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Tif's additions to 29g Biocube


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First off, I'm newer to the club. I arrived on the Oregon Coast from Michigan in May. During the move, my 29g Biocube with stock lighting lived in a cooler on wheels with a powerhead and heater plugged into a power inverter that was wired from the back of the Uhaul to the cigarette lighter in the cab of the truck. Each night we tucked the aquarium in, in our hotel room, so we could monitor how things were. In Iowa, we got stuck in construction in 98F temperatures and the tank crashed. The Aussie torch coral melted and disintegrated and the rest went downhill from there. After emergency water changes, the tank was stabilized and we were westward once more. Now, the tank has been stable although with a healthy algae culture :( probably due to using water from the grocery store and a change in salt and the residuals from the crash. Most of my soft corals made it through. So, I decided to make some upgrades to the tank.


Here's a list of what I completed in November:

24 LED array (12 cool white/12 royal blue - built it with the help of a friend)

20H sump

Reef Octopus 4" Pinwheel in-sump skimmer

PVC overflow - DIY

Stand - 24"L x 30"W x 35"H Kitchen Cabinet unfinished from HD. Painted/stained, caulked, water-sealed.

RODI 75gpd unit from BRS


Current tank inhabitants are:

starry blenny (Salarias ramosus)

two ocellaris clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris)

highfin perchlet (Plectranthias sp.)

various zoanthids/palythoas

various mushrooms

pipe organ coral colony

devils hand leather

ten hermit crabs

various assortment of snails - trochus, astrea, nessarius

lots of algae


I'm finally getting the algae under control. I do 15g weekly water changes.


Finally, I took some photos of my tank.


Full tank shot:
























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Over the weekend I made some progress on my projects. I forgot to call the glass shop before close of business on Friday to order baffles for my sump. They were closed Saturday, so I improvised. I went to the just-opened Petco in Warrenton and bought a 10g aquarium for $10 and then purchased a glass cutting tool and aquarium-safe silicone ($6.00 each) at Home Depot. I used a utility knife to cut the silicone off of the 10g aquarium and a coping saw to make a series of cuts in the plastic frames on the top and bottom. I used a metal tape measure to slide between the seams and cut the silicone on the aquarium. It worked perfectly! I then cleaned the panes of glass, cut them to fit my sump and siliconed them in place! A lot more work than picking up glass at the shop, but it was fun. :) Total cost was $21 (10g aquarium, glass cutter, and silicone).


My husband and I finished our cabinet with black semi-gloss paint on the sides and back, and ebony stain on the oak front and top. The top is 3/4" oak plywood with routed edges. We sealed the whole thing with polyurethane and black caulking so no particle board is exposed.


The sump had to go in the stand prior to fastening the top to it, because it's too wide to fit through the front doors of the cabinet. While I sat on the top, my husband screwed the top to the stand from inside the cabinet. I then did a water change on the display tank. While the water level was super low, we moved the tank to the new stand and got everything in place, then filled it back up with water. I put the skimmer in the sump so that's ready to set up tonight.


So, tonight's planned work is:

Get the overflow finished by attaching the drain pipe to the overflow and running it to the sump.

Fill the sump and turn on the skimmer and return pump.


Here's to no flooding! =) I'll try to take pictures tonight. I get so into my projects that I forget to step back and take pictures as I go.

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Overflow/drain/sump Help


Tonight I tried to get my DIY PVC overflow going but just couldn't get it dialed in. I made it exactly after this example: http://www.aquariumlife.net/projects/diy-overflow/120.asp The "T" is about halfway down the back of my Biocube 29. I know the "T" fitting dictates the water level in the tank, but since the Biocube has the false back, I thought it would compensate and still keep the water level in the display where it's supposed to be. I guess I was wrong. The problem I'm having is the water level in the display tank very slowly decreases below the desired level while the water level in the sump increases. The details of the system are:


29g biocube display

3/4" DIY PVC overflow with 3/4" clear PVC hose to sump

20H sump with 10" high baffles space 1" apart

MJ 1200 return pump with no elbows, just 5/8" clear PVC hose to return to display

4ft. head height


What I think needs to happen here are one or more of the following:

1) rebuild overflow so that the "T" fitting is higher up the back of the tank

2) replace the MJ 1200 pump with something stronger (maybe Mag 5?) with a ball valve on the outlet to "dial it down" if needed


What do you think? This is my first time having a sump and overflow. I appreciate any advice offered!

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