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AshleyH

Brand new hobby- 32G Biocube Setup Help

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AshleyH   

Hello all,

 

I recently became fascinated with aquarium (not sure where this came from as I know no one with a fish tank). After about 1.5 months of watching youtube videos and researching I've decided to jump in to nano reef aquariums. The tank I decided on is the Biocube 32- I just like the way it looks. I read up on the nitrogen cycle, the basics of filtration systems, lights, circulators, water testing and changing, fish and coral species, had the guy at the LFS visually explain what a sump is... etc. I think I'm as ready as I'm going to be without actually physically owning an aquarium yet ;)

My plan is to pick up the Biocube this week. I watched the SmileyDakota youtube series where a newbie sets up a 14G biocube and was inspired by her tank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlPqTZ6ne7w

 

My goal is to start with clownfish and add some other low-key/ low maintenance fish with lots of coral eventually.

 

I know this hobby is very expensive. I want to take things SLOW so as not to fail. I am initially going to buy the tank, live sand, live rock, salt water (possibly pre-mixed, not sure yet). I have read about SO many different filtration setups for this tank, and it seems that no one uses the Bioballs, and everyone's setup is (sometimes vastly) different.

My original plan was to buy a foam filter, Seachem Matrix Carbon, heater/thermometer, refractometer and a circulator. I have a saltwater test kit already.

 

Now for my questions:

1) How do I know what flow rate purchase for a circulator? I can't seem to find a straight answer on google. I was thinking this size might be adequate?

 https://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Koralia-Nano-Aquarium-Circulation/dp/B0036S70ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505874893&sr=8-1&keywords=hydor+koralia+425 

 

2) Do I need a protein skimmer in this size tank if I plan to do water changes often? If yes, do I need one now or can I wait until I have actual livestock in my tank?

 

I will upgrade things as is necessary, but for the very start of my 1st ever tank I want to be conservative.

If you have some tips on what I need for a basic filtration system other than what I listed please let me know. 

If you suggest items to purchase, please write a very brief description on what the item is and why it is necessary- that is how new I am! I've been trying to google search everything I read, but some of the mods people do to the pumps and filters still confuse the heck out of me. 

 

Lastly, thank you for reading my long post! I will update my progress as I set up my tank :)

Ashley

 

 

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TILTON   

I recommend getting a media basket for your filtration.  Intank makes a good one.  I am not really sure what the difference is between the 32 gallon or old 29 gallon though size wise, so you may have to look into if the one for the 29 gallon works.  On those racks you can use a combo of things.  A lot of people including myself will use filter floss on top, and a mixture of chemipure elite and purigen or a chemipure blue or a mixture of carbon and GFO or phosguard.  

 

Flow completely depends on what type of corals you want to own.  If you want a soft coral tank you don't need a lot of flow.  The return pump plus the koralia nano would work fine.  As for the return pump, I am not sure how the stock one is.  A lot of people upgrade not only for flow, but for noise.  A lot of the stock ones can be noisy as was with the old biocubes.  

 

Skimmer isnt a must.  I like them personally though.  I would recommend a Tunze 9001 for your biocube if you decide to get one.  You could also put a fuge basket with chaeto in the back chamber and a small light on it.  That really depends on what you want your nutrient levels to be at and or what type of corals your wanting to get.  You can have any you want but if might be easier to keep sps with a skimmer.  That's just my opinion though.  

Welcome to page and also to nano reefing!

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Clown79   

Welcome to Nano and the hobby😊

 

For filtration, bioballs aren't used by many because if they aren't cleaned regularly, they actually cause nutrient issues.

 

Buying or even making a media basket is very helpful and beneficial. This holds your filter media nicely in the chamber, allows easy access for changing media but most importantly it makes the water flow through the media which allows the media to work properly.

 

Most use filter floss where the overflow is, we switch out the floss twice a week. Buying it in bulk is a cheap option.

Floss collects particles in the water like poop and food.

Using foam or sponges often leads to high nutrient issues because even when rinsed, this type of media traps detritus.

 

Carbon is used in a media bag. Carbon removes toxins and polishes the water. Rinsing this bag weekly is important and replacing carbon every 2-3 weeks is best. 

 

Some use purigen in a media bag. It's a nice media to add. 

 

 when we have phosphate issues many will use phosban or phosguard.

 

Powerheads add water movement. Depending on aquascape, tank size, and corals kept will depend on the gph you need.

 

For softies and lps corals 20-30 times turnover is good. For sps it's 40times or more.

 

Getting a wavemamer will give you more and better control as the gph range is wider and the type of water movement is optional.

Jebao is an affordable wavemaker. 1 of them with your return pump should be enough.

 

Skimmers aren't necessary if you keep up with weekly water changes and don't have a heavy bioload in the tank.

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Lula_Mae   

:welcome: to Nano-Reef!  You've gotten some great advice here already.  This is a wonderful hobby and you've got the right idea about taking it slow.  Research everything and avoid impulse buys and you'll be fine. :happy:

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The biocube 32 and 29 are probably the best value in AIO tanks.  For sure the media basket with cheato and some sort of fuge light, I use this one.   If you will keep up your weekly water changes, there is no need for a skimmer.  

 

IMO, and I have been keeping reefs since probably before you were born, the vast majority of AIO skimmers are worthless noise makers.   I have a remora on mine and it works marginally well.  I'm a big tank guy and the performance is nothing like what an in sump skimmer does.  And for it to work at ll, it has to be in a chamber that has a consistent level or draw from the main display.      If you want a skimmer that works, get the Aquamaxx hob-1 or hob-1.5 but you will have to modify the hood.

 

For flow, I reccoment 2 things, a tunze 6055, I know it's expensive but they last for decades, are silent, have great resale and are controllable. You can connect it to your APEX if you get one but in the mean time, there is a knob you can use to adjust the flow to your liking.  the other mod is a MJ-900 cobalt return pump and replace the stock tubeing and elbow with Eheim 16/22 hose.  It will save power, make the tank cooler and increase flow.  

 

 

Lastly, read this thread  It's been around a while but it covers just about everything you could think of on your biocube. 

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On 9/19/2017 at 10:20 PM, TILTON said:

I recommend getting a media basket for your filtration.  Intank makes a good one.  I am not really sure what the difference is between the 32 gallon or old 29 gallon though size wise, so you may have to look into if the one for the 29 gallon works.  On those racks you can use a combo of things.  A lot of people including myself will use filter floss on top, and a mixture of chemipure elite and purigen or a chemipure blue or a mixture of carbon and GFO or phosguard.  

 

Flow completely depends on what type of corals you want to own.  If you want a soft coral tank you don't need a lot of flow.  The return pump plus the koralia nano would work fine.  As for the return pump, I am not sure how the stock one is.  A lot of people upgrade not only for flow, but for noise.  A lot of the stock ones can be noisy as was with the old biocubes.  

 

Skimmer isnt a must.  I like them personally though.  I would recommend a Tunze 9001 for your biocube if you decide to get one.  You could also put a fuge basket with chaeto in the back chamber and a small light on it.  That really depends on what you want your nutrient levels to be at and or what type of corals your wanting to get.  You can have any you want but if might be easier to keep sps with a skimmer.  That's just my opinion though.  

Welcome to page and also to nano reefing!

The Biocube 32 is taller.  I tried the 29 intank media basket on the 32 and it does not work because of the height difference.

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On 9/19/2017 at 9:58 PM, AshleyH said:

Hello all,

 

I recently became fascinated with aquarium (not sure where this came from as I know no one with a fish tank). After about 1.5 months of watching youtube videos and researching I've decided to jump in to nano reef aquariums. The tank I decided on is the Biocube 32- I just like the way it looks. I read up on the nitrogen cycle, the basics of filtration systems, lights, circulators, water testing and changing, fish and coral species, had the guy at the LFS visually explain what a sump is... etc. I think I'm as ready as I'm going to be without actually physically owning an aquarium yet ;)

My plan is to pick up the Biocube this week. I watched the SmileyDakota youtube series where a newbie sets up a 14G biocube and was inspired by her tank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlPqTZ6ne7w

 

My goal is to start with clownfish and add some other low-key/ low maintenance fish with lots of coral eventually.

 

I know this hobby is very expensive. I want to take things SLOW so as not to fail. I am initially going to buy the tank, live sand, live rock, salt water (possibly pre-mixed, not sure yet). I have read about SO many different filtration setups for this tank, and it seems that no one uses the Bioballs, and everyone's setup is (sometimes vastly) different.

My original plan was to buy a foam filter, Seachem Matrix Carbon, heater/thermometer, refractometer and a circulator. I have a saltwater test kit already.

 

Now for my questions:

1) How do I know what flow rate purchase for a circulator? I can't seem to find a straight answer on google. I was thinking this size might be adequate?

 https://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Koralia-Nano-Aquarium-Circulation/dp/B0036S70ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505874893&sr=8-1&keywords=hydor+koralia+425 

 

2) Do I need a protein skimmer in this size tank if I plan to do water changes often? If yes, do I need one now or can I wait until I have actual livestock in my tank?

 

I will upgrade things as is necessary, but for the very start of my 1st ever tank I want to be conservative.

If you have some tips on what I need for a basic filtration system other than what I listed please let me know. 

If you suggest items to purchase, please write a very brief description on what the item is and why it is necessary- that is how new I am! I've been trying to google search everything I read, but some of the mods people do to the pumps and filters still confuse the heck out of me. 

 

Lastly, thank you for reading my long post! I will update my progress as I set up my tank :)

Ashley

 

 

I tried 3 different skimmers on my 32 and none were that effective.  You are really limited in skimmers for a nano and the Biocube 32 limits your options because there is not much clearance in the back above the sump.  I finally gave up and went skimmerless with weekly water changes and had no issues.

 

I changed out the return pump with the Cobalt MJ1200.  The stock pump was noisy and the MJ1200 gave me a little more flow and was quiet.

 

The Biocube 32 does not come with the bioballs like the previous version, instead it comes with a media rack. Scrap that and go with the intank media basket.  Filters floss on top, purigen in the middle, and chemipure elite on the bottom.

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AshleyH   

Thank you for all the responses! I've heard about the Intank media basket, and have considered making my own with egg crate, since I'm cheap. Interesting about the sponge leading to high nitrates; if the sponge isn't used I'm assuming the other material in the media basket (filter floss and purigen?) serves as the mechanical filter?

 

As far as what types of corals... I like the hammers, mushrooms, frogspawns, trees... and pretty much everything else I've seen. I'm going to see if I can find a tank I really like, what corals they have and go from there. If I need a 20-30X turnover for LPS and softies in a 32G tank the GPH would mean a 650-1000 powerhead is needed? I'm just picturing all the sand and fish blowing away like a tornado at that speed....

I've hadn't heard of an APEX until I just looked it up....looks pretty handy. 

 

I think I'm going to hold off on upgrading the return pump and getting a skimmer for right now, but probably will want these in the future.

As for a fuge- do these completely replace the media basket with purigen/chemipure/etc? Is it personal preference to get a fuge? 

 

Thanks for all the great advice.

 

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Do you really want a clown? I think that when we start we want a fish as soon as possible. but if you’ve done things right that mean-ass bastard of a clownfish will live for fifteen years. He will attack you physically and emotionally and haunt your dreams. he will bully anything else you put in the tank. He will be captive bred and will not know what to do with an anemone. 

 

If you love clownfish and that’s what was in your mind's eye when you started this journey then go for it!! If you want it just because it’s hardy and easy then just wait. Ask yourself what fish is the fish of your dreams and then look at photos, do research, and wait for that. Since you’re taking it slow your tank will support a HUGE variety of piscine life. 

 

I had a demonfish and even though he was a son of a bitch it still kind of hurt to re-home him. 

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AshleyH   

Good and Bad news....

I went in to buy the Biocube today from my LFS... About a month ago the  store had an electrical fire in their back room, and they lost a ton of their livestock and had soot covering everything. All their tanks are up and running again with tons of fish and healthy coral thankfully. They told me that despite the Biocube being furthest from the fire its box got full of soot, so they chucked the box. Because of this they gave me a discount ... $80 for the stand and $250 for the aquarium. I thought the aquarium had been spared from the soot being in the box, but when I got home I realized the aquarium had a thin layer of soot covering everything (inside and outside).

I also was wiping it out well  when I noticed  what I thought to be a small crack in the bottom of chamber 3. After a short freak out I realized it was silicone *phew* lol

 

I am meticulously going over every nook and cranny I can get to to remove all soot. Do you think the minute amount of soot (if any) left over will affect my tank?

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AshleyH   
52 minutes ago, thespinningsadhu said:

He will attack you physically and emotionally and haunt your dreams. he will bully anything else you put in the tank. 

lol! I admit I actually do love them, but I also saw a longnose hawkfish today and THAT guy was pretty darn cool too. I will consider your remarks :)

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Clown79   

Clean the tank really well. Use vinegar to help.

 

If you have an outdoor hose rinse it with that. Then do a leak test. Fill it up and let it sit for a few days.

 

Clowns aren't all that bad. Some species are worse than others.

Mine attacks me but is friendly with everyone else.

 

I've had bennies who have done the same and been more aggressive.

 

I've had a pink streaked wrasse (supposed to be peaceful) kill a shrimp, 2 ywg, 2 tailspot blenny, and tried killing my clown which was only saved by the wrasse' s removal.

 

They are animals, there is no guarantee on personality

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AshleyH   

Update:

 

I finally had time to get to the LFS and start my tank this weekend. I ended up taking the tank outside and hosing it down well.. Seemed to do the job. There was some good selection at the store, but I ended up buying a mixture of Caribsea Liferock, dry base rock, and one cool looking live rock. I added about 25 lbs of live sand  and used Instant Ocean salt. 

The guy at the store convinced me to try Aqua Vitro Seed to kick start the bacteria, but I'm not really sure it's necessary. What I am a little concerned with is the amount of dry rock I have in the tank. What are the bacteria going to use as an ammonia source? Should I throw a dead shrimp in there?

 

Here is my tank so far :) I did a water test today just for kicks... pH 7.9, ammonia nitrite, nitrate all 0. Specific gravity 1.023

I have an Aqueon Pro 150W heater in chamber 3, filter floss, Purigen, and Chemipure Elite in chamber 2 with the stock media basket, and a Hydor Koralia 565 mounted near chamber 1.

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I love how you set up your rock, my aquarium is due in next week and have been wondering how I will place the rock. Your rock placement gives me insperation :)

 

Yup I'm not the most artistic of people lol

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Lula_Mae   
34 minutes ago, AshleyH said:

Update:

 

I finally had time to get to the LFS and start my tank this weekend. I ended up taking the tank outside and hosing it down well.. Seemed to do the job. There was some good selection at the store, but I ended up buying a mixture of Caribsea Liferock, dry base rock, and one cool looking live rock. I added about 25 lbs of live sand  and used Instant Ocean salt. 

The guy at the store convinced me to try Aqua Vitro Seed to kick start the bacteria, but I'm not really sure it's necessary. What I am a little concerned with is the amount of dry rock I have in the tank. What are the bacteria going to use as an ammonia source? Should I throw a dead shrimp in there?

 

Here is my tank so far :) I did a water test today just for kicks... pH 7.9, ammonia nitrite, nitrate all 0. Specific gravity 1.023

I have an Aqueon Pro 150W heater in chamber 3, filter floss, Purigen, and Chemipure Elite in chamber 2 with the stock media basket, and a Hydor Koralia 565 mounted near chamber 1.

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Nice rock work!  Was the LifeRock dry or wet when you got it?  I am not a cycling expert but with live rock I am not sure if you need an additional ammonia source or not.  There's some good threads around here on cycling that hopefully can give you a good idea about it.

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Welcome!!! Tank looks great, love the rock scape.

 

As far as your cycle it looks like most of the rock is live. If this is the case you may have a mini cycle. I wouldn't add a raw shrimp. I think it would be over kill as an ammonia source. I would just ghost feed the tank every 3 days and see if the nitrogen cycle is processing the ammonia to nitrate. Once you have no ammonia or nitrite sticking around for more than 24hrs you should be good to go. From there just add livestock slowly. 

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Clown79   

Caribsea life rock is dry aragonite injected with bacteria which become active when it's added to a tank.

 

The liverock piece you added, was that wet? and how big is it?

 

Normally with dry rock you dose ammonia to cycle but with real liverock in the tank that's not advisable.

 

I wouldn't advise on the shrimp or food method as it will just cause unnecessary waste in the tank which will lead to higher nutrient levels and algae issues.

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Flexin   

Welcome!  So much good info here and as you can see, opinions vary and there are many options for the tank.  If you want to stay stock you can and maybe add a powerhead for more flow.  If you want to tinker you can and there are different components you can change out and even add a refugium if you choose.  In regards to bio balls, I have them in this tank, I rinse then out every other month and they came as a package purchase.  My media basket is also stock, with chemical pure and Purigen (a chemical skimmer).  I had a mechanical one and I don't like tinkering with it, so Purigen is easy and I just change it out when it gets darker (six months or so).  I no longer use the cartridge and instead took the floss off, dumped the carbon in it and placed the empty cartridge back.  On top of that I use filterfloss and a carbon, both of which I cut.  I use the empty cartridge to support the pads.  You can check out my tank at a link below.  It's a great tank.  At least you got the warning clowns bite, not all but my sister knew and found it funny to not tell me :)  Take your time and plan fish and corals.  Liveaquaria is a great source for stocking information, in genera how large the aquariums needs to be for fish and inverts, even info on corals and what to expect.  I hope you enjoy the journey and welcome again.

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AshleyH   
10 hours ago, Clown79 said:

 

The liverock piece you added, was that wet? and how big is it?

 

14 hours ago, VaporCountry said:

As far as your cycle it looks like most of the rock is live. If this is the case you may have a mini cycle

The live rock I bought was a wet 8 lb piece In a bucket of other live rock. The majority of the tank is Life rock and base rock, and the only live rock I bought is on the left of the aquarium if you're looking at it straight on. I haven't found any critters attached, but there was some coralline algae. 

 

This picture shows the live rock on the bottom and the more grainy looking Life rock above it (comes purple colored)

IMG_4160.JPG

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Clown79   

Dosing ammonia may effect any life on the live rock.

 

I'd start testing.

 

Another option is leaving the liverock in the tank and cycling the dry rock separately in a bucket with ammonia dosing.

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Flexin   

With your rock scape, as someone once told me, make sure you are leaving room to clean the glass.  It looks a little tight, but that may be the picture.

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AshleyH   
3 hours ago, Flexin said:

With your rock scape, as someone once told me, make sure you are leaving room to clean the glass.  It looks a little tight, but that may be the picture.

It is a little tight for my hand, but with a sponge on a stick I can clean the glass ok. 

I just read your Biocube journal, and I'm inspired by your tank :) Love seeing progress from day 1 to a mature tank!

3 hours ago, Clown79 said:

I'd start testing.

I tested on day 1 and will keep testing every 2 days. I'f I don't see anything happening I'll go from there.

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cju84   

Welcome to NR!  Great looking scape you got there!

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Flexin   
19 hours ago, AshleyH said:

It is a little tight for my hand, but with a sponge on a stick I can clean the glass ok. 

I just read your Biocube journal, and I'm inspired by your tank :) Love seeing progress from day 1 to a mature tank!

I tested on day 1 and will keep testing every 2 days. I'f I don't see anything happening I'll go from there.

Wow, those are very, very kind words.  I'm hoping everything holds together so I can celebrate the one year anniversary in February.  Great folks here and I got lucky with a solid LFS.  

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AshleyH   

I did a water test today (day 3.5).... all parameters are zero still. pH 8 and Sp.G 1.024

I think I'll add some fish food as @VaporCountry recommended. What happens if a tank doesn't cycle?

And thank you all for the welcome and compliments to my rock scape... TBH the guy at the LFS gave me some tips lol

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