A couple of months ago, I decided it was time to get an aquarium. I have kept a few in the past with moderate success, and it is one of the more attainable items on my small list of things I’d like to have. I already have the best grill money can buy and a nice pool table. The only remaining material items I want for a complete life are an indoor basketball court and a restaurant quality pizza oven.
I did a ton of research, mostly online, and by visiting a few local fish shops with Tommy. Tommy loves watching the fish, which is another way I was easily able to justify the large purchase to myself. These days there are tons of resources on youtube for beginners up to advanced aquarists. One of the most informative is the 52 weeks of reefing series. The host of the show has one of the more annoying voices I’ve ever heard, but the material is pretty comprehensive. I’d say that I probably already knew about 50% of what he talked about before watching, but it was a good refresher.
The aquarium I decided on is the LED Coralife Biocube 32. It is cube shaped glass and holds 32 gallons of water. The appeal for me is that it is a bit of an all in one, in terms of most vital components. The canopy itself made me choose it over most other models due to the fact that we have a very curious cat. I was a bit worried that the cat might try to jump into the more modern topless options. The aquarium provides areas for the mechanical and chemical filtration, as well as providing a pump to return water back to the main tank area after it has passed through the filter.
The aquarium comes with a canopy that provides LED lighting. The LED lighting is a newer technology that was not available the last time I had an aquarium. The LEDs are quite strong and good for keeping most corals. The canopy also has a built in timer that allows for controlling the time different light patterns are on or off. In addition it has a setting simulating sunrise/sunset as well moonrise/moonset for the first/last thirty minutes of a cycle. The moonlight setting at night is probably the coolest thing about the light setup. It really makes the coral look great.
Other than the aquarium, I purchased a few additional items such as a heater, extra water pump, and cheap protein skimmer. These components were pretty inexpensive and cost under one hundred dollars in total.
As shown, the initial setup consisted of 20 lbs of live sand and roughly 30 lbs of live rock. A significant portion of the live rock was also aqua cultured which is a great sustainable way to get things started. After the initial nitrogen cycle completes, it will be time to add some livestock.