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Cpl_Wiggles

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

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Jackal227
4 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Picked up tailspot blenny to munch on algae.

Snapchat-1303922665.thumb.jpg.5a91ea70f5c5747107e592dfe1bdd711.jpg

 

 

 

The Blenny looks good.  I've heard that they have great personalities.

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Cpl_Wiggles

He started off pretty shy, but has began to perch and explore. I want him to get hungry and start eating the algae!

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Cpl_Wiggles

New friends from AquaSD.

1910004207_IMG_20191122_190925938_HDR2.thumb.jpg.fd43800fba6db3483c0120bc6bcb7ce7.jpg

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Cpl_Wiggles

After Thanksgiving heater stopped working and temp dropped to 68-70 degrees. Obviously the critters did not enjoy this - lots of decay as well as disappearance of coraline. Upon further examination salinity in tank had dropped to 1.023 - as one could imagine parameters were all over the place. Good news is the algae in the tank went away. Bad news is the nice favia and leptoseris did not fare well. They are holding on three months later, but only by a thread. I might try to trim away the "dead" skeletons to make way for new growth. 

 

Long story short - have a backup heater ready and carry calibration fluid for your refractometer. Now that I've made sure water is 78 degrees and salt is 1.026, things seem to be doing well, with no algae growth.

 

I haven't even yet placed the corals I purchased from AquaSD because I have been waiting for signs of coraline growth, an indicator of stability, which I am beginning to see. I will be traveling to Europe beginning of March and once I return from there I will place the corals purchased from AquaSD and acquire a few more. 

 

I will also remove my rocks and do one more mass removal of vermetid snails - as there has been aggressive growth since the addition of more snails from ReefCritters. 

 

I'll even make an effort to get some better pictures posted. 🙂

 

Snap1.jpg.33841e69d7a33a76fd93d7ee6b4ad52b.jpg

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Cpl_Wiggles

Tank is alive and generally well 1.5 years after my last post. Indeed, nothing good happens fast in a reef tank. 

 

What have I been doing? Alot of hands-off. Tank seems to have stabilized under the following parameters: 

 

1. 2 or 3 gallon water change every week using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals and a pinch of Reef Builder, empty out skimmer

2. Replace Filter Floss every 2-3 weeks

3.  Last carbon change 5/1/21 - probably need to update this guy soon

4. Every 4 weeks remove all the rocks and vacuum/level entire rockbed

5. Feed 4-5 sinking pellets of fish food each morning and afternoon for Clown (Cody) and Shrimp (Sebastian)

6. Feed corals with Coral Frenzy heavily the day before weekly water change

7. Keep tank temp around 78 or so with Chiller from ChillSolutions and a fixed Heater

8. Can't remember the last time I checked anything except salinity with a calibrated refractometer (lesson learned!)

 

IMG_20210919_221947677.thumb.jpg.10019d52a10660cab800244a8736e29c.jpg

 

Here you can see the clown and the shrimp - each occupying their respective corners.

1. Yellow-Green Leptastrea from the Thanksgiving Mistake of 2019 has finally filled back in - pretty impressed he just kept truckin'.

2. Rainbow Ring Acan still a single head - probably need to feed him more

3. Blue Petals Monti won't grow but also won't die - I probably need to have cleaner water or better light somehow. 

4. Blue War Coral - Good growth and the most impressive of my purchases from AquaSD.

5. Nuclear Eyes Blasto - slow growing but finally has started to sprout some new heads when the shrimp isn't throwing them around

6. Green Rhodactis Mushroom - Literally the only out of control expansion in my tank. At this point I don't even care - as long as I get full tank coverage of color. I can weed them out later

7. Pulsing Xenia - Trying to seed on the far right of my tank for some nice movement

8. Leather - Slow growing - doesn't really do much

9. Random Zoa - for some reason can't grow Zoas. 

 

IMG_20210919_222046005.thumb.jpg.70f303b5f67354cde214c2a592e30339.jpg

 

Got lots of little critters in the tank. 

1. Lots of Aesterina Starfish

2. 2-3 Nassarius - they're reproducing!

3. One stubborn blue-leg hermit

4. 2-3 Nerite snail - also reproducing

5. Still Vermatid Snails - but under control

 

Overall, I'm glad the tank is stable, but not really impressed with what I've done. Still, gotta take the good with the not-so-good. I'll enjoy the fact that some of my corals are growing nicely while others just hang out. I've lost too many things to count so now trying to keep moving along slowly with what I have, and maybe find a couple different places to try to place the slow-growers.

 

Plans for the Fall: 

1. Try to frag some Rhodacti and take into local fish store to trade for something. 

2. Carefully use Dremel to open up some more holes for plugs to try to mix up placement of corals to coax more growth

3. Glue together some live rock for "frag beds" so I can plant more corals that are under the lights

4. Remove some plugs from the tank. 

 

-Wiggles

 

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banasophia
8 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Tank is alive and generally well 1.5 years after my last post. Indeed, nothing good happens fast in a reef tank. 

 

What have I been doing? Alot of hands-off. Tank seems to have stabilized under the following parameters: 

 

1. 2 or 3 gallon water change every week using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals and a pinch of Reef Builder, empty out skimmer

2. Replace Filter Floss every 2-3 weeks

3.  Last carbon change 5/1/21 - probably need to update this guy soon

4. Every 4 weeks remove all the rocks and vacuum/level entire rockbed

5. Feed 4-5 sinking pellets of fish food each morning and afternoon for Clown (Cody) and Shrimp (Sebastian)

6. Feed corals with Coral Frenzy heavily the day before weekly water change

7. Keep tank temp around 78 or so with Chiller from ChillSolutions and a fixed Heater

8. Can't remember the last time I checked anything except salinity with a calibrated refractometer (lesson learned!)

 

IMG_20210919_221947677.thumb.jpg.10019d52a10660cab800244a8736e29c.jpg

 

Here you can see the clown and the shrimp - each occupying their respective corners.

1. Yellow-Green Leptastrea from the Thanksgiving Mistake of 2019 has finally filled back in - pretty impressed he just kept truckin'.

2. Rainbow Ring Acan still a single head - probably need to feed him more

3. Blue Petals Monti won't grow but also won't die - I probably need to have cleaner water or better light somehow. 

4. Blue War Coral - Good growth and the most impressive of my purchases from AquaSD.

5. Nuclear Eyes Blasto - slow growing but finally has started to sprout some new heads when the shrimp isn't throwing them around

6. Green Rhodactis Mushroom - Literally the only out of control expansion in my tank. At this point I don't even care - as long as I get full tank coverage of color. I can weed them out later

7. Pulsing Xenia - Trying to seed on the far right of my tank for some nice movement

8. Leather - Slow growing - doesn't really do much

9. Random Zoa - for some reason can't grow Zoas. 

 

IMG_20210919_222046005.thumb.jpg.70f303b5f67354cde214c2a592e30339.jpg

 

Got lots of little critters in the tank. 

1. Lots of Aesterina Starfish

2. 2-3 Nassarius - they're reproducing!

3. One stubborn blue-leg hermit

4. 2-3 Nerite snail - also reproducing

5. Still Vermatid Snails - but under control

 

Overall, I'm glad the tank is stable, but not really impressed with what I've done. Still, gotta take the good with the not-so-good. I'll enjoy the fact that some of my corals are growing nicely while others just hang out. I've lost too many things to count so now trying to keep moving along slowly with what I have, and maybe find a couple different places to try to place the slow-growers.

 

Plans for the Fall: 

1. Try to frag some Rhodacti and take into local fish store to trade for something. 

2. Carefully use Dremel to open up some more holes for plugs to try to mix up placement of corals to coax more growth

3. Glue together some live rock for "frag beds" so I can plant more corals that are under the lights

4. Remove some plugs from the tank. 

 

-Wiggles

 

Yayyy so nice to hear an update! That’s an interesting idea to take your scape out and siphon the sandbed every month… I've never heard of anyone doing that and I wish I could do that with my tanks, but I don’t think they are glued solidly enough. How are you liking the chiller and the Steve’s LEDs? 

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Cpl_Wiggles
3 hours ago, banasophia said:

Yayyy so nice to hear an update! That’s an interesting idea to take your scape out and siphon the sandbed every month… I've never heard of anyone doing that and I wish I could do that with my tanks, but I don’t think they are glued solidly enough. How are you liking the chiller and the Steve’s LEDs? 

I believe @brandon429 has had a long-running pico reef jar in which he does a 100% water change and cleaning of the sand bed once a week or so - I liked that concept so when I built my aquascape I drilled holes in the bottom of my LR and put in plastic dowels so they would "stand" over the sandbed instead of plopping them down onto it. When I added my two flat base pieces I drilled the holes in them to locate the position of the LR. Because it's an "arch" I just have to center the base pieces so the two sides of the bridge touch". Makes it much easier to remove and expose the entire sandbed. My aquascape is actually 5 pieces. 

 

1. Left Base

2. Left Main

3. Right Base

4. Right Main

5. Random topper that has a mushroom and xenia on top that I just move around randomly.

 

To be fair - I could benefit from some additional LR and better use of space to maximize exposure to the LED lights. I still have not efficiently used the BioCube space yet - four years down the road. 

 

Chiller works great- no complaints there I like that it's pretty straight forward as far as technology goes - and when the power company cycles my A/C off the chiller keeps temps stable. 

 

I'm mixed on the Steve's LED. Clearly @Jackal227 has had impressive success with the stock BioCube lights whereas I haven't really seen a benefit - even when I was being more attentive to my parameters. Of course his water quality is undoubtedly better. I actually sent my lights in to get the Violet upgrade as well. Not sure why since I'm Red-Green colorblind.

 

Light settings: 

 

31% White

41% Blue

72% Total

 

Updated 1/25

29% White

46% Blue

75% Total

 

Updated 10/13

30.5% White

40.3% Blue

70.8% Total

 

So I've played around with the levels (Steve's recommends not going past 80%) while trying to stimulate the monti growth. All in all, Mixed Feelings.

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Cpl_Wiggles

Full View

IMG_20210920_182215242.thumb.jpg.aedaea23eca5bbe325a862b6c9212440.jpg

 

War Coral and Leather, with Monti and Blastos above and Rhodactis below

IMG_20210920_182221598.thumb.jpg.b8cf97293b6b344e1c3ddca81896e5f5.jpg

 

Lone Acan in a sea of Rhodactis

IMG_20210920_182226067.thumb.jpg.e89ec72d4432ea22f94ab2a5689ec48f.jpg

 

Lep doing well, but slow growing

IMG_20210920_182355905.thumb.jpg.42043beb7ab8464141c7eb57b567cc1a.jpg

 

Good growth on War Coral - would really like to get the leather expanding along the side of the tank as a show piece

 

IMG_20210920_182413961.thumb.jpg.5099615eaf431f4959658ab160a75a9c.jpg

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Cpl_Wiggles
On 9/20/2021 at 2:07 PM, Cpl_Wiggles said:

I believe @brandon429 has had a long-running pico reef jar in which he does a 100% water change and cleaning of the sand bed once a week or so - I liked that concept so when I built my aquascape I drilled holes in the bottom of my LR and put in plastic dowels so they would "stand" over the sandbed instead of plopping them down onto it. When I added my two flat base pieces I drilled the holes in them to locate the position of the LR. Because it's an "arch" I just have to center the base pieces so the two sides of the bridge touch". Makes it much easier to remove and expose the entire sandbed. My aquascape is actually 5 pieces. 

 

1. Left Base

2. Left Main

3. Right Base

4. Right Main

5. Random topper that has a mushroom and xenia on top that I just move around randomly.

 

To be fair - I could benefit from some additional LR and better use of space to maximize exposure to the LED lights. I still have not efficiently used the BioCube space yet - four years down the road. 

 

Chiller works great- no complaints there I like that it's pretty straight forward as far as technology goes - and when the power company cycles my A/C off the chiller keeps temps stable. 

 

I'm mixed on the Steve's LED. Clearly @Jackal227 has had impressive success with the stock BioCube lights whereas I haven't really seen a benefit - even when I was being more attentive to my parameters. Of course his water quality is undoubtedly better. I actually sent my lights in to get the Violet upgrade as well. Not sure why since I'm Red-Green colorblind.

 

Light settings: 

 

31% White

41% Blue

72% Total

 

Updated 1/25

29% White

46% Blue

75% Total

 

Updated 10/13

30.5% White

40.3% Blue

70.8% Total

 

So I've played around with the levels (Steve's recommends not going past 80%) while trying to stimulate the monti growth. All in all, Mixed Feelings.

So on a whim I emailed support at @StevesLEDs (whose customer service is fantastic) inquiring about how to determine the equivalent PAR and realized I've made a bone-head mistake. 

 

My current settings on the LED array are: 

 

 

Updated 10/13

30.5% White

40.3% Blue

70.8% Total  35.4% intensity

 

At some point when I started acclimating a new coral purchase and turned my lights down to ~30% intensity per StevesLED instructions, I forgot to slowly increase the intensity and misread the readout on the controller to mean I was already back at the recommended 70%. To remedy this, I have increased my light intensity by 3-5% every two or three days. Currently around 60% intensity and plan on stopping around 70% to observe. 

 

Hopefully this is the root cause on the anemic growth of the Leather, Monti, Blastos, etc.

 

Also tested water for the first time in forever. Ammonia, pH, Nitrites, Nitrates, Alk. Everything looked good except for a spike in Nitrates - which made sense as it was a water change day. Either increase quantity or frequency and problem goes away. 

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