Re:changing aquariums

Pete Giwojna

Dear Tammy:

I assume you’re thinking about the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system, Tammy.

In general, it sounds like that would be a real nice upgrade, going from the JBJ 28-gallon biocube to the 38-gallon Mini Nuvo by Innovative Marine. The 30% increase in total water volume alone would make such a switch worthwhile and be beneficial to your ponies, and there are some nice features about the 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system that I really like.

First of all, it’s a very attractive aquarium system with an ultramodern design that looks really nice once the tank is up and running. All of the filtration equipment is concealed behind a false back, which operates much like a sump. This design looks very nice since there are no cords, siphon tubes, pumps, hoses, heaters, or other apparatus in the main tank itself, all of which are hidden away behind the false back, so there is nothing to detract from the appearance of the aquarium inhabitants at the aquarium decor.

More importantly, having all the filtration and equipment safely hidden away behind that false back is a big plus the seahorse keeper. Not only does it look nice and neat and uncluttered, but there are no cords, airlines, siphon tubes, or heaters hanging in the tank for seahorses to perch on high up in the water column. That makes it safer for the horses — no chance of heater burns and less risk of gas bubble disease from hanging high near the surface where there’s less hydrostatic pressure. Plus the filter intakes are all walled off from the seahorses — no way a curious seahorse will get sucked up against them or have its tall drawn into an intake tube.

The built in filtration system for the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium is efficient and very versatile. There are additional compartments in the false back that can accommodate an internal or hang-on-the-back protein skimmer, an optional built-in refugium, aquarium heater, and extra bags of Chemi-Pure Elite or other chemical filtration media, etc.

The only complaint I have heard regarding this tank design is that it can sometimes be difficult to access and service the equipment behind a false back during routine maintenance, but having all of the equipment contained safely behind a false back is the safest arrangement for seahorses and gives the aquarium that polished "finished" or "prebuilt" appearance that you are looking for, Tammy. There’s no denying that the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo is a handsome, futuristic-looking aquarium system.

But I do have a couple of concerns about this particular tank when it comes to seahorses, Tammy. For one thing, it’s only 19 inches tall and I would prefer a taller tank for the benefit of the ponies. If possible, I like my seahorse tanks to be at least 20 inches tall and 24 inches of height would be even better. But 19 inches of height is sufficient to allow large tropical seahorses to mate comfortably, and you can compensate for an inch or two of height simply by maintaining optimum water quality at all times.

My other concern is that the pump for the 38-gallon Mini Nuvo puts out 476 gallons per hour, which will create powerful currents that can be too overpowering for the limited swimming ability of seahorses. The pump will turn over the entire water volume of the 38-gallon aquarium about 12-1/2 times per hour (476 gph/38 gal. = 12.5).

When it comes to water circulation and a seahorse tank, the pumps and filters need to turn over the entire vibe of the aquarium at least five times per hour or the aquarium is undercirculated. A turnover rate of 5-8 times per hour is normally acceptable for a seahorse setup, with a turnover rate of 6-7 times per hour being just about ideal. But you can expect seahorses to begin experiencing problems with the water currents when the turnover rate approaches 10 times per hour or more…

In other words, Tammy, you would need to reduce the water flow from the filtration system by about 50% to create the best conditions for seahorses. I am told by the manufacturer that simply removing the flare nozzles and inserting the Spin Stream attachment by Innovative Marine into the return lines instead will accomplish just that. If that’s the case in actual practice, then that’s a very simple, effective, and highly recommended solution to this potential problem.

The LED lighting system included with the 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system is an excellent choice for a seahorse tank, and there are no problems in that regard. It will produce plenty of light without causing any overheating problems, and makes it easy to keep live soft corals in your seahorse setup.

Hobbyists who have purchased the 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system by Innovative Marine tell me that the aquarium stand designed for this particular tank is not worth the price, so I would recommend purchasing the tank only and not the aquarium stand, Tammy. I am told that the stand is made of pressboard and is none too sturdy, so you would be better off saving the $250 cost of the stand and finding a piece of furniture or a well-built aquarium cabinet that can support the aquarium instead.

Okay, Tammy, those are my thoughts on the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system when it comes to seahorses. All things considered, I would say that it’s a very nice upgrade for you providing you address the water flow issue as previously discussed and skip the aquarium stand.

Now, when it comes to getting the new tank ready and then transferring your seahorses from the old aquarium to the new 38-gallon Mini Nuvo, Tammy, that should be very easy if you are going to keep the JBJ 28-gallon tank up and running at the same time as well.

In that case, you can set up the Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system just as you would any other new marine aquarium, and take all the time necessary to cycle the aquarium and assure that the biological filtration is well-established before you proceed. When that has been accomplished, you can merely adjust the aquarium water in the 38-gallon Innovative Marine aquarium so that the water temperature, pH, and specific gravity match the conditions in your JBJ 28-gallon aquarium. The seahorses can then be transferred straight from the old tank to the new aquarium and released with no acclimation whatsoever.

However, if you must take down the existing JBJ 28-gallon aquarium system that currently houses the seahorses in order to put up the new Innovative Marine 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system, Tammy, that complicates matters and I would need to provide you with some more detailed guidelines if that’s the case. So please let me know if you must first dismantle the 28-gallon JBJ tank before you can go ahead and set up the new 38-gallon Mini Nuvo aquarium system by Innovative Marine, and I will send you some comprehensive instructions explaining how best to proceed in that event.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Tammy!

Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech Support

Post edited by: Pete Giwojna, at: 2013/07/02 23:21

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