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Ocean_dreamer89

Ocean_dreamer89’s BioCube 16

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Ocean_dreamer89

Hello!

 

I recently decided to start my very first saltwater tank.  Growing up I had a few freshwater tanks, but they were your “average joe let’s go to PetsMart and get a tank” tank.  I grew up on the water and have always had a deep love for the ocean.  So much so that I have it tattoo’d on my entire left arm 🤗.  Since I’ve never cared for a saltwater mini ecosystem before! I dove into the internet and a few few books to learn as much as I can. It is through that process that I found this site and learned the most.  I realized that experience is the best way to learn, but maybe my experience with this can help someone else kickstart their adventure. 

 

I ended up going with the BioCube 16 because I love the all in one package and the programmable lights.  I would’ve preferred the 32, but weight restrictions with my stand kept me at 16......for now.  😬

 

 

Tank:. Biocube 16 gallon

Saltwater: Bought from LFS

Aquascape About 5 lbs live rock and 10 lbs dry rock from LFS

Sand: 16 lbs Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Aragonite Live Sand (about 1 inch deep)

Lighting:. Stock LED's

Powerhead: Hydor Koralia 425 and Hydor Koralia 240 w/ wavemaker (alternate every 15 min)

Heater:  Hygger Titanium 50 W w/ Thermometer

Biological Filtration: Live Rock (added Dr. Tim’s Nitrifying Bacteria)

Chemical Filtration:  Activated charcoal, 6 tsp Purigen, 1/3 cup PhosGuard, Chaeto

Mechanical Filtration:  Duel Density Filter Pad

Tank Modifiations:  Removed the false bottom in chamber #1 to allow space for the heater; extra biomedia in chamber 1 for QT/hospital tank

 

P.S.  I love hearing other people’s opinions and suggestions!  Please comment all you want!!!

Edited: 11/6/19

 

Livestock:

Royal Gramma (8/19/19)

2x Clownfish (9/16/19)

 

CUC:

1x Turbo Snail

1x Hermit Crab

1x Trochus snail

4x Cerith snails

2x Nassarius snails

 

Corals:

Duncan

Hammer

2x Ricordea Florida (orange and green)

Blastomussa merletti (I believe, could be wellsi)

Green star polyp

Frogspawn

Candy Cane

Plating red Montipora

Solid pink Scoly

 

Day 3 FTS

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Day 62 FTS

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Ocean_dreamer89

Day 1-6 has been trying on my patience and ego. I thought I did plenty of research beforehand but the whole “learn from experience” phenomenon is kicking my butt! 🙃  When I got the rockscape, water, and sand in and everything all set up, I added in a few mysis shrimp, did a baseline test, and sat back ready for the long haul.  

 

Well by Day 4, I was starting to get impatient and second guessing my whole cycling game plan. Ammonia was staring at a 0.25 ppm and nitrites and nitrates at 0.  No issues with the pH or specific gravity.  I did a little more research and decided to add some Dr. Tim’s nitrifying bacteria.  It wasn’t until 2 days after that that I realized, even with the bacteria added, they don’t have much to eat to maintain the bacteria colonies. 

 

So it’s now Day 6 and the levels have not changed. I ordered some Fritz Aquatics ammonium chloride and that should get her the day after tomorrow. Hopefully that’ll help out.  I’ll check back in a few days. 

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debbeach13

Hi welcome to NR. Nice set up you started. The tank would cycle with the 5 pounds of live rock but jump starting with ammonium chloride may move it along quicker. I have not cycled a tank that way so I have no input on the process. I usually tell myself 3 months the old fashioned way and if it's done before that I get excited. 

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colinadam

I have the same tank, you will like it! 

 

Its not really a pico, people in this forum typically turn their old yogurt containers into tanks so this one is a little big for this forum 😂

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Ocean_dreamer89
3 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Hi welcome to NR. Nice set up you started. The tank would cycle with the 5 pounds of live rock but jump starting with ammonium chloride may move it along quicker. I have not cycled a tank that way so I have no input on the process. I usually tell myself 3 months the old fashioned way and if it's done before that I get excited. 

I appreciate the comment! Yeah I figured my impatience was probably just getting the best of me and I was psyching myself out. Thanks for keeping me grounded! 😂

 

1 hour ago, colinadam said:

I have the same tank, you will like it! 

 

Its not really a pico, people in this forum typically turn their old yogurt containers into tanks so this one is a little big for this forum 😂

Thanks! And you are absolutely spot on, it’s not a Pico! That was definitely my error in trying to start this forum and by the time I realized what was happening, I had passed the point of no return! 😂😂  I cant figure out how to move a forum to a different category, but if you know of a way please enlighten me!

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 2

 

I received the Fritz ammonium chloride yesterday and dosed the tank. Checked the level this morning and it was showing 2 ppm.  Finally! Added some more Dr. Tim’s nitrifying bacteria and will check levels again in a couple days. 

 

In in the meantime, I’ve been setting up some shelves in my storage room for tank stuff and set up a quarantine tank down there.  I bought a simple 10 gallon tank at Petco for 10 bucks and picked up a Fluval filter while I was there.  Next stop I went to Home Depot and bought a couple pieces of PVC and a mat for under the tank.  I ordered the rest of the items I needed off amazon, such as the heater, lights, etc.  Going for a cheap but durable option for this tank.  The game plan is to keep some bio filter media in my main tank and then whenever I need the QT, I’ll set up the tank and throw the bio media in there from the main tank.  After I’m done with the tank, I break it down, sanitize it, and let the bio media completely air dry before putting it back in my main tank to regrow the bacteria for the next time.

 

If you see any issues with this plan or have any suggestions, let me know!  I’d also love to hear other storage ideas for all your equipment or how you have your QT set up.

 

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 3

 

Great news this morning! Looks like the tank has already cycled! Adding the Fritz ammonium chloride and then Dr. Tim’s nitrifying bacteria really did the trick. Over the past week,  I watched a steady ammonia climb and descent, nitrite climb and descent, and finally nitrate climb.  This morning when I tested the water I had the following parameters:

pH - 7.8

NH3 - 0 ppm

NO2 - 0 ppm

NO3 - 10 ppm

SG - 1.026

 

Game plan moving forward is to do a 5% water change tomorrow and then wait a week and do another 5%. After that if parameters are still holding steady, I’ll take a trip to the LFS for my first fish!  I plan on also picking up a CUC that day.  The day prior, I’ll fill up the QT and move the bio filter media that I put in my DT to the tank. I figure letting the QT run for a day prior to adding a fishy will allow me to make sure it’s stable enough.  My only question is should I quarantine the CUC as well? What kind of prep do they require besides acclimating?  I’ll have to so that research this week.

 

I’m also still deciding what I want the CUC to consist of and what fish to get. I don’t have very much algae since I’ve been keeping the light off for the most part, so I imagine I’ll start real small and then add based on problem areas that pop up.  As far as fish, I initially had in my head to go with a clown, but I really like the bright colored Anthias.  Definitely need to read more before making the final decision. My hubby really wants a goby/shrimp pair so I know that’ll be in the future. 

 

Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated as always!  BTW if anyone is on Instagram, my name is Ocean_dreamer89. I post there nearly daily. Would love to follow some more people from this community!

 

FTS

CAD5C8FA-D2D6-4C88-AF52-4752C87C3C6E.thumb.jpeg.865df5492a8c561c891f634acd79f042.jpeg

 

Side Shot

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Side Shot

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 4

 

Today was an exciting day! I went to the LFS and picked up a little Royal Gramma! I’ve been apprehensive with the first fish I wanted to get, but ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved these little guys.  From reading others experiences with the fish, I’ve heard they can be pretty territorial or completely peaceful.  My plan for other fish in the tank are a clown and goby/shrimp pair, so my gut just told me to go with it! Hopefully it was the right decision, but only time will tell. 

 

I ended up up not using the QT initially, because it’s having some cycling issues and still has ammonia present.  I’m still working that issue in case I need to treat the little guy, but I figured since the Gramma is the only living creature beside a very small CUC, it’ll be fine to add right now. In the future, the fish will all go through the QT.  

 

I used the drip acclimation method method with him and I guess he did ok.  He disappeared once I added him to the tank so we’ll see in a couple days.  I’ve read they can be a fairly timid fish, so one thing I looked for in the LFS was his temperament. It was swimming around in the open and would actually come towards me when I stood in front of the tank, so I’m hoping he won’t be super timid.

 

All the parameters have been staying very stable.  In a week or so, I’ll get some more testing materials for alkalinity,  calcium , and phosphate and start looking at adding some corals.  I’m also working on setting up a mini Refugium in Chamber 2 with Chaeto. I seeded some pods today and picked up some phytoplankton for them.  I’ll probably order the Chaeto within the next couple days.

 

Here are some quick shots of acclimating the little guy.  I’ll post a better one when he ventures out. 

 

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 5

 

So far so good with the tank.  Hope I don’t jinx myself because there are a few things I’m a little nervous with!

 

First off, James, the Royal Gramma, seems to be doing ok.  I say just “ok” because he still hides a lot and pretty much just comes out of his cave when I feed him.  He’s seems to swim and eat just fine, but this morning I noticed something white on his right fin.  I can’t get a good look at it, because he still hides anytime I get close to the tank.  Once I get a good picture, I’ll post it.  Another concern of mine is the fact that he hides a lot.  I noticed that when I turn off the return pump and powerhead before and after feeding, he swims around a lot more.  I don’t know if he’s learning that when those are off it’s meal time or if there is too much flow for him.  I haven’t heard of anyone having this problem with my pump and the biocube 16.  It’s the Hydor Koralia 425 if anyone has an opinion one way or the other.  Hopefully I’m just overthinking!

 

My QT has taken longer to cycle than I anticipated, but I think getting it cycled the first time and then keeping the biofilter in the chambers in the back will remedy this in the future.  It’s just about done, and this weekend I will decide if I need to keep it available for James and his fin or if I’ll pick up a clown and keep it in the QT.  I plan on waiting two more weeks before starting to add corals.  I want to make sure the biofilter is the display tank is good and established with the fish additions first.

 

I completed my first project with the tank this weekend as well.  I’ve been having heat retention issues with the lights on since I bought the tank.  Before now, I just crack the lid to assist with the evaporative heat loss. It seems that it works sufficiently, but since getting James, I’m terrified of him jumping (even though he never leaves his cave!). So I found a magnetic window screen kit from amazon for half the price of most screen kits.  It also makes it possible to have the curve along the front without any handy work.  I think it turned out really good! It’s not super pretty but fits perfectly and when I don’t need to crack the lid, I can just remove it and put it in the drawer.

 

Before

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After

 

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My next project will be getting a Refugium together for chamber 2.  Algaebarn has been out of Chaeto all last week so I was unable to place an order.  I plan on placing the order sometime this week so that it’ll arrive on either Monday or Tuesday. 

 

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0244937B-6DAA-40FD-96FA-DBD8B65DE646.jpeg

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Jackal227
13 hours ago, Cathy_O1234 said:

 

First off, James, the Royal Gramma, seems to be doing ok.  I say just “ok” because he still hides a lot and pretty much just comes out of his cave when I feed him.  He’s seems to swim and eat just fine, but this morning I noticed something white on his right fin.  I can’t get a good look at it, because he still hides anytime I get close to the tank.  Once I get a good picture, I’ll post it.  Another concern of mine is the fact that he hides a lot.  I noticed that when I turn off the return pump and powerhead before and after feeding, he swims around a lot more.  I don’t know if he’s learning that when those are off it’s meal time or if there is too much flow for him.  I haven’t heard of anyone having this problem with my pump and the biocube 16.  It’s the Hydor Koralia 425 if anyone has an opinion one way or the other.  Hopefully I’m just overthinking!

 

 

 

 

The tank looks good. 

 

I ran that same koralia pump in my biocube for over a year and I felt the flow was fine from it.  You can always try angling it so that it bounces off the glass to create less direct flow to see if it helps.

 

My Royal Gramma was very shy the first few weeks in the tank too.  They like to find a cave and stick next to it.  Mine will free swim during feeding time but most other times it either is hovering right next to his cave or hiding inside the rockwork (they will squeeze into the smallest spots).

 

What are your future plans for the tank?

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Ocean_dreamer89
On 8/29/2019 at 8:07 AM, Jackal227 said:

The tank looks good. 

 

I ran that same koralia pump in my biocube for over a year and I felt the flow was fine from it.  You can always try angling it so that it bounces off the glass to create less direct flow to see if it helps.

 

My Royal Gramma was very shy the first few weeks in the tank too.  They like to find a cave and stick next to it.  Mine will free swim during feeding time but most other times it either is hovering right next to his cave or hiding inside the rockwork (they will squeeze into the smallest spots).

 

What are your future plans for the tank?

Thank you!! Definitely learning a lot very quickly.  Feels like drinking from a fire house sometimes 😂

 

I glad you mentioned the pump.  I’ve moved the angle around a couple times, but I might move the pump itself too to try to get a good angle for deflection.  Thanks for the tip!  My royal gramma is starting to swim around a little more each day and doesn’t seem to be as terrified of me anymore.  He’s eating just fine which I feel like is a good sign.  He just hangs out in the cave or towards the back.  I’ve noticed that it looks like his right fin is frayed a little bit so I’m about to start dosing Melafix in case it’s fin rot.  And you’re absolutely right about the small spots! Last water change I accidentally knocked on of the rocks over so I had to readjust them quite a bit.  I couldn’t ever find him and was hoping I didn’t crush him.  After I finished up and left the tank alone for a bit, he just popped up out of nowhere!🤦‍♀️

 

My my goals for the tank is to have a mixed reef with mostly softies and LPS. Moving really slow into corals because they make me a little nervous. Need to research it much more.  I’m thinking two more fish, probably a clown and goby/shrimp pair. 

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Jackal227

That sounds like a good plan.  I've always liked the shrimp and goby pairs.

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Wonderboy

Great work so far! Sweet behind-the-scenes station! You have very thorough attention to detail, which pretty much guarantees success - looking forward to the updates  :]

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Ocean_dreamer89
On 9/4/2019 at 10:34 AM, Wonderboy said:

Great work so far! Sweet behind-the-scenes station! You have have very thorough attention to detail, which pretty much guarantees success - looking forward to the updates  :]

Thank you so much!  😃😃 Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information available and what to actually follow through with.  I’m learning that sometimes it’s just trial and error and figuring out what works with each individual system.  I’m having a blast with it so far and can’t wait to start getting some corals going. 

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billygoat

Cool system you've got going here! I really like that magnetic screen lid. That seems like a great solution for the weird curved shape of the BioCube. 

 

You seem to have done a lot of research so I imagine it is only a matter of time before you meet with great success. I'll be following along! 😊

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Tired

Looks like a great start!

You'll probably want to block the overflow and intake slits of the filtration with some sort of sponge or mesh, small fish can get back there otherwise. The other option is to just keep the first compartment (far right while viewing the tank from the front) empty and make sure the fish just can't get into the second compartment via overflow or anywhere else, because if they go into the first compartment, they can just swim back out. 

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Ocean_dreamer89
On 9/6/2019 at 9:30 PM, billygoat said:

Cool system you've got going here! I really like that magnetic screen lid. That seems like a great solution for the weird curved shape of the BioCube. 

 

You seem to have done a lot of research so I imagine it is only a matter of time before you meet with great success. I'll be following along! 😊

Thank you so much! Yes the curve shape of the front was the he biggest problem I ran into with the screen because I’m not that handy. I’m learning that I’ll just have to try some things out until they work with this hobby, but it’s definitely a good solution for now. I still really like the hood and light the biocube led came with so I didn’t want to sacrifice that. For now duing the summer, I’ll prop the lib open with a napkin or something to help with the evaporation and the screen gives me that peace of mind while I’m at work. 

On 9/6/2019 at 10:46 PM, Tired said:

Looks like a great start!

You'll probably want to block the overflow and intake slits of the filtration with some sort of sponge or mesh, small fish can get back there otherwise. The other option is to just keep the first compartment (far right while viewing the tank from the front) empty and make sure the fish just can't get into the second compartment via overflow or anywhere else, because if they go into the first compartment, they can just swim back out. 

Good to know!!! Thank you 😃😃

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 8

 

Wow it’s been a minute since I have posted!  I’ve made a bunch of updates to the tank in that three weeks time.  I was able to finally get my hands on some Chaeto and I added that into the back in Chamber 2.  I found a grow light on Amazon, very similar to the one @Jackal227 pioneered, just with a different spectrum and auto timer and dimmer. Right now for filtration, I have that Chaeto, some Purigen, and PhosGuard.  It seems to be working pretty well right now, so I plan on keeping it that way until a problem arises.  I played around with the Coralife Skimmer for about a week, but didn’t have any luck dialing it in so I took it back out.

 

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The magnetic screen seems to be working really well for the heat retention issue and giving me the peace of mine while at work.   I’m concerned down the road that it might limit the light needed for certain corals, but that’s not an issue now so I’m leaving it as is.  Little James seems to be doing much better now!  Shortly after my last post, I order some API Melafix from Amazon.  From what I could find it was reef safe and invertebrate safe.  I didn’t have corals at the time but the treatment didn’t seem to have any effect on my CUC.  I did have two snails that died prior too, but I think that was an acclimation error on my part.  I’ve since added snails with no issues.  I dosed the Melafix for seven days and James’ fin looked much better!! Really happy with the outcome. 

 

I really excited for for my new additions to the tank.  I’ve added four Nassarius snails and one Trocus snail, which I’ve been really happy with. Yesterday, I also picked up a Blood Fire shrimp. He’s still getting used to the new home, but he is gorgeous!! 😍 Him and James seem to be getting along just fine.

 

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As for corals, I’ve recently added a Duncan, Euphyllia (I believe it’s a hammer, but it was just labeled as Euphyllia), and two Ricordea florida.  I’ve very pleased with the Ricordea. Super bright colors and did really good after being acclimated!  The Duncan and hammer haven’t been doing quite as well.  They appear healthy but just not very happy.  Neither one had opened up all the way. As of right now, the Duncan has been in there about a week and the hammer a few days.  I’ve played around with different spots, but have decided to give them a minute to adjust to the tank and hopefully they’ll open back up.  Parameters are as follows:

 

Salinity: 1.026

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0

pH: 7.8

Calcium: 420

Alk: 8.2

 

I believe the nitrate may not be super accurate as I still have the API Test kits I originally bought when setting everything up.  I also do not have a magnesium test kit yet. I plan on upgrading calcium, nitrate, and magnesium test kits.  More to follow on that.  I received a Hanna checker for Alk for my 30th birthday (which is the 25th😬😬) so I’m confident with that number.  I know pH is low and maybe that’s the issue.  I know Kalk can help raise it, but I’m stumped short of that. 

 

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I apologize for the terrible picture quality!! I’ll do better next time. Still refining that skill 🤓😂.  The last new addition I’m super pumped about!! Went to the LFS for a little clown since the quarantine tank is good to go............and ended up with a pair! 😂 I do plan on adding a goby in the future, but I will wait a good while for that to ensure bioload is not an issue. 

 

 

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Jackal227
1 hour ago, Ocean_dreamer89 said:

Week 8

 

Wow it’s been a minute since I have posted!  I’ve made a bunch of updates to the tank in that three weeks time.  I was able to finally get my hands on some Chaeto and I added that into the back in Chamber 2.  I found a grow light on Amazon, very similar to the one @Jackal227 pioneered, just with a different spectrum and auto timer and dimmer. Right now for filtration, I have that Chaeto, some Purigen, and PhosGuard.  It seems to be working pretty well right now, so I plan on keeping it that way until a problem arises.  I played around with the Coralife Skimmer for about a week, but didn’t have any luck dialing it in so I took it back out.

 

618BB84D-F1C9-46A5-922F-0F518FA36EC4.thumb.jpeg.c7e964093dfae2b3f73a410e8696289a.jpeg

 

EDA656E0-4149-4874-A50F-8036B97E6F7C.thumb.jpeg.cbfe3a82a86214511013b58c327d56a2.jpeg

 

The magnetic screen seems to be working really well for the heat retention issue and giving me the peace of mine while at work.   I’m concerned down the road that it might limit the light needed for certain corals, but that’s not an issue now so I’m leaving it as is.  Little James seems to be doing much better now!  Shortly after my last post, I order some API Melafix from Amazon.  From what I could find it was reef safe and invertebrate safe.  I didn’t have corals at the time but the treatment didn’t seem to have any effect on my CUC.  I did have two snails that died prior too, but I think that was an acclimation error on my part.  I’ve since added snails with no issues.  I dosed the Melafix for seven days and James’ fin looked much better!! Really happy with the outcome. 

 

I really excited for for my new additions to the tank.  I’ve added four Nassarius snails and one Trocus snail, which I’ve been really happy with. Yesterday, I also picked up a Blood Fire shrimp. He’s still getting used to the new home, but he is gorgeous!! 😍 Him and James seem to be getting along just fine.

 

5A6769B7-1DF8-4B23-931E-E00B24FFBA1D.thumb.jpeg.4876b174a2f5b6570a7f3907265a3f15.jpeg

 

As for corals, I’ve recently added a Duncan, Euphyllia (I believe it’s a hammer, but it was just labeled as Euphyllia), and two Ricordea florida.  I’ve very pleased with the Ricordea. Super bright colors and did really good after being acclimated!  The Duncan and hammer haven’t been doing quite as well.  They appear healthy but just not very happy.  Neither one had opened up all the way. As of right now, the Duncan has been in there about a week and the hammer a few days.  I’ve played around with different spots, but have decided to give them a minute to adjust to the tank and hopefully they’ll open back up.  Parameters are as follows:

 

Salinity: 1.026

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0

pH: 7.8

Calcium: 420

Alk: 8.2

 

I believe the nitrate may not be super accurate as I still have the API Test kits I originally bought when setting everything up.  I also do not have a magnesium test kit yet. I plan on upgrading calcium, nitrate, and magnesium test kits.  More to follow on that.  I received a Hanna checker for Alk for my 30th birthday (which is the 25th😬😬) so I’m confident with that number.  I know pH is low and maybe that’s the issue.  I know Kalk can help raise it, but I’m stumped short of that. 

 

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I apologize for the terrible picture quality!! I’ll do better next time. Still refining that skill 🤓😂.  The last new addition I’m super pumped about!! Went to the LFS for a little clown since the quarantine tank is good to go............and ended up with a pair! 😂 I do plan on adding a goby in the future, but I will wait a good while for that to ensure bioload is not an issue. 

 

 

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The new additions look great.

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Ocean_dreamer89

Week 9

 

Everything is looking pretty good this week.  The Duncan and Hammer really started to open up this week before I messed with them again to get them settled in their permanent home.  I had them on the frag plugs and loosely secured to the rock before to make sure that it would be a good spot, and once I saw that they were really starting to open up, I removed them from the plugs and put them directly onto the rock, in their permanent spot.  However (😂) I royalist ticked off the Duncan during this process.  My Duncan has two head but the base is still pretty small.  As you can imagine, once I started to remove it from the plug, it became super slimy.  Well this became a small issue when trying to place it on the rock.  After several attempts (and drops) of holding a small slimy specimen,  I was finally able to hold it in place long enough to secure it to the rock.  It has since opened back up, just not all the way.  I believe it will recover fine.   No issues removing the Hammer or placing the Ricordeas.  I love the look of removing the plugs.  I knew I didn’t really like them but had no idea how much until they were gone.  I left the Ricordeas on the plugs and hope they will eventually grow over them. 

 

Duncan

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Hammer

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Ricordea

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Still trying to refine that photography skill, but it’s a work in progress 😂😂

 

The little clowns are doing just fine in the quarantine tank.  I tested today and discovered the nitrites were measurable.  Obviously I was super concerned, but reminded myself that I haven’t noticed any odd behavior or signs of stress from the little guys.  They swim just fine, gills appear fine, and they are little piglets!  I added some Prime and will continue to test and monitor the next week or so.  I believe adding two fish to the weak biofilter in the QT was the issue, but I never measured any ammonia, so I wasn’t too concerned, until today.  I have new test kits on order that witless hopefully help with accuracy and redundancy.  I plan on keeping them there another 2-3 weeks if I don’t noticed any signs of disease. Does anyone see an issue waiting just 2?  That’ll make 3 weeks with no signs of disease.  If so, I’ll suck it up and wait another week to make a full month.

 

My project this week was to instal the Aquasmart Micro ATO.  Installation was very easy.  I ordered a gallon jar from Amazon with a plastic lid.  I drilled two holes into the lid, one just big enough for the tube and one for the power cord.  I ended up sealing the power cord hole with super glue gel to try to a make it as water tight as possible.  After that, it was just putting the wiring and what not together.  I had a small mishap with testing the system and put too much freshwater in.  It wasn’t severe so I’m gonna let evaporation take care of the issue and adjust the water level for the ATO then.  Topping off the tank by hand was not a hug issue for me, but I decided to set up the ATO in the case of vacations and the added pro of stability. I plan on adding Kalkwasser to the ATO water.  Ive never been able to maintain a pH higher than 7.8 and this week test for alkalinity were low and 7.9 from steady 8.3. 

 

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Ocean_dreamer89

"I’ve been reading my posts and many other the past couple days since I’ve been off work and wanted to address some things that I’ve missed and talk about some things I’ve been unsure of.  Some is just to document and some is hoping for some advice and input from the super knowledge base of this community. 

 

First things are mainly for documentation.  I modified the sump in the biocube by removing the false bottom in chamber 1.  I read a couple accounts beforehand that were able to just pop it out with a knife or flathead screwdriver.  I maybe could have but I was terrified of breaking it and ruining a pretty big investment, so I stopped when I realized it wasn’t popping out super easy.  I ended up grabbing a clothes hanger and using the curved end to loop through the slates in the false bottom.  I pulled on it a bit and thought I might beak something, but then just went for it and pulled it up.  With enough force it popped out with no damage to the tank whatsoever.  Super happy with the decision to do that no only because I can fit the heater, but I can siphon that area to try to keep the detritus and nutrient buildup in the tank down.

 

Second thing I wanted to talk about was the upgrade/modification to the flow in the tank.  It may be premature, but I wasn’t happy with the flow in the tank and how my initial two corals (Duncan and Hammer) we’re reacting to it.  Through research, I learned that varied flow is good for corals, so I knew I wanted to implement a different direction in flow, which of course would involve another pump.  I already had concerns that the Koralia 425 was a lot for the tank so I didn’t want two of those.  I ended up getting a Hydor wavemaker controller and a Hydor Koralia 240.  This way I figured there’s two different strengths and directions of flow.  I’m still playing around with the timing.  I started out with them alternating every 30 minutes but have since switched to every 15 min.  I’m trying to extend the life of the pumps and get varied flow at the same time, other wise I’d go every 1 minute or 30 sec 🤣.  Compromising for now and hopefully it will be just fine for the beginner to immediate corals I plan on initially stocking.

 

Thirdly, I wanted to address green hair algae.  I’ve learned tanks go through stages and each tank deals with their own issues.  One of my first major concerns has been green hair algae and maybe diatoms/Cyano and possible hydroids.  So far (knock on wood super hard!!!!) none have been a major issue, but I know it’s still very early.  I believe I ran the lights a bit too much during cycling because I was excited for the tank and even enjoyed looking at it empty😂.  Some algae built up, but i believed definitely manageable, especially once I added a CUC.  If anything it space them some food.  Once I added little James and began feeding, I noticed more green hair algae.  It was just a little bit in a couple spots on the tall rock.  I didn’t really adjust anything, just keep trying to control feeding by only doing that every other day with 1/8 a cube of frozen food.  I learned more about feeding, which I will address later.  I mitigated the algae issue but manually removing it during water changes and after three of them, finger crossed 🤞I haven’t seen any since.  I’ve also noticed some, what I believe to be hydroids on the bottom rock to the right of the tank.  I haven’t noticed an effect one the tank so I didn’t do anything about it, and I believe they have started to recede.  My next major concern is possible diatoms and/or Cyano.  It’s not a major issue yet, so I’m hoping I can control to the point that it goes away.  I’ve been noticing some brown/red substance on one of the lower rocks, some parts of the substrate, and powerhead.  So far, every water change, I brush the rock and powerhead with a tooth brush and I siphon the crap out of the substrate.  It appears it reappears on the rock a little slower but maybe on the power head faster, not sure.  I’ve siphoned the crap out of the substrate from the beginning, because I don’t want for that to become a nutrient safe house.  I know there are a lot of reefers that are against that, but I’ve also found as many that do.  I figure it’s working to help control the issues I’m having now, so I will continue it.  

 

The rest of the things I want to discuss are more or less looking for advice and input (definitely open for input for above items as always).  First off is my freaking hermit crab! This little guy has been a real mystery/frustration for me.  The hermit crab (and one turbo snail who behaves similar) were part of my first CUC.  I bought a very small initial cleanup crew of the hermit, turbo, and two Cerith snails.  I attempted to go through all the right steps to acclimate, but I’m guessing i made some beginner mistakes and the two smaller snails died within a day or two.  The turbo snail and hermit crab survived and seemed to be somewhat active at first.  After a week, however, the turbo and hermit are extremely sloth like.  I know they move at night because they are most of the time in a different position in a day or two. But they never move very far, just enough that I can tell they aren’t dead. Is this normal behavior? Do they still just need more time to recover from a possible incorrect acclimatization?  They were drip acclimated after a short drive home from the LFS.  Temperature I believe would have been the step I skipped with the drip acclimatization.  I just feel like they are pretty ineffective and I would like to stop stressing about if they are alive because they don’t move very much.  

 

There’s a few more issues I want to discuss, but I’ll wait for now for the sake of time..

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Wonderboy

Good job with the sump mod - sounds like a necessary fix. Flow setup sounds good - I agree with running settings for the life of the pumps - in most every setup, the animals will adapt - just try to keep things as close to consistent as possible. You didn't mention the volume of your WCs, but if they are small, then what you're doing to take care of algae outbreaks will help - however I would just skip the concern and manual removal and go straight to more CUC. Also, new CUC members will decide whether or not your crab and snail will be okay - if they are not, they will "clean" them out and recycle their shells. Sorry, IMO your inverts are not acting normal - temperature is a very important step, possibly even the most as it greatly affects the nervous system in biology - do not forget to match temperature next time. Not that I think that it's a good idea to do what I do, but for example, I only acclimate to temperature after verifying salinity / pH aren't very far off (< .001 / .2). Last note, don't forget to throw extra shells for hermits in there  :]

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Jackal227

I haven't had a turbo snail but as long as it is still moving it is alive and may adjust.  I've read that extremely high amounts of magnesium can cause snails to be lethargic.  However that wouldn't be common without dosing it.

 

My Scarlett Hermits are out some days and hiding in their shells other days so I don't find it uncommon to not see them during the day.  They do move around a lot at night though.  Also when they are molting they will hide in their shell and not move for a couple of days.  They park themselves in funny positions like ontop of my GSP or sitting in the middle of my digitata colony, but a couple days later they'll be gone.  If I feed the tank some reef roids they become very active though because it's buffet time.

 

 

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Ocean_dreamer89
20 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

Good job with the sump mod - sounds like a necessary fix. Flow setup sounds good - I agree with running settings for the life of the pumps - in most every setup, the animals will adapt - just try to keep things as close to consistent as possible. You didn't mention the volume of your WCs, but if they are small, then what you're doing to take care of algae outbreaks will help - however I would just skip the concern and manual removal and go straight to more CUC. Also, new CUC members will decide whether or not your crab and snail will be okay - if they are not, they will "clean" them out and recycle their shells. Sorry, IMO your inverts are not acting normal - temperature is a very important step, possibly even the most as it greatly affects the nervous system in biology - do not forget to match temperature next time. Not that I think that it's a good idea to do what I do, but for example, I only acclimate to temperature after verifying salinity / pH aren't very far off (< .001 / .2). Last note, don't forget to throw extra shells for hermits in there  :]

I agree and definitely appreciate your input.  I believed their behavIor was abnormal but not sure what to do about it.  I believe you are absolutely correct that my lack of temperature acclimation could be the source of the problem.  From what I’ve read, it can take months to come to fruition or visible,  it I believe that is the case.  Both are still alive, however lethargic, so I will just leave it them be for now.  Especially bra+use I don’t have any huge algae concerns, minus possible diatoms/cyano.  

 

And yes!!!! I’ve read about the shells and have kept about three in there and cleaning off the algae on them just in case hahaha.  I about lost it this morning when my hammer was all closed and I discovered a bunch of weird white stuff by it.  Come to find out, I believe the hermit molted and left behind it’s attire near the hammer.  I removed it and it seemed to be much better.  

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billygoat

Have to say, I've never acclimated snails at all before, or at least nothing more than floating the bag in the tank to match temperature. That particular part is pretty important though I think. :ninja:

 

I hope yours ends up pulling through! Snails are definitely an important and often-overlooked part of any aquarium. I'd be lost without them! 😁

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