2020 Biocube 32

XFeathersx

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My first saltwater tank after keeping a 75g freshwater for 8 years. Wasn't sure about upkeep so I didn't want to go all in, and decided the Biocube 32 would be a good intro for me. Sumps and skimmers seemed beyond my capacity (and budget) so an all in one was the best choice for me to see how I liked the additional upkeep required for a saltwater tank.

Mainly my early questions were:
"Is mixing saltwater going to be a huge hassle?"
"Are parameters going to be a hassle to maintain?"
"Will I be able to have a tiny piece of the ocean in my living room (my main goal) without a ton of extra money and time?"

I'm 8 months into it now and it's truly been a delight. Haven't lost any fish or coral (besides a frogspawn that was eaten by a peppermint shrimp and has thus grown back) and maintenance time has been easily doable. I suppose I'll go into that in my next post.

I've been looking for established 32g Biocubes on here for inspiration in terms of stocking and what not but haven't seen too many. Maybe too many beginners go with it but end up not that dedicated to join a forum? I created an account in order to buy from the users on here but I definitely could have used a starter thread like this for the 32 Biocube when I started researching so perhaps this will help someone else in their early journey.

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jk_s124

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I have been running a 29 bio cube for 3 years and have 6 fish. 2 clowns, royal gramma, chromis, tailspot blenny, and a firefish. I do 5 gallon weekly water changes, no skimmer. I run a bag of gfo and carbon mixed together that change out every 3 weeks. I also put a liter of seachem matrix in the 2nd chamber. So far I have not had problems with nutrients or aggression with my fish. I do think that I’m at the max as far as fish. Mainly because of territory. I’m not sure another fish would have space to claim a sleep spot or hiding spaces.
 
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XFeathersx

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~Stock list~

Fish:
2 ORA Clownfish (LiveAquaria)
1 Green Banded Goby from LFS
1 Biota Green Mandarin (AlgaeBarn)
(I want the fish to have room but this might be it for me for fish. Mayyyybe will add a cardinalfish or 2 but unsure.)

Coral:
4 pack soft coral from LiveAquaria:
Pulsing Xenia
Purple Anthelia
Blue Cespitularia
Pineapple (?) Kenya Tree
Grube's Gorgonian (LFS)
Devil's Hand Leather (LFS)
Frogspawn (LFS)
Purple tip (?) Frogspawn (gift from community member)
Duncan (LFS)
Australian Elegance (LFS)
Blasto Merletti (local reef community)
Unknown Favia (local reef community)
Unknown Chalice (local reef community)
2 unknown favia (Coral Savers)
Orange Rhodactis Mushroom (Coral Savers)
3 blasto (Frag Cellar)
Bicolor Hammer (LFS)
Ricordea Florida (Coral Savers)

Inverts:
2 hermits
2 porcelain crabs
Used to have 3-4 nerites, ceriths, nassarius, and 1 turbo (do not recommend turbos for a small tank due to size- they knocked over frags and ate my macroalgae) but my elegance has eaten quite a few of the snails.
Several bristle starfish that I've rescued from coral dips, and a few asterina.
I seeded with 1 order of copedpods from AlgaeBarn at about week 6 and then 1 order from AquariumDepot at about week 12.
 
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I have been running a 29 bio cube for 3 years and have 6 fish. 2 clowns, royal gramma, chromis, tailspot blenny, and a firefish. I do 5 gallon weekly water changes, no skimmer. I run a bag of gfo and carbon mixed together that change out every 3 weeks. I also put a liter of seachem matrix in the 2nd chamber. So far I have not had problems with nutrients or aggression with my fish. I do think that I’m at the max as far as fish. Mainly because of territory. I’m not sure another fish would have space to claim a sleep spot or hiding spaces.

Thanks for the reply! Yeah I do not want to push fish territory so I've been hesitant to add anymore than I have. I've been struggling to increase nitrate and phosphate so I haven't used gfo yet but glad to hear you haven't added skimmer either. Do you use the Coralife filter cartridges? And still stock lights and pump?
 
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XFeathersx

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~Equipment~
Stock lights
Stock pump
Stock filter cartridge
I've added a baggie of activated carbon that I change out every 4 weeks

New addition:
Coralife UV light
It attaches to the pump hose and is very easy setup. I did it because I had a dino outbreak (thank you to all the dino threads on here). I bought a $50 kids microscrope from Amazon and was able to ID them as the Ostreopsis species which requires UV to combat. It took a out 3-4 weeks of just turkey basting the rock work at night to defeat the issue. So while the UV light is installed, it is unplugged for now.

My lighting schedule is (modes specific to Biocube 32)
Sunrise 7:30AM
Daylights 8:30AM to 7:30PM
Sunset 7:30PM to 8:30PM
Moonlights 8:30PM to 10PM

It's looking like this is a bit of a long photoperiod, but since I'm working with stock lighting I thought a longer duration would compensate for the intensity weakness. Might adjust in the future.

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jk_s124

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Thanks for the reply! Yeah I do not want to push fish territory so I've been hesitant to add anymore than I have. I've been struggling to increase nitrate and phosphate so I haven't used gfo yet but glad to hear you haven't added skimmer either. Do you use the Coralife filter cartridges? And still stock lights and pump?
My cube came with the factory canopy removed and a custom wood canopy in its place. This opened up a lot more lighting options. I run 2 kessil a160we’s and have been really happy with them. For filtering I just use a handfull of pollyfill. Dirt cheap and easy. The pump I have is a 90 gph marineland. For flow 2 hydor 425 nano koralias and a icecap 1k with a cage and propellor removed placed vertical on back wall in left corner faced forward and deflecting slightly off the glass just in front of it. Only way I could find to set up a gyre with out a sand storm. Flow in the display is much more important than the flow through the sump. There is a school of thought that the best return flow is 4x volume...so around 130 for you. The reason is you want a long dwell time in your sump. Your set up looks great though! Mandarin is a dream fish of mine! What do you do for feeding that little guy?
 
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XFeathersx

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My cube came with the factory canopy removed and a custom wood canopy in its place. This opened up a lot more lighting options. I run 2 kessil a160we’s and have been really happy with them. For filtering I just use a handfull of pollyfill. Dirt cheap and easy. The pump I have is a 90 gph marineland. For flow 2 hydor 425 nano koralias and a icecap 1k with a cage and propellor removed placed vertical on back wall in left corner faced forward and deflecting slightly off the glass just in front of it. Only way I could find to set up a gyre with out a sand storm. Flow in the display is much more important than the flow through the sump. There is a school of thought that the best return flow is 4x volume...so around 130 for you. The reason is you want a long dwell time in your sump. Your set up looks great though! Mandarin is a dream fish of mine! What do you do for feeding that little guy?
I started a thread sharing my experience with the Biota mandarin here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/a-new-reefers-experience-with-biota-mandarin.790969/

A day or 2 after that thread I released my mandarin from the acclimation box into the rest of the tank and 2 weeks later he is looking fatter than he ever was in the box. I see him eating pods all day, but have yet to see him eat the frozen food I give the rest of the fish. I signed up for a pod and phyto delivery every 6 weeks just in case, but I might extend that to 8 weeks if he's still looking fat at the 6 week mark.
 
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I'm past the 10 month mark now and things are looking better. I dosed Vibrant for 6 weeks and added 3 turbo snails and together they're doing work on the algae. Just last week I finally saw some color on my Salifert NO3 test and we hit a whopping 2.5 ppm! (This is exciting cause I have been reading 0 for 3 months) I was pulling the algae off the rocks and throwing it in the filter pad to decompose for 2-3 weeks so that must have helped. I want to wait another 2 weeks before treating the cyano to see how my NO3 and PO4 levels are. I've been dosing 5ml of Brightwell's Reef Code A and Code B 3 times a week to maintain alk and Ca, and doing water changes biweekly. Right now those things are not (yet) a chore to do, and while I want to see my corals grow faster, I know those are the only things I can do.

My feeding schedule is MWF I make a slurry of BRS reef chili, mysis, brine, Brightwell's Coral Amino, and frozen cyclops and broadcast feed the tank with the pump off. I usually add live phyto those days and sometimes T and Th too. Compared to some this sounds like a lot so as the algae goes down even more I want to watch NO3 and PO4 levels and adjust food quantities accordingly.
 

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Do you worry about keeping your sump clean?

  • YES I clean it often

    Votes: 49 8.9%
  • YES I clean it occasionally

    Votes: 201 36.5%
  • NO but I'll clean it on a rare occasion

    Votes: 199 36.2%
  • No I have never cleaned it

    Votes: 82 14.9%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 19 3.5%

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