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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to the assistance of all of you, I finally made the leap!

I found a used 29 Gallon Coralife BioCube.

Upgrades
-RapidLED Coralife Biocube 29 Retrofit Kit (24 LED) (non-dimmable)
-Coralife S-1000 265GPH Pump

I brought it home along with some established aquarium water (parameters checked good per LFS), live rock and live sand from previous owner.

I completely emptied the aquarium and cleaned it for 4+ hours (ugh).
*Before and after photo's shown

I now have two 5 gallon buckets with previous owner's water along with his live rock combined with some of my dead rock in one and my dead rock combined with some of his live sand in another. Hoping everything will still be alive and useful by the time I get my SpectraPure RODI unit that is on order. Thinking I should have it by late this week/early next week.

I pulled all of the bioballs out of the back and plan to just use live rock rubble in it's place. Perhaps a skimmer eventually, I am still learning about this.. (Advice?)

I purchased CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade sand & 20 pounds of CaribSea South Seas Base Rock from DrsFosterSmith that will be going into the tank with a couple pieces of previous owners live rock. (I will not be using his sand because it is very fine.) Although I have been throwing the idea around about purchasing a bag of the Fiji Pink Carib Sand and mixing some in with the Special Grade. Just not sure how it will look or if that will be too much sand.. I will know more once I lay the 20 pounds of Special Grade down.

Previous owner spliced into the Coralife wiring with the RapidLED wiring and the standard light switches on the top of the aquarium no longer work. I don't know if this is usually the case or not but I have to physically plug and unplug the 2 LED light power cords to turn them off/on. Suggestions on making this easier? (Dual timer is the only thing I can think of.)

I look forward to the continued assistance that I have and will receive on this board!

Please follow me on my new adventure!.. :wavey:







 

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zacharY
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Sounds like you know what you're doing and you're off to a good start. I'll just give my $.02. There's only potential problem I see with your plan. The problem with bio balls is that they're nutrient factories (and you're right to remove 'em). However, live rock rubble will do the same thing. It'd be easier for you to just leave nothing in this chamber (excluding a skimmer). If you haven't seen it already, I'd suggest you read the Reefkeeping Made Easy thread - it's a long read, but it'll tell you exactly how our tanks function and make biological and chemical processes much less magical. I'd suggest using just enough sand to cover the bottom of the tank. Any more and you may not be able to easily remove all the detritus in your tank. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have read the "long read"... lol.. And that combined with everyone's forum posts is where I am trying to get all of my knowledge and fit it all into a 29 gallon cube tank.. lol..

So your saying, no filter media, nothing in the filter chamber including bioballs and/or live rock.. But... Get a skimmer? I have heard good and bad things about a skimmer so I wasn't sure where to go with it.. Especially since I have an all in one, I am limited in regards to skimmers.
 

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zacharY
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I have read the "long read"... lol.. And that combined with everyone's forum posts is where I am trying to get all of my knowledge and fit it all into a 29 gallon cube tank.. lol..

So your saying, no filter media, nothing in the filter chamber including bioballs and/or live rock.. But... Get a skimmer? I have heard good and bad things about a skimmer so I wasn't sure where to go with it.. Especially since I have an all in one, I am limited in regards to skimmers.
What have you heard about skimmers? Unless you've seen one in real life, it's difficult to understand how it works. Basically it takes in water from your tank, and after this water goes into the skimmer's chamber it mixes with a bunch of bubbles. The surface tension of the bubbles allows detritus and organic materials to stick to the bubbles, removing the detritus and biological materials from the water column. The bubbles float and pop over the collection cup while the cleaned water returns to the tank. On a tank as small as a 29 gallon, a protein skimmer isn't necessary because a tank this small is pretty easily cleaned just by a person wo a skimmer' help. But skimmers are generally needed on bigger tanks because most of them aren't easily cleaned by a person alone. I have a skimmer on my 29 gallon not because I need it, but because my tank is just that much cleaner with it. I have a Reef Octopus BH-1000 and I'm very pleased with it.

EDIT:
Yep that's exactly what I'm saying. The "long read" pretty much explains why. Lol. What plans do you have for this tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Skimmers.. I have heard that there is a break in period. Some people never seem to get them broken in or to work.. lol..

I have never seen one in person. I plan on doing weekly water changes and of course wouldn't mind having a skimmer but right now it's not in the "budget". I will also siphon the sand during water changes just to get the gunk out.

As for plans for the tank.. I have a few things picked out..

I would like some Zoa's, a nem for my 2 clown fish, a spotted tail blenny and a shrimp pal, and a hand full of other "friendly" fish. And any other cool coral type of stuff.. :) I have a lot of patience so I will be doing this ALL SLOWLY..
 

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Jabberwocky
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Congrats on the tank!

I'd skip the bioballs and LR rubble in the chamber too. Also, there's no merit in "established" aquarium water; the LFS is charging people for used water. :(
 

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i would put the skimmer in the middle chamber. do not put in the old sand. if you plan on any sps you may want a mp10 or a cheaper nano sized powerhead for more flow. with a tank that size i would but all established live rock, it takes some time for base rock to get established and since you wont need a ton i would just get a few pieces of established LR if it was me but thats just my opinion. As for the lights i would put them on a timer.
 

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protein skimmers

There are several protein skimmers available for nano tanks now. I have Biocube 29 as well (though it is the Oceanic before they sold it) I'm using the Hydor "Slim Skim Nano" which is working great for me though it is a very tight fit in the middle chamber (takes about 1/3rd the width of the chamber but is tight between the back wall and the display tank separator wall.) There are others that I'm sure are very worthy too. Just avoid the one "built" for the Biocube. That was junk.

Here is an example of the one I mentioned, but look around for nano skimmers wherever you prefer to shop:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4392+23714&pcatid=23714
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Shane, seems like I am getting the same advice from everyone which is, don't put filter matter in the rear chamber.. lol.. Sounds good to me!! It was a pain to get out!.. heh.. And no the LFS didn't charge me for "established" water.. I brought some in that was in the tank prior to me taking it apart and cleaning it. Figured it I put some of it in with my fresh RODI water it would help the cycle along. But I wanted to bring it to LFS to test it prior to dumping it in my tank. :)

I do no plan on putting in any "old live sand" that was in the tank. I will put in the fresh live sand that I just purchased from drsfostersmith. Although I did purchase 20 pounds of dry rock so I do want to use it. lol

Spockster.. Good to know there are those out there that fit our tanks, work well and won't completely break the bank. I was definitely going to avoid the $30 built for the biocube skimmer.. lol..
 

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using the dry rock is fine. just give it time to establish. i started with a biocude and had a tunzen skimmer (dont remember the spelling) it worked great. i would invest in one of the good skimmers for it!
 

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Toyotaholic
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I would look into a controller to run the leds, if you don't want to go that route, simple timers will work. Something like the Typhoon, or DIM4 depending on whether the drivers are "P" or "D" versions.

I would highly recommend you run a skimmer in conjunction with one of these in the center chamber. Skip the rubble.

I run both things I have mentioned on my cube and they have been working great. I have been running filter pad in the top section of my tower, a packet of Purigen in the second, and a bag of Chemipure in the bottom. I change the filter pad weekly when I do a water change.

I actually have a extra media rack I could sell you if you're interested.

I run a Tunze 9002 skimmer and it has been working great too!
 

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zacharY
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Hey Inocense -

I'm on day 8 of a Coralife Biocube 29 and I followed these videos regarding modifying the filter and adding a skimmer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiVLwVVbXQ4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2ruhL0ja7w and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWJ2nRCQjxI

For whatever there worth thought I'd share...good luck on your cube!
I would recommend completely removing any filters. In saltwater, the live rock is your filter. Any additional filters (unless cleaned daily) will become nutrient factories (as they're designed to do). Filters are OK for a FOWLR setup but not a reef. For more info, I'll again recommend the Reef Keeping Made Easy thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Offroad, thanks for all the info.. I am gonna try to see how things set up and go with the no filter method first I think to save on $$ and maintenance initially. Once I get things going I will see where things are with the tank and I will talk more to you about your set up.

Yrahcaz... lol.. Reef Keeping Made Easy.. The Holy Bible!.. I know!.. lol.. And initially this is what I wanted to do.. Live rock only.. No filters to mess with, clean, drip all over, crap build up, etc.. So yes, I am going to start the tank off with no initial filter and work my way around things from there.. I just don't like the idea of additional media in my tank but I am not opposed to a skimmer, so something to look into in the future from everyone's great recommendations!.. :)

I plan to do religious water changes each week so I am hoping that will keep all the ucky stuff at bay!..
 

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The tank cleaned up nice. Congrats! It seems like you have the one thing that pays off in this hobby... Patience. A lot of good advise above. Combine that with what you have and it should end up the way you want it.

If you plan on weekly water changes you can get by without a skimmer, but when you have the funds I would advise on picking one up. There are a lot of good reviews on this site on skimmers and a lot of well established experts in that field. You will get to a point where the protien film on the surface will just bug the heck out of you. A skimmer will reduce if not eliminate the film.

Tagging along for the build.
 

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Oh and yes get a dual timer for your lights. Later you can go back to Rapind and look into different drivers to dim or hook up to a controller to creat a dusk to dawn format.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
lol.. Thanks OHBA! I will definitely look into a skimmer! And I will pick up a dual timer.. Great idea with the controller/driver.. Big $$ though!.. lol..
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Alright.. I didn't forget about you guys!... My RODI unit got held up because of the big winter storm that turned Chicago into a giant snow ball and then UPS decided that I lived somewhere else and delivered it to the wrong address.. Sooooooooo....

I did the pre-maintenance on the SpectraPure unit last night and within no time I was running water through it. 150 on TDS meter out of tap, 008 on TDS meter through RO and 0 TDS all the way through RODI!.. :) I am pretty happy with that!..

Although I did find out that my water pressure is less than optimal but I am still within the "green" on the pressure gauge. Gauge is at about 40-42 which means I am not pushing as much water out of the system, not as efficient. But I am not willing to spend another $130 on a booster pump, so 40-42 it's going to be!

I made about 4 gallons last night (sloooowwww process) and I have to get some teflon tape because my faucet is leaking a bit while it runs through.

There ya have it! An update, not much of one, but an update... :p

Oh, and I have been fighting with this whole DI bypass valve thing and finding the correct parts, etc. So in the meantime I am just going to pull the DI filter out and put the housing back on to run creep out of unit prior to use and/or for drinking water use. I ended up e-mailing Spectra tech support to make sure this was ok. They said it was fine as long as I don't allow the DI membrane to dry out. So for those of you who don't want to slice and dice your RODI tubing or just plain don't know how, removal of the DI membrane is another option... :) (in the long run I would like to create the valve)

In the meantime my live and dead rock is still in 5 gallon buckets with a circulation pump. My live rock doesn't look too good as it is starting to turn white and my pump is covered in white stuff also. As soon as I make enough RODI I will rinse the rock (not in tap) and start placing it in the tank along with my new live fresh sand.
 

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Your rock is turning white from the coraline algae is starting to die off. Not an issue you need to worry about. It comes back when the tank parameters start to stabilize.

Congrats on the RO/DI. Makes reefing a lot easier. If you want to keep the rock live you might want to rinse it with salt water. Rinsing it with RO might kill off some of the bacteria.

I don't miss Chicago in January! Won't go back unless the grass is green and the Cubs are playing...
 
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