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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,
I've been a reefer for about 5 years but had to take a 4 year break from the hobby since I was moving around a lot for work. I finally decided to jump back in, so i got the 29g biocube. I am currently still in the cycle stage (on week 4) and I've decided to let my tank cycle for 8 weeks since I only used 16lbs live rock and ~20 lbs of base rock.

This is the first time I've only used partial live rock so I'm unsure if 8 weeks is enough. Any feedback about this would be appreciated. Also I only used 10lbs of live sand, which I laid down first, then the rest of the sand was dry. (if this makes a difference )

Here's a recent picture of my aquarium

I ran the lights 9 hours a day for the first 2 weeks of the cycle untill a huge bloom of hair algae covered my tank so I kept the lights off for 4 days (because I read somewhere lights should be off during a cycle). I then decided to give my aquarium 4 hours of light a day so I don't kill off what little coraline algae I have. The hair algae has died down a lot but It's starting to cover the back wall of my aquarium and I'm a bit worried this problem will only get worse. Is there anything I can do now to prevent the spread of hair algae without keeping the lights off?
I knew to expect an algae bloom, but I just didn't expect the hair algae. I thought there would be the brown film diatom algae and maybe some green algae on the glass here and there.
pictures of hair algae:
- on some rock
- on the back of tank

Also I found a little starfish that I've never seen before and want to find out if he is reef safe or not. So if anyone can ID this little guy id be very grateful.
pictures of lil starfish guy:
- Blurry taken from above looking into water
- Still blurry, better angle


I've built a little cave with the rock I bought for my aquarium and some build up of blackish gray particles has gathered on the sand under the cave. Is this detritus? I have just the return pump now (which is a POS, need to get a stronger one) and a 245gph power head, which I use to help water flow completely around the rock structure, right now. Do you think a small power head aimed towards the cave would clear it up?
Picture of build up: Icky



Lastly I saw a little snowflake eel at my LFS and I wanted to ask the community here if this is something that would do well in a 29g reef aquarium. Would he/her eat my other fish? and how big do they get? If they stay around 8 inches I think he'd be perfect. Will he produce too much bioload for my little aquarium?
SNOWFLAKE EEL (soo cute! I don't have one yet I just wanted everyone to see a picture of one): Edgar Snow of Flake Isle


Oh one more thing. what are these bubbles in my sand is this normal? Weird bubbles n stuff



Thank you for reading this huge wall of all my nonsense and questions. If you've made it down to this last bit I appreciate you very much for being of service.


I Love my new aquarium




EDIT: one last thing. I'm interested in placing a nano sump in the stand of my aquarium, but I'm not sure where to start. It seems as though I'm going to have to build my own but I'm not sure How I should design it to prevent flooding if a power outage ever occurs. I'm scared to drill a hole in my aquarium so I think using an HOB overflow box will have to do, so are there any of these HOB boxes designed to resume their role once the power comes back on?
(I have CAD software so making my designs should be a breeze, I just don't know where to begin. if I do make my own is there a place I can order glass with custom dimensions? and what should I use to glue it all together?)



in case anyone needs to know my setup is a 29 gallon biocube, aprox 34lbs rock, 26lbs of sand. 500gph water flow (total), Lee's small protein skimmer, and I only have about 7 little hermit crabs at the moment.
 

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I'm thinking that your live rock has ample amounts of phosphate. Is the rock right out of another tank? That is what is causing the HA to grow. Also the little star fish must have come with your LR. Can't really ID it, though it looks blue. I would not lose any sleep over it's presence in the tank.

A snowflake won't bother fish or coral, but may snack out on a snail or crab. Your 29g is too small for a long term commitment with this eel. We had one in a 55g that did well, though he never got all that big. I saw one that a fellow brought to a LFS....he was tearing down his system. The SFE ws ~2' long, but 2-3" in diameter. Obviously one wouldn't grow that large in your tank. If you really want one, ask your LFS if you can bring it back when it gets too big for your tank.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm thinking that your live rock has ample amounts of phosphate. Is the rock right out of another tank? That is what is causing the HA to grow. Also the little star fish must have come with your LR. Can't really ID it, though it looks blue. I would not lose any sleep over it's presence in the tank.

A snowflake won't bother fish or coral, but may snack out on a snail or crab. Your 29g is too small for a long term commitment with this eel. We had one in a 55g that did well, though he never got all that big. I saw one that a fellow brought to a LFS....he was tearing down his system. The SFE ws ~2' long, but 2-3" in diameter. Obviously one wouldn't grow that large in your tank. If you really want one, ask your LFS if you can bring it back when it gets too big for your tank.

HTH
thanks for your response. I think I'll hold off on the snowflake. I'll get too emotionally attached to have to give him away lol. I have another question you may be able to answer. The dry rock I used in my aquarium isn't very porous, or porous at all for that matter. Is this an issue?
 

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I checked out your rock work . Very Nice!

Tonga rock doesn't seem to be as porous s other rock. Your bottom pieces appear to be plenty porous. Pieces that appear to be least porous could be placed where they're feel a strong flow from powerhead. This opposed to inside were they'd be buried or insulated from flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I checked out your rock work . Very Nice!

Tonga rock doesn't seem to be as porous s other rock. Your bottom pieces appear to be plenty porous. Pieces that appear to be least porous could be placed where they're feel a strong flow from powerhead. This opposed to inside were they'd be buried or insulated from flow.
Thanks! It was quite the process to get it the way I wanted. I kept having to go back to the LFS store to buy certain shaped rocks to make it all fit. The only issue I have is that the rock isn't epoxied together. I'm afraid I might collapse the structure during a water change or something. Do you know of anything I can use while its in the water that won't harm the animals?

Also you could probably see that the water flow is minimal where the cave is in the rocks. I'm already getting some detritus build up on the sand there. Should I get another powerhead aimed through the cave to clear it all out and to make sure no build up happens?
 

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Yes on the powerhead.....try to eliminate dead spots.....keep the waste in suspension until it can be exported to filter or skimmer.

There are glue sticks that are reef safe. You can glue your rocks without harm to fish or corals. I've had limited success with the glue sticks. On porous rock it will grip better. Smooth rock may need larger amounts that you cut off a stick of glue and knead to mix the resin and hardner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes on the powerhead.....try to eliminate dead spots.....keep the waste in suspension until it can be exported to filter or skimmer.

There are glue sticks that are reef safe. You can glue your rocks without harm to fish or corals. I've had limited success with the glue sticks. On porous rock it will grip better. Smooth rock may need larger amounts that you cut off a stick of glue and knead to mix the resin and hardner.
I've seen the sticks you are talking about. I tried using it but it just didn't want to harden while in the water. I've personally never epoxied my rock together in my previous aquariums so I might just go without. The structure is fragile, but it won't collapse without major disturbance.

How long do you think I should cycle the tank? I only used 15lbs live rock and 10lbs of live sand, the rest is all dry (20lbs rock and 15ish lbs of sand). I estimated 8 weeks, but I'm still not certain if this is long enough for all the bacteria to colonize everywhere.
 

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There is no timeline to cycling a tank. The tank is ready when it can convert ammonia and nitrite and the only way to know when that is, is to feed your tank with an ammonia source to build up the necessary bacteria and to use a test kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There is no timeline to cycling a tank. The tank is ready when it can convert ammonia and nitrite and the only way to know when that is, is to feed your tank with an ammonia source to build up the necessary bacteria and to use a test kit.
what test kit do you recommend?
 

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For ammonia nitrite and nitrate on the cycle API will work just find and are cheap. If you plan to keep corals you will need to upgrade.
Red sea makes some good tests i have heard. I use hanna for Phosphate because i am color blind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For ammonia nitrite and nitrate on the cycle API will work just find and are cheap. If you plan to keep corals you will need to upgrade.
Red sea makes some good tests i have heard. I use hanna for Phosphate because i am color blind.
Yeah, I'n this aquarium I want to stay away from fast growing soft corals and have plenty of stony polyp corals, and I really want a gorgonia stick coral. my last aquarium had one and he did amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
There is no timeline to cycling a tank. The tank is ready when it can convert ammonia and nitrite and the only way to know when that is, is to feed your tank with an ammonia source to build up the necessary bacteria and to use a test kit.
The hair algae that was on the back of my tank is literally disappearing. Its been two days since my post and it has almost completely vanished. Is this a good indication that my tank is cycling well?
 
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