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Centurion's 16g Biocube | First Saltwater Tank!

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Hey everyone, I've done freshwater tanks for the past few years but this is my first foray into saltwater. My fiancée's father has a 120g that piqued my interest and the ongoing pandemic convinced me to pull the trigger on a new project. After considering my options, I went with the Biocube 16g for a few reasons: 1) I like the dimensions and I want to use the additional vertical space compared to other nano tanks; 2) I plan to use the stock LEDs and it seems the consensus on the forums is the presence of the hood minimizes evap so I don't need an ATO system, both of which helped me keep the cost of the tank down, and 3) it was slightly bigger than other nano options and I felt that would expand my livestock options. Just got everything set up and took a quick picture, planning to start cycling very soon.



Tank: Biocube 16 gallon

Salt Mix: Fritz Reef Pro Mix

Sand: Caribsea Aragamax Select

Lighting: Stock LED hood

Powerhead: Jebao OW-10 Wave Maker

  • When I first put this into the tank it was definitely running louder than expected. I took it out, disassembled it, and just put it back together to see if that would help align things. Worth it, put it back it and it's been super quiet. Now I just have to get the right angle/power combo so it's not pushing the sand out of the corners!

Heater: BRS 100w heater (chamber 1)

Biological Filtration: ~1/2 liter Seachem Matrix (chamber 3)

Chemical Filtration: Chemipure Blue (chamber 2)

Mechanical Filtration: Poly Filter (chamber 2)

Tank Modifications: removed false bottom in chamber 1

  • I struggled with this, my recommendation would be to hook something like big curved scaping tweezers in the gap by the back-right corner of the false bottom; you can pop it out with some upward force, then pull it out with the tweezers. I first tried pulling the rails out, which not only did not release the false bottom but also scattered bits of plastic in the bottom of chamber 1, which I then had to pick out of the sand once I started filling the tank. Do not recommend.




  • 2x Ocellaris Clowns (added 05/30/20)

Future Plans

  • 1x goby
  • 1x pistol shrimp
  • 1x Firefish/Pink-Streaked Wrasse/TBD?



  • Hammer (added 06/13/20)
  • Zoas (added 07/03/20)
  • Red-Blue Acan (added 07/07/20)
  • Blue Ricordea (added 08/20)
  • Hubba Bubba Acropora (added 09/16/20)
  • Leng Sy Montipora Cap (added 09/16/20)
  • Nirvana Zoas (added 09/16/20)
  • Mandarin Orange Cloves (added 09/16/20)

Future Plans

  • Expand the zoa garden
  • Fill out the underside of the right-hand overhang with low-light corals; suggestions?



September 2020




August 2020




July 2020




May 2020

Day 0.png


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It looks like you are off to a good start.  I like your aquascape,  it'll give you plenty of room for corals. 


In your list,  the Ricordea, Zoas, and Toadstool would all be good corals to start with.  There's no set time to introduce corals, it's more about stability.  Typically once the tank is cycled and your livestock is introduced its OK to add some.  Start with one or two and build from there. 

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57 minutes ago, Jackal227 said:

It looks like you are off to a good start.  I like your aquascape,  it'll give you plenty of room for corals. 


In your list,  the Ricordea, Zoas, and Toadstool would all be good corals to start with.  There's no set time to introduce corals, it's more about stability.  Typically once the tank is cycled and your livestock is introduced its OK to add some.  Start with one or two and build from there. 

Appreciate it, your tank was a huge inspiration when working on the scape!

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Love the aquascape!


Great corals to consider


Toadstool leather, ricordea mushrooms, blasto, acan lords, fungus plate(short tentacle), montipora digitata

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Tank cycling looked good after about a week with the Dr. Tim's One and Only, so I added a second bottle to be safe and welcomed the first residents to the tank. Picked them up yesterday; both are eating well today and have started to explore more of the tank. Currently feeding them pellets but also have the mysis shrimp as an option once there's a wider variety of tank inhabitants. Looking to pick up a few CUC members and cleaner shrimp in a week or two once more detritus and algae has built up.

Day 12.png

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Month 2 Update


The attack of the diatoms is underway; the attached picture is from yesterday and they've already encroached significantly beyond what's shown. Added a small hammer that seems to be doing well, thinking about slowly introducing more coral sometime next month.


Introduced a cleaner shrimp a few weeks ago, and had a great time watching him crawl around the tank; sadly it passed away within a few days. Noticed it crawling along the sand bed and listing to one side, so I pulled it out and put it in some fresh saltwater while doing a 40% water change. Got it back in the tank for temperature stability but it was too far gone at that point. My ammonia levels are still around .5 ppm even after a water change; currently my best guess is that my bacteria isn't as well-established as I originally thought. Seems like the best course of action would be to wait another 6-8 weeks and get my ammonia down before introducing any more inverts. Would that include any snails? Starting to get a bit of algae growth alongside the diatoms and thought it could be time to get a couple trochus in there. Definitely don't want to repeat my earlier mistake so I'll hold off for now if need be.


Month 2.png

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Livestock + Coral Update


Stopped by the LFS a few weeks ago and picked up some trochus snails and blue leg hermit crabs as a beginner CUC. I was also able to score some brittle stars, snails (Cerith, I think), and a few small starfish (no idea as to species) from my fiancée's father's tank to expand the CUC a bit. The diatoms have already started to fade as the algae really took off. I have some Vibrant that I could start dosing but also wanted to make sure my CUC would have enough to each so I haven't started yet, figured I'd give things some time to settle.


I headed to the LFS last week to pick up another coral; I had already decided on a zoa, as I'm leaning toward making that lower rock on the right into a zoa garden. Picked up a great looking piece with some nice orange around the edges, no ID though. While I was there I saw these really eye-catching red and blue acans that I couldn't get out of my head, so after checking PAR requirements and care I picked one up a few days ago. Still deciding on the final location as the frag is currently getting a higher PAR than needed, but it looks fantastic. I've been doing a bit of spot feeding with reef roids but I think it's too early to report any noticeable progress. 


A few newcomer questions:

  1. I had a few hitchhikers come in on the acan frag; I'm thinking these are feather dusters? Just want to confirm they're nothing I should remove!
  2. Starting to think about my next fish addition; my long-term stocking plan is a goby/pistol shrimp pairing and either a six line wrasse or a firefish. Is there a specific order in which I should introduce those fish to the tank? If not, any recommendations on how long I should wait before adding something or am I good to go now that the cycle is complete?






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August Update



Things seem to be all going well; no new livestock or corals since the last update, going on a trip at the beginning of September so I'm waiting to stock more until I get back. Zoas are growing very quickly, and the hammer has sprouted two new heads! Think the Acan lords were a bit too high up initially as I saw a bit of bleaching but now that they're lower they seem to be slowly growing another polyp(?).



Follow up question around what seem to be some moving tiny strings on my hardscape. They came in initially on the Acan lords but I'm now seeing them independently on the rocks, primarily in one big bundle that writhes around. Any idea if these are good or bad? I've heard medusa worms but that didn't look quite right so any confirmation would be helpful. Thanks!



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September Update



Major coral addition this month! I'd been looking at some pieces from cultivatedreef.com for a while and finally took the plunge. Added another zoa to officially mark the start of a zoa garden on the bottom right; impulse purchased some cloves to provide more movement in the front of the tank; and picked up some long-awaited monti cap and my first SPS for the top of the hardscape. I've heard the Biocube light is strong enough toward the top of the tank to support SPS, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes! 


Additions (from top to bottom):

  • Leng Sy Montipora Cap
  • Hubba Bubba acro
  • Mandarin Orange cloves
  • Nirvana zoas



Previously added coral has been growing really well. The hammer has sprouted even more new heads, the zoas have over a dozen polyps at this point, and even the acan is starting to show some solid new growth.






Starting to see some hair algae pop up on my sand; I've known my cleanup crew was a little slim but since I'm pellet feeding the clowns and they don't miss much I thought I could swing it. Clearly that's not the case, so I'm planning to pick up some nassarius snails this week, and any other CUC members that can help keep my sand looking clean! I'm also dosing Vibrant once a week, but I'd rather put in the time to find a long-term balance solution than rely on a routine additive. Recommendations on how to keep the algae manageable, or is it just the ugly period of a new tank? I'm about four months in now.


I'm also still trying to figure out exactly what organism is slowly starting to take over the right side of my hardscape. I've heard Medusa worms or tube worms, but given their rapid expansion I'm still looking for some peace of mind regarding their presence in my tank. I've noticed that each cluster seems to originate from a central point that accumulates grey matter (dust/debris) around it. Including a gif so people can see their movement; any advice would be appreciated!


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