ggNoRe's 29g Biocube HQI


Reefing newb
:bounce: After 9 months of researching, buying a town home, getting married, and 2 months away from my first child being born, I finally bought my very first saltwater aquarium system!!! I no longer have the space, time, or budget for the 90 gallon system I had previoulsy planned out (a wife and newborn can do that) so I got the next best thing in a nano reef. Tonight I made the first purchases (all-be-it quite a lot) and with that I am officially in the reef aquarum hobby! I figure what better way to document and share my saltwater journey starting from the very beginning than to start a detailed build thread on my favorite reefkeeping forums. I hope you guys , and gals, aren't too annoyed at the fact that I'm making such a long post and haven't even got a tank in the house but I am just too excited about the whole experience to not share with someone (unfortunately my friends and family aren't quite as enthusiastic). Now that you have a little background here is what I bought! :

All from in one purchase in an attempt to galge free shipping for all I could:

oceanic biocube 29g HQI w/stand 569.99
mag float 125 magnet cleaner 9.59
Koralia evo (750gph) 31.19
maxi-jet 1200 19.99
current usa lunar light:nocturnal blue 16.99
marco rocks dry rock 35lbs 99.99
caribsea dry aragonite special grade 15lb 13.99
jager 150w heater 24.99
jager 50w heater 19.99

shipping 7.15

total 813.86

Refreactometer purchased at following link for 26.09 shipped
NEW! Salinity Refractometer 4 Aquarium Reef Hydrometer - - Bonanzle

RODI bought from PWC for 61.99 shipped
KMD eCommerce Crop.

I know stating every purchase and how much they were may be going a little overboard but I'm a cheapskate and have a problem with always having to know I got a "good deal". I still plan to buy thermometers, testing kits, salt mix, and a few other less relevant random things but plan to check out my LFS for those. And after the cycle I'm going to look into items for the refugium such as chaeto, chemipure, purigen, filter floss, etc (really like the stuff inTank has to offer). Also I'm aware going with a PWC RODI is a gamble but with those things in mind... do you think I did well price wise? Quality merchandise? Any other recommendations of items I have yet to get? And really any opinions and/or advice to a newbie starting his first reef tank would be great to hear.

Thanks in advance to anyone who actually reads thru this dreadfully long post or contributes to the thread. :mrgreen:
Welcome to the hobby! Try to pick up a quality salt. I use Oceanic but there are other salts that can be used as well. Instant Ocean is cheap but it is not really desirable if you plan on keeping corals. Good to hear that you bought a refractometer instead of a hydrometer.
Well there have been some complications but FINALLY I have got a tank with water in it. Long story short marinedepot got the shaft by oceanic which couldn't manufacture near as many as they promised so instead of waiting 2+months for my backorder to come in I canceled it and bought from elsewhere for $50 more and got it 3 days later. Now to the next problem, one of the knobs that connects the light fixture to the bracing mount is defected so I have no lighting (which is the whole reason I bought an HQI :( ) until the issue is somehow resolved. Anyways... Here's some pics!





As you can see in the last pic I have one small piece of live rock on the top right and the rest is base rock. The live rock as been in the tank for one full day and my parameters right now are:

PH: 7.9
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: somewhere between 0 and 3
Salinity: 1.026
Temp: 76.2

I assume my tank hasn't even started the cycle yet and that would explain the seemingly almost perfect params. Any opinions or info on if this is true or what I can do to speed up my cycle would be appreciated. :mrgreen:
I prefer a pinch of fish food to start the cycle myself.Good luck and congrats on the new system.

Don't worry to much about PWC,I been using one for two years with zero problems..
Just dropped a small raw shrimp in there. After I eat I plan to use the new toothbrush I bought to scrub the live rock I have and help spread the bacteria. Then to play the waiting game.
You have not spent too much! I have the older version of the Biocube 29 and I spent more money than you did trying to make mine do what the new one does!

My Koralia pushes water under the rock which is propped up on hidden PVC. I have chamber 2 full of cheato and no skimmer. 'trates are at zero. Water changes are very easy because it is a small tank BUT you will need to take apart and vacuum out the back chambers say once a month which is pain in the neck.
Awesome! Thanks for the great advice. I just ordered the intank refugium and media racks as well as the underwater fuge lights, chemipureelite, purigen, and polyfilter. Still have got no response from either oceanic or gina's aquarium supply (the place I ordered my biocube) about my light fixture defect. But I had already figured this was going to be a major PITA and something no one would want to take responsibility for or try to help me out on. Gunna gve it about a week or so of me harassing them til I go to plan B, C, and D.
After writing several emails and getting no response I tried contacting oceanic by phone. The customer service was great once you actually get to talk to someone! After emailing her some pics and confirmation of my order she told me that they were shipping out replacement parts and I don't even need to bother shipping the defected ones I have back. :mrgreen: The raw shrimp has been in my tank for 2 days now and hasn't decomposed very much. Should I take it out? Cut it in half? Or just let it slowy decompose until it totally dissolves? I haven't tested params for a bit and and I somehow lost nitrite bottle #1 so I can't test nitrites til I buy another test for it. I'm undecided on if I should even bother since I'm pretty positive the tank isn't even close to cycled. Any opinions on that would be helpful. Sorry if I'm posting too much about petty things just so excited about finally having a sw setup.
Bored so decided to post another update. Still no lights yet unfortunately. Added a couple very small pieces of live rock I got from a local reefer getting out of the hobby as well as chaeto. Decided to get out some tweezers and go hunting today. Got a small fly that had flew in the tank, couple of little flatworms that looked like they crawled to the water line at the top of the tank and died already, and two asterina starts one was so fat he wouldn't fit into the turkey baster when I tried to fish him out a few days ago. I have seen the legs of a few brittle/serpant starts sticking out the holes of the rocks but can never catch them all the way out until today I saw an all white one about an inch long in the refugium area that dissapeared as soon as I turned on the lights. The other ones have black and brown legs. I also saw a stomatella snail about a half an inch long about 3 to 4 days ago when I added the additional pieces of live rock but he's been MIA past couple of days. Here's some pics!






Same setup I chose a year ago, except it was before the HQI setups they offer now. Finally decided to upgrade to the Oceanic 90g - looks like we thought in reverse order.

Ended up changing everything; upgraded to LED lights, got a chiller, In-Tank system, skimmer, etc.

One thing I'd recommend doing is maybe upgrading your return pump to a Rio 6 and swapping out the return nozel for a Hydor rotating head - helped a lot with circulation and seemed to make my In-Tank system more effective at filtering.

Also, be sure to remove the blue sponge filter in the return sump area, if you havent already. Helps allow the copepods from the chaeto get to your main display area and removes another item that can house nitrates.