32 Coralife BC, first SW tank


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Hi all -Brand new member, and it was suggested that I start a build thread.... So, here I go :)This is my first SW tank, so I think my primary goal is to minimize the amount of catastrophic newbie mistakes I make. ?Tank: 32gal Coralife LED BioCube; noisy lights but hey it works and I think I was guided well for a first tank. ?Filtration: 30# live sand (CaribSea Pink Fiji), 45# live rock. ?I've ordered the coralife skimmer, which I've read isn't great, but I haven't seen any reports yet that suggest any other skimmer will easily work with this setup, so I'll go with that to get going. ?I'm thinking I scrap the carbon that came with the kit, and add Sponge/floss to the middle of the media tray for mechanical. ?No clue yet what to do with chemical; it's not really an issue on the FW side with planted tanks and good biological / mechanical filtration. ?I added 30# of sand, 30# of live rock, and 27gal of water?on Saturday from Dallas North Aquarium, and picked up another 15# of live rock from Apex on Monday. ?I'm running a pair of 100w Aqueon heaters I had from previous FW builds, set at 80 degrees. ?I haven't added shrimp or krill or anything like that to kickstart the cycle. ?In the past, I've cycled FW aquariums using pure ammonia. (fishless)?Intank has some cool looking inserts including a mini fugue for macro algea, but I'm still scratching my head a bit on whether or not I need that, and what the media tray portion even does other than look cool.Ultimate stocking goals: a small friendly urchin (my daughter stepped on one of the bigger more toxic varieties a couple of summers ago, so this is a 'face your fears' tank -- her choice not mine!), a shrimp or two, and a couple of fish down the line that will complement the coral. ?I'd like to look at whatever?coral that this lighting system can support.(I also realize I might have to do some DIY light upgrades on this tank, and have just learned about the Apex controller... This is a pretty engrossing hobby) ?Oh, and I have a pair of Redsea test kits on the way.Anyhow, first bit of advice I received was to pick up a magnetic cleaner that can get all the glass, and I'll pick that up stat :) ?In the meantime, here are some pics of my aquascape and a close up of our first hitchhiker -- a tiny little starfish that brightened our morning. ?View attachment 579
I am really digging that scape you have set up. I haven't done much looking into the Biocubes lately so ?I don't have much to offer on that front but welcome to the salt water addiction. LOL
Looking good! Following along!Get the bag of Purigen to put in there after your first water change before you add your fish. It is what I use im my biocubes and the big tank. I just new ones in every 3 months. Seems to be working well.I have foam/poly filter, mesh bag of seachem matrix and the purigen in the frag tank. (biocube14)Then poly filter, mini refugium with cheato and the purigen in the clown/nem tank. (biocube14)
Thanks.. I'll pick up the Purigen next time I'm out. ?I've discovered some new hitchhikers... ?Some zoa coral looking things, and some Aiptasia. ?I already have a pest ! ?I know I can inject the things with hot water or calcium. ?I've also been told about peppermint shrimp. ?I'm not cycled yet, so I have some time to figure out how to deal with this. ?The Coralife skimmer showed up, so I'm going to see if I can get that to fit in chamber 1 next to one of the heaters.Never a dull moment I'm finding!View attachment 604
Aptasia X en route! ?I picked up some RO/DI top off water yesterday, and the Coralife skimmer showed up, which I'll be putting in Chamber 1 along with one of the heaters in the cube. ?I won't turn it on until the cycle is complete. ?I showed pics of my aquascape to the LFS where I picked most of the parts up, and he suggested I look at a powerhead to increase flow, since I built up a bit higher than he anticipated. ?
All very good advice in this thread. ?Your tank is looking great. ?IMO, 80 degrees is a tad high.... ?I'd shoot for 78-78.5?
Good to know; I'll turn the temp down a couple of degrees. ?Thank you. ?I'll be learning about powerheads today. ?
I turned the temp down a bit and I'm reading 78-78.5. ?Picked up a Coralife Skimmer (doesn't have the best reviews, but fits well without modification and is cheap) and installed it in Chamber 1. ?I also picked up a Tunze Osmolator ATO, which I have set up now. ?I need to find a smaller water tank to go in the stand, but this works for now. ?I have my tank overfilled (oops) so it's going to take some more evap before the ATO kicks in.Aptasia X was delivered today so I'll be able to take out the last of the aptasia that I can see -- I scooped 2 out but another popped back up. ?I've also ordered a new media tray and refugeum insert from Intank and light for the sump part of the tank. ?I've attached some progress pics. ?Also the brown rusty stuff that appeared yesterday -- algea from running my lights, which I'm not supposed to be doing during my cycle? ?Anything to do or just let it run it's course?I'm also not 100% clear on whether or not I should be doing any WC's at all during my cycle.I almost had myself convinced to order a MP10 for flow, but ended up cheaping out a bit and going with an Innovative Marine SpinStream as a replacement return and a Jebao PP-4 for the powerhead. ?$42 shipped from Amazon was hard to resist on the powerhead and I'm thinking between the two, I should have adequate flow. ?I can always buy a MP10 or something in the future (and a fancy controller, doser, etc) but trying to keep this semi-simple for a first build.Thanks all!?View attachment 689
Looking pretty good!On the skimmer you don't actually have to run it during the cycle since you don't have a bio-load yet and you can even remove the collection cup and just let it spill over to "break it in" so you don't have to keep emptying the collection cup. Just let it aerate the water for now.Make sure and follow the directions on the AptasiaX and turn off all flow while you treat the aptasia.?Definitely keep your lights off for the cycle, no need to grow any algae during the cycle :) Don't need to do anything, just lights out.No water changes needed until after the cycle is done. Keep testing water to see when all your parameters go up and down. When cycle is done and nitrate is up do your first water change.Sounds like your flow setup should work nicely, just see how it does after setup. I have a spin stream and a small hydor powerhead in my small boicube and works well.
Awesome, thank you !!! ?I wasn't sure on the skimmer, so I'll take the cup off now.I was having too much fun with the sunup/moonrise programming, and I've been having too much fun staring at the rocks looking for hitchhikers. ?Light off now. ?I'll post more pics as I put more stuff together. ?Thanks for all your help. ?
Put in SpinStream and powerhead. ?Trying to figure out best orientation for flow. ?I'll have plenty of time to play with this.For the past few days, nitrAte has tested at 10 and nitrItes and ammonia 0. ?(maybe .2 on ammonia if I really squint - using the Red Sea kit - but it seems like 0) ?I'm surely not cycled after 10 days. ?I'm very tempted to dose 1-2ppm ammonia and see what happens. ?Bad idea? ?
Have your Nitrites gone up and back down yet? I am sure it is still not cycled.Have you added anything to kick start the cycle yet? Shrimp, fish food, ammonia...?
No I haven't seen the nitrates move up and down. ?I don't know where the nitrates are coming from,?but that could have happened early. ?Is there any advantage to adding something to kick start, other than a faster cycle? ?I have ammonia on hand, so that would be the easiest. ? My research suggested that there'd be enough die off / ammonia produced from the amount of live rock/sand I put in that my cycle would start on it's own, but perhaps it needs some help.Again no hurry... ? All the time not cycled means more time to research stuff to enhance the build. ?(or burn more $)I'm thining I should try some ammonia this weekend or a lil shrimp. ??Here are some progress pics. ?I replaced the stock media tray with a media tray/refugium box setup from intank. ? I haven't figured out yet what my filtration will ultimately look like, but for now I think:Chamber 1:?100W heaterCL Protein SkimmerChamber 2:Intank Media Basket---Shelf 1 - floss---Shelf 2 - Chem of some sort? ?Purigen??---Shelf 3 - TBD. ?Carbon reactor?---Refugium tray, chaeto? ?Newbie question, but where does one acquire macro algea? :)Temperature probeATO returnChamber 3---Tunze ATO float sensor---100W heater---sponge on return to keep macroalgea out of intake pump---stock intank pumpDisplay tank:---SpinStream---Jaebo PP-4 pumpView attachment 720View attachment 721
I too love your rock work. Very nicely done. also u can siphon them guys right out of there that are right on the sand. if they are attached to the bottom use a razor ?blade?to scrap the glass as u are sucking them out. Just a thought.?Your tank look great.Bump
Bump - thank you !! ?I like it too. ?I was worried it was too much rock, but not sure that's possible. ?Good call on siphoning up. ?I scooped a couple with a plastic spoon, and there's 1 left on the sand. ?I'll try siphoning em up.?Jeremy - I can check with my LFS. ?If you're ready to trim yours, I'd gladly take off your hands! ?I'm in Dallas near Tollway/635. ?
That's a ways to drive just for some Macro. If you post in the live goods forum that you're looking for some there is usually someone ready to let it go. And I know there are a lot of people in the North Dallas area with tanks.