My saltwater BioCube 29 tank revival

Feb 6, 2022 | Aquarium Hobby

Here are some pictures and the story of about where (and why) I’m at so far with reviving my BioCube 29 gallon saltwater tank. I started this project on September 30, 2021. The goal has always been that all creatures, including the rock, will be sustainably aquacultured or captive bred. This limits me even more than a small tank!

I had purchased it from a Facebook friend in 2016, and shortly added sustainably Florida aquacultured live rock from ARC Reef (Atlantic Reef Conservation). I bought the seahorses too soon. I wasn’t taking water measurements as I should have been, nor was I building up the filtration to handle the load that captive bred seahorses will add by their diet of frozen mysis shrimp.

The seahorses lasted two days, dying of ammonia added to my stubborn impatience. I should have taken them back to the fish store the second my ammonia started to spike, rather than running to the fish store to lug 5 gallon jugs of premixed saltwater for that too-late 80% water change. They were dead before I could change out ten gallons.

I didn’t have it in me to try again, but I couldn’t let go of the tank and what few invertebrates had survived the cycling and ammonia crash. I went back to living life and saving to buy a house.

When I moved from my rental home at the end of 2018, my exhausted guy friends balked at moving the abandoned heavy mess of slimy green “pest” algae called calurpa, and formerly “living” rocks that had long since given up hosting red coralline algae. I don’t know how I pulled the favor of moving the tank (which I emptied of water), but it got moved. I filled it with the saltwater that I was too late to save the seahorses with.

The Biocube ended up in a far corner of the front room where I keep my birds. I would top if off with tap water when I remembered to. Somehow the calurpa didn’t die.

I posted the tank and stand for sale on Facebook and backed out of the sale last minute.

I started seeing a guy, and eventually he decided to move in with me a few weeks after I landed a better job in mid-2021. I had to clear space. He asked me about the tank.

The 29 gallon BioCube was where we wanted to put the broken 1950s refrigerator to store the bird food. I had a broken fake fireplace in my office/dining room. It was one of the first nice things I bought myself after losing everything in 2009.

I slept on it for a few nights.

Did I dare to dip my foot back in the money and time pit that is saltwater? Could I commit to properly cleaning, re-cycling and slowly adding back life?

On September 30, 2021 I happily took the fake-luxury fireplace to the curb and moved my 29 gallon tank into its place. It’s perfectly situated so that I can relax my eyes and observe it from my desk!

I’ve heard it said many times on saltwater forums that building a saltwater tank is a long-game, but that if you persist you’ll end up with a beautiful relaxing aquascape and a joy similar to what gardeners feel.

This aquarium is my therapy.

Below are pictures and media, originally posted to my Facebook profile, of this tank from September 30, 2021 to February 1, 2022. I will be posting regular updates!