New to Saltwater Tanks - Starting 29g Biocube Reef Tank

NickatNite

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Hi All!

I am new to saltwater tanks and have purchased a used 29g Coralife Biocube. My plan is to start a reef tank with some suitable fish and softy/LPS corals.
After a month or so of research on forums like R2R (thanks for the help already!), I decided to start a thread on the setup and progression of my newest project. I apologize if (and I'm sure there is) threads dedicated to this topic, but wanted to interact with the community on decisions/suggestions moving forward.

Previously mentioned, I just purchased a used 29G biocube and have since thoroughly cleaned it with vinegar/stripped the bio-balls/sponges and older pump. I also have removed the hood and plan to have an open top tank w/ LED.

Equipment Plans:

  • AI Prime HD (have not purchased yet, but don't want to venture too far from that price point)
    • Any suggestions for a decent mount (read the AquaIllumination mounts can damage cables/flex mounts sagging near water line)?
    • Suggestions on mounting height for softy/LPS corals?
  • InTank Media Basket (purchased)
  • 2 Koralia Nano (425gph) (purchased) - will consider an MP10 further down the road, kind of hard to stomach the cost right now
    • Is this potentially too much for the 29g cube?
  • Hydor Flo for return (purchased)
  • Eheim Jager 125W heater (purchased) but wouldn't be opposed to other options
  • Neptune Apex Lite (purchased used w/ EB8, display, pH probe) - probably overkill for this tank but what can I say, I love the idea of real time metrics/control for the heater when a problem arises
    • Plan to buy temp probe soon
    • Probe rack for chamber 3 on biocube
    • Wouldn't be opposed to buying a PM2 for salinity, but is the salinity probe really $125?
  • BRS 4 stage RO/DI system when it comes back in stock
Looking for some suggestions on the below points, cant decide (so many choices ;))
  • Upgrade for return pump
    • Want to go with Cobalt MJ-1200, however it is out of stock everywhere, and after reaching out to Cobalt, they said they ran into a manufacturing issue and had to resource some components, with the new design tweaks coming to accept the new parts. No ETA as of now on when they will be back on the shelf.
      • With that said, any other suggestions on a return pump? Hear Rio 6HF has some quality problems? Only other real suggestion I saw online was the MJ1200...would a replacement coralife pump be the best bet with the 2 (or 1) Koralia heads in the tank?
  • Tunze 9001 skimmer or Intank Fuge basket (or neither?)
    • Plan to keep heater in chamber 1, so would need to fill the remaining space in chamber 2 after the media basket
    • Is a skimmer beneficial after the water has already flowed through the media basket (floss on top)?
  • I am pretty handy so I wouldnt be opposed to making some sort of plexiglass/mesh top to sit on the top of the biocube
    • I do not plan to remove the black plastic rim as I think itll make making a lid to fit easier
      • Definitely love the look of the rimless though, stay tuned :p
    • Not that I know that much about PAR, but is there a recommended size mesh to use that would impede on the light the least?
    • If I don't make a lid, is the intank fish saver the best way to keep fish from jumping into the rear? (see below about overflows)
  • Fish in (w/ bio-spira or red sea) or fishless cycle?
  • Plan is to go with live sand, but dry rock. Any opinions on the purple dry rock (name escapes me now, but saw on BRS160 52 weeks of reefing)
  • Best test kits?
Lastly, I've read a lot about fish slipping through the overflow grates and into the rear chambers...what is a decent way to attach some mesh to those grates to prevent this?

Really looking forward to hear from the community, as I am super excited to begin this journey. Let me know if I can clear anything up, hope I am on the right track to making this a success!

Thanks a bunch!
-Nick
 
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Alex Sadowsky

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Welcome to R2R! And congrats on the new BioCube. I personally like Tunze and Sicce pumps. I use egg-crate for a top on my BioCube. The same stuff people use to make frag racks. So far it works well. I did live sand dry rock fish less cycle using TurboStart 900. Worked flawlessly. Anyway, welcome and good luck! Be patient!
 
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NickatNite

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Welcome to R2R! And congrats on the new BioCube. I personally like Tunze and Sicce pumps. I use egg-crate for a top on my BioCube. The same stuff people use to make frag racks. So far it works well. I did live sand dry rock fish less cycle using TurboStart 900. Worked flawlessly. Anyway, welcome and good luck! Be patient!
Thanks so much!
Will look into those pumps
Egg crate seems much more simple than trying to come up with some elaborate top lol, glad to hear it works well!
 

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