If you are looking into getting a coralife biocube, you have come to the right place. I am going to go into detail about the important aspects of this saltwater all-in-one reef system package. This is my Coralife Biocube 29 gallon aquarium review.
First, I would like to discuss the price. The price as of right now for the Coralife Biocube 29 gallon (cheapest online: Amazon) is $278.40 with FREE shipping. To me, this is a pretty good price for a 29 gallon tank. What is included?
- All in one system that is easy to set up: tank, top, lights, filter area, and filter pump
- Power compact and LED light bar
- Integrated wet/dry biological filtration
If you were to buy items separately for a regular reef tank (30 gallons), you would be spending much more in regards to setting up the tank. Let me just break it down for you…
- 30 gallon tank ($80)
- Lighting ($100 – $300)
- HOB Refugium System ($100 – $200)
- Filter Pump ($10)
As you can see, you will be spending more on a regular 30 gallon reef tank if you try to buy the parts separately. For the price, it is pretty good.
The design of the Coralife Biocube is probably the number one reason why most people buy this tank. The hood and the back of the tank is where all the action takes place (skimmer, pumps, heater, filtration, lighting, and etc…). As you can see, all the action is hidden in a very sleek design. On a normal 30 gallon tank (without an under-tank refugium or sump), you are going to be able to see all that stuff and it will look like a very bulky aquarium, which in my opinion doesn’t look so nice. The reason why I set up a saltwater aquarium was to add something nice to my living room. Adding a regular 30 gallon tank with the needed bulky lighting system, hob protein skimmer, hob refugium, and possibly a hob filter would just take away my goal of adding a nice addition to my living room. So overall, the design is awesome.
If you really want to go the extra mile, get the coralife biocube stand! It makes it look twice as nice.
Lighting – Ability to Grow Corals
I was looking for a reef tank, so I wanted to make sure this thing could grow some nice corals. With the basic stock lighting system that it comes with, you can grow pretty much anything except for SPS corals that need extreme lighting. If you end up wanting to grow SPS corals, you can easily do an upgrade on your lighting system for about $150 – $200. Just starting out, it wasn’t really a necessity for me to get into hard corals, so I was fine with what it could grow. However, if you are wanting to get into SPS corals, this may be one of the drawbacks for you.
The filtration in the back of the Coralife Biocube is based off of a wet/dry system that most aquariums use today. However, most experienced hobbyist today have been guiding newcomers and others towards the method of using a sump/refugium type of filtration for their saltwater aquariums. Although the compartments in the biocube have been designed to be setup as a wet/dry filter, the compartments are also setup in a way that the user (you) can setup the filtration anyway that you would like (using carbon, filters, live rock rubble, etc…). The options are endless, which is why I also chose to buy a biocube.
Needed Add-ons and Accessories
The accessories and add-ons for a biocube are endless. I have seen people spend $20 on add-ons, while others have spent $400. It all depends on how you want to setup your biocube, which type of filtration you want, what kind of lighting, and how self-run you would like to make your biocube. I spent about $80 in add-ons, just to make my life easier with water changes, filtering, and etc…
The first needed add-on that any saltwater reef tank keeper will tell you is a protein skimmer. The main duty of a protein skimmer is to remove organic compounds such as food and waste particles from the water. The Biocube protein skimmer is the recommended skimmer to get, but it’s not the best at skimming, so I ended up buying the Aquatic Life 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer/Filter, 30-Gallon with a mod that takes about 15 minutes and it worked like a charm. The mod can be seen here: ReefThuz. After the cheap investment, the biocube was practically self-run with my usual water changes when needed.
The second needed add-on is a powerhead to circulate your water. Unfortunately, the biocube does not circulate water very well and does not include a powerhead. The suggested powerhead that I and others recommend is the Hydor Koralia 425 GPH Circulation Pump.
The third and last needed add-on is a water heater. If you live somewhere cold, you should definitely get a water heater to warm up your water in the colder months. Be careful with the cheap brands. I have seen water temperature rise to the high 80’s low 90’s from faulty equipment.
Fish for Biocube
Before buying the biocube, my biggest concern was “what fish can I put in a biocube”. I wanted my aquarium to come to life with some nice fish. I was kind of pissed that I couldn’t get a nemo tank going with a blue tang ‘dory’ (need at least 125 gallons), but I was satisfied with the selection of fish that I could choose from which consists of many Gobys, Ocellaris Clownfish, Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse, Jawfish, Blenny, Black Cap Basslet, Royal Gramma Basslet, Tanaka’s Pygmy Wrasse, hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp, serpent starfish, and other small fish and invertebrates. As you can see, there are tons of options.
- Sleek design
- Good lighting for soft and LPS corals (compact fluorescent lamps should be changed yearly)
- Great size for any room
- Can be used as a quarantine tank later on if you decide to upgrade your tank size
- Can’t grow SPS coral very well
- Will need to do a lot of water changes or invest in a protein skimmer
- Can sometimes cause your water to overheat due to the lighting and pumps
- Back compartments are small, so they are hard to clean
Coralife Biocube 29 Gallon Review Analysis