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Cpl_Wiggles

Wiggles' Biocube 16 w/ Steve's 42W LED Upgrade: The Next Generation

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Cpl_Wiggles

The Next Generation: 

 

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Started this tank in January 2017. Shut it down in March 2018 as I was packing up to move to California. Finally settled in here and in January 2019 began cycling The Next Generation. 

 

Tank: Biocube 16LED

Lights: Steve's LED upgrade 42W with incandescent booster

https://www.stevesleds.com/Biocube-16-LED-Turbo-Upgrade-System-Plug-and-Play_p_346.html

Pump: Syncra Silent 1.0 Pump (251 GPH) - Sicce and modified plumbing

Y-splitter and Loc-Line to distribute flow across entire tank

Circulation: Hydor Nano 240

Heater: 100W Manual temp-set

 

Marineland Phosphate-free Carbon (4 Tablespoons every two months)

Seachem Alkalinity Buffer (1/4 Teaspoon every 3-4 days during water change and top-off)

Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Salt (1.026)

RODI: LiquaGen at home RODI

https://www.amazon.com/LiquaGen-Reverse-Osmosis-Deionization-Portable/dp/B00LKF09IW/

 

Wal-Mart Polyester cloth as filter floss

Removed false floor chamber 1 for heater

Trimmed transition from chamber 1 to chamber 2 to increase flow

Installed "deflector" to direct flow to center of chamber 2

 

Water Change every 6-7 days

 

Stock:

Cody the Clownfish

Sebastian the d!ck Coral-banded Shrimp

2x Turbo

2x Nassarius

6-ish Nerites

1x red-legged hermit

 

Coral:

Ricordea

Leptastrea

Blue Tubs

Green Star Polyps

Favia

 

 

________________________________________________________

 

Hello all -

 

This is my first salt tank. We kept a 55 freshwater in college with Balas, Angelfish, Cories, Danios, and the like, but I wanted to start something myself.

 

With the help of a friend in Seattle who has kept a 40 gallon since college, I set out to try my hand at it.

 

I am currently on Day 3 of the initial cycle. With the dry rock inside I ended up putting a little under 12 gallons in the tank. With the my refractometer reading right at 1.025, 100W heater at 78, and water pump getting good circular flow in the tank, I put in my biomatter and now begin the wait to test ammonia levels.

 

I plan on taking things really slow beginning with a cleanup crew and perhaps a single fish. I also plan on buying some small soft or LPS corals at the LFS that are in the $5-10 range.

 

Rushing can be expensive and I'm in this to go slow, learn, and enjoy.

 

Enjoying reading the community posts. I'll keep things updated on progress.

 

Thanks,

 

Wiggles.

 

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Cpl_Wiggles

Update! After two months of cycling the hint of green within my tank of algae signals my first trip to the LFS for a CUC and my first coral frags. I now have a lively group consisting of:

(1) emerald crab

(3) turbo snail 

(3) nassari

(5) blue leg crabs. 

 

I felt like I couldn't leave without picking up some coral frags to begin my aquascaping. I picked up three polyps and a single softie and placed them into the tank! 

 

I plan on waiting a little longer for fish to see how this purchase fares. These are all purchased for around $90 so I want to ensure I know what I'm doing and do it right the first time around. 

 

Any comments or suggestions very much appreciated!

 

 

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Cpl_Wiggles

 

Starting to fill up nicely! I have been sticking to my plan of buying a couple of frags in the $5-$15 range once a week and glue them into place - hopefully with enough spacing. I let a week pass and if all goes well I make another purchase. 

 

I have lost two hermit crabs to the elements, and gained a Asterina Starfish and purchased a Pencil Urchin who has eliminated every single strand of algae (albeit while plowing through my poorly glued coral). You can see him in the bottom center crawling over my most recent purchase. 

 

Star polyp started with 15+ polyps making a nice wavy figure, but after the urchin knocked him loose I managed to crush a couple trying to re-glue it. I see today I've lost two more polyps, taking me down to 6. We shall see how that progresses. 

 

Corals:

Zoas (3) 

Duncan (1)

Star Polyp (1) 

Finger Leather (1)

Trumpet (1) 

 

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Cpl_Wiggles

Hello all - 

 

A trip to the LFS for one item turned into a Monte, a Finger, and a Torch. I had received mixed feedback on SPS in a BC14 and was told if I did pick one up, to mount it as high as possible to ensure adequate light and add in some calcium tablets to keep the levels up. Mounted at the top and center, it's not going to get much better than that, so I look forward to see how it develops.

 

I think that my spacing is deceiving. It's good for now while they're small, but I think I'm going to need to spread them out a little more. 

 

The bottom left front and the bottom right front are open - might consider putting a showpiece on one side or the other. Then I think I will fill the sides in with zoas or a simple care coral - thoughts? Am I missing anything in this group? You can see LHS is the high flow, RHS is the low flow but judging by the movement of the star polyp there is good circular motion going on in the tank. 

 

Zoas (3) 

Duncan (1)

Star Polyp (1) 

Finger Leather (1)

Trumpet (1) 

Finger Coral (1) 

Monte (1) 

Torch (1)

 

 

Should I move my rock formation further back against the rear of the tank in order for coral to grow outward? Should I build my "arch" taller? 

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks!

 

Wiggles

 

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JimmyEarp

I wonder how the SPS would do under the biocube leds considering the max par reading on the leds is around 20-65 I believe.  

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Hippieheadshot

Tank is nice! I love the slow and small frag style, cheap easy and soon you will have a few 30-50 dollar frags to showcase too!

 

Any reason you leave the frags on the plugs? Don't be scared and pop them off! It will look nicer and be more secure because you only have one point of glue, not two. :)

 

What is your first fish going to be?

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Cpl_Wiggles
10 hours ago, JimmyEarp said:

I wonder how the SPS would do under the biocube leds considering the max par reading on the leds is around 20-65 I believe.  

I wondered the same. From my research if there is "lower" light than is normal for SPS the secret lies in strictly maintaining parameters by doing small-scale changes once a week. The more the parameters fluctuate the more of an impact the lighting conditions are. Any thoughts on this? 

 

10 hours ago, Hippieheadshot said:

Tank is nice! I love the slow and small frag style, cheap easy and soon you will have a few 30-50 dollar frags to showcase too!

 

Any reason you leave the frags on the plugs? Don't be scared and pop them off! It will look nicer and be more secure because you only have one point of glue, not two. :)

 

What is your first fish going to be?

 

I guess I didn't realize I could pop them off the plugs. Any strategies to do that? I think I also wanted to confirm my spacing is acceptable between each frag. Then removing the plugs sounds like a good idea. 

 

Great question! In keeping with my KISS policy I might try a simple clown/blenny combination, but have also been interested in wrasse and firefish. 

 

Definitely starting one fish (cheap) and see how well I can maintain bioload, and optimize my water changes/parameters. LFS has clowns for $14 - pretty hard to say no to that. In a perfect world I'd like to clown to take up residence around the torch...but territorial in 12g of water could be bad...I want to see him swim though the arch I made :)

 

Giving a month in May for the coral to grow and establish will make me feel more comfortable to add a fish. Just a couple more frags for "spring planting" and then time to watch them grow!

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Cpl_Wiggles

Browsing the $5-$10 frags at the LFS jumped on the opportunity to pick up mushroom frag for some good soft wavy growth. 

 

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I was also surprised to see an acan sitting in the $5 frags. One side was healthy and the other was dead and stony. After some discussion we decided to saw away the decayed portions and attempt to revive the rest of the acan. We shall see what happens. Considering the other rainbow acans in the tank were $95 I thought this was a cheap experiment that would instantly add some color to the tank. Fingers crossed! 

 

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And finally the full family shot. I took some advice given and clipped the frag plugs in order to more seamlessly mount them. Worked well!

 

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 I am beginning to notice how some of the coral colors very well against daytime and nighttime LED lights, and other pieces of coral don't really do much. As this reef progresses and grows and I'm confident in my abilities to keep things alive in the future I might be more selective on corals which will provide more color and perhaps "swap" the under-performing frags. I think I'm saving the bottom left and bottom right "base" portions of my rock for my first non-frag, established, and colorful showpiece. 

 

Zoas (3) 

Duncan (1)

Star Polyp (1) 

Finger Leather (1)

Trumpet (1) 

Finger Coral (1) 

Monte (1) 

Torch (1)

Acan (1) 

Mushroom (1)

 

Any ideas?

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Hippieheadshot

For lps you can just normally wiggle them off, I use soft grip vice and a flathead to pop them off. Softies you can use a razor to get under the glue being careful not to cut the flesh. Zoas I don't remove or frag. 

 

I wouldn't worry about the clown being aggressive unless you go with a mocha or similar breed. The tank is coming together great!

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Cpl_Wiggles

Well this isn't good. 

 

Update: Following the good tips and tricks I've read on this forum, I decided to "when in doubt, do a water change". 

 

My salt was .001-.002 below 1.025 and with the 10% water change this seems to have brought it back up. Not sure what the deal is. As you can see in the last post the finger leather was tall and doing well. The only thing I did Friday was add the mushroom and the Acan and do a water change. 

 

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Cpl_Wiggles

Update 2: 

Activated Carbon — Some Personal Observations

"I have noticed that some leather corals, zooanthids, palythoa and xenia tend to close-up for a day or two when even a small quantity of activated carbon is introduced."

Source: http://saltwateraquariumhobby.com/aquarium-filtration/activated-carbon/

 

I forgot, I did add carbon in a media bag last Friday as well. Has anyone had experience with this? 

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Cpl_Wiggles

It would appear something was eating at the base of the leather. 

 

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Tested water. pH was low, ammonia, and Nitrites were all partially elevated. Nitrates zero. I just did a 10% water change yesterday in addition to the change I made Friday. Also added carbon. Do I need to change the filters, perhaps? Do I actually need the Biocube filters if I have live rock and carbon in a media bag?

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ry05coupe

I would figure out where the ammonia has come from. Looks like you are in the beginning/middle of a new cycle, assuming the tank was cycled before adding livestock. Are you feeding at all? Has anything died in the tank? (Coral or CUC). Leathers will also occasionally go through skin-shedding or molting phases, for lack of a better term, where they will close up for a few days, shed their outer layer of flesh and open back up. Hard to tell but I don't think that's what is happening with yours though. 

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Cpl_Wiggles

Holding off on fish as I leave Tuesday for Europe and won't be back until June 1. I have had the tank cycled since mid Jan and CUC in for about a month. Except for one blue hermit I don't believe anything has died.

 

I have seen the zooplankton really take off and crawl all about the coral. I might have spied a small shrimp of some sort that was maybe red with white spots hiding under the leather...could he be the culprit?

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Hippieheadshot
On 4/24/2017 at 11:18 PM, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Holding off on fish as I leave Tuesday for Europe and won't be back until June 1. I have had the tank cycled since mid Jan and CUC in for about a month. Except for one blue hermit I don't believe anything has died.

 

I have seen the zooplankton really take off and crawl all about the coral. I might have spied a small shrimp of some sort that was maybe red with white spots hiding under the leather...could he be the culprit?

I doubt it, I suspect it is just "molting" as said, mine do the same thing now and again. 

 

It could also be the lighting is too high and your just now seeing the effects, what schedule/intensities are you running?

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Cpl_Wiggles
44 minutes ago, Hippieheadshot said:

I doubt it, I suspect it is just "molting" as said, mine do the same thing now and again. 

 

It could also be the lighting is too high and your just now seeing the effects, what schedule/intensities are you running?

 

The LED BioCube has a sunrise, sunset, day, and night settings . I usually run day lights from 10-7 sunset to 8, night to 9AM, sunrise to 10

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Hippieheadshot
15 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

 

The LED BioCube has a sunrise, sunset, day, and night settings . I usually run day lights from 10-7 sunset to 8, night to 9AM, sunrise to 10

Light cycle is a little long, most recommend 8hrs if it doesn't perk up in a few days I would consider dialing it down. 

 

Can you controls the levels of the lights or is it just on /off? As in the percentage of the light e.g. 50% whites and 70% blues at peak.

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Cpl_Wiggles

It has a ramp up and down feature in which they dim/brighten over an hour, but nothing you can custom set.

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Hippieheadshot

Silly biocube put in ramp but no control?

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Cpl_Wiggles

Man, I can't seem to catch a break. Right when I tell a guy at work my urchin has left my coral alone...

 

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Any ideas how I can fix this?

 

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Hippieheadshot
1 hour ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Man, I can't seem to catch a break. Right when I tell a guy at work my urchin has left my coral alone...

 

 

Any ideas how I can fix this?

 

No way to stop it, especially since you have bubble algea on it. I'd pull it and get the algae off to be safe, carful not to pop them!

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Cpl_Wiggles

Noob question...what's bubble algae?

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Hippieheadshot
16 minutes ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Noob question...what's bubble algae?

There was a good thread here on NR that I can't seem to find , sorry. :(

 

But this site has some good details

http://www.fishlore.com/bubblealgae.htm

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Cpl_Wiggles

Still having some growing pains. Ammonia still elevated but going down. I havent seen the emerald in awhile. I wonder if he died and is the source? Going to do two water changes this week to help out.

 

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Stony, finger leather, and torch (I think) are all going through some growing pains. Pencil urchin attacked the base of the torch frogspawn on the left, as you can see. Finger on the right looks a bit better, we will see if he pulls through. Stony is turning white on a couple smaller stems, it would appear the LED isn't enough. Lesson learned. 

 

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Any idea what this is? He's definitely crawling around. No idea where he came from.

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Cpl_Wiggles

Update: Bad news. First two casualties. They did not survive the acclimation process. Next time I will do the full drip-method for acclimation:

 

https://www.bluezooaquatics.com/acclimationguide.asp

 

Good news: Tank survived my time away. 

 

I added two new friends to celebrate:

 

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