29-Gallon Biocube Journal
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:45 AM   #1
kcrossley
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29-Gallon Biocube Journal


Okay, here we go. My first post in my new tank journal. Let's start with a little background, and I know this will sound absolutely crazy.

My story begins with a single red Betta fish. On Christmas 2008, my 18 year old son was given a 1-gallon fish tank. A few months after receiving it, he decided he wanted a Betta fish. Like most kids, the first few months were fine. As time went on he lost interest. The bi-weekly water changes became bi-monthly. There were times when the betta wouldn't be fed for several days. Occasionally, my wife and I would clean the tank and feed the fish, but things were getting progressively worse.

We decided to teach Anthony a lesson by forcing him to own up to his responsibilities. That didn't work. It seemed he had time for everything else, except this small fish. When it became clear to us that Anthony wasn't going to take responsibility, we seized control of the Betta and moved him from a dimly lit bedroom to a much brighter kitchen. Within a few days, the Betta became much more active and slowly regained his brilliant red color.

In the weeks that followed, my wife and I talked about what it must be like to live in such a small space with no furniture or companionship. In human terms a 1-gallon tank was probably like a 8' x 8' room. We finally decided to get the Betta a new home, and a few friends. We began looking at a 3-gallon Eclipse. When we learned the 1" of fish to 1-gallon of water rule we decided to get a larger tank, partly because of all the beautiful fish we saw at our LFS.

In a span of about a week we went from looking at a 3-gallon, to a 6-gallon, to a 12-gallon tank, and finally settled on a 29-gallon model. But after we saw the price, especially for a setup that would allow us to grow plants, it was clear that wasn't going to happen. After realizing we would probably have to buy a 6 or 12-gallon tank with no stand, I decided to check craigslist. Miraculously, I found and ad for a 29-Gallon Bio-Cube with stand, the same one that was going for $450 new at Foster & Smith. The ad was only about 2 hours old and was placed early Sunday morning.

The asking price was $100. I quickly emailed the seller to see if it was available. Later that day, my wife and I drove to the seller's home to inspect the Biocube. When we arrived we discovered that it had been used as a marine tank and had dried coral and salt all over it. The filtration system was covered in thick coral and the tank was filled with muck. The fans weren't working either, but structurally the tank seemed to be in pretty good shape. It was going to need a lot of work though.

My wife and I purchased the tank and spent the last week cleaning it. We removed nearly all of the coral thanks to member recommendations. We repaired the fans and ordered (1) 10,000K and (1) 6,700 K bulb to replace the actinic bulbs, again thanks to help from forum members. Today, we began receiving some of the stuff we needed to setup the tank, including Eco-complete, a Theo heater, a piece of Mopani driftwood, a digital thermometer, a gardening tool, fish food, a test strip kit, and a few other items.

So that's the background and here's where we are. I'd like to thank all the members who have helped educate, entertain, and advise me, and I look forward to sharing some of my aquatic adventures with you, so fasten your seat belts folks. Here we go...

Kelly

Last edited by kcrossley; 09-11-2010 at 02:15 AM..
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:04 AM   #2
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As I mentioned in my first post, earlier today we received a beautiful piece of Mopani driftwood. We were going to boil it to bemove the tannins, but it wouldn't fit in our largest stock pot. My wife spent all afternoon boiling water and pouring it into a 5-gallon bucket to help clean the driftwood.

We basically placed the driftwood in a 5-gallon bucket, poured boiling water over it until the bucket was full, placed a lid on top of the bucket and let it soak for 2 hours at a time, then repeated the process. I believe we're now on the fourth bucket of boiling water. BTW, above the bucket you can see the betta in his 1-gallon tank.



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Old 03-05-2010, 06:06 AM   #3
TwFG2
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So the betta will now live in a 28 gallon tank? Big upgrade from a 1 gallon.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:10 AM   #4
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Okay, here are a few photos of the tank after it was cleaned. As you can see, the only problem is the plastic back. Although the vinegar and water removed most of the salt and coral from the tank, the back is still stained, which looks pretty bad to me. When you add water it's not quite as bad, but it's still noticeable.


Last edited by kcrossley; 03-22-2010 at 11:59 PM..
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwFG2 View Post
So the betta will now live in a 28 gallon tank? Big upgrade from a 1 gallon.
Yes, the betta will be hitting the lottery very soon. Our plan is to landscape the tank tomorrow night, add the plants and DIY CO2, and let the tank acclimate for about a week. Next, we'll add a few "betta compatible" fish to the new tank, give it a few more days, then introduce the betta. BTW, the reason we're adding the other fish to the new tank first is we think the betta will be less aggressive if he thinks he's in somebody else's tank.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:14 AM   #6
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Here's the list of plants we ordered from aquariumplants.com. They should be arriving tomorrow via FedEx. I'm beginning to think we purchased too many. The Biocube is a very tall tank and is only about 20" wide. We'll see tomorrow.

Background
(4) Bacopa Carolinas
(3) Rotala Roundifolis
(1) Tiger Lotus (centerpiece plant)

On Driftwood
(1) Anubias Barteri Nana

Mid-ground
(3) Walkerii Crypts

Left Foreground
(10) Dwarf Subulatas

Right Foreground
(5) Dwarf Baby Tears

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Old 03-05-2010, 06:16 AM   #7
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I'm thinking we might be able to hide the discolored plastic with some taller background plants. I know the Bacopa and Rotala will reach that height, but that will probably take a few months. What do you think about adding a few larger Amazon Swords to hide the faded plastic?
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:18 AM   #8
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Here's a shot of the driftwood after the third bucket of boiling water and eight hours later. Man, this is a slow process.


Last edited by kcrossley; 03-23-2010 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:11 AM   #9
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Looking Great! What a fantastic deal on a biocube!!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:32 AM   #10
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I think a moss wall is the answer to the stained back of your biocube.

tom
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:26 PM   #11
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That's an interesting idea. How would I pull that off?
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:35 PM   #12
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I'm jealous. I love those tanks and saw the ad on CL also...but I'm in NOVA and it was a 3hour drive for me!

I have a 120g that I had set up on a reef for 5+ years, last Sept I converted it to a planted tank. Does the back of your cube still have coraline deposits on it? The back of my tank had purple coraline algae all over the black plastic overflows. The purple surface came off leaving a white deposit film. I got the white deposits off my overflows by soaking the tank in vinegar overnight, lowering the water slowly as I scraped off the deposits using a painters tool. It's basically a scraper with a sharp edge. Using that tool and keeping the area you are scraping in water was the key. After I was done getting the deposits off, the black plastic overflows were lighter on some spots, but more grey looking, def not white.

I had the same senerio with one of my yungins and a betta. I ended up buying the 3g eclilpse for him, and he's been living there for over a year. I wouldn't put a betta in a tank with any other fish. Their long fins attract most fish to nip at them. In my experience they end up dying w/in a couple of months.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:46 PM   #13
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Wow, small world.

I soaked the tank for several days, but admittedly I was less aggressive on the back, only because it's plastic and I didn't want to damage it. What's weird is the filtration system in the back seemed to be covered with the same hardened stuff, but was easily removed. I'm wondering if the Actinic lights fused the coral to the plastic, or maybe I simply didn't leave the vinegar in long enough.

When you fill the tank with the water, the white turns to a light gray, but I'd still wish it were gone. Do you think I should try the vinegar again? I might be able to lay the tank on it's back and soak it with some full strength vinegar. The problem is the plants are due to arrive today so I don't have a lot of time to do much, but I am willing to try if you think it'll work.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #14
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I'm sure it will come off with enough scraping, but you're right, I was nervous about cracking the plastic also. Not sure I would turn the tank on it's side, I'd be a tad nervous about that. You'd have to make sure all the vinegar was out of the tank, I would soak it another night, scrape, then to get the vinegar out, soak it overnight again. Since you don't have much time, I'd let it go. The plants from aquariumplants.com would probably be fine in water for a day or two, but I wouldn't chance that either.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by londonloco View Post
I had the same senerio with one of my yungins and a betta. I ended up buying the 3g eclilpse for him, and he's been living there for over a year. I wouldn't put a betta in a tank with any other fish. Their long fins attract most fish to nip at them. In my experience they end up dying w/in a couple of months.
Yeah, I've heard that. We're going to try, but if it doesn't work out we'll probably get a 3-gallon Eclipse too.
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