- Jan 9, 2020
- Reaction score
Most current FTS: 7/29/2020. See page 2 or 3 for the switchover to the IM lagoon.
I've been a member here since 2010, but my old email address is no longer valid, and I think I only had maybe 15 posts anyhow. This tank has been running for 3 years, but this past year it had hard times due to my using all of my available time to apply for tenure. Now that that is done, and I've lost a bunch of corals, it's time to get this back into shape. My original build thread is here. But because this is now a total reboot (new aquascape and all) I thought I'd start a new one.
This tank started out as a standard 16g LED biocube. I wanted more power and more control over the color and lighting schedule, so I installed a dual Nanobox retrofit in the stock hood after removing the stock emitter board. I feel like I have been sorta nervous about the settings and probably have had them way too low in the past as well. Anyhow, you can see all that retrofit stuff in the old thread if you're interested.
I wasn't really happy with how the original scape looked either. Too much rock, too much sand bed hidden, and the entire left side was just too busy. Here is what it looked like shortly after initial set up. Nothing fancy, no skimmer, an MJ1200 in back with a 50w heater, carbon in a bag and some filter floss. Had some pretty nice corals, so grew pretty well, others not so much - again, I kept the light too low, I think.
So this winter break, I took what was still alive out, cleaned i all well (had some sort of nasty thick rubbery layered buildup on most of the rocks - really fleshy, but not smelly. All I can think of was a mat of dinos and cyano. Anyhow, I took the tank down to nothing, cleaned it out, scrubbed off the rock as best I could with a toothbrush, took some of the rock apart, and came up with a much more minimalist scape. I have three larger shelves in the new scape and one small one up top. The rocks are held together with a superglue-two-part epoxy sandwich, and are bonded to the back wall with regular old Gorilla glue. Yes, it really is reef safe. This is the fourth aquascape that I have used it in. I have always let it cure for at least 24 hours and have never had a problem with it. I used a hacksaw and flattened the back of my shelf pieces, and then glued them to the back of the biocube while it was on its back following a good thorough clean. All surfaces were as dry as I could make them. i propped the rock up with pieces of rock and the glue bottles as I glued them down. I really had to work to pull the old rockscape off the back of the tank, so I am not concerned with the rockwork pulling away from the back wall. I don't know if this would work with a glass back wall because of how smooth glass is.
Anyhow, here is what the new scape looks like now. It is much more open, there are no dead spots for any detritus to collect, and the hermit crabs cannot get on the rockwork to take food from the corals.
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to save too much. The grandis are still going strong, but have been badly browned. I located an interstellar mushroom that was in a crack, it's now starting to get bigger. And a small piece of birdsnest in two small spots managed to hang on. It's starting to green back up. One of the cyphastreas has a couple patches of polyps left that seem to be coming back and the favites is pale but recovering. I added a small plug of AOGs (had those in a previous setup and they were basically bulletproof) and a really vibrant deep green finger leather of some sort (Sinularia I think). Both are doing well, along with the aquacultured orchid dottyback that I have in there now.
The plan is mostly LPS and palys with maybe a couple SPS up top. Just ordered an autotopoff from autotopoff.com to keep the salinity a bit more stable. The sand will be mostly empty except for either an elegance or a platygyra if I can find a nice small mounded one somewhere. Will probably add one more fish - probably a damsel (no dang clowns), and maybe a fire shrimp. Have started feeding a bit more to get the nitrates elevated a bit and try to get some color back into things.
I need to build a better, more functional stand. All of the biocube stands available look rubbish IMO, so I will probably build something. No plan for a fuge or sump, but I probably will do a chaeto reactor underneath with the red flexible led strips that folks have been using with good success. Thinking of something simple and sleek - maybe gloss white with a zebrawood door. Dunno yet.
Anyhow, that's it for now I suppose.