My Office Waterbox Marine X 35.1 Cube Build

Gedxin

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Hey everyone! I recently joined R2R and if you’re interested in a bit more about me. my intro can be found here.

The goal is to be 100% aquacultured and captive bred. So far...things are looking pretty good here.

My Equipment:
Tank: Waterbox Marine X 35.1 Cube (22g DT, 11g sump)
Rock: 40lb Caribsea Liferock (Marine X 35.1 bundle from Waterbox)
Sand: Caribsea Special Grade
Powerhead: AI Nero 3
Heater: 100W BRS Titanium Heater w/ Inkbird temp checker
Lights: AI Prime 16HD with Flex Arm and 3D printed diffuser
ATO: XP Aqua Duetto
Return Pump: Sicce Syncra Silent 2.0
Lid: Kraken Reef Lid
Skimmer: Nyos 120
Salt: Tropic Marin Pro
RODI: 6 Stage BRS System

The tank is going to live behind my office desk. My biggest concern with the location setup is noise, and I’ve attempted to purchase equipment that is as silent as possible. I’ve got a PC gaming rig under my desk with plenty of fans, so I’m betting the tank/sump just blends into the existing ambient noise. My other concern is ambient light from the office window, but I’ve got automated blinds that tilt with the sun, as well as a sheer curtain for light diffusion. I'm planning for there to be no direct sunlight on the tank.

For cycling, my plan is to run Fritz Turbo 9000. I originally intended on using Brightwell’s Microbacter7, but after reading a few posts on R2R, Fritz seems the most recommended and fastest solution. I’ve been itching to get this going! I plan to throw in some Fritz Ammonium Chloride (used this to great effect on my Freshwater aquarium) periodically, while also testing daily. I may ghost feed, but we’ll see how things progress.

Aquascaping:
I’m going to do a ‘whatever works with what I’m given’ approach. Like I mentioned, I purchased the WB 35.1 Caribsea Liferock ‘bundle’, and I’m trusting what they send me will fit well with the tank size. I'll post a picture as soon as I can lay out the scape.

Aquascaping Update 9/12/21:
Top lop left has been in constant replacement turmoil. I was not happy with my first rock choice and have ultimately ended up with the smallest piece I could find.

Livestock:
2 Clowns, a orange ocellaris (Juniper) and black ocellaris (Ash), Orchid Dottyback, and Exquisite Firefish


CUC:
5x nassarius snails
5x astrea snails
5x bumblebee snails
5x hermit red/blue crabs

Current Tank as of 7/28/21

20210728_103629.jpg


Current Tank as of 8/1/21

20210731_170225.jpg


Current as of 9/11/21
20210911_110531.jpg
 
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P-Dub

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Looking forward to more!
 

jhuntstl

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I have a similar build, except AIO. I went Fiji Pink, but ultimately siphoned it out for Special Grade. Livestock was my biggest issue. Lawnmower Blenny was tail whipping at the sand every night. I'd wake up to bare spots and the rocks covered. It's too bad, cause it looked much nicer.

I'll be following along and look forward to seeing your aquacultured and captive bred livestock additions.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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I have a similar build, except AIO. I went Fiji Pink, but ultimately siphoned it out for Special Grade. Livestock was my biggest issue. Lawnmower Blenny was tail whipping at the sand every night. I'd wake up to bare spots and the rocks covered. It's too bad, cause it looked much nicer.

I'll be following along and look forward to seeing your aquacultured and captive bred livestock additions.

Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear my thoughts on special grade benefits are not unfounded. I agree that Fiji pink looks better, but...in a smaller setup, and with a lawnmower blenny (which I have on my likely purchase list), it just makes sense more sense to go SG.

How are you enjoying your AIO overall. Would you do it again the same way?
 

jhuntstl

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Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear my thoughts on special grade benefits are not unfounded. I agree that Fiji pink looks better, but...in a smaller setup, and with a lawnmower blenny (which I have on my likely purchase list), it just makes sense more sense to go SG.

How are you enjoying your AIO overall. Would you do it again the same way?
I run a good bit of flow and do still get the occasional bare spot with SG. Not to mention the Blenny still kicks it around. But no sand storms and it never gets up on the rocks.

I'm loving the AIO, but I would definitely do things different if I could go back. The idea was to keep things simple, but I've strayed from that path quite a bit...

I'd do something similar to you, but a slightly larger 30'ish gallon DT with a sump. There's too many benefits to a sump that I had forgotten about. I'd love a refugium or cryptic zone, but it just seems like it would end up being a maintenance nightmare in an AIO chamber. I would reconsider my lighting choice and maybe swap one of my neros for a gyre.

How's your cycle going? I used Fritz 900 as well. It took about a week for me.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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I run a good bit of flow and do still get the occasional bare spot with SG. Not to mention the Blenny still kicks it around. But no sand storms and it never gets up on the rocks.

I'm loving the AIO, but I would definitely do things different if I could go back. The idea was to keep things simple, but I've strayed from that path quite a bit...

I'd do something similar to you, but a slightly larger 30'ish gallon DT with a sump. There's too many benefits to a sump that I had forgotten about. I'd love a refugium or cryptic zone, but it just seems like it would end up being a maintenance nightmare in an AIO chamber. I would reconsider my lighting choice and maybe swap one of my neros for a gyre.

How's your cycle going? I used Fritz 900 as well. It took about a week for me.

Yeah I imagine an AIO makes it difficult to upgrade parts of the system without creating a complicated mess/eyesore at the rear. Not needing a cabinet has its own benefits though. My next tank (assuming I don't completely fail this one) will likely be a 30-40 gal, but that's a problem for future me.

Still haven't started the cycle yet, my tank comes next week. The waiting is so difficult. I really wish I had the rock in early so I could have jump start a cycle, but it's also coming with the tank.

Bought some more epoxy for aquascaping. Finished all my test kit purchases (have a mix of Hanna, red sea and salifert). I bought a car battery inverter due to concern with power outages here in SoCal and the crazy high temperatures.

Twiddling my thumbs with anticipation.
 

jhuntstl

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Yeah I imagine an AIO makes it difficult to upgrade parts of the system without creating a complicated mess/eyesore at the rear. Not needing a cabinet has its own benefits though. My next tank (assuming I don't completely fail this one) will likely be a 30-40 gal, but that's a problem for future me.

Still haven't started the cycle yet, my tank comes next week. The waiting is so difficult. I really wish I had the rock in early so I could have jump start a cycle, but it's also coming with the tank.

Bought some more epoxy for aquascaping. Finished all my test kit purchases (have a mix of Hanna, red sea and salifert). I bought a car battery inverter due to concern with power outages here in SoCal and the crazy high temperatures.

Twiddling my thumbs with anticipation.
The waiting game is tough! I wouldn't sweat the rock too much. You're going to want to experiment with your aquascape in and out of your dry tank most likely. I got my liferock off Amazon. I'll be curious to see the pieces you get from WB. 40lbs is a lot to play with for your DT size, imo. Should make for a lot more creative options.

Which inverter did you pick up?
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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The waiting game is tough! I wouldn't sweat the rock too much. You're going to want to experiment with your aquascape in and out of your dry tank most likely. I got my liferock off Amazon. I'll be curious to see the pieces you get from WB. 40lbs is a lot to play with for your DT size, imo. Should make for a lot more creative options.

Which inverter did you pick up?

Tank should be here tomorrow!
Happy Aww GIF by MCDM
I'm concerned about aquascaping and mucking with it too much (first time and all.) I may end up creating something and asking for community comments, stay tuned please! :D

I got the Krieger KR1500 1500W Power Inverter. I liked that it's got a digital battery indicator.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Well my first oddities with salinity. I've got a Milwaukee MA887 that's testing my salt at 1.025, but is testing the calibration solution at 1.027. I've tried zeroing with the provided distilled water as well as my own RODI water, same results.

I then tested with a manual eye refractometer. Same results. The provided salinity 'validator' (Naslow Chemical) which says 1.025 is testing at 1.027. What the what.

I'm gonna go with there's something funky with my validation solution. /shrug
 

jhuntstl

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Those digital readings very well could be within it's acceptable range of accuracy. Just depends if its acceptable to you. Maybe reach out to the manufacturer or post in the chemistry forum.

I use a regular, pretty cheap refracto. I calibrate with a 35ppt solution each time and I'm confident in the readings. Did you actually use the little screwdriver and adjust your manual eye refracto to match the calibration solution?

I would set aside the digital for now. Get the manual one calibrated and your salt mixed to your preferred salinity. Verify multiple times. Again you may have to calibrate often. Sometimes mine will fall out of calibration in between readings, other times it'll stay accurate for weeks.

Once you're confident in the manual readings, check it against your digital many times. It very well may read slightly different, but the key will be if it's consistent.

Good luck!
 
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Welcome and thanks for sharing your build!
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Tank is here! Rock, sand and water is in. I threw in some Fritz Turbostart 9000 as well. I'm exhausted so I'll make this short and sweet, tomorrow (later today?) I'll add more photos of the finished aquascape.

In the meantime...enjoy what happens when you leave a ladder next to the tank...
wizzy-waterbox.jpg
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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Lol, I appreciate the enthusiasm and your anticipation @jhuntstl !

So I'm really glad I went with special grade sand. My sicce 2.0 is blowing hard enough to create mounds in numerous places. I'll need to either limit the flow, or figure out an optimal outflow direction.

Speaking of Sicce…I'm disappointed somewhat with its 'silent' descriptor. Ignoring the hum (which I think is a must have for any pump), there's often a noticeable 'rattle' the pump produces. If I wedge it just perfectly in the sump, the rattle dissipates, but inevitably will come back due to some slippage or moving of the return pipe or pump itself. Is this a common thing people experience, a rattle if it's not in the absolute 'perfect' position?

I added 1/4 tsp of Fritz Ammonia after dosing ~2oz of the Turbo start yesterday. This is pretty much exactly the opposite of what the instructions say to do. I hope I don't regret it. :eek: I don't have a saltwater ammonia/nitrate tester coming until tomorrow so I'll report back then on the tank's numbers.

As for aquascaping: wow, it was difficult! I've watched a few videos on what you want to look for and took notes. But, with so many permutations and combinations, I struggled to find the 'perfect' balance for the best height/density/void design. I hope to eventually have a few SPS, so I went a little higher than perhaps would be recommended for a beginner (but tried to leave the top 2/3 empty.) I did my best to keep about 3/4" of space between all rock and glass too.

Also, cables...CABLES, CABLES EVERYWHERE. I don't even have a few pieces of my equipment in yet and I 'm already battling the rats nest of cords and the ever present concern of electrocution. I've mounted the power strip to the backwall with command strips, but that's about it so far.

One last thought on the Waterbox return pipe - it's too long! I'm debating on cutting it, because as it fits right now, it twists/turns and pushes hard against my sicce return pump. I suspect this is contributing to my rattle annoyance.

And now, on to the pictures!

The tank's living space and my office desk.
20210707_200420 - Copy.jpg


It's in place! You can see the first causality as well: the picture frame had to be taken down, it was ~1inch too close. Oh well, I want my chair space, and tank wins over all other decor.
20210707_202834 - Copy.jpg
20210707_210830 - Copy.jpg


Sand is in! I ended up adding too much (~2 inches) and I scooped out to bring it down to roughly 1inch depth.

1625801793662.jpeg


Pictures taken today (~24hr after water was added, so cloudyness has subsided.)

20210708_195141 - Copy.jpg


This is the view from my desk.

20210708_195117 - Copy.jpg
 
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jhuntstl

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Looking good, Gedxin! That is one slick looking tank.

As that sand matures, it won't blow around nearly as much. Being that its grain size is larger, you will collect some more crud. It's easy to siphon, though.

Rock work looks like it has plenty of nooks and crannies for your livestock to enjoy. Also good room on top for growth. Although my first impression is it might be too tight on the sides and back. I would make sure you left enough room for whatever scraper you intend to use. It'd be a total pain if you couldn't fit in certain areas. Same for your gravel siphon(if you plan to use one). I grabbed a 1" python recently and it's made getting into the hard to reach spots much easier.

The view from your desk does show a lot more depth to the scape than from head on. Maybe there's more room than I thought. If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to see a top down shot of your scape.

I think they generally leave those lines a little long for the sake of which pump you're using. I know that was the case with my tank. It's the flexible one, right? I would definitely cut it down if it's an issue.

Best of luck with the rat's nest lol. I spent the better part of a day working through mine and getting that control panel built. I had the lumber on hand, but it was kinda ridiculous how much I spent on little wire management accessories.

Look forward to more updates!
 
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Gedxin

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It's good to hear that the sand should get less floaty over time. I've got what I can only describe as a small trough in the front sand bed. With a little flow adjustment, I'm hoping I can even it out. And speaking of flow, I still need to install my Nero 3. I ideally want to place it on the right side of the tank, so it's not obstructing the view from my desk. I haven't figured out the best spot, and I'm also deciding on if I want the controller placed on the outside of the stand or mount it inside. Seems it would be easier to access for feedings on the outside, but that's a small eyesore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I would make sure you left enough room for whatever scraper you intend to use. It'd be a total pain if you couldn't fit in certain areas. Same for your gravel siphon(if you plan to use one). I grabbed a 1" python recently and it's made getting into the hard to reach spots much easier.

I checked my nano flipper float scraper and it juuuust fits between the glass and closest rock on the left. Woohoo! Though...I suppose if any coral makes its way over there, we may have to reevaluate. That's a problem for the far future though. I have a Python as well, but I have the standard (2"?) gravel tube that came with the kit. @jhuntstl I'm assuming you're referring to this? It looks like it's possible to just swap it with the 2" tube? I'll definitely buy if so, thanks for the suggestion!

I think they generally leave those lines a little long for the sake of which pump you're using. I know that was the case with my tank. It's the flexible one, right? I would definitely cut it down if it's an issue.

It is indeed a flexible tube. I think I will end up cutting it as even if I were to get a different pump, I'm not sure how it would be smaller or require more tubing.

The view from your desk does show a lot more depth to the scape than from head on. Maybe there's more room than I thought. If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to see a top down shot of your scape.

Here's my horribly blurry top down shot. I'm suuuuper paranoid about what's going on in the sump when I turn off the pump. Logically all the water falling should reach some sort of equilibrium before flooding my floor...right?

20210709_141736 - Copy.jpg


Got the Red Sea test kits today. I want a base line for all the standard tests. It's late and hard to see colors well in my warm indoor lights, but I tried testing pH and ammonia levels. pH seems to be at 8-8.2, and my ammonia looks like 1.2-2ppm. Will test nitrites and alkalinity tomorrow.

Spent an obscene amount of time perfectly leveling the tank/cabinet today. The aquarium is on carpet, so everything started tilting forward slightly (and more than I anticipated) once I put in the water. A few hours later, a dozen helpful shims, a few choice swear words, and the cabinet feet are finally at the right height. We're level! Great success!

I made progress on my sump rat nest. I still need to get cable holders in place for the multitude of cords, but things are decently mounted away. I don't really have room for a controller board, so a bit of tetris is required. @jhuntstl your cabinet organization/mounting solution is beautiful and makes my OCD smile. I'm debating if I have the space and could use my door in some capacity like you did. We'll see how adding more equipment turns out, right now I've got about 2.5inches of room between the sump and the door. Photo provided:


20210709_231030 - Copy.jpg
 

jhuntstl

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I checked my nano flipper float scraper and it juuuust fits between the glass and closest rock on the left. Woohoo! Though...I suppose if any coral makes its way over there, we may have to reevaluate. That's a problem for the far future though. I have a Python as well, but I have the standard (2"?) gravel tube that came with the kit. @jhuntstl I'm assuming you're referring to this? It looks like it's possible to just swap it with the 2" tube? I'll definitely buy if so, thanks for the suggestion!
If you dig the scape, that's all that matters. From what I've seen on here, just about anything can work if you're good about coral type and placement.

Yup, that's it. I got the small version. Not sure if the vinyl tubing is the same diameter, but you get more tubing with the 1" anyways.

It's good to hear that the sand should get less floaty over time. I've got what I can only describe as a small trough in the front sand bed. With a little flow adjustment, I'm hoping I can even it out. And speaking of flow, I still need to install my Nero 3. I ideally want to place it on the right side of the tank, so it's not obstructing the view from my desk. I haven't figured out the best spot, and I'm also deciding on if I want the controller placed on the outside of the stand or mount it inside. Seems it would be easier to access for feedings on the outside, but that's a small eyesore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You can control the Nero from your phone, so not critical where you place it. I do find it more convenient to use the controller button itself, though.

Here's my horribly blurry top down shot. I'm suuuuper paranoid about what's going on in the sump when I turn off the pump. Logically all the water falling should reach some sort of equilibrium before flooding my floor...right?

It's been a long time since I've had a sump. But it absolutely should be able to handle any water displaced from the DT when your return pump is off. Did WB give any instructions? Usually you determine an appropriate sump level and mark a line somewhere(usually return section IIRC) for continued reference. This will be important for setting up your ATO as well.

I made progress on my sump rat nest. I still need to get cable holders in place for the multitude of cords, but things are decently mounted away. I don't really have room for a controller board, so a bit of tetris is required. @jhuntstl your cabinet organization/mounting solution is beautiful and makes my OCD smile. I'm debating if I have the space and could use my door in some capacity like you did. We'll see how adding more equipment turns out, right now I've got about 2.5inches of room between the sump and the door. Photo provided:

Thank you for the compliments. :D I'm just grateful that I haven't had to touch it since setting it up lol.

You could utilize the door, one or both side walls. If you want to go the control board route, I'd build one that could work on any of those three walls, or even the outside. More options to move it around. I could also see one large board on the inside door with controllers mounted up top and the rats nest of wires concealed in the bottom section. I've seen some wall mounted ones on this site that looked great too.
 
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Gedxin

Gedxin

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A few updates. I've installed my Nero 3 power head. Middle right of my tank. I worry due to my scape bulkiness I won't have enough flow for the whole tank, but I plan to only do softies and LPS to start with, so I'll investigate when we're at that point (probably at least 2+ weeks away.)

Installed my white AI Prime 16HD. I had to rotate the latch support backwards because my tank sits right against the wall and there was no room for the screw behind the tank. I've lost ~2inches of depth on the arm so the light doesn't sit dead center of the tank. A little disappointing, but I hope not an issue long term. I may rent a PAR meter at some point.

Ordered an Eheim 1250. I'm just not thrilled with my Sicce 2.0. I've figured out the rattle issue by fitting it perfectly in the sump, but I'm going to use it as a backup and my main will be a lower gph (357 vs 567) that ideally will be quieter. Based on my water volume, the 1250 is plenty.

I've been dosing 6ml of Brightwell MicroBacter7 yesterday and today, and will likely add more until I reach 0ppm ammonia. I think with my live sand and life rock and fritz turbostart in there...I've got enough bacteria diversity.

Water parameters are ever so slowly moving in the right direction:
7/9: 2ppm Ammonia
7/10: 1.2-2ppm Ammonia
7/11: 1.2ppm Ammonia, SG 1.026
7/12: 0.8ppm Ammonia, >1ppm Nitrite

Looks like we're 2-3 days away from 0ppm ammonia if all continues.

My plan is to get down to 0 ammonia and test nitrite/nitrates. If nitrites are still high, I may wait one more day before next steps. Next, perform a 20% water change to reduce nitrates. Possibly then add 1ppm ammonia, and check if it goes to 0 in ~24hr. If it falls quickly, probably ready for a fish! If it doesn't fall quickly enough...wait for 0ppm and then add fish?

Photo update:
20210712_162117.jpg
 
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jhuntstl

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Looking good!

That is a great view to have all day. Love the small arch down by the sand and unique shapes up top. The bulkier, stacked scapes have kinda gone out of style. You see a lot more minimalist designs, but there's something to be said about creating more hidings spots and lower flow shelter for your tank inhabitants.

Did you gain any confidence in your sump?
 
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Gedxin

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Looking good!

That is a great view to have all day. Love the small arch down by the sand and unique shapes up top. The bulkier, stacked scapes have kinda gone out of style. You see a lot more minimalist designs, but there's something to be said about creating more hidings spots and lower flow shelter for your tank inhabitants.

Did you gain any confidence in your sump?

Appreciate the compliments! The scape is growing on me daily :D I've definitely gained more confidence in my sump over the past few days. I turned off my return pump with a bucket/towel in hand ready to save the floors if things got dicey. Thankfully the water reached equilibrium and stopped flowing - so I feel like things are well set up now! \o/

I stopped by my LFS today. It's a pretty small shop, but focuses on mixed reefs so has a decent supply of fish/coral. I saw a blue neon goby (cleaner goby?) that I think I'm going to pick up just as soon as my cycle is complete. They're super tiny and bright and I think will fit in well with my structures. I also looked at a bunch of their clownfish and really liked a few, but I didn't see any standard ocellaris. My daughter will almost certainly love the 'nemo-like' ones more than the designer flavor (which I of course like more than the nemo ones.) The shop owner says he's getting an order of ~20 new clownfish later this week, so I'll check back then. LIkely I'll get an ocellaris and a designer and cross fingers they pair.

As for coral...wow I was super overwhelmed. So many options to choose from. I think I need to go with my notes and pick ones that are recommended for beginners and ask the owner if they have them in stock. I worry if I just go with what looks pretty I may shoot myself in the foot.

Water parameters are:
Ammonia: 0.4-0.8ppm (this is getting realllllly hard to accurately diagnose.)
pH: 7.6 (noooo, but I've read pH levels are wacky during a cycle and not to be concerned.)
 

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