My BioCube 32 Build

cconnolly

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I’ve been reading other people’s posts for much too long without posting any of my own progress and experiences. So wanted to start a thread and will put some info on how it’s been going so far.

For starters I had done FOWLR tanks about 15 years ago and then stopped due to some life changes. My son got interested so we got a BioCube 32 last November and he is obsessed now. Have been trying to dial things in with it as a reef tank which has been a journey.

The Equipment Still In Use:

BioCube 32 & Stand
MightyJet 326 Return
2 x Hydor Koralia Nano 425
Cobalt Flat NeoTherm Heater
Acke Grow Light for Fuge
ADJ Power Bar
InTank Filter Floss
Phosguard
ChemiPure Elite

The Equipment I Gave Up On:
Coralife Protien Skimmer
Coralife Filter Cartridge

The Equipment I Wonder if I Should Get:
Inkbird Temp Controller
Steve’s LED light upgrade
MP10s
InTank Media basket & fuge
 
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cconnolly

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Here is some info on what is residing in the tank.

Fish:

Pair of clowns. Was told they are mochas but they are almost all black at this point
Diamond Goby
Coral Beauty Angel
Banggai Cardinal

Inverts:

Coral Banded Shrimp
Emerald Crab
Blue Leg Hermits
Mexican Turbo Snail
Dwarf Cerith Snails
Nassarius Vibex Snails
Nerite Snails

Corals I Know Name of:
Fuzzy Green Mushroom
Devils Hand
Red Disco Mushroom
Birds Nest

Mystery Corals:
Some kind of brain
Some kind of soft branching tree like one
Some kind of hard branching one
 
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cconnolly

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Here is how it looked at the beginning when I was cycling it in early November of 2020

6662B554-CA5B-4A99-B19A-2E80CF60DE76.jpeg 3B2A6760-1388-483E-A0A4-4F5B28064104.jpeg 6F7EAA9D-0F84-42C9-85DA-A02EDF004E15.jpeg
 
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cconnolly

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First sign of a pest in this one. A single aiptasia head popped up from the live rock. This was in late December 2020. We ended up getting a peppermint shrimp who took care of it and another small one that popped up shortly after the first one
 

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cconnolly

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This was a banner day for the tank as it got its first coral resident. December 24 2020. The clowns were very interested at first but eventually lost interest in it.

The coolest part of this was the backstory. My older son and I were doing our regular weekly visit to the LFS and it was delivery day for them. My son was fascinated by the owner who was picking the live hermit crabs out from all the shells that arrived in his shipment. My son who just shy of 3 then wanted to help and spent 2 hours finding all the live ones. The LFS owner gave him this coral for all his “help”.

CBF81ACC-7E32-4235-A726-079A32F6A41E.jpeg
 
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cconnolly

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In January 2021 we decided to add some more fish as previous to this we only had the clowns and the cardinal fish.

My older son picked out the coral beauty and with some encouragement the diamond goby as the goal was to get something to help keep the sand bed maintained.

We have come to love the Diamond goby. Not only does it keep the sand bed looking good but its personality is very amusing. Between the random redesigns of the sand scape and the way it interacts with the tank mates.
 

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cconnolly

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Later in January 2021 we added some more corals. The whitish one of the left side is one of our mystery corals and the other is the devils hand.
 

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cconnolly

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February until nowish we don’t have as many pictures. This is when we started getting GHA. Started out light and eventually got to the point we almost gave up on the tank.

Here are some of our many failed attempts to remove it.

Picking by hand

Reducing feedings

Reducing lighting schedule

48 hour tank blackout

Sea Hare. Very fascinating temporary resident. We had “rented” it from our LFS. After a week and half it cleared all the GHA from the lower third of the tank. Then the progress stopped and after another week it up and died. Water parameters were good the whole time and there was certainly no lack of food for it.
 
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cconnolly

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When doing our monthly deep cleaning of the tank in April we discovered the second chamber had started to grow lots of what I think are sponges. They seem to just be doing their thing so we leave them alone.
 

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cconnolly

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Our younger son who is about 18 months old has really started to become interested in the tank. He likes to sit or stand watching the tank. Sometimes for 10 or 15 minutes which is basically a lifetime for a kid that age
 

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cconnolly

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This photo from yesterday we took when we realized how much the fuzzy green mushroom has grown. It’s upto about 10 heads now and has really nicely filled out that part of the tank. Of course our coral banded shrimp photobombed

55FDDB53-B6CA-4D60-B558-38E810387BD4.jpeg
 
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cconnolly

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Some photos from today as we are finally going on almost a month of having the GHA under control and feeling good about the state of the tank. Our only current issue is that the devils hand has been looking droopy for about 2 weeks and hasn’t shed a coat in 2 months which has us concerned but hopefully it comes back.

The approach that has seemed to be working well for us on the GHA battlefront has been using some grout scrubbing brushes I picked up from Amazon to get off the big stuff. We also added some chaeto and pods into the second chamber and shut down the protein skimmer in late May. In June we picked up the ultimate eco pack from AlgaeBarn and have been using the OceanMagik and PNS daily in the mornings while doing our regular feeding in the evenings. The chaeto and AlgaeBarn routine has helped to the point where even my wife is commenting on how nice the tank looks after the months of GHA over runs.
 

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cconnolly

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Looking at those latest pictures and seeing the coralline algae growth progress made me lookup when I added some booster to try to encourage the tiny amount of growth we had seen in the first 6 months.

We added the Pink & Purple Live Coralline Algae Kit from BRS on May 28 2021 and are getting some noticeable growth. So far mostly on plastic pieces and the one rock that had tiny specks on it previous to adding the booster. We also have one hermit who is completely covered. My older son enjoys looking for the “pink hermit crab” now.
 

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Ocean’s Piece

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I’ve been reading other people’s posts for much too long without posting any of my own progress and experiences. So wanted to start a thread and will put some info on how it’s been going so far.

For starters I had done FOWLR tanks about 15 years ago and then stopped due to some life changes. My son got interested so we got a BioCube 32 last November and he is obsessed now. Have been trying to dial things in with it as a reef tank which has been a journey.

The Equipment Still In Use:

BioCube 32 & Stand
MightyJet 326 Return
2 x Hydor Koralia Nano 425
Cobalt Flat NeoTherm Heater
Acke Grow Light for Fuge
ADJ Power Bar
InTank Filter Floss
Phosguard
ChemiPure Elite

The Equipment I Gave Up On:
Coralife Protien Skimmer
Coralife Filter Cartridge

The Equipment I Wonder if I Should Get:
Inkbird Temp Controller
Steve’s LED light upgrade
MP10s
InTank Media basket & fuge
Sounds just like what happened to my family. I’m also a Biocube 32 owner. Great little tanks IMO. Here’s what I would suggest. Keep in mind, Im reading this post by post, so somethings may have already been explained or discussed already: don’t always use phosguard. Phosguard runs your phosphate levels to 0 which could be very bad. I would only recommend using phosguard when phosphates reach levels that are not in your normal and consistent range of levels or if it’s a number that’s high, like anything .2+. You could use a media reactor instead if you want to have something that would always be working. I know innovative marine sells one for AIO systems, but I’m yet to get one (probably soon). I saw you gave up on the coralife protein skimmer. If you gave up on the first one, I completely understand, but if you gave up on v2, why? I find my protein skimmer does a great job a keeping nitrates under control. If you gave up on it because it wasn’t acting right, it’s probably because it wasn’t given enough time to be broken in. Anyways, I’d like to know why. If you plan to keep the lid on, you don’t need the temp controller. As long as you have a reliable heater, which you do, and keep your AC at or around the same temperature, you’ll be fine. Do I think you need Steve’s LEDs? IMO, no. Others will say different but I have evidence on why. If you plan to keep a heavily SPS dominated tank, with acros, and other high light demanding corals, get Steve’s. If not, then don’t. If your Biocube lights say Biocube LED v3 on the light panel, and you don’t want high light demanding corals, then applies to you and you should not get Steve’s. This is an email sent to me by marineandreef.com:

We have a couple BioCubes here in the office so I can give you some feedback even though I don’t have a par meter here to let you know the actual values. In our BioCube 32 I have been able to grow easy SPS at the top. Corals like BirdsNest and Montipora but I have never felt the lighting is capable of growing Acropora.


Is this SPS Capable. Kinda. If you pick easy SPS and keep them near the top of the tank they can do well however I would not plan on setting up a BioCube as an SPS dominate display. The BioCube is meant to be a mixed reef.


Sorry I can’t give you more specifics I believe the PAR Chart from Coralife is accurate. You will get about 80 par 1ft down which is low but fine for softies. In the top 6in it is likely close to 200-250 par which is fine for easy SPS.

You don’t need MP10 unless you want high flow demanding corals. I have a Jebao OW-10. Check out the Jebao powerheads anyways. They’re a good investment that will save you a lot of money compared to the MP10s. I don’t have an in tank media basket/fuge basket but I want one bad. The Biocube trays in the back are very difficult to deal with, especially for putting filter floss on top every time you need to replace.
Here is some info on what is residing in the tank.

Fish:

Pair of clowns. Was told they are mochas but they are almost all black at this point
Diamond Goby
Coral Beauty Angel
Banggai Cardinal

Inverts:

Coral Banded Shrimp
Emerald Crab
Blue Leg Hermits
Mexican Turbo Snail
Dwarf Cerith Snails
Nassarius Vibex Snails
Nerite Snails

Corals I Know Name of:
Fuzzy Green Mushroom
Devils Hand
Red Disco Mushroom
Birds Nest

Mystery Corals:
Some kind of brain
Some kind of soft branching tree like one
Some kind of hard branching one
Clownfish darken as they age. Mochas will be almost completely black fully matured. As much as I, and everyone else with a Biocube 32 would want to, angelfish need a bigger tank. I would not recommend putting one in there because of aggression and other possible issues that may arise. Be careful with emerald crabs. They do a great job at eradicating bubble algae, but after that, they can be harmful to your corals. If you provide some pictures of the corals you want, we could ID them for you. Just post it somewhere on the forums and someone will get back to you.
I hope this helps. Good to have another Biocube owner in the community. Good luck!
 
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cconnolly

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Sounds just like what happened to my family. I’m also a Biocube 32 owner. Great little tanks IMO. Here’s what I would suggest. Keep in mind, Im reading this post by post, so somethings may have already been explained or discussed already: don’t always use phosguard. Phosguard runs your phosphate levels to 0 which could be very bad. I would only recommend using phosguard when phosphates reach levels that are not in your normal and consistent range of levels or if it’s a number that’s high, like anything .2+. You could use a media reactor instead if you want to have something that would always be working. I know innovative marine sells one for AIO systems, but I’m yet to get one (probably soon). I saw you gave up on the coralife protein skimmer. If you gave up on the first one, I completely understand, but if you gave up on v2, why? I find my protein skimmer does a great job a keeping nitrates under control. If you gave up on it because it wasn’t acting right, it’s probably because it wasn’t given enough time to be broken in. Anyways, I’d like to know why. If you plan to keep the lid on, you don’t need the temp controller. As long as you have a reliable heater, which you do, and keep your AC at or around the same temperature, you’ll be fine. Do I think you need Steve’s LEDs? IMO, no. Others will say different but I have evidence on why. If you plan to keep a heavily SPS dominated tank, with acros, and other high light demanding corals, get Steve’s. If not, then don’t. If your Biocube lights say Biocube LED v3 on the light panel, and you don’t want high light demanding corals, then applies to you and you should not get Steve’s. This is an email sent to me by marineandreef.com:

We have a couple BioCubes here in the office so I can give you some feedback even though I don’t have a par meter here to let you know the actual values. In our BioCube 32 I have been able to grow easy SPS at the top. Corals like BirdsNest and Montipora but I have never felt the lighting is capable of growing Acropora.


Is this SPS Capable. Kinda. If you pick easy SPS and keep them near the top of the tank they can do well however I would not plan on setting up a BioCube as an SPS dominate display. The BioCube is meant to be a mixed reef.


Sorry I can’t give you more specifics I believe the PAR Chart from Coralife is accurate. You will get about 80 par 1ft down which is low but fine for softies. In the top 6in it is likely close to 200-250 par which is fine for easy SPS.

You don’t need MP10 unless you want high flow demanding corals. I have a Jebao OW-10. Check out the Jebao powerheads anyways. They’re a good investment that will save you a lot of money compared to the MP10s. I don’t have an in tank media basket/fuge basket but I want one bad. The Biocube trays in the back are very difficult to deal with, especially for putting filter floss on top every time you need to replace.

Clownfish darken as they age. Mochas will be almost completely black fully matured. As much as I, and everyone else with a Biocube 32 would want to, angelfish need a bigger tank. I would not recommend putting one in there because of aggression and other possible issues that may arise. Be careful with emerald crabs. They do a great job at eradicating bubble algae, but after that, they can be harmful to your corals. If you provide some pictures of the corals you want, we could ID them for you. Just post it somewhere on the forums and someone will get back to you.
I hope this helps. Good to have another Biocube owner in the community. Good luck!
Thank you so much for the warning on potential issues with the phosguard. I had read it could help with the GHA. Only been running it for 2 months. I’ll pull it out and pickup a phosphate tester as I hadn’t been doing that parameter before reintroducing it.

I think the skimmer is the newer version. I’ll have to figure out how to confirm that. I ran it for about 4 months and never got a dark thick skimmate from it so had pulled it to clean and just never put it back. Maybe I’ll give it another go. Any tips for how you got it dialed in and working well?
 

Ocean’s Piece

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Thank you so much for the warning on potential issues with the phosguard. I had read it could help with the GHA. Only been running it for 2 months. I’ll pull it out and pickup a phosphate tester as I hadn’t been doing that parameter before reintroducing it.

I think the skimmer is the newer version. I’ll have to figure out how to confirm that. I ran it for about 4 months and never got a dark thick skimmate from it so had pulled it to clean and just never put it back. Maybe I’ll give it another go. Any tips for how you got it dialed in and working well?
I have mine in chamber one, I made a little modification to raise it up in the chamber and not have the cup sit on the water level, played around with the air valve a little bit, and I believe I have it set up to where it’s just barely open. Just let it run. The first month or so is not going to show promising signs. After it has been broken in, you’ll start to see darker skimmate. I have to dump mine around once every 5 days. A protein skimmer isn’t entirely necessary for a tank like that, but if you still have it, I’d say it’s worth a shot. It doesn’t do any harm, that’s for sure.
 
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cconnolly

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I ordered and finally got some Hanna testers to try to get more accurate parameters.

Nitrate - 0
Calcium - 371
Phosphate - .09
Alkalinity - 7.4

Based on those I’m assuming I need to do something to bring up the calcium and alkalinity. I’ll start researching that now. Should I keep using the phosguard considering I’m high or do something else to try to get the phosphates lower?
 

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Looks like your moving along now ! We also have BC 32 , its been wet for almost a yr . Perfect for our space , and easy to work on during regular maint. Ours has a neon green nepthea, and a few lps . We wanted something easy to care for w movement
Looking forward to your updates !
 
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