JBJ 28 Nano Cube Start


Reefing newb
Hi everyone I decided to make this website my home for all of my new questions I have about salt water aquariums! I just recently started my first saltwater tank and all seems to be going well except I have this white substance covering my rock (which has a good amount of coralline on it) and it lines the inside of my back filter section of the tank including filters. It cant really be blown off by a turkey baster but it is easily wiped away on places that I can reach it. Problem is that I cant get in the back of the nano cube really and it seems to keep covering my rocks after I rinse them off and it is unappealing :frustrat:. The tank has been running for a week now and the water is partially cloudy at all times and since it has settled in the bottom of the filter chamber where I cant reach the return pumps keep pumping it in the tank. I am using the JBJ protein skimmer (air stone driven) but it is not skimming anything yet and it has been running the whole week as well. Also I only have about 6-7 pounds of live rock in it atm b/c cash is a little tight and I cant drop the 200 or so it will cost to fill it up but I will be buying more soon hopefully. I have one blue chromie, 2 blue damsels, 1 bar goby, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 emerald crab, 2 turbo snails and 3 nassarius. Any help would be much appreciated and I hope its a small problem I am over looking but I am a fish out of water in this new saltwater adventure. :P
Welcome aboard!
You've started out by making a few common mistakes. First, get those fish back to the store and get store credit if you can. Your tank hasn't cycled yet and on top of that you have too many fish for that size of a tank. It is far too easy to listen to the advice of the fish store thinking they have your best interest in mind. They don't! That's why these forums are so great. We only want to help you succeed in the hobby.
Start reading the articles and information provided here on the site about new tanks. And good luck!! :D
Thanks for the reply chichi! I just bought cheap small fish to start the cycle like I would freshwater and I didn't think 4 fish was too many for a 28 gallon but my LFS doesn't do ANY returns at all sadly : ( but I did start the tank with Carib-Sea Live sand to help it out. Salinity is at 1.024. I am running live rock, chaeto and a sponge in the 3 chamber filter right now with a small bag of carbon on top which i thought might help with the small particles swimming around in the tank. I know the damsels can be a bit nippy as well but they haven't bothered anyone the past week so I hope it stays that way.
Keeping a saltwater tank is nothing near keeping a freshwater tank.
Do you have a test kit? What are your water parameters? Are your fish acting stressed(rapid breathing, erratic swimming, loss of appetite)? You are going to need to stay on top of these things if you want any of these fish to make it through the cycle. Live sand can help a bit, but most new tanks will see at least a small cycle. As a general rule you want one fish per ten gallons. Maybe one more once the tank has matured. The thing is, you only want to add one at a time so that your bacteria have a chance to catch up to the bio-load in your tank. Adding that many fish a week into a new tank is going to send your ammonia through the roof.
All of the fish seem to be in tip top shape. Everyone is eating just fine and swimming normally. I haven't seen the peppermint shrimp eat but I am assuming he mostly comes out at night anyways. The only problem with the tank so far is that white stuff I was talking about : / I am going to buy a test kit soon so I can test at home but I have just been taking a sample to my LFS and so far they said everything looks normal but these are also the people that told me to get all the fish/inverts I have in there right now lol.
Exactly! LOL If I were you, I would get that test kit ASAP. Most people start out using the API test kit. Again, good luck. I fear your fish will start to stress soon, especially the goby.
Yeah I feel for the little guy but I am going to do everything I can to keep em from stressing. Maybe I can find someone to take the damsels from me since they are in fine shape now and inexpensive fish. Do you have any ideas on how to get rid of the white stuff covering the rocks / insides of my filter chamber?
It sounds like the start of a normal bacteria cycle. I wouldn't worry about that too much. I would worry about your water parameters.
The tank came with a bag of ceramic rings do you think that would help for now until I get the tank in shape for corals? Again thanks for helping this noob out so much :)
Leave the ceramic rings out. I would make that chamber into a mini refugium.

And while peppermint shrimp are normally very reclusive shrimp, it is highly unlikely he will survive the cycle, inverts are extremely sensitive to bad water quality.

And I would return or get rid of the damsel, they are an extremely aggressive fish and will prevent you from adding any other fish because they will bully almost any other fish to death. Even ones much larger than they are.

I would also ask the LFS who sold you the fish to hold onto the chromis and bar goby, it is needlessly cruel to leave them in that tank while it cycles. If they are lucky to survive the cycle, their lives will be shortened considerable because of the exposure to such toxic chemicals.
Thanks little for the advice I took them all back to a LFS and they are holding them for me thankfully. Turns out the guy that sold everything to me was new and I think they might be getting paid a little by commission...I took some pics before I left this morning of whats going on in there and of the filter chamber with the built up stuff that is covering my rocks. It has to wiped off the surfaces.


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Update with no fish and roughly 10 pounds of live rock and 15 pounds of lace rock. I wont be putting any fish in there for the next 30-90 days but I was wondering if there was a way to tell when the lace was alive?


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As soon as the cycle is done the rocks will be live.

However, if the lace rock you are talking about is lava rock I would remove it. It can leach metals back into your water that will poison corals and promote algae growth
How can I tell if its lava rock? I bought this from a different LFS and it said lace rock on the tag and it said "salt water only" on it. is there still a chance this is lava rock? If so I need to move to a new city with more helpful fish stores : (
I think you are ok, the whiteish rock is definity saltwater safe, its the dark rock I was wondering about. And LFS are notorious for giving bad or misleading advice.
yes the white rock is another piece of live I put in to help seed the Lace (the dark rock). I hope it wont hurt my corals but I guess I will find that out when I get my test kits.
yes the white rock is another piece of live I put in to help seed the Lace (the dark rock). I hope it wont hurt my corals but I guess I will find that out when I get my test kits.

Most of the test kits wont be measuring for that, unfortunately. Do a search for lava rock and see if that's what you put in your tank.
Kudos on getting those fish out of the system :D
I did a search on it and I remember what lava rock is. Lava rock feels super light and this stuff is as heavy as it looks. And I will be getting more kits than the standard API like copper and magnesium kits as well. Thanks all for the advice. I guess I will keep reading more as taking out all the fish and putting in normal rock gives me a solid month or two of nothing to do with the tank lol.