My first reef tank! 32 biocube

Calebd91

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Hello everyone, new here an new to reefing. Me an my dad had a fish only tank probably 25 years ago an I’ve wanted a reef setup ever since. Been doing some looking here an there last year or so and finally committed to it this past week.

So far I’ve got:
32g coralife bio cube with stand
Coralife V2 protein skimmer
Coralife algae cleaning magnet
Caribsea special grade reef sand (12lbs)
Aquarium pharmaceuticals reef master test kit
Two little fishes Accurasea1 artificial salt water mix (30 gal worth of salt mix)
Aquatic Life 4 stage RO/DI 50GPD system
Digital thermometer with probe
Seachem phosguard 100ml
Caribsea Liferock 40lbs
Instant ocean hydrometer
H2Pro 200w titanium heater w/controller
JBJ instant siphon gravel cleaner

How’s that look so far?

Been trying to do as much reading an research as I can in free time an trying to get my game plan on livestock and upgrades. I know I eventually want corals an will be looking into light upgrades an powerheads.
Also I’m in question about filtration upgrades, what’s a good starter setup to get me going?

I’ll be setting it up an aquascaping it over the weekend and filling it. Should I add something to get the cycle started? I looked at dr Tim’s and brightwell microbacter start.
Any suggestions on that or any other supplements/additives I need to have on hand?

I don’t plan on adding fish until I see it cycle an get everything in check. Then I plan on a pair of clowns to start. And then also looking at a good selection for clean up crew. I need to do some more looking at possible stocking I would like to make sure everyone is happy together.

How soon after introducing my pair of clowns should I wait before looking into corals that I can support on stock lighting? Any suggestions on good starter corals as well?

Thanks for any feedback an I will be getting pics of the setup this weekend an starting a build/ progression thread!


The time has come to set it all up, began by setting up my RO/DI system an flushing the cartridges then running a few 5 gallon buckets full to get ready to mix some seawater for filling after setup. While that was running I built the stand an unboxed all my other supplies.

Then I layed out my rock an drew on some cardboard the dimension of the tank an started messing with aquascape ideas…..let me tell ya. As a beginner this is no easy task. I spent a good 3 hours stacking an trying each piece a different way, looking at all angles of it to try it make it “perfect” then I relized I’m over thinking it an it should be natural looking. Did my best with the rock I got to create some caves/caverns and ledges that hopefully will lead to some good coral placement spots as well as some hiding spots an resting places for the livestock.
Also while I was playing with the rock layout I let the hose run in a bucket of my sand to rinse it to help with initial cloudy water.
After I thought I was well prepared with everything I placed my rock in the tank an loaded it with the reef sand and slowly added my water. Waiting for last few buckets of RODI water to fill to get it all the way topped off but so far so good an actually pretty clear so far.
I won’t be running any lights while it cycles an keeping up with daily testing. I’m guessing in weeks time I may be able to add my first live stock! But I’m in no rush and want to make sure all is good before that point!
On to the pics!
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RedSeaReefer1

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If you’re able to return it I recommend a Red Sea or water box tank. Larger than 100g. I don’t recommend smaller tanks and or/nanos for new reefers. You have a very novice set up. I recommend looking into higher end equipment. That coral life skimmer doesn’t do anything. I would get a real salinity tester like a refractometer. I also recommend you try and obtain actual live rock that’s been sitting in an established tank for at least a year.
 
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Calebd91

Calebd91

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Morning update! Water is clearing up some, turned light on just to check water clarity an some quick pics. Also tested the water. 8.2-8.4 Ph, maybeeeee .025 ammonia (hard to decipher the color), 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. To be expected. Just wanted to run thru the first test to get aquatinted. About to go to a LFS I Havnt been to yet, specialists in reef tanks so hope to get some good info an some starter bacteria, as well as check out the livestock an corals.

Oh also ordered the inTank media basket and filter floss. Picking up a Hanna salinity tester as well this week.
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dlc

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I’m happy with my biocube and never upgraded the lights or added a skimmer. Just weekly water changes and easy corals. I started with a 120; got the biocube and just added an IM 10 gallon. if I got rid of any of the tanks it would be the 120, way more expensive to run and harder to do water changes.
 
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Calebd91

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Well went to the lfs that specializes in reef setups, picked up a aqua top pump to help mixing my water change saltwater an transfer to tank easier, picked up a Hanna salinity tester, and also picked up bottle of dr Tim’s one and only and micro-lift special blend. I was talking to one the owners as I browsed the livestock an told him about my setup an everything. He highly suggest me add the dr Tim’s an fish same day to give ammonia source. I was very very confused at this as I do not want to harm any fish. After several conversations an reluctance I left with a pair of clowns an a promise they would be fine during the cycle because the dr Tim’s works so well….. I’m still skeptical but I just have to keep up on testing to watch for any danger signs.
So got home, floated the bag while I added the dosing of dr Tim’s. Let them float for around 20 min, started to drip acclimate that ran for around 35-40 min an about filled the bag doubling the original water level. Checked salinity an temp in bag an was spot on to my tank. [email protected]
Netted them out and into the tank an they have been loving it, very active and exploring around the rocks. Have only run the lights for maybe a hour just to monitor them an give them some time to explore the tank before lights out again to hopefully prevent major algae growth. 18 hours in I tested water. Ph-8.2-8.4, Ammonia-0, nitrite-0, Nitrate was hard to decifer color but looks between 0-5ppm. Will check again tonight.
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Calebd91

Calebd91

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Been watching them all day on an off, seem to be doing well. Very active and if I get close enough to tank. Fed them around noon some omega one fish flakes (what the lfs was feeding them). About 5-6 small flakes. Left no food floating around tank. Added about 3 cups of RODI water to top off, had slight evaporation. Also installed filter mesh back on top (was advised to remove for 24hrs after dosing with dr Tim’s), continue to run mesh bag of carbon on first level of stock media rack, bag of phosgaurd on bottom level.

tested 2 times today

9/25/21 8:00am
[email protected]
Ph-8.2-8.4
Ammonia-0-0.25
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-0-5
Calcium-400
KH-11
Phosphate- 0-0.25

9/25/21 8:00pm
[email protected]
Ph-8.2
Ammonia-0-0.25
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-5-10ppm

Starting to do some looking into a power head, prefer one with adjustable setting such as pulse or random. What does everyone recommend? Really eyeing the nero3.
Also when should I consider my first water change?
Thanks
 
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Calebd91

Calebd91

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Been testing everyday. Continuing to see zero ammonia an nitrites. Nitrates hovering between 5-10ppm. Also started the skimmer to give it some break in time.
debating doing water change this weekend or let it ride till next weekend.
hopefully my intank media basket an floss will be here before weekend.
 
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Calebd91

Calebd91

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8 days in update….
Testing everyday
As of this morning
8/3/21
[email protected]
Ph-8.0-8.2
Ammonia-0-0.25
Nitrites-0
Nitrates-10
I figured I would be seeing higher nitrate levels by now an was planning possible water change today but I think I’ll give it another week. Water is still crystal clear, no signs of diatoms or other algae’s. Dosed it Wednesday with arc reafs coraline spores just to experiment an see if it seeds up any in next month or 2.

Installed the intank media basket an water diverter. Super impressed with its build quality, waiting on my filter floss roll to come in Monday. I have just a small bag of carbon on top shelve an phosgaurd on middle. Raised my water level in 2nd chamber as recommended an it is much quieter an not many micro bubbles like the stock setup had.

Feedings continue every other day of 5-6 medium sized flakes, some small pieces get blown into the rocks but any large portions I remove after 5 min or so.

Both clowns are looking healthy an very close in size, 1 may be leading by fractions of inch an bulk. I assume this will become the female, I’ve noticed in the evenings when it’s under the moonlight blues they get very active an do fair share of chasing. I hope this is sign of bonding an establishing dominance or sexual orientation. No wounds or fin damage that I can see on them.

Giving it another 2 weekends an will maybe consider adding a yellow watchmen goby an some corals. Looking at a possible Duncan or a torch to start. Don’t care for gsp,Xenia, or Zoas that could possibly overrun the rock work as I don’t have any islands.

Here is some updated pics! And one under the blues. It’s so hard to capture good image under the moonlights!
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Tankkeepers

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If you’re able to return it I recommend a Red Sea or water box tank. Larger than 100g. I don’t recommend smaller tanks and or/nanos for new reefers. You have a very novice set up. I recommend looking into higher end equipment. That coral life skimmer doesn’t do anything. I would get a real salinity tester like a refractometer. I also recommend you try and obtain actual live rock that’s been sitting in an established tank for at least a year.
I disagree completely the biocube is very very user friendly
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

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OK so I love what you have done so far don't listen to anyone that says you can't stock a tank before a cycle bla bla bla

Iv been doing this awhile now and within the first month I have 50 percent of all livestock and coral in tank withing 6 months 100 percent stock watch your levels closely (I do not if you read my thread don't do as me do as I say as I'll never recommend running a tank without testing to anyone ever but I have not tested my tank in about 2 years but I know what I'm doing) do water changes at least 5 per week I do 10 every 2 weeks and I run carbon and a filter pad and uv sterilizers that is all I have nothing else at all

Now in the beging for the first year I ran cemi pure blue rather then carbon alone to rid the rocks of any excess phosphates and I run it once every 6 months for a months to draw phosphates from the rocks

I am coming from a 125 all natural tank to this setup and I will tell you this I love this tank and I have more time to enjoy this tank then I ever did the 125 it took alot more time to maintain the this biicube which is water changes and that's it lights are all stock pump is 380 with upgraded return nozzel
 

Tankkeepers

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More pics so you can see how I setup mine
 

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