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Nina.Wes

Nina's Biocube 16 LED

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Hello everyone,

 

So this is my first Nano tank. I got into the hobby in 2013 with my first 30 gallon + Eheim canister filter which quickly became a 50 gallon + 30 gallon sump which became a 100 gallon + 50 gallon sump in 2015 which is still going strong. I decided to take the plunge into a nano tank because I'll be marrying and moving in December and I wanted to get something "simpler", more cost effective going so I could keep a piece of my reef with me when I move. 

 

Anyways, I bought a Biocube 16 LED because I really like the way it looks and it seems to be a good fit for me so far. 

I'm using 10 lbs of Arag-Alive Fiji Pink sand and 2 lbs of live sand from my 100 gallon tank. Also 10 lbs of dry rock and 1 lb of live rock from my 100 gallon tank. 

 

I removed the false bottom on the first chamber and plan to use the Coralife Protein skimmer there. In chamber two right now I'm just running carbon and filter floss but I plan to run purigen and phosguard as well. In chamber three I have about 1 liter of seachem matrix that I had in my 100 gallon (so hopefully it's nicely seeded since that tank has been running for 3 years nice and stable.) 

 

After reading up on cycling because it had been a while since I cycled a tank, I decided to go with the table shrimp method but I used a bottle of Bio-Spira as well. I started the tank on September 29. The first four days of testing from day two onwards was as follows:

 

PH: 8.2/8.0/8.0/7.8 (PH decreased over the first week and then bounced back up after ammonia hit 0)

Ammonia: 0.25

Nitrite: 0.25

Nitrate: (highest possible reading) 160+

On day 5, Ammonia and Nitrites dropped to 0 and Nitrates remained really high. 

Today PH is 8, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrates are 40.

 

For livestock I'm going to be introducing a cuc with stomatella and trochus snails and a nassarius snail. I'd also like a cleaner shrimp somewhere down the line because my fiance thinks they're cute. I'm planning on keeping my Black Ocellaris, my Picasso Clown and possibly my Purple Dottyback (though he's become somewhat of a jerk but only to the Sixline Wrasse). 

 

For corals, I'm gonna keep one of my Duncan coral colonies and a frag from my purple hammer (who recently suffered: It hadn't been looking too cool for a few months and I took it out and found a nasty fireworm embedded in a dead area of the skeleton I couldn't see cuz it was facing backwards) its doing well now though, after I dipped and fragged and dipped it again. I'm also going to keep a single zoa polyp that survived their crazy, for no reason meltdown (I love zoas but despite being a "hardy" good beginner coral mine were doing great for a year until one day they just decided it was enough and they closed up and died. I had a neat little garden going too, I cried when that happened). I have a large colony of red mushrooms (one of these is huge, almost three inches across) and green striped mushrooms and I will keep a frag of each. And finally a leather coral I was told was a toadstool but after 3 years I'm sure it's a cabbage (?) or something...

 

I'd love to have a zoa garden mixed in again but after spending close to $400 on different specimens and having them all melt after a year I'm pretty wary...

 

Here are some pictures of the rockscape I made. I designed the rockscape outside the tank before even having the biocube so I admit it's a bit of a tight fit length wise but the mag float fits through all sides so I'll keep it that way. 

 

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Welcome to the community @Nina.Wes! 👋

 

That is such a cool aquascape for your nano reef, very unique! Is there more of it buried in the sand to help with the balance? I love how it floats.

 

That's great you can seed it from your larger reefs, that should save some time on your cycle! Even better you can keep your favorite parts of your old systems with you when you move, good plan! Looking forward to seeing yours grow!

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Thank you @Christopher Marks! I used two zip ties on the bottom of the structure anchoring the rockscape to a rectangular piece of egg crate which is buried under the sand. The egg crate doesn't take up the whole bottom, only about 3x4 inches and it helps stabilize it.

It's a real advantage to be able to seed it from my existing tank and I do think it's been quicker than my last cycle which was when I set up my 100 gallon in 2015, at least so far. The bacteria is already processing 1 frozen cube of food daily without any ammonia or nitrite spikes but since Nitrate has gotten so high and Nitrate-processing bacteria takes longer to colonize, I stopped adding frozen food to let it go down. I do wonder whether I should already add purigen to my filtration system and whether that would help lower nitrates. I never did any water changes with my last cycle until everything was all down to 0 and I started adding fish and corals but I've read mixed opinions on that this time around 🤔

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That’s a bad ass aquascape!!! Can’t wait to follow along.

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 That's a great idea with the floating scape.  I really like the left side view. 

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Thanks guys @Daniel91 @Reeferadicto13! It's really encouraging to hear all the positive feedback 😃 @Jackal227 That's really my favorite view also😊 Once the corals are in they'll really help give the whole aquascape more depth and dimension. 

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Wow, incredible aquascape!!! Following along. 🙂

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The floating arm is really cool!  I like how you'll be able to take your favorite pieces with you, makes it a little extra-special.  You don't have to do water changes till the cycle ends, once the system is processing appropriately you can do a big water change and start adding things.

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It looks awesome Nina!  It will be fun watching this tank progress.

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I have decided to purchase a different testing kit and I went with the Red Sea kit. I think something was wrong with my API Nitrate set because I decided to test my 100 gallon and got sky high nitrates there also which is weird because that tank is really stable, the corals and fish are happy and I have no problem algae. Maybe the API kit is off. It's a year old and though it's not expired, I feel like maybe it's not testing correctly. I receive the Red Sea kit next week so we'll see..

 

Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to Ocoa Bay and I'll see how the API kit does with the (pristine) offshore natural sea water for reference. 

Edited by Nina.Wes
Adding pertinent information
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So I've confirmed that the Nitrate bottles 1 and 2 from my API kit are giving high Nitrate readings. I took samples about 30 meters into the bay, away from the shore, and got high readings. Ammonia is also giving a false positive at 0.25 but I've always ignored that. PH and Nitrite seem to be working. I receive the Red Sea testing kit by Wednesday or Thursday so I'll continue testing when I get it. 

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Good catch on the test kit and that was a clever way of verifying it.

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4 hours ago, vlangel said:

Good catch on the test kit and that was a clever way of verifying it.

Thank you 😊 I'm glad I noticed something was off.

I've also got an update to report which is the beginning of the inevitable diatom algae bloom. 

I know the shots I've taken of the tank have been with the lights on but that's just been for viewing benefit. The entire cycle has been lights off so far. I'm thinking of doing a water change and introducing a CUC by the weekend depending on the readings I get from the Red Sea testing kit. 

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Got my fingers crossed for ya!

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