I’ve been really bad about posting regularly. And because of it I can talk quite a bit about the progress since my last post.
Here is an animated gif of the aquarium now and two weeks ago:
I never got reply back from Oceanic about the failed ballast (very disappointed) , so I said, “screw it” and ordered ballast upgrade from Nanotuners. It required some re-wiring because I already had upgraded the lights to Nanotuners 3.24 50% more light, and the previous upgrade was designed for the stock ballast.
It was not all that difficult, except I had to contact Nanotuners about instructions for installation, because they don’t have one in case you already have installed the previous light upgrade. BUT, they were really nice and replied me right away with text instructions.
Nanotuners – thumbs up;
Oceanic – thumbs down;
It’s one month and one week since I started the tank and the tank has been doing great so far.
I had to bring the calcium level from 280-420. I did that by adding 20ppm Calcium Sera Marin daily and also testing PH and KH as well.
Well I brought the calcium level to the desired level, but the alkalinity dropped slightly to between 6-7KH. So I just added slightly less than 1/4 of a tea spoon Pure baking soda Arm&Hammer. I diluted it in some distilled water and added it to the aquarium. That raised the alkalinity +1KH.
The rest of the test are great. No traces of Ammonia, Phosphates, or Nitrates.
Last week Peppermint shrimp was added to finish off the Aipstasia. Well, the Aipstasia is still alive, but very hesitant to come out. I suppose “Patty” has been nipping at it. He/She was really shy at first and hiding behind the rocks, but now he/she is all over the place.
This week there was 3 new addition to the tank.
Yellow Clown Goby, Branching Hammer Coral and Xenia. The goby is adorable, like the peppermint shrimp, he was shy and hiding at first, now he perches on the top rock and hunts tiny stuff that swim by. It’s fun watching him when I put mysis shrimp in the tank.
The rest of the crew are doing fine, the two hermits are funny when fighting over an empty shell that is a lot smaller than what they own. I made sure there are plenty empty shells around so no shell snatching happens.
I haven’t posted for a while about my progress. I’ve been adding 20ppm Calcium everyday while monitoring the KH and the PH. So far so good, I’ve managed to bring the calcium from 280 to 340 and the Alkalinity has stayed between 7-8KH and the PH around 8.2 and 8.4 at 8pm. Another 4-5 days of calcium dosing and I will be in the desired level 420.
It’s 24 day and the Nitrates have been zero for quite some time and also the Phosphates are undetectable.
There was new addition to the Clean Up Crew:
1 Fancy Nassarius
1 Tri-color Tonga Hermit
After some researching I found out that the Margarita snails were more of a temperate water inhabitants and they are found from Baja to Alaska. They live around a month in a tropical aquarium. So they got acclimated in the bay next door and let them live in more temperate water than my 80F Nano-Reef.
So the total of the CUC for now is:
2 Fancy Nassarius
2 Trochus (my favorite)
1 Scarlet Hermit
1 Tri-Color Tonga Hermit
1 Emerald Crab
I wanted to add peppermint shrimp, but the LFS were out of them. I still want to get hold of some Nerites to create more bio-diversity in the CUC.
Equipment wise, one of my balast for the Actinic lights just stopped working. I’ve emailed Oceanic on saturday and I haven’t recieved any emails from them yet. I will give them few more days.
As it turnes out, the ballast failure happens to many BioCube owners. Sooooo I went and ordered the nano-tuners ballast upgrade, because I don’t want to deal with ballasts quiting on me.
Also the Coralife Power Center timer turned out to be junk. One of the dials would get stuck and thats unacceptable. So now the lights run on digital timers from a hardware store.
I am glad that I played it slow (its day 24) and I haven’t added any fish or corals yet. I want the tank the be as stable as it can get. Also I had time to learn more about properly maintaining the tank, whether is changing water, correcting values, acclimating critters and being able to react fast in case something goes out of whack.
I did Alkalinity and Calcium testing these couple of days. My KH is in normal range 7-8KH, but the Calcium level has been rather low 280-300ppm.
I’ve been reading this article Solving Calcium and Alkalinity Problems so I can get my head around it. It turns out my tank is in Zone 3 according to the article. Since normal level of calcium in salt water tank is between 400-450ppm and KH between 7-11, I have to add calcium chloride only and no more than 20ppm daily in order to bring it to normal level.
The local LFS recommended Sera Marin liquid Calcium, so I’ve been putting half a cap full every night. I add it by dripping it slowly where the pump exhaust is, that way it gets dispersed equally.
During the calcium dosing the KH can drop because the calcium and the KH are linked. I will be testing both every day during dosing so i can monitor the KH closely, as well the PH.
I decided to coax out the Nassarius today. Just to make sure he was alive🙂 I turned off the pumps and I dropped one tiny piece of uncooked shrimp. Uncooked is very important since you don’t want to contaminated the tank with some preservatives that cooked shrimp has.
Anyhow, I placed the shrimp close to his trunk (hence the name Dumbo) and after a couple of moments he emerged from the sand!!! It was so sweet, the Nass are so beautiful, so he circled once around it and swallowed the piece in one gulp.
Finally I was able to take pictures of him, since he spends all the time under the sand.