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151-720 liter 190L Cube - Newbie aiming towards SPS (advice welcome)


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Posted (edited)

 

The last delivery arrived today, it took some time to get it all!

 

So now that I have the bacteria itself, and the salt and salinity checker have arrived, I can begin cycling the dry rock in bins. Then once I have the tank itself ready and the sump connected, then I'll move the dry rock from the bins into the tank and then add live rock as well. I wonder, does that sound wise, or am I lining myself up for problems? Perhaps I should add some live rock in the bins as well to get it started with a bang! 

 

Either way, lots of fun to have over the next week or two!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I already got started on the DYI lighting solution.

 

This is its first incarnation. My plan is to hang on some black Acrylic covers to make the outside look tidy and sleek. Although that may be easier said than done. If the Acrylic fails, I can always just use wet area cabinet wood to complete the black-box look.

 

All the lights can be moved left, right, up, or down by either sliding them along the alloy rails, or by changing the respective screw hole height on the upright braces. This should hopefully allow me to get the ideal positioning if I ever get my hands on a par meter.    :D   

 

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Posted (edited)

 

The cycle is finally started. I added "MicroBacter_StartXLM" and "MicroBacter_QuikCycl." in a 60L plastic tub with 1kg of live rock. I'm using a Sicce AC pump for flow from the large box into the smaller box, and have the sand at the bottom of the smaller box. I also have two ceramic bricks in there and a bunch of dry rock. 

  1. Continuum aquatics exxodus BAC brick
  2. Brightwell aquatics NO3 brick 

I ordered two normal bricks, but they sent me one normal brick and one NO3 brick. I'm not sure what the NO3 brick does, or if it will do more harm than good in a new tank. I just threw it in their and hoped for the best...   🤔 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'll keep this cycle going for a while, then when the display tank and sump is plumbed up and running smoothly, then I'll move some of this into the display tank and I guess at that stage I should add a few more KG of live rock in as well.   

 

Overall, I'll try and maximize the amount of live rock if I can. 

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I'm 7 days into the cycle now, unfortunately the shop made a mistake and didn't send my Nitrite testing kit in the original order. I went and bought a Nitrite kit from my LFS yesterday and I did my first Nitrite tests and they we're at the very top of the scale.

 

Nevertheless, I can see that Nitrate is uniformly increasing, so I'm hoping that the Nitrite is not too high to stall the cycle. I guess the next few days will tell... 

 

 

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I read that Nitrites can go up to 15ppm during the cycle, so I guess it is only that my testing kit top's out at 5ppm that is the problem. I guess this is good, since I don't technically know how high the Nitrite really is, then I have no idea if I'm close to stalling it or not. I guess the increasing Nitrate is the only sign that I have that things are progressing normally. 

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2 hours ago, AI_Reefer said:

I guess the increasing Nitrate is the only sign that I have that things are progressing normally. 

There's no point in testing for nitrate while you have detectable nitrite in the water as the nitrite will give you incorrect (many times too high) nitrate readings.

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Just now, PerS said:

There's no point in testing for nitrate while you have detectable nitrite in the water as the nitrite will give you incorrect (many times too high) nitrate readings.

 

Ahhh, okay, I had no idea. Hmm, well then I guess I am completely in the dark since I don't know the real Nitrite or the real Nitrate. I measured Ammonia and got 0.5ppm yesterday. But I did not know the initial amount, I merely copied what was recommended. 

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1 hour ago, AI_Reefer said:

 

Ahhh, okay, I had no idea. Hmm, well then I guess I am completely in the dark since I don't know the real Nitrite or the real Nitrate. I measured Ammonia and got 0.5ppm yesterday. But I did not know the initial amount, I merely copied what was recommended. 

If you have ammonia and nitrite the cycle is on the way, since it goes ammonia->nitrite->nitrate. When the cycle is complete the bacteria is working so fast that you will only be able to detect the end product; nitrate.

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Thanks Kim! Heh heh, I'm really enjoying the process, its a great way to spend my spare time without being stuck in-front of a computer screen. 

 

I'm also happy to say that I came into work today (the aquarium is at my company warehouse) and the Nitrites had dropped down to about 0.5ppm over the weekend, so I think I must be pretty close to having finished the cycle. I'll be checking up on it over the next few days, then do a 50% water change or so I guess?

 

I'll try and manage the rock still in the bucket for a little longer while I get the plumbing finalized on the main display tank and order some larger live rock pieces from Whitecorals in the meantime. I'll probably just feed the bacteria with a few drops of ammonia every now and again over the next week or two while I prepare the plumbing, etc. for the main display? 

 

 

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You should wait with water change a bit. I usually don't do it the first month if there's no heavy bioload. It will just give less energy for the beneficial bacteria to spread. 

 

Sounds like a good plan with the bacteria in the bucket.

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For todays water test the nitrite is at 0ppm and the nitrate is at 2ppm. I guess this makes more sense than the previous nitrate readings. Perhaps a few more days and all of the nitrite will be completely gone...  Either way, it's looking good! 

 

I'll have the plumbing valves ready in the next few days, so things are looking good for some serious progress maybe in the next week or so if I'm lucky.    ;)      

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

 

So the plumbing has taken months to arrive, likely due to Covid, which is why I have not posted any new progress on the tank. In the meantime MichaelE was kind enough to give me one of the parts that I needed, yet I am still eagerly waiting for the cut-to-size overflow pipes and bulkheads to arrive. 

 

In the meantime I've kept the rocks happy and been constantly feeding the bacteria with a few drops of ammonia every day and a water change every now and again. According to the tests, the bacteria are all healthy and appear to be working well. 

 

Yesterday I got tired of waiting and decided to start setting up a ten gallon quarantine tank in my spare time. I wanted to keep it pretty tidy, so I bought a Waterbox cube 10. 

 

Another thing I've started to do is look for a decent chunk of live rock for the 50 gallon main display. 

  • My only current question for the forum is: does anyone know where to buy some real live rock in Europe?

Last month I managed to buy the last few tiny bits of live rock from my LFS but now I need something more substantial for the main display. I've been keeping a close eye on Whitecorals but they don't seem to have any at all. I guess I only need 1-3Kg for now, since all my dry rock is now well and truly covered in bacteria. Yet finding any real live rock at all in Europe seems very difficult indeed.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2021-09-13 at 10:50, AI_Reefer skrev:

My only current question for the forum is: does anyone know where to buy some real live rock in Europe

 

An option if you cant find "real live rock", which normally is quite expensive (if I'm not mistaken) - is to buy live rock from another aquarist that has been running for some time. These are normally full with micro fauna that will benefit your premature system. Don't know if that's why you wanted real live rock? Both options might come with unwanted pests though, but normally these pests will find a way into your aquarium sooner or later anyway :) 

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  • 4 weeks later...

 

It was a long journey, 

 

It took me a while to decide how to add the refugium in an aesthetic way without generating a tonne of light spill. In the end I cut the edge out of a Skimz Up-14 sump and added my own plexiglass refugium to it with the overflow weir going directly into the skimmer section. The refugium is fed by its own specialized mini pump coming from before (or after) the filter sock (I still haven't decided).  

 

The long delays were mostly due to the tank supplier failing to send me the tank plumbing from the US. Essentially the tank arrived without any plumbing and I waited months and months for it to arrive. In the end I just gave up and ordered my own plumbing from local suppliers and "Foretags Akvarium". 

 

Eitherway, tomorrow I will add the water, and my live rock has been stewing in a bucket of salt water for nearly 3 months now with a prawn and the occasional few drops of ammonia to feed the bacteria. I did some water changes on the rocks and the cycles seems definitely going very well. Any ammonia is digested almost instantly.  

 

 

Wich me luck for the next leap forward. I'll be adding the water, live rock and sand tomorrow!    😀

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

Now it is time to start stocking it up. I come from Darwin Australia, so the first on the list is a pair of black and white Darwin Clownfish. 

 

I've seen many black and white clowns with a touch of red on their noses. But am finding it difficult to find a pair of 100% black and white Darwin Ocellaris without red noses. I guess the juveniles have some red, but how can you know if the adults will become 100% black and white? 

 

I'd buy an adult pair if I could find them anywhere.    

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

The tanks first vertebrate inhabitant! This here is C3P0, our Midas Blenny.  Since the tank is located at the headquarters of our robotics company, we're going with a robot theme for naming 🙂.

 

As you can see, I've also managed to find some live rock, Whitecorals got some in last week, so that was a great bonus! Although it is not all good news. I think I'm having an algae and a bacterial bloom at the moment. So I have brown rocks and foggy water. Which I am trying figure out, although it is not easy and I'm a little lost so far, still trying my best to get it under control. Also, I managed to unwittingly buy carnivorous snails so my clean up crew is less than optimal for now. 

 

Step by step, learning as I go.   🤦‍♂️

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