Brian's 2.11g Rimless Pico Cube (AquaTop)
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #1
Brian_Cali77
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Brian's 2.11g Rimless Pico Cube (AquaTop)


AquaTop 2.11g Pico Cube Build

I'm going to break this intro up in to two parts:

Part 1 - Background / Unboxing (skip if you don't like reading)
Part 2 - The Build Plan

Part 1:

Disclaimer: I don't work for TruAqua or AquaTop... just wanted to get that out of the way. In fact, AquaTop (if you see this) should give me a free tank or something for this review / tank build! Haha... J/K

I'm not usually an 'early-adopter' for anything but I decided to give this little tank a shot! I hate taking risks and like to dig up as many reviews as possible before buying something. I could hardly find anything on these tanks but for $30 shipped, it seemed like it was worth the risk on a low-iron high-clarity glass rimless tank (see figure 1 for low iron vs. standard glass example). I think I've been spoiled with this whole "low iron" thing by having a GLA 36-L and ADA 60-F in my house -- once you go low-iron, it's hard to go back IMO! Moreover, I've always found interest in those tiny Do!Aqua 2g cubes but didn't feel like spending $56.99 ($38 + 18.99 shipping) for such a tiny cube -- especially when it's normal clarity green tinted glass (no pun intended for those that own Do!Aqua or most of Mr. Aqua's line -- still nice tanks IMO). So a Do!Aqua-like cube + low iron ADA-like glass = "clicked buy" and here we go!!!
Figure 1
So I ordered this tank from TruAqua.com and they shipped it out pretty fast. The site doesn't specify the brand but it is branded as an AquaTop tank (are these the same company BTW?).

Here are some details about this tank (source):
  • High clarity glass for an enhanced viewing experience
  • Low iron glass with a 91% light-through rate
  • Polished beveled edges
  • High-grade German silicone for a seamless appearance
  • For both salt and freshwater systems
  • Dimensions: 7.87" x 7.87" x 7.87"
  • Capacity: 2.11 Gallons

Here's what the site doesn't tell you (or at least I couldn't find it)...
  • AquaTop branded tank
  • 30 day warranty (no 3 year ADA warranty here - but you get what you pay for...right?).

So on to my experience receiving this tank:
  • speedy delivery.
  • Packaged extremely well with a HUGE box, thick crumpled paper padding all around the tank, and extra padding with foam and cardboard on the tank itself. Man, they spare no expense here which makes sense for a new company IMO, less negative reviews = more potential for future business.
  • Shipping carrier = Here's where they had to have saved money from spending a fortune on packaging. They used OnTrac as the carrier. I don't know about you guys, but this is probably my least favorable shipping company since I've had numerous bad experiences in the past. Luckily this time around, despite seeing some damage to the exterior of the shipping box (see pic below, top left side) I received the tank without a hitch and no damage.

Here's the un-boxing. Just look at all that packaging and the size of the box in comparison to the tank! I removed all the paper used to cushion the top.






Here's some close-ups of the glass, edges, and silicon work. For reference on the glass clarity (tint), I have the AquaTop (right) next to the ADA 60-F (left).




And here is the AquaTop (left) next to my GLA 36-L (right)


I found 1 minute glob of extra silicone on a corner of the AquaTop. This was easily remedied with a razor.



Overall, this tank seems like pretty darn good quality for the lower price-point. Excellent silicon work in which all the edges line-up nicely. As long as this thing can hold water and last, this is a quality looking rimless tank and worth taking a look at if you're in the market for a rimless. They also offer other dimensions to suite your needs. It would be nice to see TruAqua offer the larger AquaTop rimless tanks for shipping as well -- currently they are only offered as local pick-up in California.

Update on comparison pictures between the AquaTop & ADA 60-F glass:
Note: My GF wasn't satisfied with the test conditions of my original comparison pictures. Given that the room was dark, I used an LED flashlight, and that the ADA 60-F was on top of a brown towel which can affect the color being transferred through the sides of the glass panels. AquaTop tank is pictures with substrate in it.


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Last edited by Brian_Cali77; 03-30-2013 at 03:20 AM.. Reason: removed partial vendor review
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:02 AM   #2
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Part 2:

The Skinny (Already Acquired and In-Progress / Planning):

Hardware:
Tank - AquaTop (Dimensions approx. 7.87" x 7.87" x 7.87", 2.11g)
Light - Archaea 17cm Clamp-On type LED lighting fixture
Filter - Azoo Palm Filter

Substrate: Fluval Shrimp Statum on Floramax
Hardscape: Seiryu Stone and Manzanita

Flora:
Anubias Petite
DHG - E. Parvula
Echinodorus tenellus
Hydrocotyle tripartita sp. Japan
Needle Leaf Java Fern
Flame Moss / Xmas Moss
Fissidens fontanus (maybe)
Mini Pellia (maybe)

Dosing:
GLA dry ferts and Excel

And some pictures:

Just messing with the hardscape... got a nice slope to the back right corner.


I was suppose to get my light fixture today, but here's what it's suppose to look like:


More to come!
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
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Nice man, these new Aquatops are giving the big brands a run for their money, it seems.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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Looks amazing. I bet they spent 15 of those 30 dollars you paid them just packaging that thing up haha.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:06 PM   #5
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They're great little tanks.

My two came in better packaging than I've ever seen. Shipped via UPS. Since I received two of them, it took a good half hour (not kidding) to unbox.

Clarity definitely rivals anything else available on the market. From what I can discern, they're manufactured by the same OEM that produces ADA tanks.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
They're great little tanks.

My two came in better packaging than I've ever seen. Shipped via UPS. Since I received two of them, it took a good half hour (not kidding) to unbox.

Clarity definitely rivals anything else available on the market. From what I can discern, they're manufactured by the same OEM that produces ADA tanks.
It was only a matter of time until someone figured out out they could do it for cheaper. I've just learned that you can find the original sources of all imported manufactured goods online in databases through a project I'm working on now, so all anyone had to do was a little bit of sleuthing and contact the OEM, have some made, and sell them for cheaper. Props to them.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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Kiran: Precisely.

OP: I'm toying with a couple of the same light fixtures you're planning to use. Though, I know they're extremely low light. Looking forward to seeing how they work for you. Also considering the smaller Wave Point fixtures even though they're bulky.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Kiran: Precisely.

OP: I'm toying with a couple of the same light fixtures you're planning to use. Though, I know they're extremely low light. Looking forward to seeing how they work for you. Also considering the smaller Wave Point fixtures even though they're bulky.
Definitely let us know how they work. This makes me want to grab one of these tanks for a moss scape. REALLLLLY don't need another one though.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:01 PM   #9
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[ QUOTE=somewhatshocked;2917282]Kiran: Precisely.

OP: I'm toying with a couple of the same light fixtures you're planning to use. Though, I know they're extremely low light. Looking forward to seeing how they work for you. Also considering the smaller Wave Point fixtures even though they're bulky.[/QUOTE]

You know i was feeling a little apprehensive with the strength of the Archaea 17cm too. I couldn't find much online about it either..apparently marine depot sells the UP Aqua version, which is exactly the same except where the neck Is located on the fixture. I've learned that the Archaea LED fixtures are rebranded UP Aquas. So there's some user reviews on Marine Depot.

Anyway, after some determined digging around, i found a YouTube video of a guy using a Do!Aqua 2g with the Archaea inside an old Mac computer. He grew a fairy lush carpet of HC. I think if its strong enough for HC, then seems like you'd be able to grow a lot.

Started:

Update on growth:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=relmfu&v=9HEo2b-ZxsM
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:22 PM   #10
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I messaged Lawrence, from the YouTube vids I linked, regarding his thoughts on the light on the 20cm cube.. he lowered the fixture to about 2" above the water surface and he measures approx. 5" from light to sub. So I guess he's able to up the PAR enough by closing the distance for the HC. I don't plan on growing a carpet with light demanding plants, but at least we know the capability is there by closing the distance. However, compact growth might still be up for question.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:06 PM   #11
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Archaea 17cm LED came in today

Here are the specs...
  • Quantity of LED Lamps: (30x White LED lamp)
  • Color temperature: Blue lamp(12000k) /White lamp (8000k)
  • Luminous intensity: Blue lamp(300mcd per LED) /White lamp (1400mcd per LED )
  • Total Power per fixture: 1.68W
  • Power per LED lamp: 56mW

This should be good for at least low light plants, maybe some moderate ones.... so we'll see how this goes









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Old 03-24-2013, 12:25 AM   #12
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Nice little scape. I like the slope, but I think you'll probably need more rocks in order to have the slope stay in place, especially once you fill it and have some current going in there.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:41 AM   #13
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That's really low light for sure. But it should be plenty for mosses and crypts and such.

Looking great so far.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:51 AM   #14
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Yeah I'm not expecting much out of it to be honest. We just got a 60-F and I'm going to be suspending a Ray 2 over it... so I'll have 3 tanks with high-tech setups and this little guy will just be for fun!

I'm going to see if I can lower the fixture just to squeeze a little more out of it though for some DHG or Microswords... I'm going to use some flame moss and xmas moss. Thinking about using some mini pellia too. I'm still confused! LOL

Here's how it looks with the fixture lowered a bit.. much better IMO.



@Kiran - what do you suggest in terms of stones? A larger one or several smaller ones added? I'm trying to maintain some scale too... so maybe less is more?

I also have one other piece of manzanita I'm going to throw in... tied an anubias petite to it

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Old 03-24-2013, 02:32 AM   #15
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Looks better and better by the minute!

Maybe you could build up/structurally support your slope with a few pieces of lava rock beneath the substrate. That would eliminate the need for additional stone if you don't want to change anything.
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