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dnez

DIY alternative to Biocube 32 LED

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dnez

Hello,

 

I'm now to this hobby. Been lurking this site for a couple months and finally ready to make the plunge. I've been reading up on rocks, cycling, livestock, power heads and everything else. I've actually started to accumulate supplies for this like a RODI, refractometer, rock, containers, wave-makers and other supplies I feel confident I could apply to whatever tank I end up choosing. And that brings me to where I'm stuck at, the tank. 

 

I've had a Biocube 32 LED in my cart for a couple months but can't seem to pull the trigger. I really love the look, I like that as a newbie and can kind of jump in with few additions (to start). I read the arguments against the Biocubes but I also see the incredible things people have done with even stock lighting; even somehow keeping a healthy anemone in a stock tank where it shouldn't be possible. However, the arguments against starting with a Biocube seem valid but the problem I have is finding an alternative in the same price range. For $400 I have a stand and a tank that is *close* to ready to cycle and then stock coral and fish plus I also dig the look. People say you can build your own tank for the costs of a 32 but I'm having trouble finding the info I would need to do this. So thats why I wonder if there a resources available on this site for this? I tried searching and will continue to so but so far I haven't found quite what I'm looking for. I'm looking to start a coral tank 40g or under with LPS and softies. Haven't really been hooked on SPS but I would however like an anemone (I imagine some experienced users ask "why would you want one?"). Then just a few fish like clown pair, a watchman goby and when the tank is established and I have cultivated enough pods on a separate tank, a Green. Mandarin Finally a CUC made up of snails, a pom pom, hermits and micro brittles depending on tank requirement.

 

Part of my reservation is you don't know what you don't know. Like type a glass seems like something that becomes import but I'm just building the foundation of my knowledge and while you can read and research a component of that is time and experience. But still, I'm afraid I'm going to find out the hard way why something is important and end up regretting my purchases.

 

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading and I appreciate any tips.

 

~Danny

 

 

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MSunkin23

Hey Dnez,

 

I had the old Biocube 14, and that tank ran really well with fluorescent lights (outside of overheating). The All-In-One design keeps everything sleek and hidden. I bought a new Biocube 16 with similar LED lights as the Biocube 32 has. The Biocube 32 actually has about 25% more PAR output than the Biocube 16. I am not sure how much people have really stocked these Biocube 32's, but I don't think you will have much of an issue and you will probably be quite happy with the setup. They also improved some other things in the new Biocube 16 + 32 compared to the old style based on years of experience.

 

Another option is the innovative marine line (Fusion Lagoon 25), but could be more expensive than your budget. Those setups are open top (which I dont like because I have kids who will dump anything in there). And you also can customize your light, which is good as it might be stronger but also more expensive upfront.

 

I can only say from experience that the Biocube 16 is a great tank. Good functionality on the lighting and can probably grow any LPS/Softie, and some SPS near the top. You may have the desire to upgrade the light, but I personally see no need for this based on what I want to do.

If you like a cube design, and closed top. I cant think of a better choice than the Biocube 32 All-In-One.

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dnez

Hello thanks for the response. I really do like the fact that for the most part the tank is ready to go, I love the look and from what I understand the closed top helps with evaporation. It looks like they've improved the stand as well. I do like that everything is hidden and inTank has some great mini-fuge and media tray options.

 

After a lot of research, I keep coming back to the BC32, I just hesitate to pull the trigger. But I've seen people do amazing displays with this tank. I am limited by my budget. And amybe a lot of people start if that way, thinking they going to stay small but ultimately the addiction takes over. Even worst case, if I do get upgrade fever the Biocube can serve as a secondary DT. And there's tons of retrofits. If I keep coming back to the same tank, perhaps thats what I should go with and grow from there.

 

What did you stock in your BC?

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Cpl_Wiggles

Currently shutting down a 16 upgraded with Steve's LED. Great tank. Lots of options. Lots of guys have threads on here. I would say if budget is a concern, go with BioCube. Take care of it and they'll resale decently enough too. 

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MSunkin23

@dnez - I just started my Biocube 16 a little over a month ago, so right now only have two clowns and three hermits as my cycle just completed. I plan to stock ricordea mushrooms, zoanthids, and torch coral as my main components. Along with a cleaner or fire shrimp.

 



Good point on the evaporation, another reason I like the hood.

You can stock quite a bit in the Biocube 32, I dont think you will be disappointed. You can easily put two clowns and a watchman goby no problem. But many more options for a 32gal. The less you stock, the more stable/clean the reef will be. Mandarins can be tricky for beginners, but one of my favorite fish. I think people have successfully had them in a 32 biocube, but definitely want a pod population before then.

The only downside to the Biocube 32 is if you absolutely plan on going rimless (removing the top plastic rim) and putting your own light, you might as well just get an Innovative Marine tank. But I absolutely recommend getting an All-In-One unless you plan on running a sump. Just so much real estate in the back to customize media, heaters, refugium, and so on. 

FYI - you can also save a ton of money by using dry rock and adding biospira to start the cycle, instead of live rock. It would save you $100-200.

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dnez

MSunkin,

 

thanks for that link to your build. Defiantly helpful. Thanks for tip on wirehangers, I was thinking of finding rods but already have hangers .Looking at your rock scape, I'm tempted to change mine. I went for an arc type thing but that means my rock is spread across two structures that are connected up top. It seems like with yours, you can put coral that require higher PAR up high.  Might have to rethink it. Also want to make sure I allow for good flow which seems to be up there for reef keeping. I'll start with one powerhead until I see what it's like and if necessary add on. Seems like you're happy with the one koraila 450? 

 

I am definitely going dry rock and bio-spira. I did get the Carib-sea Fiji pink arg-alive however. Some people recommend seeding with a small price of LR but not sure on that one. 

 

When i I started getting into and hadn't read much, I though oh a tank, filter and some gravel and I'll be set. I was so, so wrong in so many ways. Yet just as exited.

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MSunkin23

Hey Dnez, I guess you bought the tank, nice. The plastic coat hangers worked very well with the BRS reef saver rock. I was prepared to drill, but didn't have to. Used a little bit of epoxy and held together great. 

 

I originally had the Koralia 240 and was okay but very little flow. I think for a Biocube 32, you want the 425 at least. 

 

For aquascaping the "Rule of Thirds" helped me a lot. I know from experience that having a center island where you can get behind/sides of the structure is much easier to maintain long term. And with the height I can leverage the good PAR rating up top.

 

You can run a reef tank with filter and gravel. But easier with an all-in-one setup. I think you can setup a successful reef tank with just live rock/flow, salt water, and tank. The Biocube 32 comes with everything you need to get going.

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