Biocube 32 with sump - skip cycle?

nickng

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finally took the plunge to start a marine tank after months of deliberation. Mostly because memories of my father keeping anemones with clown fishes back in 70s and had to put in a lot of effort to keep everything alive. Even then it was always a touch and go situation.
After measuring that the biocube 32 straight out of the box holds max 27-28 gallons with the aio back wall sump operating, I decided to remove the aio plastic back wall and drilled it to fit an eshopps overflow and sump. Without the aio the total volume in the tank is exactly 29 gallons. Also gained approximately 3.5 inches of aquarium depth.
 
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nickng

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Got the tank at start of June. Some info from the box
 

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nickng

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For the overflow, I am using eshopps eclipse s overflow. I made some simple modifications to get the overflow completely silent. Will upload a few pics and diagrams so that others in the same situation can learn from my experience or offer alternative solutions.

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nickng

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Guesstimate on location to drill overflow turned out to be perfect. It allowed the water level in the tank to be filled up to the biocube recommended level with is just a smidgen above the bottom edge of the top plastic rim of the aquarium
 

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nickng

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Had originally planned to drill a second hole at the back wall of the tank for the return hence the one way stop valve to prevent back flow. Since I ended up not doing that and routing the return via an inverted J, it’s not really necessary.
 

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nickng

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For the setup described, the return pump is set to run at 100%. Based on a chart I found, flow rate should be between 300 and 500 Gph. Probably around the 400 gph mark given there are approx 4 90deg bends in the return path.
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nickng

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Jump started the tank with 3 small live rock from lfs… petco… gasp!!! Actually the guys at my local Petco are great, I guess I got lucky. They gave invaluable advice plus the manager of aquatic section actually has/had large reef tanks in the past. Basically advised of 2 ways to start up, (1) use dry rocks and some Caribsea “live sand”. And for a small tank just start with the 5 gallon boxes of ready made saltwater for convenience, though it may cost a little more than mixing own saltwater. This method needs a bit of ghost feeding with a frozen prawn, brine shrimp etc and bottled bacteria just to introduce a variety of bacteria. Needs approximately 6-8 weeks to let the tank stabilize and minimal light, preferably an hour of blue spectrum daily. Or (2) the second method, use 70% dry rocks or bacteria seeded rocks like caribsea rocks and 30% live rocks taken from established tank, ie the sort of rock completely encrusted with coralline and may have amphipods in the crevices. Takes around 4 days or a week to stabilize tank and another week to let the mini ugly phase to show up ie diatoms or green hair algae. Use minimal light, no more than 1 hr full spectrum and run actinic/ blue light for 10 hours. I was told that it’s possible to start with higher percentages of live rock, but run the risk of more die-off of the hitchhikers and this can cause a little bit more issues. Of course it’s possible with care to have everything run smoothly when using all live rock and get lucky and start putting fish in the next day.
The 1st method allows greater control of what critters or hitchhikers that ends up in the tank
Second method runs the risk of getting something undesirable.

Being impatient and since the shop has a couple of live rocks that are fully encrusted with red and orange coralline, I went with 3 small life rocks. plus the shop meticulously keeps aptasia, pest snails and unwanted worms out of their tanks.
 
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nickng

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One of the small live rock with red coralline encrusting on the underside. Rock has a few amphipods in the holes
 

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kevgib67

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I’ve had my Biocube 32g set up for over two years. The idea of adding a sump intrigued me. I want to watch this work out for you. I’ll be cheering on the sidelines. Happy Thanksgiving.
B532290E-767D-4B61-9244-B10AD79221CF.jpeg
 

Kate Vellis

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finally took the plunge to start a marine tank after months of deliberation. Mostly because memories of my father keeping anemones with clown fishes back in 70s and had to put in a lot of effort to keep everything alive. Even then it was always a touch and go situation.
After measuring that the biocube 32 straight out of the box holds max 27-28 gallons with the aio back wall sump operating, I decided to remove the aio plastic back wall and drilled it to fit an eshopps overflow and sump. Without the aio the total volume in the tank is exactly 29 gallons. Also gained approximately 3.5 inches of aquarium depth.
I have a Biocube 32 that my daughter set up, and promptly tossed the media rack for the back chamber. I would happily take the one that came with your new tank, if you don't have plans to use it.
 
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nickng

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I’ve had my Biocube 32g set up for over two years. The idea of adding a sump intrigued me. I want to watch this work out for you. I’ll be cheering on the sidelines. Happy Thanksgiving.
B532290E-767D-4B61-9244-B10AD79221CF.jpeg
Haha I have the diamond watchman goby and an azure damsel. Right now my tank is approx 5-6 months with total of 6 fish. It’s reached max occupancy now.
 

kevgib67

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Haha I have the diamond watchman goby and an azure damsel. Right now my tank is approx 5-6 months with total of 6 fish. It’s reached max occupancy now.
Six fish as well. I stopped almost two years ago at that number and it has worked out well.
 
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nickng

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Forgot to mention another tip I was given by lfs, have the Live rock slightly lifted above the sand ie not compacting the sand. In essence use small pieces of egg crate or inert rocks as footings for the main reef rock to sit on. The idea being this allows cleanup crew such as bristle worms, nassarius snails or cerith and conch or brittle stars to go under the actual rock and “aerate” it to prevent “necrosis” of the live rock in years to come.
I have a feeling the aquatic manager at the local Petco could be a marine biologist or in some related profession previously
 
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nickng

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amphipod in the hole of live rock. A couple of them crawled out of rock hole and migrated to rest of dry rock during nighttime
 

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nickng

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I have a Biocube 32 that my daughter set up, and promptly tossed the media rack for the back chamber. I would happily take the one that came with your new tank, if you don't have plans to use
Actually use the extra parts to make a rack for media in the refugium in the sump. Will post more pics
 

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