Starting a Biocube 32 Saltwater Setup and need advice

Fishbro5

Hey everyone it has been a while. I have come to the decision to transition from freshwater to saltwater as this is something I have been thinking about and researching for the past 5 months. There is a really good deal on a BioCube 32 with a stand, heater, and an upgraded pump and everything else for $250 right now and I'm thinking I am going to snatch it. Basically I want to present my setup and I would like advice and anything else you can give me. So of course the tank will be the BioCube 32. For the sump in the back I'll be using the inTank Corallife LED Biocube 32 Fuge Basket with Chaetomorpha Algae for my Refugium. I will also be getting the Coralife upgraded media basket too in it filter floss and Seachem Purigen or Chemipure Blue. I also will be using a powerhead of course. What protein skimmer is recommended for this tank really? I know nano protein skimmers don't have the best rep but I think going that way would be helpful. I am trying to decide between two types of sand. The first type is CaribSea Arag-Alive Special Grade Reef Sand and the second is CaribSea Arag-alive FijI Pink Sand. What do you guys recommend? Now for the rock is it best to go to my LFS (Not a big box place) and just hand select 32-40 pounds of rock I like or just order it online?Also is dry rock a better choice? I am personally leaning towards that option. I'm not really worried about the stocking yet because I know nothing good happens fast in a saltwater tank but I'll just share the stocking that I would potentially want then go from there. 2 Ocellaris Clownfish (a must for me), a Clown Goby, and 3 Kaudern's Cardinalfish. I am totally open to other stocking suggestions but the Clownfish are set in stone. I'll be cycling the tank using Dr. Tim's Nitrifying Bacteria and Pure Ammonia. Any tips for cycling a saltwater tank as opposed to a freshwater tank?
Now lastly, I REALLY want to keep a few corals after my tank is healthy (hopefully) and up and running for 4-6 months. Any suggestions for simple to keep coral and what supplements they will need?
One last question, should I use snails as a cleaner crew when needed or shrimp too? Sorry for all the questions but I like to be prepared!
 

BadisBadis

For cycling my tanks I always let a piece of sliver side or a piece of shrimp rot in the tank. Best and most quick cycles I have ever done! Let nature do its thing!
 

Jesterrace

First thing is if this is a used setup, I would ditch the heater and replace it with a new one (one thing I would never recommend going used on as that is way too much money riding on something that can nuke your tank). For the Skimmer it all depends on the bioload of your tank. You are correct that most nano skimmers aren't worth the money spent on them. About the only one I have heard good things about for nano skimmers is the Aquamaxx skimmers (ie NF1). Otherwise you could substitute with water changes, a cleaner food source (ie LRS Reef Frenzy) and making sure you don't overfeed. For the sand, either could work although my personal preference is the Caribsea Live Sand (more for the mix of substrate than any beneficial bacteria benefits). I would personally go online with either Caribsea Life Rock (cured dry rock with a bacteria coating) or Dry Rock. That way you save money and get something that is pest free.

It can be had from Amazon for a pretty reasonable price (just over $2 per lb): Amazon.com : Caribsea Life Rock, 40-Pound : Pet Supplies

For Corals usually soft corals aka softies are what are recommended for beginners although if I am being honest my Hammer and Frogspawn Corals have been by far the easiest for me to keep and they are LPS (Long Polyp Stony) corals since you don't have to fight your nitrate levels quite so much with them (they prefer dirtier water with nitrates in the 10-20ppm range). Whichever route you go, I recommend starting with a single "test" frag to try out and see how it does for a few weeks before adding anything else. I also recommend frags over colonies for several reasons 1) MUCH CHEAPER 2) Easier to spot pests early on 3) Much easier to see visible gains from growth and track their progress over time 4) Eventually they will become colonies anyway but at a fraction of the cost.


As for tips for freshwater as opposed to saltwater, I would strongly recommend this vid as it covers the differences and many common newbie mistakes that are made by folks converting over:

 

Jesterrace

If you are interested in the Caribsea Life Rock, I have a video review of it here and weighing the Pros and Cons of it with Dry Rock and Live Rock:
 

Fishbro5

First thing is if this is a used setup, I would ditch the heater and replace it with a new one (one thing I would never recommend going used on as that is way too much money riding on something that can nuke your tank). For the Skimmer it all depends on the bioload of your tank. You are correct that most nano skimmers aren't worth the money spent on them. About the only one I have heard good things about for nano skimmers is the Aquamaxx skimmers (ie NF1). Otherwise you could substitute with water changes, a cleaner food source (ie LRS Reef Frenzy) and making sure you don't overfeed. For the sand, either could work although my personal preference is the Caribsea Live Sand (more for the mix of substrate than any beneficial bacteria benefits). I would personally go online with either Caribsea Life Rock (cured dry rock with a bacteria coating) or Dry Rock. That way you save money and get something that is pest free.

It can be had from Amazon for a pretty reasonable price (just over $2 per lb): Amazon.com : Caribsea Life Rock, 40-Pound : Pet Supplies

For Corals usually soft corals aka softies are what are recommended for beginners although if I am being honest my Hammer and Frogspawn Corals have been by far the easiest for me to keep and they are LPS (Long Polyp Stony) corals since you don't have to fight your nitrate levels quite so much with them (they prefer dirtier water with nitrates in the 10-20ppm range). Whichever route you go, I recommend starting with a single "test" frag to try out and see how it does for a few weeks before adding anything else. I also recommend frags over colonies for several reasons 1) MUCH CHEAPER 2) Easier to spot pests early on 3) Much easier to see visible gains from growth and track their progress over time 4) Eventually they will become colonies anyway but at a fraction of the cost.


As for tips for freshwater as opposed to saltwater, I would strongly recommend this vid as it covers the differences and many common newbie mistakes that are made by folks converting over:

Thank you so much this is super helpful!
 

Jesterrace

Thank you so much this is super helpful!

Not a problem, let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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