Biocube vs Nanocube

Discussion in 'Nano Saltwater Tanks' started by K3NN3TH, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. K3NN3THNew MemberMember

    I'm looking into getting a 12G or 14G nano reef set-up. Does anyone have a preference or know the pros and cons to either of these. So far Biocube (14G $170 free shipping at Petco) seems to be slightly cheaper, but not much once you factor in the sold separately protein skimmer. I plan to run it stock.

    Also, though they seem to be hard to find, but significantly cheaper than the other two, does anyone know anything about the Marineland 12G Instant Ocean Starter Kit? I know it isn't a reef tank, but how would it work with FOWLR?
  2. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    The Biocube and Nanocube are really similar in terms of lighting intensity and build quality. I used to have a Biocube 8 and it was really easy to maintain and I really enjoyed keeping it. Running it stock is going to limit you as far as coral selection- you can pretty much rule out any sps corals. Easy soft corals like zoanthids and mushrooms will thrive in this setup, and you can try some of the easier LPS corals. I kept a frogspawn in mine and it tripled in size while I had the cube set up. You can skip the protein skimmer if you go with the Biocube- I haven't heard anything good about its performance. I didn't use a skimmer with mine and it was easy to keep water parameters in check with weekly water changes.

    As for the Instant Ocean kit, IMO it is overpriced for what you get. It would work with a FOWLR tank, but you would still need a powerhead or 2; IMO the flow rate from the stock filter is inadequate for a marine tank. You could piece together a 20 gallon FOWLR for what you would pay for the 12 gallon kit.
  3. OP

    K3NN3THNew MemberMember

    Cool, probably going to be going for the Biocube then, unless I can find something good on Craigslist.

    I'm sure this information is around somewhere so a link would suffice, but what are my stocking options for the 14G? the 29G? You mentioned I could do soft corals. How about an anemone? What is generally the limit for number fish in a nano cube setup? I don't want to overstock, but I perform WC weekly, if not twice a week. Aside from the obligatory clown fish, what are other good fish?

    Any upgrades that won't break the bank that you recommend?

    By the way harpua you have been really helpful I appreciate it!
  4. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember


    Here is a list of nano fish. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but a decent starting point. I'd recommend doing some research on fish and then asking what can be kept with what. How many fish you can keep is going to depend on what you choose; for example, if you got a clown goby and neon goby, you would have room for another small fish, or if you get something like a watchman goby, you may only have enough room for the clown. The 29, of course, would give you a lot more options for stocking. You could keep something larger like a royal gramma in addition to your clown.

    As far as upgrades, they aren't necessary unless you really want to upgrade something. If you were to look into it, I'd say lighting, but upgrade kits are not cheap and involve some wiring. Nanocube makes a 28 gallon HQI model that would give you many more options for corals, but it runs a lot hotter than PC models and costs around $500 I believe.

    It's perfectly ok to run the tank stock, but there are a couple of changes (not upgrades per se) that I would make. First, you can replace the bio balls in any cube tank with live rock rubble. Rubble has a lot more surface area for beneficial bacteria growth. Second, although the flow is adequate in these tanks, I'd suggest adding a small powerhead for extra flow. A Koralia nano is a great choice and isn't too pricey, and has a magnetic mount that is far superior IMO to the regular suction cup mounts. It's also very quiet compared to something like a Maxi Jet.

    An anemone (in addition to not being the greatest choice for a nano) requires a mature tank and a lot more lighting than what you'll have in a Biocube. If you like the look of them, try something like a frogspawn or torch coral (place other corals away from the reach of their tentacles). My clown hangs out in my frogspawn from time to time.


    Here are some examples of easy corals that will do nicely in a Biocube. If you see other corals that interest you, just ask and someone here will surely help you out. :)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  5. Dragon.TaleNew MemberMember

    If you are still looking to get a 12G, you may be interested in buying a JBJ from this site: . Sales price $119; $135 with shipping.
  6. Dragon.TaleNew MemberMember

    Sorry...forgot to paste the link. Here it is.
  7. SWfreshmen31Valued MemberMember

    the clown gobys are great fish but they tend to rest on the glass and mostly rocks which might cause some corals to close upp.

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