Waterbox Mini Peninsula 15 build and impressions

iamahab

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iamahab,

Nice job. What are you using in the basket and how do you like the Icecap Skimmer?
I've only had the skimmer running for about a week now and to be honest I'm so new to this I can't tell if it's working or not. So far all I'm getting is murky water and a bit of skimate ( what a strange word). I have chemi pure blue, phosguard, sponge and biomax ceramic rings from their previous tank. I've got some filter floss i'm getting ready to put in there i've just been lazy about it.
 
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tharbin

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I realized I haven't posted an update in about two weeks so here it is.

The original Nassarius snail turned out to make it after all. I have since added two more Nassarius snails to help keep the sandbed in tip top shape. As a result the diatom bloom is over at least for now.

I have added two firefish to the system. They're both juveniles and getting along fine for now but I'm watching them for aggression. Feeding them Hikari Frozen Mysis, TDO Chroma, PE Mysis pellets, Tigger Pods and Reef Stew (a locally produced pod/brine shrimp/phyto blend). They get the TDO at every feeding and the others as I see fit or have them available.

The WWC Grafted Monti Cap and the orange monti cap have both started to come back into color and are obviously benefitting from the reef stew and my occasional dose of Red Sea AB+ amino acids. The Mystic Sunset monti has stabilized but I would not say it is recovering yet and the two Beach Bums are just hanging in. The digi fell into a crevice and perished. I just didn't glue it well enough. The Prime 16HD acclimation period has ended so I will keep an eye on them to see how the schedule works long term.

Other than that I am just waiting for everything to stabilize a bit more before any further additions.

From an equipment standpoint I am very happy with all of the installed gear. The tank feels very stable and easy to care for.
 
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tharbin

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So a few updates. None of the Nassarius Vibex snails made it from Reef Cleaners to me. I think I know why, I have a really tiny hermit crab in a really tiny Nassarius Vibex shell (maybe 3/8") cruising the tank. I didn't buy any hermits...

I've been trying to like the Prime 16HD but I find the app clunky. It's probably great on an iPad--but on a smallish Galaxy it is just plain fussy to work with and doesn't seem to have such niceties as a way to delete obsolete schedules (edit--you can delete obsolete schedules it is just different from the same procedure on their Nero 3). I started with the BRS AB+ schedule but I didn't like it and the corals did not seem to like it either. I switched to a modified version of the Waterbox mixed reef schedule and used it for a few months. It was pretty good and my corals are coming back. I have now switched to the David Saxby Signature schedule and it seems to be ideal--so far. Since I'm still acclimating, it will be a while until I know for sure.

The two firefish seem to have paired up and have been doing some mating ritual type dancing. It also appears that the larger one is carrying eggs but we'll see.

IMG_1400.JPG



I have the Mystic Sunset (I think) on a frag rack for now trying to find it its happy place. No polyp extension at all but it stopped receding.

The orange and green monti caps both seem to be recovering very slowly with some polyp extension but they have a long way to go.

The equipment feels very dialed-in. No complaints.
 
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tharbin

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I'm still using the Sicce 0.5. I think it is quite good with the standard return plumbing. I do have to reach in about once a week and tweak the position of the pump. I used the end of a tool I bought for fixing the sandbed, basically a metal rod with a bit of a spade end on it. I find the small end fits nicely into the area and allows me to do tiny adjustments until it is quiet again.

20211210_090557.jpg


I also shortened my return tube so that it just reaches. For me, the RFG won't work with the 0.5. I may pick up a 1.0 for other purposes and try it out to see how it works.

The big difference for me was getting the sump dialed in. At first I over-filed the sump using the back as chambers instead of actual sump areas--like a lot of other AIOs. I realized that the AIO in the Waterbox is much more a true in-tank sump. Once I respected the baffle heights and traditional sump equipment placements everything just dialed in. I did have to replace my heater once I lowered the center chamber (replaced my Cobalt Neo-Therm 100 with a Finnex HMS-50) but everything else just fell into place.

I have been considering the DCS-1200 for the tank. Couldn't you dial it down low enough for the tank?

I run my Nero 3 at 70% max, 30% min medium variance random during the day and 51% max, 20% min and low variance random during lights out. The Nero is near the return and blows mainly down the right side of the tank. My rockwork is high so the flow tends to bend around the rockwork and back. The only low-flow area in the tank is just below the Nero.

IMG_1402.JPG


I just moved the frag rack to the front wall while I'm still trying to find my Mystic Sunset's happy place.
 
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iamahab

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I'm still using the Sicce 0.5. I think it is quite good with the standard return plumbing. I do have to reach in about once a week and tweak the position of the pump. I used the end of a tool I bought for fixing the sandbed, basically a metal rod with a bit of a spade end on it. I find the small end fits nicely into the area and allows me to do tiny adjustments until it is quiet again.

20211210_090557.jpg


I also shortened my return tube so that it just reaches. For me, the RFG won't work with the 0.5. I may pick up a 1.0 for other purposes and try it out to see how it works.

The big difference for me was getting the sump dialed in. At first I over-filed the sump using the back as chambers instead of actual sump areas--like a lot of other AIOs. I realized that the AIO in the Waterbox is much more a true in-tank sump. Once I respected the baffle heights and traditional sump equipment placements everything just dialed in. I did have to replace my heater once I lowered the center chamber (replaced my Cobalt Neo-Therm 100 with a Finnex HMS-50) but everything else just fill into place.

I have been considering the DCS-1200 for the tank. Couldn't you dial it down low enough for the tank?

I run my Nero 3 at 70% max, 30% min medium variance random during the day and 51% max, 20% min and low variance random during lights out. The Nero is near the return and blows mainly down the right side of the tank. My rockwork is high so the flow tends to bend around the rockwork and back. The only low-flow area in the tank is just below the Nero.

IMG_1402.JPG


I just moved the frag rack to the front wall while I'm still trying to find my Mystic Sunset's happy place.
I've been wanting to get a nero 3 but the guys at BRS said it's too powerful for the waterbox mini 15, bearded reefer said I can run one on the lowest setting, how has yours worked for you?
 
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tharbin

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I've been wanting to get a nero 3 but the guys at BRS said it's too powerful for the waterbox mini 15, bearded reefer said I can run one on the lowest setting, how has yours worked for you?
Too powerful? Not in my book. I even had one in my 5.5 gallon QT tank (taken down for now as not needed). -- See my previous post #25 to see my settings for the Nero 3 --

I've actually been thinking about adding the second Nero 3 from the QT to the Mini Pen on the other side of the rockwork and synchronizing them. I may do it but I'm trying to keep the build simple. We'll see...

The only negatives I have about the Nero 3 are: It can be pretty noisy in Pulse Mode (but fine in Random or Fixed Modes), the fish guard is a cheap piece of plastic that I feel was poorly implemented, and with the fish guard in place you cannot tilt the pump for angled flow. If I had a 3d printer I would make a new guard that clips to the prop guard and not impede tilting the pump on its holder.

The only other pump I would seriously consider for this tank is the Tunze 6040. I almost bought it instead.
 
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tharbin

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Just wanted to do a quick update. I'm stoked. The David Saxby schedule for the Prime 16HD seems to really agree with my tank. I have two small Beach Bum frags that lost color quickly when I added them and have been just hanging in there.

They are now regaining their colors, the green and orange monti caps both have good polyp extension (although the green one is still pretty bad off with algae overgrowth) and the Mystic Sunset is starting to show some improvement.

Does anyone know a good way to shift the times on a Prime 16HD schedule? I want to move the schedule a little earlier in the day. I know I can change the time in the program to not be based on "real" time but that doesn't seem ideal.
 
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tharbin

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i would start dosing live phyto to the tank to help promote good bacteria and give the tank as much bio as possible. looks like nice little set up u got yourself going tho. great job!
Saltydog,

Thanks for the suggestion, very timely. I actually started dosing live phyto last Friday when I got my first shipment from @Eldredge (really nice live phyto by the way). I haven't really locked in my dosing plan yet but I started with about 12ml/day, so 1ml/gal of water. The hair algae is still making a little progress but not as much.

I'm going to do a little manual removal today of the hair algae. I will probably raise the phyto to around 1.5ml/gal later this week and see where things go.

My big issue right now is providing my hermit with a selection of shells. I didn't order a hermit but when I got my nassarius vibex snails, one of the shells moved funny. The shell was only 3/8" long and I needed a 5x magnifier to even see the legs but it was a hermit. He is now tooling around in a shell that is about an inch long. We went through all of the shells we have in the house looking for shells that might be suitable (trying to make sure I don't lose all of my trochus to house-hunting) and cleaned them up. I just threw about a dozen more shells in last night. The shell he's in now I threw in last week. He is growing quickly.

This is him a week ago in the third shell since I got him, about 3/4". He is now in an even larger shell.

IMG_1405-R2R.jpg

I also mounted the last monti to the rock work on Friday. It looks like it is pretty happy up high and near the light.

IMG_1420-R2R.jpg
 
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tharbin

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A small update. I'm still dosing the Phyto at 12ml/day and nothing has really changed except... I have a small outbreak of dinos and the hair algae is becoming more problematic. Nothing dramatic just another ugly phase. The Mystic Sunset seems to be happy and is starting to color up and both Beach Bums are starting to regain their color. I have been dosing Red Sea Reef Energy AB+ once per week (which the dinos love) and the corals all show good polyp extension when I do. I wish I could dose more often as I'm still a little worried about the green monti. It is starting to shed the algae but its skin seems very thin. It needs more food but that of course just helps the dino/gha bloom more than the coral.

I do weekly 2 gallon water changes and this week I will peroxide a few of the gha areas while I have the water level down.

My only real regret with this tank right now is the rock. The CaribSea Life Rock looks nice when you start up but it is just so barren. Not only do I miss all of the life on live rock but all of that empty, course-grained rockwork is just ripe for gha and dino infestation. I'm looking around for a few pieces of live rubble to kickstart other life but haven't found anything suitable yet. I've also started dosing Microbacter Clean to add some additional bacterial strains to the system.

I took a shot of the tank under 6k light so that the dinos and gha would be clearly visible.

IMG_1448-r2r.jpg



Still thinking about what critters I can add to help with the gha. I've decided to not add any more fish as the tank is just the right size for two firefish.

I'm also rethinking the Nero 3, or at least its placement. I have been watching my surface skimming action very carefully lately and I've notice that the surface actually cleans better when the Nero is off. The water tends to bend around in front of the overflow when the pump is running so I'm going to look at repositioning the pump or maybe even removing it. It has gotten a little louder. With the tank in the living room it needs to be pretty quiet. I'll see when it gets cleaned again.
 
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A small update. I'm still dosing the Phyto at 12ml/day and nothing has really changed except... I have a small outbreak of dinos and the hair algae is becoming more problematic. Nothing dramatic just another ugly phase. The Mystic Sunset seems to be happy and is starting to color up and both Beach Bums are starting to regain their color. I have been dosing Red Sea Reef Energy AB+ once per week (which the dinos love) and the corals all show good polyp extension when I do. I wish I could dose more often as I'm still a little worried about the green monti. It is starting to shed the algae but its skin seems very thin. It needs more food but that of course just helps the dino/gha bloom more than the coral.

I do weekly 2 gallon water changes and this week I will peroxide a few of the gha areas while I have the water level down.

My only real regret with this tank right now is the rock. The CaribSea Life Rock looks nice when you start up but it is just so barren. Not only do I miss all of the life on live rock but all of that empty, course-grained rockwork is just ripe for gha and dino infestation. I'm looking around for a few pieces of live rubble to kickstart other life but haven't found anything suitable yet. I've also started dosing Microbacter Clean to add some additional bacterial strains to the system.

I took a shot of the tank under 6k light so that the dinos and gha would be clearly visible.

IMG_1448-r2r.jpg



Still thinking about what critters I can add to help with the gha. I've decided to not add any more fish as the tank is just the right size for two firefish.

I'm also rethinking the Nero 3, or at least its placement. I have been watching my surface skimming action very carefully lately and I've notice that the surface actually cleans better when the Nero is off. The water tends to bend around in front of the overflow when the pump is running so I'm going to look at repositioning the pump or maybe even removing it. It has gotten a little louder. With the tank in the living room it needs to be pretty quiet. I'll see when it gets cleaned again.
hey bro, sorry to hear about your dino outbreak. the gha is normal and will fade out once it has used up all your phosphates. unforntunatly testing for p04 will do no good now as it will likely show very low or zero.. you need to incorporate a uv sterilizer to kick back the dino... i just added the desktop uv from innovative marine to my peninsula 20 gallon.. uv works wonders for dino.. lmk how it goes.
 
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tharbin

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hey bro, sorry to hear about your dino outbreak. the gha is normal and will fade out once it has used up all your phosphates. unforntunatly testing for p04 will do no good now as it will likely show very low or zero.. you need to incorporate a uv sterilizer to kick back the dino... i just added the desktop uv from innovative marine to my peninsula 20 gallon.. uv works wonders for dino.. lmk how it goes.
I was looking at the IM UV gear just in case. Right now it is still under control and I'm slowly improving the GHA and dino situation. Scrubbed a couple of the worst areas with peroxide while I had the water level down for a water change, upped my dose of phyto to 2ml/gallon, changing the filter floss daily and dosing Microbacter Clean to increase my bacterial load. It seems to be working, slowly, but working. I do baste the corals when I see them being smothered but mainly I'm relying on bacteria and phyto to control it. That said I'm pretty sure the IM universal UV would drop right in my second chamber if it starts getting worse.

Thanks.
 
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Time for another update. I've been dosing phyto at 1ml/gal again and Microbacter Clean on their "dirty tank" schedule for 10 days now. I also did not do a water change again until today. The dinos are almost gone and the gha while a lot longer, is both less dense and looking a bit sickly, kind of wispy and semi-transparent so it seems that things are improving slowly. No other changes except that the green monti cap seems to be improving a little.

Here is another tank shot at 6k for comparison. It is hard to tell but the dinos are almost gone and the gha is thinner, although longer.

IMG_1452-r2r.jpg
 
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I've been trying to like the Carib-Sea Life Rock but I don't.

The colors look nice when you install it and it has some really nice shapes. That said, the texture is "spikey" for lack of a better term which collects detritus easily and gives gha wonderful attachment points. Both negatives from my viewpoint.

The other issue though I find unacceptable. Over time, the surface "coating" starts to flake away. I don't really mind the smooth white surface left behind but I do mind, very much, the little black flakes that keep coming off in the water column, collecting on the sand and even occasionally falling on a coral.

I am seriously considering ripping it all out although I haven't budgeted for all new rock and replacing it will seriously slow down the maturation process unless I win the lottery (hard to do since I don't buy tickets) and buy all real honest-to-goodness live rock.
 
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Looking good! I'm considering something like this for my office.

Sorry that you're not enjoying the rock. Real live rock would likely help in your boughts with gha for sure.
 
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tharbin

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Looking good! I'm considering something like this for my office.

Sorry that you're not enjoying the rock. Real live rock would likely help in your boughts with gha for sure.
Thanks. It is in our living room on an end table so that we can watch it while relaxing and my wife is helping with the maintenance. This is the first time she has gotten involved in my, obvious, addiction. No matter how many times I quit and give away literally everything. I end up back in. The equipment feels very dialed-in and takes no brain-cycles to maintain. Also it is almost silent.

Yes it certainly would have.

I've always used live rock (once it readily became available in the 80s) for builds but I wanted to try the "dry" rock routine this time around. It isn't horrible but it does present some stability challenges. I hope that people using other dry rock types are happier. The tank is maturing but the little black "rock flakes" that get on the sand and corals and in the water column really irritate me. I really should have gone with either seasoned/cured rock or at least non-colored dry rock. Maybe some of the other coralline-covered-look rocks hold up better. I hope so.
 
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Just another quick update. I stopped using Microbacter Clean after 12 days. It was definitely working but I just did not like the way my corals were looking. They were not dying but they were not thriving either. I have also started to switch salts from Tropic Marin Pro Reef to Red Sea Blue Bucket. I've done one 9 quart change so far and everything looks fine. I have no dinos left. There is a little diatom on the sand that I encouraged and a couple of tiny patches of cyano that are hanging on but nothing to worry about. The gha is still there but thinner and not really spreading. I don't think the main problem is nutrients but rather unpopulated 'rock'. The good news is that I am starting to see growth on all of the corals. The WWC Grafted Monti concerned me for a while. It was an all green frag when I got it. Now portions that were green are turning orange. I assumed that I would get orange at some point but on new growth only. Interesting.

I may use the Microbacter Clean like once a month just to boost bacterial population but I think I'm going to let nature, my tweezers and my CUC take care of the gha over a period of time. I also ordered a live rock rubble pack from Aquabiomics that will be here in a week or so to help seed the tank. I can't really afford to pull the 'rock' I have. If I were to do it again, I would use CaribSea Moani rock and some live rock probably from KP Aquatics.
 
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Just another quick update. I received the reef rubble from aquamedics. It was the least expensive way I could think of to get some diversity into the tank as shipping on Live Rock is just not practical for one or two rocks. I added the rubble last Wednesday and dialed back my lights to just 30% on all the blues/violets and 3% on the green, everything else off. I'm going to leave the lights like that for 14 days and then start to cycle them back up. The idea is to give the rubble a chance to compete for nutrients.

I have noticed a fair amount of die-off of the GHA, likely due to the lowered lighting and the rubble but I have a little more cyano. I'm considering adding my other Nero 3 to the tank low on the backside of my atoll as there does not seem to be much flow there.

Overall the tank is improving but very slowly. Unfortunately the 'finish' is still flacking off the 'rocks' so it makes the sand look messier than it really is. It has even started to flake off inside the tunnels so it is not because if scrubbing or turkey blasting or anything like that.
 
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