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Xanthine's Biocube 16 - the journey continues

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After reading through here for a few months, wanted to jump in with my own journal to help document my progress.
I started this tank Jan 2018.
This forum has already been so helpful in learning the basics, suggestions, and modifications!! 


Updated Nov 27 2019





  • Ocellaris Clownfish, snowflake cross, local Captive-Bred    Amphiprion ocellaris



  • Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
  • Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab x2
  • Dwarf Red Leg Hermit Crab x1  
  • Nerite Snails (Caribbean)  x4
  • Cerith Snails x6
  • Astraea Turbo Snail x2
  • Nassarius Vibex Snails x4
  • Banded Trochus Snail x1
  • Feather Duster x3




  • Green Toadstool Mushroom Leather Coral 
  • Green Devil's Hand leather coral 
  • Duncanopsammia Coral  x2
  • Micronesian Torch Coral, Green
  • Micronesian Torch Coral, Purple
  • Trumpet Coral  - as of June still hanging in there after tank crash, barely
  • Melonberry Montipora Coral, Aquacultured, ORA 
  • Caulastrea Coral, Candy Cane
  • Frogspawn
  • Xenia
  • Sinularia
  • Blue Cespitularia
  • Rainbow Montipora
  • Blood Orange Leptoseris
  • 24K Leptoseris





  • Caribbean Sailfin Blenny    Emblemaria pandionis
  • Black & White Ocellaris Clownfish, Captive-Bred ORA, Misbar    Amphiprion ocellaris
  • Ocellaris Clownfish RIP  found caught in poly in chamber 2 through those large horizontal slats
  • Royal Gramma Basslet    Gramma loreto  Got ich 
  • Six-line Wrasse Pseudocheilinus hexataenia Just died out of nowhere one day, not sure what happened
  • Starry Blenny    Salarias ramosus
  • Midas Blenny
  • Firefish, Purple (disappeared soon after adding, never to be found)
  • Peppermint Shrimp x6 RIP Blenny ate one as it was released...second went MIA.. presumed dead. Bought a few every couple of months to help with aptasia, but all disappeared within a day or two....
  • BTA Bulb Anemone, Green 
  • Green Rhodactis mushrooms RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Green hairy mushrooms  RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Grape Coral, Purple Tip  RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Purple tip hammer coral RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Green Tip Pink Birdsnest  RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Pink Peony Pocillopora RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Purple Stylophora Coral RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Caulastrea Coral, Candy Cane  RIP tank crash Feb '19
  • Zoanthus - Orange Delight, Blue Ice ,Miami Hurricane, Orange Eye, Eagle Eye, Radioactive Dragon Eye  - all have closed up since tank crash, but not totally dead yet
  • Ricordea


January 29 2018



April 26 2018




May 17 2018 




August 25 2018



Oct 10 2018 




-I dont have any pics during/immediate after the big CRASH of Feb 2019. It was too upsetting. 


May 22 2019  (sorry so crooked and bad. I'm embarrassed of it)





June 16 2019





June 22 2019




July 13 2019  - 




Aug 25 2019



Oct 26 2019



Nov 24 2019



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Things sure have changed a lot in the past 15 years in this hobby! 

I remember working at my LFS when nanocubes first became the new big thing. Also was working there when Finding Nemo came out. THAT was fun...ugh..(although honestly it is one of my favorite movies.) 


I used to have a 125 cichlid FW tank, but for some reason never made the leap to a SW tank of my own - UNTIL my wonderful husband got me an LED Biocube 16 this past Christmas!


I considered that to be a signal of support / enablement....so went all in!


I hoped I could salvage some of my old FW stuff...I went through and ended up purging most of my old supplies. I found an old pH test kit from 1998. I did keep it's test vial though - it's from back when API labeled them as 'doc wellfish' and have a little cartoon fish dr on them.  I did have find Red Sea Salt left over from an old green spotted puffer brackish tank.  


I had to order a stand before I could set up the tank, so that gave me time to do some forum research on next steps and suggested equipment.

I read  @Jackal227 and @Cpl_Wiggles  tank journals for advice, which helped a TON.

I removed the false floor in chamber 1 as they both suggested, using the knife-twist method. This gave me enough room to add the heater to chamber 1. I obsessively watched and recorded temp every 15 minutes until it held at 81. The Eheim has a 'calibration' feature, so the next day when the tank was still at 81, I re-calibrated it to 78.  But, I could not get the temp to drop below 80.6. It took a few days of messing with the Eheim setting to finally get things to stabilize.  Looking back, I would not recommend that heater. Maybe I just got a finicky one but even so - it is HUGE!   


I added around 16lbs of the live sand. I didn't bother rinsing it since I didn't have LR or anything else in the tank. It was cloudy for a few hours, but I added some polyfil and it cleared up. I immediately did not like the way the substrate looked - too coarse for me, reminded me of crushed coral from my cichlid tank. But, I had read so many stories about how annoying finer sand can be during siphoning/cleaning, so I still went with it.   

I added some fish flakes to start the cycle, then waited.



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Tank looks great for only 4 months old!

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That's a nice selection of corals that you have.


How long have you been running without a powerhead? 

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Oh my goodness I have abandoned this build thread - but I have not abandoned the tank - it continues on!! I swear I've had the worst 'beginners luck' with this tank. I'm going to try to catch up with my journaling/pics to show this journey -- now that I have more experience, flipping through reading my tank notebook has a lot of 'NOOO WHY DID YOU DO THAT' moments...like this one:

This was January 2018. I went to the (basically only) LFS in the area with the intention of getting some 'good' live rock. My research up to this point had taught me I should look for something that is really 'alive' - the more red stuff that doesn't easily scrape off (coraline) the better.  I bought 0.81 lbs of real reef - the one on the left, and 4.14 lbs of supposedly fiji LR. 


I later would come to realize that the 'red' on the rock on the right....was red wiry turf algae. There was also a frag plug of dead zoas stuck in it. 

20/20 hindsight makes me think this was probably rock from a tank breakdown after the previous owner gave up the battle of the turf algae. 


A year and a half later.. I've regretted that rock so much.  So many hours spent with dental picks and H2O2 trying to kill that turf. It hurts to even look at this picture...


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January 2018 was a month of cycling and fighting with maintaining temperature. I had thought from my research that the Eheim 75W was a safe choice - I liked the 'calibration' aspect of it.  However whatever I did, I really struggled to maintain temp. I literally have logs of hours where I would read tank temp every 15 minutes. I bought multiple thermometers to cross check. I just could not get that tank to stay stable below 80F. 

I decided to start my fishless cycle anyways while fighting the heater, using fish flakes as amm source, and bio-spira for the bact. 

I looked closer at my LR and saw I had lots of 'white tubes' all over. At the time I thought they were all bad vertmids, but now I realize it was about 50/50 vertmids and tube worms (which now are like one of my favorite hitchhikers!)


I mentioned earlier that I had some really old API test kits...I had thrown away the stuff that was 10 years+ expired...but thought the ones that were only 7yrs expired would be ok and I could cheap out and keep using them. NO. That was wrong.   I bought a new set of API - testing side by side showed the expired ones were detecting ammonia, and not detecting nitrates. 

So, armed with my fresh API kits ... I realized my tank was indeed cycled, with amm/nitrite/nitrate at 0/0/5-10.  

I continued to ghost feed and add caps of biospira until I finally ended with nitrates up to 40.  


Still fighting the heater....I took it out. Even without the heater....the tank temp stayed at 79.2! So I ran without a heater - and eventually it stabilized at 77.4. (House temp was around 68 - wintertime)


It was then I noted 'feathery green hair algae'...it looked pretty.. (UGH!)


A few days later....bubble algae. (double ugh!)


I also started seeing 'little worm thingie that moves on/in the sand like a U shape, reddish/white, 1cm long, 2mm wide, with antennae' (Good amphipods! But at the time they freaked me out!)

Next, came 'tons of little white dots jumping around really fast on the big main first rock' (copepods!)

Also- asterina stars, and micro brittle starfish. 


I bought some more LR to scape it out a little more, along with some snails/hermits/shells


Overall some good hitchhikers and some bad hitchhikers...



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Jan 30 2018. A day that will live in infamy. 


My first coral - Candy Cane Caulastrea from liveaquaria - certified captive grown coral. (It even came with a fancy cert with gold seal, 'indicating this coral fragment has passed strict inspection protocols for health and is free of pathogens.;


I'll let my email I sent them speak for what happened:


Hello, I purchased Item 40502 CF-CANDY CANE CAULASTREA _____
I noticed that there was a weird hole between the two heads when I received it, but the coral plumped up after drip acclimation and dip, and seemed to be adjusting fine. 
However, it did seem there was something in the hole that moved, so I've been keeping a close eye on it. 
Tonight, while attempting to feed the coral some brine shrimp, a tiny crab came out of the hole and started stealing the shrimp!! 
I've attached a picture where you can see the claws of the crab in the middle.
I also have a video that shows it more clearly which I can send if you would like, as well as pictures showing the crab hole was in the coral when I first received it. 
I just tried to tweeze/flush the crab out of the hole while in a ReVive dip, but he was stubborn and in a hard to reach spot inside of the coral. 
I don't have experience with this type of pest - do you have advice on what I can do to save the coral? Also, is this covered under the CCGC warranty? 



They suggested a high salinity dip to remove the crab.

And it was HORRIFYING.


I want to throw up just thinking about it. 

Also a horrible trypophobia experience.

I wish I could find better pics but this is around the timeframe that I'm missing like months worth of pics from my google drive.....


Of course I would be the one to get a freakin nasty gall crab in my first coral ever....



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Wow, you have definitely been through some challenges. Crazy about the gall crab!! How are things now?

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16 hours ago, banasophia said:

How are things now?

Honestly - not the best. Better, and more stable, but reoccurring algae and cyano outbreaks have caused a lot of stress.

I battled dinoflagettes and brown jelly, which left me in tears and almost had me break down the tank. 

I'll probably do a couple more updates copied from my paper journal to get this thread up to speed with the pictures I do have. 


During the past year, I set up a tiny 3gal QT, which kind of has morphed into a mini DT....and it's been amazing. No real issues at all.  It has given me hope that maybe I'm not a total failure in this hobby   - which led into me getting a cheap clearance JBJ 20g cubey,  which is just almost finished cycling. I went almost completely clean dry rock on the 20g, with one clean LR from my 3g 'QT'.  


But - I havent given up on the biocube yet! My latest theory is the old stupid LR is leaching copper or some kind of junk.  Just added one of those color changing poly filters to it a few minutes ago.

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Feb- May 2018 were pretty good overall for the tank. 

I got a blenny that was adorable and loved eating spectrum pellets from a pipette.
Got a toadstool that scared me a few times doing it’s shiny slime coat thing, but kept coming back bigger and healthier. 
Had some cyano that quickly was removed with chemiclean, and bryposis that finally went away after dosing 300mg fluconaozole. 
pH stayed stable at 8.2, KH 7, calcium 400, salinity 1.025, amm/nitrite/nitrate/phos 0 (using API kits) I got a seachem phos kit that also showed <0.05 consistently. A few times I saw some nitrates, but would do a 2-3gallon WC and it would drop.


I found some aiptasia and hydroids, but wasn’t too concerned. 


I got a cute little ‘Nemo’ -- who was doing great, until he went through the back top slit that goes into the middle chamber, and I found him dead on top of my inTank floss.  On the plus side -- it happened the day before I left for a cruise, so at least I didnt come back to tank crash. 

I bought a royal gramma from the same LFS that I got that stupid turf algae from. I didnt QT him and he sadly ended up dying of ick. 


I discovered that I LOVED Euphyllias and my favorite corals are torches and hammers. 
I like how they dance in the flow and I really like hand feeding them. 

I also really have fun watching hermits. They can really irritate corals...but their silly hijinks make up for it.


In May, I moved to a different city. I was lucky enough to have a full service moving team for everything in my house - except the tank. I got to break it all down and move it myself - not fun, but I was so glad it was just a nano at least!!!


My favorite note from my paper journal - April 25th 2018 “Life in tank is all good/growing” 🙂


The candy cane healed well after removing the gall crab!!  And here's my blenny, atop a rock with turf algae..



FTS May 17 2018



Silly snail riding hermit



Torches are so relaxing



Hermit bothering my devils hand leather. Zoas looking good!


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The rest of 2018 --

I managed to only mess up one coral during the move -  a few heads of my trumpet coral got smashed and were out of water for awhile.  

Otherwise, the move went well and the tank seemed to be ok. Was seeing good growth. 
Switched to salifert kit for nitrate testing and stayed around 0.5ppm nitrates

August 2018 I would say my tank was probably at its best and most stable. 

I dont know why but in Sept I was convinced I could make it even better by dosing a little reef fusion 1+2, and transitioning to Reef Crystals instead of Instant Ocean salt for higher alk.

A few times I didnt top off enough water and found my salinity too high at 1.030. 
For some reason I overall started keeping salinity at 1.027-8. 
Really dont know why - and it wasnt until later in 2019 when things crashed and I looked at my journal that I saw I had just started trending higher for both water changes and tank overall. 

I was traveling a lot during this timeframe and probably should have had someone check on my tank, but being in a new city, I didn’t have any friends/family around. 

One benefit of the move is that there are several great LFS to choose from now! 


I picked up this tiny little snowflake-cross clown and some frags. I learned my lesson from being burned by the old LFS and put everything into a little QT tank for awhile to observe.

There’s a little nook area in the kitchen that fits my tank, my QT turned mini DT, and a little ikea cabinet that serves as a storage unit and my coral surgery / dipping tabletop workspace. 


QT tank - July 2018 



'Nook' tank area

Tank area.jpg



August 25 2018






Sept 22 2018




Oct 10 2018



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This is the post I've been dreading, but may as well get it out so I can continue the healing...


The crash - Feb 16th 2019

Things had been pretty stable, but I remembered that I had never added back the chemipure elite after a previous chemiclean cyano treatment. 


I added a new pack, and within a few minutes, two head of my beloved hammer coral turned from pink to dark black and shriveled up. Then it started oozing out 😞


I quickly realized I hadn’t rinsed it first and it was a brand new pack. (previously I had been removing/adding back the same packs during treatments, but I had gotten a new jar for xmas)


The next day the candy cane shriveled up, and skeleton was visible.


Quickly followed by rapid tissue loss from my stylo and my birdsnest. 


Then, the grape coral + pocillopora died. 



A few days after that, I started seeing brown clumpy stuff EVERYWHERE. 

Doing some research and at home tests - now I’m pretty sure it was dinoflaggelates. (Coffee filter test was crazy. I should have taken a video - watching them all group back together in the filtrate was so bizarre)

Feb 23 - I started dosing 2ml H2O2 (which was on the low side from recommendations of 2ml per 10g.)
Also put tank in blackout mode, covering all glass to keep all light out. 


The return pump impeller was almost completely clogged with dino clusters.

The media basket and all 3 chambers in the back were coated with that nasty brown gunk. 
I would clean it out and then it would come right back... 



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Ok one last post that will get me caught up! 


March 10 - “Tank is still dying. Most corals dead or irritated”

At this point, there wasn’t any more dino or cyano, and green/brown algae was taking hold instead.  
Nitrates had raised to 10 (both salifert and API read same for once)

I noticed my tank had been running on the warmer side again, 79, but had switched to a neo-therm heater and set temp at 76.


March 11 - Added purigen, did a WC going back to Instant Ocean instead of reef crystals, cleaned off everything in the back chambers again (chunky dinos again).  
Added back a rinsed chemipure elite, because I wanted some dino toxin control from the carbon.


March 12 - Noticeable improvement in all corals.


March 23 - Cyano was bad again, so did another round of chemiclean, removing the chemipure elite first. 


March 30 - The most cyano I had ever seen before. Everything covered. Took out 3 of the 5 LR pieces and toothbrush scrubbed them. Also did some spot H2O2 treatment on the turf algae. 

The stylo died. My clownfish had been hosting that poor stylo for months. After I took it out, they both went nuts. 


March 31 - dosed another round of chemiclean.  Found a lot of colonial hydroids in my zoas, dental picked them off as much as I could. Continuing to siphon off cyano 2x a day. It covers the entire sandbed so quickly. 

April 2 - added back chemipure elite, added a tiny amount of phosgard. My phos levels still continued to show up as undetectable with both API and Seachem testing, but the internet keeps saying its probably my phos causing issues.  

April 5- added a little nano pack of chemi-pure blue

April 25 - started dosing ~1.5ml of Vibrant Reef at night

Things started to quiet down a bit for awhile.


May 14 - I felt like my tank was stable enough to start to repopulate my snails, AND got a small BTA. I wanted something to get me excited about my tank again, and since I had few corals left, wanted to try an easy BTA.  

May 16 - got SHOCKED when I put my hand in the tank! My hand was numb for a few hours. Tested for stray voltage and it was staying around 0.7.

May 17 - added a titanium grounding probe - voltage now 0.0.  Got a starry blenny for some more natural algae control attempts. However he seems to favor the fine algae skim on the glass instead of the more macro algae on the LR. But his little kiss marks on the glass are cute so guess it’s ok. He also really likes sitting on my devils hand. 

May 18th - the rest of my Salifert testing kits arrived, so I could finally get more accurate readings on my KH/alk (7) , calcium (425) , magnesium. (1300)  The BTA had been missing in action up to this point, but I finally found it (happy looking) on the bottom of my LR, in the back, pointing down. Literally the furthest point from both light and flow. I flipped the LR it was on to center it more mid-light and mid-flow. 

May 29th - Cyano terrible bloom again. Am NOT going the chemiclean route again. This time got some margarita turbos and they seem to be at least getting the LR cleaned up.  Siphoning the cyano mats off the corals and sand daily. 

June 10 - The BTA hasn’t been very happy since I flipped his rock last month, and decided to take a walk. He’s back at the bottom of the liverock again….not sure what to do...

June 10 tank params - pH 8.2, temp 78.6, salinity 1.024, KH 7.7, Mg 1275, Ca 410, Phos <0.05, Nitrates 2.5




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Ok so my current (pun intended) theory is perhaps the stray voltage, in combination with unstable alk/KH and pH, were what is really hurting my tank. I ran for months seeing if I needed to do water changes by just checking nitrates. Since I've been paranoid about phos/nitrate levels, I feed sparingly.  I think I was letting KH drop way too low between water changes and leading to spikes after changes. 


Looking at my test notes, I didn't test for KH much...but when I did, it was sometimes as low as 5/6 (API).


I did some more in depth reading to get a better understanding of how the cyano bacterial blooms impact my CO2 and alk / KH levels. 


Now that I have a magnesium/calcium test kits, I feel more comfortable dosing just #2 of the reef fusion 2 part as needed to maintain around 8 for now. (testing at 7.7, adding 2mL reef fusion #2, hour later it tests as 8.2, which lines up great with what the dosing calculator says) 


The corals seem to be responding well - and the BTA even started poking out more and happily ate some mysis 🙂


I also bought a RO/DI unit so I don't have to keep buying distilled water anymore. 


I am very confident this will lead to more frequent water changes which I hope will also lead to better KH stability. 


Another theory I have/had is that maybe the toadstool leathers and the devils hand are having chemical warfare in the tank - I rarely see both of them with polyps extended at the same time - they alternate good/bad.


Additionally -- seeing others journals - I realized that I needed to get some more corals and repopulate!! My heart was broken after losing so many back in Feb/March - especially my hammer. SO I just bought a branching hammer and a regular hammer!!!   They are in my newly cycled JBJ 20 for now until I feel more comfortable the biocube is more stable. 


(Probably cheating to put a pic of the JBJ in my biocube journal, but going to anyways because I'm excited...)


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I'm feeling like my biocube is heading back in the right direction. I'm dosing every other day (based on testing),  2ml of reef fusion #2 to keep alk/KH at 8.0. 


The BEST decision I made was to get a mexican turbo.

I know they are big bulldozers, but this guy has done more work on the turf algae in my tank in the past 3 days compared to all my other work in the past year.

Turbo is a perfect name for them.  


I also popped a little 9W green killing machine UV in a few minutes ago. (I want to have it mostly just on standby in case I ever experience a dinoflagellate outbreak again, but figured I'd try it out. just to see if it helps with the cyano at all. ) I've had it in my 3g for about a week and it significantly reduced algae in there. 


My starry blenny is doing great at keeping the film algae down. He's down in the bottom left of this pic making his kissy face stamps near the sand line.  I give him 1/4 of an algae wafer every few days too just to make sure his tummy stays full. The clowns like to fight him for it but he always wins. 


I still have almost all the coral down on the sandbed , mostly now to protect against falls from the turbo pushing things around. 

He knocked the devils hand leather off the top earlier. 

And the duncan is all weird in the pic because he just got done shoving them against the glass too. 


June 22 2019


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I turned that top right rock around so the turbo could get to another part of it that had some algae. 





One hour later:




Two hours total:




Didn't quite get all the roots of the red turf...but still...amazing!! 


Bonus pic half hour later:  He's back for more -- and he brought along a nerite, astrea, and cerith for the algae party!



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The turbo knocked the monti down onto the purple torch. It was maybe an inch drop? And mostly landed on the dead head of the torch. Now the torch is completely dead white skeleton. 

I knew the risks of having such a big snail in a tiny nano, but still sucks 😞


Also the colonial hydroids are back in full force surrounding the zoas. It's a shame they are so invasive- they really are pretty. 

This photo is super zoomed in - the white specks are grains of sand. These things are tiny.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the rock out and scrape what I can with dental picks. 



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Very nice journal you've got going here! I read the whole thing and I like how you went back in time and explained not just what's going on but what has already happened. I think that might be useful for anyone interested in starting a similar system!


I hope you manage to get rid of those colonial hydroids; those things can be quite difficult to eradicate. I had them in my tank for awhile as well, but after a few weeks they just vanished. Hopefully it will work out in a similar manner for you.

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Here's an aftermath picture of the hydroid plucking. I find it kind of relaxing in a way. The zoas already seem much happier without those pesky things bothering them.




Unfortunately, I found my starry blenny dead this afternoon. 😞

I had noticed he was acting weird yesterday, staying towards the top of the tank instead his normal lower perches. My guess is it was related to the cyano/toxins? Didn't see any evidence of parasites or disease and he was eating well - seaweed and algae wafers along with the green film algae so not really sure. The hermits and snails got to his body super fast so couldnt do a post-mortem. 


Also a few minutes ago I heard lots of splashing! I thought maybe my water mixing bucket pump had turned in the bucket or something. 

Nope - it was the turbo snail, on top of the main pump output nozzle, making it spray everywhere like when a kid puts their thumb over a garden hose!!! 

Thank goodness for the biocube hood!!!!  

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Came home today to see the margarita turbo learned from the mexican turbo and is making splashy splashy now too!





My KH levels seem to be staying more stable now that I'm doing more manual removal of the cyano almost every day.  

The corals almost all seem to be doing better, except for the devils hand leathers which are both shedding, I think/hope.


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Those Turbo snails are hilarious. 😁 I guess they're big enough to just ignore the flow and eat that so-good algae that likes to grow right on the return! Whenever one of my Cerith snails tries that, it invariably gets sent on a ride across the tank.


Sorry to hear about your starry blenny. Any chance that it could be an aggression-related death? Did you ever notice it getting chased or bullied by your other fish?

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On 6/30/2019 at 11:56 AM, billygoat said:

Sorry to hear about your starry blenny. Any chance that it could be an aggression-related death?

Pretty sure you were spot on with this - my Emo Nemo is very aggressive to me (hasn't broken my skin yet, but I often get nipped putting my hand in the tank).

The only time I saw her being a bully to the starry was algae wafer time - she would steal it from the blenny, take it to the top of the tank, drop it, then wait for him to get it and steal it again. Felt very school-yardish. 


She's always been the boss of the tank, and her mate(s) very submissive....but today was the final straw. 


This picture is literally seconds before Emo Nemo went full on JAWS on the little clown.  Like literally bit and latched on top of him like a sandwich -  onto his body where the dorsal fin gets smaller -  it was horrifying. She did some damage to his fin. I immediately netted her out of there and threw her in the 5g that only has a hermit in it. Little Nemo is MUCH happier already. Emo Nemo will have to deal with being alone for awhile now.



Despite the cyano not giving up (and morphing from mostly red to a darker wine/black type), I think the stability of my alk continues to have a positive impact on my corals. 


I swear the duncan gets a new head every day!!    


This is after I took out the bully and my little guy has never been happier! (I'm a little heartbroken to be honest at the immediate change in his personality and wish I did this sooner)  He doesn't look too hurt from the ordeal, just some slight fin damage up top.





And here is same area a few hours later, right after my turkey baster cyano removal, which was much more pleasant without any nipping!AfterCyanoRemovalJuly6.thumb.jpg.0fa6508dba1f5fd41a0592c9e12e7a72.jpg




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So after hours and hours of reading @brandon429's  'the official sand rinse thread' on RTR and related links....I think I'm going to try a full sand rinse.

My tank definitely fails the sand 'drop test'

I've been spending so long on daily spot removal and the cyano just keeps coming back. 

I also wouldn't mind lowering my insane population of bristleworms, and cleaning up the dead snail shells throughout the sand.

My rocks could use a good scrubbing too now after the turbo finally has removed most of the red turf. 


I'm almost out of salt and spent hours looking at comparison parameter data of brands to see if I should switch to liveaquaria salt (rebranded fritz?) when it was on a good sale ...but maybe I'll just change one variable at a time and stick with IO in the biocube for now.  My tank seems to be holding fairly steady at Ca/Mg level matching fresh mixed IO, and the Alk just slightly lower.  But that also could be related to me essentially doing ~10% partial water changes every day as I siphon the cyano.....

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A full sand rinse seems very daunting! I am interested to read more about your results with it. I had a similar cyano problem for quite some time (multiple months) in the early days of my tank, but it ended up declining and eventually disappearing after I started maintaining Alk at around 8.5-9 dKH. Raising alkalinity alone is not enough to beat the cyano, but higher alk does seem to make it harder for the cyano bounce back, which makes manual removal much more effective. That being said, the effectiveness of any given treatment depends on the variety of cyano you've got, what it's using to fuel its growth, etc. Your sandbed looks pretty shallow, so hopefully a full cleaning won't be too much of a chore.


The tank is looking great despite the red slime! I can't wait to see more. 😊

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My salt hasnt come in yet so I didn’t do the FULL sand rinse, but I did a more aggressive version of my daily siphon and a partial sand rinse.  
I need to get a larger diameter hose so I can siphon out when/if I do the full one - my tube kept getting clogged with snail shells and large particles of sand.



For the rinses, I didn’t do fresh/tap -  just used multiple buckets to rinse, then decant - mostly recycling the tank water that came out with the siphon, followed by freshly mixed salt before going back in the tank looking like the bahamas. 



It was actually pretty gratifying to see all the nasty junks come out with each successive wash of the sand.  Also removed a lot of bristleworms! I gathered a lot of the empty shells into a small area and the hermits thought it was an open house party. Funny how they've been in the tank with those shells forever, but wasn't until they were in a pile that it got their attention. 


I realized my sand was gross...but honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. About mid way through this siphon my water wasn’t really getting cloudy and the ‘drop test’ passed even on the sand I hadn’t removed.  Which makes sense given how I’ve been doing partial siphons almost every day. 


I moved turbo pooping machine to another tank with the mean clown, so I could put my corals back up on some of the rocks. So now only having one clownfish in the tank, the bioload has dropped - I may not end up needing to do the big full rinse. 


I need to get a filter for my phone for better pics during blues...or figure out a better way for white balance, (using free android app 'a better camera' with manual white balance at 8700 or 8800K) but I think this pic still gets the point across. I’m happy with it for now 🙂


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