Aqua's Late Start Reef Journal


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BRS Member
Alright, when I got back into the hobby last June I didn't set up a build journal. Kinda kicking myself for the laziness but there is no better time than now! I have begun dosing vodka so I figure why not start a log.

Getting up to speed:
This system started back in June of 2017.

June-November 2017
It began with a biocube 14 that I had from the hobby as my first tank back around 2012. It had some mods like the media basket, MJ 900 return pump, and a retrofit ecoxotic LEDs (I think now defunct?). Tank was set up via the help and guidance of Dong, who got me on page with what has changed in the hobby since my exit. Taking his advice I ditched the hood entirely and did not use those early gen LEDs which were "hot sh**" back in 2012. I opted to go hood-less with an AI nano LED. Tank was cycled and started with zoas and some LPS while I waited for the system to stabilize enough for SPS. Only fish then was an exquisite firefish who sadly passed last week (RIP). This tank matured and was stable soon becoming a mixed reef. I had had major problems with one rock, a reefsaver rock that must have been leeching phosphates and sillicates for months, SO MUCH ALGAE on this one rock, never to be controlled! So in my opinion, stay far away from reefsaver rocks! Another lesson learned: koralia nano powerheads SUCK. started with one, but changed to the Jebao PP-4, was quite happy with the Jebao.

Biocube 14 final stats:
AI Nano LED with controller
JBJ nano glo fuge light
MJ900 return pump
Jebao PP-4 set to 50% wave I
50w Ehiem Jager heater
media basket with floss and chemi-pure elite chaeto
1x week 50% water change (5gal)

How I dosed: Super sloppy and prob detrimental. by hand once a week. NaH2CO3 only (sorry calcium) weighed on balance and dumped all at once (I know this is stupid and prob did more harm than good!)

This little setup was great but like every other reefer I needed more room for my coral addiction! around September I began to plan my upgrade Pics of the old 14G setup :
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Tim- 2019 BRS President
BRS Member
Nice little set up you started with. Looking to add a new tank or swap out?

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BRS Member
Had to take a few days off due to the depression that superbowl LII caused...

Picking up where I left off:
So around September 2017 I was already planning to upgrade the tank. I wanted to go big now that I was fully back in the hobby, and wanted to do a brand new 45g JBJ rimless cube with a Hydra 26. This was a great idea over the summer when I was working full time and had money to burn, but that all changed when I decided to swap priorities and focus on college.
Now I was going to be only working part time and transitioning back to the broke student life, so the idea of a brand new dream build would have to wait. I got extremely lucky and found a modified biocube 29 with a reefkeeper lite and mp10 for sale here on the marketplace. It was pre-modified to be rimless and was bundled with 2 items on my want list. Perfect deal close to what I wanted and the right price for a student. This was in October during the peak of the semester when free time was extremely limited. So I picked up the tank and it sat until thanksgiving break when the transfer was scheduled.


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BRS Member
I had a week off of school and the transfer was going to go live. I had ordered a Tunze 9004 comline DC skimmer, Finnex 100W titanium heater, new temp and pH probes, and a cobalt MJ 1200 return pump. This was going to be my first tank with a skimmer so I was very excited to take my SPS care to the next level. With some good old dremmel modification, I was able to get the skimmer to fit into the middle chamber on the biocube (much better than it being in the display, and a much better skimmer than the 9001 that would have fit with no modification).

My goal was to create a stable SPS dominant mixed reef so via my coral guru, Dong, I was hoping to succeed with his advice and guidance. I was pretty stressed about the move but he assured me it would be fine. I did make the decision to totally ditch the problem reef saver rock, so I grabbed a few new rocks from Dong the day of the move.

The move went smooth (with a lot of water on the floor and several towels recruited) it was done. It took in total about 5 hours but damn was it worth it. I had everything I wanted except dosing pumps and the light. I looked on here for a Hydra 26 non HD for a good price but unfortunately nobody was selling. I decided to invest and get the Reefbreeders Photon V2, after seeing how successful Dong is with it. I am extremely happy so far. I ended up getting 2 BRS 1.1 ml dosing pumps from Bao and my setup was complete! (for now)

Now i'm pretty much caught up so the journal can begin!
Current Pics:
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Tim- 2019 BRS President
BRS Member
Nice wellso! And damn I am definitely doing something wrong . I can’t get sps polyps to extend like that!

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Chris A.

Formally toomanyfish
BRS Member
I run a mp10 at 45%
A pp4 at 75% and maxijet 1200 return on a biocube and I think I need more but the lps and softies are taking a beating as is


Well-Known Member
BRS Member
Been busy and haven't posted in a while, so let's change that!

Back chamber sump:

Chamber 1:
Finnex 100W titanium heater​
BRS double junction lab grade pH Probe​
Chamber 2:
Live Rock Rubble (handfull)​
JBJ nano-glo 4x1w fuge light​
Tunze comline 9004 DC skimmer​
Chamber 3:
Media: Bag w/ 4 tbsp BRS Rox .8 carbon & 2 Tbsp Seachem Phosguard​
Tunze osmolator nano float switch​
Cobalt MJ 1200 return pump​
Chamber 2 I had to dremmel out to get the 9004 to fit. you can see my work on the far rim. No media baskets just chaeto and some rubble free in the chamber.


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BRS Member
Some stuff I'm testing out this week, new MP10 settings. I usually use reef crest but im mixing it up to short pulse for some wave action. going to see how the corals like it Still doing 5g water change every week and changing the carbon every other week. I am not getting the best acro colors but I am getting good growth. Going to test out dosing acropower every day and see if that improves coral color.


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BRS Member
I need some input from anyone following this thread. I seem to be consuming tons of Alk right now i'm upto 1.1mL/min x 20 min of randy's 2 part per day so 22mL. what are other people dosing? is this on par with anyone else? My dKH is still dropping so I am not dosing at the consumption rate yet. Just tested it and its at 7.1 I aim to keep it around 8.2

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