29g Biocube help/advise/critiques always needed

Copingwithpods

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Moved my thread here as I'm not getting alot of traction, hoping I can get the help and advice I need. So first a little background.

Hello everyone, I've been back in the hobby for about 7 months now after an almost 10 year break. Back then I had a 10 gallon tank with t5s with the only form of stability management being frequent water changes. Now I've gone from a 14 to a 29 and I'm running into some issues. Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.



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I guess we can start at the stand and any potential problems I might run into here. This has been a budget build. Tank and stand were purchased used, I repainted the stand, raised it 12 inches by adding a storage area underneath it, added new hinges, a shelf, and frosted plexi to the door for a cool effect.

OK so first off I'm new to dosing (starting this week) for this I got 2 kamoer x1 pumps for calcium and alk, figured since mag is so rarely dosed I could do it manually and save myself a few bucks(am I correct on this?) . Picked up a 3 chamber dosing container and the red sea pro test kit for the 3 elements.

***problem #1 the output on the dosing container and the dosing pumps seamed to be different sizes, I used the airline hose that came with the pump and slipping it on the dosing container almost made me leave the hobby all together (even after a hot water dip). Question is the x1 says the ID on the tubing is 3mm and the container I'm guessing is 5mm.what can I do about this?

*water top offs

ATO is the aqua duetto with a diy 3 gallon resevior.

*Powerstrips and timers

For power I have 2 power strips, the main has the ATO, pump, heater, uv sterilizer, and the light, all things I can easily turn off while doing water changes so nothing runs dry, made very easy by the fact they all have their own on/off switch . The second is a smart (wifi controlled) strip that has the dosing pumps, refugium light and a pump I'm currently using as a powerhead all on timers.

*The Refugium

My old fuge ran on very weak leds I found on ebay, this one got a bit of an upgrade while still working on a budget. It's a 30watt grow light with what seams to be the correct spectrum (660nm,630nm and 460nm) has been growing cheato like a mad.




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The heat sinks were my attempt to make this last a bit longer as it does get a little warm. They helped out quiet a bit but I might add some fans to this in the near future, 2 40mm fans should do the trick. Or am I over engineering this?

*temperature control

I'm running a 100w titanium heater and a 5w 80mm fan through a temperature controller. In the summer it gets very hot here (socal) and that fan has been invaluable (at least in the 14 it was) it would drop the temp by 1 degree in just a few minutes. With a bigger tank now I might have to upgrade to a bigger fan or dual 80mm fans

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Dropped my temperature to 78.

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*Light

AI prime hd. In the 14g it was great, perfect in fact, now that it's in the 29 I'm noticing some issues. Mostly due to my aqua scape. I basically scaped around the lights Hotspot, I may be jumping the gun here as my corals are still a little stressed out from the move but my guess is the corals on the outer rim aren't too happy.

***problem #2 I'm having to run my light higher than I'd like and even with the light shades I'm getting some light spill into the room. What are my options here? A better light shade, should I get a second ai prime? (is the 16hd the same as mine?) or should I upgrade to the new ai 32?

***problem #3

Mounting the prime to the tank hasn't been ideal. The thicker lip on the tank makes for some janky mounting. Can I cut the lip off without compromising integrity?

*filtration

In the overflow chamber I only have the temperature probes (one for the controller and the other for a backup thermometer) and a mangrove, not really for nutrient export I just kinda like it. Although it has been growing steadily since it's purchase.

In chamber two I have the media basket with filter floss and chemipure followed by the refugium basket with cheato.

***problem #4

Flow through the intank media basket. I've noticed my fine filter floss which is great at polishing the water quickly restricts flow through it and overflows into the fuge. This was never a problem in the 14 with the same floss. Should I just get a less fine floss and call it a day or am I doing something wrong here. I did tie the bag of chemipure to the rack above it like suggested by the manufacturer.

Recently modified this
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This helped but it didn't completely fix the issue, I might just drill some more holes in each shelf.



Chamber 3 houses the heater, uv sterilizer and

***potential problem #5

I'm using the mj900 from the 14g and although I can clearly see it isn't even enough flow to completely fill the display, this is already too much for the media basket so I'm sure upgrading to let's say the mj1200 will only compound the problem. Are there any DC options worth exploring that will allow me to dial in the flow?


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Finally my final obstacle here is flow. I'm on the fence about which powerhead to go with, AI Nero 5 or the Mp10. On one hand the Nero is infinitely adjustable but on the other hand the mp10 will keep my tank cooler in the summer months and has the option for a battery backup which is something I'd love to have as we get some power outages here usually lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour. My current power outage plan is my utility app that notifies me of an outage where I can run home and hook up a USB powerhead and a USB air pump to a large always charged power bank. Not ideal but it's what I got.


And if you've made it this far I thank you, I'm trying really hard to make this tank as easy to maintain as possible while working within my budget so any suggestions, comments or even critiques are all welcome

Most recent pictures

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Copingwithpods

Copingwithpods

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I'm currently battling culerpa, although its confined to 3 spots it's been a pain in the rear. I have 3 scarlet hermits and 6 blue legged that won't touch it. None of my snails will touch it nor will my red star or emerald crab. Based on my research I'm in it for the long haul. Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated. Peroxide just tickles it and my fuge keeps my nitrates and phosphates superlow (under 1ppm) so don't know what's up. I pull some out and with in 2 days it's back. It truly is the devils lettuce.

Currently looking into adding some herbivore fish species that will be OK in a 30g. Recommendations welcomed.
 
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Little update

After a few weeks with the Nero 5 I have noticed a slight difference in coral health. My horn coral for example has never been happier.
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Also I've noticed new additions recover quicker from all the dipping.

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This valley in my rock work is going to be a pita to vacuum when all these corals get bigger but that's a problem for a year from now me

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The few sps I have seam to be doing good with good polyp extension and color retention. Still learning alot as I've never kept them before I'm running into issues I didn't anticipate. Like how can I tell if they are growing lol. Like this guy (red birds nest I believe) I'm assuming the bare tips is new growth?
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I also recently split my dosing in to two doses for alk and cal going from one big 12ml dose to 2 6ml doses split 6 hours apart. So alk at 3am, cal at 9 am, alk at 3pm and cal at 9pm in an effort to keep those parameters as stable as possible. So far it's been working pretty well. 20200304_170910.jpg 20200304_170807_HDR.jpg
 

Magellan

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Try a sponge instead of the floss - same effect but better flow through it. I also had to significantly drill out my InTank basket to get the flow I wanted, but it works great now :)

for 2 part dosing, you generally want to dose them fairly close together, just long enough that part 1 can diffuse into the tank before adding part 2. But splitting up the dose is of course no problem at all.
 
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Try a sponge instead of the floss - same effect but better flow through it. I also had to significantly drill out my InTank basket to get the flow I wanted, but it works great now :)

for 2 part dosing, you generally want to dose them fairly close together, just long enough that part 1 can diffuse into the tank before adding part 2. But splitting up the dose is of course no problem at all.
I tried to split them up in a way where I would be dosing alk at night for a pH boost (although I run my fuge at night) and then alk and cal during peek consumption time 3pm-9pm. You think I should change it up?
 

Magellan

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I tried to split them up in a way where I would be dosing alk at night for a pH boost (although I run my fuge at night) and then alk and cal during peek consumption time 3pm-9pm. You think I should change it up?
When you dose alk, your Ca drops, and vice versa. It’s why you dose them in equal amounts, and close together so they balance out. This article is a bit old but does a nice job of explaining things :)


Edit: I use Seachems Reef Fusion and dose by hand at night and my tank is doing great, growth has really exploded since I started dosing regularly instead of just depending on frequent water changes.
 

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What is your schedule on the ai prime? Zoas are a good indication of light strength, it looks like some of yours are reaching a little
 
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When you dose alk, your Ca drops, and vice versa. It’s why you dose them in equal amounts, and close together so they balance out. This article is a bit old but does a nice job of explaining things :)


Edit: I use Seachems Reef Fusion and dose by hand at night and my tank is doing great, growth has really exploded since I started dosing regularly instead of just depending on frequent water changes.
Gotcha looking into that now.

What is your schedule on the ai prime? Zoas are a good indication of light strength, it looks like some of yours are reaching a little
Some of them are reaching alot but that was my fault, mounted them on a completely vertical rock so they found a way to get light without shading eachother

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This tank could do with more light though. Been thinking about picking up another prime so can have better spread
 

Tahoe61

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Your tank is beautiful. Corals look healthy.
The Red Birdnest is actually an orange Digitata type.
Again the tank looks great, do not over think things when obviously you are running a successful system.
 
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Your tank is beautiful. Corals look healthy.
The Red Birdnest is actually an orange Digitata type.
Again the tank looks great, do not over think things when obviously you are running a successful system.
Thank you, it's been a journey just getting here and the tank is still such a baby.

So I'll change my dosing to 6ml of each at 3am 15mins apart and 6ml of each at 3pm again 15 mins apart. I'll give that a shot and see how it goes.
 

Magellan

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Thank you, it's been a journey just getting here and the tank is still such a baby.

So I'll change my dosing to 6ml of each at 3am 15mins apart and 6ml of each at 3pm again 15 mins apart. I'll give that a shot and see how it goes.
Sounds like a plan! My only advice would be to test frequently at first. Since you weren’t dosing them together, they may have been interfering with each other and you might not actually need to dose that much to keep your levels where you want them.

I know different solutions are concentrated differently, but I’m only dosing 4.5ml a day of each in a 28g tank.
 
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Sounds like a plan! My only advice would be to test frequently at first. Since you weren’t dosing them together, they may have been interfering with each other and you might not actually need to dose that much to keep your levels where you want them.

I know different solutions are concentrated differently, but I’m only dosing 4.5ml a day of each in a 28g tank.
Makes alot of sense thanks! . I've been testing alk every day to fine tune it and calcium once every 3 as it's been very steady. Will keep testing daily and watch for changes.

BTW I've been maintaining these parameters
Sal 1.025
TEMP 78
Alk 9
Cal 450
Mag 1380
 

Magellan

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Makes alot of sense thanks! . I've been testing alk every day to fine tune it and calcium once every 3 as it's been very steady. Will keep testing daily and watch for changes.

BTW I've been maintaining these parameters
Sal 1.025
TEMP 78
Alk 9
Cal 450
Mag 1380
Nothing wrong there! I’m slightly lower but I try to run NSW. consistency is what’s important though, not necessarily a specific number. Do you know what your nutrients are at?
 
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Low

P04 0.05
N03 0.09

Ever since the tank transfer the rocks have been going through the motions. But I think I see the end of the tunnel. First it was diatoms but that lasted 36hrs and I never saw it again. On to bubble algae but too bad for the algae my emerald loves that stuff so the 10 or so that I saw didn't last a week. For a while everything was OK then my Alkalinity spiked to 13 or so, killed all the coralline, bleached white with in a few hours (very disappointing) but no corals died so that's a plus. Now I'm fighting off the last little bits of hair algae on the few pieces of dry rock that went it last. I was beating it back with h2o2 and that was working great but I decided instead to just step up my cuc game and let them do the work for me, I mean what am I paying them for right? . So far so good as they are slowly taking care of it.
 
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Those are great phosphates! And do you mean 9 nitrates? If so, that’s pretty good!...I’m at .02 phosphates and 4 nitrates
Its too low for my liking makes me feel like I'm right on a razor edge. I'd be happier at 0.1. And no I don't mean 9 lol I've been consistently testing under 0.1. As soon as this algae is gone and my coralline recovers a bit I'll bump those 2 #s up.
 
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All set up have them set at half doses 12 hours apart with a 5 minute buffer time between each.

Capture+_2020-03-13-22-23-15.png
Capture+_2020-03-13-22-22-58.png


Anybody have thoughts on better times to dose than 2 am and 2pm. My thought are dose at 2 am to boost pH just before the witching hour and dose at 2pm just before peak light intensity (peak consumption). Any thoughts?
 

Magellan

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All set up have them set at half doses 12 hours apart with a 5 minute buffer time between each.

Capture+_2020-03-13-22-23-15.png
Capture+_2020-03-13-22-22-58.png


Anybody have thoughts on better times to dose than 2 am and 2pm. My thought are dose at 2 am to boost pH just before the witching hour and dose at 2pm just before peak light intensity (peak consumption). Any thoughts?
Looks good!

And wow those are low nitrates lol, your fuge is putting in work!!
 
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I'm working it hard trying to compete with the display algae. I run it 12hrs at night and toss about a softball size of cheato a week. Had to dose iron as it was stripping it all.

So I've been thinking about that article and how the consumption of alk and cal is balanced. In the article he starts with low alk and high cal but just keep uping the dose of each at one point ending up with 500ppm cal. If the consumption of both is equal how would calcium ever come down if you keep dosing more and more calcium. Something about that doesn't seam right to me.
 

Magellan

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I'm working it hard trying to compete with the display algae. I run it 12hrs at night and toss about a softball size of cheato a week. Had to dose iron as it was stripping it all.

So I've been thinking about that article and how the consumption of alk and cal is balanced. In the article he starts with low alk and high cal but just keep uping the dose of each at one point ending up with 500ppm cal. If the consumption of both is equal how would calcium ever come down if you keep dosing more and more calcium. Something about that doesn't seam right to me.
They balance each other out, tbh I’m not 100% on the details I just know it works that way. If you make a post in Randy Holmes-Farley’s section he is great about getting back to you and explaining further. It will also slowly raise your salinity over time so you have to keep an eye on that as well.

2 part dosing scared me before I started, but now it’s no big deal and just one of the many things I dump in my tank on a regular basis :)
 
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