Waterbox Cube 20 - My troublesome journey and effort for redemption.

RobinR87

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Hi everyone,

This tank has been setup in October of 2020. We had a great start until we got a golden torch which unfortunately didn't make it, got brown jelly disease and basically wiped out 75% of all corals that we had (majority of tank consisted out of LPS, it's our favorite species group).

This in the end demotivated me to keep the level of detail and upkeep to a perfectionist standard which led to either a algae outburst, bacterial boom or invertebrae dying off.
A visit to an LFS inspired me to get back on track, get a couple of new frags and start working on the reef properly again.

The reason i'm starting a thread is to first of hear from experts what the best ways are to get rid of the nuissances we have in the tank right now and after that improve on the existing setup.

I've added a picture right before I did my weekly waterchange and cleaning to show the tank at it's worst.

Current setup:
Waterbox Cube 20
Tunze 1073.008 pump on max setting
Nero 3 alternating between 5%-10% (during the night) and 15-30% during the day.
ATO which is fed by a 25l glass aquarium holding RODI water
150W heater on controller set at 25.3 degrees celsius
Alk, phos are tested via hanna checker. Rest is with Salifert test kits
Tropic Marin Pro Reef
Own RODI filter installation with builton TDS meter giving a reading of 0
Using Red Sea's active carbon (30g exchanged every other week)

Current stocklist:
2x clownfish
1x pistol shrimp
1x yellow goby
2x strombus snail
2x nessarius snail
1x xenia (which hated the flow and thus has almost melted away)
1x favia (which bleached a little but is still alive)
1x mushroom which is thriving
1x scoli (which thankfully survived the LPS meltdown)
2x Zoa colony
1x GSP
1x Hammer
2x torch
1x duncan

Normal regiment up till changes were made:
Feed 1/4th Mysis or artemia cube daily including the moisture
Exchange filtersock every other day, clean with bleach, rinse with RODI and hang dry
Weekly waterchange of 15 liters
Weekly clean before waterchange (cleaning glass, cleaning rockwork with toothbrush, cleaning fragrack, stirring up sandbed)
No dosing of any kind
Prime 16HD light
Lights on at 11am and off at 11pm. Using BRS AB+ schedule
Nero 3 running between 40-60% during the day (an effort to keep nuissance algae on the surfaces at bay)

Testresults 24/08/2021:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 4 ppm
Phosphate = 0.05 ppm
Calcium = >500ppm (test kit maxed out)
Alkalinity = 6.8dkh
Magnesium = >1500 ppm (test kit maxed out)
Salinity = 35.8 PPT
PH = 8.4

Changes I've made in the last week:
Making sure that the food is defrosted and sieved before I give it to the tank.
Lowered the Nero flow to 5%-10% (during the night) and 15-30% during the day.
Salinity adjustments by letting in more topoff
Change lighting schedule to 12am untill 11pm and added a bit more white which tapers off starting at 8pm.
Added 1x clown to keep the other one company. They are very happy together
Added 1x strombus snail
Added 1x urchin which unfortunately showed signs of stress the day after introduction (retracted spikes) and has now been killed by the pistol shrimp (found his shell with a gaping hole)
Added 2x torch
Added 1x hammer
Added 1x duncan colony
Lowered water volume so that top is skimmed properly

Testresults 29/08/2021 (right before weekly waterchange):
Alkalinity = 6.8 dkh
Phosphate = 0.06 ppm
Salinity = 35.1 (i adjusted the salinity over the entire week to get back to 35)
Nitrate = 3.5 ppm
PH = 8.3

Goals:
Get the tank back to normal conditions and looking clean and healthy (no pests, algae or excessive bacteria cultures)
Improve where improvement can be made

What I THINK I should do:
Add more CUC such as Trochus snails (4x?), emerald crabs (for the hair algae).
Stop using filter socks and build myself (in europe, cant buy intank media basket :( ) a egg crate media basket where I'll put in filter floss and the activated carbon pouch.

I'm open to all suggestions. As said, I'm ready to start putting in proper effort once more into the tank again and learn from past mistakes (buying damaged coral at a discount). Regarding the bacterial plague I have no idea what to do as I don't know what it is. I don't think my tests are that bad except for low DKH and maybe too high phosphate?

Thanks in advance!

IMG_0636.JPEG
 
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Hi everyone,

This tank has been setup in October of 2020. We had a great start until we got a golden torch which unfortunately didn't make it, got brown jelly disease and basically wiped out 75% of all corals that we had (majority of tank consisted out of LPS, it's our favorite species group).

This in the end demotivated me to keep the level of detail and upkeep to a perfectionist standard which led to either a algae outburst, bacterial boom or invertebrae dying off.
A visit to an LFS inspired me to get back on track, get a couple of new frags and start working on the reef properly again.

The reason i'm starting a thread is to first of hear from experts what the best ways are to get rid of the nuissances we have in the tank right now and after that improve on the existing setup.

I've added a picture right before I did my weekly waterchange and cleaning to show the tank at it's worst.

Current setup:
Waterbox Cube 20
Tunze 1073.008 pump on max setting
Nero 3 alternating between 5%-10% (during the night) and 15-30% during the day.
ATO which is fed by a 25l glass aquarium holding RODI water
150W heater on controller set at 25.3 degrees celsius
Alk, phos are tested via hanna checker. Rest is with Salifert test kits
Tropic Marin Pro Reef
Own RODI filter installation with builton TDS meter giving a reading of 0
Using Red Sea's active carbon (30g exchanged every other week)

Current stocklist:
2x clownfish
1x pistol shrimp
1x yellow goby
2x strombus snail
2x nessarius snail
1x xenia (which hated the flow and thus has almost melted away)
1x favia (which bleached a little but is still alive)
1x mushroom which is thriving
1x scoli (which thankfully survived the LPS meltdown)
2x Zoa colony
1x GSP
1x Hammer
2x torch
1x duncan

Normal regiment up till changes were made:
Feed 1/4th Mysis or artemia cube daily including the moisture
Exchange filtersock every other day, clean with bleach, rinse with RODI and hang dry
Weekly waterchange of 15 liters
Weekly clean before waterchange (cleaning glass, cleaning rockwork with toothbrush, cleaning fragrack, stirring up sandbed)
No dosing of any kind
Prime 16HD light
Lights on at 11am and off at 11pm. Using BRS AB+ schedule
Nero 3 running between 40-60% during the day (an effort to keep nuissance algae on the surfaces at bay)

Testresults 24/08/2021:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 4 ppm
Phosphate = 0.05 ppm
Calcium = >500ppm (test kit maxed out)
Alkalinity = 6.8dkh
Magnesium = >1500 ppm (test kit maxed out)
Salinity = 35.8 PPT
PH = 8.4

Changes I've made in the last week:
Making sure that the food is defrosted and sieved before I give it to the tank.
Lowered the Nero flow to 5%-10% (during the night) and 15-30% during the day.
Salinity adjustments by letting in more topoff
Change lighting schedule to 12am untill 11pm and added a bit more white which tapers off starting at 8pm.
Added 1x clown to keep the other one company. They are very happy together
Added 1x strombus snail
Added 1x urchin which unfortunately showed signs of stress the day after introduction (retracted spikes) and has now been killed by the pistol shrimp (found his shell with a gaping hole)
Added 2x torch
Added 1x hammer
Added 1x duncan colony
Lowered water volume so that top is skimmed properly

Testresults 29/08/2021 (right before weekly waterchange):
Alkalinity = 6.8 dkh
Phosphate = 0.06 ppm
Salinity = 35.1 (i adjusted the salinity over the entire week to get back to 35)
Nitrate = 3.5 ppm
PH = 8.3

Goals:
Get the tank back to normal conditions and looking clean and healthy (no pests, algae or excessive bacteria cultures)
Improve where improvement can be made

What I THINK I should do:
Add more CUC such as Trochus snails (4x?), emerald crabs (for the hair algae).
Stop using filter socks and build myself (in europe, cant buy intank media basket :( ) a egg crate media basket where I'll put in filter floss and the activated carbon pouch.

I'm open to all suggestions. As said, I'm ready to start putting in proper effort once more into the tank again and learn from past mistakes (buying damaged coral at a discount). Regarding the bacterial plague I have no idea what to do as I don't know what it is. I don't think my tests are that bad except for low DKH and maybe too high phosphate?

Thanks in advance!

IMG_0636.JPEG
Give yourself time. Your plan is solid. Stick with it and exercise an abundance of patience. It takes years for a tank to come into its own and settle down.
 

MONTANTK

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Your nutrient levels look good. The key to success is stability. That’s when you will really see your corals thrive. Both calcium and magnesium seem a little high. I was told high magnesium, while not a killer, can cause slow growth. If those are the stock parameters from your salt I wouldn’t worry. They will naturally decline as you add more coral
 
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RobinR87

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Thanks so far guys.

Ok, i've taken some of the brown sludge and threw it under a microscope.

I think I'm confident in saying it is Prorocentrum.

How should I best tackle this? Adding UV to a cube 20 isn't particularly easy.

IMG_0649.PNG
IMG_0645.JPEG IMG_0646.PNG IMG_0647.JPEG
 
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RobinR87

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What I have done so far after researching:

Slowly upping the temp from 25c to 28c.
Slowly shortening light period from 11 hours to 6 hours.
Added 2x Fauna Marin BactoBalls to introduce beneficial bacteria
Upped feeding regime from 1/4th cube of Mysis or Artemia to 1x 1/4th Mysis + 1/4th Artemia + 1/4th Nori

If I see no result at all after a week I'll go the Dino X route.
 
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bretl85

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I'm running an innovative marine desktop UV sterilizer on my cube 20. I removed my filter sock and placed to UV in that chamber. I run 4 piece's of 100 micro filter floss one top of the sponge pad it comes with. BRS also has them for 15% off right now. It works perfect in the first chamber. Water flows in the filter floss and sponge filter and into the UV.

IM Desktop UV at BRS.
 

Gedxin

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You need a bigger CUC! Nassarius don't eat algae. So all I see is one other snail you've got doing work? I'd get at least 4 hermits and either go trochus or asterea snails.

Wouldn't recommend combating anything with chemicals yet. Your coral looks good, and if you try to 'fix' the algae without organic remedies (CUC), I bet you'll see coral health swing.
 
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RobinR87

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So, it has been confirmed by multiple experts that it IS Prorocentrum. Unfortunate as they are the hardest to get rid of and are almost as toxic as Ostreopsis (as I've unfortunately experienced, more below).

I'm running an innovative marine desktop UV sterilizer on my cube 20. I removed my filter sock and placed to UV in that chamber. I run 4 piece's of 100 micro filter floss one top of the sponge pad it comes with. BRS also has them for 15% off right now. It works perfect in the first chamber. Water flows in the filter floss and sponge filter and into the UV.

IM Desktop UV at BRS.
I unfortunately am not able to get that UV system as I'm from Belgium. These are not available in Europe. But, as I have dino's that aren't present in the watercolumn, I have been advised to not waste money on an UV and go another route. I could turkey baste the sandbed, rocks and glass and all but I've seen the speed at which they form back on the sandbed when I did this before I knew what i was dealing with. That further strengthens the advice I've been given.

However, I would maybe add UV later when the tank is back on it's feet and I'm sure I have a mature biome.
If somebody knows a UV unit that is easily implemented with a cube 20, is available in Europe and is of decent/high quality, I'd be happy to hear it!
You need a bigger CUC! Nassarius don't eat algae. So all I see is one other snail you've got doing work? I'd get at least 4 hermits and either go trochus or asterea snails.

Wouldn't recommend combating anything with chemicals yet. Your coral looks good, and if you try to 'fix' the algae without organic remedies (CUC), I bet you'll see coral health swing.
In the meantime I've been researching more and getting informed by experts and I've specifically been advised to NOT add any herbivores or omnivores.
Prorocentrum are very toxic and will paralyze and kill everything that ingests it. It can even make people sick that eat infected fresh seafood.

I have actually tried adding to my CUC before I knew I was dealing with dino's. The urchin got paralyzed within one hour (retracted it's spines and stayed still) and was killed off by my pistol shrimp the day after. The strombus snails died within 48 hours. My initial CUC had 4 trochus snails but they died before this even.
Today we unfortunately even lost our Yellow Watchmen Goby due to this probably. I also haven't heard my pistol shooting anymore for a day. I know they both are carnivores but as they both scour the sandbed for food I can imagine them ingesting the dino's with all consequences attached.
We can't emotionally (we care about the littlest of life that we take care for) bear losing life anymore. The 2 nessarius and my 2 clown's will remain on their own until I've beaten this. I actually have to raise my nitrate and phosphate levels so letting detritus build up is a good thing currently. I'm quite surprised that the nessarius have survived so far as I clearly saw them picking up mysis from the infected sandbed.

I will not be adding hermit crabs as I've already had them and they stress me the **** out with stealing food from my corals and thrashing the place :D I've rehomed them 6 months ago. Once i'm done battling this, I'll probably go the snail assortment + mitrax crab + urchin route.

I have Dino X sitting in the cupboard but I'm not intending on using it except if I can't get this beaten. I've set a timeline of 2 months to see any form of improvement. If I don't see any improvement by then, I'll be transferring my corals to a friends tank and I will start a Dino X treatment.

Further update:

By someone on the waterbox facebook group I got a link to a facebook group where the sole focus is to help people battle dino's: https://www.facebook.com/groups/259474048655429/. The level of expertise (33 page guide for battling dino's including from experts such as Taricha) is very high and thus the trust is there. I'm now following their guide to the T.

As Prorocentrum are present in the sandbed and on all surfaces (rock, glass, fragplugs, etc...) I have to basically enable diatoms to grow to plague proportions to outcompete the dino's while also raising my nitrate and phosphate to levels that won't allow the dino's to a foothold again.

I have thus begun dosing Sodium Silicate to get my silicate up to 3ppm to induce the diatoms.
I have added copepods as they are apparantly not effected by the toxin of Prorocentrum and will help with battling them.
I have dropped my temp back to 25.5c as I've been reassured that raising the temp is not doing much.
Today I have done a full superficial vac of the sandbed while filtering the water through a 25 micron sock. Dino can be between 13 and 87 micron big but I couldn't get a hold of a sock with smaller holes than 25 micron. The sock turned brown as if I took a **** in there so I guess it did filter out a lot of the dino's that I sucked up. The water has been pumped back into the tank as putting fresh saltwater in is only boosting the dino's. I've added sand that I had left over from setting the tank up so the sandbed is back to the recommended 1 inch level and it'll help with my silicate levels as new sand always leeches silicates.

I have ordered an Intank Media Basket for the first chamber so I can get rid of the socks.
I'm also gonna start dosing nitrate and phosphate as I can't get my levels up (nitrate 3ppm and phosphate undetectable by salifert).
And finally, I have live Phytoplankton on it's way as they'll also help with outcompeting the dino's.

I've added a picture to how it's looking now. Don't mind the glass as I'm letting the tank get dirty on purpose. I'm starting to get film algae on the glass which is a good thing! It would be so nice to see my sandbed stay this clean but I know it ain't gonna happen :D

IMG_0659.JPEG
 

OceanBB

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Hi, I have a waterbox cube 20 too. Just started cycling my tank 10 days ago. Like you I was looking for a good uv steriliser. Found a good one made in UK - TMC Vecton V2. Unfortunately none of the stockist were willing to ship to Australia. I ended up getting Aqua UV (Made in USA) advantage 2000 Hang on.
I am using Syncra silent 0.5 feeding Aqua UV, both pump and Aqua UV in second chamber.
 
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RobinR87

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Hi, I have a waterbox cube 20 too. Just started cycling my tank 10 days ago. Like you I was looking for a good uv steriliser. Found a good one made in UK - TMC Vecton V2. Unfortunately none of the stockist were willing to ship to Australia. I ended up getting Aqua UV (Made in USA) advantage 2000 Hang on.
I am using Syncra silent 0.5 feeding Aqua UV, both pump and Aqua UV in second chamber.
Appreciate the comment! Although a UV has no use for me as it won’t help battling the type of Dino’s I have, do you mind sharing a link for it? Much appreciated!
 
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