I have a bit of a fetish for cool pico fish tanks. They are often sought after by salt water enthusiasts and planted tank aficionados. I haven’t kept salt water in twenty years (I try to live a stress free life), and I haven’t delved in planted tanks yet (but that’s coming up!), but I still love the idea of a tiny, perfect ecosystem that can sit on a desktop.
As most pico tank lovers will tell you, keeping a small tank is more challenging than keeping a larger tank. That seems counterintuitive, but the truth is that there’s less room for error in a smaller tank. Which brings me to the little miracle called the BioBubble. Don’t let its space-age design and adorable bubble-ness fool you – this is a good little tank for the dollar.
The design is unlike anything else on the market. It has a 360-degree viewing area, unlike standard tanks that you can only view from the sides. The dome makes viewing your fish a unique experience. I have two small goldfish in the tank, and since it’s a 3-gallon tank, I’ll upgrade them to a larger space as they grow. But for now, it’s lovely to watch them skim around the dome and dart around the front, begging for food (which is a particular goldfish trait). This is the perfect tank for a betta and a couple of cory cats, or a handful of tropical fish. The tank’s footprint is more like a seven gallon tank, so the fish do have plenty of room to swim. I’ve seen reviews where people have used it for salt water, but I can’t speak to that.
The lighting is probably good enough for salt water, however. BioBubble offers several LED lighting options, my favorite of which is the blue/white combo (they also come in bright white, green/white combo, red/white combo, and ultraviolet). When all of my other tanks become covered in with algae, the BioBubble never (I mean, never, ever) has an algae issue, and the light is on the same amount of time each day as the others. I have marimo moss balls in the tank, and they are growing fine.
At first, the filter looks questionable. A little too simple, too small, maybe. But I had something happen recently that made me rethink that. I hadn’t done water changes in a while (I know, bad fish owner), and one of my goldfish in another tank was looking a bit sluggish, so I pulled out the water parameter kit and tested all the tanks. I gasped when I saw the nitrate levels on the other tanks – they were through the roof. These are pico tanks with custom filtration rated for way higher than the water volume. But the BioBubble? Perfect. I immediately moved the sluggish fish to the BioBubble and he was fine. Then I did a load of water changes. In nearly a year, the water in my BioBubble has never gotten cloudy, dirty, or shown bad parameters.
Here’s what the BioBubble site has to say about their filtration:
“When it came to engineering filtration for the BioBubble Aquatic nothing it required a completely customized designed pump and aeration system. A specialized filter housing was created to integrate with the base of the BioBubble Aquatic creating an advanced configuration. This powerful internal filtration unit is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater environments. The pump circulates and filters up to 60 gallons of water per hour through fine mesh media and is designed to provide residual heat to maintain comfortable temperatures for a wide variety of aquatic animals. Since proper aeration is vital to the health of all aquatic animals the filtration unit has built-in airflow channels and a check valve. With these built-in airflow channels air bubbles can release directly into the interior of the BioBubble to create custom effects or even connect air-driven aquatic ornaments.”
There’s a bit of a learning curve to cleaning the tank, but once you figure it out, it’s easy. There are two clips that you press to release the bubble from the base – this raises a “bellows” type structure that the dome sits on. Then you release four latches to remove the dome (remove some water first, though). Do your water change, clean it up a bit, and then gently lower the bellows. I was worried about having small gravel stick inside the bellows, so I used just a scattering of small and medium sized rocks, along with some silk and real plants. You can even do a water change without releasing or removing the dome, just keep your hand firmly on the dome as you add water (with a funnel), or the dome can sometimes pop up, which isn’t a big deal – you just press it down again till it clicks into place.
The only drawback to the BioBubble Aquatic is the lack of the ability to customize very much, especially filtration or adding a heater. But if you’re careful not to overstock the tank and you do regular water changes, you should be fine. And don’t place it next to a cold window or near a radiator.
One final piece of advice on this tank: The website shows many different animals and types of fish being kept in this habitat, and though the photos are nice, the majority of those animals need a far larger habitat. As I said before, this tank is fab for a betta (Siamese fighting fish) and some cory cats, or a couple of goldfish as their starter tank. You can also do a lovely planted tank or terrarium with the BioBubble.
All in all, I really dig this tank. I give a big “fins up” for the BioBubble! It’s great for the beginner, and more experienced aquarists will have fun with it too. Once my goldfish go into another tank, I’m going to make it into a planted tank and see how I do with that.
From the BioBubble Website:
Illuminated 360˚ views let you see your environments in crystal clear clarity. Custom designed, integrated filtration keeps everything looking top notch. And at the base of it all is the expandable sleeve that makes it all possible. Parts like these define a whole new standard for aquarium keeping, and provides the basis for an outstanding educational tool.
The BioBubble makes a great starter tank for keeping goldfish or bettas. But the BioBubble really comes to life when used for more advanced endeavors. With the addition of plants and decorations along with integrated airline output it becomes easy to create incredible underwater aquascapes. And with the integrated airline output hooking up air-driven ornaments is simple and easy.
With its 360˚ views the BioBubble is perfect for creating that tranquil underwater planted landscape. The deep cavity of the base makes its possible to use a rich iron-based substrate that will allow underwater plants and grasses to put down strong roots and thrive. Then complete it with some dark stones and a small school of tetras.
For the advanced aquarist nothing compares to the beauty of a saltwater aquarium. Or the challenge to create and maintain a thriving nano reef. And no habitat could be better suited for that task than the BioBubble Aquatic. From its integrated powerful filtration system and advanced LED CapLite that makes it possible to keep the environment clean while providing corals with the proper lighting conditions. To the rounded dome that allows for amazing 360˚ views. Craft your ideal nano reef and sit back and enjoy the beauty.