View Full Version : reef cubers bio cube start up...

reef cuber
03/29/2017, 08:17 AM

Hope that worked!

Greetings! I am one of those folks who missed the hobby and wanted to get back into it but on a smaller scale. The most affordable option was a bio cube so that is what I researched and hubby got me for my birthday. :xlbirthday:

I decided to go with the modification that reefthuz did on his bio tank. He posted his videos 3 yrs ago and I contacted them to see how well the tank was doing. He said it was successful and he just did the same on the new 32 like I have.

The photo above is my 32 light cube.
I originally started with live sand about 1.5" and 11 lbs of live rock.
I changed the filtering in the back to 2, 11.5 in. x 4 in. x 2.5 " sponges, but they are short for the new cubes so I added a coarser sponge under them to give more height.
Added a finer filter media pad on top of the sponges to polish the water.
In addition, I put in a large bag of Matrix media and Matrix round carbon in a smaller bag.
I let it run 4 days and added more live rock (pay day is awesome:bounce3:) The photo above shows the tank with the addition of more live rock. I believe I have almost 30# of it in there. I put the extra live rock in the back with the other media.
I have a heater in the back as well.

Salinity is about 34 (we ordered a Salt refractometer)

After a week the tank is just starting to show a little ammonia and nitrate, ph and the rest of the tests are right on track.

I have added:
2 green crabs (came with live rock)
2 Pom poms (1 came with live rock)
4 blue leg hermits
3 red leg hermits
1 Mexican snail
1 Decorator crab (Spider: female w/eggs though unknown if)
2 Percula clownfish (paired)

I know I was a bit early getting some of the critters and some were unplanned, but I am monitoring the water levels every day.. They are all active and feeding. I am careful to only feed what they need.
There are some corals and other unknown things growing already (came on live rock and are very tiny).

I also saw a tiny starfish that I think may be a chocolate chip (it was soft-bodied and almost blue with spots... unlike the Asterina I also pulled out). I can't find it anymore but I may pull it if I find it again. There are also a couple Volvarina snails that I saw speeding around the tank. and there are a couple dreaded anemone. I got the stuff to kill them tonight. I learned one lesson, to pre-check my stones better. but I won't be adding anymore so once I blast these guys I should be ok.

The leftover live rocks I stuck in the back with the filter media. I will probably pull some of the small extra rocks once the tank is established.

So this is what I have so far. I am open to constructive information!

03/30/2017, 10:31 PM
Looks good

reef cuber
05/15/2017, 11:51 AM
Thanks, Junebug..

Well, luck would have it. I didn't do some things in the right order, and I added a fish and coral and everything seemed fine...... I had a small QT I had set up to clean off live rock (peppermint shrimp) but decided to bypass and they went into the tank. Big mistake.

I didn't know that corals also have to be QT'd and needed to be inspected and dipped etc.

I noticed the fish I added (green goby) was not eating, always hiding and rarely came out.. the time I did see it, it was darn skinny. Next day dead........ and the day after that my two clowns got spots (Ick? or velvet?)........ within two days the male was dead and the female a day later. This was my error for sure. I should have QT'd, dipped and done my due diligence.

My tanks have been sitting fishless for 30 days. I had a fish that I paid for my LFS has been holding for me and I need to get him out of there. I was thinking of setting up a bare 10 gal to keep him in for a month and my other tank I think will be ok to add fish too by then. (2 months empty)

If I am wrong, someone please let me know!!

My corals all seem to be doing pretty good. The brain, stunner coral, and a toadstool are all I have at the moment and growing.

I had been trying to go slow but I was trying to skip steps. I have also started to use RO water.


reef cuber
07/19/2017, 08:27 AM
Well , it's July! The tank is pretty well established. I've had significant coraline growth.

I did run into a fish issue early on. I had two clowns that were doing well. and I added a yellow gobie which may have either died or was caught by the big male green crab. He was happily munching away on it. After a couple weeks, I added a green gobie. He did well for a few days and then I realized he was not eating and a couple days later he was dead. My water quality was good. I tested it and took a sample in to my LFS to be tested there. I pulled the dead fish, and noticed that my clowns looked a bit off. And I saw either Ich or velvet starting to show up. I removed them to a QT tank and treated the fish, but neither one made it.

So I let my tanks sit fishless for 2 months. I picked up a blue spot jaw fish and even though I had a lid on the tank, the bugger managed to get out of the tank when we had a really bad storm roll. that was an expensive loss. So I went the cheap route and picked up a blue fin Damselfish and put him in my QT tank. He was there for about 7 weeks and I moved him to my main tank Sunday. I also picked up a Green Wrasse and put him in my QT tank. He'll be staying there for at least 7 wks as well. I am going to go slow when it comes to adding fish!

Mean while..... back at the main tank. I've added a few corals. I have a small green mushroom that travels around the tank. My memory is crap when it comes to remembering my coral names. I'll have to put them in my log book one of these days.
I have an orange plate Montipora that seems to be very happy and growing! A Montipora Digitata, a red blastomussa, and a brain. I have two tiny chunks of coral that got lost in my rocks, but resurfaced. One was lose so I moved it to a better spot and the other attached it'self to a base rock, I moved a rock so it could get light. I am not sure what it is. I also have a toadstool and a small cabbage (though I am not sure if i will keep him). I have one more green encrusting montipora coral. I guess I like the monties.

reef cuber
07/19/2017, 08:42 AM

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reef cuber
07/31/2017, 10:55 AM
I added a new encrusting monti and a chalice, plus a couple small frags with zoas.

reef cuber
10/02/2017, 12:31 PM
guess I should update my picts.

10/10/2017, 05:55 PM
The tank is looking good! Are you using the stock LED biocube lighting?

reef cuber
10/19/2017, 08:42 AM
Hi Bender, Yes I'm still using the stock lights.

reef cuber
10/19/2017, 10:33 AM
I got the cyano issue cleared up for now.
Added new corals as well.:

Hairy Mushroom,
Sun Coral
more zoas

reef cuber
10/19/2017, 10:34 AM
I have moved a few pieces since the photo was taken, the sun is moved to the side and the brain is in the back corner on the left and I moved the plate to the front.

reef cuber
10/19/2017, 10:37 AM

10/19/2017, 08:02 PM
Looks really good. Keep the updates coming

reef cuber
01/05/2018, 09:23 AM
I have made some filtration changes. Always on going issues with NO3... so I took out all the sponge filters, added more live rock to the back and just using the floss filter, carbon and FO in the back. Water is clear and I have less alge growing on my glass. I don't feed my corals or fish but every 3 days or longer. I do a heavier feed, and do my water change the next day.


I have been having issues with super low PH... I was adding just magnesium as my last water test from the LFS, said all perimeters were good but Mag. But now the PH has gone so low (7.5) I am concerned that it may cause issues with the tank. I started dosing once a day (testing before and after) with Marine Buffer. Directions say to continue dosing daily until parameters are maintained. Anyone else have suggestions on maintaining a healthy PH, and am I on the right track?

My monti's and other corals look great and are growing. The only corals that seem "eh" are the torch, Kenyan tree, plate and brain. I was hoping the pH was making them unhappy.

I had also purchased two new fish over the holiday...... only to have them die in QT a few days later. I think I had an issue with high evaporation in the tank. So I think my attempts at maintaining the salinity did the fish in. :facepalm: I was using a 5 gal tank (set up as a nano tank for coral and fish) for QT, but the last time I had fish in it for several months was in the summer and I didn't have an issue with evap. (It does have a lid).

So, I have rectified by getting a 10 gal, removed all sand and I have live rock, a cabbage and hairy mushroom (they were happier in the 5 than the bio cube.) and a hermit crab. I will be getting a different type of filter (tank and filter came from friend for free)... and fitting a lid on top of the tank to maintain evap. I used 90% of the water from the 5 gal and mixed the rest with fresh water. The PH was super low in this tank so I added Marine Buffer to it as well. I put a ton of pods in the QT tank cause one of the fish I got was a scooter. :sad2:

I will take another h20 sample (from both tanks) to the LFS to get the calc and other parameters checked that I can't test at home.

I may have to trade/sell my orange monti off... she's getting huge and making it hard to reach the corals under her to feed! (or I need a bigger tank!) :lolspin: My friend is setting up a 90 so I am hoping to give the monti to her.

Always open to suggestions!

reef cuber
01/08/2018, 08:27 AM
I really need to get a handle on whats going on with my water. I lost the two fish I purchased over the holiday. My water quality is good, except for the PH and salinity keep changing. I've been checking the salinity every day and topping off. I got a different filter and a lid for the 10 gal tank. I picked up two more fish over the weekend and one has passed, the other seems ok. (I knew better than to get a dwarf angel fish). I picked up a green banded goby as well. He is doing ok and I'm stalking my water quality . I am looking at a nano ATO system, but will have to save up for it.

If anyone has suggestions on how to fix my PH issue I'm all ears. I have two filters, in this tank, one is a hang on so there is some air exposure for the water, and a filter in the tank with a "bar" outlet, to agitate the surface.

reef cuber
01/09/2018, 05:19 AM
I swear every fish I have purchased from a particular LFS has brought ick into my system. All of them have died. Fingers crossed that the 3 goby's make it. I started treatment last night for the ick, hopefully I caught it early enough to save the fish. I don't think I'll be buying fish from this store anymore. So glad this is all in my QT tank!

reef cuber
01/11/2018, 10:33 AM
Water in the new QT has been stable. The first GBG had shown signs of ick, so I started treatment the same day I saw it. He has since disappeared, I fear the hermit ate him. I had added 2 more GBG before the first one popped out of the rocks with signs of ick. The new fish have a few spots, but the waters treated for ick the day they were put in. (fish all came from the same tank at the LFS so I suspected they would get it anyway).

I will no longer be buying from this store. Way too much money has been spent on fish there, to end up with nothing. It's possible that part of the problem is me, but I'll stick to the other store where I've had 100% survival rate from the fish I've gotten there. I also lost all my gold fish after adding a new one, from the same store.

reef cuber
01/29/2018, 06:46 AM
So, back to the drawing board on fish... none of the little gobies made it. Makes my heart sick, they were so darn cute! I will concentrate on the corals and water quality in my main tank for now. I do have one fish from there I need to pull, he is too aggressive to the other fish, and the new corals I put in.

I have had some improvements in my water since I've changed my filtration media and introduced some air into the back of the tank. I still have to plumb it to the outside, but I have decided to move my FW tank so I will need to change the location of the air lines. I also changed the settings on the lights so the brightest lights are not on as long. It's hard to be patient sometimes.

Went to the coral Expo in Lansing! I have to say it was better than last year. There were some beautiful, quality corals there (better than most LFS). Everyone was awesome and I got several of the corals on my list!

Red Monti digitatus (love monties!!)
pink/pink frogspawn
sour apple bird nest
blueberry gargonian
and a sponge decorator crab

01/29/2018, 07:20 AM
Don't be surprised if the blueberry gorg dies. I have not seen, heard, or read of any NPS gorgs that survive long term in our little glass boxes.

reef cuber
03/23/2018, 08:47 AM
Edited the last post... very frustrated. I'm still in the game.

reef cuber
05/22/2018, 06:31 AM
Well, I'm still here. Trying to figure out what works best for me and my tank.

I still have issues with NO3 and I'm trying not to chase PH. I turned the volume of air down so there are less bubbles, it was causing salt creep and water to seep out of the back of the tank slightly. I probably need a skimmer and more clean up crews.

I picked up a few new snails that are supposed to be helpful with algae on the glass, but we'll see. I think I would need about 100 of them to actually keep the glass semi clean, lol! I also added a small banded brittle star, though he may have to go back into my QT tank if I get what I think I am for the tank.

I was for the longest time not able to figure out why my friends tank/corals looked so much healthier and robust compared to mine (she uses my RO water). We change the water at about the same rate, once a week, we do about a 15% water change. I had two factors to work out. I had a Damsel who had become a total DICK in my tank. He was nipping corals and picking on my only other fish. So, he went bye bye!! Of course, I had to tear out all my rock and corals apart to get him out, but he is gone! After going over what my friend does and what I do, she suggested I also add a small amount of beneficial bacteria/water stabilizer to the tank (can't remember the product name). She does this on every water change.

Right away I noticed a HUGE difference in my coral conditions. My plate is puffed way out, my sun is out all the time now... other corals that looked almost dead are coming back. I'm happy as heck that there has been such a big improvement so quickly. So fast, I need to trade or sell the frog spawn, it's doing so well it's twice the size now and touching/irritating my other corals.

Homer, you are right, the blue berry is hanging in there, but not for long, It got a bit lost in the shuffle when I had to reset my rocks, and fell in the back and I can't get to it.

I picked up a few new coral from Cherry Corals. I hate buying on line and paying shipping.. I know it's necessary, but it's also the cost of another piece of coral for me! Luckily Cherry is only 1.5 hrs away and worth the drive! Great quality coral at a good price! They are my new go too!

I have decided to try a different direction with what livestock will be in the tank. I found a local source for seahorses and I'm going to get a pair for the tank. I know.. they are more work to some degree, but these are tank raised and doing well on frozen brine. I already added a pipe fish a month ago and he's doing well. I also added a bunch of pods to try to populate the tank more. I have my water circulators on timers so they will run on for an hour, and off for several and alternating between them (pump runs full time). I'm thinking about setting up my 60 gal FW tank as salt as it would better suit the seahorses and I already have a sump to put under it. I think it would be easier to manage water quality for them and I'll continue on with my little tank and maybe a few more reef fish.


reef cuber
06/25/2018, 10:55 AM
Change of plans.... I took my 60 Gal, FW tank down, cleaned it out and now have a second SW tank. This is a bare bottom, seahorse only tank. I have a sump with a refugium under the tank and so far it is doing good. I rather have a more natural looking environment for the little guys, but it's easy to keep clean this way. I have 4 male seahorses, my friend has 4 females. When/if we decide to breed them we will swap them out. They are all captive bred and eating frozen. I was pretty proud of my self for figuring out how to get everything plumbed and working... Just used stuff I had on hand for the most part.

https://scontent-ort2-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/35386207_10210183481777379_3758888668027158528_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&_nc_eui2=AeFO4JHCwrCkh1PaSP3RHayhcveQDF0NwqdSQOVMKStqNcN4093MjCceP0NqOuwyPVGQIqfsj1DjQcKZZBizBos9Y8k mG-csR_7Y21NJKsaIew&oh=178997320a9d2eacc6296b389ae91ccd&oe=5BEA5263

Here's two of the boys


I originally had the boys in a QT tank, but it crashed on me and luckily I was there to see it start. It was weird cause I had just done a water change on it, I pulled out the sea horses and put them in my main tank.. the next day I set up the 60 gal. I put the siphoned sand from the QT into the sump and let it run for a month, then added the horses. Water quality is good, though with the sump, I noticed that it evaporates pretty fast, so I need to set up an ATO and I'm looking to add a hob skimmer.


I started mixing my water in a 20 gal trash can and it sure speeds up the process and helps reduce the bucket carrying. At some point I hope to get hose to transfer water around. Carrying buckets is going to make this a short lived hobby if my back keeps acting up!!

My other tank is doing well. It has a pipe fish and green wrasse, they seem to be getting along well. I would love to set up a small sump for the reef cube some day, I am thinking about putting a refugium in the back to help with pods.

We are talking about moving in a few yrs, so I don't want to go too crazy setting up things at home, till we move. This is one of the things I'm looking for when we house hunt! Fish rooms!