Best for planted: Biocube 14, 29, or Nanocube 28??
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
chrisuf2000
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Best for planted: Biocube 14, 29, or Nanocube 28??


Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but not new to freshwater tanks. getting back into planted tanks though and want your advice. Looking at a JBJ Nano Cube 28 gallon with 105 watt compact fl (3.75 watts per gallon), Coralife Biocube 14 gallon with 48 watts (3.42 watts per gallon), and finally the Coralife Biocube 29 gallon with 72 watts (2.48 watts per gallon). I'm hoping you all can shed some light (sorry, had to say that...) on maybe which one of those three is best way to go for most successful planted tank?

I really want to go with one of the 29 gallon tanks for more tank space to plant and more water for fish. However, the Nano Cube I think you are stuck with their one bulb that has actinic bulb in it too? And the 29 gallon Biocube has the lowest wattage of the three options. I've seen some people's 14 gallon biocube's on here and they look really nice. Just wondering if I can still be easily successful with bigger tank but only 2.4 watts? I would be using the Eco Complete substrate too.

Thanks!!!!
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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Thoughts/opinions from anyone out there that's used any of these tanks for planted fresh before??? On paper, the Nano Cube 28 gallon seems to have the most bells and whistles. It has two pumps and outflows, a wavemaker and the most wattage over the tank. I understand the wavemaker and maybe the two outflows aren't really much of a big deal in fresh tanks but better in saltwater. It seems the nano tank is really slanted towards salt but the high lighting attracted me.

The 29 gallon biocube would be comparable in size but only has 72 watts of light versus the nano's 105. And then the 14 gallon biocube has a total of 48 watts but that's actually more gallon than the bigger biocube. I'd really prefer the bigger tank but I wanted to see experienced member's opinions on if the 72 watts would be enough to do a nice planted tank without having to install a new, bigger light somehow. I want to keep the stock hood in tact. Thanks again for any opinions you all have!!
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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I'm just now setting up a 14gal Biocube as a freshwater dirt tank either for a betta or maybe some pea puffers. I swapped the actinic bulb for a 6700k bulb at I think ahsupply, I'll find the link if you need it.

The 14 should have plenty of light between the 2 PC bulbs, I really only plan on having the 6700k bulb come come on for 8 or 10 hrs and the 10,000k for like 3 maybe 4 during a high noon sorta dealy.

I'd say it comes down to price tho, I got both my 14 gal and 29 gal biocubes on the cheap from working at a pet store, both brand new, which is why I'm using the 14 for fresh and the 29 for salt. If money is no issue you'll always want something larger so go with the jbj or oceanic 28/9 gal. Either way the lighting will be more than sufficient.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:35 PM   #4
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thanks Dr. Gonzo. Appreciate your input. I have an Eclipse 6 gallon bowfront right now with a 9 watt fl bulb and I want to upgrade to 29 gallon tank preferably. I was just concerned that the 14 gallon had more wattage for the smaller size so maybe that was wiser to do than get into the 29 and then not have good plant growth. Either way it will still be way more light than my little eclipse. I have a nice piece of driftwood in that one covered with java fern, one crypto, and another plant (embarrassed I forgot name of it...). java fern does fine and thrives; the other two survive. I want a nice planted tank and more space. and I like the all in one format for this next one since I don't want to get into a bigger pieced out tank right now.

My main concern on the nano was that it appeared to have just one 105 watt light fixture and it had actinic integrated into it without ability to change out.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:36 PM   #5
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anyone have some 29 gallon planted bio or nano cubes you want to post pics of?? I'd love some inspiration on what can be done in them!
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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I have the 29 Bio Cube. I scrapped my lid for two reasons. One, I hate the lids.. HATE them, Ive had problems with the fans breaking down, and being overly loud. Two, the one I got already was modified and had no electrical parts in it.
I was more than happy to buy a used one that didn't have a working lid, as the other one we have gives me a bloody head ache.

I love my 29, I hooked up an extra canister filter to it, and it runs amazingly.

Granted this photos not the best, and is a few weeks old. I'd take a new one, but I broke the handle on my canister filter on accident so I have a bulky HOB filter on it right now and it doesnt look as nice.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:45 PM   #7
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Are you determined to use one of the older style hyphencubes or are you open to other options? Get ready for wall o' text n links either way.

Guess I'll run down what I know of the options in order of no particular:

-JBJ also has a nano-cube with LED lights and they also offer one with a metal halide light. The LEDs aren't the right color temp for planted but the metal halide allows you to choose a bulb that suits you
http://www.jbjlighting.com/prod-nano-open.html

-JBJ also offers a rimless tank without a hood, light it however you want, looks ridiculously sexy imo, almost as nice as the Innovative Marine stuff
http://www.jbjlighting.com/images/NanocubeRL_flyer.jpg

-Oceanic also has bio-cubes with metal halide lighting which apparently offer improvements in the rear filter chambers.
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/products/biocube-hqi.php

-The Red Sea Max 130 or 250 are IMO, much nicer and seem a little better constructed but still limits you to using a hood with integrated lighting although they have several options, including LED and T5HO.
http://www.redseafish.com/index.aspx?id=4377
http://www.redseafish.com/index.aspx?id=4376

-There are also the Innovative Marine tanks with glass tops (or open top) which obviously opens the door wide to whatever you want.
http://innovative-marine.com/nuvo-aq...te-stands.html
http://innovative-marine.com/nuvo-aq...ck-stands.html

-Current USA offers the Solana with a bunch of lighting options but the price is pretty up there, however it is VERY nicely constructed of high quality materials
http://www.current-usa.com/aquariums/solana

Basically what I'm saying is that you don't just have to choose from two or three options now, you can pretty much buy whatever you want/need in an all-in-one cube tank.
That comes with some limitations since most, if not all of these tanks are primarily geared towards reef keeping and that means the filtration is less than ideal for freshwater and the flow is probably going to be way too high for most fish.

I've got an 25 gallon version of the Solana from Ecoxotic that is no longer available and I must say that it looks great (low iron glass) but the rear filtering chambers are no better in design than an early generation biocube, which is to say they're pretty crappy and not really suited to freshwater fish keeping because they don't actually filter very much in the way of particulate. Perhaps some of the currently available tanks have improved, I have no way of knowing but I found I had to change the pump out for a much lower flow maxijet, and I've had to mess with the way the filtration is set up by removing all media except floss and adding about 2 pounds of bio media. It still doesn't filter particulate very well and I find myself siphon vacuuming the floor of the rear chamber every 2-3 weeks which involves pulling a bunch of stuff out of the way to ensure I can get at any muck in the corners. My wife found the same problem with her Biocube when she had it as a reef, but with her low fish load she found it was only once a month that she had to vacuum the rear chambers out but it was still a pain in the butt.

I'm not trying to turn you off the cubes as they can make beautiful tanks, they just have some special requirements that you probably ought to know in advance.

Feel free to check out my sig, it's got some old photos (really ought to update) and details a little of my trials and tribulations in adapting a salty cube to a planty box.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune_Gem View Post
I have the 29 Bio Cube. I scrapped my lid for two reasons. One, I hate the lids.. HATE them, Ive had problems with the fans breaking down, and being overly loud. Two, the one I got already was modified and had no electrical parts in it.
I was more than happy to buy a used one that didn't have a working lid, as the other one we have gives me a bloody head ache.

I love my 29, I hooked up an extra canister filter to it, and it runs amazingly.

Granted this photos not the best, and is a few weeks old. I'd take a new one, but I broke the handle on my canister filter on accident so I have a bulky HOB filter on it right now and it doesnt look as nice.
Thanks for your opinion and nice looking tank! what lights are you running in the hood then if you aren't using stock? Also, are you using their filter cartridge or you got aftermarket tray and doing individual bags?
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:09 PM   #9
chrisuf2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blink View Post
Are you determined to use one of the older style hyphencubes or are you open to other options? Get ready for wall o' text n links either way.

Guess I'll run down what I know of the options in order of no particular:

-JBJ also has a nano-cube with LED lights and they also offer one with a metal halide light. The LEDs aren't the right color temp for planted but the metal halide allows you to choose a bulb that suits you
http://www.jbjlighting.com/prod-nano-open.html

-JBJ also offers a rimless tank without a hood, light it however you want, looks ridiculously sexy imo, almost as nice as the Innovative Marine stuff
http://www.jbjlighting.com/images/NanocubeRL_flyer.jpg

-Oceanic also has bio-cubes with metal halide lighting which apparently offer improvements in the rear filter chambers.
http://www.oceanicsystems.com/products/biocube-hqi.php

-The Red Sea Max 130 or 250 are IMO, much nicer and seem a little better constructed but still limits you to using a hood with integrated lighting although they have several options, including LED and T5HO.
http://www.redseafish.com/index.aspx?id=4377
http://www.redseafish.com/index.aspx?id=4376

-There are also the Innovative Marine tanks with glass tops (or open top) which obviously opens the door wide to whatever you want.
http://innovative-marine.com/nuvo-aq...te-stands.html
http://innovative-marine.com/nuvo-aq...ck-stands.html

-Current USA offers the Solana with a bunch of lighting options but the price is pretty up there, however it is VERY nicely constructed of high quality materials
http://www.current-usa.com/aquariums/solana

Basically what I'm saying is that you don't just have to choose from two or three options now, you can pretty much buy whatever you want/need in an all-in-one cube tank.
That comes with some limitations since most, if not all of these tanks are primarily geared towards reef keeping and that means the filtration is less than ideal for freshwater and the flow is probably going to be way too high for most fish.

I've got an 25 gallon version of the Solana from Ecoxotic that is no longer available and I must say that it looks great (low iron glass) but the rear filtering chambers are no better in design than an early generation biocube, which is to say they're pretty crappy and not really suited to freshwater fish keeping because they don't actually filter very much in the way of particulate. Perhaps some of the currently available tanks have improved, I have no way of knowing but I found I had to change the pump out for a much lower flow maxijet, and I've had to mess with the way the filtration is set up by removing all media except floss and adding about 2 pounds of bio media. It still doesn't filter particulate very well and I find myself siphon vacuuming the floor of the rear chamber every 2-3 weeks which involves pulling a bunch of stuff out of the way to ensure I can get at any muck in the corners. My wife found the same problem with her Biocube when she had it as a reef, but with her low fish load she found it was only once a month that she had to vacuum the rear chambers out but it was still a pain in the butt.

I'm not trying to turn you off the cubes as they can make beautiful tanks, they just have some special requirements that you probably ought to know in advance.

Feel free to check out my sig, it's got some old photos (really ought to update) and details a little of my trials and tribulations in adapting a salty cube to a planty box.
.


Thanks Blink. All excellent info. I'm on my mobile right now so I haven't had a chance to check all of them but I'm familiar with most of the links I saw. Few things on my side for limitations: cost wise I don't want to really go over $300 or so for tank/filter/lighting. I know substrate and other stuff will be more but... lighting wise: this is going in our kitchen nook area I really need to keep it all contained inside the tank for keeping things "clean looking so I can't really do the hanging/open lights. I need to keep it all inside the hood. Other thoughts on the lighting would be the heat that the mh's put off may make me need a chiller?

I am by no means dead set on one of the cubes but in the areI want to put the tank I am somewhat limited in size and it seams all the smaller tanks are only maybe 12" front to back anI was wanting more depth of field to work.with. I'm definitely still open for suggestions though. Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #10
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How many fish are you stocking in the cube? Looks like a good amount. With my current tank I do gravel vac'ing to keep things clean. But when you do such a heavily planted tank do you even really gravel vac much of anything anymore? Seems that you almost can't
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisuf2000 View Post
Thanks for your opinion and nice looking tank! what lights are you running in the hood then if you aren't using stock? Also, are you using their filter cartridge or you got aftermarket tray and doing individual bags?

I'm not running their filter cartridge, I run purgin, the bio balls, and regular fliter floss. In the canister I run another filter floss, and the little balls that comes with the ehime filters.

As far as lights I run Finx Fuge Ray.
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune_Gem View Post
I'm not running their filter cartridge, I run purgin, the bio balls, and regular fliter floss. In the canister I run another filter floss, and the little balls that comes with the ehime filters.

As far as lights I run Finx Fuge Ray.

what are you putting the purgin and the floss in? an aftermarket tray of some sorts? I saw one on ebay basically made out of egg crate and zip ties. But I hadn't come across another one yet. That's one thing I thought was better in nano cube since it came with a try instead of manufacturer cartridge. thanks again!!
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisuf2000 View Post
what are you putting the purgin and the floss in? an aftermarket tray of some sorts? I saw one on ebay basically made out of egg crate and zip ties. But I hadn't come across another one yet. That's one thing I thought was better in nano cube since it came with a try instead of manufacturer cartridge. thanks again!!

I just stuff it in the first chambor where normally you would put their cartridge. It says well with out any help
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