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So with being out of the hobby for a year or two I finally decided to dive back in to give myself something to do in my down time. I began assembling equipment for a 60g cube but gathering everything I wanted for the build was taking to long and the itch was getting to me. When I came across these small AIO tanks from WaterBox I just couldn't resist. The main inspiration for this tank came from seeing a video of Battlebox corals and then when I saw the AutoAqua Smart AWC the idea popped into my head. 

 

Build Plan

Equipment

4g WaterBox Cube

AI Prime HD w/ Gooseneck

25w Neo-Therm Heater

MP10QD

AutoAqua Smart AWC

 

Livestock:

Clown Goby - Not sure which exact species I will go with. Citron is what I am really wanting, just depends on availability.

CUC - One small blue leg hermit and a couple snails at max.

Macro algae - Since having a refugium isn't really possible with this build I am going to look at getting some to have in the display.

Corals - Various SPS nothing in stone so far. Going to try out a BattleBox and then get what I can from lfs around me. So no telling what I'll end up with at the moment.

Rock - Purchased some dry reef saver rock for this build but also have some cured pukani in case I can't get a scape I like.

 

To get things started with this tank I am going to give Fritz 9 NItrifying Bacteria a shot and maybe find the smallest bottle of pods I can find. Algae Barn will probably be my go to for the pods and macro once the tank gets water in it.

 

The Automatic Water Changer from AutoAqua is the key to my plan for this tank. The only other filtration will be biological and some Chemi-pure blue.

Excited to get this tank set up and running. I'm gonna have to play around with the AWC and find what I will be able to do, since the return chamber is so small I will have to either do extremely small amounts or set up a timer to turn shut the return pump off and allow the AWC to run. The goal will be to accomplish 100% water changes every week at the least. This should handle any nutrient issues with such a small bio-load and most likely keep major and minor elements in a decent range. I plan to test this and see how things go and if the water changes alone can't keep up I am considering using Kalkwasser or try Red Sea Coral Pro salt since it has elevated levels to begin with. 

 

If you made it this far. Thanks for reading all my thoughts and rambling. Let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations on adjustments. Also if you have any recommendations on corals or any good livestock ideas I would really appreciate it. 

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Why is it so awesome when things get delivered! 😄

 

So tank, heater, and a few extras came in today from SalwaterAquarium.com. I really enjoyed this whole purchasing experience, between the freebies and the price matching I am more than satisfied and for sure will be a returning customer.

 

A few pics from the unboxing


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The heater takes up a lot more space in the back then I anticipated.  It can really only fit in the middle compartment. The pump that was shipped with the tank is a Jabao mini 40gph. I was curious what would come pump wise, since I read so many people were having issues with the included pumps not fitting. While this pump has a lower rating then the pump that is advertised to be included I am not too worried since my flow will be coming mainly from the MP10.

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Middle chamber for the heater it is.

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Included Media bags and coarse sponges: The bags are pretty nice since they have zippers and can be easily reused, bio-balls will be discarded. I will only be able to use one of the sponges in order to have enough space in the back for my heater. This will just make maintenance easier since I can just swap the sponges. 

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Some of the goodies that SalwaterAquarium.com sent. My order originally had a chemipure blue nano sample but since they were out they threw me some extras. I thought this was an error but they did make a note on the included manifest which eased my mind. The bacto-balls were a nice and interesting surprise.

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Day 1: Getting things wet and salty!

 

Rinsed my sand pretty well and then tossed it in and tried to come up with a scape for the time being. May need to break the rocks up and glue them together some but this should do for now. 

 

Added the Fritz 9 Bacteria and put one of the bacto-balls in the media bag that had the bioballs in it. HAHA

 

Today my order from Algae Barn also showed up. I can't say how much I appreciate their customer service, they answered all my questions and were genuinely interested in helping me. I got the combo pack of Poseidon's Feast and OceanMagik Phyto. Per their instructions I added the whole bag of Poseidon's Feast after acclimating the bag. Since I don't have any fish in the tank I didn't have to worry about them getting scooped up by a hungry mouth. After letting them settle in for about 30+ minutes I added 50ml of the Phyto to get them started. The rep suggested starting with 100ml but I figured I could split this first large dose up over a day and then do small amounts to maintain. I plan to keep my lighting for the time being and hopefully prevent any nuisance algae.

 

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 Patience is a huge key with sps in a pico. I had about 30 sps frags in a 2g frag for awhile back in the day and it went well but awhile. Just don't go overboard and try to hard,keep it simple and test and keep everything at the right levels and STABILITY is one of the biggest factors. The slightest changes will be detrimental in a tank this small. The slightest alk,cal,mag or salinity changes will cause chaos REAL QUICK. 

 

 I would get good test kits ( Red Sea ) is what I used. I would get the Foundations,Colors and good reliable kit for Phosphates,Trites and Trates. Good filtration and random flow is going to be another key thing along with temps. 

 

 Also,in no way am I trying to talk down whatever knowledge you may have. Just giving you my .2 on my experience. If you have any questions about anything,let me know and I will try and help the best that I can !!!! 

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 No I totally agree with you on all fronts. First, I always am willing to take advice on sps. Most my experience has been with everything else Haha. 

 

For testing equipment I am going to get ALK an other Hannah checkers along with the base Red Sea kit, I’m more likely to test often with the Anna’s checkers. Planning to use the automatic water changer to help maintain most the chemistry. I am interested in trying either Red Sea coral pro salt or Two Little Fishes salt mix to keep things stable. 

 

I believe once the cycle is settled I am gonna pick one or two frags to see how things will go. Gotta get the light dialed in.

 

Once I have the apex and MP10 flow  should be random and effective. Temp is going to be something I have to watch and see how it acts for the time being.

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Loving the tank so far! One day I'll have the balls to try some SPS... until then I'll stick to my softies and LPS!

 

Can't wait to see how this turns out though. I love my 10 gallon, but there's just something about that tiny little ecosystem that's appealing. That, and who doesn't love clown gobies?

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21 minutes ago, Lorekeeper said:

Loving the tank so far! One day I'll have the balls to try some SPS... until then I'll stick to my softies and LPS!

 

Can't wait to see how this turns out though. I love my 10 gallon, but there's just something about that tiny little ecosystem that's appealing. That, and who doesn't love clown gobies?

I have made half baked attempts at sps in other systems but wasn’t dedicated enough. My 60g cube is just for LPS and Zoas so I know how you feel. 

 

The tiny ecosystem is a huge draw for me as well. My first fish was a clown goby and the citrinus clown goby is something I’ve always wanted to get. Ready to have the little guy perching in some of the corals. 😬

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I've never kept any clown gobies, but love the look and personalities! I have a 3 gallon jar sitting in my closet that I plan to set up with one sometime in the future, and I can't wait!

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I have had a yellow and a green one in different systems. Both had great personalities and were pretty active. They both had their on “spot” that you could find them perched on regularly. You should definitely consider getting one! Awesome fish.

 

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I used Red Sea Coral Pro salts,but hear the blue bucket was way better. I had a batch of Coral Pro test off the charts for Phosphates,I guess because once every few years with the tides it stirs up sediment which is packed with PO3 and I had one of those buckets. If you want,check out my thread,I believe its my 7g thread and about mid way thru there is all the 2g sps stuff lol. 

 

 I think you are on the right track,just like I said be patient and everything will be fine !!! 

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4 hours ago, Reefkid88 said:

I used Red Sea Coral Pro salts,but hear the blue bucket was way better. I had a batch of Coral Pro test off the charts for Phosphates,I guess because once every few years with the tides it stirs up sediment which is packed with PO3 and I had one of those buckets. If you want,check out my thread,I believe its my 7g thread and about mid way thru there is all the 2g sps stuff lol. 

 

 I think you are on the right track,just like I said be patient and everything will be fine !!! 

Wow I will definitely have to give that a read. Finding a consistent salt mix will be a important thing. I believe once I start erring a judge for how the system will work how fast things will deplete, I will be able to come to a more solid conclusion on which salt to work. The only reason I would consider the coral salt pro is because of the elevated levels in the mix. If the blue bucket can provide what I need then it’s somehing I do want to go with. 

 

I am defiintley fighting the urge to push things forward. I want to make sure this tank is well established before I go to far. 

 

Going to have to establish a rigorous dipping and acclimating process since I won’t be able to quarantine. But that’s why I want the six line wrasse for some backup. Lol

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On 6/15/2018 at 10:46 PM, tgore said:

So with being out of the hobby for a year or two I finally decided to dive back in to give myself something to do in my down time. I began assembling equipment for a 60g cube but gathering everything I wanted for the build was taking to long and the itch was getting to me. When I came across these small AIO tanks from WaterBox I just couldn't resist. The main inspiration for this tank came from seeing a video of Battlebox corals and then when I saw the AutoAqua Smart AWC the idea popped into my head. 

 

Build Plan

Equipment

4g WaterBox Cube

AI Prime HD w/ Gooseneck

25w Neo-Therm Heater

MP10QD

AutoAqua Smart AWC

 

Livestock:

Clown Goby - Not sure which exact species I will go with. Citron is what I am really wanting, just depends on availability.

CUC - One small blue leg hermit and a couple snails at max.

Macro algae - Since having a refugium isn't really possible with this build I am going to look at getting some to have in the display.

Corals - Various SPS nothing in stone so far. Going to try out a BattleBox and then get what I can from lfs around me. So no telling what I'll end up with at the moment.

Rock - Purchased some dry reef saver rock for this build but also have some cured pukani in case I can't get a scape I like.

 

To get things started with this tank I am going to give Fritz 9 NItrifying Bacteria a shot and maybe find the smallest bottle of pods I can find. Algae Barn will probably be my go to for the pods and macro once the tank gets water in it.

 

The Automatic Water Changer from AutoAqua is the key to my plan for this tank. The only other filtration will be biological and some Chemi-pure blue.

Excited to get this tank set up and running. I'm gonna have to play around with the AWC and find what I will be able to do, since the return chamber is so small I will have to either do extremely small amounts or set up a timer to turn shut the return pump off and allow the AWC to run. The goal will be to accomplish 100% water changes every week at the least. This should handle any nutrient issues with such a small bio-load and most likely keep major and minor elements in a decent range. I plan to test this and see how things go and if the water changes alone can't keep up I am considering using Kalkwasser or try Red Sea Coral Pro salt since it has elevated levels to begin with. 

 

If you made it this far. Thanks for reading all my thoughts and rambling. Let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations on adjustments. Also if you have any recommendations on corals or any good livestock ideas I would really appreciate it. 

IMG_1866.thumb.JPG.8b3fac49b471429ca861c0e728024d66.JPG

 

 

 Very nice start! The scape is neat, reminds me of that place in Thailand with the tall rocky islands.  If you find the heater to be too large, look into the Archea heater offered by Aqua Forest Aquarium. I posted size pics on the Creative Container Contest thread back in October or so.  I've used one over a year, it's tiny and has an external thermostat that keeps it rock steady. 

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I went searching for the video that inspired you (please link it if you ever find it again).  Did you know that Battlecoral's owner has a coral named, "The only horrida I have managed to keep alive for over a year". 

 

That's just funny.  

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The video was from AJs channel, and it was more seeing BattleCorals website that got me. The video didn’t show much on the corals, but said good things about the customer service which got me to look. 

 

And it was at that hat moment I knew I ####ed up cause I needed to have them!!!!! 😍😍

 

that website is a rabbit hole like no other.

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Day 4: picked up the Red Sea Marine Care Test Kit from my go-to LFS. (It’s like the place for the oddballs to hang out 😂😂 best place ever. Only if they sold beer too.) Anyways, the following are my first set of results for this cycle:

 

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrates - 3ppm

Nitrites - 0.1 ppm

pH - 8

dKH - 8 

 

Considering how many things were implemented this seems like a good start. 

 

Reminder: I did add the Fritz 9 nitrifying bacteria, 1 BactoBall, and a 16oz container of Poseidon’s Feast from AlgeaBarn. 

 

With these results I decided to add the skeleton CUC. A single nassarius snail and a tiny hermit. 

 

I always enjoyed the antics of both these guys, although the hermit is already on a probationary sentence as he was already targeting the snail. Planned to only have one tiny hermit anyways, so a snail only crew may happen. 😑 I made sure he knew I was watching him. Once the cycle stabilizes some more and I see the beginnings of algae I will look to get a couple ceriths and maybe another nassarius. Don’t want a potential biobomb.

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On 6/23/2018 at 11:22 PM, tgore said:

Day 4: picked up the Red Sea Marine Care Test Kit from my go-to LFS. (It’s like the place for the oddballs to hang out 😂😂 best place ever. Only if they sold beer too.) Anyways, the following are my first set of results for this cycle:

 

Ammonia - 0ppm

Nitrates - 3ppm

Nitrites - 0.1 ppm

pH - 8

dKH - 8 

 

Considering how many things were implemented this seems like a good start. 

 

Reminder: I did add the Fritz 9 nitrifying bacteria, 1 BactoBall, and a 16oz container of Poseidon’s Feast from AlgeaBarn. 

 

With these results I decided to add the skeleton CUC. A single nassarius snail and a tiny hermit. 

 

I always enjoyed the antics of both these guys, although the hermit is already on a probationary sentence as he was already targeting the snail. Planned to only have one tiny hermit anyways, so a snail only crew may happen. 😑 I made sure he knew I was watching him. Once the cycle stabilizes some more and I see the beginnings of algae I will look to get a couple ceriths and maybe another nassarius. Don’t want a potential biobomb.

Hermits are jerks lol. Avoid zebra hermits at all cost, the one I had put me off hermits for years lol. 

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Nice build, tgore!

 

Would you be so kind as to share some pictures of the filter chamber layout. I can't seem to find any reference pictures online. Thinking of getting this tank too!

 

All the best, 
Victor

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On 6/26/2018 at 5:25 AM, vicorhe said:

Nice build, tgore!

 

Would you be so kind as to share some pictures of the filter chamber layout. I can't seem to find any reference pictures online. Thinking of getting this tank too!

 

All the best, 
Victor

The fliter chamber is a basic 3 chamber layout with the water flow being channeled down and over a baffle between each chamber and the overall water level in each chamber progressively getting lower as it moves to the return chamber. The initial setup for these is to utilize the two included coarse sponges in the middle chamber by laying them horizontally and sandwiching any media bags or other filtration media between them. I opted against this as I decided to place the Neo-therm 25w heater in the middle chamber and configured the first chamber for all of my media. I would advise caution with using the first chamber for this since one would need to have crazy tiny hands to get more than a couple inches down into this chamber ( It took me a while took get one of the coarse sponges out). I may eventually change the rear chamber arrangement, as I am only running Chemi-pure Blue nano and bonded filter pad at the moment.

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August Update: WARNING THIS LONG.... SORRY 😄

 

While this tank has slowly progressed and I am finding more areas of improvement there have been some changes.

 

Equipment:
I got my hands on an MP10QD and couldn't be happier with this application. The few corals that have been added have shown improvement with this more varying flow patterns. The Hydor pico pump that I was using just got on my nerves and I decided to use one of the MP10QD pumps that I had purchased for the 60g cube build. I have this pump running on Reef Crest with the max set at the 4th led and the noise is basically silent other then a slight electrical whining when the motor begins to ramp up. 

 

I also acquired an extra Apex classic but haven't quite decided if I am even going to bother using it with this tank. Considering the Neo-therm heater has been doing so well and other than some more advanced programming for the MP10 I wouldn't gain much else other than data logs for pH and temp. If I end up finding a Dos pump this may change as I would like to have 2 part or auto water changes as an option.

 

The return pump is gonna have to be upgraded in the near future, I was able to find that the Mini-MJ 404/606 can fit into the return chamber with some modification. The included return pump, tends to create a lot of vibrational noise and just doesn't seem to provide adequate flow for my taste.

 

Livestock:

 

I have had a rough time trying to get a fish added to this system. My initial plan was to have a Citron Goby, and after about a month of waiting was able to get one of my local fish stores to get me one for it to only die within 24hrs. I suspect the Brooklynella was the culprit in this situation, unfortunately I was only able to come to this conclusion after purchasing a second Citron Goby from another LFS. This little guy seemed to do well at first aside, then started nipping at the polyps on the Green Slimer frag. Before I could make the decision to keep him or not I came home to find him nearly dead and showing signs of Brooklynella and was gone within the hour. I decided to let the tank run for a month or two with no fish and ensure the tank was free from this for any future inhabitants.

 

I am considering looking into some other options for a single fish or possibly a pistol/goby pair, as well as finding a porcelain crab.

 

I did make an interesting add with some astrea snails from the LFS. These snails had been reproducing in his systems pretty easily and were extremely small and I figured they would be a good fit....... That was till I noticed these snails might as well be bunnies!!!! My initial 10-15 snails have now quadrupled in numbers at least. To my surprise I started finding small egg trails within the first 3 days of adding them to the tank. Shortly after there were small white dots everywhere on the glass, rocks, and frags. 😂 It seems there numbers have begin to stabilize though and are not negatively affecting anything.

 

Corals:

 

So far these are the corals I have added: I will try to add some updated pictures soon

 

2 variations of Birsdnest - Green, and a somewhat turquoise colored strain.

Green slimer

Random acro - possibly a bonsai

Rasta zoa frag.

 

So far everything has been doing pretty well, aside from the acro and green slimer. Red bugs ended up making it past the dip on this acro and have been preventing it from doing to well. I have done what I can with a few bayer dips and will be crossing my fingers for now but don't have much hope. As for the Green Slimer it was the meal of choice for the Citron Goby for a short period and lost nearly all the polyps along one side. Since the goby is now gone it has made a near 100% recovery and regained all its lost tissue and polyps thankfully. It is even showing some signs of encrusting and growth now.

 

As the tank has become more stable and I found a suitable lighting schedule I will begin to add some more corals.

 

Chemistry:

 

So far I have been able to maintain my levels with small water changes every few days, but since I have been purchasing pre-mixed salt from my LFS I am starting to get frustrated with the lack of consistency in alk and salinity. I had to basically create a formula on excel to estimate an appropriate size of water to change without swinging the alk more then a couple points (If anyone is interested in this excel sheet pls let me know it has been pretty nice so far). I have had to ever so slowly move my alk level from 10-11 dKH down to roughly 8 dKH since the salt water I purchased was anywhere from 12 dKH to 14 dKH. Since then my alk is starting to trend a decrease of about 1 dKH each day give or take. I will planning to implement a 2part or some kalk soon as manual daily water changes to maintain major elements is just asking for trouble.

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