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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know salt water aquarium is not really for beginners. But everyone has to start some where. So what is the easiest and most complete system to start with? I have seen a 29 gallon BioCube in the store which look really nice to the eyes. Will corals and marine fish survive in such a small tank? This brand even sell 8 gal bioCube. Is the 8 gal actually practical for marine fish?

Looks like the bioCube is built with all the riggings at the back and a full spectrum lighting in the canopy. Is it really a complete system? What should a beginner need to know if he/she starts with a BioCube? What is the expected setup expense for the 29g BioCube before the first fish and invertebrate can start going in?
 

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Bio cube are great little tanks. They even have a simple DIY metal halide for them. Personaly I would go with the 29. The bigger the better. you can have some things in there as far as fish go. Corals with the stock lighting you can have a pretty wide range of lps and softies. Upgrade it and you can have what ever you want. Just keep up on water changes and your good to go.
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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The key to success in any saltwater aquarium is water quality. It is easier to achieve and maintain that in a larger aquarium. My suggestion would be that the best aquarium for anyone new to saltwater is the largest that they can afford to purchase. That means not only the tank but the skimmer, live rock (1 - 1 1/2 lbs per gallon), lighting (I suggest T5s), etc.

Larger tanks mean that changes in water conditions happen more slowly. Also, if you intend to have fish in your reef, and most of us do, a safe rule to follow is 1" of fish per 5 gallons of water. As you can see, you will have more choices in a larger tank and can have more fishes.

That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with starting out with a 29 gallon bio cube. It is a neat little tank but I would recommend starting out with at least a 75 gallon system. It will be much more forgiving of any mistakes that might be made.
 

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The key to success in any saltwater aquarium is water quality. It is easier to achieve and maintain that in a larger aquarium. My suggestion would be that the best aquarium for anyone new to saltwater is the largest that they can afford to purchase. That means not only the tank but the skimmer, live rock (1 - 1 1/2 lbs per gallon), lighting (I suggest T5s), etc.

Larger tanks mean that changes in water conditions happen more slowly. Also, if you intend to have fish in your reef, and most of us do, a safe rule to follow is 1" of fish per 5 gallons of water. As you can see, you will have more choices in a larger tank and can have more fishes.

That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with starting out with a 29 gallon bio cube. It is a neat little tank but I would recommend starting out with at least a 75 gallon system. It will be much more forgiving of any mistakes that might be made.
I do agree with him but for a beginner it is not always best to get a big tank. Easier to take care of yes. But what if they decide saltwater is not the way they want to go that is alot of money down the drain. But he is right alot more forgiving if you make a mistake. The only thing I dont agree with is the whole 1" of fish per 5 gallons of water. I think it depends on the fish (research, research and repeat) reason for this is a 2" puffer will have a much higher bio load than say a 2" clown. So it depends on the fish you want to keep. Also the bigger the tank the cooler fish you can keep in them imo.
 

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Saltwater Section Specialist
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Completely agree with all that Robert has said. He is also correct about the 1" per 5 gallons rule. The problem is that most beginners don't know what fish to select to break the rule. That's why I recommend it. How about the difference between a 3" clown and a 3" Tang or a 2" clown and a 2" wrasse. You and I may know but someone new to the hobby doesn't. They are just as likely to put a baby blue hippo tang in a bio cube (because the guy at the LFS told them it was OK). I always try to encourage folks to understock at least to the point they know what they are doing. Also. I feel that most folks entering salt water and reef keeping in particular have already decided that they like aquariums. They get discouraged when they try to use all the knowledge they have gained from their freshwater experience in maintaining a salt water system. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

Don't get me wrong, I think the 29 Bio cube is a sharp set up and is certainly doable. It's just more restrictive and susceptible to rapid change than a 75 would be. Also, there are usually excellent deals on used 75 gallon systems from folks who are moving up. You just need to know what to look for and keep your eyes open.
 

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~/root
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The key to success in any saltwater aquarium is water quality. It is easier to achieve and maintain that in a larger aquarium. My suggestion would be that the best aquarium for anyone new to saltwater is the largest that they can afford to purchase. That means not only the tank but the skimmer, live rock (1 - 1 1/2 lbs per gallon), lighting (I suggest T5s), etc.

Larger tanks mean that changes in water conditions happen more slowly. Also, if you intend to have fish in your reef, and most of us do, a safe rule to follow is 1" of fish per 5 gallons of water. As you can see, you will have more choices in a larger tank and can have more fishes.

That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with starting out with a 29 gallon bio cube. It is a neat little tank but I would recommend starting out with at least a 75 gallon system. It will be much more forgiving of any mistakes that might be made.
I was told this when I first started keeping salt tanks.

In all honesty I find it to be horrible advice. Unless you plan on keeping sharks or rays a big tank might not be the best way to start in the hobby, unless you want to be scared ****less of salt tanks and never go back.

I suggest searching around and finding a good deal on say a 55 gallon or something like that. That way you can get away with having a "little less"

For example let me break down my tanks quickly:

My 55 gallon reef tank only used 40lbs of LS and 50lbs of live rock, Ehiem proII wet dry, T5 lighting, two cheap petco power heads, no skimmer.

Pretty simple setup nice and easy to take care of and if anything goes 'wrong' its pretty simple to figure out whats going on.


Now my 150gallon reef tank uses 100lbs LS 200lbs LR, DIY sump and refugium, mag 10, skimmer, calcium reactor, 400Watt metal halides, UV sterilizer, and 4 korlia number 4 power heads.



I would say not to small and not to big, something "nice" sized is perfect for the SW beginning.

You also need to take into account are you doing a FOWLR or Reef Tank or what?

Also do your own research on equipment.
 

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the 1 inch per 5 gallons rule is from 20 yrs ago.it doesnt apply these days with all the new tech equiptment.
if you have the right filter set up like lr,sand,hob filter ,skimmer,mature tank you can put more fish in.now that being said you need to do the research of the fish you like make sure they wont out grow the tank,get along have hiding spot ect.
i agree the more water volumn it is alot easier to maintain water quality.
a 55 gallon is a nice starter and will probably cost the same as a biocube since the cubes tend to cost more than glass tanks.
 

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Basically what I have always told friends is the biggest tank your budget will allow, and will still allow you to buy QUALITY equipment. If you get yourself a big 150G tank, but can only afford cheap equipment (lighting, skimmers, no rock, etc), you would have been better served getting a smaller, less expensive tank and better equipment. I have found that getting quality stuff from the start is by far the best investment you can make in this hobby. Also, unless it was an unbelievable deal, I would never buy new tanks. Hit craigslist or ebay and you will be amazed at how cheap you can get a setup.
 

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I woukld definitely recommend the larger size. The larger sized AIO will allow you a lot more options in fish stocking. The larger size will also make maintaining water quality a lot easier. Nanos are more of an experts tank for this reason. They can be done by a novice but you have to be dedicated and on your toes to keep parameters within suitable ranges. I would also recommend at least a lot of wattage from T-5's as minimum lighting. If you want more lighting than that for SPS corals then I would suggest a 150 watt MH lighting. Yeah I know T-5 can do everything, so I am told. Im not buying it at this point and I have been using them for over a year now. While they are indeed impressive I am not sure they are all that and a bag of chips. Just cause it can work...doesnt mean it is the best. I think they are pretty good for Softies and LPS but I still think MH is the best bang for the buck on SPS coral tanks. Just my opinion so....

You can keep some fish in a tank this small but keep it to a minimum is the best advice I can give you. Many a novice goes out and gets a small Nano and stocks it as if they were stocking a 55 gallon tank. Technology can do a lot for us these days but it cant do everything. Keep it to 3 maybe 4 small 3 inch fish and feed them sparingly and you should do fine. Many stock thier tanks too heavily and feed them way too much and they end up having nitrate issues and algae issues, neither are good.
 

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Well I would agree its best to go with bigger. However if u cant properly eq the bigger tank there is no point cause u will go with the fact u have a big tank when stocking it.

I used to have a 14g bio cube and it worked great for my needs key word is my needs. if u dont have a big pot of money and u have patience its a great tank for any begginers. i had about a grand of coral in it so its not like u cant have a great tank. its take a lot of knowledge to keep a great tank and planning. Please take what i say with a grain of salt ive broken a lot of "rules when it comes to this hobby" so its not to say everybody new can do it.

However with the biocubes i had horrible luck with the ballest two years went thru 3 of them plus the protien skimmer aint worth the box it comes it. however i never had issues nor really needed it. there are a lot of nano cubes out there maybe one is a lil betterfor your needs.

good luck
 

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I agree that it is definitely easier to keep a bigger salt water tank as a beginner, if you have the money, as has already been mentioned. If you can't afford high-quality equipment, you'll have a lot of trouble keeping your big tank healthy. To tell you the truth, my first foray into reef tanks was with my 12g biocube. I've been keeping fish tanks for many years, but just started reefing a couple years ago. I'm neurotic about water changes and WQ and didn't even bother using a protein skimmer.
j.j.j. If you do get the 29g, take your time cycling the tank, have plenty of substrate and live rock in there, understock your tank for the first few months, check WQ as often as you can, and do plenty of water changes. The saltwater aquarium/fish/coral world is great. Just take it slow, learn as much as you can BEFORE you set up your tank, and wait 6 months before you think about putting corals into your tank. Just get a handle on salt water WQ parameters and then learn about reef tank WQ parameters. IMO, the keys to success in this hobby are doing your research ahead of time and water changes, water changes, water changes! R/O units help too ;)
 

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I would have to agree that the 1" per 5 gallons is at least 20 years old maybe more. It is intended to keep folks who know little about marine life in an aquarium from overstocking. There are two things that are usually never mentioned and haven't changed much (if at all) with all the modern technology. Those are O2 saturation and fish stress induced by overstocking.

Although I completely agree that the 1" per 5 gallons doesn't really apply, I want to discourage individuals new to the hobby from overstocking. I've heard too many times about folks who crashed their tank because they had to have that one more fish. Overcrowding brings on stress, which brings on disease, which results in death. I don't think anyone can argue that point.

The wonderful thing about today's technology is that it allows us to keep corals, inverts, etc that were never possible in the past. We can have such a diversity of living creatures in our tanks that add color and movement that you really don't need as many fish to have an interesting tank.

Finally, in the case of beginners, I feel that the easier you can make it for them to succeed the better a chance we have in promoting the hobby.

Now I'll step down from my soap box. Hope my rantings didn't bore anyone.
 

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Finally, in the case of beginners, I feel that the easier you can make it for them to succeed the better a chance we have in promoting the hobby.
I am right behind ya!!! There are two things that get a novice in trouble right quick in this hobby...overstocking and over feeding. Both have resulted in complications that result in many throwing in the towel before the first year is up and this is also what gives the SW hobby a bad reputation for being too difficult and too complicated.

Need some examples of what I am talking about? Go to www.nanoreef.com and look at the large number of "911 help" threads. While its a great forum site they unfortunately have a lot of novices taking thier first stab at Nanos that start tanks, over stock, over feed, then cant understand why they have chronic high nitrates and chronic algae/Cyno issues and sometimes worse, a tank crash. This is not a unique problem at that site, just check out the Nano sections at Reef Central Online Community or wwwthereeftank.com or any other huge forum site. Nothing wrong with fish in a Nano, but you do need to keep it reasonable and at a conservative level. Technology is great but it can only take you so far and its no substitute for good husbandry skills. Start pushing the envelope and your walking on water chancing that the ice wont break.

A larger tank isnt any easier really but its a heck of a lot more forgiving!
 

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is tough being a newbie now with so much more to take in.
i have a 225 dt with a 120 sump .
back when i started we had skimmers with an air pump wooden block.never seen or heard of a sump.
trick is to find compatible fish.
i agree i would rather watch less fish swim around and do whatever they want in thier little world than just cramp them in and take away more of thier freedom.
i love to watch my tangs tear around the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It would be nice if someone develop some electronic sensors to monitor the tank. It is good for both novice and expert when a warning light comes on when the tank is starting to crash.
 

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It would be nice if someone develop some electronic sensors to monitor the tank. It is good for both novice and expert when a warning light comes on when the tank is starting to crash.
Maybe its just me, but in a way that is one of the things I like about the hobby. The hands on factor, the risk, the learning, and the satisfaction when things are going great. I think in some way I would be disappointed if my tank turned into a big playstation fish game. Of course I realize you are not asking about this, but just got me thinking...
 

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like ever1 has said so far the bigger the better 75gallons is the best start, but if u want an all-in-one system go with the RedseaMax250.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Maybe its just me, but in a way that is one of the things I like about the hobby. The hands on factor, the risk, the learning, and the satisfaction when things are going great. I think in some way I would be disappointed if my tank turned into a big playstation fish game. Of course I realize you are not asking about this, but just got me thinking...
The warning light is just an indicator, it would not stop your tank from crashing. Perhaps, for the experts, the stable green light is a badge of honor. I don't think the monitoring system would turn the hobby into a playstation game.

Likewise, I would wish for a cholesterol monitoring system so that I get instant feedback when I eat the wrong food for my health. The feedback helps me to eat and exercise right. Immediate feedback is the best way to learn anything.
 
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