Waterbox Mini Peninsula 15 build and impressions

tharbin

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I thought I would start a build thread to hopefully give a little back to the R2R community. Hardly an expert but I figured I would document the build and my impressions of the gear I installed in the hopes I would help someone else make a better decision on a piece of equipment. After watching lots of videos and reading lots of the AIO and Nano build threads on R2R, I decided on a Waterbox Mini Peninsula 15 for the tank. The reasons: 1 - it seemed to have good build quality from everything I read, 2 - it fit the footprint of the table I wanted to use as a stand and 3 - I thought I could keep the total build weight to around 150 pounds which I knew was safe for the chosen table.

While I was at it I bought the Plus package which included the AI Prime 16HD Reef. I also bought a 20 pound box of Caribsea Life Rock Shapes and a Sicce Synchra Silent 0.5 Pump all from Waterbox.

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Current Equipment List:

Tank:
Waterbox Mini Peninsula 15
Kraken Reef Filter Floss Cup (4 inch)
Sicce Synchra Silent 0.5 (removed WB included Hidam AP-1500)
WB included return outlet (removed VCA RFG--for now)
Kraken Reef Lid with Feed Cup cutout
Kraken Reef Feed Cup
Nano Flipper Float
inTank AIO Surface Skimmer

Filtration:
inTank Filter Floss
15gm Red Sea Reef-Spec Carbon
Not currently using the WB included filter sock, 2 sponges, bio-balls or carbon
10 pounds Carib-Sea Arag-Alive Special Blend
About 15 pounds Carib-Sea Life Rock

Heating/Cooling:
Finnex HMS-50 (removed Cobalt Neo-Therm 100 and returned Ebo Jager 50)

Lighting:
AI Prime 16HD Reef

Flow:
AI Nero 3 Wave Pump

Auto Top Off:
JBJ Nano ATO
Mainstays Large Cereal Dispenser (reservoir)

Power Management:
American DJ PC-100

Other:
eShopps Alpha Rack Mega frag rack
 
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tharbin

tharbin

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Before I even ordered the tank I bought an AquaMaxx Puratek Deluxe RODI system and plumbed it into our laundry room during the Marine Depot closeout sale along with about a year's worth of replacement cartridges.

I hooked it into the waterline for the washing machine with a Y-adapter and fed the drain into the washing machine drain. I will be adding a Y and gate valves to the drain line to redirect the waste water line for watering plants.

The RODI output goes to a shutoff valve and has a 20 foot RO hose going to a float valve in a 20 gallon Brute trash can mounted on the optional wheels. That allows me to move the RO tank out of the laundry room if needed, even while making RO.

The unit is very nice. Having the pump reduces the waste water and the processor makes flushing totally automatic.

Would I make changes or additions? A few. I plan to add a TDS sensor between the carbon block and RO membrane to allow me to monitor the carbon block usage better. I wish it had an input side TDS meter. I may fix both by adding a dual sensor TDS to it. One on the source line and the other between the carbon block and RO membrane. I also plan to install a Y with gates between the RO membrane and DI filter for when I need some RO-only water.
 

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tharbin

tharbin

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I set the tank up on August 2nd with 10 pounds of Carib-Sea Special Blend Live Sand, about 15 pounds of Carib-Sea Life Rock Shapes and about 12 gallons of Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt mixed to 35ppt. I didn't have the heater yet so I installed the included filter sock in chamber one and the Sicce Synchra Silent 0.5 in chamber three but left out all other media and didn't install the light. I just wanted to circulate the water to settle the sand.

The tank is very nicely made and arrived in perfect condition. I would buy from Waterbox again and probably will. Would I change anything? Yes. I would make it available without the media or pump so that you can install your own without paying for extra stuff. In fairness, I immediately put the Hidam pump to use for SW mixing and having a few sponges lying around is never a bad thing. I did use their carbon bag for a week or so and it seemed to be pretty good but the bio-balls, well they do have a nice media bag... I also wish they included a weir plate similar to the ones now included on IM Nuvos. I feel the tank looks better with the display area water level a little higher, not much just a quarter inch or so. I also wish the return pump area was just a half inch wider so that it could accommodate more return pumps.

The sand, what can I say it's sand and it's Carib-Sea. The Special Blend is big enough to not blow around excessively and small enough to not bother many sand dwellers.

The rock is the Carib-Sea Life Rock shapes. I like the way it looks, time will tell if I like the way it performs but so far so good. My aquascape is rather chunky, partly by design and partly by necessity. I wanted to be sure to have a view block for the fish and enough holes to support all of the fish I may add. The Life Rock shapes came as 4 large chunks, 2 arches a cave and a "I don't know what to call it but pleasing chunk with protrusions". I used three of the pieces.

I think the Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt is the best salt I have ever used. It mixes quickly and clears in minutes. It also stays in suspension very well and, according to the specs on the salt, mixes to a very complete SW with good parameters. I used the old Tropic Marin salt, now called "Classic" I believe for years without issue.

I also ordered a Deluxe Lid from Kraken Reef, their 4" Filter Floss Cup and their feed cup as soon as I was sure the tank was watertight as I knew I would be adding fish someday. When I ordered the tank, Waterbox was out of stock on replacement 2.75" filter socks so that was the primary reason I ordered the Filter Floss Cup; backup.
 
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tharbin

tharbin

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I initially installed the Sicce Synchra Silent 0.5 pump because the reviews on the WB supplied Hidam AP-1500 were mixed but more unfavorable than favorable. The Sicce pump is a very tight fit in the third chamber and because of that it can get noisy unless you fuss with it until you find a quiet positioning. It moved the water fine and was reasonably quiet but not quite as quiet as I had hoped. It kept getting louder so I eventually switched to the Hidam pump. It was quiet at first but got progressively louder. Worse than that, if I shut off the pump it would only restart maybe 30% of the time so I would have to pull it, spin the impellor and reinstall it. What I noticed though was that it seemed to move more water than the Sicce. After the third or fourth time it failed to restart I pulled it out and put the Sicce back in and futzed with it until it was quiet. For now the Sicce is my return pump but I will be revisiting that later.

I have a separate thread in this forum on the return pump here. The quick take is that the Sicce 0.5 is not really powerful enough to run the VCA Random Flow Generator which was part of my initial aquascaping design. The Sicce 0.5 feels very dialed in on the otherwise stock setup however.

The Filter Floss Cup and Feed Cup from Kraken came within a few days as did my Cobalt Neo-Therm.

I installed a Cobalt Neo-Therm 100 heater in the middle chamber and brought the tank up to 77.5 degrees then removed the filter sock, installed the Kraken Filter Floss Cup and some floss, then dosed Dr. Tim's and followed the directions for adding Ammonium Chloride.

After removing the filter sock and trying to clean it I decided I would probably just stick with floss as the tiny filter sock is pretty fussy to clean and at 10 dollars a pop, pretty expensive to replace.

The tank did not seem to be cycling correctly after a few days so I did some poking around on the Internet as I had not used a bacteria starting colony before. I had made a mistake. The bottle says that it treats 30 gallons so I dosed half the bottle. It wasn't working. After research it seems that first you have to shake VERY vigorously before dosing and second you should use the whole bottle at once. When I went back and dosed the remainder of the bottle, the cycling took off and the tank was "cycled" in about 13 days.

I ordered a Nano Flipper Float while the tank was cycling because I knew the diatoms would probably start shortly after I turned on the light. It is just the right size for the tank. I can't think of anything I would change on it. Great purchase.
 
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tharbin

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Once the tank was cycled I installed the AI Prime 16HD Reef with their gooseneck mount. I played around with it for a day or two and finally settled on the BRS AI Prime 16HD settings meant to emulate an ATI Blue Plus T5 bulb. It was a little less blue dominate than many schedules.

I went ahead and started the AI Prime schedule while the tank was still empty so that I could play around with lighting schedules without worry about livestock and to go ahead and get the almost inevitable initial diatom bloom out of the way.

The diatoms came and everything looked to be on schedule. I was manually topping off at this point and it was already getting old. I would need to top off twice a day to keep the sump levels correct.

I went to PetSmart and bought a little 5.5 gallon freshwater starter tank with filter, thermometer, cover with light and HOB filter to use as a QT and picked up a few pieces of PVC pipe and Lowes.
 
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Chrisv.

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Cool! We have almost the exact same build in progress. I'm upgrading from an innovative marine 8 gallon nuvo to the wb pen 15 (bought it today!) and I'm also using a single AI prime HD for lighting. I'm going to try to get away with using a dual RFG setup on the return instead of a powerhead. We will see!
 
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tharbin

tharbin

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The lid from Kraken arrived, very nice. I installed it and it fit perfectly. The cover at the right front is where you fit the feed cup. The lid can also be reversed to put the cup at the right rear (not a good place to feed from in a WB MP 15 as it is right in front of the overflow.

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Chrisv.

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The lid from Kraken arrived, very nice. I installed it and it fit perfectly. The cover at the right front is where you fit the feed cup. The lid can also be reversed to put the cup at the right rear (not a good place to feed from in a WB MP 15 as it is right in front of the overflow.

20210823_174107.jpg
What was the wait time on this?
 
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tharbin

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Once the light schedule was set I ordered a Nero 3 Wave pump for flow. I installed it below the return outlet and set it to about 65% flow random. It provides a nice flow pattern down the viewing side of the aquascape.

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It was getting to the point that plugging and unplugging gear was a chore so I installed an American DJ PC-100 rack-mount AC switch panel from an old tank build on some left over wood I had around. I mounted it vertical so That I would have room in front of it for an eventual ATO reservoir. The mounting board is temporary (or so I'm telling myself) until I finalize the gear layout.

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tharbin

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Once the water levels in the sump were dialed in it became obvious that the Cobalt Neo-Therm 100 was a little too tall for the middle chamber. I looked for new 75 watt versions but the prices were opportunistic so I took a pass and ordered a tried-and-true Ebo-Jager 50 Watt to replace it.

Unfortunately it was the first time I ever had an Ebo-Jager fail. It seemed to have sticky contacts so I returned it. Instead I bought a Finnex HMS-50 heater. Like all heaters it has mixed reviews but there are several things I really like about it. The controller and the temperature probe are external. I can see the current temperature with a quick look at the controller and see whether the heater is running or not from across the room. The titanium element is fairly small and can be mounted in any orientation. The temperature probe also has a low water sensor that sounds an alarm and turns off the heater if it senses low water.

I installed the element in the middle chamber and hung the controller on the side of the tank. I mounted the temperature probe directly over the element as directed and set the temperature to 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I've since moved the probe to the main tank back wall but need to turn the heater off when I turn off the return pump to avoid a low water warning. Having the probe in the main tank reduces the number of heating cycles. The heater has been very good so far and I like it a lot. The one thing is that I wish it triggered a cycle a little sooner. It seems to need to drop 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit before it triggers a cycle.

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tharbin

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So, I'm at a quandary point with my tank. I was starting this build thread with the idea that I would progress through the stages from the beginning up to the present and then give updates as it went along. I've had several small set backs as can be expected but also an epiphany moment. I think it would be even more confusing to journey along and then do reset after reset. I'm going to jump forward to today and I'll try to fill in where it explains a decision or a piece of equipment.

When I designed the tank aquascape I viewed the Prime 16HD as a point source similar to a smallish MH fixture. What I'm finding is that it is much more directional. My MH fixtures always had reflectors that, while the main source of light was pretty much straight down, it bounced the light around fairly well. The Prime 16HD is really more like 16 separate point sources that overlap and do not have a reflector. Further each point source is only a single color band. If green is set low then that point is considerably weaker than the adjacent deep blue or maybe violet points. The result is that the shading in the tank, while it looks okay, seems to me to be much more severe than from a MH fixture.

I designed the aquascape with fish-first as the priority. I want the rockwork to go near the surface so that fish could retreat to the other side of the tank if they are being harassed and I wanted lots of caves/holes/nooks to escape. I planned to only add a half dozen or so corals to the tank so I only needed a few attachment points. I liked, and still like, what I designed but it is going to be problematic. The side towards the wall looks fairly bright but is in reality almost completely in shade. Several areas that I thought were in full light are in actuality either partially shaded or only receiving partial spectrum.

After the light had been on for a month and the initial diatom bloom collapsed. I bought a Nassarius snail, a Trochus snail and a small acro frag from one store and three small monti frags from another. The snails went straight to the DT but the Nassarius was looking like it was close to death in the bag. I threw him in anyway. He would either recover or help feed the bacteria. He didn't make it and the Trochus promptly disappeared. The corals went into QT after a quick inspection. It turned out that the acro had a little tissue recession near the base.
 
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tharbin

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I decided to dip the corals with Revive the next day and they were all clean but the acro looked worse than the day before so I decided to move the montis to the DT to isolate the acro. The montis were not on plugs so I set them on the lower rockwork and adjusted the flow to try to not knock them into the sandbed.

The acro didn't make it.

The montis seemed fine and I only needed to play around with the positioning of the red one (I believe it is what they call a Mystic Sunset). He seemed to like a little less light than the orange or green (a WWC grafted Monti) ones. After about a week I glued them in place so that I could turn the flow back up. I started feeding Reef Roids occasionally, maybe twice a week, and waited for the assumed second diatom bloom.

I also picked up a Nero 3 for the QT since it would also Qt corals. When I bought it, I won a free ten dollar frag so I picked a nice no-name brown and blue digi. I also picked up two tiny Beach Bum monti frags from the store where I bought the first montis. All of the montis were from a local reefer's tank that sold them to one of my LFSs and they were healthy and inexpensive. I much prefer getting locally grown frags to online or brought in bulk frags.
 
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tharbin

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The diatom bloom did return, with a vengeance. I also noticed a little hair algae on the digi's plug so we pulled it and scrubbed the plug with Hydrogen Peroxide. So far so good but I will be removing it from the plug soon anyways.

I kept looking for snails but did not see any that looked good to me so I finally broke down and ordered some online from ReefCleaners; seven dwarf Trochus, eight Nassarius Vibex and twelve dwarf Cerith snails. It was more than I wanted to order but that was the minimum I could buy because of shipping. They arrived with the Trochus and Ceriths in good shape with quite a few extra Ceriths. The Nassarius, I just don't know. They weren't active when they came and three days later I still see no signs of any life from them.

Anyway, they promptly went to work and the original Trochus decided to come out of hiding and join them. I also turned off the light to give them a chance to catch up with the bloom. It is currently in the second day of no light, but not a blackout. The bloom has receded considerably and the snails are working away at it so I will probably turn the light back on tomorrow but may wait one more day.
 
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tharbin

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I have had issues with the orange monti cap since the first time I fed the tank. it sloughs mucus every time I feed and seems to be bailing, not bleaching or a tissue recession. It could also just be changing color as the result is a violet color, not white but I don't notice any polyp extension. I've moved it to quarantine for now to observe. I also moved the digi to QT not because of an issue. It was not glued in yet and was easily knocked over. I decided to move it out until the bloom recedes and I can mount it to the rockwork.

The QT has a Prime 16HD over it with the exact same schedule running as the display tank. Since moving the digi two days ago it has started two new branches and the brown is turning deep purple. The only difference is that it is about four inches closer to the light in the QT. I think I will be increasing the intensity in the display a little when I bring the lights back on line.

I also noticed about a week ago that the green monti has an area near the back that is receding. The rest of it is growing. At first I couldn't figure out why. It seemed to be getting plenty of light and flow. When I dimmed the 16HD a little because of the diatom bloom, mainly in the red/green/white LEDs, it became obvious that even though there is nothing overhanging the coral directly and it is only about four inches from the center of the 16HD, the rock it is next to is blocking most of the blues from that section of the coral. I will try to move it but it is a very thin frag.
 
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iamahab

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I have had issues with the orange monti cap since the first time I fed the tank. it sloughs mucus every time I feed and seems to be bailing, not bleaching or a tissue recession. It could also just be changing color as the result is a violet color, not white but I don't notice any polyp extension. I've moved it to quarantine for now to observe. I also moved the digi to QT not because of an issue. It was not glued in yet and was easily knocked over. I decided to move it out until the bloom recedes and I can mount it to the rockwork.

The QT has a Prime 16HD over it with the exact same schedule running as the display tank. Since moving the digi two days ago it has started two new branches and the brown is turning deep purple. The only difference is that it is about four inches closer to the light in the QT. I think I will be increasing the intensity in the display a little when I bring the lights back on line.

I also noticed about a week ago that the green monti has an area near the back that is receding. The rest of it is growing. At first I couldn't figure out why. It seemed to be getting plenty of light and flow. When I dimmed the 16HD a little because of the diatom bloom, mainly in the red/green/white LEDs, it became obvious that even though there is nothing overhanging the coral directly and it is only about four inches from the center of the 16HD, the rock it is next to is blocking most of the blues from that section of the coral. I will try to move it but it is a very thin frag.
Do you have a media basket in chamber 1? Sorry I know this isn't the right place to ask( i'm new on here and lost) I'm trying to put a intank media basket in chamber one and I can't find anything on getting it to fit.
 
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tharbin

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iamahab,

No I don't I just use a floss cup. However, I did watch a video somewhere of someone who added the inTank media basket in chamber 1. They had to use a knife and cut the silicone for the "ledges" that the filter sock holder rests on and remove the ledges. After a little cleanup the basket slipped right in. It is supposed to go in with the solid side toward the main tank and open side toward the back as it also helps a little as a light baffle.

Good luck and post a shot and your impressions when you have it running.
 

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iamahab,

No I don't I just use a floss cup. However, I did watch a video somewhere of someone who added the inTank media basket in chamber 1. They had to use a knife and cut the silicone for the "ledges" that the filter sock holder rests on and remove the ledges. After a little cleanup the basket slipped right in. It is supposed to go in with the solid side toward the main tank and open side toward the back as it also helps a little as a light baffle.

Good luck and post a shot and your impressions when you have it running.
I used a pocket knife to gently cut the ledges off, it was easier than I assumed it would be. I'm very new to saltwater fish so i'm in a constant state of stress and worry.That's what
 

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iamahab,

No I don't I just use a floss cup. However, I did watch a video somewhere of someone who added the inTank media basket in chamber 1. They had to use a knife and cut the silicone for the "ledges" that the filter sock holder rests on and remove the ledges. After a little cleanup the basket slipped right in. It is supposed to go in with the solid side toward the main tank and open side toward the back as it also helps a little as a light baffle.

Good luck and post a shot and your impressions when you have it running.
I used a pocket knife to gently cut the ledges off, it was easier than I assumed it would be. I don't really have any impressions on this tank other than it's better than the 10 gallon aqueon I had them in( two clowns and cuc)
 

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