A SW newbie's BioCube 32 gal

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GunnarH

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I have an amazing wife. For Christmas 2021 she got me a Coralife LED BioCube 32 gallon AIO with the specially made stand.

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Assembly was fairly easy, using standard tools.

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After assembly of the stand, I wiped the tank on the inside with a wet cloth and performed a test installation. We'll have to install some curtains on those windows for sure.

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I bought some dry “live” rocks, about 40 lbs worth. Too much for my little 32 gal, as it turned out. 20-25 lbs would have been enough. I would have liked a little more diversity in sizes and shapes. I've since learned there's no such thing as dry "live" rock. It's just dry rock.

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I measured and drew the outline of the bottom of my tank on a piece of cardboard. Useful when trying to figure out how to aquascape all this rock.

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First attempt. May not leave much room for the livestock to swim and frolic. Also: I think I need some tank-safe epoxy and superglue.

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Aquascaping, take two. This time with epoxy, superglue, and latex gloves. The gloves proved useless. The sharp rocks quickly tore them to shreds. Next time I'll use heavier gloves.

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The end result. Not the most elegant or innovative aquascape. But hey, this is a learning process, right?

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Filling the BuiCube and making a mess. Rocks in first, then sand, then water.

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I didn't mix my own saltwater, instead I purchased it from Chewy. Probably more expensive than mixing my own, but I didn't have a RO/DI system at the time. And yeah, one of the containers split open and leaked as the delivery driver heaved it on top of the pile.

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All done filling the BioCube 32. Cloudy, with a chance of corals (eventually). Going to let it sit for a while. And yes, I’m leaving the lights off for now.

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Less than 24 hours later and the water has cleared up a lot. Time to break out the chemistry set.

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Dosed the tank with Dr. Tim’s. Now we wait.

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Day 1 of testing the water. Salinity: 1.026, pH: 8.0, ammonia: 0.25 ppm. About the salinity: Skip the cheap plastic hydrometer and get a proper refractometer right away.

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Finally got my RO/DI system and am making my first batch of RO/DI water. It’s pretty slow going. Yeah, the empty saltwater container says "Do not reuse," but what can I say? I'm a rule-breaker.

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Time to automate! I went back and forth, but ended up getting this puppy. Love all the inputs and the flexibility. The build quality seems rock solid, the device feels heavy in my hand. And it doesn't hurt that it's IP65 rated.

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A little over two weeks later, I got Zaphod, my first Zoa. I was way too excited by this. Please excuse the newbie.

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Got a Purple-headed Firefish at around the same time. Gloria seemed happy and ate well, until I got a couple of Clowns a month later. After that, Gloria simply disappeared. Knowing what I know now, I'll never buy another Clown without observing it (or them) at the LFS first. Poor Gloria.

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To be continued...
 
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GunnarH

GunnarH

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I purchased the InTank media basket and refugium basket for the BioCube 32, and put some Cheato macro algae in the latter. And a refugium light, of course. The light is attached by velcro tape to glass back wall of the middle chamber. The light is controlled by the Hydros X4 controller and the Hydros WiFi AC Power Strip.

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GunnarH

GunnarH

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Time to add more LED lights. We have cats, so I don't want to remove the lid on the BioCube. Besides, it looks good and limits evaporation. I would have loved to add a Steve's LEDs kit, but it's expensive. This alternative method cost a total of $67.91. Assembly took about an hour, and I use the Hydros X4 controller's 0-10V output to control the dimmer.

1 ea. 21LEDUSA 12" 453nm Actinic Blue ReefBar Aquarium LED Light 9W/Ft - Aquarium Light, $18.95
1 ea. 21LEDUSA 1-2 ft Power Supply (Add-on), $4.00
1 ea. HYDROS 0-10V Quad Cable, $12.99
1 ea. 0/1-10V 1CH 8A Dimmable Switches Led Driver 1 Channel 0-10V Constant Voltage LED Dimmer Led Dimming Controller PWM Led Dimmer 5-36V, $14.99
1 ea. two pack of E-outstanding 3.5mm Female Jack to Bare End 2PCS Black TRS 3 Pole 1/8 Inch Plug Connector Audio Cable for Headphone Headset Earphone, $6.99
1 ea. Hanvex HDCQ12W 12ft 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC Plug Power Adapter Extension Cable, 20AWG Cord for 12V CCTV Wireless IP Camera, LED, Car, White, $9.99

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I connected one of the black 3.5mm female jack cables to the 0-10V input terminal of the dimmer.

I cut the white power cable in two, and attached the half with the female connector to the power-in terminal of the dimmer. I connected the half with the male connector to the power-out terminal of the dimmer. See below for a closeup of the dimmer.

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I used superglue to attach the LED bar to the front edge of the clear glass cover on the underside of the stock BioCube lid. I made sure to remove the center screw first, so I can still remove the glass cover in the future.

I connected the screw-on connector of the Hydros 0-10V Quad cable to a 0-10V output port on the Hydros X4 controller. I connected the black 3.5 mm male jack (channel 1) of the Hydros 0-10V Quad cable to the black 3.5 mm female connector attached to the 0-10V input on the dimmer.

Finally, I connected the 21LEDUSA power supply to the white female connector attached to power-in on the dimmer, and plugged the LED bar into the white male connector attached to power-out on the dimmer.

I plugged in the power supply and programmed the Hydros controller.

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GunnarH

GunnarH

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Got Aiptasia. I did a lot of reading and settled on using Berghia nudibranchs to take care of it. Peppermint shrimp could also work as could Filefish, but neither one is considered 100% reef safe in all cases. Berghia only eat ever Aiptasia. The only downside is that they starve to death after they've rid your tank of Aiptasia.

Here you can see two stragglers who were reluctant to leave the glass and crawl onto the rocks. I think they were quite busy with each other and I decided to leave them alone for a few hours. They eventually joined the others.

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I purchased six medium-sized Berghia, and they completely cleared the Aiptasia from my tank within a couple of weeks.
 

lubeck

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Crazy good. We have the same story just about. My wife got me the Biocube for Christmas as Well. Also upgraded with the LeD USA lights. Added the fuge in the back. I’ve since made a lot more Changes. Check out my build when you have time.

following along.
 
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fishkeepersaltnfresh

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Time to add more LED lights. We have cats, so I don't want to remove the lid on the BioCube. Besides, it looks good and limits evaporation. I would have loved to add a Steve's LEDs kit, but it's expensive. This alternative method cost a total of $67.91. Assembly took about an hour, and I use the Hydros X4 controller's 0-10V output to control the dimmer.

1 ea. 21LEDUSA 12" 453nm Actinic Blue ReefBar Aquarium LED Light 9W/Ft - Aquarium Light, $18.95
1 ea. 21LEDUSA 1-2 ft Power Supply (Add-on), $4.00
1 ea. HYDROS 0-10V Quad Cable, $12.99
1 ea. 0/1-10V 1CH 8A Dimmable Switches Led Driver 1 Channel 0-10V Constant Voltage LED Dimmer Led Dimming Controller PWM Led Dimmer 5-36V, $14.99
1 ea. two pack of E-outstanding 3.5mm Female Jack to Bare End 2PCS Black TRS 3 Pole 1/8 Inch Plug Connector Audio Cable for Headphone Headset Earphone, $6.99
1 ea. Hanvex HDCQ12W 12ft 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC Plug Power Adapter Extension Cable, 20AWG Cord for 12V CCTV Wireless IP Camera, LED, Car, White, $9.99

IMG_5232.jpeg


I connected one of the black 3.5mm female jack cables to the 0-10V input terminal of the dimmer.

I cut the white power cable in two, and attached the half with the female connector to the power-in terminal of the dimmer. I connected the half with the male connector to the power-out terminal of the dimmer. See below for a closeup of the dimmer.

IMG_5233.jpeg


I used superglue to attach the LED bar to the front edge of the clear glass cover on the underside of the stock BioCube lid. I made sure to remove the center screw first, so I can still remove the glass cover in the future.

I connected the screw-on connector of the Hydros 0-10V Quad cable to a 0-10V output port on the Hydros X4 controller. I connected the black 3.5 mm male jack (channel 1) of the Hydros 0-10V Quad cable to the black 3.5 mm female connector attached to the 0-10V input on the dimmer.

Finally, I connected the 21LEDUSA power supply to the white female connector attached to power-in on the dimmer, and plugged the LED bar into the white male connector attached to power-out on the dimmer.

I plugged in the power supply and programmed the Hydros controller.

IMG_5826.jpeg
Hi, This is great write-up. I recently got a used Biocube 29 which came with old bulbs. Was thinking of changing the hood to the new LED one. But I like what you have done. Plus it works out to be cheaper. Maybe I will take off the bulbs and only add the 2:1 12000K light. It has one strip of blue LEDs already build-in. Not sure if it just one bar would suffice. Planning to keep some softies & LPS. I am only worried about the fan. The fan in the current hood is loud and hence do not turn it on. Not sure what to do for it.
 
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