14g (now 20g) Anemone/Ricordea/Goby Cube

TriggersAmuck

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May 2021 (20g cube):

December 2020 (14g cube):



Ground Zero, Labor Day 2019:
2019-09-03 04.12.50.jpg



Some of my favorite videos/posts:
Somebody else's video I love
My post on "Axioms To Reef By"
Proof a nano can be truly awesome (somebody else's tank! :)

Update: (5/15/2021)
This 14 gallon Aqueon cube has been transferred to a Waterbox "Clear Mini" 20g cube. Since this was literally a "lift and shift" (same equipment and livestock), I will simply continue this thread. Link to first post of 20g transfer within this thread.

Intro: (9/3/2019)
I took the Labor Day weekend to get a start on this 14 gallon cube anemone-specific tank. My very first saltwater tank in 1985 was a 2' long, 15g tank with under gravel and back filters, and simple fluorescent bulb lighting. I managed to keep a Sebae anemone, a pair of Clarkii clowns, and a dwarf lion fish all happy in that tank for a couple years until I moved, so with today's technology and many years of my own experience with larger tanks I figured it might be fun to get back to my nano roots.

The 14 gallon 20 gallon cube currently houses:

  • Green Bubble Tip Anemones x 2
  • Rock Anemones x 15
  • Ricordea Florida x 14

  • Sexy Shrimp x 4
  • Purple Pinchushion Urchin
  • Cats Eye Turbo Snails x 5

  • Fire Clownfish (Amphiprion ephippium)
  • Red Head Goby (Elacatinus puncticulatus)
  • Green Banded Gobies x 2
  • Yellow Line / Cleaner Goby hybrid
  • Tail Spot Benny
  • Hi Fin / Red Striped Goby

Current Equipment:
  • Aqueon 14 Gallon Cube (15" per side) - $58
  • Waterbox Clear Mini 20 Gallon Cube (17.7"×17.7"×15.7") - $149
    • Stand: Coralife Designer BioCube 14/16 - $139
    • Stand: Coralife Designer BioCube 29/32 - $186
    • Black ABS Plexiglass tank bottom from TAP Plastics - $14
    • Black ABS Plexiglass tank bottom from TAP Plastics - $18
  • 3 x AI Primes - $230 + 2 x $180
  • Tunze Comline 9004 skimmer - $150
  • " " 9012 Skimmer - $329
  • AquaClear 70 Filter - $50
    • InTank Media Basket - $60 (LOLZ - more $$$ than the filter, but very nice!)
    • Aquaclear 70 Nylon Media Bags - $5
    • BRS ROX Carbon - $21 / ¼ gallon
  • Nero 5 Powerhead - $199
    • Anemone Guard (3dreefgear.com) - $13
  • Cobalt 50W Heater - $47
  • Cobalt 75W Heater - $60
  • MarcoRocks Reef Saver Dry Rock - $105
Total Cost: $$$$crazy

Lessons learned (2021):
  • 5-6 months did not prove to be sufficient time before adding the BTAs, though one managed to survive up until today (January 2021 as of this edit). Cleaning up after a dying anemone is NOT worth the risk, not to mention the ethical issues.
  • Cycling in a bare bottom, dry rock environment takes significantly longer than one with either live rock or even just a sterile sand bed (thinking back to decades earlier). The bottled bacteria, while helpful, is NOT an instant solution. While we all want to be able to add fish right away, just do the right thing and be patient.
  • Nitrite doesn't mean beans. Don't worry about it. (Search for Randy Holmes-Farley's article).
  • The UV did not hold off algae once the lightning was turned up for the anemones.
  • Clean up crew were only added after about a year's time and made a HUGE difference. (Chestnut Turbo Snails and a single Purple Pincushion Urchin).
  • Even though the test kits were showing 0 Nitrate and very low (0.03) Phosphate largely due to weekly 80% water changes, long hair algae thrived magnificently until clean up crew were added.
  • Daily rinsing of any sponge material which traps detritus goes a long way to keeping Nitrate and Phosphate levels from rising. Same thing goes for wiping out the neck of the skimmer where it remains in constant contact with the water column and accumulates a dirty slime coating.
  • Even though the two fire clowns were added as very small juveniles, one (the female) eventually harassed the smaller one until I had to isolate him.
  • The pin cushion urchin will mow over and attach to anything that is not securely fastened down.

(Legacy posting):
I'm using Red Sea Salt Blue Label for the first time, as well as Dr. Tim's One & Only to use the pure ammonia method for initial cycling (first time trying this as well). [See how the Dr. Tim's went in the history below. I would recommend the Fritzyme TurboStart 900 from now on.]

This will be the first time I set up a tank with an UV filter from the start (after establishing the initial cycle so as to not kill the waterborne bacteria introduced with Dr. Tims). Recent videos posted on BRS would indicate that a lot of the initial "brown" cycle can be minimized or avoided with the use of UV up front.
 
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TriggersAmuck

TriggersAmuck

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Finally got around to testing all levels, and since all systems were go, I added the rock, Dr. Tims One & Only, and Ammonium Chloride (as is evident from the cloudiness of the water). So with a bit of luck hopefully the tank will be initially cycled in a week's or so time.

Now to sort out the AI Prime LED and IM UV Filter. The Tunze filter shown has an integrated slot for "hiding" a Tunze Osmolator ATO, so I may look into that if I get truly lazy (or when I eventually add the anemones and want rock solid stability, well, as much as one is going to get in a 14g tank).

2019-09-05 04.32.56.jpg


2019-09-05 04.33.10.jpg
 
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TriggersAmuck

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Well this is frustrating. I added Dr. Tims (and 2ppm NH3-CL) on both 9/5 and then a new bottle on 9/8, and still no drop in Ammonia/total nitrogen (nor any NO2 increase in reading, less surprising). The Dr. Tims FAQs do indicate that a bare bottom tank like this one may take awhile longer to cycle, but at this point this is looking like an old school 6 week cycle at this rate. (Ammonia is being tested with both API kit for higher values and Red Sea for low end sensitivity). Normally I would take a "fire and forget" approach to cycling, it cycles when it cycles, but since the Dr. Tims instructions take the approach of trying to maintain a 2ppm concentration through a few micro cycles (few days each) I probably shouldn't just ignore it for 4 weeks.
 
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TriggersAmuck

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After seeing the ammonia continually test above 2ppm for over two weeks, I decided to add a third bottle of bacteria, this time Fritzyme TurboStart 900. In a day's time I saw the ammonia drop to 1ppm (which is what I expected to see with Dr. Tims. 2 bad/expired bottles possibly?).

Yesterday I added more ammonium chloride to increase the tank concentration by roughly 2ppm, so hopefully within a week I will see the NH3 and NO2 levels down to acceptable levels.

I guess it is time to decide what the long term plans are for the tank, since the first fish additions should clearly reflect this.
 
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After nearly two months I saw acceptable NO2/NH3 readings and so added livestock.

Last week:
2 x 1" Fire Clowns (Red Saddleback)
1 x 1" Royal Gramma

This week:
1 teeny weeny Green Banded Goby
1 teeny weeny Red Striped (Trimma) Goby
1 Yellow Clown Goby

I have since replaced the Tunze in tank filter with a Tunze nano skimmer (9004). I will shortly add the AquaClear with InTank chambers and a grow light to add some Chaeto in the wee space available. Also planning on adding the Aqueon Quietflow in tank filter to add Carbon and GFO.
 
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Added final fish two days ago and put into an acclimation box in main tank (will get pictures soon). I released them into the main tank today, and while the gramma and clowns definitely checked out the diminutive wrasse, they pretty much left it alone.

Cryptic (Pink Streak) Wrasse
1 more Green Banded Goby

I also got the AquaClear 30 / InTank basket refugium installed and added a golfball size lump of Chaeto from AlgaeBarn. Slowly ramping up the grow light from a 4 hour period today to probably a 12 to 16 hour one eventually, depending on how it progresses.
 
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How did you attach the grow light to the refugium? Do you have pics?

2 words: "duck tape" LOLZ :). Literally. The black duck tape served two purposes, first to mount the light to the back of the AquaClear, second to block as much light as possible from exiting the unit. I'll shoot some pics tonight and attach. Getting pictures of the new pygmy (Cryptic) wrasse may be tricky, as it is living up to its name.
 

Katrina71

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Pics? I was toying with a similar idea. Lemme see your duct tape. Please.
 

Another Newbie Reefer

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2 words: "duck tape" LOLZ :). Literally. The black duck tape served two purposes, first to mount the light to the back of the AquaClear, second to block as much light as possible from exiting the unit. I'll shoot some pics tonight and attach. Getting pictures of the new pygmy (Cryptic) wrasse may be tricky, as it is living up to its name.
I definitely plan on taping mine up this weekend. Are you worried about the light overheating from all the tape?
 
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I definitely plan on taping mine up this weekend. Are you worried about the light overheating from all the tape?

You might be able to see from the photo above that I did not put any tape over the heat sink portion of the light. This particular light (12W) doesn't get hot, only warm, but needless to say I'll be keeping an eye on it for the first month here to make sure neither the tape starts coming undone nor the light gets hotter during longer photo periods.
 
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And now I wait 6 months or so until I add a few Rose Anemones, by which time I should have a good idea of how (in)effective the small mass of Cheato is at keeping the NO3's in check. I may replace the filter floss in the AquaClear with a media bag with biopellets or GFO/GAC. Or I leave the tank as is, because it is the easiest tank I have ever kept! (Probably just jinxed myself).
 

Another Newbie Reefer

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And now I wait 6 months or so until I add a few Rose Anemones, by which time I should have a good idea of how (in)effective the small mass of Cheato is at keeping the NO3's in check. I may replace the filter floss in the AquaClear with a media bag with biopellets or GFO/GAC. Or I leave the tank as is, because it is the easiest tank I have ever kept! (Probably just jinxed myself).
My light came yesterday, time to tape! I'm planning on filter floss, chaeto, and some rock rubble. If anything get off, I'll add a chemipure blue packets as needed.
 
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WHAT WATER CHANGE "PERCENTAGE" MAKES IT WORTH DOING?

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  • 40% - 50%

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  • 50% or more

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  • No water change is worth it

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