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FrancineJ

NEW Biocube 32 Set up Questions

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FrancineJ

Hi everyone...

Long time reader (research lol) First time poster,

I am a LONG time keeper of freshwater and brackish water tanks and critters of all- from Dragon Gobies to Mollies to ACF’s/ACDF’s to Axolotl’s lol

However this is my first step into the full saltwater world.... well it’s actually my sons... he is 12 and has convinced me to buy him the Coralife 32 LED tank.... I have posted on other general forums and have gotten so many opinions my head is spinning...

Other than the tank and stand I have the following equipment:

 

-Cobalt Neotherm 150W

 

- InTank media tray

 

- InTank (cant remember what it’s called but the part that closes in the gap between the tank and the back - I plan to have a goby and have heard horror stories)

 

-The Hydor KPS WiFi Wavemaker 

 

- a good thermometer 

 

- regular instant ocean salt (haven’t ordered yet but this is what I plan to get and use- unless someone convinces me otherwise

 

- a good refractometer (bought the same one I use to double check my brackish tanks- and also have instant ocean hydrometer)

 

-mag float glass cleaner

 

- Caribsea 20lbs of the LifeRock Shapes (I don’t think I will be using all 20lbs... probably more like 15-17lbs (I don’t have the glue or whatever for these yet so opened to the best idea to make them stick and stay!!)

 

- I also want egg crate (I am just going to cut it to go on the rocks that touch the glass on the bottom.... not going to cover the full tank floor) but I’m not sure where to get it... I am in Canada and can only find it online at places that don’t ship to Canada... so any ideas or substitutions would be great....

 

- Caribsea special grade reef sand- 15lbs (aiming for about an inch on bottom so may not need the whole bag or if I need more it’s easy to get)

 

-Already have the API saltwater master kit for my brackish tank and have ordered the reef kit for when we add corals and to monitor everything just in case)

 

- Purigen, Matrix, Phosguard and the appropriate bags for each made by seachem

 

-Filter floss

 

-bottle of biospira

 

And I am probably forgetting something lol

 

My plans based on what I have got the most consistent advice on is: 

 

- don’t waste my money on a protein skimmer.... for a tank this size and what I plan to keep it won’t be worth it as long as I do my weekly water changes... which we will be... now keep in mind that when recommendations come in... this tank will be set up and run by my son on his own... so we are going for as simple as possible... he’s very smart and looks after his own 64g axie tank and 406 canister himself... and also helps me with all my water changes and mixes the salt for the brackish tank so he’s not completely unfamiliar with stuff....

so:

Again been advised to skip protein skimmer.... keep up with W/C’s instead

 

my plans are to install the heater into chamber 1

 

chamber 2 will have the InTank media basket: from top to bottom:

Filter Floss

Purigen and Phosguard 

Matrix

 

I have also been advised that in a tank this small there is no point in installing the InTank fuge basket.... (surely the Phosguard and purigen combo along with the matrix should keep things under control and if phosphates or nitrAtes get too high I’ll just add more (either purigen or phosguard) until we know how much we will need.... but I’m sure 1 bag of purigen will be fine as my tap water has natural occurring nitrAtes at like 60-80ppm and 1 bag brings my 75g tank down to 5ppm- so in theory it should be able to handle the 32g (which isn’t even quite 32g’s and less when I add sand and rock)

 

so I had thought about just dropping in another bag of matrix beside the InTank media basket in the empty spot... just for more bio.... 

 

So hopefully so far so good lol

Let me know if you have better ideas or changes... keeping in mind it will be a 12 y/o doing the work....

 

Really the only benefit (and no one has really convinced me as I have read many contradictions both by science and by peoples advice is that maybe I should run a fuge with Cheato to make pods

 

My easy solution to this is why can I not just dose the tank with the line of pods made by seachem therefore avoiding another thing to buy plus something else for him to take care of.... right?

 

We will only ever be keeping easy soft corals and obviously it won’t be for a while.... so the stock LED lights should be fine I’m assuming....

 

Now I would like to add an ATO but I am not quite sure where to start with this tank... from what I gather you can buy the whole kits (pump and all) but I have no idea which ones to look for or really where to put the sensors and such (I believe in chamber 3).... honestly I’m not quite sure how they completely work other than some of the ones I have looked at have like a storage container where you put your fresh water and it automatically tops up the tank from evaporation and such.... so some guidance there would be nice... again looking for something reliable but cost effective... it’s a dark room so no sunlight hardly at all only light really will be if he has his lamp or TV on... plus the LED’s (when on) but I still think it’s a good idea as I know it becomes annoying with my 100 tanks I already have constantly topping them off lol.... size is also going to be a component... so the more compact the better...

 

also because we only have a brackish tank using a large spoon and 5g bucket has been sufficient enough for mixing salt (we just temp match the water and do the water change right away and it has never swayed much from 1.005... maybe up to 1.008 but that’s ok for brackish however not ok for swings with saltwater so I am looking for recommendations on a powerhead that’s decently priced but will not break after 2 months or what your guys preferred methods are for water changes... his plan was to mix it up in his room with temp matched water and then just use a smaller container like a juice jug or such to pour the water in (taking it out is not a problem as we have a separate python from the freshwater tanks) so if there is an easier way for him to get the water in the tank I’m all ears lol and again a brand of power head (be specific so I don’t screw it up lol) or something for better mixing.... and water changes

** (I have no choice but to use distilled water but I am absolutely sure it’s 100% actual distilled water... I have a family member in the plumbing business and I made them test it for everything and it’s got nothing- others had tried to convince me to use RO water but my tap water is so bad I would have to buy a large expensive one (I have nitrAtes, copper, a water softener and other crap) So I’m fine with the distilled water because again I am certain it’s 100% pure....plus my faucets are not the norm... I would have to like disconnect the whole thing (if I even could) to get it attached (and they are crazy expensive) and I’m assuming I’d be going through cartridges like crazy and it probably still won’t remove everything) 

 

next i I believe would be stocking:

for our CUC and Fish stocking we have went back and forth and are not sure on numbers and we want a variety (of CUC) that will each kind of do their own thing... 

 

This is sort of where we are but not entirely sure on number or if this will be overstocking the tank (keep in mind I’m only using a max of 15lbs of sand- and around 14-17lbs of rock)

 

- 1 x Royal Gramma

- 2x Clownfish (these are the only MUST have)

- 1x Watchman Goby

- 1x pink line wrasse (this was suggested to me by many however I’m having a hard time finding out exactly what the real name is- when I put it into google I get a bunch of different things but they are talking about the smaller more docile one so if someone can help me out with a better name that would be great so I don’t end up with the wrong fish because (and I maybe should have mentioned this) I have a family owned chain store here... not like Wal-Mart or Petco... they started out with 1 store here in my town and now have about 5 in the surrounding towns as our Walmart’s and such don’t sell fish.... so when I place an order for anything it comes separate from their order in my own box and I grab it as soon as the shipper drops it off and go home with it... even if they order more of the same fish mine always are separated right from their shipper) sorry now I will continue....

 

1x Randall’s pistol shrimp (choosing him because of the neat relationship between him and the goby)

 

1x Scarlet cleaner shrimp 

 

3x Trochus snails

 

3x Cerith snails

 

And wanting a 3rd snail... something that will accomplish what these guys won’t like eating certain algae’s or turning up the sand bed

The one that was recommended but I am hesitant on is 2x Astraea Snails- my concern is that they will get flipped over and one of us won’t notice and he will get eaten by something else in our tank or die or something lol 

 

Now 1: would that be overstocking the new 32g Coralife?

Should I choose something else over the Astraea snails that may accomplish more and I won’t have to flip over? I’m not looking for something that’s going to reproduce like crazy (I know some of those snails will but I’ve been told most of the eggs will die off or will be eaten... and once they grow I can always sell stuff back to my LFS as they know the care that goes into my fish....

 

I apologize that was so long winded (and I still probably missed stuff lol) 

but if anyone has the time and experience to read through my mess of a post I would love to hear any changes I should make and the reason behind it... and the stocking is a big thing... we don’t want to over stock etc (also if you could tell me approximately how many of the cuc to start with (and I know to add the fish sort of least aggressive to most aggressive- will save the 2 clowns or wrasse for last... unless someone has a better stocking list I am all for it... the only thing that CANT leave is the clownfish and I’d like to keep the goby and Randall’s shrimp combo because I think that would be cool to watch... other than that... fairly simply... although as I mentioned he has experience with all sorts of fish... like bumblebee gobies and our dragon goby to the frogs and his axies (we hand feed all 4 of our frogs and all 3 of our axies) so the fish don’t need to be the most simple... more looking for some hardy and nice bright stuff that will make the tank have different colors etc but again no idea if with this list if I’m over stocked or under stocked lol Brand new world to me.... 

If there is anything equipment wise that I have missed let me know (I may already have it and just forgot to list it lol)

Thank you in advance for anyone who takes the time to help us.... just please note I have a brain Injury which makes it hard to read long posts (and write them! 😫) so if it’s not too much trouble when answering questions and moving on to the next topic could you put the spaces like I sort of did with my post... it helps me sort through and read it easier 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daniel91

Hi! Welcome. I cannot read through it right now but I will try to help you out later tonight/tomorrow.

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Clown79

You will need at least 20lbs of the rock for a 32g. Some would say 25lbs would be better.

 

The kps powerhead is fantastic and so are your other choices for equipment.

 

You don't need a skimmer but if you overstock or have certain types of livestock that require heavy feeding, you may need to add one after wards.

 

The lights are suitable for lps and soft coral.

 

As for the salt brand, its personal choice. I myself don't like IO or Reef Crystal's. I prefer brands that have better quality control with batch numbers and are consistent parameter wise.

 

Heater should be placed in a chamber without the return pump in it for safety issues as the return chambers water level changes.

 

 

I can't help with ato as I manually top up every morning. Takes me 2 minutes on 3 tanks and you have a closed top system, you'll have less evap.

 

Distilled water is perfectly fine. Distilled is as pure as rodi it's more costly and in times of emergency, it's a pain. 

 

Everyones tap water is decent to bad, that's why we use rodi filtration.

My tds level is between 350-470, treated with chlorine and chloramines.

 

The purpose of the rodi is to remove all of the stuff in tap water, distilled water is the same just a different method of removal. 

Rodi has sediment, carbon, membrane, and di filters, distilled is steam and oxygenated filtration.

I change my filters every 4-5mnths. It still costs much less than distilled.

 

No tap water should be used for SW

 

As for media. Phosguard is not meant to be used regularly. It's used to reduce phosphates, so it's best to use it when necessary or you run the risk of over filtration(stripping the tank of nutrients)

 

You don't want 0 nitrates or 0 phosphates. These are essential to corals.

 

 

For mixing water you need a bucket only used for your saltwater tank. Add the water, add heater and powerhead(any heater and powerhead works even the cheap ones) add salt slowly and stir it. Test the salinity until its correct.

 

Mixing time depends on salt brand. Some are 24hrs, some 4hrs, some 30 minutes.

 

As for refugium, that's personal choice. The smaller the refugium, the less nutrient exporting you get from it. 

 

You don' have to fill up the back chambers. Using the media rack and a heater is enough.

 

Less is more. Keeping things simple offers boat loads of benefits.

 

 

As for livestock. The fish choices seem fine as long as they are compatible.

 

Clean up crew like snails and hermits are added as needed. There is no magic number with them as everyones tank needs different amounts.

 

Eggcrate can be found at any hardware store in the lighting section. 

 

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FrancineJ
17 hours ago, Clown79 said:

You will need at least 20lbs of the rock for a 32g. Some would say 25lbs would be better.

 

The kps powerhead is fantastic and so are your other choices for equipment.

 

You don't need a skimmer but if you overstock or have certain types of livestock that require heavy feeding, you may need to add one after wards.

 

The lights are suitable for lps and soft coral.

 

As for the salt brand, its personal choice. I myself don't like IO or Reef Crystal's. I prefer brands that have better quality control with batch numbers and are consistent parameter wise.

 

Heater should be placed in a chamber without the return pump in it for safety issues as the return chambers water level changes.

 

 

I can't help with ato as I manually top up every morning. Takes me 2 minutes on 3 tanks and you have a closed top system, you'll have less evap.

 

Distilled water is perfectly fine. Distilled is as pure as rodi it's more costly and in times of emergency, it's a pain. 

 

Everyones tap water is decent to bad, that's why we use rodi filtration.

My tds level is between 350-470, treated with chlorine and chloramines.

 

The purpose of the rodi is to remove all of the stuff in tap water, distilled water is the same just a different method of removal. 

Rodi has sediment, carbon, membrane, and di filters, distilled is steam and oxygenated filtration.

I change my filters every 4-5mnths. It still costs much less than distilled.

 

No tap water should be used for SW

 

As for media. Phosguard is not meant to be used regularly. It's used to reduce phosphates, so it's best to use it when necessary or you run the risk of over filtration(stripping the tank of nutrients)

 

You don't want 0 nitrates or 0 phosphates. These are essential to corals.

 

 

For mixing water you need a bucket only used for your saltwater tank. Add the water, add heater and powerhead(any heater and powerhead works even the cheap ones) add salt slowly and stir it. Test the salinity until its correct.

 

Mixing time depends on salt brand. Some are 24hrs, some 4hrs, some 30 minutes.

 

As for refugium, that's personal choice. The smaller the refugium, the less nutrient exporting you get from it. 

 

You don' have to fill up the back chambers. Using the media rack and a heater is enough.

 

Less is more. Keeping things simple offers boat loads of benefits.

 

 

As for livestock. The fish choices seem fine as long as they are compatible.

 

Clean up crew like snails and hermits are added as needed. There is no magic number with them as everyones tank needs different amounts.

 

Eggcrate can be found at any hardware store in the lighting section. 

 

 

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FrancineJ

*** sorry didn’t mean to do that quote thing** lol

 

 

It’s actually only recommended by Coralife to use 15lbs of rock in the 32... and 12lbs of sand... and I know the Rock works as bio and filtration but because I am adding the matrix everyone says I will be fine with about 17lbs (that’s what I’m aiming for, but I will have a 20lb bag if we want to do the full 20lbs) but ya I even confirmed it.... they told me that where people make their mistakes in the amount of rock and substrate is the 32g tanks are not really 32g... same with the 29g ones and so on... if you actually look it up (and according the them) the 32 actually is closer to 29g and the 29g one is closer to 25g or something like that... but they call it a 32g.... but again they recommend only 14lbs of rock so I’m even bumping it up from there... and the biomax will add to the filtration and bio...

I know I can’t use my tap water lol you think yours is bad.... mine is about 10x worse than that... with a lot of copper and sky high nitrAtes... I would have to buy the really expensive ro unit and I really don’t think I could even connect it to the type of expensive faucets I have (I wouldn’t want to break one trying to figure out how to get the ro unit on.... they look like this (see attached picture)

for the amount of water we will use 10$ max a week I’m sure and even less to start (the distilled water isn’t that bad and I don’t even have to go get it... my dad just brought us 50g’s to start us off once everything arrives.... and sorry I should have been more specific... yes I know I don’t need to run the phosguard all the time (it can even be removed and reused - if not exhausted- once your levels come down... and put back in if they start to rise) but that part won’t be for months and months as we want to get it cycled and cuc and fish in first... then we will worry about corals lol

 

i wanted suggestions on the ATO just because it’s ones less thing to worry about... (if you seen the amount of tanks in my house you’d understand lol!)

 

i think i found one that will work out ok... and the sensors for that I believe go in the 3rd chamber and it’s compact... I’m not expecting much evaporation anyway like I said... dark room and it has the LED’a so not near the heat as the old ones... but I suppose I could wait and see how bad it is and then decide if I want one....

 

There are just so many opinions out there it’s crazy...

 

but my plan is:

run heater in chamber 1

Chamber 2 will have the InTank basket with filter floss, then the matrix then the purigen... I’m just wondering what I could do with the empty space beside the InTank basket in chamber 2.... like should I throw a small bag of chemipure elite in there? The only thing I hate about that chemipure stuff is there’s no real way (other than testing) to see if it’s exhausted... some say they replace theirs every month and others say it will last 4 months.... and I know it depends on bioload and such.... but that’s why I prefer the purigen... I can tell when I need to swap it out and regenerate it....

now you are saying I don’t want 0 NitrAtes? Others (and many of them) tell me I do want them as close to 0 as possible... so now I’m confused lol Fresh water and brackish is so much easier

 

as for the powerhead I was looking for a specific brand and type that people are using... there are 100’s of them so I was hoping someone would recommend one that is decently priced and will not break in 2 months... that’s pretty much all I need now.. I’ve got everything else and I went with the instant ocean salt... it seems to be the one everyone is suggesting (but just the regular stuff, not the reef crystals) I’ve been told it dissolves pretty quick and that’s what we are looking for... my other question is how will I know if this brand mixes in 30 minutes, 4 hours, a day? How can you possibly tell? 

The way we do our brackish water is just temp match the water to the tank... add the amount of salt we need and then just mix it up for a good 15-20 Mins and add it to the tank.... I know it’s ALOT less salt so I’m guessing that’s why I takes longer to mix...

so what do you do? Put the heater in the bucket with the water and set to temp match and then just leave the power head running in the bucket for however long? (Does the salt say on the box how long to mix it for)

 

also so does anyone have any ideas on an easy way to get the SW from the bucket to the tank... like using a pump and hosing or something? Other than how we do it now? (Which is Just use smaller buckets to dump it in) 

if there’s some kind of like submersible pump that would connect to a thicker hose than airline tubing could you not somehow pump it in straight from the bucket? 

Also last question... when adding the water for a WATER CHANGE does it get added right into the front tank on these? Or do you add it to one of the chambers first? Might be a stupid question but I don’t have the aquarium yet.. everything is just all ordered... so I can’t physically see it lol 

 

attached ia the way my faucets are so I don’t know how I would connect the RO unit... it would never connect to these without me like disassembling them somehow and I don’t care to do that to like an 800$ faucet lol 

9C70E023-05DB-4CD7-9400-49D9999817CF.jpeg

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Clown79

Instant ocean is generally mixed for a long time before use. It is not a 30mins mix. 

 

Over night is what most mix IO.

Reef Crystal's is 4hrs

Red sea blue bucket is 30 mins

Aquaforest is as soon as its disolved(15mins)

 

 

For mixing water a maxijet powerhead is fine. Reliable and decent price.

 

I don't like chemipure. I prefer to buy my media in bulk and bag it myself.

I use smaller quantities and change often

 

I listed in the previous post salt mixing instructions. Some brands have specifics.

 

Io- put water in bucket, add heater, add powerhead, start stirring in salt. Check salinity level until its correct and document how much salt you used for the next time you mix.

When I used IO I ran it over night. It doesn't dissolve as quickly as other brands.

 

 

Everyone removes the water and adds it differently. I just use a juice jug(new) and add my water in.

You add it to the display. When the pump is turned back on it will fill up the back chambers of they are low in water.

 

You'd need to connect your rodi yo another faucet with standard faucets. Laundry room, bathroom, even hose outside.

 

 

Btw everyones water has nitrates and copper in it. That's what the rodi unit is for and 4-5 stage is standard.

 

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FrancineJ

Well not everyone’s water has as bad as mine and that’s the problem all my taps look like that (except bathtub) and obviously it wouldn’t connect to that... and I live in Canada so we have to turn all of our outdoor hose lines off in the winter (which is most of the year here lol) or the pipes will burst in your house... so I don’t mind using distilled... Ive had it tested (professionally) and the brand is fine so I don’t mind having to spend a couple extra bucks on that... and around here where I live most people don’t have detectable nitrAtes in their water... the reason why I do is I have well water... which also has all kinds of who knows what in it... plus I also have a water softener installed so again the waste water would be much less efficient for me to use an RO unit because of me having not a real deep well to begin with plus then the water goes through the water softener and it still is not “soft” by any means... I am certain that I would be going through membranes like crazy... just because it’s such crappy water for saltwater tanks.... even with an RO unit because from what I have learned they don’t remove everything... and with such a bad start off I just think it’s easier to spend the couple extra bucks and use the distilled water... and again all my bathroom taps and kitchen taps are all that same design... the only other water sources I have access to year round is my tub faucet (which won’t work) and 3 showers that are all like the overhead rainfall showers.... (sometimes it’s not so good to have the high tech gadgets! Lol! ) so I think an RO is out of the possibilities for me... also in Canada our FDA or whatever it’s called is strict to the extreme so if something is labeled as medical grade distilled water... it is.... you would be surprised at the stuff we can’t get here that those in the states can from foods to certain fish and animals it’s really strict... so I believe it is true distilled water.... 

so when we Mix the IO salt... let’s say it’s temp matched and my refractometer says after 4 hours that it’s 1.025 would it be safe to go ahead and do the water change? (I am also ocd... even with my brackish tanks I check 2 separate times with my refractometer and again twice with my hydrometer to be sure of the measurement... I don’t check once and say ok and dump it in lol) or would you still recommend waiting closer to overnight.... or once it measures 1.025 it’s fine?

i hate getting such mixed opinions lol on the other forums I have got 1- that IO dissolves the fastest followed by Red Sea.... and that the IO crystals take the longest... ugh I’m ready to pull my hair out and I haven’t even started... lol

 

Thanks for the powerhead recommendation... I’m not familiar with that one... does it have like a suction cup mount or magnetic one? And it is more efficient to leave it close to the middle of the bucket or right at the bottom? Also is there different models of that one? Like how many gph should I be looking for... and if I buy one that has more gph will it mix it faster.... I feel so dumb for asking all these questions... I’m usually the one answering them lol (in the freshwater forums) as for the heater... I have 2 spare fluval 150w ones... will those work if I just stick it in the bucket or would it like melt the bucket overnight) lol I’m so paranoid (we use the home hardware (same as Home Depot 5g buckets)

 

also would you recommend doing the set up as I said?

it can be done a couple ways according to InTank:

Filter floss is always on top: so I have the fluffy stuff and I ordered the intanks blue and white stuff that you cut to size... would I be better to put the InTank blue and white on in the top basket and then cover it with a bit of the fluffier stuff? Just for extra debris removal and it may make the InTank ones last longer if I replace the fluffy stuff like every other day or something? 

Then you have an option... I know in general people think it HAS to go mechanical, chemical, biological however that’s not always the case... for example if you are familiar with fluvals 406 canister filters they have a couple of mechanical stages then biological then polishing pads and then chemical (I have rearranged it a bit... they have 2 trays (really 4 trays) for carbon... I have replaced all my 406’s with 2 trays of bio and then a bag of purigen on top (so I still follow their suggested media placement but anyway with InTanks they say you can do it either way:

so again the filter floss on top, then Bio, then chemical or they say you can swap the bio and chemical (I’ll attach a picture, and I have emailed with them and they say either way is fine) 

do you think it would be best to do filter floss then my matrix then my purigen or filter floss, purigen matrix.... and no one has really answered my question that since I am not using the fuge system I will have that empty space beside the InTank tray and the 3rd chamber.... should I add a small extra bag of matrix or should I add a small package of chemipure elite? And if I do is it ok to sit on the bottom as long as it’s flowing through it? (I use the LARGE zip bags for my matrix because it has larger holes then “the bag” and “the zip bag” (it’s the one that’s made for the matrix and proper flow) 

also the member above told me I don’t want 0 nitrAtes... but yet everyone else is saying as close to 0 as possible... (don’t forget I don’t have corals) just rock sand fish and cuc.... we won’t even be thinking about corals until into the new year as we plan on adding fish very slowly.... and plus cycling time... what exactly am I aiming for with nitrAtes? Without coral? And with coral? If it makes a difference.... this is just the first time I’ve heard that I am not aiming for 0.... so I’m a little confused... again sorry for all the questions 8459E662-EB3F-477E-8A46-4F815233B758.thumb.png.45ddf2c69df6349c429bf3be98290464.png

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Daniel91

@Clown79 has given me some solid and useful advise in the last, so you are in Good hands. 

 

While scrolling through, I saw an ask for ATO recommendation. I use the Tunze 3155 - best investment I have made so far. Theres the cheaper “little brother” called 3152

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FrancineJ

Perfect thanks! I think one of those is the one I was looking at... is the smaller one fairly compact?

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Daniel91

Both are small. I have mine in the back compartment of a IM 10, which is considered compact by many reefers.

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Clown79

I live in cda. My water is 80% river 20% well water.

 

 

I know IO is considered the salt that takes the longest to mix. 

 

Red Sea certainly doesn't take long. I use red sea and my salt is ready in 30 mins. Completely dissolved, salinity matched, and temp matched.

 

I don't use IO anymore because I don't like it. I don' like the parameters, lack of quality control, how it hardens.

 

Its readily available because it's cheap for the consumer and store. 

 

 

You will get a million different opinions with everything in this hobby.

 

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FrancineJ

Unfortunately IO is already ordered and here because it was the one that was most commonly recommended to me so I went by that... overnight is fine anyway it’s not a huge deal... I’m assuming if I mixed it over night and it came out slightly lower or higher in salinity it wouldn’t take as long to mix in a little extra or add some more water and mix... as my aquarium is going to be running at nearly the exact temp mix for the salinity marked on the bag(which is a tad low- so I will be adding slightly more then what they suggest... I’m assuming anyway- I think it says @77 F it makes SG of 1.020-1.024 and I’m again from advice wanting it around 1.025-1.026 but we will adjust as needed) I also checked out a comparison chart with the different salts and it seems like it has the best amounts (calcium may be a bit low, still in acceptable range but our stocking will be light for quite a while as we plan to take this very very slow lol) and we will be diligent with our testing and our W/C’s.... al by the time I run out we won’t even be fully stocked so could make a gradual switch... I don’t know how much that effects the livestock... switching salts? 

But anyway I think we have enough info to go by... with my knowledge of freshwater compared to what I have learned I think we will be just fine... compared to where some people start anyway... I watched a guy on YouTube put in his rock and just filled it with salt and water (not together... he added the salt in cups right to his aquarium and then filled it with water lol) so I’m at least ahead of him haha

i think we will manage ok... I just don’t like to mess stuff up... because I am so OCD I like everything perfect lol

and yes I agree one person will tell you to NEVER do this and the next will tell you to ALWAYS do it lol

so it’s going to be some trial and error... but I don’t give up so if we screw some stuff up then we do... it happens... but thank you everyone for all your help!

 

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CRRBear

I use the stock filter basket and it seems to work well. I replaced the top stock filter with simple floss, floss and chemi-pure elite in the first row, “bio-rings” in the second row, and I made the lowest row into a refugium (Chaeto). I cycle my refugium light shine opposite my tank lights and it seems to help keep things balanced. I only used 18lbs of live rock and 20lbs of live sand. So far so good.

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FrancineJ

Thanks for your answer! I’ve already got the Intank media basket and Fuge.... I also have a magnetic light (jbj) for my macro algae in the Fuge and plan to run it like yours... when tank lights are completely off the Fuge light will be on...

do you have corals? And if so what types have you grown with success? I am being bombarded with people telling me that the stock led’s won’t grow like any coral and that I should be getting Steve’s upgrade... I know it’s a good upgrade however if the stock lights will grown softies and possibly some easy forgiving LPS (at the top of the rock) then I can’t justify paying the same amount I paid for the tank just for lights... I’ve been told that the chemipure elite (or blue) will strip more of my essentials out in a small tank like this then the purigen and matrix (same as your bio rings but I’m guessing you just used something like biomax instead?) I am definitely adding more rock... I will have a decent bioload and I was told that when using non live rock that you should have at least 1-2 pounds per gallon of water... so I’m gonna aim for around 25-27lbs... and I’m probably going to be the same as you and do 20lbs of sand.... I’m aiming for around 1- 1 1/2 inches just because of my stocking (the pistols shrimp will be non stop digging lol) and that’s also why I’m going with more rock to make a more stable structure because apparently if it’s not 100% stable they can dig so much that they can collapse your rock work... 

how long has yours been up and running for?

and what have you added for stock? 

Both cuc and fish if you don’t mind me asking... 

 

as for the IO salt... it’s beyond me how people have so many different opinions on the same salt.... people are telling me that I will have to mix it for 24 hours with my MJ1200(the good one not the new Chinese made one) and others are saying they can Mix up 10-15g’s in like 20 minutes... so that part is confusing me...

ive been told as long as the water is clear and the salt is dissolved and it’s at the right temp and SG that it can be added right then... so im not sure what to follow now....

ive has so many people tell me that the return is no good also... but I think with my wave maker (hydor aquamai WiFi ) on the left back side that would be enough circulation as it goes up to 1050gph I believe (350-1050 is what it’s rated for I think) 

also I ended up getting the protein Kilmer because I was able to pick up a brand new one (the apparently crappy coralife one) for under 3$... so I figured why not try it... the info I have got on that one is mixed... some people say it does nothing and others say it works perfect so I’ll try it out and see... can’t hurt right?

im just nervous about my cuc.... and that I will have enough... ive read about people initially adding like 30 snails!! 

I had about like 10 to start and half of them are dwarf ones.... can anyone tell me if this is too light? Now I’m expecting my cycling to go fast (I’ve cycled a lot of tanks) and I’m adding bio spira as well... if it works as good as TSS (which it is supposed to) I’ve cycles 75g tanks in a matter of 3-4 days.... I’m worried that this might be the case and I won’t have enough algae and diatoms for my cuc... im wondering if I should also add my first fish or if I should try cycling with the lights on when it comes towards the end of the cycle to maybe get some more algae growth? I’m also going to be seeding my Fuge and macro algae with the bottles (I forget the brand now) but you add a little of each into your Fuge and it will actually allow the pods to keep growing a population without getting eaten all at once... has anyone used stuff like this? I can find the exact brand on amazon if needed... 

i think I have also planned to add all of my fish and cuc to the tank and then worry about adding corals... will this work out fine? Starting it without any corals and getting a handle on the fish, feedings and water changes and then adding a couple softies at a time to make sure that we are doing ok with just the fish and stuff to start? Lol

and lastly I’m undecided to use the Caribsea special grade sand (I think I have to due to my stocking and the larger grain size... not to mention the more powerful wave maker) or to use the agralive pink Fiji sand.... I know the live sand will help it cycle faster but I don’t think I’m going to have issues with that...

the more opinions I get the more confused I am getting lol

ome person says this sucks and the next says it’s perfect lol soooook lost!! Lol

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FISHnChix

Whoa I am lost that is a lot of questions and material to read through lol. First I think you are going to give yourself a heart attack over thinking everything. 😎. Add your rock,  sand, bacteria,  and ammonia source and let mother nature do all the work.. 

 

I will try and tackle a couple questions. As for the salt I mix my reef crystals in 30 mins and it's fine. You are getting mixed answers on this so mix a couple gallons for 1 hours and test all your params then mix for 24 hours and do the same . If the readings are similar then there you go.

 

Stock LEDs grow most less demanding corals, but the color isn't something most people like.  Also it's nice to have a light that can grow anything you want. I like having the hood on so I went with nanobox retro kit.

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FrancineJ

The cycling is not the problem... I know how to cycle the tank... it’s all the other stuff that I am getting mixed reviews on... mine is not the IO crystals... it’s just normal IO....

i haven’t heard many complaints of the colors (if set up properly) however I have heard everything from they won’t even grow softies to people showing me pictures with the stock lights and SPS corals growing great... if we do upgrade it won’t be until one of the last things we do and it won’t be until we’ll later on as we will be upgrading to the Steve’s LED... I’m just a little confused at how they work... I know they are easy to install however we were going to enjoy the preprogramming of stock lighting... and It’s not really clear how Steve’s led kit works? Like do you have to change it all the time or is there a similar timer as what would come with the stock lights for ramping up and down? On the website it doesn’t give much info (for people who don’t really understand or its their first salt water tank) that you can understand lol

and as for the questions... IMO it’s better to ask the questions first then to do something and have it fail... I assumed that’s what this forum was for.. help.... and I appreciate all the help I have had so far... it’s just very confusing because there are many opinions that contradict one another from this site and others so it’s helpful to hear them all... I have to have the hood on as in my stocking list you will see a YWG/pistol shrimp combo so again hood is a must... that’s why I think we are just going to stick with adding the rock, sand, cuc and fish (along with other equipment, like heater ect) and then maybe work on the corals once stocked... and have a handle on the water changes and such... from what I have read you can kind of add the corals at anytime so I think that might be the easiest route for us.... then by that time we may be ready to upgrade the lighting... but again... I am asking these questions because I don’t know... If you don’t want to read them or answer them than that’s ok... but it’s all stuff I want opinions and to learn from people who have been successful... it’s an expensive hobby and I’d rather not make mistakes (or too many at least lol) if I can find answers before setting everything up 🙂 

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Daniel91
4 minutes ago, FrancineJ said:

The cycling is not the problem... I know how to cycle the tank... it’s all the other stuff that I am getting mixed reviews on... mine is not the IO crystals... it’s just normal IO....

i haven’t heard many complaints of the colors (if set up properly) however I have heard everything from they won’t even grow softies to people showing me pictures with the stock lights and SPS corals growing great... if we do upgrade it won’t be until one of the last things we do and it won’t be until we’ll later on as we will be upgrading to the Steve’s LED... I’m just a little confused at how they work... I know they are easy to install however we were going to enjoy the preprogramming of stock lighting... and It’s not really clear how Steve’s led kit works? Like do you have to change it all the time or is there a similar timer as what would come with the stock lights for ramping up and down? On the website it doesn’t give much info (for people who don’t really understand or its their first salt water tank) that you can understand lol

and as for the questions... IMO it’s better to ask the questions first then to do something and have it fail... I assumed that’s what this forum was for.. help.... and I appreciate all the help I have had so far... it’s just very confusing because there are many opinions that contradict one another from this site and others so it’s helpful to hear them all... I have to have the hood on as in my stocking list you will see a YWG/pistol shrimp combo so again hood is a must... that’s why I think we are just going to stick with adding the rock, sand, cuc and fish (along with other equipment, like heater ect) and then maybe work on the corals once stocked... and have a handle on the water changes and such... from what I have read you can kind of add the corals at anytime so I think that might be the easiest route for us.... then by that time we may be ready to upgrade the lighting... but again... I am asking these questions because I don’t know... If you don’t want to read them or answer them than that’s ok... but it’s all stuff I want opinions and to learn from people who have been successful... it’s an expensive hobby and I’d rather not make mistakes (or too many at least lol) if I can find answers before setting everything up 🙂 

I may be wrong but I believe the reason why all your questions are not being addressed is because of the long clusters of info with various questions.

 

As a suggestion, I would break it up and address one thing at a time.

You may be throwing people off with longer text and multiple questions because they have to try to remember it all and then address it in the reply.

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FrancineJ

Yes my posts are long and I apologize for that... however unfortunately due to a very bad car accident, I have a traumatic brain injury that causes me severe memory loss so as I think of a question rather than posting 10,000 times I build up a few and then ask them at once so I don’t forget... so again I do apologize for the long posts but that’s the reason....maybe I will try this format and ask the questions and number them... then if someone wants to answer a question or 2 they can just put the number that’s associated with the question in their answer... hopefully maybe this will work better... then when I get my answers I can post a couple more at a time.... hopefully this will work better: 

 

1- while cycling should I go ahead and set up my intank Fuge and jbj light with my macro algae and start seeding some pods? Or how should I go about that step?

 

2- people have upgraded the output part with an mj1200- do you guys think this is necessary with the wave maker I have (aquamai WiFi made by hydor)  (i believe it’s rated like 325or350 to 1050gph)- I would assume that would be enough flow with the stock pump... (going to place near the back left side as suggested) correct?

 

3- is it ok to set everything up, cycle it and then add cuc and fish/shrimp.... and then add all corals (slowly of course... not meaning all at once, 1-2 small easy softies at a time and proceed from there?) 

 

4- I think I am going to go with the pink Fiji agralive sand... I can’t seem to find a grain size... I think I want something with a larger grain size because of the pistol shrimp and his digging so he’s not tossing it all up into the air and Wavemaker constantly...so I keep switching it up between the special grade reef sand (which I know is larger but I’m reading that the live sand is better... is there that much of a difference- and I don’t care so much about cycling time... but is there other benefits of using the pink Fiji over the special grade reef sand?)

 

5- and the last one that no one has really given me a good answer or an explanation is that in my intank media basket I will have 4 spots instead of 3 because I got the extra slide in shelf piece... so top to bottom- intank filter floss (the blue and white stuff) then I have 2 spots... I will be using purigen for one and am considering the chemipure elite for the other OR leaving it empty Incase I need to run a bag of phosguard (again it’s been told to me NOT to run phosguard all the time and only when needed and then remove is this true?) and then the bottom chamber will have about 250-350ml of matrix- should I run more or less or does that seem like the right amount?) 

 

 

Hopefully maybe this will help and then people can just put the number and answer whatever question they want.... this will be my last long post... lol the next ones will just be a couple questions in a similar manner as above... again I apologize for the LAST long post! 😕

just don’t want to mess this up for my son 🙂 

 

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Daniel91

I will answer what I have experience/researched so far:

 

1. No, you want your tank fully cycled before introducing anything. (Unless you are doing fish cycle, which is pretty cruel and unnecessary)

 

2. Cannot advise.

 

3. Yes, once your tank is fully cycled you can start additions. Stay away from adding a major CUC in the beginning. You might starve them. Start with a snail or three and then add as needed.

You can absolutely add fish/shrimp at the same time. A lot of people do their Goby/Pistol shrimp at once but again - shrimp can be very fragile, so ensure that your tank is fully cycled.

 

4. Not a difference that matters. Sand is not needed to have a solid bio filter, most of the time it does nothing but be visually pleasing.

 

5. No need to add any media during the cycle first of all. Some people run filterpads as the only thing, even after the cycle. I think most people add/setup as needed, so when an issue presents itself.

Personally I run pad, purigen and carbon  and it has worked thus far. I would only run anything else as needed. (Even the setup I have might not be needed)

 

 

 

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FrancineJ

Thanks! That helped a lot... my CUC is very small (there is a list on here somewhere) compared to what other people add off the start... 

So don’t use my purigen or anything (other than my matrix will have to be added while cycling) so basically just leave the inTank tray with floss, empty, empty, and matrix? 

And then once cycled (not using fish, using dr Tim’s ammonium chloride, I find it cleaner than food and such, unless there is a benefit to adding a baggie of food or just dropping in some food? Rather than the ammonia....

 

thanks again for the answers 🙂 

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FISHnChix

So I believe the fiji pink is small grained. Looks better imo, but the special grade reef sand is a little more course and easier to clean without sucking a bunch up everytime. Also they sell live special grade reef sand. Google caribsea sand and go to their site they show the grain sizes there.

 

Your correct the dr Tim's ammonia is supposed to be cleaner, therefore better .(although I never found using a shrimp that dirty) I am actually using dr Tim's for the first time . Seems to be working but kinda annoying that it is 4 drops per gallon now because my new tank is 65 gallons that's a lot of counting drops lol..

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Clown79

1. Nothing gets added to tank until its cycles

 

2. You don't have to upgrade the stock pump. Why not try it and see how you like it because every system is different and so are its needs.

 

Same goes with powerhead placement. It will all depend on your rockwork and corals kept and their placement 

 

3. not everything should be added at one time. 1 singular fish or a few small cuc to begin and then slowly add livestock.

Shrimp should be added later as they are more sensitive to changes which will occur in a new tank.

 

4. Sand isn't needed at all so choose what you like because your bio filter is in the liverock.

Get a nice size grain(the grain sized are listed on  caribsea's website) not too big not too small. Either the special grade or Fuji pink will work.

 

5. Filter media is another personal option. Some use none and some go over board. 

 

Chemipure is carbon. 1 has a purigen like media added the other one has a gfo. Both don't last as long as claimed. They are expensive but provide convenience.

 

You can bag your own carbon, your own purigen and it's cheaper.

 

As for the stock lights. They are fine for softies and lps. Neither require high light. 

Some may get away with easier sps at the top.

The issue is the light is basic. Blue and white. More white to blue and limited programming options. Does it work- yes. Does everyone like it- no because some want a light that's fully controllable with the ability to customize settings.

 

You will not get 100% definitive answers in this hobby because every system and its needs are different.

 

How one does one thing another does the opposite.

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Daniel91
9 minutes ago, FrancineJ said:

Thanks! That helped a lot... my CUC is very small (there is a list on here somewhere) compared to what other people add off the start... 

So don’t use my purigen or anything (other than my matrix will have to be added while cycling) so basically just leave the inTank tray with floss, empty, empty, and matrix? 

And then once cycled (not using fish, using dr Tim’s ammonium chloride, I find it cleaner than food and such, unless there is a benefit to adding a baggie of food or just dropping in some food? Rather than the ammonia....

 

thanks again for the answers 🙂 

Are we talking matrix carbon? You do not even have to run that during a cycle but it will not hurt.

But yes, you could keep it empty with floss until you feel the need to add additional media.

 

Ammonium is the way to go IMO

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FrancineJ

Sorry I did not mean adding all of the stuff at once... I meant adding it all first and then adding corals... I didn’t word it right lol 

 

Yes I always use the dr Tim’s ammonia with all my tanks and @Clown79 I hear you on the counting lol the way I did it in the past for my big tanks is measure out an amount of the dr Tim’s and add it to say 5g’s of water and stir it all up a few times a day or add a power head to mix it in quicker... test it about 24 hours later (depending on how you mix it in could be much quicker if using a powerhead or something) and then you will see how high that amount brought your 5g’s to... from there you can just adjust to what you need and then from then on you don’t need to keep counting the ridiculous amount of drops... so if you are aiming for 2ppm... and 1 tsp brings your 5g’s to that then you know to just add around 13 tsp’s.... also be VERY careful! When I first started using it I added the exact amount of drops and it sky rocketed my levels... that’s when I resorted to using the smaller bucket and calculating it from there... much easier than counting the drops and much easier than having to drain half the tank if it ends up going waaaay high! The other mistake people make with it (and you can watch dr Tim’s videos) but do not dose it everyday... wait until it’s near zero and then add your original amount back up... he explains it very well but basically people think it needs to be fed everyday when it doesn’t and that’s how they end up with longer cycling periods and overdosing it... 🙂 hope maybe I helped one of you guys with that! 

I’ve cycled my 3 64g’s using that and TSS within days... it’s better to start with adding a little less and testing every other day to see where it’s at then having what happened to us the first time and getting readings on the api kit of 8ppm+ lol

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