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First Tank - BioCube 14 gallon


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Hello. I'm a newbie in Los Angeles.

I've set up my first tank last week with a biocube 14 gallon.


I've added some of the mods that seem to be popular.

Maxijet 900 in circulation,

Koralia Nano 425 in display tank

Took out the false floor in chamber 1

Jager Heater 50w

Bioballs removed

Filter Floss

Chemi Pure

Arag-live Special Grade sand (1inch depth)

RO water with Instant Ocean Salt

Live Rock 11 lbs (from two different LFS)


I was worried because my live rocks didn't seem too promising but I'm a newb. What do I know?

I'm kind of just letting them be for now.

No signs of life from live rock (maybe because they are already cured from LFS tanks?)


First water test yesterday (after 1 week from setting up)

pH 8.0

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 1.0 ppm

Nitrate 10.0 ppm

It's only been one week....but it feels weird to have zero ammonia and high nitrate....


Maybe I need to add an ammonia source?


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You could add some pure ammonia to the tank to check the cycle. Add slowly until you get up to around 5ppm.


Where in the LA area are you located?

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I'm in Glendale. I keep hearing different stories from LFS's.

One tells me to just put live rock and live sand and wait 1 month. Don't even test in the mean time.

The other tells me to forget the live rock, buy dead rocks and buy bottled bacteria?


I just hope it's being cycled correctly....

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I'm up in the SFV. You can use either way to cycle a tank. The key is to provide some food for the bacteria. When using live rock, there is normally some die off that creates some ammonia. It can speed the cycle up by using the added ammonia.

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Hmmm I'm definitely up for speeding things up.

Will add a piece of raw shrimp tonight!

Thank you.


Any other general suggestions for a newbie?

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Well, the main rule I would give is a bit opposite of what I said earlier, but GO SLOW. There is a saying heard often in SW. Only bad things happen fast.


When I cycled my BC29, I waited almost a month before adding anything. Be prepared for algae to grow during the cycle. Don't worry about it. At the end of the cycle, get a clean up crew and they should make quick work of the algae.


Read up on using a quarantine tank. Quarantine all new fish. You'll probably get different opinions of if the first fish needs to be quarantined.


Wait a month after adding each fish. Let your tank have time to adjust to the new bioload the fish adds. I didn't and lost several fish during the initial stages of my tank.


And be careful if you have cats. :)



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Ok. I'm going to add the shrimp and take it out tomorrow. Let it get soaked one full day. Should be enough Ammonia?

I'll be patient. Thank you!

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You'll need to leave it in longer than overnight I think. I haven't used the shrimp method so can't really help with that. It needs to be in long enough for it to start decomposing to generate the ammonia.

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A little update. I left the 1/3 piece of shrimp in the tank for about 2.5 days.

Ammonia went up (not too much). Nitrite and Nitrate went up.


When the water started to stink a little bit by 2.5 days, I took the shrimp out.

Then ammonia, nitrate and nitrate all went away (Nitrate was 0 without doing water change).


I was quite puzzled. But I went ahead and changed about 20% of the water.

So far it has been exactly 11 days since the set up.


Could it be possible that the cycle is complete?

All of my rocks are from two different LFSs, already cured.

I'm expecting to see any kinds of diatoms, but don't see anything.

I see some green algae(?) that came with the rocks.


I did notice about 5-6 little tiny 1 mm in length oval shaped lava? stuff while changing the filter floss during water change.

Can't really tell what they are. Seen pictures of copepods and other pods but don't really resemble them....


IF the cycle is complete, then I plan to get some CUC after this weekend.....

Oh, also another live rock. Need to change the current aquascape....

Any advice??

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I had a Biocube 14 that had equipment/mods very similar to yours and it ran very well. Test in a couple of days and see if the parameters are still at at 0. Patience is key in this hobby.

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Okay... Having cured rocks is boring because you don't get any hitchhikers on your rocks. Just knowing nothing is alive and you are staring at rocks.....

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Okay... Having cured rocks is boring because you don't get any hitchhikers on your rocks. Just knowing nothing is alive and you are staring at rocks.....

it's a blessing and a curse.. you don't have to deal with bad hitchhikers like aiptasia and stuff, but you miss out on cool and beneficial hitchhikers.. same goes for dry rock.. I want to do uncured gulf live rock for my next tank (I said that before my current tank too though)..

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You are right. I do see the adv and the disadv of having cured rocks. The best part is that the cycle is short. The problem is that I miss out on the beneficial hitchhikers and that these rocks are harder to aquascape since they have to stay wet and don't have many choices in the shapes of the rocks. You would be able to pick out whatever shape you would want with the dry or dead rock.....

Something to think about if I get a chance to start a new tank in the future...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update.... Tank set up was on 1/20/14. It's been 3 weeks.


Got 6 hermit crabs and an emerald crab 1 week ago.

Everyone's alive....


A work friend was nice enough to donate some coral frags from his tank.

He told me they were really easy ones to grow.

I would like to learn the names for them and will post pictures when I get home.


ONE DUMB MISTAKE I realize that I've made during cycle.


I had Chemi-Pure in my tank during the cycle.

Now I have Purigen with filter floss in my tank.

What do I do??


2 days after I added the crabs, I started having cloudy water.

So I thought maybe the chemi-pure had run its course, so I changed it to Purigen.

(This is before I found out my mistake...)


All of my live rock are from LFS's.

Would I have to make sure my tank is full cycled?

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One tiny word of advice for future coral escapades (if you choose to add a more diverse variety later) is to make sure you place the corals where you want them from the start and, if they are encrusting and you wish for them not to take over your whole tank, then keep them on their own islands. I had to ruin a whole xenia colony a few years back because it had taken over almost the entire rockscape on the right, gps's and zoas as well.

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2087243C-3D17-48AE-A1DF-8A35CDA1A57C_zpsI feel so dumb that I've overlooked NOT putting in any chemical filtration during the cycle.


I can't seem to get over that fact that I wasted chemi-pure during cycle and, of course, time.


I just hope my tank is fully cycled. The water tests performed by me and LFS give consistent zeros for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.


Tonight, Wife and I are bringing home one fish. Maybe a tiny percula clown or a chromie or a damsel.


Wish me luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any new updates on this?? I just began the cycle on my 12 gallon nanocube 3 days ago. How are your params looking with the new fish, and what did you get?

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It worked fine probably only because my LRs were all cured at the LFS for a while.

I have been introducing life little by little in my tank, spacing things out 4 days to 1 week at a time.

So far I've got


1 Percula Clown

1 Yellow Watchman Goby (about 1.5 in)

1 Fire Shrimp

1 Pom Pom Crab

1 Candy Pistol Shrimp

1 Emerald Crab

5 Red-legged Hermit Crabs

1 Red Crab

Green Start Polyp

Pulsing Xenia

Green Favia

Pink Bird Nest

Red Mushroom

Orange Zoa


Wow it seems like a lot. But everything is so tiny.

No one died except 1 hermit crab.

I probably have those coral names wrong.

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I know my post is not as fun because I have not posted any pictures of the tank.

But it just doesn't look great with the BC stock lighting.

But here are some pictures finally. :D


One question about my clownfish.

My percula is getting darker and darker.

Darker in a sense that it's getting dirtier (not turning brown or black).

He just looks ashy? I noticed his white stripes were clean still. It's happening only on his orange parts....


I did start using Rowaphos. My guess was that it's affecting him somehow. Any ideas?



Oh, I didn't want to pay 30 bucks for some plastic. So I bought a $3 shower soap dish that's all plastic to hang my newly bought corals....



Here is the YWG when I first brought him home during acclimation.







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You have a really nice tank! I like the rock layout. And a smart idea of using a shower soap dish for new frags... I'll have to look into that or just make a frag rack


I also have a 14G BioCube and I really like it!


I did a few mods, but not many. Took out the false floors in the back, removed the bioballs, and I added 2x 12" blue stunner LED strips to the stock lighting set up. I have a Koralia Nano 240 for circulation help and a 50W heater in chamber 1.


Here is what I have in my tank:

1x Ocellaris Clownfish

1x Cleaner Shrimp

~15x Astrea Snails

1x Conch Snail

Zoa Colony (don't know exactly what kind)

Blue Clove Polyps Colony

1x Ricordea Mushroom


Video of my tank:

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Tried to upload more pictures using Photobucket.


I got the app on my phone, uploaded some pictures.

From my laptop, I went to Photobucket website and copied the image link and pasted in the reply here.

The picture will show up but it tells me


"An error occured. You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community."



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Yeah, he likes his food a lot! The cleaner shrimp goes crazy as well when I dump food in there. It's fun to watch. I find myself watching this video at least once a day at work just I can "watch" my tank.


Can't really help with your image issue since I use Imgur. When I post images, I copy the URL to the image and click on the Image icon above the text box here and paste the image URL in there and it will add it to the post. Hope this helps

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