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AshleyH

Ashley's 32G Biocube (The Sea Shell Motel)

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Hi everyone, 

I decided to start an aquarium journal to log my progress. I've never had an aquarium before, and I'm about as beginner as they come. Feel free to make suggestions. So far I've learned there's about a hundred ways to accomplish the same thing and twice as many opinions about it. Thanks for reading :)

 

Start date: October 1, 2017

Tank: Coralife LED Biocube 32

Heater: Aqueon Pro Heater 150W

Circulation: Hydor Koralia Nano 565
Back Chamber Filtration: Boyd ChemiPure Elite 11.74oz, Seachem Purigen 250ml,  Acurel Filter Fiber

Rock/Sand: Caribsea Liferock 12 lbs, 8lbs live rock, 6 lbs base rock, mix of Nature's Ocean No.0 Bio-Activ Live and Caribsea Arag-alive Fiji-pink live sand (20lbs)

Salt: Instant Ocean

 

Just got my first ammonia reading yesterday at 0.25 ppm and today 0.5 ppm, nitrite and nitrate still zero. pH 7.9 and Sp.G 1.024

Will likely adjust rockscape at end of cycle for slightly more room near the glass.

 

Wish list:

Blue banded coral shrimp

Longnose Hawkfish

Blue chromis

Midas blenny

Clownfish pair

Red mandarin

Valentini puffer

Hammer coral

Frogspawn

Mushrooms

Brain corals

 

Will keep updating!

Ashley

 

 

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Looking good so far! I assume the wish list is something you just want to pick a few from, and not all...right? :lol:

 

I usually dont use any sort of filtration while I cycle tanks, just to let things work in naturally. You may find people have a lot of opinions on this, but I usually do a decently long cycle and then add in the purigen / chemi pure after. 

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Great start and welcome! Was expecting to see a bunch of sea shells in the tank! I love shell collecting with my daughter when we go on vacation!

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14 minutes ago, schgr.cube said:

Looking good so far! I assume the wish list is something you just want to pick a few from, and not all...right? :lol:

Yes not all at once! Just throwing ideas out there for when I forget which critters interested me. 

17 minutes ago, schgr.cube said:

I usually dont use any sort of filtration while I cycle tanks, just to let things work in naturally.

I thought about this a couple days after I put it all in the tank... Should I remove the media?

 

17 minutes ago, Orangutran said:

I love shell collecting with my daughter when we go on vacation!

Yes I have nice memories of shell collecting too. In time I will add some. I have lots from when I used to live in the Caribbean 👍

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11 hours ago, AshleyH said:

Yes not all at once! Just throwing ideas out there for when I forget which critters interested me. 

I thought about this a couple days after I put it all in the tank... Should I remove the media?

I would personally recommend it, as there isn't really anything that it will be helping with right now. I like to let me tanks go through their ugly phases and get all the algae out of the way, then slowly stock.

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On 10/8/2017 at 10:40 PM, AshleyH said:

 

Yes I have nice memories of shell collecting too. In time I will add some. I have lots from when I used to live in the Caribbean 👍

 

Yeah, we've thrown a bunch of the collected shells into our tank! Always nice to say we found them.

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2 week update:

While I've been waiting for the tank to cycle I attempted to "improve" the stand via spray paint and stencil. Stencils are a b*tch. 

I also noticed extremely small white bug looking creatures scurrying over my glass in a few areas. Luckily my camera has a pretty good macro ability, and I can see the creatures even better than my own eyes can. Check out my pics/videos. I think they are copepods... correct me if I'm wrong. They are okay/beneficial right? Lastly I've been watching this small feathery growth on my live rock, but it has not changed a bit since day 1. Not sure what it is. 

 

 

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On 10/15/2017 at 12:59 PM, AshleyH said:

 

Yep copepods! 

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Questions:

Today is the first day I have seen both ammonia and nitrite at zero. There have been some nitrates for the past few days as well. I've been charting them. Will post the graph when my full cycle is done.

1) Speaking of....how do I know when my cycle is done? And when it is, should I start with just a couple snails and crabs first?

2) My API saltwater test kit leaks when I am shaking up the test tubes. I'm starting to get really bothered by this. Does anyone like another test kit better that is not extremely expensive?

Thanks,

Ashley

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I think my tank is done cycling. It definitely went through all the stages (ammonia and nitrite spikes), but the color changes weren't very impressive. I have nitrates, which seem to be rising slowly. I had to compare to tap water today to convince myself of its presence. 

Refer to my attached chart and comparison photos of nitrites during the spike and nitrates from today. The dip in nitrates and nitrites was probably me miscounting drops or accidentally picking up the wrong bottle (hopefully).

My tank also smells much better. When there was ammonia in there it had a foul pungent smell when I put my nose to the water- now I can't smell anything. 

 

I think it's time to buy some snails and crabs this weekend!

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On 10/17/2017 at 5:57 AM, Scorchx1245 said:

I hold the cap tightly with my thumb on top. Only thing that i found works...

I tried this and  it almost completely eliminates the leakage. Thanks for the what should have been obvious tip! I do have to hold a ton of pressure on the cap though.

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Yeah its quite annoying, I swapped vials and lids and found one that fits, it was an old freshwater ph one.

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Tank and stand both looking good! I think you can add some snails and hermit crabs (if you want hermits, they can be little jerks) 

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I may have missed this, once the cycle is over do a large water change to get the nitrates down.

 

Has your lineup for fish changed a all.  I know mine has since I’ve started this new tank and I’m still not completely set on what I would like to have...  This is the fun part :)

 

And by the way, after seeing your stencil, I’ve been staring at my stands thinking what would look good.  Thanks for that wonderful idea!

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On 10/20/2017 at 7:04 AM, Flexin said:

I may have missed this, once the cycle is over do a large water change to get the nitrates down.

 

Has your lineup for fish changed a all.  I know mine has since I’ve started this new tank and I’m still not completely set on what I would like to have...  This is the fun part :)

 

And by the way, after seeing your stencil, I’ve been staring at my stands thinking what would look good.  Thanks for that wonderful idea!

My line up has changed a bit- I'm reconsidering the Valentini puffer because supposedly it attacks shrimp, which I like. Actually- I'm not really dead set on my list yet at all! 

I just did about a 25% water change today.

Glad to inspire for tank stand decor :)

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My tank has been stable this week with no ammonia or nitrites. A couple days ago I started getting some diatom algae and hair algae, so I knew it was time to add in a couple critters.

 

I made it to the LFS after work today, and after talking with the employees for a while I started with a small clean up crew and one clownfish. My husband had his heart set on a starfish. We did a 25% water change and acclimated our new inhabitants.

 

My tank now has:

1 coral banded shrimp

1 snowflake ocellaris clownfish

1 small emerald crab

2 trochus snails

1 harlequin serpant star

 

The clown is staying to one side of my tank so far and everyone else is in semi-hiding mode. Clown also spat out a piece of pellet but has been munching on copepods and (too many-woops!) mysis shrimp I added.

 

Hoping they all start to get used to their new home.

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Looking great so far! I love how thoroughly you're documenting everything!  Nice first additions. I saw starfish and went uh oh, until I saw it was a serpent star! Nice choice! A lot of the startfish are really sensitive or eat very specific things and waste away in aquariums. The serpent stars however are super hardy and will eat any food your throw in the tank. They're awesome scavengers and my favorite starfish for aquariums. :)

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Very nice additions!!  I also had to look up that starfish because of what some do...  And an excellent looking clown to start with.  I love my two, but that were the only ones there that day :)

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OK I had my first set back today. I am pretty sad. 

The tank was doing well, but still had quite a bit of algae growing rapidly and my CUC wasn't doing anything- in fact the snails are leaving behind more excrement than actually cleaning anything. Luckily there's only 2 of them!

Well we went to the LFS today in hopes to get another shrimp or something. We ended up with 3 small hermit crabs (who are doing a seriously good job cleaning right now), a regular ocellaris clownfish as a buddy for my 1 fish since he seemed so lonely and scared, and I got my first coral. 

It is (was?) a superman mushroom, well 2 small ones (red with blue dots). It was a super tiny frag, but I liked the color. Anyway- big rookie mistake- it made its way into my tank, and I was taking pictures with the camera, which goes super macro and what did I see? Aiptasia. :( Of course very small and pretty close to one of my mushrooms. So I turned to the forums. Some suggested scraping the aiptasia off and supergluing the spot where it was. Others said get a peppermint shrimp or inject with boiling water/lemon juice/vinegar/etc. I figured just breaking the mushroom off the plug and throwing away the plug was the best way to go. 

 

It was very hard to tell if I broke enough off so that the aiptasia was gone- it literally disappeared when out of the water. I went a little overboard trying to cut the plug as close to the mushroom as I could and CRUSHED a part of one mushroom. :(:furious: It definitely got injured- there was some red color on the paper towel, and a few second later some "guts" came out of it. I took a picture as I was freaking out. My husband put them back in the tank and now they look normal again aside from 1/2 of one being smushed. 

 

Did I ruin my 1st coral?

Will it release toxins into the water?

I don't want to deal with aiptasia this soon. Ugh

 

Anyway the clowns are getting along very well, and my 1st clown is getting bolder now with a buddy. I won't be adding any more fish for quite a while. The LFS also tested my water and everything looked great aside from being a little on the soft side.

 

As a side note- all of my creatures are named after characters from Home Alone (one of my all time favorite movies). Here is Kevin the shrimp and one of the "wet bandits" (hermit crabs).

 

 

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Peppermint shrimp may not get along with the banded shrimp.

 

Let some time pass with the mushroom.  It may be ok, they tend to be hardy...

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