Re:Nanocube Or Aquapod?

#3975
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Jared:

The 12-and 24-gallon Aquapod Nano Reef tanks are very beautiful, well-designed aquariums with an efficient filtration system. They have a number of features that are not included in the nanocube tanks, and of the two systems, I much prefer the Aquapods.

For example, the Aquapods include dual-stage biological filtration, whereas the nanocubes typically lack a biofilter. The Aquapods are also equipped with LED moonlights to simulate moon shine after dark and a lunar cycle. The surface extraction provided by the overflow box in the Aquapods is another nice feature. It will effectively prevent an oily film from building up at the water surface, but the overflow box in this case provides surface-skimming, which is a far cry from the foam fractionation provided by a protein skimmer, sir.

So the Aquapods are very nice systems overall, Jared. However, they may not be the best setups for seahorses. As you know, they are designed as nano reef systems for keeping live corals, which require strong lighting, strong water movement, and excellent circulation in order to grow and thrive. By contrast, seahorses require more gentle circulation with relatively moderate flow and prefer low-to-moderate light levels rather than excessively bright light. I am concerned that the Aquapod Nano Reef aquarium may generate too much turbulence and produce currents that are too strong for seahorses, sir.

As an example, the 12-gallon Aquapod is equipped with a 160-gallon per hour submersible pump, which means it will turn over the entire value of the aquarium more than 14 times per hour. I recommend that the filtration and a seahorse tank should turn over the entire volume of the aquarium about five times each hour. So the 12-gallon Aquapod has a turnover rate that is almost 3 times what I recommend for most seahorses.

Likewise, the 24-gallon Aquapod is equipped with a 290-gallon per hour submersible pump, which will turn over the entire guy above the aquarium more than 12 times every hour. Again, that’s going to be too much water flow and turbulence for seahorses in a small aquarium of that size.

In addition, the 24-gallon Aquapod is equipped with metal halide lighting that can also be problematic for seahorses. In addition to providing high-intensity lighting, the metal halides also tend to generate a lot of heat, and as you know, heat stress can be very detrimental to seahorses. In addition, seahorses don’t like excessively bright light and they may go into hiding, seeking shaded areas amidst the rockwork, if the lighting is too intense for their comfort level. And the seahorses won’t look their best and brightest under metal halides because they will produce excess melanin (black pigment) in order to protect themselves against the harmful ultraviolet radiation they associate with intense light, and darken as a result. For instance, Jorge Gomezjurado reports "…I have exposed yellow seahorses to strong metal halide and they have turned black in few hours." So it would be a shame to display brightly colored seahorses under metal halide lighting in a small, close system aquarium, sir.

For these reasons, the Aquapods are great little systems for nano reef tanks, but not the best setups for seahorses. Given a choice, however, I would definitely prefer an Aquapod over a nanocube, considering the superior features of the Aquapods.

As you are well aware, Jared, nanocubes are indeed compact and convenient, but they are generally not a good choice for seahorse keepers. A number of our other members have tried fairly large (24-gallon) Nano cubes for seahorses and found them to be unsatisfactory.

Other Club members who have tried the 24-gallon Nanocube for their seahorses report that it is quite unsuitable right off the shelf and requires substantial modifications in order to make it marginally useful for seahorses. For starters, they have a bad tendency to overheat, the pump needs to be upgraded, it has no means of filtration so you must provide a biofilter of some sort, and small powerheads should be added to eliminate dead spots and improve the circulation. Even with those modifications, you must stock the Nanocube sparingly, be very careful to avoid overfeeding, and practiced an accelerated maintenance schedule, including weekly water changes.

As an example of what I’m talking about, here’s an exchange from the discussion forum regarding the 24 gallon Nanocube:

Hey everyone! I’ve read the posts about the experiences some people
have had with seahorses in nano cubes and I have a few questions for
them if they catch this post. I have purchased a 24 gallon nano cube
and have done alot of research on it and found out that you have to do
a ton of upgrades on it to make it suitable. The pump has to be
upgraded, there is no true filtration, you should add another power
head for water flow to elimate dead spots. Even then there isnt a
protein skimmer that you can purchase for the nano. So my questions
are where there any upgrades made to the tank? Were you able to keep
other fish alive in the setup or did you give up on it all together?
Thanks,
Nikki

Dear Nikki,

I don’t think that you should have a lot of problems and this is
why. Yes, all of my seahorses have died in a 24 gallon nano cube
setup and I have figured out why. I had a setup with sand, coral,
and two clown fish. I also had the normal cleanup crew snals,
shrimp, etc. I could not figure out why my seahorses kept dieing.

You must understand, that there should not be any other tank
inhabitants within the nano cube when you have seahorses. I would
not even advise sand. All you need is a few hitching post and
maybe, a few large pieces of liverock aligning the back of the
tank. You could add a few snails and only a few hermit crabs.
Note, the hermit crabs will clean up whatever the seahorses will not
eat. You could also add a cleaner shrimp or peppermint shrimp. You
may want to keep it a very low minimal when deciding about adding
anything else in the tank. You don’t want the seahorses deprived of
any mysis shrimp when they are feeding. You don’t want to add any
coral. Why? Because you want to eliminate any possibility of over
feeding and polluting the water. You will also want to do a water
change every week. 20% percent only, and afterwards check the Ph to
make sure it is stable.

I have 2 nano cubes. One nano I have houses
coral, two clown’s, two gobies, crabs etc. No seahorses. The other
nano is a new setup. It is about 2 1/2 weeks old. I am going to
wait about another two weeks to begin adding seahorse’s. At the
moment there are only liverock in the tank. I am not going to add
sand to this tank at all. The live rock are positioned at the back
of the tank. I want to try to leave a lot of open space toward the
front of the tank. Today, I will be adding two snails. I will not
be adding anything else but two hermit crabs only to cleanup after
the seahorses have eaten. The crabs will be added only after the
seahorses have been added. In a nano cube setup, the trick is to
not add too many inhabitants and to do a water change at least every
week or two weeks.

What you could do is add a lot of dead coral
liverock if you can find it. If not, try to find a lot of hitching
post that will work well. Sometimes you could even make them
yourself. So, I hope this has helped you and if there is any
information out there that you or anybody else have please forward
it to me because I am still learning things as I go along. [End quote]

And here is Kristie Cowans’ assessment of nano tubes with her seahorses:

JBJ Nano Cubes and seahorses don’t mix…
Don’t do it, not the Nano cube-I just sold a brand new 24 gallon JBJ Nano
cube only weeks out of the box because with the lights on for 8 hours a day
the water boiled up to 86+ degrees!!! So then I drilled the crap out of the
lid and installed a computer fan-it was so loud it was comparable to an air
driven popcorn maker. While I was researching the fan problem I would drop
frozen water bottles into the tank all day long. I know the owner of the
company who makes JBJ and let me just say he is a shrewd business man always
looking at the bottom line. These Nano cubes should come with a warning
label about how hot they make the tank water. If you want some opinions
about other Nano brands maybe on reef central in the Nano cube section
someone may have better advice-but I regret putting my horse’s through that kind of heat exposure and luckily none of them got ick from the constant
temp. fluxuation as I would put the ice bottles in the water.– Kristie Cowans

For these reasons, I think hobbyists would be better served sticking with a more conventional aquarium such as a standard 29-gallon tall tank if they are interested in keeping the larger breeds of seahorses, rather than trying to modify a nano cube or Aquapod for seahorses.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Jared!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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