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Juno

🧜🏼‍♀️34 gal Solana Cube Journal 8/19🐡

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Juno

Ok guys...it’s taken a few weeks for me to even get through the most basic steps to set this baby up. You can see all my start up issues logged in this thread:

 

 

 

I wanted to document the whole process and figured a journal would be the very best way. To summarize what’s noted in the other thread...

 

I’m a mom of 3 fabulous kids who happen to all have varying degrees of special needs due to their (and my) Tourette Syndrome. My husband and I own a real estate company and while things are great now, there’s a real lack of consistency. This is almost exclusively my hobby, and given how much we have to spend on therapies for the kids and the general cost of living, I really needed this build to be in a budget. I’m not comfortable with blowing family money on my hobby but I think we’ll get pleasure out of it. 

 

I have spent years keeping marine aquariums. When I was in high school, I had several in my room. This was pre-internet, so my success rate was LOW. I was all fish back then and couldn’t research without physically going to the library. It was one disaster after another. I didn’t even understand evaporation and salinity. About 12 years ago, I saw a tiny biocube in a home I was appraising. Bam! I was sucked back in. I got an aquapod, which grew and grew until I was into a 120 set up with huge sump. Thank goodness for nano-reef, as that experience was pretty successful. But, I lost interest and sold it all, just as LEDs we’re making an appearance. 

 

I don’t know what piqued my interest recently, Sea World passes maybe? But I’ve been stopping into aquarium shops all summer and scoping out the goods. I think my overall concern for our natural ocean habitats really has me appreciating coral once again. 

 

Back on July 19th, I saw a FB post for this aquarium. It was located 2 blocks away and the price was right. It wasn’t until I got it home that I researched the make/model and found a LOT of bad press. So far, I absolutely love the shape. I love the sleekness of the cube with the simplicity of being rimless. I’d initially wanted a smaller lagoon, but I’m glad I ended up with this. 

 

You can check the link link above to see some of my rookie (I’ve forgotten everything in just a few years) mistakes, but from here on forward, I’m hoping to continue to move slowly and avoid as many newbie pitfalls as I can. 

 

Today i I went to one of my favorite LFS and got a used AI Prime light. I’m not sure if it’s HD or not. It was $125 for the light and the arm. I also got a giant cave structure for only $14 made of Caribsea seeded LR. I’d started out with a smaller one but now I’ve just stacked that on top of the larger one. That’s why the water is so cloudy-I was messing with my rocks. 

 

I checked my parameters day before yesterday and I’m all cycled. I’m probably gonna run up to the closest lfs and grab a blue/green chromis to get my life cycle boosted. 

 

If if anyone wants to help me program my light schedule, I’m suuuuuuuper new to this gadget. I went with the presets for now but plan to maximize this baby for optimal coral growth. 

 

Heres a few photos. The art on the back of the couch used to be right over the tank itself, but now the light puts pressure on the canvas so I’ll have to move it. ☹️ You can see that my husband and I collect MCM furniture and art so that’s another reason I like the simplicity of this rimless tank. 

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Juno

Here’s a better shot of the cave...I love it!

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Juno

And...I got my first tank inhabitants this evening. I bought 5 Zebra leg hermits, 3 nassarius snails and a tail spot blenny. I did float the blenny and dripped the inverts for about 45 mins. Everyone is happy. I’ll try to get some photos tomorrow. 

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Juno

Here’s my tail spot blenny and some shots of the tank in natural light. 

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Juno

And so it begins...I'm nervous because we've gone out of town for a few days and my MIL is watching the house and all the pets. What can go wrong?

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Juno

We have a little place on the beach and I have a giant vase full of shells and bits that we find on our walks. I’ve got this super cute and clean barnacle cluster that’s been sitting here for over a year and I was thinking it might be a nice addition to the tank and good hiding spot for some little guys. Do you think it would be a positive addition or just a detritus trap?

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billygoat

Hi @Juno, glad to see you've started up a journal! It seems like you're off to a nice start. ☺️

 

I think that as long as those barnacles are clean and free of encrusted organics they should be fine to add to your tank. I'd rinse them to clean off any dust or debris that has settled on them while they've been sitting around and maybe give them a once-over with a toothbrush to make sure there's nothing still attached that might decompose in your tank. Definitely a cool find!

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Ratvan
19 hours ago, Juno said:

We have a little place on the beach and I have a giant vase full of shells and bits that we find on our walks. I’ve got this super cute and clean barnacle cluster that’s been sitting here for over a year and I was thinking it might be a nice addition to the tank and good hiding spot for some little guys. Do you think it would be a positive addition or just a detritus trap?

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These looks great in tanks, also Two Spot Blennies seem to love hiding in the little caves made by the barnacles. Mine does at least. I picked up a section probably 8" across and have broken it down into smaller sections to fit into the tank.  

 

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Not finished with the scape by any means but i'd prefer to build this one slower 

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Juno

Those are big and really pretty!

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Juno

I’m finally really figuring out how cool this AI Prime light is and I’m geeking out. I downloaded the settings used by Stuart Bertram from the Aquailluminations website and can’t believe how intricate and detailed they are. I don’t have any coral yet but I’m quite confident now that this light can handle it. Does anyone else use a pro’s lighting schedule?

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Juno said:

I don’t have any coral yet but I’m quite confident now that this light can handle it. Does anyone else use a pro’s lighting schedule?

That light should be more than sufficient for almost any coral you can think of. Definitely a good choice! I don't use a Prime myself, but I know David Saxby's schedule is a very popular one. 

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Juno

My tank has a glass cover and I haven’t had to replenish RO water at all in the last week. Does that sound right? I test and calibrate my meter regularly and I’m sitting between a solid 1.0250-1.0255. For a week solid now. Does that sound possible? I’m guessing it’s because the water condenses on the glass and then drops back in. 

 

Also, I found some rock nems I want. Would that be adding bioload too quickly if I added a tiny fish last week? So far the tank is a few weeks old and has a small cuc and a tailspot blenny. Everything looks gorgeous still. No diotomes or nuisance algae. I feed the tail spot frozen mysis every other day. The cuc makes quick work of any extra. 

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Ratvan

Sounds plausible, i haven't had to top off as much as I did before I added my condensation covers. 

 

As far as I am aware the Nem is unlikely to add a lot to your bio load 

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Juno

I got some coral frags today. I’ll treat a rock anemone as a fish and only add one “load heavy” critter per month. I have a new favorite LFS. It’s where I bought my light last week. They’re not the closest but I’m in that area enough for it to be a real temptation. I got a keyptonite candy can with 2 heads, pipe organ, random orange zoa with about 9 polyps, and a red Monti cap. The total was about $60 but with a coupon they gave me when I bought the light, it came out to $39.

 

I’ll add photos when they open up. For now, here’s a great photo of Pollack. 

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Juno
5 hours ago, Ratvan said:

Sounds plausible, i haven't had to top off as much as I did before I added my condensation covers. 

 

As far as I am aware the Nem is unlikely to add a lot to your bio load 

And...I just broke it. 🤪. Need to find another bc it’s so worth the expense. 

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Juno

Woohoooo! and Boohooo! 

 

I added pics pics of my new corals but I just looked and one of my hermits is dead outside of his shell. Nothing has changed other than the addition of the new coral. All the crabs did go over and pick on them right away. I wonder if one had something on it. 

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Juno

As I’d mentioned earlier, I broke the glass piece that covers the top of my cube. Any suggestions on the easiest way to replace it? Should I take a template to a local glass company?

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Juno

I've had 2 hermit crabs die in the last few days so I ran out and bought a water test kit. Thinking I must have something off, my parameters were PH-8.2-8.4, Amonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10. My son said he'd seen a hermit fall off the rocks and struggle to get flipped over. The first dead one I found was literally out of his shell, laying next to it. The second was still intact but upside down. I don't remember losing hermit crabs to drowning in the past, but I guess that makes sense? Or doesn't it....

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Juno

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billygoat
4 hours ago, Juno said:

I've had 2 hermit crabs die in the last few days so I ran out and bought a water test kit. Thinking I must have something off, my parameters were PH-8.2-8.4, Amonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10. My son said he'd seen a hermit fall off the rocks and struggle to get flipped over. The first dead one I found was literally out of his shell, laying next to it. The second was still intact but upside down. I don't remember losing hermit crabs to drowning in the past, but I guess that makes sense? Or doesn't it....

Is there anything that might be leaching heavy metals or other potentially toxic compounds such as copper into the water? Crustaceans can be especially sensitive to such substances. Also are they getting enough to eat? Hermit crabs are efficient scavengers but still need a steady diet in order to stay healthy and active. I've had issues in the past with them simply not being able to find enough algae or leftover food to sustain themselves.

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Juno

That's a great point. I've been feeding the teeniest tiniest bit because I don't want to overfeed with one little fish. I'll fix that!

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Ratvan
On 8/11/2019 at 5:34 PM, Juno said:

As I’d mentioned earlier, I broke the glass piece that covers the top of my cube. Any suggestions on the easiest way to replace it? Should I take a template to a local glass company?

I don't believe that you can get a replacement anymore from the manufacturer. I would see if any Glaziers could do it for you. Or if you know anyone that is useful with Acrylic? 

13 hours ago, Juno said:

I've had 2 hermit crabs die in the last few days so I ran out and bought a water test kit. Thinking I must have something off, my parameters were PH-8.2-8.4, Amonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10. My son said he'd seen a hermit fall off the rocks and struggle to get flipped over. The first dead one I found was literally out of his shell, laying next to it. The second was still intact but upside down. I don't remember losing hermit crabs to drowning in the past, but I guess that makes sense? Or doesn't it....

Do you have enough spare shells in the tank for the hermits?

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Juno

I picked up the coral I bought in the Top Shelf Aquatics sale online the other night. The zoas aren’t open yet but the monti and the ric look happy enough. 

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Juno

I just tested my water and it looks pretty good. My husband made a new plexi lid  to replace the glass one that I broke and I have no evaporation. That feels so good to know that I don’t have to worry about topping off over long periods. I test it every other day and it’s super stable. 

 

pH was a little low, between 7.8-8.0

Amonia was showing up at 0.25

Nitrite was 0

Nitrate was 0

 

Ive also got my mangrove pods growing roots in the back chamber where my filter floss is. They’re looking good. As you can see in my previous pictures, I already keep clippings of greenery on this cabinet. Once those start to grow, I won’t need to! 

 

I also added 2 small koralia powerheads this week and I think it gives the perfect amount of flow. 

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