Jump to content

29BC BUILD by chris in FLA

Recommended Posts

Unfortunatly it is often tough to find solutions to some of the more petty problems. I am hoping to document my journey up the learning curve and post my problems and solutions.
TOTM March 2013 here I come! (not looking so promising lately)

TOTM March 2014 here i come


FTS 09/09/2013 Things are coloring up much better!




FTS 07/08/2013 Nothing but 5 gal H20 change a week




FTS 05/08/2013: Nothing but 5 gal H20 change a week




FTS 01/20/13 ( since the addition of the algae scrubber, things are still a bit mad)


FTS 10/17/12 (new scape to please my BTA and allow for better coral placement and grown)

FTS 8/29/2012

FTS 2/21/2012


Used 3 month old Biocube 29 from craigslist (stock with water, some rock and sand)
DIY LED AquastyleOnline 36 dimmable kit
Truelumen 10" LED 453 Actinic Blue (moonlight and extra POP)
Pump solution thread: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...amp;pid=3751207
Koralia Nano 425 Powerhead (great addition!)
Hydor rotating head on return line with lockline to aim the flow.

Removed Tab from chamber 1 to 2
Hand made media rack (with tank cutout to fit)
DIY Link: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=295378
--Running hand cut filter pads on top
--Runing Chemipure Elite on second
--Chaeto on bottom and in rest of chamber 2
Fuge Light hung on back of tank (scraped paint off)
--6500K Daylight Compact Flo Bulb 75W equil. (from home section at W-mart)
--Hung with velcro adhesive tabs
--8 Hours on at night Removed bottom and top tray from chamber 2
Epoxied over top hole from chamber 2-3
Cut down (not removed) sponge from chamber 2-3 (needed to leave it to control chaeto pieces)

Lessons Learned

Watch tank temps in BC 29 (solutions in the thread)
Watch salinity (keep track of evaporation)
Dip your Corals
Know your water source! (and trust/dont trust it)
Be carefull when dipping corals (keep dip water same temp as tank)
Know what you are putting in the tank BEFORE you put it in the tank
Be Patient
Ask questions
Slow Down

First of all thank you all for your shared information, sucesses, and failures. You have made starting my first salt aquarium alot less painless!

I am in Central Florida and an avid scubadiver/sperfisherman. Spending so much time in the water I thought it would be fun to have a piece of the ocean in my home. The wife and I went to a coral trade event in Orlando and were instantly hooked by the colors and variety of the offerings. So the shopping began! I am working on a budget so I started on craigslist. A few months later SCORE! 29biocube already cycled, 10 lbs of liverock and cleanup crew. I brought it home, started reading the forums and here she is brand new (to me):


That was the tank set up and circulation on january 3 2012. After searching for baserock to add to the tank I found reefcleaners.org located in florida and got a great deal on 30lbs of rock delivered. Just FYI this is what 30 lbs of base rock looks like:


i palyed with lots of designs on the kitchen table only to come up with a master design and find it did not work in the tank with my existing liverock. More tinkering and this is the result:


Edited by like-fish

Share this post

Link to post

The tank was set up and running with ammoia and nitrite at 0 so i bought the damsel to see how things went. So far so good. On a local reefkeeping forum I met a great source of information who invited me to see his reef tank. He sent me home with lots of suggestions, a clump of chaeto, a refugium light for my second chamber, and a zoa frag to get started! Great guy and a new friend.


I was off and rolling and instead of going slow I needed more and bought a clearance shelf rock from my LFS with a kenya tree and shroom on it. It faded and withered after 4 days and it was recomended that I remove the kenya before it died and poisoned the tank.

Share this post

Link to post

This monday Jan 16 (tank up and running in the house for only 2 weeks) I visited a coral store for a discount price day and came home with an armload. Scarlet cleaner shrimp, 1 Saddleback clown, Green Button Polyps, Watermelon zoas, something I cant remember the name of, a patch of green star polyps and a hammer coral. Everything doing great with the exception of the hammer which is withering and dying. Water quality still good, temp good, salinity good, light cycle has not changed.


Think im moving too fast. After reading build threads for most of this morning I am now sure of it. Time to slow down! I plan to see how everything does and move forward from there.


3 gallon water change tomorrow and monitoing water quality closely after. Any and all comments, suggestions and ridicule greatly appreciated!


hammer before and after:



3 days later:



anyone help with ID on this?



Watermelon zoas



Green button Polyps


Share this post

Link to post
Great scape :happy:


thanks! it was fun to play with


A few other additions to the BC have been:


the addition of a powerhead in the tank to improve circulation ( will be upgrading to a Koralia 420)


I added a TrueLumen LED bar to the hood inside the stock light hood. The color from this LED bar is fantastic and the TrueLumen can be upgraded to include 2 more LED strips without needing another power supply. My life now looks like it does in the LFS tanks!


Any have an opinion on these LED bars? Is it just ambient lighting or is it benificial to growth?


Thanks! Chris

Edited by like-fish

Share this post

Link to post

Any opinions of True Lumen lights?


Decided im not going to add anything else until i get an algae covering on my new rock. This is how she looks now and will for a while. Forgot to mention my green star polyps FINALLY opened! 7 days after putting them in!



Share this post

Link to post

looks good, i like the scape you set up. how old is the tank? i am not convinced there are any hard and fast rules as to how quickly stocking can take place, but there are some general rules that i am sure you have seen around here. have you had a good diatom bloom or any good algae growth yet? as far as the lights, i cannot help ya on that one. looks good though

Share this post

Link to post

diatom bloom under way right now, new rock is starting to brown over as is the sand. I made an ASSumtion that because the tank had already cycled with the previous rock that it would be fine to add lots more rock then start stocking. My deceased hammer said otherwise. I found some ammonia this morning, slight but some. water changed and i will be monitering closely.



Is an algae bloom an event or a slow process? It appears the diatom bloom is a slow process.


When should i expect to see coraline algae establish on the new rock?


i like the scape you set up. how old is the tank?

For me the tank is about 20 days old. It ran for 3 months before i bought it with about 10 lbs live rock, a damsel, and a clean up crew.

Share this post

Link to post

My rocks are turning purple! and a bit of green and brown.


I contacted TrueLumen LED about my light 453 blue light strip (as i could find no information on the forums) and received the following reply:


Thank you for contacting TrueLumen, Current-USA is the distributor of

TrueLumen products in the USA and we would be more then happy to help you.


This LED strip uses 1 watt LEDs which product approximately 110 lumens per

watt. Usually on a tank of your size, we would recommend either the all

453nm Blue or the 12K White/453nm Blue LED strips.


There are only 4 1W bulbs on each strip. I currently have 1 installed but the power supply allows for 2 more to be added. I love the color enhancement from the 1 stip, looking forward to slowly adding!


Any opinions or experience?

Share this post

Link to post

I cheaped out and added a low volume 237gph ecomomy pump for circulation to my tank wall (bought it mix water for water changes). My water temp is now 85! Will be changing over to a koralina. Mine current pump runs at 22w. The coralina runs at 3.5w. Im hoping this will provide the temp drop i would like to see. 82 was what it ran at before adding the powerhead.


a few new pics of the evolution:




my zoa ledge (hope the coraline algae shows in the pic)




suggestions and comments appreciated!

Share this post

Link to post

coraline algae growing and spreading fast!


Made a trip to the local coral supplier yesterday and could not help myself. Everything has been doing so well. New additions:


Green with blue rim cap (my first SPC)

New zoa (unknown ID)

New Hammer (replaced the dead one)

First Riccordia (2 eyes)


3 gal water change before acclimating. Carefull with maintaining water temps. Dipped the new arrivals for 10 minutes and rinsed well. Everyone opened up quickly after putting them in. The hammer even ate!


Pictures to come!

Edited by like-fish

Share this post

Link to post

Tank is moving along nicely! Coraline algae is spreading nicely, water quality stable. I am starting to notice green algae growing a bit faster on the glass that gets some indirect sunlight through the curtains. Is this the norm?


here is a video of everything so far! Im planning to still wait a bit before adding more. I think a sun coral is next on the list!



Share this post

Link to post

Now i am experiancing nitrate build ups. nitrates only at 10-15 but slowly climbing. I have a nice clump of chaeto in the fuge with 10 hours of reverse light cycle lighting with a reccomended bulb. Growing green and fast.


I feed once every 3 days and sparingly. i am actually concerned that the tank might not be getting enough food.


I was considering adding macroalgaes to the main tank as display pieces and try the natural approach to filtration. Seems everyone is getting good results form chemi-pure elite and purigen combo. Soo many choices.


A concern of chemi-pure and purigen is will i starve out my now healthy chaeto? And will my chaeto be able to keep up to the tank. Anyone out there going all natural or is dependance on chemi-pure and purigen worth the $$ and repacement?

Share this post

Link to post

I've run Chemipure and Purigen in my BC29 since I started it up and had great luck with it, unfortunately I was never able to grow Chaeto in my fuge rack though, it always just withered away and died so I stuck a 9002 skimmer in it's place and the tank has been doing well since.

Share this post

Link to post

my chaeto has HERPIES!!!!


Found this nastyness in mmy refugium!


Hope they dont spread. Red bubble algae is my diagnosis.



Share this post

Link to post
anyone help with ID on this?


Those look very similar to my Orange Bam Bam zoas. Mine are a bit brighter orange but it took a good month or so after I added them before they colored up. They turned brown on me when I first got them.


Have an update? Did you remove your chaeto's herpes? Looks like you learned the go slow rule quick! I like your rockscape. Wish I had a cool arch/L-shaped piece like the one on top.

Share this post

Link to post
Those look very similar to my Orange Bam Bam zoas. Mine are a bit brighter orange but it took a good month or so after I added them before they colored up. They turned brown on me when I first got them.


Have an update? Did you remove your chaeto's herpes? Looks like you learned the go slow rule quick! I like your rockscape. Wish I had a cool arch/L-shaped piece like the one on top.


Update to follow....


Thank you for the ID on the pallys/zoas, the orange does seem to be coming out a bti but the tips are bright red under my actinic only. Still unsure what they are.


GO SLOW = o-yes I am learning....


Thanks on the rockscape! Its part of the fun. I got lucky with the rocks, they allowed for a lot of options. When i do another tank (yes, I am convinced there will be another) I will order baseball sized pieces and request a few ledge pieces again. I am a big fan of the quality of this shippment and will use reefcleaners.com again!


Herpes in remission for the time being. Been watching tank closely. Removed all suspicious chaeto and watching it closely as well.

Share this post

Link to post



NEW FTS at top of thread!


Very happy with how things are coming along, a few problems have been identified and addressed:


Temperature too high:


Reduced the light cycle on my refugium from 12 hours to 4. The light was heating the remaining black painted area on the tank and pupin heat all night long. The bulb runs pretty cool but the paint was warming up a good bit. So far the chaeto still looks feally good!


Leaving the front and rear covers open now. Evaporation is substantial but temps are down. I put a fill line on the side of the tank, I read it witht the pump off when i feed. Easy to top off with every feeding. Going to go with a DIY ATO eventually.


ChemiPure Elite Added:


Too many good reviews on this stuff so i went with it as a safety net to control it all. Carbon and GFO in one bag, reusable, inexpensive and easy to use. Only warning would be to rinse it WELL in tank water before adding to tank. This stuff is dusty!


Water changes increased to 4-5 gallons once a week:


After watching my water quality bouncing around, having clouding issues, corals not opening well, salinity getting away from me ( I purchased a refractometer from NISPPLY.com on ebay for <$30) I decided to become loyal to water changes. Everything has improved! Much happier


So all in all things are good! LEarning curve is less steep! Lots fo research on forums has helped.


Comments/ criticism/ suggestions appreciated!

Share this post

Link to post

New additions to the tank (all doing well)


3 new Rics (one with dark colored zoa hitchhiker)



2 Hairy Mushrooms



GoldTip Clove (with blue clove hitchhikers)



Anthalia (with mushroom hitchhiker)



Pink/Purlple Zoa frag



Green Zoa frag (the ones in the abck of the picture)


Share this post

Link to post

My Nuke green zoas started to reduce in size and open partially open. I left them alone until i noticed that the stalks had small white dots on them and the base of the colony was wasting away ( turning white, then clear, then GONE) I am not identifing small white spots on the stalks of another colony and it is not fully opening.


After doing a lot of searching I believe that I have "ZOA POX" on a few colonies of zoas. I found the general consensus online to be that FURAN2 is the best solution. Expecting to receive it in the mail today. Ill let ya know how it goes!

Share this post

Link to post



scarlet the cleaner shrimp died. My wife did it! The cats brought fleas into the house and wifey treated the furnature with flea STUFF. shrimp started acting crazy and confused that evening. Dead the next morning. Took a day to figure out what might have happened then read the can and it clearly stated to cover fish tanks...... Live and learn. RIP scarlet.


No opinion on the zoa dip yet. I performed 2 dips. One each evening for 2 consecutive days. One of the colonys decided not to open the second night so i held off on the third treatment. Still have not opened almost a week later. :angry: I can not see any changes in teh spots on the zoas but they have not gotten worse. I will be treating again for 3 days this time and see what happens. Zoas are and greeen star polyps are proving to be my trouble species. Go figure.


DIY led kit is in the mail from AQUASTLEONLINE.com price and general opinion of the products are impressive. Looking forward to putting them togeather and the final result.


Also adding purigen to the tank. I wanted to try chaeto only but now im chaeto and chemi-pure elite (to recuce water quality swings. Still seeing ammonia from time to time and sooo many people use the purigen there must be something to it. Looking for stable water quality!


Updates to come!

Share this post

Link to post

Purigen... in the tank

36 3W DIY LED ..... DONE! (love the results) aquastyleonline.com

Verdict is stil out on the Furan2 dip. I did 2 consecutive treatments. My Nuke green zoas still wasting a bit around the base but the spots are gone. Still have not found anything eating at them. Time will tell


Going to grab my first acan tomorrow and see how he likes the light.



Share this post

Link to post

I have neglected this thread for some time and much has happened.


1) I learned that biocubes cause lots of evaporation and routine top off is essential. I let my salinity get way high several times due to neglect. ATO in the future.


2) I turned into a frag junkie and stocked the tank big time. I am doing well with most SPS and softies and have a birdsnest going crazy up top.


3) I ran out of room and started a 120. Im addicted.


4) Got 120 up and running and transferred the majority of my SPS to it. Going with zoas, polys, riccs, sofities and leaving the torch.


The tank parameters are very stable now. A mature tank seems much easier to take care of.


A note on the lights. I wired blue and white onto the same controller and bad idea. If i want the blues turned up i ended up with "hot spots" underneath the LED's . Solution was one bank of all blue and other bank mix of blue and white. All blue on 14 hours at 100%. Other chanel is 50/50 and runs about 50% forr 6 hours. BIG IMPROVEMENT on the happiness of my critters!

Share this post

Link to post

added a rainbow BTA!!!! Once he comes out of hiding i will post pics.


Have been wanting one for a long time now, just watned to let teh tank mature.


Tank is ALIVE with critters.... brittle stars, spagetti works, various bristle work looking things (have yet to cause any problems... pods in bunches, little white stars, snails are reproducing, feather dusters.


My chaeto if growing healthy and lush.


Amazing what time does to a tank!


Word of advice: if you are starting a BC29, just be patient, it gets easier!!!

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Sign Up or Sign In to hide this.