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My Biocube 29 -- Underway


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Hi there.


I've been more or less lurking around for some weeks now, and I've decided to take the plunge and start posting myself. I'm using this as a means to keep a 'journal' about the tank and its inhabitants.


The tank is an Oceanic Biocube 29; I set it up on August 29 (the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall here in Mississippi). I'm running the stock lights right now; I've read about several tanks here doing the stock lighting, and I'm going to give it a go. I haven't ruled out upgrading them, because I know that down the line I'm going to want to keep corals - and maybe an anemone, eventually - that will require better lighting.


In the back of the tank I've done a few modifications. I removed the false floor of chamber one, and that's where my heater sits. In chamber two I'm using media baskets from StevieT's inTank website. The first part of it holds filter floss, with Purigen in the next chamber down. I've ordered Chemipure to go below that. The water is then drawn into StevieT's fuge basket -- it's lit with a submersible light to encourage the macro I've placed there. The stock pump then draws the water into chamber three and then out through Hydor's "wavemaker" add-on nozzle.


I have a Hydor Nano powerhead on the right side of the tank, and a Hydor One powerhead on the left side.


I have twenty-seven pounds of live rock in the tank, along with forty pounds of live sand. The lfs that I went to is a little over an hour away in New Orleans. They were great and sold me saltwater and really great live rock. My cuc consists of hermit crabs (about six) and snails (about four are left -- a couple were lunch for the hermits). I have more hermits and snails ordered.


I went yesterday, after five weeks of perfect readings, to another lfs in Mobile, Alabama, which is a little closer to my home here in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I picked up some macro-algae (the name of which I don't know), two ocellaris (false percula), two shrimp, and a toadstool coral. After acclimating, the fish did perfectly from the first moment. I expected the coral to remain shrunken and unhappy for a couple of days, but less than an hour in the tank, and he was out and looking great. The shrimp have been in hidind since I released them in the tank last night....hopefully all is well with them. I was hoping for peppermint shrimp to take care of a few aiptasia, but they sold me something that "is almost the same thing." We'll see.


I do have three more corals and peppermint shrimp, as well as the hermit crabs, on order.


I have some sort of macro-algae or marine plantlife growing from the live rock. It's really pretty, so I'm hoping that it's not a nuisance and I can keep at least some of it.


Okay -- pictures:














Plant - macro-algae? Any help with an ID is appreciated.




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wow, good start. I will be looking forward on seeing what you get next.

Wish i could be of help on the ID, but i am still new in this area

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wow, good start. I will be looking forward on seeing what you get next.

Wish i could be of help on the ID, but i am still new in this area


Thanks, redknee....it's just too much fun watching everything come together!

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I like what you've started. Your rock work will look great when it's full of coraline and coral :)


Thanks, Bonsai! Funny, yours is the thread I'm currently reading. There's really a wealth of info here.


I put some of the live rock in "backwards" when I started this. There's a lot of beautiful purple coralline going on, but it's facing the back of the tank at the moment. I haven't let it worry me, though, because I figure if it's doing that well there, it'll begin to spread and cover the rock.


Any idea about the macro- or plant-life I have sprouting from my live rock?

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Very cool macro algae... I've never seen it before.


I'm loving it, Lalani.....hence my apprehension that someone's going to come along and tell me that I have to rip it all out! It seems firmly rooted in my LR....the hermits graze along it just like everything else, so maybe it's a good, healthy thing! The LFS where I got the rock and sand is really a first-rate place, so I'm assuming it's all a {Martha Stewart} good thing!

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Okay.....the new inhabitants (two false percula, two shrimp, and a coral) have been in the tank for a week.


Did water tests this morning --


pH - 8.2

ammonia - 0

nitrite - 0

nitrate - 0

phosphate - 0

calcium - 400 ppm

specific gravity - 1.023


Not much else to tell. I'm glad I went with the clowns....they're adorable, and it's a riot to watch them. They've learned where the currents are, and they surf around the tank on them. The hermits are intriguing to watch....I've put extra shells in there, because they have killed a few snails, and they seem to don a shell to try it out only to swap it for another the next day. I wanted peppermint shrimp for the aiptasia that I've had a few of. The lfs didn't have peppermints, and I was told that "they're the same as" the ones I came home with. I was skeptical, but after a week, I have no more aiptasia. I treated two with Aiptasia-X, and I intended to treat the other two or three, but after the shrimp were in the tank for about a day, the others were gone, so I either got lucky or they were telling me the truth!


I swapped the heater that I had running in my extra pre-mixed saltwater (for water changes) out for the heater that I was originally sold. The original heater had no adjustment options, and the temp was always around 75 or 76 degrees. The heater that I bought for the water tub has a dial, and the tank is now at 80 degrees and holding.


I'm tempted to run back to Mobile, Alabama to pick up some more corals and perhaps a royal gramma and/or a yellow watchman goby, but I'm going to be out of town for four days next week. My partner is fine to watch temp and top off water and feed the clowns, but I don't want to leave him responsible for the tank in case something bad happens while I'm gone.


I bought a clump of barnacle shells on eBay. It's too big for me to use as it is, so when I'm back in town, I'm going to knock some of them off. I just like the way they look, and I think the shrimp and even a goby down the line would like to use them as a hideout.


That's it for now!

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Thanks, sayn, but the pics aren't really that blurry. That's how the plant looks....it has tiny hairs all over it that really look like fuzz. I looked up the caulerpas, but this doesn't have that sort of growth pattern. It looks as though the caulerpa grows from runners, and this grows in distinct clumps.

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Back from West Virginia yesterday.


Did tank tests earlier...


pH - 8.4

Ammonia - 0

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 0

phosphate - 0

calcium - 350

specific gravity - 1.025


All looks well. The shrimp are a bit less shy....they were doing a real little dance when I fed the clowns this morning. One clown appears to be hiding out from the other at the moment.....he's hanging out in a little "cave" most of the time, though he did come out to eat. He's the smaller fish, so maybe they're working out the "who's dominant" thing now. He looks healthy, so I'm not too concerned. The hermits are still scurrying around, and I love watching 'em. Hoping maybe to head to Mobile to pick up a new coral or two. Don't know what time the Saints play, though. Might have to wait a day or two!


It looks as though I have a few spots of coralline beginning on the back wall of the tank. The macro's still doing really well. Not taking over, but growing like mad. I still like it.

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Just got what I think is a pretty good identification of the macro algae I've got going. Sargassum elegans Suhr, according to www.algaebase.org.

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No new creatures yet.....gonna be really busy for several days, so I won't have any time to acclimate properly. Going to plan to receive them on a day when I can stay at home.


At any rate, current parameters (with partial water change last week - three gallons):


specific gravity 1.025

nitrite 0

nitrate 0

phosphate 0

calcium 5

pH 8.4

ammonia 0

calcium 450


Sargassum continues to grow. I can see that I'm going to have to do some pruning when I start adding more corals; for now, I'm enjoying it. It provides some motion with the powerheads and the hydor flo, and it gives the fish places to dart into and out of. I've moved the coral to the other side of the tank, and one of the clowns is hosting it now!


Can't decide what fish to get next. I want a Yellow Watchman Goby, but my partner's afraid they won't be interesting enough. Contemplating a firefish or a green chromis. I wouldn't mind another clown, but as I will only be able to add one or two on top of my two clowns, I want to make sure it's something interesting.


The coraline continues to spread. Several pink and burgundy spots on the black background, and there's some encrustation on the koralias.


Also getting ready to look for a tank to be used for quarantine....I think I'm just going to get a five or so gallon tank from PetSmart and use that. I'm thinking bare bottom is the way I'll go.

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Bare bottom on your quarantine is the preferred method. Keep it plain, less to worry about.

Why is that, just curious so i can learn some more

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I'm curious, too. And I have wondered whether people tend to keep a quarantine tank going all the time, or do people siphon water off from the display tank to set it up for quarantine?

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I know a few people who has an quarantine tank and they keep that up and running all the time. But, instead of going bare bottom, they use sand.

That is why I am curious to know why the bare bottom is the way to go. If it is better that way, then That's how I'll do it


Sorry if I had went off topic

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  • 1 month later...

8 December 2009


I've done a few water changes and tests since I last posted, but I can't find my notes anywhere.


Just got into the tank today and trimmed back the Sargassum. It had started shading the coral a bit, and I've tried to fix that.


No new critters yet, but everyone in there seems to be doing great. I'm really kind of glad I haven't had much time to think of getting more fish or corals. I think this macro-algae (the sargassum) is doing a lot to help the live rock with filtration. I do have a bristleworm that's turned up in the last week or two. He's absolutely disgusting and pretty much freaks me out, but folks keep saying that they are more beneficial than harmful, so he's on probation right now. He has to be six or eight inches long and extremely ugly. The only thing that I've seen him eating is leaves from the sargassum, so maybe he's not a threat to the other inhabitants in the tank. He really gets around using tunnels in the live rock. Getting him out of there would be a real chore. I'm going to try to post some new pictures shortly. They're from my phone, so they're not the best, but they are something to compare to the old ones.


Today's test results:


Specific gravity - 1.025

Calcium - 500 ppm

Nitrate - 0

Nitrite - 0

Phosphates - ~.05

Ammonia - 0

pH - 8.4

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yeah those bristle works aren't too much a problem. I don't bother getting them out of me tank since they do help out.



Will be looking forward on seeing your updated pix.

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