Daniel’s First Reef: 29 Gallon Cube


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Hi all, I’m working on setting up my 29 Gallon Cube. I thought I’d share my build and hopefully solicit some helpful advice as I embark on my first reef (having previously done freshwater.) The tank currently has 40lb live sand and 20lb Carib Sea Live Rock in it. Here is my aquascape. View attachment 8521Suggestions on coral placement would be appreciated! I have a fungia plate who I was going to put on the substrate in the left-front corner. A Hollywood Stunner Chalice I was going to place on the opposite area of a substrate. And I think the other one I bought is an Acropora of sorts (which might have been a mistake for a beginner. I thought I’d place him up top near the powerhead since I heard they like higher light and flow. For filtration I have a All-Glass MegaFlow Model 3 below which I’m going to put live rock and chaeto in, but have to seal a leaking bulkhead in the Eshopps overflow before I can get it in operation. Let me know what y’all think!
Looking good so far!So far everything you have mentioned is correct and I agree with you ;-)Placement looks good and wish you luck on the SPS...test..test...test. You will have to keep parameters stable for sure.Let us know if you have any questions and how it goes!
Nice looking aquascape. To second Chris's comments, test water parameters frequently!
So, what's holding me back on getting this tank going (and putting corals in it) is not salinity, temperature, filtration or anything of the sort. But a leaking bulkhead. I have tried tightening and siliconing around this fool thing repeatedly, and every-time I think I have it sealed, a miniscule leak appears and I have to start over. I have two questions, A) Is anyone familiar with the Eshopps overflow boxes? This is a PF 1200. If so, how have you sealed the bulkheads and am I possibly missing a gasket. B) Even if with the silicone I get the leak(s) to stop, will it hold? The plug I used with (human/ animal safe) pvc to plastic cement is doing fine, its the seal on the bulkhead that is failing. The hose seal was once leaking too, but with simple tightening it stopped. But the one I plugged will not stop.Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am hoping to get this show on the road! If it still leaks after this last application dries, I am taking the thing apart and redoing it.View attachment 8528
In other news, I put the powerhead, skimmer and heater in. I would love advice on the powerhead placement. It is a Hydor Nano 565pgh. Is that enough for a LPS tank? There will be only one SPS who will be in direct line of flow.View attachment 8530 
Posted by: Dpb1298 So said:
8528,8529[/ATTACH]"]You should have a rubber gasket on the inside between the bulkhead and overflox box, not between the nut and the overflow box. If you never had a rubber gasket or the gasket is in the wrong spot, then that's likely your issue.IMO, it may be best to just order a new bulkhead and start from scratch, even if the latest silicone patch ends up holding. 
I agree, I would order a new one. Remove and clean inside and outside all silicone/debris and install the new.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4GmHKsGwt8Placement looks good on the powerhead, you might need another opposite of it (maybe a little higher), to help with some random flow. Just monitor and see if it looks happy (good polyp extension).
So, I took apart the bulkhead, removed the silicone, cleaned the bulkhead and gasket and put it back together. There is currently no visible sign of any leaks. However, a new problem has presented itself. The point where the return hose meets the plastic is very slowly leaking. I am guessing it is because of the pressure pushing the water up versus the other joints where it is merely flowing down via gravity. I have tightened the hose clamp as far as it will go and it is still seeping through. The pump is an Aquaneat 1500 l/h, or approximately 400 gallons. It seems to be providing good equilibrium with the water levels of the sump and overflow box. However, I cannot have it leaking up top. I actually trimmed it a bit and moved it to the closer side of the aquarium today (I previously had it on the far side). Perhaps this was a mistake as it is now pushing more water out, albeit not much more. So, I have decided (probably foolishly) to put silicone around the seal of the plastic where the leaking hose meets. I decided to do this since the leak is so small that I don't thing it's enough to push though the silicone, or push it off and continue leaking. Whether it will bind remains to be seen. Is my problem the pump's gph? If so I could change it, I just need help knowing what is appropriate for a 29 gallon cube with an overflow box.Cheers,Daniel
Also, I am going to get another Hydor Nano 565gph powerhead and put it on the opposite side. Additionally, I thankfully realized after examining the Par levels of my light (a current USA orbit) that it is severely insufficient for the depth. So, I am going to buy a pro model of that light and run them both. This will provide the appropriate amount of light for the corals.View attachment 8531
I'm no expert but my understanding is rule of thumb for Return Pump flow is 10 times water volume. So a 29 gallon tank would be ~300gph. Even still, if your overflow can keep up with the flow generated by the pump, then that shouldn't be causing the leak. It's simply a bad seal between the return line and the fitting. Can you provide a picture of the connection/leak?
Eheim line worked! Leak stopped. Bacteria added and cycling started as of yesterday; however, the live rock and sand has been in for two weeks with a powerhead, so idk if that counts. Corals will be going in in two weeks. However, I am going to try some cheaper ones late next week and see how they do; fingers crossed! I'll feel terrible if anything happens to them. Should I go ahead and add some fish? Two clowns for example?
So... my lfs told me when I went to run my basic parameters (A-0, Ni=0 Nitrate = low) that I shouldn't bother using my reef foundation test yet since I had no corals using nutrients. They said the parameters should be good since its a new tank. However, I went ahead and ran them anyway--and was not happy with my findings. Mg 1060, Ca 320 and dKH 14+ (off the chart). As I understand it, these is unacceptable conditions to host marine life. I have further heard that low Mg can cause all the other parameters to be off as well. If I correct the Mg can I expect the others to come in line? I could really use some help here y'all. Salinity is good btw. I sure am struggling with this first reef tank.
If you want to add something man get a a cleaner shrimp if it dies it will help with the beneficial bacteria which will help out alot man and if you want to get a fish go with a damsel something on the cheaper side man
I'd feel too terrible about killing it. I'm not a fan of using live animals to cycle tanks. I put high quality bacteria in it and it seems to be doing its job. I'm currently most concerned about the Magnesium, Calcium and Alkalinity.
I hear you but maybe it won't die but I understand man. Get magnesium up and then you will get the other two to follow if you aerate the top of your water that will help get your alkalinity too drop while you are doing that dose cal slow to get it up your alkalinity is high because your calcium is low once you get calcium up it will become stable
Posted by: Drex I hear you but maybe it won't die but I understand man. Get magnesium up and then you will get the other two to follow if you aerate the top of your water that will help get your alkalinity too drop while you are doing that dose cal slow to get it up your alkalinity is high because your calcium is low once you get calcium up it will become stable said:
Thanks so much for the advice!
Generally speaking, Calcium/Alkalinity/Mag won't matter if you're adding fish/inverts so while I get wanting them to be more in line with where you want them to be, it's not a big deal right now. Getting magnesium up will help reduce algae growth as well from what I've researched. Then follow in line with Calcium and Alkalinity. Alk will be the most important of the 3 when talking corals.As for the cycle, have you added any bacteria (Microbacter 7, Dr Tim's One and Only, etc.)? Adding that and throwing in a piece of shrimp from your local market will get the cycle going. You should see the ammonia spike, then Nitrite, followed by Nitrate. Once your ammonia and nitrites have gone through the spike and are back down, you will be ready to start adding fish slowly. The biofilter (bacteria) will continue to populate from there.