My BioCube 32 Build

Airwolf

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I have kept freshwater aquariums a a few different points in my life and currently have a planted freshwater tank. Have always wanted to try a saltwater tank and finally have the means to do so. Using this thread as a way to document my journey into the hobby and my successes and opportunities for improvements, more commonly known as failures.

Originally Purchased from Facebook Marketplace:
  1. Coralife LED BioCube 32 w/stand
  2. In-Tank Media and Fuge Basket
  3. Came with off brand return pump, works for now.

Other Purchases to Date:
  1. ADJ Power Bar (Got idea from searching here, will help with power management)
  2. Velcro - (For mounting power bricks to top of cabinet to help with cord management)
  3. BRS RODI 5 Stage
  4. Booster Pump for RO Filter
  5. Salifert Test Kits (Mg,Ca,Alk,NO3)
  6. API Ammonia Test Kit (No comments on API please, just using for cycling process and problem testing)
  7. Handheld PH Meter (Purchased from Facebook Marketplace)
  8. Refractometer (Purchased from Facebook Marketplace)
  9. Calibration Solution for Refractometer (checked with both rodi water and solution, seems spot on for both)
  10. Fluval M-150 Heater (150 Watts mounted in first chamber)
  11. Storage totes (18 gallon) to hold water
  12. CaribSea South Seas Base Rock (Ordered 40 lbs, used about 20 LOL!)
  13. CaribSea Aragonite Aquarium Reef Sand
  14. Instant Ocean Sea Salt (Hey, easy, just getting started, will transition to a reef salt when it comes time)

The day I brought it home (decorations also supplied but not planning on using)
IMG_4642.jpg
 
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Airwolf

Airwolf

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I committed to myself, and my wife I was going to take this journey slow. I originally purchased the tank on 1.29.2022 and just put water in it this past weekend, 3.26.2022. I don't think you can say I am rushing it. LOL!

First up was aqua scaping and attempted a few dry runs at it:

First Attempt (not bad):
IMG_4773.jpg


Second Attempt (went for max quantity of rock, did not like as it was just a stack of rocks)
IMG_4778.jpg


Third attempt: (Happy enough to superglue it together, well I should say try!)
IMG_4827.jpg


Unfortunately, when lifting out of the aquarium to rinse the rock off I landed up with this (first opportunity for improvement) Luckily it broke apart right above the box and not in the tank!:

IMG_4831.jpg


Landed up with this (glued and left in aquarium this time, rinsed rocks before gluing together):

66838821919__3EE89026-BC76-4211-AECA-38A7494FD612.jpg
 
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Airwolf

Airwolf

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Next up was substrate and water:

Finished the aqua scape on 3.7.2022 and the next couple weeks were rinsing the sand and dumping in. I landed up rising the sand one 16 oz container at a time trying to remove as much dust as I could. Key word there was trying, can you ever get all the dust out?

Picture of sand being installed:

IMG_4913.jpg


After that it was time to make water. When I initially purchased the RODI system, I did not get a booster pump. I figured I was on city water and was getting my source water fairly close to the main line coming in at basement level. I was disappointed to find that my water pressure was at about 37PSI. It got up to 50psi on one occasion when the city must have opened a water tower valve, LOL! Ordered a booster pump and am now pushing about 80 psi at the membrane, what a difference in quantity of water produced. Worth noting that the TDS after membrane is about 2-3. Was 3 before booster pump and seeing 2 after booster pump.

Also to add am super impressed with BRS's customer service. Had a small leak at the pressure gauge that tightening would not fix. They quickly offered several options for remediation. I landed up removing the gauge and applying some Teflon tape to the threads and that fixed the problem (was not one of their suggestions but since I am handy I gave it a try).

After filling two containers of water it was time to make them salty. Fairly easy process, took about 7 cups of salt to hit the 35ppt I was aiming for. Mixed it by hand by slow 'sprinkling' in the salt into the water then using a plastic spatula from the kitchen to stir. Do not tell my wife! ;-) Put a couple small 50watt heaters in the tubs and stirred off and on for the rest of the night. After the initial mix, I did not notice any precipitate in the tubs for what its worth.

Next afternoon, filled up the tank.

Stock Light Sunrise/Sunset after filling (cloudy water after initial fill):

IMG_4993.jpg


Stock Light Daylight after initial fill:

IMG_4995.jpg


Stock Light Moon/Lunar after initial fill:

IMG_4994.jpg


No Light after about 12 hours from initial fill (cleared up nicely):

IMG_4999.jpg


Daylight 12 hours after initial fill:

IMG_5001.jpg
 
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Airwolf

Airwolf

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Currently letting the temperatures settle in and trapped air to dissolve. Also need to bring the salinity up a touch, currently at 33ish, aiming for 35. Going to do this by replacing evaporation with salt water.

Next up will be cycling, currently researching if/what bottled bacteria to use. Leaning towards BioSpira just because I can get that locally at a couple of places. Maybe supplementing it with Sachem Stability or Seed.

Will try and keep the thread updated as I move along.
 
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Airwolf

Airwolf

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I am surprised. Already have nitrites showing up. After only 3 days. Ammonia also is down.

Ammonia: .5 api
Nitrite: .5-1api
PH: 8.2 api and jellas handheld checker
Temp: 78
Salinity: 35 after leaving hood up and replaced evaporated water with salt water. Took about a week of doing that to get it there.

Have a bottle of birospira and microbacter 7 but haven’t added any yet.
 

cgripp256

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Welcome to the Biocube club! I too just started mine this year. I moved a little faster but I started with live rock and sand so my cycle was basically instantaneous. Although,in the future (I'm sure there will be more tanks :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes: ) I would probably stick to dry rock / sand and a fishless cycle using bottled bacteria. It'll save hundreds of dollars the next time around on a bigger tank.
 
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Airwolf

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Just a little update. Cycle is progressing, ammonia is all but zero. Just waiting for nitrites to zero out. I know new school is you don’t have to wait for that, but I want to!

Thinking of adding some biospira, already purchased it a few weeks ago when setting up the tank.
 
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Airwolf

Airwolf

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Took a little longer than expected, to get the ammonia and nitrite to process out in 24 hours. Finally did it as of this mornings test, almost exactly three weeks form initial ammonia dose. Said took longer than expected because I was surprised how quick nitrite showed up and started going down, just took some time to process 1ppm ammonia to double zeros. (I know that is old school way).


On the list to do, a water change and purchase a pair of clownfish to get the first inhabitants for the tank. Have a pair on hold at a local fish store. Hopefully water change today and fish on Sunday!
 

rmorris_14

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Took a little longer than expected, to get the ammonia and nitrite to process out in 24 hours. Finally did it as of this mornings test, almost exactly three weeks form initial ammonia dose. Said took longer than expected because I was surprised how quick nitrite showed up and started going down, just took some time to process 1ppm ammonia to double zeros. (I know that is old school way).


On the list to do, a water change and purchase a pair of clownfish to get the first inhabitants for the tank. Have a pair on hold at a local fish store. Hopefully water change today and fish on Sunday!
following!
 
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Do you consider a "water change" to be an effective type of aquarium filtration method?

  • Yes

    Votes: 198 65.8%
  • No

    Votes: 61 20.3%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 26 8.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 16 5.3%
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