New member from Michigan, USA


New member

I just joined up. i can't really say that i am "in the hobby" yet.. because i don't have a tank set up, and i'm still not sure on what kind of time table i will be setting one up.

I have a handful of freshwater tanks, including a freshwater pea puffer tank. All of my freshwater tanks are heavily planted, it is something that i enjoy, but want to experience something "different". I am already in the habit of checking parameters, water changes, etc with the planted tanks. my api master kit even came with salt water stuff!

i picked up a biocube 8 gallon tank, which i had intended to set up for shrimp, but now i'm wondering if i want to try a reef tank instead.

I've read enough to understand that with an 8 gallon tank, i am unlikely to be able to keep more than 1, if any, fish. that is ok. i'd be happy with a couple inverts, honestly. the more i read, though, i'm wondering if i wouldn't be better suited to setting up a 14 or 29 biocube. I am currently looking for one that is a good deal.

since i've got you here, reading this, i have a few questions:

is starting with an 8 gallon folly if i am looking at having no fauna besides possibly a small shrimp and/or a snail or two? from what i've been reading, i would be satisfied with a soft only coral tank.

the biocube 8 doesn't have the bio balls with it (picked it up used, and was used as a freshwater tank i believe) i've been reading that they are possibly a bad deal in regards to collecting debris, which in a small tank could seriously endanger the fauna of the tank. thoughts? i have freshwater equipment to trade/sell so i could probably work out an additional amount of investment. On one hand i could wait and get a bigger tank to do it right, i understand that this isn't going to be a "cheap" hobby in the same way that freshwater is, but there is of course an appeal to using what i've already had and using the budget for filling the tank. Thoughts?

LED upgrades to the lights are pricey, with soft only coral it appears that i would probably be fine with the stock lights.. am i understanding this correctly?

protein skimmers appear to mostly be to address fish waste.. with no fish, does the skimmer become un-needed?

tank size.. as i mentioned, i have a biocube 8 right now. I also have a budget of 140$ burning a hole in my pocket right now. thoughts on "running what i brung" vs seeking out a larger tank? I've set my expectations low to match my budget, and i rather like nano tanks, but i don't want to be setting myself up for failure.

accessories.. it seems that a refractometer is considered to be pretty important.. with a lid and regular water changes of LFS pre-mixed (i have a FANTASTIC LFS saltwater source) could i avoid this purchase up front, or is evaporation going to cause too much salt concentration issues where it really is a requirement?

suggestions on corals and other corals/fauna?



I would try something a tad larger if you want a reef tank. The water parameters could swing really fast with such a small amount of water. I just saw a biocube 29 for sale in Michigan. Not sure where you are located. Plus this hobby is addicting and as soon as you get the 8 setup your going to want something bigger. Lol


New member
thanks, the few bio-cubes i've seen on craigslist are a bit out of the attainable range for me at the moment. I did see a fully set up 14 for a pretty good price, but i'm not sure i want to go that route, as a big part of learning is making my own mistakes (although the savings from NOT making those mistakes is undeniable!)


New member
!! if you run across that again let me know! any idea what site it might've been? I don't have 50 posts here yet so i can't look at the tanks here.. i would snatch up a functional 29 for 75 in a heartbeat!


New member
wmich, thanks for the heads up! I will respond to you when i have 10 posts.

are there some cool shops over on the west side of the state to check out? the biggest shop i've been to is Preusses (which is pretty nice, but i have nothing else to draw upon for that assessment. ;) )


New member
Yea I go to mothers reef in kazoo. It's smaller but he will order whatever you want.

there is something to be said for small shops. one thing about preusses is that if you are there on the weekend, you have to practically fist fight for a person to help. it isn't that they don't want to, its just that there are SO MANY people there. I kind of luck out there, since i work at MSU and it is a quick stop on the way home from work.

I'll have to check that out the next time i am down that way.