KeMiKiLL's Biocube 32 Reef

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
So, I just started this tank yesterday... Well, just started 'cycling' it yesterday, to be exact. I've been scaping rocks for the better part of a week while reading and watching videos like crazy.

Here is what I have right now:

20210228_113208.jpg

20210228_113203.jpg


Nothing super special but here is what this is:

Coralife Biocube 32
Coralife Biocube Designer Stand
22lbs LifeRock
18lbs Coarse CaribSea Aragonite Substrate
Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 Pump (upgraded stock pump and stock pump used in my SW mixing tub)
Sicce Voyager Nano 2000 Powerhead
Aqueon 100W Submersible Heater (Set to 78F)
CoraLife BioCube Protein Skimmer
Digital Thermometer

I placed the rock so that there is at least an inch between the rock and the glass/back so that I can get around to clean and to provide room for corals to stretch. In most places it's 3+ inches of space. There is a cave and some swim throughs so I think I have a good balance of swimming space, shaded areas, flats, etc. I also only went about 60% high to allow for growth, if I wanted to glue something to the top later to expand the rock, and to avoid exposing coral for too long during water changes. I first used the thick Seachem Reef Glue but after 15 minutes, with a tiny nudge, my bridges were popping off the structure so I found some old (seriously ancient, I didn't know I had it) dollar store crazy glue. It was very liquid but bonded nearly instantly. I then reinforced with the Seachem Reef Glue and some of the underwater hardening putty too. I hope I used enough but a few pokes and nudges produced no movement.

Salt is Aquavitro Salinity mixed until my meter read 1.026 when the meter "hole ring" thing's temperature is around 77F (Milwaukee MA887). Protein skimmer is off for now and so are the lights. I turned them on very briefly to look at things and to take the pictures I have here for this thread. I set a schedule on the lights per a thread I saw somewhere but that won't matter for a while, I think. Please let me know when I should turn these on and what the timing should actually be. :)
In the back of the tank I have:

Chamber 1 (far left when viewed from the back) - Heater
Chamber 2 - Stock media stacker with Seachem Matrix Bioballs in the middle and the Carbon Filter pad that came with the tank installed in the top.
Chamber 3 - Biocube Protein Skimmer (off right now), Main Pump, and Digital Thermometer Probe

I have a TON of bottles of 'stuff', likely as a result of being very excited and visiting multiple shops to see "how it should be done".

This is my current inventory (aside from what I've already listed above):

Fritz-Zyme Turbo Start 900 Salt Water
Aquavitro Seed Bacteria
Seachem Reef Buffer
Big Al's Multipurpose Water Conditioner
Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride Solution

I'm sure I don't need all of this and I think some of it serves the same function as others, but, oh well...

I used Culligan RO water, tested with a TDS Meter and verified at 0 TDS, to mix the saltwater solution. After pumping it from my bucket to the tank, I turned on the main pump and powerhead to get that circulating before adding a little more than half the bottle of the Fritz-Zyme Turbo Start . The bottle said that it should be1 oz. per 25 gallon but also said to add "up to 5x" to jump start a tank so I did nearly 3x instead. I haven't used anything else just yet as this was at around 10PM last night (about 19 hours ago).

I do plan on getting a second heater and plugging both into a thermally monitored switch so that I have a backup heater, should one fail, and the power will cut if the temperature gets above a certain threshold.

My first full testing of everything I had a test for was done at 10AM this morning, after about 12 hours of cycle.

Here are those results:

Tested with Aquachek
0.0 CL
8.1 pH
190 ALK

Tested with MA887
Salinity 1.026

Tested with Saltwater Master Test Kit
0 Nitrate
0 Nitrite
8.3-8.4 pH
0.50 Ammonia

I'm not sure if everything is right here for the stage I'm at but I'm sure I have a long time to correct anything if it's not.

Questions:

1) I was told that I should add the Ammonium Chloride solution at some point. When would that be?
2) I've been told surprising little about actually starting the tank aside from,. "Mix your water, dump this in, wait a bit, then dump that in". No timings given so I've just been reading around.
3) I see so much conflicting advice on the Biocube skimmer and the stock lights. Everything from, "they are garbage" to "they are great". I'm open to suggestions on these but keep in mind that this is my very first saltwater tank (I've had freshwater tanks before so I'm not totally aquadumb). I haven't run the skimmer yet and will tests areas around the tank with a PAR meter closer to the end of the cycling period so I know what will work best and where. I do want to put in a clown, or two, a yellow tank, a shrimp, a star, and a maybe a few other fish/inverts, but that will be planned out in more detail when the time comes.
4) For filtration, I'm not sure if the carbon pad, bio balls, and skimmer are good enough for what I want. We are looking at the livestock above in addition to a bunch of zoas, anemones, toadstools, etc. I was looking at getting the InTank tower to upgrade the stock filtration stack and then throwing in some bioballs, carbon, floss, whatever else, in to it and maybe adding a refugium. I'm only thinking about this as it's what I see a lot of BC32 owners doing but I really don't understand why, or the benefits, aside from the copepod cultures and macroalgae from the fuge.
5) Adding livestock... I know the cycle takes some time and I'm fully prepared to wait however long it takes for conditions to be ideas in order to reduce as much stress as possible for the new tenants. I so know that the "three days is fine, then you can come Back and pIck out your fish and Get some corAL'S" (LFS to remain nameless ;):p) was a total crock. That said, I just finished watching a vid from the boys at BRS that said something along the lines of a tank only really being truly ready for corals once it has had corals. I think this means that the corals themselves are going to add biological elements that will help corals thrive, which makes sense. So, when exactly do I start adding stuff? What order? Is there something that should be added first? etc.

Any and all advice, guidance, and criticisms on all aspects of this tank are hugely appreciated.

Tanks in advance!! :p

20210228_113157.jpg
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

LBReefer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
878
Reaction score
681
Location
Long Beach
Congratulations on joining the hobby. Here are a few answers:

1. You want to add a small amount when you add your bacteria. This is essentially their food.
2. Check out the ultimate guide to setting up your tank and the BRS 52 weeks of reefing.
3. The stock lights are fine for softies and the corals you listed. Changing out the lights is a pain. If you decide that you really want anemones or SPS, I'd recommend getting a new tank. Alternatively there are a bunch of folks here who have upgraded the stock lights - it's just a bit of money and work.
4. The stock filtration is fine. I did the whole fuge in the back thing- its a lot of work with little results.
5. Planning your fish list is where all the fun starts. Just be mindful to go slow and plan for the adult size of your fish. A pair of clowns and a couple gobies will hit your capacity quickly. A crowded tank can be done, but its a lot of work.


Most importantly have fun.

- LBR
 

40g Nano

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
1,703
Reaction score
871
What I did is took off the lid of my bio cube for more aeration and I put a kessil on it
A160 would be good for that tank if you really want it.

I did a fuge in my 14- did nothing

possible stocking:
2 clowns
Shrimp goby
Scopas tang
just kidding JUST KIDDING
small wrasse maybe possum

look in live aquaria nano section for more options
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Congratulations on joining the hobby. Here are a few answers:

1. You want to add a small amount when you add your bacteria. This is essentially their food.
2. Check out the ultimate guide to setting up your tank and the BRS 52 weeks of reefing.
3. The stock lights are fine for softies and the corals you listed. Changing out the lights is a pain. If you decide that you really want anemones or SPS, I'd recommend getting a new tank. Alternatively there are a bunch of folks here who have upgraded the stock lights - it's just a bit of money and work.
4. The stock filtration is fine. I did the whole fuge in the back thing- its a lot of work with little results.
5. Planning your fish list is where all the fun starts. Just be mindful to go slow and plan for the adult size of your fish. A pair of clowns and a couple gobies will hit your capacity quickly. A crowded tank can be done, but its a lot of work.


Most importantly have fun.

- LBR
Thank you for this.

1) I'll add that Ammonium Chloride right now then. Those bacteria I added last night are probably hungry by now.
2) This is awesome. Thank you!
3) That's what I figured, and that's what I'm interested in to start. I bet I'll have a much larger tank setup in the basement within a year or two and this little one will end up become a small quarantine tank when that happens.
4) I guess I'll just skip the fuge for now. Is my current filtration stack fine for LPS and the fish I mentioned?
5) Absolutely. I'd rather stay on the sparse side rather than crowded tro avoid having to deal with aggression and other things.

Thanks again. This is awesome.
 

LBReefer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
878
Reaction score
681
Location
Long Beach
Thank you for this.

1) I'll add that Ammonium Chloride right now then. Those bacteria I added last night are probably hungry by now.
2) This is awesome. Thank you!
3) That's what I figured, and that's what I'm interested in to start. I bet I'll have a much larger tank setup in the basement within a year or two and this little one will end up become a small quarantine tank when that happens.
4) I guess I'll just skip the fuge for now. Is my current filtration stack fine for LPS and the fish I mentioned?
5) Absolutely. I'd rather stay on the sparse side rather than crowded tro avoid having to deal with aggression and other things.

Thanks again. This is awesome.
Yes, your current filtration will work just fine.

Enjoy the journey.
 
Corals.com
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Tests showing Nitrates in the tank yesterday so I started reading to see why. Turns out the cycle is done and that Turbostart 900 stuff really does what it says!

LFS gave me two tiny blue legged crabs, a scarlet crab, and two zebra snails to start. They say these guys are hardy and after a week or two with them, I can add a few more.

Drip acclimated the little dudes for about an hour and let them loose in the tank. The snails are already exploring and the crabs are inspecting each pebble of aragonite.

:)
 

TheRealAFISHionado

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
28
Reaction score
13
Excellent thread post! Very detailed.

Hopefully your clean up crew will have enough to eat. My experience your tank is to fresh. But just keep them safe you can spot feed them Spirulina flakes... not much, just enough to keep them from starving.
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Excellent thread post! Very detailed.

Hopefully your clean up crew will have enough to eat. My experience your tank is to fresh. But just keep them safe you can spot feed them Spirulina flakes... not much, just enough to keep them from starving.
Thanks!

I was wondering if I should fees them because I'm not seeing much algae anywhere.

I'm going to upgrade the tank to add a refugium but, in the meantime, I'll feed some spirulina.
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Update -
I threw out my API tests because they were trash.
I purchased a set of Salifert tests and, while the API tests showed no Ammonia, some Nitrites and no Nitrates, the Salifert tests showed .15 Ammonia, .25 Nitrites and 50 Nitrates. That was yesterday and this morning's results were the same from the Salifert tests.
The snails and crabs that I added when the API tests told me that Nitrates were at 5PPM did not make it. The crabs moved from place to place for a few days and then I hadn't seen them so I figured they settled into their hiding spot and the snails moved around for the first day then didn't for a few days. At day 2 of them being there, I picked one up to make sure they were ok, and it pulled into it's shell so I figured all was well. A couple of days later with no movement and it fell out of it's shell when I picked it up.... :(

Now I'm nervous to do anything with livestock because I don't know if the tests can really be trusted as an indicator of when I can add anything.
I've purchased a few extra things for the tank - an Inkbird temperature controller to protect against faulty heaters, the InTank fuge and media pieces (haven't arrived yet), a fuge light and a few different Hanna checkers (Phosphorus ULR, Calcium, and Alkalinity), and an auto-drip acclimator.

I really don't see much going on in the tank. I did notice that the snail shells, which already has tiny tufts of algae attached to them, appear to be a bit more "bushy" now than they first were but I don't see algae accumulating anywhere else (rock, glass, substrate, etc.).
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting

TheRealAFISHionado

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
28
Reaction score
13
Nothing in this hobby happens quickly. You got to have patience. Try not to visit your LFS while you wait.

I understand that you can jump start a tank now days but last time I started an ecosystem I left it alone for 30 to 60 days. Ran for almost eight years, never crashed.
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Nothing in this hobby happens quickly. You got to have patience. Try not to visit your LFS while you wait.

I understand that you can jump start a tank now days but last time I started an ecosystem I left it alone for 30 to 60 days. Ran for almost eight years, never crashed.
Absolutely, and that's what I expected when I first started cycling. Then some bad tests, coupled with bad advice (based in results of said tests) sent me down a bad path.

Things seem to be going as expected now with algae blooms taking over the tank...
 

jackalexander

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
331
Reaction score
150
Location
Ventura
Now the ugly stage... lasts awhile, don’t give up! I recommend ARC Reef Coralline in a bottle, it’s contains actual coralline algae unlike other brands, it’ll make your tank prettier much quicker!
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Now the ugly stage... lasts awhile, don’t give up! I recommend ARC Reef Coralline in a bottle, it’s contains actual coralline algae unlike other brands, it’ll make your tank prettier much quicker!
Thanks for the tip! I didn't know such a thing existed.

I had the long brown stringy algae for a couple of weeks but now it's pretty much all gone with a slightly muted brown colour left on the substrate. I'm starting to see spots of green algae appearing. Snails and crabs are doing their thing too. :)
 

jackalexander

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
331
Reaction score
150
Location
Ventura
Thanks for the tip! I didn't know such a thing existed.

I had the long brown stringy algae for a couple of weeks but now it's pretty much all gone with a slightly muted brown colour left on the substrate. I'm starting to see spots of green algae appearing. Snails and crabs are doing their thing too. :)
I highly recommend it!! Sounds like you are in the beginnings of the green stage! then it will turn dull green and back to brown! then the cycle continues for about a year... Did the brown strings look like they had bubbles? If so, you might’ve beaten the infamous “dinoflagellates” by doing nothing but riding through it! :eek:
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
I highly recommend it!! Sounds like you are in the beginnings of the green stage! then it will turn dull green and back to brown! then the cycle continues for about a year... Did the brown strings look like they had bubbles? If so, you might’ve beaten the infamous “dinoflagellates” by doing nothing but riding through it! :eek:
No bubbles. I did collect a sample and observe it under the microscope. Definitely diatoms. When I first saw it I definitely thought they were dinos. Lol
 
OP
KeMiKiLL

KeMiKiLL

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
125
Location
Ontario
Update:
My BC32's brown algae stage has been cleared up for over a week and things are looking much better. I've added a good deal of upgrades since my last post.

InTank media basket and refugium added! Media basket has filter floss at the very top with carbon under that, in the middle part of that basket is a bag of Matrix and at the bottom is a bag of ChemiPure Elite. Previously I had no carbon but two layers of filter floss. Water was never crystal clear and both floss layer became brown after a week. I added the carbon after adding corals and removed one layer of floss as the flow seemed stifled at the top of the media chamber and was overflowing to the next section as a result.
Refugium has a good chunk of Chaeto and the light is a 9W IM ChaetoMax attached to the outside of the tank and run inversely to the main tank lighting. I'm not sure how often I should be harvesting this Chaeto. Is there something I should watch for as an indicator? Also, I'm seeing that it's best if the Chaeto is tumbling while mine just sits there. Should I add a small pump into the refugium chamber to get some flow back there?
I added copepods about a week ago and I can see a thriving colony back there with many seen if you look closely in the main tank. :)

I removed one of the AC powerheads in the tank and replaced with a Nero3. It's got a decent flow program set up and corals are happy for the most part. I removed the BC32 stock hood and added an AI Prime 16HD. PAR checked and is at around 160 where the torches are and around 70-80 at substrate level at normal intensity. I am running acclimation mode right now at 55% as I just added the corals the other day.
For the corals, I spent a good deal of time dipping (with CoralRX) and rinsing before just placing them into the sand bed. It was 3AM by the time I finished that day so I gave them a couple of days to settle in while I planned placement. On placement day (yesterday - Saturday), I drained the water to just above the rock work and got to snipping plug stems and gluing them down to the structure. My zoas and hammers were being molested by a Halloween crab while in the substrate, so they had to be moved anyway. After all was placed, I drained the water to about 2" from the sand and started pumping in freshly mixed and heated (to 77.8F) water (Aquavitro Salinity mixed to 1.025).

Today I ran full tests:
Salinity 1.025
Temp 77.8
Magnesium 1170(1320)
Calcium 496(500)
Alkalinity 147(8.2)
Phosphate 2 ppb
pH 7.9
Ammonia
NH3 0.042 ppm
NH4 23.7 ppb
O2 8.1
Nitrite 2.0(1.0)
Nitrate 50(25)

Values in brackets are what results were Friday night. My last large water change was using Red Sea Pro salt, which I like much more than the AquaVitro product, but I have a huge bucket of the AV stuff I don't want to waste. I'm attributing the Nitrite/Nitrate spike to substrate agitation during the water change as I can't think of another reason. Does that make sense? I'm not liking the Magnesium drop either. It seems extreme to me and I'm in the process of mixing up some Red Sea Pro right now to run another water change of at least 50%.

I have one hammer that doesn't seem too thrilled at the moment and my plate coral hasn't extended into small tentacles in a few days but they were getting messed with by that crab pretty incessantly. For plates, how do you know when they are in real trouble? Mine still has good color and when I looked under the base I could see a great deal of purple flesh. Do these just melt when it trouble?

Pics:
20210404_151057.jpg
20210404_110640.jpg
20210404_110510.jpg
20210404_151130.jpg
 

HAVE YOU EVER BUILT A NEW HOUSE "AROUND" A NEW DREAM REEF TANK SET UP?

  • Yes (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 44 14.8%
  • NO, but I would like to

    Votes: 181 60.9%
  • NO, I would worry about the tank later

    Votes: 62 20.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 3.4%
Corals.com
Top