Friday, March 20, 2015

BioCube Hacks: 6 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Nano



All-in-one aquariums like the Coralife BioCube are very popular because they are affordable and easy to set up. These tanks can support fish and coral without the need for much additional equipment, which makes them very appealing to first-time reef tank owners.

AIO style aquariums are so popular now that many ingenious members of the aquarium community have come up with a variety of creative ways to modify the tanks to make them even better and more functional.

Today we'll show you some of our favorite modifications and upgrades that can make your life easier plus ramp up the performance of your all-in-one aquarium.


Removing the plastic hood that houses the stock lighting will make the biggest impact on your all-in-one tank. This is such an impactful change because it will allow you to not only upgrade your lighting, but you'll also gain access to the filtration compartments so you can add upgrades that might not otherwise fit.

There are a number of great LED lights that will work on these types of aquariums once the hood is removed. The Kessil A160WE, Maxspect Nano Razor, EcoTech Marine Radion XR15w Pro and the new Aqua Illumination Prime are among our favorites.



If you prefer to keep the hood on your aquarium, you can still upgrade the stock lighting with any one of a number of LED retrofit kits available. The Current USA TrueLumen Strips are perfect for this application and will fit nicely into the existing hood.



Adding a protein skimmer is much easier once the hood is removed because you'll have so much more room available. The AquaMaxx HOB-1 or AquaC Nano Remora are a couple of your best hang-on back options. You can also install an internal skimmer, such as the CPR SR3, which was made specifically to fit inside the Coralife BioCube. The SR3 fits so perfectly you can even leave the hood on the tank.

A media reactor is a great way to improve the water quality in your BioCube. The Two Little Fishies Phosban 150 is a great choice because it includes a hang-on bracket that easily attaches to the back of your tank. Innovative Marine MiniMax reactors are another popular option because their slim profile allows you to place the entire reactor inside a rear filter chamber of your tank.



One of the more creative modifications we have seen is turning one of the back chambers into a natural refugium. Peeling the back cover off the tank and using a magnetic refugium light like the JBJ Nano-Glo or Innovative Marine MagnaFuge is super easy and surprisingly effective for nutrient control. Just be sure to keep the area clean and harvest the algae as needed.

An auto top-off system is a necessary piece of equipment for small tanks because evaporation causes salinity levels to drop much quicker compared to larger tanks. An ATO also saves you time because they eliminate the need for daily top-off—plus a consistent water level will keep your skimmer performing optimally. When mounting the ATO sensor or float switch, you will need to place it in the chamber that actually changes levels as water evaporates—which is typically the chamber where the pump is located.

Because small all-in-one type tanks have become so popular over the years, many of the leading pump manufacturers now offer nano-sized pumps specifically designed to produce wave motion and sporadic flow in these tiny environments.



You could add a simple powerhead, like the Koralia Nano or Cobalt MJ pump, to keep the water moving. But why not step it up a notch? The EcoTech Marine MP10, Maxspect Gyre XF130 or AquaMedic EcoDrift 4.0 are all suitable options for the 29-gallon BioCube and allow you to adjust the flow to produce some serious wave action in your tank.

The aquarium documented in this video is the 29 Gallon Coralife BioCube. But many, if not all, of these modifications and upgrades can be applied to a wide variety of all-in-one nano tanks. If you would like upgrade your nano but have some questions, our aquarium experts are happy to help you out!

Thanks for reading and until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping!



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