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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone.
I am starting late with this journal as I just joined the forum but have had my tank since July.
But I'll at least start with the story of my tank up till now.

I have wanted a reef tank ever since I saw my cousins while I was visiting him in Calgary. I was mesmerized for a couple hours and right away bought a couple books on Marine Tanks.
A couple years later I randomly found out a friend of mine had the Biocube. After telling him how much I've been wanting a reef tank he tells me that it was actually his brothers who ended up not wanting it. My friend then took "care" of it for a year but was done with it. He talked to his brother then called me and asked if I wanted to take it, no cost!
Of course I said yes and now had a cycled and stocked Biocube 29.

I am sure many people know from experience that when you get a tank from someone who didn't really care about it, they are usually a LOT of work to get back into shape.
I had a general idea of what marine tanks required as maintenance and he had done none of it!
He would mix salt water, check it with a old hydrometer, pour it in the tank but not check the salinity after, only while mixing.
He didnt have ANY test kits, no light timers (his girlfriend would just randomly turn the lights on), no thermometer, the filter was rarely changed, sponge filter had never been cleaned, powerhead was caked in coraline algae and barely worked, the light bulbs were STOCK (2years old), neither cooling fans worked, moon lights were all burnt out, it had what looked like two HUGE dead toadstools, a fish was apparently "missing" and the hair algae was EVERYWHERE!

Here are some pics of what it looked like. 2013-07-23_18-18-35_979.jpg 2013-07-23_18-19-10_9.jpg 2013-07-23_18-18-51_549.jpg 2013-07-23_18-19-24_958.jpg 2013-07-23_18-19-32_993.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
After some research I was able to identify what was in the tank. There where a couple toadstools, finger leathers, a brain, mushroom, two frags of candy cane, and bubble coral. There was a Bangai Cardinal, Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse, Formosa Wrasse (juvenile), Blue Sapphire Damselfish and a Saddle Brown Clownfish.
The first thing I did was get some snails and hermits to start cleaning up the place. I bought some test kits and found pretty much every reading high! The phosphates and nitrates were through the roof and I think it had somthing to do with them feeding the tank Half a cube of mysis in the morning and the other half THAT evening!! It didnt take me long to figure out that was a huge factor to the problems in the tank.
There was also a Really bad infestation of aiptasia and was told that his girlfriend would just scrub them off with a tooth brush :confused:
I worked at getting the water to the correct salinity (that was also way off) and also started cleaning the hair algae off of the back wall where to my surprise I found another vent to the back chamber :O
The back wall literally looked like it was covered in shag carpet!
Right away I also installed two new cooling fans, new lights and cleaned the return pump and the powerhead.
 

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During that first week I was researching like mad and was happy to find out that these Biocubes are like a Honda Civic! Every mod imaginable has been done to them!!!
I followed some simple instructions on how to remove the bioballs as they can cause issues and also about how important it is to clean the back sponge (or get rid of it).
So I removed the back sponge and cleaned it. While putting it back it is didnt seem to sit well, so I grapped a flashlight to take a look. And can you guess what I saw? A fish right where the sponge goes!!!
I quickly look in the tank and count all the others, yup, they're all there! So I remove all the bioballs and the false floor and catch the little bugger. As it turns out my friend had bought this little guy (turned out to be a sixline wrasse, yes, another wrasse) a week before I took it and it had disappeared. He thought it had died and didn't even look for it! So now there are SIX fish in the tank, and that includes 3 wrasses!
So now there is this overstocked, overfed tank and all I am thinking is "what have I gotten myself into".
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Here's a little info about myself. I don't half a** anything! If I start a project I go all out!!! And this turned into a really Big project! But I had dedicated to it and wasn't going to back out!
I ended up doing the common things with biocubes such as remove the sponge, remove the bioballs, remove all the false floors, moved the heater into chamber 1, I removed all the moon lights (one was working) and made some new ones with better LEDs with a wider angle. I also got some plastic and made my own media rack for the second chamber (I like to build stuff and spent $20 on materials instead of buying the InTank, which are nice but pricey). I also spent probably hours adjusting the flow to try to get rid of the dead spots!

During those first couple weeks I also removed the two huge and pretty much dead toadstools and during every water change tried to remove some algae. The snails (a bunch of Astrea), some blue legged hermits and the halloween urchin were helping a lot with the algae and it was slowly getting cleaner.

I also noticed through general observation that the Formosa Wrasse was a big bully to All of the other fish. The Yellow banded (by now named Shy Guy) especially was beat up. I ended up removing the Formosa and trading him in at J&L.
For the first couple days everyone seems happy, then the Clownfish started picking on everyone, again mostly Shy Guy. So after a couple weeks I decided he had to go. The Formosa took me 5 minutes to catch with a net. The clown took 2 days! What helped was he was a pig and I was able to lure him with food ;) He was then traded in to J&L.
My fiance was kind of upset I was getting rid of the clown as she thought that Shy Guy was kinda ugly. But I didn't want any bully fish and wanted a nice peaceful tank.
So for a couple more weeks everything was peachy till the dreaded Sixline started doing his thing. If you have had a sixline, you know what I mean. That little guy was just Mean! He chased Everything and did not care one bit! It got to the point that Shy Guy was missing some scales and had a tear in his tail! And of course the pretty coloured sixline was her Favourite! So one day when she was at work I caught that little jerk and sold him! FINALLY I had a peaceful tank!

Here are some pics of the media basket and the new moonlights.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I think this novel is getting a little long so I will try to speed things ahead!
At J&Ls summer sale I picked up a hydor Nano for some more flow, a MJ 1200 to replace the stock pump, Line Loc fittings to split the return flow, some ChemiPure and Nitraguard, some more snails, hermits, cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, Porcelain crap and a Starry Blenny (named Burt). The peppermint took care of ALL the aiptasia in a couple nights :D the cleaner shrimp was doing a good job at getting scrap food and the Starry Blenny was great at entertaining guests ;)
The new return pump added a LOT of flow and the line loc worked great. After a couple more weeks (about two months after I got the tank), everything was looking Great!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Unfortunatly It hasnt been a easy journey. Some enhabinents have been lost on the way. Both shimp died, a couple hermits and the emerald. Our favourite Burt also disappeared and was never seen again :(
Most of this happened during a very stressful time for everyone which couldn't be avoided.
After vacuuming the sand bed a lot it was obvious that it was pretty much toxic! The amount of cr*p that was in that sand was amazing. Overfeeding and overstocked tank for years leads to that I guess.
Also all of the live rock was placed on the sand, not the bottom of the tank. So I ended up deciding that the best course of action was to completely replace all the sand. I also wanted to do a different rock scape as the current scape was terrible for coverage and flow.
I pulled everthing and everyone out of the tank and into buckets with heaters and power heads and then replaced all of the sand. I had already removed about half and put half the new sand in already and let it cycle for 3 weeks so It wasn't too much to get the rest out. I then rescaped and put everyone back in. After this is when a bunch of critters died. I checked all my levels and everything was ok. I think it was mostly the stress but in the long run it will be better for the whole tank!

I also sold the huge bubble coral and one frag of candy cane.

And now we are at the most current state. Plus a couple more things :bigsmile:
During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales I picked up a RapidLED DIY kit, a Hydro Slim Skim which is now in chamber 1, another MJ1200 for $8 (which I will be using with a filter sock to try to get rid of some the the detritus which I am having a difficult time removing), a Hydor Flo and some other little goodies.
The LED DIY took me a couple days to get installed but is now up and running. The Slim Skim is also in and running but I dont think its broken in yet. The Hydor Flo I think is Awesome and really adds some random flow without spending hundreds on controllers or powerheads.
I made a LED dimmer and have them at about 20% right now and a shorter light cycle. I have been slowly increasing them and will continue to. I looked into new light acclimation and the general rule is 3-4 weeks so thats what I have been doing.
I am now at a point that I want to start adding some new corals. I have been looking out for Zoas, Acans and either Frogspawn or Hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
There have been some cool things that have happened since I've taken over the tank.
I tried my hand at fragging some Mushroom corals which went well (they are pretty easy) and I ended up selling them :)
A random muscle came out of no where and is not happily planted on the highest rock.
I have TWO baby bubble corals growing where the large bubble use to be.
Where I cut the two dead looking toadstools off there are now about 18 growing :S Im not sure what I am going to do about these but will tackle that when they get a little bigger.
I found a Pistol Shrimp living in one of the rocks (his name is Ranger btw) and then there are all the other common awesome/amazing things that happen in reef tanks! I especially enjoy adding new shells for the hermits and watching them try on the new "digs" ;)

All in all its been an awesome journey so far and I love improving the tank and spending time on it.
Even my Dads dog can't get enough of it :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here are some photos I took before the LED lights. I just broke out the DSLR and have been experimenting with it.
BTW that poor hermit was being used as a disguise by Porky the Urchin. After taking the photo I rescued him ;)
 

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wow ok so great job !!!!!!!! you did realy well and if u ever get board of that brain i want it lol
number to almost pised my pants when i read aptisa being scrubed with a tooth brush that must be the most inifishant way to kill it cuz ever piee broken of startts a new aptisa
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I picked up a APC 1500 battery backup unit. With the recent snow and after reading some horror stories about power outages I decided it was a good investment!
I have the return pump hooked up to the battery and it will run for an extra 2.5-3 hours. I live in Burnaby so I'm not worried about outages being too long. And if I am there and awake for it I can turn in on and off every 15 minutes or so.

I also have the LED lights up to about 80% and the colours are looking GREAT! I can't wait to see the final colours :D
 

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Well I had a fun day yesterday. I managed to fry my stereo (which is in a corner near the tank) by getting saltwater on it. There were other things like a playstation, wireless router and external hard drive which all got slightly wet but are ok. The new battery backup also got wet and has turned on a "building wiring fault" led but the unit still seems to work fine. Of course this all happened 2 hours before I was going to be on a ferry to Victoria so I ended up unplugging the back-up and putting everything back on power bars just incase. I am now testing the back-up to make sure it works. It all happened with my own stupidity as I had a MJ1200 with a hose on it fly out of the tank and whip water around the room :S It reminded me of a time my Girlfriend came home to the tank 2/3 empty and water all over the floor as the return hose came off the back and sprayed out. I hope this is the last "situation" I have for a while!
 
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