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FishPolice275

Noob with a cube

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FishPolice275

Just another Salt noob with a biocube

 

I haven't had an aquarium for 10+ years, but I'm ready to get back in the game.  Had plenty of freshwater setups, so I want to give salt a go this time.  I decided to start with a biocube 32, with the hope of some day starting a 150 G + tank.  I have been reading forums and watching YouTube for weeks, and I finally got my cube started on Monday night (June 29 2020).  I may have bought more than I needed right away, but I figure why not start with a few extra bells and whistles.  I live about 3.5 hours from any salt shop, so I am pretty much figuring all this out online.  I started the cycle with API quick start and a couple small pieces of Argentina Red shrimp (it's what I had in the freezer).  The ammonia is starting to rise and I can see some small white hairs growing on the live rock piece. No immediate questions at this moment, but I am sure to come up with some here soon.  For now I will post my set up and a few pics.  Let me know if you see any problems here.

 

Biocube 32 LED

Home built stand - Walnut with Koa stain. (I have a young child, so I needed something extra sturdy - not the stock junk)

Aquatic Life twist in RO/DI system

CaribSea Alive Special grade sand 20#

Natures Own 40# coral base rock (amazon stuff) - Two huge chucks, broke one up into smaller pieces.  I swapped a few pounds of the dry with one live rock hunk from a shop to help seed the rest.

Instant Ocean sea salt

Jebao OW-25 Wavemaker w/controller (currently running at about half power on wave setting 2)

RFG random flow generator

InTank Media basket - Only running some filter floss at the moment, but I have chemi blue for later, as well as a small LED light/timer - with chaeto coming once the cycle is complete.

Tunze 9001 skimmer - It's in the tank next to the media basket but not running yet, waiting until the cycle finishes

Eheim Jager 100w heater, running through a inkbird digital thermostat w/ sensor

AutoAqua Smart ATO - hooked up to a 4g portable water container

 

Salinity refractometer

API saltwater test kit

API reef test kit

Python vacuum

Biocube algae magnet

and some other random things....

 

7/1 - Day 2 stats

Ammonia between .5 and 1

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 0

PH - 8.0

Salinity 1.022

Temp 79

 

 

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Snow_Phoenix

Hi, welcome to NR! 🙂

 

Have you epoxied that top rock to the rest? It looks a bit unstable - scape-wise, and could be easily knocked down by any hermits, urchins or even large snails that you put into the tank later.  Just a point of concern, that's all. 

 

 

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FishPolice275

It sure is! Epoxy was used on all the big pieces. It seems stable now. 

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FishPolice275

7/4

Ammonia -.5-1

Nitrite - .5

Nitrate - 5.0

Ph 8.0

 

Is 8.0 OK for ph or should I start thinking about getting it closer to 8.2?

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debbeach13

PH is fine. Welcome to NR. Tank looks nice. Great job on the stand. My only suggestion would be to check the there is enough space between the rock and the glass to clean the glass. Does the algae scrapper fit between? Good luck with your tank. Kids love fish tanks so have fun.

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FishPolice275
41 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

PH is fine. Welcome to NR. Tank looks nice. Great job on the stand. My only suggestion would be to check the there is enough space between the rock and the glass to clean the glass. Does the algae scrapper fit between? Good luck with your tank. Kids love fish tanks so have fun.

Thank you! I have a Credit card on a stick, hoping that gets the job done in the tight areas. I'll find out soon I'm sure. Only thing growing at this point is some hard white hairs on the live rock piece. 1390268475_DSC_23192.thumb.JPG.f5d03bbfd6e0251c5d457e31b194f14a.JPG

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banasophia

Congrats on the new tank, and that’s a gorgeous stand you made!! 😍 I love my Biocubes; hope you enjoy yours too. 
 

Your scape looks nice, but I think it’s too close to the glass... if it was me, I’d try to rotate it a little and see if you position it a little more diagonally if it gives a little more room between the rock and glass on both sides. I’d probably try to rotate the left side forward. 
 

The white hairs could be hydroids, but it’s really hard to tell from that pic. 

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Drumdog

I am thinking about starting a cube myself. Am very interested to follow your journey.

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FishPolice275
On 7/4/2020 at 1:50 PM, banasophia said:

Congrats on the new tank, and that’s a gorgeous stand you made!! 😍 I love my Biocubes; hope you enjoy yours too. 
 

Your scape looks nice, but I think it’s too close to the glass... if it was me, I’d try to rotate it a little and see if you position it a little more diagonally if it gives a little more room between the rock and glass on both sides. I’d probably try to rotate the left side forward. 
 

The white hairs could be hydroids, but it’s really hard to tell from that pic. 

OK, so I took your advice (and a few others on Fb) and repositioned the rock a bit to give more space on the sides. It was no easy task with a filled tank this time. I took out the big piece and actually cut the nobs off the side. Then I swapped out some of the other bigger rocks with slightly smaller ones. I'm happy with the design, but I do see more epoxy now. The epoxy was the hardest part of it all. I have the kind that you heat up to get sticky, so it cools fast in the water. It took me 4 or 5 tries to get it to work. Total pain, but it's working. 

I also had some water loss swapping rocks, and I let the ATO fill it with regular RO water in it. So no salt was added, which made my salinity a bit low. I'm now adding salt one tablespoon at a time to get it back to normal. Since I have no fish, I'm just adding it right to the tank. I'm really hoping I don't have to move the rocks anymore. DSC_2335.thumb.JPG.6a6f72e9d1499b4cfeec7785d005dc08.JPGDSC_2337.thumb.JPG.ead252c2294315249fd8ac050fe166f2.JPGDSC_2336.thumb.JPG.e09b8d03231a9aa6e768baf24d2918a7.JPG

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banasophia

Very nice, love it! It will be so much easier to keep the glass clean and keep your tank looking good. It looks like a somewhat vertical scape, which can be a bit of a challenge, but I think you’ll be able to work with it and create a really beautiful reef. You may want to take a look at it from the top down to see how the light will hit it. 

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Tired

Looks good, and it's a good tank size and shape. 

 

I suggest ordering some macroalgaes from live-plants.com, algaebarn, or ReefCleaners. In addition to providing habitat for pods to grow on, they can bring in some biodiversity for you, especially calcified macros like halimeda that may have things growing on them. Avoid caulerpa for now, it's invasive. A few different species can be simply put in your tank with no added care, though you might have to ghost-feed to make sure they have some nutrients while there isn't much living in the tank. 

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FishPolice275

API tests today:

 

Ammonia 0 (or as close to 0 API can get) 

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 5.0

 

Calcium 340

Carbonate - dKH - 8 / 143.2 ppm

Phosphate - less than. 25 ppm

 

Any comments on the calcium or carbonate? API says 340 is Low and should be in the 400-500 Range. 

 

Am I ready to change some water and add some fish? Thinking of starting with 2 mocha clowns. 

 

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banasophia
1 hour ago, FishPolice275 said:

API tests today:

 

Ammonia 0 (or as close to 0 API can get) 

Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 5.0

 

Calcium 340

Carbonate - dKH - 8 / 143.2 ppm

Phosphate - less than. 25 ppm

 

Any comments on the calcium or carbonate? API says 340 is Low and should be in the 400-500 Range. 

 

Am I ready to change some water and add some fish? Thinking of starting with 2 mocha clowns. 

 

What’s your salinity now? 
 

Not sure if I would trust that API Quick Start after 10 days but that’s because I’m not very familiar with that product... some of the beneficial bacteria products are more reliable than others. Have you read up on reviews and the info on the manufacturer website and the instructions? 

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FishPolice275

Quick start says it's good to dose and instantly add fish. But I didn't want to do it that quick. I'm patient enough to wait if it will help, but if it's not needed then I'll try some fish. 

 

Salinity is back to 1.023, but I'm going to test again tomorrow and make sure it's settled. 

 

Also, here is a better Pic of those tiny white tubes. Most seem straight but some to sway in the current. 

 

DSC_2340.JPG

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Tired

What ammonia source have you been adding to cycle the tank, and how much? 

 

It's possible the tank is cycled, yes. Bottled bacteria is hit-or-miss, but you could have hit. Clowns would be a nice fish for this tank, but be careful- they can be a bit aggressive. What other fish are you thinking of adding? If you want a timid fish like a firefish, you may want to add that first, then the clowns.

 

I strongly recommend a shrimpgoby and pistol shrimp pair. They're great. They can be added at any time, they aren't too timid and will form their own place away from the clowns. You have a nice selection of gobies to pick from, and either a candycane pistol or a tiger pistol depending on the size of the fish. Yasha, high-fin, and other tiny gobies are fine with a candycane, larger ones like a yellow watchman will fare better with the bigger tiger pistol so it can dig suitably-sized tunnels more easily. 

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FishPolice275

I used frozen shrimp to cycle. I just threw another piece in there to see how the water reacts. 

As far as fish, here is a short list of what I'm interested in. I haven't researched the gramma or damsels much though. 


Mocha Clown
Yellow watchman goby
Pistol shrimp Alpheus randalli
Royal gramma
Yellowtail blue damsel

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Tired

That could work as stocking, sure. Your clown, gramma, and yellowtail can all be a little aggressive, so they each need their own cave (or big shell) to live in. As a general rule, you want to have more caves than you have fish. 

 

The clownfish would be a good first add. Assuming the tank continues to be stable, you could add the goby and shrimp as your next thing. Either introduce them together, or introduce the shrimp first and let it burrow, if at all possible. I do suggest a tiger pistol shrimp, Randall's/candycane pistol shrimp are tiny and may be at risk if a non-goby fish ever spots them out of the hole. If you get the candycane, add it to the tank in such a way that it's placed right next to the rock, instead of just pouring it in and letting it sink. The damsel and gramma should be your last two things. 

 

You could also get a clown goby, at some point. They can be added after everything else because they have a nasty-tasting slime coat to protect them from being nipped. Bully-proof!

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mattleach2114

Beautiful setup. Im thinking of venturing back into setting up a tank (Used to have a 120 and 40 breeder years ago) and have been thinking about a 32 BioCube. 

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FishPolice275
On 7/9/2020 at 7:10 PM, Tired said:

That could work as stocking, sure. Your clown, gramma, and yellowtail can all be a little aggressive, so they each need their own cave (or big shell) to live in. As a general rule, you want to have more caves than you have fish. 

 

The clownfish would be a good first add. Assuming the tank continues to be stable, you could add the goby and shrimp as your next thing. Either introduce them together, or introduce the shrimp first and let it burrow, if at all possible. I do suggest a tiger pistol shrimp, Randall's/candycane pistol shrimp are tiny and may be at risk if a non-goby fish ever spots them out of the hole. If you get the candycane, add it to the tank in such a way that it's placed right next to the rock, instead of just pouring it in and letting it sink. The damsel and gramma should be your last two things. 

 

You could also get a clown goby, at some point. They can be added after everything else because they have a nasty-tasting slime coat to protect them from being nipped. Bully-proof!

I think we are on the same page on fish order, and after looking more into size, I will take your advice and change that to a tiger shrimp.  Thanks for your input!

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FishPolice275

I have some more cycle updates from the last few days.  My numbers were reading low and making it look like the tank may have cycled really quick so I added a full frozen shrimp to see how it reacted, and it seems it is still cycling.

 

7/11 - Added shrimp

Ammonia - 0    Nitrite - 0-.25    Nitrate - 5     pH - 8    

 

7/12 -

Ammonia - 1    Nitrite - 0-.5 - 1    Nitrate - 20     pH - 8 

 

7/13 - Small amount of algae starting to grow on the live rock piece - brown hair?  I also took out the decaying shrimp.

Ammonia - .5    Nitrite - 2       Nitrate - 40     pH - 7.8

 

I am not sure if I have been reading pH wrong on this API test or it has come down a bit.  Either way I have ordered a Hanna pHep+ tester because I am getting tired of these API color tests and their uncertainty.  I also ordered a bottle of Brightwell Aquatics Alkalin8.3 - Liquid pH Buffer to have in reserve.  It sucks living 3+ hours from any Local shop, I have to wait on everything to ship, and nothing moves fast these days....The cycle wait continues.

 

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FishPolice275

7/15

Ammonia - 0    Nitrite - 0       Nitrate - 5     pH - 7.8

 

Tank seems like it is ready for a few clowns, as soon as I can get the pH up.  Hanna pHep+ arrived today and confirmed pH is at 7.85.  I started adding brightwell Alkalin 8.3 today, so I will test again tomorrow and see how it is changing.  LFS 3 hours away said they can 1 day ship some mocha clowns to me next week, so the tank will have another week or so to prepare itself. excited to finally have some life coming.  Algae is very slowly growing on the live rock, so I may need some snails soon as well.

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Clown79
10 hours ago, FishPolice275 said:

7/15

Ammonia - 0    Nitrite - 0       Nitrate - 5     pH - 7.8

 

Tank seems like it is ready for a few clowns, as soon as I can get the pH up.  Hanna pHep+ arrived today and confirmed pH is at 7.85.  I started adding brightwell Alkalin 8.3 today, so I will test again tomorrow and see how it is changing.  LFS 3 hours away said they can 1 day ship some mocha clowns to me next week, so the tank will have another week or so to prepare itself. excited to finally have some life coming.  Algae is very slowly growing on the live rock, so I may need some snails soon as well.

I wouldn't overly focus on ph. Its a parameter that fluctuates all day long, is effected by photosynthesis, c02, and alkalinity.

 

Some of us don't even test ph.

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FishPolice275

Mocha clowns have been ordered from Cultivated Reef.  I'll have my first fish on Tuesday.

 

When should I get my cuc?  Algae is starting to grow on my one live rock piece, but not on any of the dry rock yet. Reef cleaners suggested I get a 30 gallon package with 28 Dwarf Cerith, 11 Nassarius vibex, 12 Florida Ceriths, 11 Nerites. That seems like way more than my tank could support right now. No lfs, so I have to order online.  I would rather not pay shipping on like 2 snails, but if I have to, I have to... 

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Tired

Don't bother with a cleanup crew of that caliber until you have lots of algae. Since you have no corals, you can let the algae go nuts- it'll feed pods and won't do any harm. Let it grow all over the place, then add cleaners once it's gone all over. An algae surge caused by not having cleanup crew will resolve itself fairly easily once you have cleanup crew, and will let multiple types of algae establish themselves. 

 

Oh, and consider grabbing some sort of macro from reefcleaners. I like halimeda, it's easy enough to grow and makes for some nice texture. Avoid caulerpas, they can go a little wild.

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FishPolice275
On 7/19/2020 at 8:34 PM, Tired said:

Don't bother with a cleanup crew of that caliber until you have lots of algae. Since you have no corals, you can let the algae go nuts- it'll feed pods and won't do any harm. Let it grow all over the place, then add cleaners once it's gone all over. An algae surge caused by not having cleanup crew will resolve itself fairly easily once you have cleanup crew, and will let multiple types of algae establish themselves. 

 

Oh, and consider grabbing some sort of macro from reefcleaners. I like halimeda, it's easy enough to grow and makes for some nice texture. Avoid caulerpas, they can go a little wild.

I'll be waiting to add the cuc, I will also be adding chaeto to my intank media basket as soon as I can find someone selling it. 

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