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Thetravelguy

Travelguys 32 biocube reef adventure

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Thetravelguy

Tank Specs

  • 32Gal Bio-Cube
  • 150Watt heater 
  • Steves LED light upgrade (110 Watt LED)
  • hurricane x controller 
  • 2x jebao wave maker 
  • 1x hydor koralia nano powerhead 
  • 1x stock return pump
  • 20 lb dry rock 
  • 10lb cured live rock
  • 10lb Fiji pink sand 

 

Filtration 

  • In-tank media basket w/ filter floss, marine pure       bio balls, purigen
  • in-tank refugium w/ chateo 

 

Corals

  •  Torch 
  • frogspawn
  • Split purple/green hammer 
  • purple hammer 
  • Zoas  (purple hornet, Rasta, belladonna, fire and ice, others unknown)
  • ricordian orange 
  • pulsing Xenia 
  • gsp  
  • Acans 
  • montipora plating 
  • montipore digitata 
  • Everglades Favia
  • Devils fingers leather 
  • duncan 
  • purple palythoa 

 

Inhabitants 

  • 5x hermit 
  • 2x cerith snail 
  • 2x “mocha domino” clown (what it was sold to me as. I’m told it’s a cross between, well, a mocha clown and a domino clown) named Newt and Theseus 🤷🏻‍♂️
  • yellow clown goby named Tina 
  • Six line wrasse named Queenie 

  •  

 

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Where to start? 🤔


I’m excited! 

 

Picked up a 32 gal biocube locally from a guy for what I consider a good deal (if not a steal). I got the tank, stand, media and refugium baskets for the back, wave maker, heater, attached grow light in back for macro and best of all, upgraded light system. It’s upgraded with the Steve’s LED turbo system with the hurricane x controller and iridescent booster. He also sent me home with about 10lbs of rock to seed the new tank with. 
 

this isn’t technically my first reef tank, I ventured in about a year ago with a 13 evo. It went great for about 6 months until I had a crash. Soon after I ended up moving across the country. The. Covid happened and just, I stepped back for a while. However this is really only my second go at it, but I’m really excited about it! 
I’ll take any advise offered and any input, I’m still learning so much. 
 

I’m most excited about the upgraded tank size and lights. It seems as though the sky is the limit as far as the light are concerned. I have a specific love for torches and rics. But I want to try maybe a monti, some sps in time, in addition to many softies and lps. I also intend to do another nem. I had a turquoise bubble tip in my 13 before it crashed and I enjoyed it very much. 
 

I have spent the day moving the tank around the apartment trying to decide on a location. Atm it’s in its forever location, I believe. It’s right next to my desk for optimum viewing, but also there is a fantastic side view from the couch right next to it. Hoping to create a diverse enough scape that I can enjoy it from either angle. 
 

I’ve got the tank and some supplies, waiting for an order to come in with 25 lb of dry rock (in addition to the 10 or so lb I already have). Sand, epoxy, salt. I’ve already got a second wave maker from my evo, test kits and prime. I’ve also ordered an RO/di unit that is supposed to come in the same day as everything else. Fingers crossed. My goal is to do this as right as possible this time around. 
 

at the moment trying to decide what to run filtration wise. I feel like this is such a widely debated topic with everyone having such diverse opinions. Filter floss is a given. I’ve got a chamber and grow light for macro so I feel that’s also a given. Anything beyond that is undecided. I know purigen is a popular choice. 
 

As for right now I’m also undecided on inhabitants. The only thing I know for certain is a canary wrasse (one of my all time fave) and likely a pair of clowns (how original an idea is that? 😅). Beyond that I’m unsure. I know many will recommend a Goby/pistol shrimp combo, but I’ve done that before and would like something different. I’m not rushing it. I’ll find something I like. 
 

anyways. Here’s a more organized rundown. Feel free to chime in with whatever... comments, suggestions, etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christopher Marks

Congrats on your new Biocube nano reef setup @Thetravelguy! It can be nice to get a tank that's already dialed in by another hobbyist. It sounds like you have lots of potential options with your mixed reef livestock plans. That's a great spot for it in your room, your house plants will be happy with the new addition too!

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Thetravelguy

Thanks so much! I really have high hopes for this tank. And yes my plants just super add to the room vibe. 
 

it’s been like two weeks but I’ve finally got everything together. My dry rock came and all my epoxy and everything. I went with Coral pro salt from Red Sea. The sand is mixed oolite and Fiji pink (the tank came with some seeded oolite so I just mixed in the pink). I’ve got about 25lb of dry rock and about 8 extra lb of seeded LR. 
 

I wanted to get this tank up and running a week ago but the first RO/DI filter was delivered broken, so I had to return and ended up reordering a different one. So it’s been a process. But today is the day! 
 

my apartment didn’t have a regular faucet to hook the rodi unit to, so it ended up in my laundry room. But it’s for the better because I discovered and I can just have the waste water line directed to my washing machine, and when it’s full I just do a load of laundry! So no to little water waste. I love it. 
 

will update with more pictures later! 

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Thetravelguy

So it’s set up, I’ve added a bottle of bio spira (basically magic in a bottle from what I understand) and added a shrimp for good measure. I’m still trying to figure out the hurricane x controller, I have no clue what I’m doing 😅
 

also having an issue with keeping water in the back chamber. I think my return pump is spitting out water faster than what is being pulled in. I’m still trying to figure that out. 
 

In all I’m decently happy with my rock scape. I think I’ll tweak it a little bit I’ve got a cave and some good spots to put coral. I know right now it looks like a “pile o rocks” but hopefully as I add zoas and others it’ll look more pulled together! 

 

I’ve got a smaller powerhead in the back blowing behind the rock work hopefully preventing any dead spots 🤞🏻Well see. 
 

many helpful tips on the hurricane x controller could be appreciated. Alternatively I’ll keep updating as I figure stuff out! 

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Thetravelguy

Did some tests before lights out tonight. 
 

salinity- 1.024

 

pH- 8.2

 

ammonia - 2ppm 

 

nitrite- 0ppm 

 

nitrate- 10ppm 

 

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Thetravelguy

Cycle well on its way. It would seem the bio spira does indeed speed up the process. did some tests this afternoon. 
 

SG- 1.024 

Ammonia- somewhere between 2 and 4 ppm. 
nitrite- .50ppm

nitrate- 40 ppm 
 

 

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Thetravelguy

My cycle is chugging right along. I started with some seeded LR and dry rock mix. I also had some seeded media from an established tank. I also dosed a bottle of bio spira. Today my readings are 

 

ammonia- about 2ppm still 

nitrite about 1ppm 

nitrate about 40 ppm! 
 

no algae or cyano yet, but it’s just a matter of time. I’m enjoying looking at even the empty tank, dreaming of all the corals I’ll hopefully eventually have 😂

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Thetravelguy

Well it’s been like a week and a half since I filled and today my readings are great. It would seem the cycle has come full circle but I’m gonna give it several days, probably another week, just to be sure. I don’t have any algae yet so nothing for a CUC to feed on. I have been trying to decide what am to get. Probably a few hermits, even though I know they are as*holes. I’ve always really enjoyed watching them. I’ve never before had any crabs at all (other than hermits obvi). I think a Pom Pom and/or an emerald crab could be fun? Obviously snails and I think a conch for the sand (though I’ve never had one). I think I want a shrimp also, probably a skunk or peppermint. In time of course! 
 

anyyyyways. As of today my readings are 

 

salinity - 1.025. A tad high, had some evap and just need to top off. 
 

ammonia- 0! 
 

nitrites- also 0! 
 

nitrate- about 5ppm. 
 

so again we’re still gonna wait but I think the biggest of swings has happened. I did have some seeded rock and bio in the back. Plus the bio spira which seems to have helped a ton. 

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Thetravelguy

Things are moving right along. Added my first inhabitants. Won some coral locally in an auction and picked up a beautiful little clown. Water has been stable for over a week. I’ll try to get pictures of the clown soon, he is a pretty little dude! 

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Grimes

Looks good. Only thing I would say is that your rock is hard against the glass in a few areas. That will make things tricky to clean.

 

Make sure that you blast around the rock in those areas regular so you don't get a build up of crap, unless of course you can move it all away from the glass. 

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Thetravelguy
8 minutes ago, Grimes said:

Looks good. Only thing I would say is that your rock is hard against the glass in a few areas. That will make things tricky to clean.

 

Make sure that you blast around the rock in those areas regular so you don't get a build up of crap, unless of course you can move it all away from the glass. 

Yea I need to fix my rock work. My epoxy isn’t holding well and the rocks keep leaning! 
 

I do, however, have two power heads directed around/behind the rock to prevent any dead spots! I have one you can’t see that’s actually behind the rock blowing to keep any debris building up 🙂 

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debbeach13
6 hours ago, Thetravelguy said:

Yea I need to fix my rock work.

Welcome back to reefing. Looks like you got a real nice tank. Personally I do not even like rock touching the glass at all. Besides being hard to clean and reducing flow. I am just to nervous some thing will disturb it and crack the glass, nut that's just me. I wish you many years of having a thriving box of water.

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Thetravelguy
4 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Welcome back to reefing. Looks like you got a real nice tank. Personally I do not even like rock touching the glass at all. Besides being hard to clean and reducing flow. I am just to nervous some thing will disturb it and crack the glass, nut that's just me. I wish you many years of having a thriving box of water.

All very good points. I’ll put more effort into fixing the rock work to keep it off the glass 😊

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Thetravelguy

My view from the couch is literally my favorite. Please excuse my iPhone pictures😬 but this is i

my angle from the couch and I absolutely love it. 

sorry for the flipper photo I can’t figure out how to change it

 

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Thetravelguy

Things continue to go well. We added a second “mocha domino” clown and we are completely in love with him. He immediately zoomed over to the frogspawn and started hosting it. He now sleeps in it 😍. I’ve rearranged the rocks to get them away from touching the glass directly also :). 

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Thetravelguy

Well much like Miley Cyrus’s ever changing hair and music style, I can’t seem to keep my hand out of the tank and keep it one way 🙈

 

in my defense I knocked some stuff around doing a WC so I felt I needed to change it up to make a couple dead spots more accessible. 
 

I finally got my DSLR out to take some pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have a lens that can even pretend to be good at macro, I focus mostly on landscape and travel photography and that’s where my lens selection is at. That being said I gave it an honest try and have a few pictures. 
 

my new purple hammer just split heads so I’m really excited about that! Frogspawn looks very healthy, I think it may be because the clown is taking such good care of it 👌🏻
 

I blended up some shrimp with a little rodi water and fed the corals/fish last night. Did a 5 gallon WC today so hopefully I don’t get an ammonia spike. Blended up it made a bit more of a mess than I expected 😬
 

I tried to fix colors in Lightroom and I of course shot in raw, but I still can’t seem to get it quite right. I suppose it takes some practice. 

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Thetravelguy

Worrying over my first(ish) sps. I’m not entirely certain what it is, though the guy who gave it to me said it was a monti. So monti digitatas? I was excited to see the poly extension, but I’m worried that the green color is only on one side? It’s in a weird spot atm because I had it higher and it seemed like the this were going white so I was afraid it was too much light to fast. I’d like to move it up higher though, by my plating monti. 
 

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Thetravelguy

Some zoa pictures. I know what some are, some are still a mystery. I think I got the zoa bug tho, these guys are legit too cool! Again sorry for iPhone pictures 🙈

 

I know the first is Rasta, second is purple hornet and an unknown, 3rd and 4th also unknown. 

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Thetravelguy

I’ve got 4 different (variations?) of GSP in my tank. This one is one of my favorite. It’s vibrant and textured 😍
 

also my half n half hammer. Got him for free from a local reefer. 
 

I’m really sorry for iPhone shots. 

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View from the desk 😍😍😍

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Thetravelguy

First I just wanted to say I so appreciate all the support and help Ive received here...

 👌🏻

Everything continues to go pretty well. I did recently loose a torch for unknown reasons. Over the course of about 3-4 days it went from seemingly very happy to completely gone. My params read well enough it shouldn’t have been the issue. Still not sure what caused it, though everything else seems to be doing well. 
 

ive noticed new growth on several zoas, my purple hammer split and I believe my frogspawn is getting ready to split. 

getting a little bit of algae but it’s not out of control. My phosphates are high and I think partly it’s still new tank syndrome. Also I’m thinking it’s been getting some undesired sub from a nearby window. Currently it’s not out of hand but I’ll actively be on top of it. 
 

Latest params were 

 

Ammonia -0

nitrite -0

nitrate- 10

phosphate-1.0

ph-8

Dkh-7.5(low I know, going to continue to monitor)

calcium -350

 

water change was yesterday and I haven’t tested since. 

ive attached pictures of what I think is a splitting frogspawn? The bubble in the middle indicates splitting

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debbeach13

Sorry about the torch. Every thing else looks good and the frogspawn splitting will be cool.

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Thetravelguy

My new fun perspective 

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Thetravelguy

Lost my yellow goby today. Not entirely sure why. He hasn’t looked amazing really since I brought him home (often pale looking) but I went out of town for a week and when I got back both my montis looked pale and one had started to bleach, and now a week later my goby dies. 
 

im a bit doubtful they are related but at the same time the timing is a little suspicious. 
 

ive run my standard tests and they are as follow. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

temp- 78/79

SG- 1.026

Ammonia-0 

nitrite-0

nitrate-10 or so

ph-7.8

phosphate- .25

calcium -about 380 but wc due today 

 

 

Im thinking mr goby came home unhealthy and finally passed. All other inhabitants seem healthy (2 clowns and a six line) and all other corals seem quite happy and healthy. 
 

let me know if you think it may be otherwise

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Thetravelguy

Update, after doing a bit of reading I’ve come to believe mr goby wasn’t eating. I’ve seen him show interest in food but I suppose I never watched long enough to make sure he ate/swallowed. He was pretty shy and often wouldn’t come out at feedings, leaving me to suspect/hope he picked some after I walked away. I’m beginning to think that wasn’t the case as I’ve read it’s fairly common for this species to reject food and starve themselves. He was pale and with what I now realize was a sort of sunken belly. So, I’m thinking that was it. That was entirely my bad. 

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Thetravelguy

Well it’s been a few days and I’ve come to the conclusion that mr goby most certainly must have starved to death. I hadn’t realized it was necessary to feed quite so often and I think he withered away. That’s the only explanation as everything else seems to be doing wel! 
 

My hammer, which was given to me as a purple hammer, has since split one head, started growing new ones at the base and the tentacle portion has started to color up to a greenish color. It looks good! My frogspawn also is growing new heads from its Skelton and looks good! 
 

a local guy here owns a coral company that he runs out of his basement. His stuff is super high quality and he’s built it into his full time job. Well today he was offering a sick Black Friday deal of BOGO on frags and also a free frag just for coming in (I know right?) so I was able to pick up an acan, 3 headed candy, fruit loops zoa, green toadstool and an encrusting monti for $30. What a steal. All good size and healthy. Here’s to hoping they stay that way 🙏🏻😅

 

I also ordered some reef roids. Hoping that helps the growth take off. 

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