29g biocube need some help and advice

Copingwithpods

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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.

I figured I would break down my tank and hopefully you guys can tell me what I'm doing right or wrong.

20200119_143932.jpg


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 and I am currently working on upgrading the resevior, currently it's a 4L airtight food saver.

#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) it's only been running 2 days so not sure how well it's working. From light intensity alone this light is 100 times brighter than my old diy setup so fingers crossed. I'm running cheato in the intank fuge basket.

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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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#Light

No diy here it's the 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 light suggested by the manufacturer.

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
 
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Copingwithpods

Copingwithpods

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Thanks Hemm, never even gave my temperature a second thought until now. My controller keeps it between 80 and 81 as in it will turn the heater on at 80.0 and off at 81.0,a one degree swing is as good as it can manage.

I think originally I set the temp a bit high so it wouldn't fluctuate so much in the summer, this was before I knew about temperature controllers and evaporative cooling. In those first few weeks I remember seeing temperatures pushing 86 degrees. Dialing it back a touch say 78.0-79.0 shouldn't be a huge deal and I believe sustainable in the summer months specially if I upgrade the fan.
 
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Copingwithpods

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Here are a few more pictures of the budget diy stand
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I didn't know how to enclose the bottom storage space so a simple plexi glass panel with magnets made a simple and cheap solution.

The most frustrating thing about this cheap stand is the door size and the limit it puts on the size of ato resevior I can stick in there. It has been very frustrating trying to find a container that maximizes the space.
 

Katrina71

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Love the stand DIY. You have a pretty intense set up. I'm thinking something 3D printed maybe for your light spill?
 
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Katrina71

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Have you considered drilling out your hood with some small holes for additional temp reduction?
 
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Copingwithpods

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Hey Katrina thanks, I actually just saw a thread on 3d printed parts and they do sell a 3d printed shade. Now I can decide if I should buy the shade or buy a printer and make it myself along with anything else I need.

As for temp reduction, no hood, I just lowered my temperature to 79 and I can already tell this fan is not going to cut it so I ordered a better one. I also ordered a fan to cool the refugium light. Hopefully with these 2 upgrades I will have a fighting chance mid summer. If they can't keep up I'll slowly raise it back up to 80-81 for stabilities sake
 
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20200122_232013.jpg


Spent a few hours gluing frags to their semi permanent spots and the tank is looking cleaner already.

Bit of sad news, this move seamed to have taken its toll on my horn coral and a few mushrooms, don't know if they are going to make it. My white zombie zoas seam irritated but after dosing iodine I think they are going to be OK.

I'm sure the biggest stressor was the unexplainable spike in alkalinity the day after the move, from 9.2 to 12.8. I decided to not correct it and just slowly let it come back down naturally.

Been doing research on return pumps and it seams I found a winner

Capture+_2020-01-22-23-47-06.png


I hope with adjustable flow and the modification I have planned for the intank basket I'll finally be able to get the flow in the back chambers I've been looking for.

I still need help with all the above problems so if anyone has suggestions I'd love to hear them.
20200123_000541.jpg


Always great watching the tank at night, heard my pistol shrimp (Shrimp Eastwood) firing away and took a peek , finally caught a glimpse of this guy since the move, great to see both him and his nems doing good.
 
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Copingwithpods

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This was my old refugium light I made about 8 months ago when I first set up the 14g. Had no idea what I was doing but at least I got the spectrums right lol
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Oddly enough it grew tons of coraline algea in the fuge
 
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It's a little cramped but I think it will work.
My last ato resevior was around a gallon, this one is 3 if I get 2 weeks out of it I'll be a happy camper. Also painted the dosing container to match.
20200126_152911.jpg
20200126_152932.jpg
 
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Thank you Ippyroy

That was going to be my next option, set up some sort of stealth resevior on the other side of my couch. Unfortunately I'm limited by the cable for my ato pump (aqua duetto ato) so I think this 3 gallon betta tank will work out OK.
 
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Ippyroy

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Thank you Ippyroy

That was going to be my next option, set up some sort of stealth resevior on the other side of my couch. Unfortunately I'm limited by the cable for my ato pump (aqua duetto ato) so I think this 3 gallon betta tank will work out OK.
You can put the tank in an ottoman right in front of the tank if you have space. Only the tubes and cables would be slightly noticeable.
 
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Unfortunately no room for that, I'm limited by what can fit in the stand, I would have love to go with a 5gal or bigger but space is a real issue. A 5 gallon could have been possible in the stand with a custom or even some commercial reseviors but the ludicrous price tags kept me away.
 
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That is too true, anyway to prevent that with these units? I've heard people run an ATO on a timer that only comes on for a minute a day but it sounds like that defeats the function it offers of keeping Salinity as stable as possible. I've been sitting by my tank for 3 hours and and have heard my ato go off 4 times already so it's definitely keeping Salinity in very small swings.
 

Ippyroy

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That is too true, anyway to prevent that with these units? I've heard people run an ATO on a timer that only comes on for a minute a day but it sounds like that defeats the function it offers of keeping Salinity as stable as possible. I've been sitting by my tank for 3 hours and and have heard my ato go off 4 times already so it's definitely keeping Salinity in very small swings.
Best answer I know of is to keep it well maintained. Other than that an Apex comes in handy. You can set it up to not run over a certain period of time.
 

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