Jonathan's Waterbox 130.4 with Detailed Plumbing Diagrams

PanhandleReef

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Btw, how do I get one of those nifty "Build Thread Contributor" flares on my profile?
 
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golgobot

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golgobot

golgobot

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Cycle Done!

After 6 weeks of cycling, my tank can finally process 2ppm of ammonia in about 36 hours. The cycle took a lot longer than I expected. Part of that expectation probably came from Dr Tims marketing convincing me I could cycle the tank in 8 days with their product. Some people have had success accelerating a cycle with bottled bacteria, while others haven't. It took about 2.5 weeks for Nitrosomonas to grow and process the first dose of ammonia. And then 3 weeks for Nitrobacter to grow and process the nitrites. A few days ago I added 2 ppm of ammonia and it was gone within36 hours. Nitrites aren't quite processed as fast as I'd like yet. As of today, nitrites are at 0.5-1ppm and nitrates are at 15 ppm after a 35% water change. However, moderate nitrites are well tolerated by certain marine fish.

Clownfish seem to be able to tolerate pretty high nitrites. The LC50 is 350 ppm. That means 50% of clownfish live at nitrite levels of 350 ppm. See this toxicity table here. So, despite "high" nitrites, I thought it was time to take the plunge and get some clownfish.

Final Equipment

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During the cycle, I had no filters, the skimmer turned off, and the scrubber light off as well. While waiting for the tank to cycle, I got a Klir 4" roller filter. These are great low maintenance alternatives to sock filters. As the filter roll becomes clogged with detritus, the motor turns the spool with fresh filter paper. You only need to change it when the filter roll runs out. Filter socks, on the other hand, need to be changed every 3-4 days to keep the detritus from decaying into ammonia.

I turned on the protein skimmer for the first time ever and noticed that the bubbles were overflowing into the sump event on the lowest setting. This was because my sump water level was 1.5" too high for the skimmer. Waterbox's skimmer chamber sits at 9" high and the highest recommended height for my skimmer is 8". Some more modern sumps have an adjustable baffle to change the overflow height into the pump chamber, but mine is all glass. I bought a skimmer stand, but realized that its minimum height is 3", which is too high. So I ended up building a makeshift skimmer stand. I grabbed an old silicon cutting board from the kitchen (with my wife's permission of course) and cut it up and coral glued it together to make a stand, which is actually quite quiet!

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Behold! The finest in fish husbandry engineering! (Also note the QT bio media cycling for later). This ended up working like a charm. Perfect water level.

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I also set up the two part dosing with the DOS. I have it dosing 10 ml of CaCl and Na2CO3 solutions every day. That shouldn't change the parameters too much. This is mostly to see how they change over time. I have my Trident testing Alk, Calc, and Mag 4 times daily, so I'll monitor this for a few weeks before I get corals and setting up the Trident controlled auto dosing.

First Fish!
After everything else was setup, including feed cycles, I finally decided to get some fish!

I knew clownfish were a great starter fish, so I looked around. There's a great local distributor called Sea and Reef. They're in Maine (I'm in Boston) and I was excited to buy "local". unfortunately they don't sell direct to consumer, but I did find one that sells their stock mail order: Cultivated Reef. I really liked the Longfin Mocha variety. They arrived in the mail heathy and energetic. I drip acclimated them and added them to the tank and they've been happy ever since. Someone from Cultivate Reef also reached out to me via text to make sure everything was ok. She has been super helpful and answered all my newbie questions. Big thanks to @Cultivated Reef for making my first fish a great experience.

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Do you use any type of LIQUID additives, supplements, foods, medicine etc. for you reef aquarium?

  • Yes LIQUID

    Votes: 357 88.4%
  • NO

    Votes: 37 9.2%
  • Yes but not a LIQUID

    Votes: 7 1.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 0.7%

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