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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

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

 

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

Edited: 9/17/19

 

Livestock:

Royal Gramma (8/19/19)

2x Clownfish (9/16/19)

 

CUC:

1x Turbo Snail

1x Hermit Crab

1x Trochus snail

4x Nassarius snails

1x Blood Fire Shrimp

 

Corals:

Duncan

Hammer

2x Ricordea Florida (orange and green)

 

Day 3 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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DEA7E7A2-82AD-4781-8731-99D3463868F4.jpeg

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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.

 

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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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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