Biocube 32 Upgrades – The Best Available for Your Tank


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The BioCube 32 by Coralife is a great way to get your toes wet in the saltwater aquarium hobby. These all-in-one aquarium setups have everything you need to run a successful marine system.

While the BioCube 32 comes equipped with efficient stock equipment, there are a few upgrades that can be made to make your saltwater fish tank run as smoothly as possible.

Keep reading to find out some of the best equipment upgrades available for your Coralife BioCube 32 gallon tank!

Why You Should Upgrade Your BioCube 32 Tank

One of the reasons Coralife BioCubes are so popular is that they come with everything you need to get your tank running as soon as possible.

An all-in-one package eliminates the need for researching and comparing different products on end. These systems are usually cheaper to buy altogether than in individual pieces as well.

However, the old adage is true: you get what you pay for.

For many hobbyists, BioCube upgrades aren’t necessary. But if you’re trying to keep anything more than just fish, then you’ll need to look into some upgrades and additions.

To recap, Coralife BioCube 32 gallon tanks come with:

  • Pre-programmed LED lighting with ramp-up/down options and moonlight settings
  • Customizable filtration chamber
  • Submersible pump
  • Dual intakes and adjustable return nozzle

This kit is missing a few necessary add-ons and upgrades needed to sustain more advanced marine life, including a heater, thermometer, powerheads, UV sterilizer, and protein skimmer; many hobbyists also choose to upgrade the stock return pump and filtration.

In order to grow most corals, the LED lighting would also need to be upgraded.

Things To Consider

All-in-one systems are convenient and affordable at first but can become pretty expensive over time with upgrades. It’s important to know the end goal for your tank before you make the purchase.

If you are content keeping hardy fish with low-light coral species, then the Coralife BioCube 32 will meet your expectations. If you want to keep more sensitive fish and invertebrates, then some upgrades will need to be made.

At that point, it would be worth considering buying items separately for better customization.

At the same time, it’s important to consider the size and shape of the Coralife BioCube 32 tank; this is not an ordinary tank in format or dimension, meaning that not all equipment will fit as easily.

This can make moving away from the traditional Coralife setup somewhat difficult.

The Best Coralife 32 BioCube Upgrades

Here are some of the best upgrades you can make for your Coralife 32 BioCube without purchasing other brands.

Coralife BioCube Ultraviolet Sterilizer Mini, 5 Watt UV Lamp

Coralife BioCube Mini UltraViolet Sterilizer

An ultraviolet sterilizer is not necessary for most aquarium setups, but some hobbyists feel comfort in knowing they have an additional line of defense against algae and some pathogens.

Coralife Biolcube offers a 5W UV sterilizer that conveniently fits in the filtration chambers of the 32 gallon option. Coralife also offers replacement bulbs for an exact match.

Though convenient and effective for tackling algae problems, there are a few problems with the Coralife BioCube Ultraviolet Sterilizer Mini. This includes a short lifespan for bulbs, problems with tight installation, and an above-average price for a unit of this size and quality.

What we like:

  • Eliminates and prevents algae problems
  • Easy to fit
  • Includes all parts needed for installation

What could be better:

  • Short lifespan
  • Difficult installation
  • Expensive to upkeep
  • Expensive unit compared to other quality and brands

Coralife BioCube Protein Skimmer

Coralife Biocube Protein Skimmer

A protein skimmer is a great upgrade for hobbyists struggling with high-nutrient systems. This equipment is efficient at removing organic wastes before they can be broken down into nutrients, effectively lowering the amount of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate that enter the water.

In general, a protein skimmer isn’t necessary for nano aquariums. However, the Coralife Biocube Protein Skimmer is available for hobbyists who desire more control over their nutrient export.

This protein skimmer can take some trial and error to find the right settings and hobbyists complain of microbubbles. It can also be somewhat challenging to assemble.

What we like:

  • Fits perfectly within the filtration chamber
  • Easy to maintain
  • Long performance

What could be better:

  • Difficult to find the right setting
  • Does not fit all BioCube aquarium setups
  • Creates microbubbles
  • Can be noisy

Coralife BioCube Circulation Pump Black 250 GPH

Oceanic BioCube Circulation Aquarium Pump

Oceanic BioCube Circulation Aquarium Pump

  •  Aquarium water pumps that fit all sizes of BioCube Aquariums
  • Easy-lock suction cup installation, adjustments a snap
  • Inline aquarium water pumps with efficient, energy-saving motors
  • Simulates natural river currents

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Saltwater tanks need a lot more water flow than freshwater aquariums.

The flow rate provided by the base BioCube filtration is efficient at creating surface agitation, but additional flow is needed to move aquarium water throughout the rest of the display.

The Coralife BioCube Circulation Pump Black 250 GPH is a good solution for introducing additional water movement to the aquarium.

This pump does best for aquariums under 30 gallons (113.6 L) but can be very effective when placed in dead zones. The flow is wide and gentle, which is good for creating subtle movement.

Some hobbyists find this pump too weak for their setup but have little problems with it otherwise.

What we like:

  • Quiet, gentle water flow
  • Strong suction cup attachment

What could be better:

  • Large design
  • Sometimes too weak for the desired effect

Coralife BioCube Stand for 29 & 32 Gallon Aquariums

Coralife BioCube Stand for 29 & 32 Gallon Aquariums

The Coralife BioCube is so popular that most hobbyists buy it secondhand from another enthusiast. Unfortunately, this means that some parts might be missing or need to be replaced.

Surprisingly, one of the most common items that hobbyists need to buy for their BioCube is an aquarium stand.

This black, water-resistant stand is built to support both 29 and 32 gallon BioCube setups. It is constructed from acrylic material with an included interior shelf.

The Coralife BioCube stand matches the aesthetic of the tank and offers plenty of support. However, there is limited space underneath the tank for hobbyists hoping to keep a refugium or sump setup.

What we like:

  • Durable, supportive design for multiple tank sizes
  • Included shelf for storage
  • Easy to assemble

What could be better:

  • Limited space and access for external filtration
  • Expensive

The Best Coralife 32 BioCube Add-Ons

While the Coralife 32 BioCube comes with everything you need to get your saltwater tank started, there are a few missing pieces of equipment needed to sustain life.

This includes:

  • A heater
  • A thermometer
  • A refractometer
  • Test kits

Unfortunately, Coralife doesn’t make this equipment specifically for their BioCube setups, though they offer ones for general use.

Here are some of the best Coralife 32 BioCube add-ons from outside brands!

Aqueon Adjustable Pro Aquarium Heater (150 watts)

Aqueon Pro 150 Submersible Aquarium Heater

Heaters are one of the most problematic pieces of aquarium equipment. In both the freshwater and reef aquarium, hobbyists have struggled with reliability and accuracy.

Luckily, we’ve found a heater that checks both these boxes in addition to longevity and expense.

The Aqueon Adjustable Pro Aquarium Heater is one of our favorite upgrades for any system. One rated 150 watts will easily keep a Coralife 32 BioCube heated without stressing the heater.

This heater has a temperature range between 68 to 88°F (20.0-31.1°C) with an accuracy of +/- 1°. Few hobbyists have problems with the Aqueon Pro Heater, but it has occasionally malfunctioned.

What we like:

  • Programmable, reliable, and accurate
  • Useable in freshwater and reef aquarium setups
  • Good quality for the price

What could be better:

  • Long in size
  • Has been known to malfunction on occasion

Aquarium Thermometer

A thermometer is important no matter what kind of fish tank you’re keeping, be it a saltwater, brackish, or freshwater aquarium setup. The only thing worse than not having a thermometer is having an inaccurate thermometer.

There are two main types of aquarium thermometers available: analog and digital. Exterior stick-on thermometers should never be used.

Analog thermometers are extremely reliable, but can easily crack, take up valuable space, and be difficult to read. Digital thermometers are somewhat reliable and prone to malfunctioning, but very exact and offer the hobbyist more space in the tank.

Here are our preferred aquarium thermometers.

Imagitarium Glass Thermometer

Imagitarium Glass Thermometer

Imagitarium Glass Thermometer

  • Glass Thermometer from Imagitarium
  • Measures water temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Attaches to the inside of your aquarium with the included suction cup
  • Safety zone indicator monitors ideal temperatures for most tropical fish

Check Price

The Imagitarium Glass Thermometer is a small glass thermometer that measures to 110°F or 43°C. A safe zone for tropical fish species is indicated by a green region.

This floating thermometer can be attached to the glass with a forward-facing suction cup.

What we like:

  • Classic, reliable design
  • Safe zone indicated

What could be better:

  • The suction cup gives out over time
  • Not shatter-proof
  • Can be difficult to read

Imagitarium Digital Aquarium Thermometer

Imagitarium Digital Aquarium Thermometer

Imagitarium also makes digital aquarium thermometers, which give a more precise reading of water temperature.

This is a battery-powered thermometer with a 3 foot wire for easy placement. The numbers display on a LED screen and measure within a degree of the actual temperature.

What we like:

  • Easy to read
  • Long wire for customizable placement

What could be better:

  • Battery-run
  • Malfunctions and provides inaccurate readings

Imagitarium Aquatic Refractometer

Imagitarium Aquatic Refractometer

Imagitarium Aquatic Refractometer

  •  Measures on Specific Gravity and Parts per Thousand scales
  • Features automatic temperature compensation
  • Includes refractometer, dropper, calibration screwdriver, cleaning cloth and instructions
  • For saltwater aquariums

Check Price

A refractometer is necessary for saltwater tanks. This instrument might seem scary to use, but it’s very easy to read and is needed to measure the amount of salt in a saltwater aquarium.

Do not be tricked into purchasing a cheaper hydrometer. Although a hydrometer and refractometer are both used to measure the specific gravity (salinity), a refractometer is much more accurate and long-lasting.

We recommend the Imagitarium Aquatic Refractometer for its ease of use and reliability.

While refractometers can last a long time, heavy use and improper storage can cause them to break. They often need to be calibrated with freshwater (preferably RO/DI water), which is not included in the Imagitarium package.

What we like:

  • Easy to read
  • Accurate and long-lasting

What could be better:

  • Becomes less accurate/breaks over time
  • Does not come with calibration solution

Salifert Master Reef Testing Combo Kit – Saltwater Aquariums

Salifert Master Reef Testing Combo Kit

No matter if you’re keeping a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, you need to be able to test your water quality.

There is a big range in quality and price when it comes to aquarium test kits, especially those for reef aquariums. First, you need to know which parameters you should be testing:

  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • pH
  • Phosphate

If you have a reef aquarium, you should also be testing calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity.

In general, the Salifert Master Reef Testing Combo Kit contains everything you need to keep fish and corals safe and happy, besides ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates tests.

However, the included tests are very accurate, easy to read, and last a long time. These test much closer to the decimal than other test kits priced at the same price.

What we like:

  • Close, accurate readings
  • Easy to color-match results

What could be better:

  • Some tests are difficult to read
  • Packaging could be better

Other Equipment

There are plenty of options for BioCube Aquarium upgrades and add-ons. There are a few key pieces of equipment that should be used by every saltwater hobbyist, though.

This includes:

  • Salt mix
  • Algae scrapers/pads
  • Gravel vacuum
  • Several varieties of fish food

Salt Mix

Salt mix is necessary for most saltwater enthusiasts. Some pet stores offer fresh pre-mixed saltwater for purchase, but most hobbyists opt for making their own with RO/DI water and a preferred salt mix.

There is no one right salt mix for every aquarium. What kind of salt mix you choose depends on how your tank runs; every tank has different preferred parameters, and you’ll need to find a salt mix that accommodates that.

Algae Scrapers/Pads

Unfortunately, even saltwater aquariums suffer from algae. Because of the bright lights often used with corals, biofilm algae loves to accumulate on the front of the glass.

Algae scrapers don’t need to be fancy, but many brands have made convenient stay-in-the-tank magnetic models. Otherwise, a clean toothbrush during water changes will achieve the same results.

Gravel Vacuum

A gravel vacuum, otherwise known as an aquarium siphon, is always recommended for any aquarium.

These suction-based tubes remove debris from the substrate and make transferring water easy, especially during maintenance.

It is better to go with a slightly more expensive gravel vacuum when you’re just starting out as a quality one will last indefinitely for all tanks to come.

Varieties of Fish Food

It can’t be overstated that healthy fish are made from healthy diets. Most species commonly kept in a BioCube aquarium originate from tropical reefs with abundant food choices.

Most tropical species of fish are omnivores and should be given a rich and varied diet of both meat- and plant-based options.


The 32 gallon BioCube Aquarium is a great all-in-one choice for hobbyists looking to enter the saltwater fish tank hobby.

While this setup comes with most things needed to keep happy and healthy fish, there are a few things that can make maintenance and maintaining water parameters that much easier.

Also, if you’re buying your BioCube tank secondhand, don’t forget that you’ll need an aquarium stand!

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