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Just launched my channel where I’ll be posting my progress with the BioCube16 with a focus on Beginner Tips. Feel free to Subscribe to follow-along and interact in the comments on YouTube! The tank is 3 months old. However, the series will start from day 0, before adding salt. First video is an intro. Planning to do a 5-10min review of the BioCube16 soon and will follow with all of the steps of aquascaping, cycling, & stocking the tank. Intro Video:
So, I have been think on starting a new post for some time on the trials and tribulations of a new to the hobby person (like me) starting their first tank. I think I'll break it into sections so that it doesn't turn into a novel. The first part will be prior to buying any livestock (corals, fish, or invertebrates). This was also before I new about or joined INDMAS. Last July, my wonderful wife decided to surprise me by purchasing a 120G tank and stand from Tanknovice (he was selling it since he had just upgraded to a 220G tank). We came back from our July 4th annual vacation to the Lake of the Ozarks and there was the stand in my basement! What a great surprise! Tanknovice was nice enough to put a new coat of paint on it and deliver it to me while we were gone. Once we coordinated the placement of the tank we put the tank on top of it, weighted it down since it was placed on a carpet, made sure it was level, and started reading up on this hobby. After a couple of books and articles, I was ready to start...wait...what did they say about patience? Oh, never mind let's get this party started!!! Fortunately, it is good to have a friend like Tanknovice that is already into the hobby. He was also great in including a lot of equipment in the transaction that he had used for his setup (lights, heater, pumps, etc). He also let me borrow the sump/refugium, skimmer, return pump/lines, and overflow box until I purchased my own. Since this was a surprise, I did not have any of this and my wife and I did not know about the additional costs of all of that equipment....oops! So with my head full of knowledge and lots of ideas, I assured my wife that it wouldn't be that bad and we could take our time purchasing those items a little at a time. Okay, so now I need sand (would like a deep bed for a reef per the books I read). Purchased a couple of bags and had some of the sand that was in the tank previously as well. Good advice from tanknovice, don't put too much sand in at first so that you can place the rock on the bottom of the tank. Then when you get animals that like to dig you don't have to worry about your rockscaping falling over and causing damage as they tunnel under your rocks. He also recommended lining the bottom of the stand in plastic in case of the sump overflowing. That will keep the water in the bottom of the tank stand and not on the carpet. You can then use a shop vac to get the water out. Great advice...overflowed twice. Once it did get on the carpet since I had set some plexiglass down that pushed the edge of the plastic sheet down and allowed the water to flow right out on to the carpet...nice. Now for the "live" rock. It costs how much?! $4 to $9+ a pound and it is recommended to have 1lb of live rock for every gallon of water?! Gulp! That's $500 to $1,000+ for rocks! So I decided that I would do half live rock and half dead rock to keep the costs down. Overall it worked, but it takes awhile for the dead rock to become "live" again. I couldn't get the live rock until I put water in the tank. With Tanknovice's help we set up the overflow, sump, return, heater, and lights. Off to Uncle Bill's...10 minutes from my house which is cool. Salt water, 125G at 1.25 a gallon plus a ridiculous amount of a refundable deposit on each 5 gallon container. 25 five gallon containers cost $170.00 after taxes! Plus refundable deposit, close to $500.00. Ok, couple of trips back and forth and all 25 containers were in the basement waiting for the rock to arrive (dead rock by mail and live rock from premium aquatics). The rock arrived and I started setting up my tank. So this is the beginning of how I wished I had more patience. I wish I would have taken more time drawing out how I wanted my tank to look. I basically drew out what I thought would look good and purchased a bunch of rocks of various shapes and sizes. Well, round hole square peg, let's just see what we can do. Not bad. Time for more water. Yes, you experts will know. I did not need to pour in 125 gallons of water since the sand and rock displaces a lot of it. So, put more rock in, bail out water as the level increases. Time for more sand...same thing. Time to take water back out due to displacement. *Note to self: next time fill tank half way then work with rock and sand and add water as needed. Alright!!! Water is in, sand is sandy, rock is rocky (half live/half dead), light is lighting, timers are timing, and overflow/sump/return all working! Now we just have to wait for it to cycle. Yes, that dreaded patience thing again... I am not good at that. In the meantime, I did get to enjoy watching the tank come to life before my eyes. Now I know what "live" rock is. Holy cow that is a lot of stuff living in those rocks!! No, I did not dip them...who has the patience for that? However, it was great watching those little star fish, snails, and other critters start populating the tank. I was lucky that I did not get anything bad from the live rock. I do laugh now as I look back remembering being glued to the tank with a flash light at night to watch all the critters in there. LOL! I still do but now with even better critters! Well, now it was time to wait and let the tank do it's thing for a while and I think I will end this part here. In the meantime, there are some pics that I loaded into my gallery last year. http://s304.photobucket.com/user/Petesfolly/slideshow/Mobile%20Uploads/Newbie%20starting%20a%20reef%20tank