BBB - Bare Bottom (eventually) Biocube 32 Build Retrospective

Overbrook

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It has been a little over a year since I came back into the hobby for the first time since high school in the early 1990s. Technology wasn’t what it is now (and neither was my wallet) but I still enjoyed managing a tank with just a few fish. Thankfully the internet exists now as Reef2reef has been tremendously helpful in the last 14 months. I’ve put more gadgetry into this tank (instead of something bigger) given space concerns and general obsessiveness. That said, I’m in the planning stages for a 425xl (funny how easy it becomes to rationalize away those space concerns).

I’ve put together this post to document and in case some of my experiences might help others in some small way.

Early photo:

FBA6934B-AA1F-4CA8-B4DC-59AF5036F4EC_1_105_c.jpeg

Current equipment
Stock return pump
Flow: MP10x2
Filtration: In-tank basket; Filter floss; Chemi-pure Nano (3); Seachem Purigen
Controller: Neptune Apex
Lighting: Steve’s LEDs with iridescence booster
Heater: Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm 150w
Skimmer: Tunze 9001
Rock: Life Rock
Sand: (bye bye) CaribSea Fiji Pink
Test kits: Evolved from ATI to Hanna to Trident
Dosing: Red Sea products

Interesting events/challenges/solutions

GHA
Significant issues with this dominated months 6-9. I did a lot of manual removal but ultimately solved it with Vibrant.

Red Turf Algae
Really impossible to manually remove. Turbo snails were/are absolutely MAGIC in significantly reducing this and keeping this in check.

Bare bottom
I struggled with maximizing flow and dealing with crappy-looking sand. At about month 8 I decided to go bare. I gradually removed the sand over about 2 months (gravity siphon during a WC was the best way). Has been very positive since, allows for better flow, looks cleaner, and more place to put corals. Here's a photo of the removal in process. That mystic sunset on the left of that photo has grown a decent bit since (see below). You can also see the red turf algae issue (bottom left) that I mention below.

7B0F8124-DFC1-4C74-87EA-7B9B8F620F07_1_105_c.jpeg


Lights
Steve’s LEDs with the iridescence booster are great and do grow SPS for sure. The booster will require you to change the acrylic as the iridescent LEDs start to burn a hole. They sell a kit, however, I found that kit to include glass that was much much too large for the area and much too heavy to be attached with silicone so switched it up and got my own glass and used E600.

Dosing and really getting SPS to grow
Up until about a month ago, acro growth was spotty at best. I then started using a DOS and have been amazed at the benefits. Hand dosing just doesn’t seem to provide the stability that is required. Also, I think my lighting intesity was too low and flow wasn’t enough. Learning!

Dosing lines
I want the lid (and the lights) so I struggled with how to set this up. Ultimately I cut a dosing line holder in half and glued this (E6000) to the hood as you can see below. I measured to get the lines in a place where Alk and Ca drip into the flow of water from sump chamber 1 to chamber 2. I’m using Red Sea products and 50% RODI water for dilution. (Please excuse the terrible looking dried silicone (see lights above)

3AA4208A-E681-4041-9682-41D1CF4B6FA3_1_105_c.jpeg

Current photo:

A22D4EFC-CF97-47D3-88CD-0B2D397C7B80_1_105_c.jpeg

So that’s about that. Has been great to learn. Thank you to the many people on this website who's posts were invaluable to search through. The apex and trident will come with me to the 425xl (likely in the fall) and I’ll start a new thread for that tank.
 
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Benjammin

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Wow! Thanks for sharing this, it looks great. I’m currently battling gha and to top it off, I cut my hand and can’t get in there for a while. Got an urchin on the way to lend a “hand”. I’m also using vibrant, for one week so far. Did you increase your water change schedule while using vibrant? I’m concerned about excess nutrients. If the algae is dying then it’s not consuming as much. Possibly even adding nutrients as it dissolves.
 
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Overbrook

Overbrook

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Wow! Thanks for sharing this, it looks great. I’m currently battling gha and to top it off, I cut my hand and can’t get in there for a while. Got an urchin on the way to lend a “hand”. I’m also using vibrant, for one week so far. Did you increase your water change schedule while using vibrant? I’m concerned about excess nutrients. If the algae is dying then it’s not consuming as much. Possibly even adding nutrients as it dissolves.
Thanks! I was pretty aggressive at manual removal of the GHA so I didn’t worry about the die-off nutrient spike that you hear about. I hope you have luck with the urchin and that your hand heals quickly!
 

Benjammin

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Thanks! I was pretty aggressive at manual removal of the GHA so I didn’t worry about the die-off nutrient spike that you hear about. I hope you have luck with the urchin and that your hand heals quickly!
Cool, thanks. Hands will be wet in no time.
 

Tankkeepers

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Nice I also went bare bottom recently for pretty much the same reasons and I found the sand was holding nutrients to small of a tank for any proper Sand cleaners I battle bryopisis still not don't got 1 patch left that came back after 2 months good luck and also I have the stock led lights in the 32 and even at near bottom of tank the monies I have have grown very fast in the last 2 months but I spot feed then so that helps keep us informed about your lights and how that goes I wanted to try an acro but I knew monties are alittle more tolerant to low light
 
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