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Madison989

BioCube 32 equipment help?

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Hi everyone!

 

I am setting up my first saltwater tank, which is a BioCube 32. I visited my local fish store today to purchase some equipment to get started with some guidance from the store manager. However, he gave me some advice that has conflicted with what I had previously researched online.

 

One thing he said was that I would not need a protein skimmer. He also said that I would not need a circulation pump. I thought both of these things were important for saltwater aquariums.

 

Here is a list of everything I bought, which is what the store said was all I would need:

 

Heater

Live sand

Dry rock (+live rock)

RO/DI unit

ChemiPure elite

Instant ocean salt

Water parameters test kit

 

 

The store also said that I would be able to add invertebrates a couple days after I set up the tank, and I can add fish a week or so after that (which does not seem right because the tank needs time to cycle).

 

I feel like I need more equipment than that and I feel like I am missing some info.  Could some of you help me fill in the gaps of what else I need to buy and what else I need to know? Help would be greatly appreciated as I am new to this and not sure what to do with so much conflicting information! Thanks!

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Hi Madison,

Your LFS seems pretty experienced and helpful. There is no "correct" answer on what equipment you need. I have seen great tanks setup completely stock without chemical media, or even sand for that matter.

That being said you dont need a circulation pump right away. The Biocube 32 comes with a pump that should work to get things started. Personally I am a fan of higher flow, but the stock Biocube 32 pump should get you by for a bit until you decide which supplemental pump to acquire. You also probably do not need a skimmer at this point. You can get by with doing diligent water changes, but certainly couldn't hurt to have a skimmer after you add some livestock.

For inverts, it depends on what kind, but I would hold off on adding inverts right away. You could add a fish after a week or so to get your cycle going. If you use a product called "BioSpira" which I highly recommend purchasing, they say you can add a fish pretty much right away.

I think the lesson you will quickly learn is that slow and steady wins the race. I told my self this from day one and still got burned. Pretty sure everyone has made this mistake on the forum. The slower you go, the more stable your system will be to handle additional livestock.

What you have listed will certainly get you started. However, no need to add the chemipure elite yet, I would hold on to that until you start adding more livestock.

Once you get the tank setup with rockwork, sand, and water I would get some of that "BioSpira" and potentially add a hardy fish like a damsel. Or add a nitrogen source such as Dr. Tim's Ammonia.

You are on the right track!

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15 minutes ago, MSunkin23 said:

Hi Madison,

Your LFS seems pretty experienced and helpful. There is no "correct" answer on what equipment you need. I have seen great tanks setup completely stock without chemical media, or even sand for that matter.

That being said you dont need a circulation pump right away. The Biocube 32 comes with a pump that should work to get things started. Personally I am a fan of higher flow, but the stock Biocube 32 pump should get you by for a bit until you decide which supplemental pump to acquire. You also probably do not need a skimmer at this point. You can get by with doing diligent water changes, but certainly couldn't hurt to have a skimmer after you add some livestock.

For inverts, it depends on what kind, but I would hold off on adding inverts right away. You could add a fish after a week or so to get your cycle going. If you use a product called "BioSpira" which I highly recommend purchasing, they say you can add a fish pretty much right away.

I think the lesson you will quickly learn is that slow and steady wins the race. I told my self this from day one and still got burned. Pretty sure everyone has made this mistake on the forum. The slower you go, the more stable your system will be to handle additional livestock.

What you have listed will certainly get you started. However, no need to add the chemipure elite yet, I would hold on to that until you start adding more livestock.

Once you get the tank setup with rockwork, sand, and water I would get some of that "BioSpira" and potentially add a hardy fish like a damsel. Or add a nitrogen source such as Dr. Tim's Ammonia.

You are on the right track!

Thanks for the great advice! I am aware that there are some back chambers in the BioCube- what would I put in those chambers besides the heater? Is there anything I would need to put in there while the tank is cycling?

 

Also, do you think I should trust my LFS with any advice they give? They seem to be really knowledgeable but I just wasn’t sure at first if they giving me right info (but it seems like most of what they said was accurate).

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Hi Madison,

 

I always welcome advice from LFS and other hobbyists, but your own experiences will shape how you approach the hobby. Some LFS push products, so I would be more worried if they were forcing you to  buy a skimmer that you don't need yet. In that regard they should have gained some trust. You will even find on this forum more often than not, conflicting opinions on subjects. So take any advice with a grain of salt (pun intended). I had one guy tell me once that my 16g Biocube was too small for a clownfish which I disagreed with and purchased my clownfish from another LFS.

 

For cycling, you want to have your heater back there, and perhaps filter floss. Otherwise empty is fine. 

 

Once your cycle is nearly complete, you can start to put some chemical media back there if you like such as: Chemipure Elite, Purigen, Chemipure Blue, Matrix, Carbon... But that is not mandatory. I personally trade between purigen and chemipure in my back chambers with filter floss and thats it. Some people add chaeto macro algae as well which offers benefits, but also can bring some issues and complexity.

 

In my opinion the large benefit of nano tanks is that water changes are king. Besides biological live-rock filtration, any other filtration just potentially delays the time for your next water change.

 

At this point, I would take some time to figure out some nice rock work, get some saltwater in the tank, start the pumps, and add biospira along with a nitrogen source (Dr. Tims Nitrogen, Fish, Raw Shrimp, so on...)

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Ah I’m so envious you’re starting a 32! I love my Biocube 16 but it would be nice to have the extra space to work with. I think you’ve gotten good advice and you’re on the right track. Looking forward to seeing pictures of what you come up with for your rock work. I don’t see a refractometer on your list... if you don’t have one yet you’ll need one for mixing your water. 

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I have the same tank and love it. Heater in first compartment. Media rack upgrade in second compartment running floss, chaeto, and phos reducer. Eshopps protein skimmer also in compartment 2. Third compartment is return pump. I also have a power head on the opposite corner of the return pump, and switched out the return cap for a wave maker. 

 

Great tank!

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 Hello and welcome

 

To help answer some questions

 

 

Livestock/cycle:

when to add any livestock is dependant on when your cycle is complete.

 

Liverock alone often has no cycle if its clean liverock that has been in a tank. Its cured liverock, established so it has all the beneficial bacteria established in it so there will be no cycle unless you let it dry out which causes die off of that bacteria.

 

Unfortunately some dry rock has organics in it, if it's not clean rock there may be a cycle with the dry Rick.

 

It really depends on the rock used and the ratio of liverock to dry rock. 

 

I would not dose ammonia if you have a good amount of liverock in there as it can kill critters and beneficial bacteria(the main reason for using liverock)

 

Testing the tank every day will tell you when you can add livestock 

 

Skimmer:

A skimmer is not necessary. Can it be helpful, yes, but do you have to have one on smaller tanks. No 

 

Keeping a low bioload, good husbandry, and not over feeding can help prevent the need of a skimmer.

 

Equipment:

As for equipment. Most ditch the stock filtration, most get a media basket and use custom media in it.

 

Sponges and bioballs are not recommended.

 

A powerhead is definitely a good idea. You don't need a fancy one. There are tons available.

 

A refractometer is another piece of equipment needed as well as calibration fluid

 

A heater controller is another good idea. The inkbird is great. 

 

Rodi units are another thing you can invest in or you can buy distilled to use

 

An ato is another item, if not  you will need to top up evap water manually daily

 

There is plenty you will need like the following.

 

buckets

extra heater and powerhead for saltwater mixing (cheap ones are fine for this)

Gravel vacuum

Turkey baster

Toothbrushes

Baby bottle brushes

Towels

Algae scraper

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, banasophia said:

Ah I’m so envious you’re starting a 32! I love my Biocube 16 but it would be nice to have the extra space to work with. I think you’ve gotten good advice and you’re on the right track. Looking forward to seeing pictures of what you come up with for your rock work. I don’t see a refractometer on your list... if you don’t have one yet you’ll need one for mixing your water. 

Thanks! I forgot to add that I got a hydrometer reccomended by the LFS, but I was thinking of getting a refractometer instead since I hear they are more accurate. Is it worth it to get one?

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Welcome.  Hopefully you stick around and share this tank with us as it comes together.  

 

I agree with everything said here.  I had a similar tank years ago which was very successful. Equipment I used was InTank media rack with floss and chemi-pure, high quality heater, inexpensive powerhead, dry rock, live sand.  I blasted detritus off the rocks and did a 5 gallon water change with Instant Ocean salt weekly.  IMO you don't need a skimmer in this size tank if you are going to do weekly water changes.  I topped off manually using RO/DI water from my local fish store.  

 

The only thing I would consider necessary not mentioned here would be a TDS meter.  If you purchase your own RO/DI unit it will likely have one, if you depend on someone else for water (distilled, or from your LFS, etc)  I would invest in an inexpensive handheld meter so you can check the quality of the water you are buying.  

 

An upgrade down the road is lighting.  I'm not even sure what they put in the Biocubes these days, but it is likely to be good, not great.  There are some great retrofit options out there from companies like Nanobox and Steve's LED's. 

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3 hours ago, Madison989 said:

Thanks! I forgot to add that I got a hydrometer reccomended by the LFS, but I was thinking of getting a refractometer instead since I hear they are more accurate. Is it worth it to get one?

I personally love my Milwaukee digital refractometer... not a necessity, but very convenient and accurate... if you consider getting one you might want to check your local craigslist/FB Marketplace to see if anyone is selling one. 

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3 hours ago, Madison989 said:

Thanks! I forgot to add that I got a hydrometer reccomended by the LFS, but I was thinking of getting a refractometer instead since I hear they are more accurate. Is it worth it to get one?

Hydrometers are crap, that's why it's not on the list of recommended items. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, banasophia said:

Ah I’m so envious you’re starting a 32! I love my Biocube 16 but it would be nice to have the extra space to work with. I think you’ve gotten good advice and you’re on the right track. Looking forward to seeing pictures of what you come up with for your rock work. I don’t see a refractometer on your list... if you don’t have one yet you’ll need one for mixing your water. 

Tell me about that feeling of "How I wish I had got a 32 instead of a 16!" Everyday... I tell ya! Ha ha 😄

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14 hours ago, Madison989 said:

Hi everyone!

 

I am setting up my first saltwater tank, which is a BioCube 32. I visited my local fish store today to purchase some equipment to get started with some guidance from the store manager. However, he gave me some advice that has conflicted with what I had previously researched online.

 

One thing he said was that I would not need a protein skimmer. He also said that I would not need a circulation pump. I thought both of these things were important for saltwater aquariums.

 

Here is a list of everything I bought, which is what the store said was all I would need:

 

Heater

Live sand

Dry rock (+live rock)

RO/DI unit

ChemiPure elite

Instant ocean salt

Water parameters test kit

 

 

The store also said that I would be able to add invertebrates a couple days after I set up the tank, and I can add fish a week or so after that (which does not seem right because the tank needs time to cycle).

 

I feel like I need more equipment than that and I feel like I am missing some info.  Could some of you help me fill in the gaps of what else I need to buy and what else I need to know? Help would be greatly appreciated as I am new to this and not sure what to do with so much conflicting information! Thanks!

You have some good advice from the experienced folks here, and yes you are on the right track! I also have a BioCube but its a size 16. Do share your journey here, I'm sure many of us would be looking forward to seeing what you build! 🙂

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