7of9’s 32g Borgcube Biocube

7of9

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Setup:
32g Biocube AIO
Stock return pump
Hydros x4 Controller w/ temp probe and ph probe
Jebao SLW-10 wavemaker
Heaters: Cobalt and HiTuang 300w
Noo-psych Mini light
Avast Plank Autofeeder with cannonball
Approximately 30lbs of live rock

Livestock:
Snails (Nassarius, Margarita, and Turbo)
Scrambled Eggs Zoanthids
Saddleback clown female
Starry Blenny
Purple Zoanthids
Green Zoanthids
Bubble tip anemone
2 TINY red legged hermits

Current FTS:
IMG_7855.jpeg


I went with the 32g biocube and it’s slowly progressing!

And now back to the process:

Don’t get too excited now. This is going to take a while before I have any pretty pictures to share, but hopefully my patience will be worth it and I’d like to document my research and process.

I’m moving in June 2024 and I don’t want to have to move a tank with livestock, so until then I’ll be researching gear and stock lists so I’ll be ready once my boxes are mostly unpacked. I had a 12g biocube Nano back in 2008 and loved it, so I’m looking at AIO 15-20g tanks now.

For the tank, my current front runner is the IM 15g cube. I like the rimless look and the price is great. It also leaves me the freedom to pick my own lights, heater, skimmer, etc. I also like the Red Sea 20g cube because it pretty much comes with everything, but it is pricey even when I add up the cost of the components individually. I’d love to hear opinions from people with either tank!

For lights, if I go with the IM tank, I’m thinking going with AI for lights and holding off on a skimmer until later on. From my research it seems like lighting has the biggest changes of everything, with LEDs really getting good! I’d also like an ATO and would like to eventually play with other automation and monitoring. (I’m an engineer in my day job.)

My plan for this tank is beginner soft corals, 2 black and white clowns, and some kind of shrimp along with a cleanup crew. I’d like to stick with things that are easy to care for since I’m starting over and have forgotten quite a bit!

Last time around, I did a full reef pack from TBS with sand, live rock, and CUC. It was so cool seeing all the life and TBS was great! However, I did stress a ton during my tank’s cycle because I wanted to keep everything alive. I think I gained some gray hair from all that and I wasn’t even 30. I keep going back and forth between trying that again or getting dry rock and live sand and not having much to worry over during my cycle. That would also make aquascaping easier and reduce the bad hitchhikers, although I didn’t really have any of those last time around despite being neurotic about it.

I’m happy to hear opinions either way!

So that’s where I am right now along with getting to know the LFS’s where I live now and joining the local reef club. I want to take my time, plan things out and be more intentional with my reef this time around. Last time, I was much more flying by the seat of my pants and impulsive and my tank really looked better than I deserved and was more forgiving than I had any right to!
 
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fishface NJ

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If you can swing an IM 20 you would be better off. I wouldn't get a Red Sea with all the problems with seam failures. I find that a 10 gallon that is cube to be small and if it is a 10 gallon I would choose a rectangle. It gives more running space for fish

If you can get live rock (Not LIFE rock) you will not have all that algea problems. Live sand is a waste of money!
 

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Welcome! I have an im 15 I just setup as a planted tank. Nice system for the money.
I would go all live rock. No need for a skimmer. I run one on my 20 aio but ran it without with similar results also.
16hd would work well on that tank. I run 2 on my 30 and 5 on my 45.
I started this 20g 5 months ago and ran 2 16hds on it in the past before I broke it down.
I run a NP K7V3 on it now. It is a copy of the gen4 radion and is just over $200 with a mount and bluetooth.
Old 20 with 16's at 10 months.
Current 20 at 5 months.
All started with live rock.
20221010_165536.jpg
20230720_150009.jpg
 
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If you can swing an IM 20 you would be better off. I wouldn't get a Red Sea with all the problems with seam failures. I find that a 10 gallon that is cube to be small and if it is a 10 gallon I would choose a rectangle. It gives more running space for fish

If you can get live rock (Not LIFE rock) you will not have all that algea problems. Live sand is a waste of money!
Good to know! You’d think with their high price tag, the Red Sea tanks wouldn’t have those issues!
 
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Welcome! I have an im 15 I just setup as a planted tank. Nice system for the money.
I would go all live rock. No need for a skimmer. I run one on my 20 aio but ran it without with similar results also.
16hd would work well on that tank. I run 2 on my 30 and 5 on my 45.
I started this 20g 5 months ago and ran 2 16hds on it in the past before I broke it down.
I run a NP K7V3 on it now. It is a copy of the gen4 radion and is just over $200 with a mount and bluetooth.
Old 20 with 16's at 10 months.
Current 20 at 5 months.
All started with live rock.
20221010_165536.jpg
20230720_150009.jpg
Beautiful tanks! Do you get your live rock locally or from an online supplier?

I could do just a live rock order from TBS when the time comes. I’d like to go with a snail only CUC and add inverts as I need them this time around.
 

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Beautiful tanks! Do you get your live rock locally or from an online supplier?

I could do just a live rock order from TBS when the time comes. I’d like to go with a snail only CUC and add inverts as I need them this time around.
My live rock comes from my other systems. In my 45's sump I put in old dead live rock, and bring it back to life. Takes about 6 months.
This is my im15 I just started to setup this week. The actual display is only 10g's with 2.5 g's in the aio for reference.
The build quality is outstanding for the price, imo.
20230723_112913.jpg
 
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Do we know anything good/bad about waterbox aquariums? I really like the look of rimless cubes, but I'm thinking I should go for 20g for the clowns to be nice and happy. I worry since the 15g IM tank is really a bit less it might be too little for them.

251220-waterbox-cube20-tank-le.jpeg
 
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I'm not sure I'm going to be able to wait until next year for a tank. It's hard to be that patient. I'm wondering if it would be too difficult to set something up with just live rock, the clowns, and maybe one or two corals this year, then move it and start with new water and sand? Happily, my budget is telling me to also take it slow.

I am thinking of starting to slowly purchase equipment, even if it stays in boxes until the move. Things like pumps and heaters and such that I know I'll need anyway. The only downside to that would be missing out on warranties if anything doesn't work as expected.

I currently have this written out as an equipment list:

Red Sea Marine Care Test Kit$75At start
Innovative Marine 15 Gallon All in One Cube Aquarium$100At start
Aquaforest Reef Salt Mix - 50lb bag$33At start
CaribSea Fiji Pink Live Sand - 10lb bag$16At start
CaribSea Life Rock Nano Reef Kit$79At start
AI Prime 16HD light$250Approx 2 weeks after start
NYOS Stone Gray Reef Putty$15At start
Clean Up Crew (average, approx.)$50Approx 2 weeks to 1 month after start
Pistol Shrimp/Fire Shrimp/Sexy Shrimp$27-$401 month after start
Clown Pair$1002 months after start
Auto Aqua Smart AWC Duo$307Nice to Have
VorTech MP10QM Pump$350Nice to Have
Inkbird WiFi Aquarium Heater Controller$60Nice to Have
Hygger 10-25g Heater x 2$38At Start
Salinity Refractometer$16At Start
RO/DI Unit$240Nice to Have

This would put my starting cost at $410 with about $300 more after the first month or so. Anything I'm missing? In the beginning, I'd be getting my RO/DI water from the LFS and I'd be doing my top offs manually, but with a plan to have an ATO going once I start really stocking it.
 

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If you can swing an IM 20 you would be better off. I wouldn't get a Red Sea with all the problems with seam failures. I find that a 10 gallon that is cube to be small and if it is a 10 gallon I would choose a rectangle. It gives more running space for fish

If you can get live rock (Not LIFE rock) you will not have all that algea problems. Live sand is a waste of money!
do you have any evidence that there are issues with the red sea nano tanks? I haven't seen any seam failures on the nanos......
 

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I'm not sure I'm going to be able to wait until next year for a tank. It's hard to be that patient. I'm wondering if it would be too difficult to set something up with just live rock, the clowns, and maybe one or two corals this year, then move it and start with new water and sand? Happily, my budget is telling me to also take it slow.

I am thinking of starting to slowly purchase equipment, even if it stays in boxes until the move. Things like pumps and heaters and such that I know I'll need anyway. The only downside to that would be missing out on warranties if anything doesn't work as expected.

I currently have this written out as an equipment list:

Red Sea Marine Care Test Kit$75At start
Innovative Marine 15 Gallon All in One Cube Aquarium$100At start
Aquaforest Reef Salt Mix - 50lb bag$33At start
CaribSea Fiji Pink Live Sand - 10lb bag$16At start
CaribSea Life Rock Nano Reef Kit$79At start
AI Prime 16HD light$250Approx 2 weeks after start
NYOS Stone Gray Reef Putty$15At start
Clean Up Crew (average, approx.)$50Approx 2 weeks to 1 month after start
Pistol Shrimp/Fire Shrimp/Sexy Shrimp$27-$401 month after start
Clown Pair$1002 months after start
Auto Aqua Smart AWC Duo$307Nice to Have
VorTech MP10QM Pump$350Nice to Have
Inkbird WiFi Aquarium Heater Controller$60Nice to Have
Hygger 10-25g Heater x 2$38At Start
Salinity Refractometer$16At Start
RO/DI Unit$240Nice to Have

This would put my starting cost at $410 with about $300 more after the first month or so. Anything I'm missing? In the beginning, I'd be getting my RO/DI water from the LFS and I'd be doing my top offs manually, but with a plan to have an ATO going once I start really stocking it.
Your list seems good to start with to me at least!
 
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do you have any evidence that there are issues with the red sea nano tanks? I haven't seen any seam failures on the nanos......
I’ve only heard anecdotes, but given the big cost difference between them and the IM tank, it doesn’t seem reasonable to risk it.
 
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Plot twist…this popped up on FB marketplace for a price I could not pass up. $250 and it’s like new and came with a few odds and ends. An older reefer was letting it go and his wife wanted it out of their garage. So, I’m back to a biocube and up to 32 gallons now!

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cwerner

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Depending on where in WI you live I'm sure you could wrangle up a couple of reefers in exchange for a future frag or two to help you move the tank. ;)

If you're looking to grow softies and certain LPS I think the stock hood is just fine. If you want to grow SPS, and specifically acro's then you'll have to upgrade the lighting in the hood or go open top. I've heard good things from Steve's LED's for upgraded lighting:


Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!
 
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I'm spending my free time cleaning the tank with vinegar. I'm picking up some citric acid to clean the pump and heater. I'm basically using it as therapy while my mother is in surgery today. (She has pancreatic cancer, but hopefully after this and another few months of chemo, she'll pull through!)

I bribed my daughter to help me pick it up with Culver's (if you know, you know) and while the seller and I were talking, she already had the hatchback's back seats lowered and was loading stuff! She earned her burger and custard for sure. She may have regretted it when I started cleaning the overflow and pulling out all kinds of guck and the apartment began to smell like pickles.

I also updated my spreadsheet. I'm going to try to keep it accurate so that anyone else can get an idea of startup costs and so I can try to be honest with myself about what I'm spending. We'll see how well that works!

ItemCostNeed By
Red Sea Marine Care Test Kit$75At start
32g Biocube with stand$250At start
Aquaforest Reef Salt Mix - 50lb bag$33At start
CaribSea Fiji Pink Live Sand - 10lb bag$16At start
CaribSea Life Rock Nano Reef Kit$79At start
Marine Pure Bio Balls Filter Media$42Approx 2 weeks after start
NYOS Stone Gray Reef Putty$15At start
Clean Up Crew (average, approx.)$50Approx 2 weeks to 1 month after start
Pistol Shrimp/Fire Shrimp/Sexy Shrimp$27-$401 month after start
Clown Pair$1002 months after start
Auto Aqua Smart AWC Duo$307Nice to Have
VorTech MP10QM Pump$350Nice to Have
Inkbird WiFi Aquarium Heater Controller$60Nice to Have
Hygger 10-25g Heater$38At Start
Salinity Refractometer$16At Start
RO/DI Unit$240Nice to Have
Chemipure Elite$40At Start
Smart Power Strip Surge Protector$24Nice to Have

So far, I’m $250 in along with gas and burgers.
 

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Looking at your budgeting for some stuff, is there a reason you aren't getting some sort of dedicated controller? I'm not going to try to promote any one brand, but you could combine your temp controller, smart power strip, RODI unit and AWC change units and get an integrated unit that could do the same thing for either the same price or not much more money.

Something like this: https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/hydros-control-2-entry-level-aquarium-starter-pack-coralvue/

Combined with this:



Will take care of your ATO, Temp Controller, and monitoring. With a bit of additional equipment it can also be your wave controller, AWC, and everything else.

Again, I'm not recommending a specific brand, I think pretty much all of the controllers have an integrated ATO/AWC change option, as well as temp and PH monitoring and stuff like that.

P.S. I'd argue that the RODI should pretty much be a requirement rather than a nice to have unless you have extremely nice water quality.
 
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Looking at your budgeting for some stuff, is there a reason you aren't getting some sort of dedicated controller? I'm not going to try to promote any one brand, but you could combine your temp controller, smart power strip, RODI unit and AWC change units and get an integrated unit that could do the same thing for either the same price or not much more money.

Something like this: https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/hydros-control-2-entry-level-aquarium-starter-pack-coralvue/

Combined with this:



Will take care of your ATO, Temp Controller, and monitoring. With a bit of additional equipment it can also be your wave controller, AWC, and everything else.

Again, I'm not recommending a specific brand, I think pretty much all of the controllers have an integrated ATO/AWC change option, as well as temp and PH monitoring and stuff like that.

P.S. I'd argue that the RODI should pretty much be a requirement rather than a nice to have unless you have extremely nice water quality.
I am interested in controllers, so I’ll check this out!

RO/DI is only a “nice to have” because I’m currently in an apartment and renting. I’m hoping I can make do with water from the LFS.
 

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Is the 33 dollars for a 50 gallon bag of salt? If it is 50lbs I would like to know where you are going to get it lol. I will say that the red seas test kit is nice but I am not good with the color matching at all. I ended up with the aqua forest kit and Hanna po4 and no3 test kits. You can usually find them used at a good price. And I agree with controler to monitor lots of things I still trying to save penny's for one. But ur list is a good start and I quit tracking money long ago lol.
 
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Is the 33 dollars for a 50 gallon bag of salt? If it is 50lbs I would like to know where you are going to get it lol. I will say that the red seas test kit is nice but I am not good with the color matching at all. I ended up with the aqua forest kit and Hanna po4 and no3 test kits. You can usually find them used at a good price. And I agree with controler to monitor lots of things I still trying to save penny's for one. But ur list is a good start and I quit tracking money long ago lol.
Thanks for the heads up on the test kits and catching my typo! That’s 5lbs, not 50.
 
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Looking at your budgeting for some stuff, is there a reason you aren't getting some sort of dedicated controller? I'm not going to try to promote any one brand, but you could combine your temp controller, smart power strip, RODI unit and AWC change units and get an integrated unit that could do the same thing for either the same price or not much more money.

Something like this: https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/hydros-control-2-entry-level-aquarium-starter-pack-coralvue/

Combined with this:



Will take care of your ATO, Temp Controller, and monitoring. With a bit of additional equipment it can also be your wave controller, AWC, and everything else.

Again, I'm not recommending a specific brand, I think pretty much all of the controllers have an integrated ATO/AWC change option, as well as temp and PH monitoring and stuff like that.

P.S. I'd argue that the RODI should pretty much be a requirement rather than a nice to have unless you have extremely nice water quality.

The more I look into the hydros controllers, the more I like what I see! I had planned to kind of cobble together a couple of systems along with an alexa enabled power strip, but I think this might be a better, more cohesive way to go about that and I could always add on later or move it to another tank years down the road.

The great part about not being able to to jump into pouring water into this tank is that I can design my system, rip it apart, and redesign it as many times as I like, all just on paper. I'm going to update my list again today.

Now, I'm starting to think about my stock list, too, and how having a 32 vs. a 15 will impact what's possible there.

I know I want:
a clown pair
some kind of goby - can I have 2 gobies in a 32g? I love them.
a shrimp - currently, I like the idea of a simple skunk cleaner shrimp
Anemones - Is this possible? I had a RFA in my 12g, but it wasn't on purpose - it came with my TBS package and it did great and took over 1/4 of my tank and was my favorite tank resident. Ideally, I'd like something my clowns would enjoy
urchin - my daughter really wants a sea urchin with a hat. I know zero about sea urchins and if one would like a 32g tank
crab - I had a decorator crab in my 12g and he was hilarious. He also was part of the TBS package I got, so I didn't choose him on purpose, but I loved him and his personality. He stuck a piece of hair algae from an outbreak on his shell and looked like a troll doll perched on the top of my live rock.
brittle starfish - another TBS favorite from my old 12g. I loved feeding her and she was like a sea serpent coming out of her cave

I'm guessing I'd start with a goby and a shrimp (after cycle), then add clowns and probably wait a year for the tank to mature before considering the anemone, urchin, crab, or starfish. Last time around, they all went in with my TBS liverock and I totally stressed out through that cycle. It was nuts, looking back.
 

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