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Old 07-14-2014, 04:07 PM   #1
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Biocube skimmer for nano tanks (review)

Alright, so I felt the need to share my "review" I guess you would call it of my biocube protein skimmer that I have on my 25G partial reef tank. (I've only got a few kenya trees at the moment so I can't really call it a reef yet). Being new to the reef / saltwater hobby, I was finding it difficult to find a skimmer that fit my needs: small enough for my tank, one that wasn't going to destroy my budget, and one that could go in tank or HOB and wasn't required to be in a sump that I don't have. After returning 3 other skimmers to Amazon : AquaticLife 115, Seaclone 100, and a Hydor slim skim nano, I stumbled upon the biocube skimmer, which is about half the size of the other skimmers I had. After reading reviews, I saw that others were using them in non bio cube tanks, and sure enough it says in the booklet it comes with that you can use it with other nano tanks. I received it, stuck it in the tank, and everything looked to be going well until I realized my glass canopy would no longer fit. I considered going open water, but my tank has my desk and my TV right next to it; all I needed was for the little water droplets that jump out of the tank courtesy of my HOB filters return water flow, getting onto my TV and slowly causing corrosion; or worse something falling off the top of my desk and into the tank, like my speakers for the TV for example. I also had to consider potential jumpers in my tank, either now or in the future. My solution was eventually 0.93" thick plexiglass from home depot. I considered egg crate, which would deter jumpers, but this wouldn't help with evaporation or potential water droplets getting on my electronic equipment. The plexiglass cost me all of $15 and 15 mins of my time using a band saw to cut it to fit. (I've attached several photos). This is, as far as I know, the absolute cheapest skimmer you can possibly buy at $40 but it has been working wonders for me after only 3 days; it's already pulling colored skim mate and keep in mind I'm running an aquaclear 50 HOB filter that has seachem seagel in it which helps remove organic material, so the fact that the skimmer is still pulling things that the filter floss and seagel isn't is pretty incredible for a $40 skimmer.

Skim mate on day 3: Click image for larger version

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Multi purpose hole cut in lid: used for feeding, air supply, and as a finger hole to lift the lid: Click image for larger version

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Cutout for skimmer; will not fit in standard canopy or hood cutouts unless you have an actual biocube: Click image for larger version

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My HOB filter: Click image for larger version

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I completely agree with the old saying, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately it's hard to find a good skimmer for a nano tank and I think this is the best one you can get if you have a nano tank. Despite the fact that it's air driven instead of venturi, it works very very well! There are no micro air bubbles being put into the tank that almost all venturi driven skimmers cause. The point of this post was obviously a review of the product, but also to help first time reefers; I had zero guidance when I started out and it took me a month to find the right combination. Hope this helps everyone out!

PS- the combination of the skimmer, and my hob filter that uses seagel, activated carbon, and filter floss / pads keeps my tank crystal clear! It has also control the brown algae bloom I was having. I'm still not sure if it was brown algae or diatoms caused by cycling, but either way everything seems to be coming into balance!

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Old 07-15-2014, 12:29 AM   #2
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I love my aquaticlife 115. I found its pretty crappy though unless it's in a sump at 6-7 inches deep.

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