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llebcire

New here - 29 gallon Biocube

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llebcire

New to the forums - I've been keeping reef tanks since 2003 and didn't spend much time in forums over the last 5 years or so. Found that Reef Central has minimal engagement for smaller tanks and found this forum in their nano forum.

 

Seems like I never take too much of a break since starting in 2003 - there were +/- 8 months in 2008 then the break from June 2018 until now when I sold my 120 due to a move to W. Des Moines.

 

Really wasn't planning on starting again but I found a sweet deal on this tank and my wife and daughter really love clowns so here I am.

 

Stumbled access someone selling their 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube for $50 on FB market and couldn't pass it up! Came with tank, stand, hood, heater, pump, In Tank filter, 30 pounds live rock, 10 pounds sand, test kits, 2 new replacement Coralife power compact bulbs (10k and 420 actinic), food, etc.

 

It's not perfect as the glass has noticeable scratches on all three sides and the hood is missing the cooling fans (but $50??). I have fans and a new 12v power supply on order as the control module is so corroded I can't repair the failed circuitry (full bridge rectifier). I do have 2 leftover black box Chinese LEDs from my 120 but I don't think I want to retrofit.

 

My plans are 4 - 6 fish (clowns, Dotty Back, goby - undecided on specific colors) and small clean up crew. Corals will be softies and possibly LPS - looking forward to finding zoas and frogspawn (hopefully some of my old stock) but probably not SPS. Not going to run a skimmer and want to keep it simple with a 5 gallon water change each week with new filter floss - we'll see how long that lasts!

 

I purchased the tank 12/23 and cleaned it up Christmas Day as it was 60 degrees outside. Cleaned up well with a vinegar and water solution. Rinsed the existing sand until it was clean and sprayed the rock with a garden hose. Previous owner stated the tank had been cycled (drained day I picked it up) but the rock didn't have any growth or critters so I'm comfortable it was clean and pest free.

 

Thursday the 26th I set it up with fresh Instant Ocean (160g for $32 @ Petco), 20 pounds Carib Sea Arag-Alive sand (never purchased live sand before) existing sand, small amount of rock that came with it and the rest of the rock from my stockpile.

 

After 8 days I've done 1 water change and measured the ammonia up to 2 and now at 1 - probably another week or so to cycle before fish.

 

Video of the tank:

Video of what I found in the hood:

Eric

 

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LazyFish

Looks good! I have the same tank in storage thinking about getting it going again eventualy. If the false floor is still in chamber one I would remove it it's a detritus trap. Watch the heat from the stock lights even with the fans mine over heated a few times in the summer untill I upgraded to leds. I still had the fans hooked up with the leds. Those fans do get noisy after a while I had it up for about 5 years I replaced them twice because they were loud. They would be quiet at first but eventualy they sounded realy bad. I had put in exotic leds but eventualy dumped the whole hood and had a glass top cut and used ai prime lighting for it.

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llebcire
5 hours ago, LazyFish said:

Looks good! I have the same tank in storage thinking about getting it going again eventualy. If the false floor is still in chamber one I would remove it it's a detritus trap. Watch the heat from the stock lights even with the fans mine over heated a few times in the summer untill I upgraded to leds. I still had the fans hooked up with the leds. Those fans do get noisy after a while I had it up for about 5 years I replaced them twice because they were loud. They would be quiet at first but eventualy they sounded realy bad. I had put in exotic leds but eventualy dumped the whole hood and had a glass top cut and used ai prime lighting for it.

Thanks for your reply!

 

Chamber one (inlet with heater?) goes all the way to the bottom of the tank so if there was something it's been removed.  I've heard these can be heat traps due to the PCs and the hood - my reef tanks have always been open and with a sump and external skimmer the water stays cooler (not to mention LEDs).  I'll monitor and see what happens down the road but I have a suspicion I'll end up retro-fitting my LEDs :-).  The fans are generic from Amazon (12v 1amp cooling fans, 60mm x 60mm) which are similar to the OEM Oceanic fans.  I think with the closed hood there's an issue with moisture and salt creep which will impact the fans - if you look at my video where I try and overhaul the existing control board/fan combination the internal reflector over the fan board has deteriorated with salt.

 

-Eric

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LazyFish

Some one must have taken it out alredy. RIght out the box almost to the bottom  is a plastic grate that's silaconed in. One of the first mods I did before I gutted my hood was to use a hole saw and cut out the gaurds over the fans and replace with a mesh screen it increased airflow quite a bit actualy. I also widened the place where water over flows into chamber 2. The intank media basket was my first extra equipment I got and tossed all the stock filtration . Yes salt creep in the hood was a problem I think it's why my fans got so noisy and died so fast. Altho it's all  inclosed except the fan vents I dont think the side facing the tank is actualy that well sealed I can remember seeing  condensation inside it prior to cutting out the fan vents. And salt gets everywhere as we know.

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llebcire

10 days in and will perform 2nd water change this afternoon. Tank is still empty and ammonia has gone from 2 to 1 to 0.5 today (before WC) so I should see nitrites start to increase. Liking this aquarium app for Android.

Probably a week or so away from adding clowns.

 

-Eric

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Pjanssen

:welcome:

Nice find. Nice scape. Will you be adding corals along with your clowns? looking forward to seeing the progress

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llebcire

Thanks!

 

Softies and LPS - yes (eventually). Love zoas, frogspawn, hammer, candy cane, etc.

 

Looking to stay away from SPS as I want this to be lower maintenance.

 

-Eric

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llebcire

Tank is still cycling with today being day 12. Rockwork is clean with no diatoms however as I don't have my fans fixed I only have the lights on for a few minutes at a time.

I've watched ammonia rise and fall to zero and now the nitrates are on the rise. What's strange is I've never detected nitrites which should have been elevated for at least a week. I am using rock with (theoretically) die off and live sand which may shorten the cycle and I have performed 2x water changes since setting up - possibly too many water changes as there's no livestock? I haven't really cycled a tank (actually LR) since 2003.

I plan on testing again Saturday to see where it's at.
-Eric

 

 

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Mazzy21

Great deal and it looks nice!! I also have an Oceanic, but mine is the HQI style (glass top, I bought my own light) and it didn't come with the stand, and I paid like $120 I think (used). $50 is awesome and it cleaned up really nice AND you even got the stand (which is $100 by itself!!). Plus, I personally prefer that style of stand you have vs the newer version, which is what I had to buy (no choice - they don't make the other anymore).

Have fun! I love my Biocube. Perfect little size and mod-able enough to keep it interesting. 🙂

 

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Highball

We’re both starting almost the same tank! Mine’s a biocube 29 too, but I have steve’s leds.
I’m also planning on softies and lsp for corals 😊

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llebcire
On 1/7/2020 at 8:54 AM, Mazzy21 said:

Great deal and it looks nice!! I also have an Oceanic, but mine is the HQI style (glass top, I bought my own light) and it didn't come with the stand, and I paid like $120 I think (used). $50 is awesome and it cleaned up really nice AND you even got the stand (which is $100 by itself!!). Plus, I personally prefer that style of stand you have vs the newer version, which is what I had to buy (no choice - they don't make the other anymore).

Have fun! I love my Biocube. Perfect little size and mod-able enough to keep it interesting. 🙂

 

I didn't realize (until your post) that the stand has been updated!  It really was quite the deal for $50 and with repairs I should be under $70 all in (fans and 12v power supply).

 

We'll see about mods... 😏

 

-Eric

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llebcire
3 hours ago, Race14girl said:

We’re both starting almost the same tank! Mine’s a biocube 29 too, but I have steve’s leds.
I’m also planning on softies and lsp for corals 😊

That's great!

 

Are you still cycling as well?

 

Steve's LEDs have a solid reputation and I'm going to see what I can accomplish with the PCs (probably add 6 - 10 3w LEDs for color).  This will probably lead back to SPS which probably means a larger tank, however I am interested to see what I can create with a handful of fish and softies/LPS.

 

-Eric

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Highball
24 minutes ago, llebcire said:

That's great!

 

Are you still cycling as well?

 

Steve's LEDs have a solid reputation and I'm going to see what I can accomplish with the PCs (probably add 6 - 10 3w LEDs for color).  This will probably lead back to SPS which probably means a larger tank, however I am interested to see what I can create with a handful of fish and softies/LPS.

 

-Eric

Yes. Still cycling 😴

 

This is my second attempt at keeping the biocube running. My first was in 2013 and I was able to keep softies with the stock lighting. I also had a candy cane that survived but it didn’t start growing til I upgraded the lights

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llebcire
Fixed my issue with cooling fans yesterday.  When I bought the tank the previous owner provided 2 new lamps and when I went to replace them I found the fans were missing and the bridge rectifier control board was ruined by corrosion.
 
I ordered an AC to 12v DC 10w  waterproof power supply from eBay for $6 and new fans from Amazon for $11.  Pretty simple fix and as I've been cycling with no livestock the lights didn't need to be on.
 
YouTube videos:
 

 

 

 

 
-Eric

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llebcire

Yesterday my tank was 16 days old and has had (as of yesterday) 3 water changes.  Ammonia spiked and returned to zero and I never measured Nitrites, presumably as they existed in the tank from the live sand, and Nitrates have gone from 0 to 5 to 10 and stayed at 20 for a week so I should be nearing the end of the cycle.  Corals can be added early in the cycle and now that Ammonia and Nitrites are 0 I'm ready for fish - we're actively shopping for our first fish.

 

Picked up some Purple Death palys locally yesterday - look awful lonely in the tank!

 

-Eric

 

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llebcire

Change of plans. Switched to a 29 HQI running black box LEDs. More to come.

 

-Eric

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llebcire

Video from Sunday after adding 2 corals.

-Eric

 

 

 

 

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billygoat

Looks great so far! I'd be lying if I said I haven't been looking at these BioCubes as a potential upgrade for my own system... they seem to be so popular here on N-R!

 

I think you've done a great job rehabbing this system, and I'm very impressed by your handy work repairing the lid. Looks like you opted for a different light in the end, but still - it's great to see those videos and know that the information is out there for whoever needs it. Kudos to you sir. 🙏

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llebcire
18 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Looks great so far! I'd be lying if I said I haven't been looking at these BioCubes as a potential upgrade for my own system... they seem to be so popular here on N-R!

 

I think you've done a great job rehabbing this system, and I'm very impressed by your handy work repairing the lid. Looks like you opted for a different light in the end, but still - it's great to see those videos and know that the information is out there for whoever needs it. Kudos to you sir. 🙏

Thanks for your kind words!

 

-Eric

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llebcire

After 20 days (today) I switched to a different Biocube.  I noticed salt creep in the first week and became concerned with the amount around day 15 and found another deal locally.

 

I started with the Oceanic Biocube and replaced the fans and control for the 2x 36 power compact lamps. What I found was a 29g Coralife Biocube HQI (double ended metal halide) - great reason to use one of my Chinese black box LEDs!

 

Here's an initial video before I broke it down. I still wonder if the salt creep is from excessive moisture under the hood and I'm missing the rubber plugs around the power cords - I did see a drip on the back of the tank under the cord Monday. I have my old tank full of water and as of now everything is dry.

 

-Eric

 

 

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llebcire

First video shows the new tank up and running.  Other videos show process of draining and swapping to new tank - not ground breaking but I did film the process which took me about an hour and 40 minutes start to finish.

 

Not a professional YouTube creator 🙂 It was my day off.

 

-Eric

 

 

 

 

 

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llebcire

Day 24 (4 days since tank swap).

 

Params are stable with Nitrates dropping from 20 to 10 over the last week and now I'm starting to see diatoms on the rock.  I do have frags (5) so I can't go without lights however this is a normal part of the cycle so I'll wait it out.  I'm running my blue channel from 2 PM - 10 PM and my white channel from 4 PM to 9 PM and didn't have any lights on until last weekend when I started adding corals.  Will perform another WC today have have been changing 5 gallons every weekend and we're still actively shopping for fish.

 

-Eric

 

 

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llebcire

27 days since initial setup and 7 days since tank transfer.

 

Getting through cycle and now have diatoms (not my favorite part) with 2x clowns and 5x frags.  Daughter asked me why my rock was "broken" ☹️

 

-Eric

 

 

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llebcire

Along with the diatoms getting some algae.  I am using RODI from a local saltwater store (they claim it's 0 TDI and I haven't checked) so this shouldn't be excess nutrients other than die off from the cycle. Another 5 gal water change on tap for this weekend.

 

Someday I need to ID these corals - I've had a lot of specimens over the years and knowing all the names has never been that important.

 

-Eric

 

 

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llebcire

Day 31.

 

Performed another water change yesterday and will move to a 5 gallon change every other weekend which would still be close to 50% total volume every 30 days.

 

Verified nitrates have dropped to 5 so I'm getting close to the end of the cycle. Ammonia has remained at zero and I never saw nitrites. With diatoms and hair algae added 5 trochus snails to start with - I know hermits are also popular but I've always lost snails to them. Algae should disappear (the RO is at zero TDS) once die off is processed.

 

-Eric

 

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