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Old 05/30/2015, 09:29 AM   #1
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ReefWreak's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Astoria, NYC
Posts: 10,159
ReefWreak's 29g SPS Biocube Adventure!

Okay, I’ll stop being a lazy moocher and contribute to the forums that have given me so much. - Sorry in advance for the long post, RC doesn't support spoiler text, so this is long!

For your review, is my 29g Biocube build log.
My reefkeeping history
I started with a 24g nano cube as my first tank. I bought it used, and it came with 13 fishes, including a yellow tang, and was mostly just liverock, caulerpa, and fish. I traded in most of the fishes to the LFS in exchange for some basic corals and a lot of knowledge and assistance from the LFS owner, Scott at High Tide Aquarium Service in Tallahassee, FL. He got me started on the coral bug, as he used to wax poetic about the newest Tyree Purple Monster, and how with a lot of patience and a bigger tank, in time I could learn to keep SPS too.

That got me started into looking for a larger tank. In August 2006 I found a 120g barebones setup on ebay near my parents’ house for dirt cheap. I started it not knowing much about the hobby except that water + salt + skimmer = success. I had that tank for about 4 years before it crashed. Most of that time I was in school 450 miles away, so stability and the ability of the tank to largely take care of itself (or only having basic enough needs that my parents could help take care of it) was paramount. This requirement for stability I believe was the biggest contributing factor to why it was so successful.

Early tank:

I wasn’t around to constantly tweak and play with the tank, so things grew nicely and fully. The knowledge gained by expert reefers in Tallahasee, the Miami/South FL area, and the FMAS group here on ReefCentral were the biggest reasons for my ability to attain success starting up and continuing forward with minimal upkeep.

Ultimately I built a 120g SPS-dominated tank with the full complement of controllers, calcium reactors, big halides and reflectors, and giant skimmers, and I ended up with this:

That ended December 2009, when my hubris got me to try “the next bigger thing” of 2 part dosing instead of using a calcium reactor. My alk went crazy while I was at school for 2 weeks, and the tank absolutely fell apart, and I lost almost all of my corals. I quickly parted that system out for pennies on the dollar, and took a break from reefing, which I should have done anyway since I was in school the past 6 years, and now was preparing to move with my wife to Michigan for her continued education. I had no tank in Michigan for the 3 years living there. I made do on videogames and the local Ann Arbor culture.

Setting up current tank
Now that we’re settled into our new place in Astoria, New York, we thought it would be a good time to start a new tank. This tank I picked up off of craigslist. It already had Ecoxotic Panorama Pro 2.0 modules, 2x white/blue, and 1xblue/magenta, as well as the rear vinyl cut so I could have a refugium, and had an AquaticLife 115 skimmer, 1/10hp chiller, and reefkeeper lite controller. Solid setup to start going on my 29g SPS-dominant adventure.

It also came with live sand and rock which were dried out in buckets for a month. I found out a few weeks in that some zoanthids, green start polyps, and a hermit all survived that dry month, and are now flourishing (for better or for worse) in the tank currently. I cycled it with Dr. Tim’s nitrate bacteria stuff and ghost feeding. I went light on the feeding because I strongly believe that whatever you put in has to come out some way, so the less I put in, the less I would have to take out later through algae export or skimming. All set up with that boxed saltwater stuff, and since then using ReefCrystals and RO/DI (my first adventure into artificial seawater!).

As the tank started, I have kept logs of salinity, nitrate, phosphates, alkalinity, calcium, and pH, and I started regularly changing water every two weeks. I have slacked off a bit now that things are running well, but I think that bi-weekly water changes are very valuable. This first pic is the tank as I originally had it set up, about 2-3 weeks in (Nov. 13, 2014), when I first added fishes:

Growth (not really, mostly just additions) through 12/22/2014:

Recent changes I have made (besides adding new corals) have been adding a refugium to the back of the tank, powered by a 10w LED outdoor floodlight on the outside of the tank shining in, upgrading the panorama pro modules to a RapidLED 29g solderless retrofit system, and adding 2 part dosing modules to the second power strip on the ReefKeeper (in the end physical relay positions).

Thank you, RC community, for teaching me and holding my hand through this experience. I hope that I can ultimately give back some fraction of what I have learned from this amazing community. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have after reading my thread. I will try to post updates as they come!

Most recent FTS (5/19/2015):

Now for the fun updates:

Some play with macro and flourescent photography techniques:

Coral growth shots - Left side is a Stuber Stag (A. Formosa) and next to that is an ORA Joe the Coral, then a M. Digitat (RIP), then the right side is a "Berlin Acro" that was very blue when originally purchased.
Before (12/27/14 - Happy Birthday Me!):

A little macro and blue happy, but at least you can see most of the new growth and coloration. Really stunningly beautiful corals!

Last edited by ReefWreak; 05/30/2015 at 09:42 AM.
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