swaying in the current. I spot-feed them on occasion as well. - The Sexy Shrimp really likes climbing all over them too...

 

Frogspawn Coral - A really cool translucent green-blue color, small, but will hopefully look even better after it grows out a little more.

 

Frogspawn%203210.jpg

 

 

Toxic Waste Candy Cane - Also called Trumpet Coral, I picked up a branch with two small heads. Man are these things bright green! They seem to like to open at night best...

 

Toxic%20Waste%20Trumpet%20Coral%203157.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

Invertebrates:

 

Sexy Shrimp - I am up to 3 now. These guys are great and hilarious, very tiny but they roam all over the tank waving their asses in the air, and stay in view at almost all times, never hiding - I might have to get some more even...

 

(in the last shot, you can see the bright orange zoanthid hitchhikers coming back from the dead)

 

Sexy%20Shrimp%203095.jpg

 

Sexy%20Shrimp%203124.jpg

 

Sexy%20Shrimp%203221.jpg

 

 

Peppermint Shrimp - He hides in the darkness of the back most of the time but when he does come out he sways side to side looking very nervous, but I guess that's just what they do. I have heard them Skunk Shrimp have better personalities, I might get one of those soon...

 

Porcelain Crab - He lives in a cave and used to only come out at night, but now he has started coming in the day - only took him a month :P - He has those cool water strainer appendages he waves around and then licks off, and I assume this is what makes him not a "true crab" ...

 

Porcelain%20Crab%203250.jpg

 

Porcelain%20Crab%203226.jpg

 

 

Pom-Pom Crab - So far he only comes out at dusk to do his "Tai Chi" in the water under the moonlight. At first, he had no anemone to wave around but quickly found one of my hitchhikers, maybe an aiptasia even. I noticed that when he molted recently he switched hands, so he's ambidextrous...

 

Pom-Pom%20Crab%203206.jpg

 

Pom-Pom%20Crab%203203.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

Full Tank Shot:

 

Front Center - "Eagle Eyes" Zoanthids frag, about 10 polyps so far...

 

Front Left - Porcelain Crab cave, Bright Orange Zoanthids hitchhikers, Torch Coral frag...

 

Back Left - nothing yet...

 

Back Right - Torch Coral frag, Green Star Polyp growing nicely...

 

Front Right - Toxic Waste Trumpet Coral, "Green Dragon Eyes" and "Green Bay Packers" Zoanthids, unknown soft coral polyps (Xenia?)

 

Top Center - 3 Small Polyp Stony corals, to be detailed next...

 

FTS%203066.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

Water Flow:

 

I know more flow the better for a reef tank, but I currently have a Koralia Nano (240gph) a Koralia 1 (400gph) and the stock return pump with the Koralia Flo to add movement (240gph less restriction) - do you think that's enough or should I add more?

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megability

Small-Polyp Stony Corals (SPS):

 

I got a couple small frags of some decent looking coral from my local store to start me off. I wanted small 'cause I got a small tank, but these all should look really cool after they grow and fill out...

 

Green Velvet Horn Coral (Hydnophora species) - Very bright green and almost glows in the dark. In this picture it's polyp are all out swaying in the current, it actually has pretty big polyps and almost shouldn't be included in the "small polyp" category. When its all sucked in, I think it looks like a tiny Saguaro cactus, but we'll see after it grows out some more...

 

Hydnophora%203421.jpg

 

 

Flowering Leaf Coral, among other names (Pavona maldivensis)

 

Pavona%20maldivensis%20Coral%203419.jpg

 

 

Scroll Coral (Turbinaria species)

 

Turbinaria%20Coral%203420.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

Soon to be updated: Tomato Clown Fish, Signal Gobies, Rose Bubble Tip Anemone, and maybe my darn Peppermint Shrimp if he'll ever come out long enough so I can get a picture of him :angry::)

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Ciwila
Water Flow:

 

I know more flow the better for a reef tank, but I currently have a Koralia Nano (240gph) a Koralia 1 (400gph) and the stock return pump with the Koralia Flo to add movement (240gph less restriction) - do you think that's enough or should I add more?

 

I think it will do, but the tank would benefit from more flow. Swapping the Nano for a 1 or 2 would be ideal, but it is probably not worth the cash if you are on a budget.

 

I really like your rock work, you did a great job.

Edited by Ciwila

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nosser

I like your rock... LFS or online?

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megability

Yeah, all the Live Rock came from a local store. After seeing what other stores in town had, his was very nice, "Kaelini" with lots of nooks and crannies, and great colored coralline, although it was expensive. Maybe I will try online if I ever need more or build another tank...

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lajz9

Nice tank. Better keep an eye on that xenia!

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coralcor

great tank.

 

and those free unknow corals you posted in post 9 i belive are called Waving Hand Anthelia

info about the coral here

 

edit..... just read your edit LMAO

Edited by coralcor

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megability

I recently upgraded the BioCube29's stock pump to a Maxi-Jet 1200 and also added another Koralia Nano aimed through the back rocks - should help keep the water movin' that much better...

 

Tomato Clown

 

Clown%20Fish%203714.jpg

 

 

Signal Goby

 

Signal%20Goby%203783.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

some recent pictures...

 

"Eagle-Eye" Zoanthids

 

Zoanthids%20Eagle%20Eyes%203627.jpg

 

 

 

Toxic Waste Trumpet Coral

 

Toxic%20Waste%20Trumpet%20Coral%203684.jpg

 

 

 

Porcelain Crab on his new home, a Rose Bubble Tip Anemone

 

Porcelain%20Crab%20Anemone%203508.jpg

 

 

 

Sexy Shrimp hangin' out together - they travel in packs...

 

Sexy%20Shrimp%203744.jpg

 

 

 

Scarlet-Legged Hermit Crab - I think he might be cross-eyed :P

 

Hermit%20Crab%203760.jpg

 

 

 

Full Tank Shot...

 

FTS%203734.jpg

Edited by megability

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megability

I have started taking out rock rubble from the back chamber to make room for StevieT's inTank Media Basket and 'Fuge. I also got the Fish Saver and fuge light to keep some Cheato alive, all on their way shipped today...

 

This all sounded like a good plan, I hope it works well for the tank...

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megability

My tank seems to have developed some cyanobacteria lately. Not sure if this means I have too low flow, or feeding too often leading excess nitrates and phosphates. My API tests say I really don't have any, but... My temps have also been a little higher lately due to the new Maxi-Jet 1200, so I need to get that under control too. Maybe new fans?

 

I siphoned most of the cyanobacteria out along with a couple flat worms that were hangin' around for good measure :) - let's hope the tank stays clean...

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Clavius85

Tank looks nice. I really like your rock layout.

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megability

I noticed a 'pod hangin' out under some zoas trying to molt, well a sexy shrimp noticed him too and swooped over to nail him - very cool! - Sexy shrimp are hilarious and awesome ...

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