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In Summer 2011 I was lucky enough to be able to take a sabbatical from work and spend lots of time visiting friends. This meant that I saw several nice pieces of furniture in friends homes at a time when we were re-decorating and organising our new home. This was useful actually as I saw some lovely items that I otherwise wouldn't have known existed and one item that was more decorative was this BiOrb aquarium. I actually didn't end up purchasing it until later in the year as I was debating having fish and all the things that come with it, also, I was unsure about what size to go for as well. In the end I opted for the 30 litre model and I purchased it for around £110.00 from Wilkinsons as part of the 'tropical water kit'. This came with everything needed (besides fish!) to start up an aquarium.
This globe shaped aquarium is a Plexiglass acrylic tank advertised as being 30 times stronger than glass with a silver bottom and a silver ring on the top too. The top is removable and the light, a halogen one was what I received with mine, is designed to sit in to the top of the lid. You can buy different colours for the top if you choose to but I've never done this as the silver goes very well with my colour scheme in my kitchen/living room. I will explain all the items that came with my kit in a little detail as they are relevant to my aquarium and the running of it.
Ceramic media: This is the waste disposal system if you like for this tank and this is what I feel is the one main flawed product with this. These rocks are quite large and when you first receive them you need to rinse them and discard any smaller than the size of a pea (presumably in case your fish eat them) and then once they rinse clean they are ready to be placed in to the bottom of the tank. Now we had a number of problems during the months that we used this ceramic media, problems that we didn't realise occured from using this at first, such as the fish falling asleep and drifting in to gaps, panicking and then dying in the 'rocks'. This was tragic as it meant that we had to keep removing rocks and fishing through in order to find the bodies. This made me feel absolutely terrible and left me in floods of tears every single time. Now this ceramic media worked very well at holding on to fish pooh and keeping the water clean, however, I decided to replace this with normal gravel instead and just to use a gravel vacuum and clean the water more often and change the filter more often too.
Filter cartridge: This tank is different to others in that there is a circular area in the middle bottom of the tank where a filter fits and then there is a bubble tube that comes out of this (also provided in the box) that provides oxygen to the water. The filter is very simple to remove and clean and it takes just seconds to do, even with fish in the water. Care is needed of course to ensure that no fish are underneath the filter when you put it back in place as you press it down in to the hole and twist it back in to place and that would be the end of any fish. We've kept the filter system on this as it keeps the water looking fantastic, even without the ceramic media, and it is very easy to maintain too. Service kits cost around £5-£6 at the moment and we change ours every 3 weeks or so. A little more expensive than standard filters but much more effective in my opinion.
Water conditioner, beneficial bacteria liquid & food: Provided in the box was the relevant chemicals needed for adding to the water first time this is set up. There was also a sample of food but I've forgotten the name as this was long since used up. Knowing me I've probably reviewed it somewhere. The liquids were in sachets and were very simple to rip and add to the water. I left the tank for a full week to ensure a reasonable water quality as we live in a hard water area and when I took a sample to the pet store before purchasing fish they were very happy with the levels of the water and promptly sold us 5 fish.
Thermometer: This was just a standard thermometer that goes on the side of the fish tank. We found that ours started to lose its stickiness around the 6 month mark and it just kept bobbing in the water. This meant that the fish kept sucking on it constantly and after just a few days I realised it wasn't salvageable and so I just purchased one that is digital, goes on the outside of the tank and has a stick that goes in to the water. This has lasted around 4 months already with no problems what so ever. The original thermometer wasn't digital but was easy to read and had a 'green' area indicating the perfect temperature for tropical fish. This worked very well for us until it lost its stickiness and kept coming undone from the side of the tank.
Tropical Heater Kit: This goes inside the tank and is designed to be submerged completely in the water. This has a little stand on it that was an improvement on the previous one and a little leaflet in the box said so. This has worked very well for us but we rarely need it on because our home is usually around the 21-22c mark and we've found that putting the heater on this temperature too leads to overheating slightly. We do use it during cold snaps though and it works very well, with an adjuster on the top of the heater that has notches that allow us to see where it needs to be for a particular temperature.
Halogen Light: This light lived in the lid of the tank. It was very bulky coming about 2 inches down from the lid, possibly a little more. I found this very annoying as the water level we kept was near this and I worried about this heating up the water, which I'm sure it did, and therefore leading to poor water quality and ultimately dead fish. We lost quite a few fish in the first six months of using this tank and since we changed the light to an LED one, the thermometer to a digital one and the ceramic media to gravel we've only lost 2 fish and this was because of an unlucky burst of infection in our tank which has now been resolved. In the first six months we lost around 11 different fish, of numerous types, and despite our local pet store constantly testing the water and even on one occasion sending a fish for testing they found no problems with the fish or the quality of our water. It was a real mystery and perhaps it was because we were beginners but now the water is at a regular constant temperature we aren't finding dead fish all the time and we are finally able to enjoy our fish tank.
Now what attracted me to this fish tank is the look of it. Because it is a domed tank made of Plexiglass acrylic the fish are magnified in places and they can be seen enjoying all parts of the tank. As I sit writing this review I am looking at the fish tank on our dining table (where it lives in the centre like a large centrepiece) I can see fish feeding near the top of the tank, fish darting in and out of the ornaments we have and fish nibbling plants at the back of the tank. I like to know that I can see basically all areas of our tank (besides the inch strip that is restricted from view by the bubble tube) as this means that should a fish be in trouble, ill or have died suddenly I am able to remove it from the tank before it pollutes the water or gets nibbled by other fish. I often glance over at my tank to make sure every fish is well, probably something I will do forever now thanks to the problems that we had for the first few months, and because of the location of our tank I have fantastic piece of mind that the fish are safe and healthy at all times. This fish tank looks fantastic to me, it has the look of a classic fish tank with the domed shape. Because the tank is 30 litres it cannot hold 50 fish like a large tropical tank would but we currently have around 10 fish in our tank and the fish looks like it has lots of fish in at all times and that they are significantly bigger than they actually are. This is fantastic as it means that the fish I select for my tank can be small and have lots of room inside but still provide the look of a fish tank with larger fish in.
We leave a couple of inches at the top of our water and because we have the LED intelligent light now this means that there is a nice amount of surface for the bubbles to emerge on and this ensures that our fish are not gasping for air at the top of the water constantly.
There is a finger hole in the lid and we use this for feeding our fish. It is not the most practical solution as it means that food sometimes collects around this but I just give it a wipe over when I'm changing the water every 2 weeks or so and it is kept clean and hygienic.
When it comes to the pump itself that powers the bubble tube etc we've found that as long as you don't sit this a certain way that it is basically undetectable. If for some reason it is moved, say by our inquisitive cat, all of a sudden it gets very loud but this is easily rectified by just moving it in a manner where it isn't constantly vibrating against something and causing a loud noise. This is very quiet and causes us no interruptions to our daily life at all.
I love knowing that thanks to a few alternations that we have a fish tank that is functional, provides our fish with a large amount of space and a good quality of life as well as looking stylish and nice. I do feel that it is unfortunate that I've needed to make these alterations for the good of the fish, however, because this tank looks fantastic I can overlook the extra money that I've spent and still feel this worthy of a rating of 4/5 that is generous and yet fair too.
Of course there are some problems that we've encountered using this and including the ones mentioned there is also the need to take extreme care when touching this tank. Nothing should scratch this and you can only really use the specialist cleaning clothes designed for this tank to clean it. If you use anything that may scratch, or even accidentally scratch it, you'll notice these scratches hugely as they are going to be covered in algae in no time. Now the rocks we used caused some scratches at the very bottom of the tank but with us being careful adding the new gravel that we started using and cleaning with great care too we've avoided any further scratches and so our tank still looks in fantastic condition. I use glass cleaner and kitchen towel to clean the outside again taking care to ensure that nothing gets near the water of the fish tank.
When it comes to algae in general we just use an algae service kit and this usually clears up the algae although the water does go cloudy initially while this gets to work.
If you like to know about dimensions then our 30 litre aquarium is around 17" high and sits in the centre of our round dining table nicely. Obviously it is very heavy when the water is in there too but I can just about pick this up still if I need to. Although it is worth pointing out that I'm very strong thanks to the gym and my shake weight and you shouldn't move the tank with fish in it as it will be unsettling for them and could lead to distress and potentially even death. We've only needed to move this once when full and would take every step we can to avoid having to do this again.
Our particular tank is suggested as a tank for goldfish and for other fish too. I personally wouldn't recommend any of the Biorb tanks for goldfish really as they can grow to an incredible size depending on their breed and a domed tank and lack of space for swimming and comfortable turning can lead to deformities and even lead to premature death in fish. Like I mentioned above we have around 10 tropical fish in our tank and they have plenty of room although we have small fish such as honey gourami and zebra danios.
Now I researched our purchase thoroughly before we decided on this 30 litre tank. We didn't have a large amount of space at the time for a larger tank but if you are interested in a Biorb tank then I would definitely suggest purchasing the largest one that you can afford and comfortably house. Because of the weight of these tanks I would suggest you purchase a tank for this or use it on a very stable surface and ensure that you testing it before placing your tank there. I do feel like the manufacturers of this tank provide the wrong sort of information and I do believe that they state that my tank can hold around around 20-25 tropical fish but I wouldn't dream of having this many in there after the problems that we had at the beginning with lots of deaths. Also, when it comes to fish you should have around 1" of fish (adult size) per gallon of water. With a gallon of water being around 4.5 litres this would mean around 7" of fish for my entire tank. I may be just over this but not much and I wouldn't want to add any more fish at the moment any way as the balance of our tank is perfect and our fish are healthy and happy generally for it.
Apologies for the length of this review but there really is so much to know about an aquarium and I feel everything covered is relevant. Be sure to do your research thoroughly and ensure you set your tank up well before placing any fish in to it. Also be sure to keep this out of sunlight as it is acrylic and will potentially cause a fire if light reflects off of it on to a surface that could heat up and catch fire. Keep the bubble tube on at all times to avoid any fish managing to swim down it and die in there as this happened to a friend. We started our tank with 5 fish but I would recommend starting with less and adding perhaps one or two per month as we started to do after our first 5 (4 surviving, 1 died recently when we had the infection outbreak) fish. Also be sure that you use water conditioners and a testing kit to keep the levels in the water as they need to be depending on the type of fish you have in this tank.
In all it is fair to say that we do love our tank. It looks fantastic and now that we have a routine for maintenance we find this simple to take care of and with the alterations that we've made it does still look absolutely fantastic and is a functional fish tank that gives our fish a good quality of life. You will need to work at looking after this tank and this goes further than just throwing fish and food in and hoping for the best. This is definitely far easier to look after than a standard rectangle fish tank and is ideal for people moving in to fish keeping for the first time. I have found a number of fantastic forums online and found that reading up about the fish tank lots before our purchase made it an easy decision for me to make in the end.
I bought a 30 litre spherical Biorb aquarium and it has been up and running for about 6 months and currently contains four happy fish. Well, they're wagging their tails anyway. It's hard to tell with fish.
The unique feature of Biorb aquariums is that they use a ceramic media (lots of little rocks) to grow bacteria on which break down the waste produced by the fish. The advantage of this means is it's easier to keep the aquarium water at an adequate quality for the fish. This is marketed as a natural method of filtration.
Assembling the tank was straightforward, pictorial instructions were included and it took about an hour and a half to get everything assembled and full of water.
10% water changes have to be done every week to maintain water quality. The tank itself is easy to clean, being made out of some tough transparent plastic.
The diameter of the aquarium at the widest point is about 15 inches, the overall height is again about 15 inches. Along with the tank I received a bag of the ceramic media, a filter kit and a lid with a halogen light in it. The filter is screwed into the bottom of the tank and surrounded by the ceramic media. You have to 'cycle' your tank for a couple of weeks before introducing fish.
After a couple of months we had an infection in the tank due to introducing a sick fish by accident. I was concerned that the unique way the biorb worked would adversely affect or negate the treatment we were introducing to the tank. Luckily this was not the case and eventually the infection cleared up, although we lost a couple of fish :(. The 30L biorb setup seems to be able to maintain an adequate water pH and nitrate level with two big (6-7cm) and two small (4cm) fish (coldwater).
We were told decorating the tank would be a challenge because of the spherical shape, but found that a few tall plastic plants placed in the middle around the filter tube works well when the fish want some place to hide in for peace and quiet or are feeling a bit nervous.
An advantage of the spherical shape means that your fish are magnified when swimming around certain areas of the tank, also it is well lit when the light is on.
The only drawbacks are given the nature of the ceramic media filtration you can't have bottom-feeding fish, and slow release food blocks are not an option either. This means if you go on holiday you'll need to get someone to feed your fish. We feed our fish a mixture of pellets and flakes, like any aquarium you must be careful not to ensure much food is left ignored at the bottom of the tank as this can upset the pH balance.
I would recommend this aquarium, it provides good quality of life for the fish and is a great design feature for our home.
Thanks to my skills as an expert lip-reader I was able to ask the fish for their opinion on the aquarium. They said 'Ob-blob-bob-blob-bob-bob'. That's usually their opinion on everything though.
I remember when the Biorb first came out, and they were all the rage. Like many others, I really wanted this tank but I felt the price was just too high. But finally, I have one, or at least my son does, thanks to my MIL. She bought this almost 2 years ago now, but it ended up being too high maintenance, and when here last fish expired she put it away. Now my husband has a brass neck, and we were looking for an affordable tank for my youngest as the cube tank we had bought was simply not working out, so he just asked his Mom to give it to us, which she most graciously did.
My sons ended up swapping tanks, and this now belongs to my oldest. He absolutely loves this tank, and I quite like it myself. This tank does have some brilliant advantages. It also has some major faults, and the marketing spin on this is unfortunately dishonest in my opinion. It can be a good tank, but you need to know it's limitations or the end result will be a lot of dead fish.
All the biorbs regardless of size are basically the same thing. A silver top and bottom, lid with built in light, under gravel filter and plastic bowl. I originally thought these were glass, but as soon as you see one up close, you realise it is a very thin plastic or plexiglass. This also comes with a halyogen light and transformer to power the filter, a filter cartridge, and ceramic filter medium. A new tank will include fish food and water treatment as well. A LED lighting system can be bought seperately, and I do think this would be a far better choice as it will use much less electric and eliminate the danger of overheating from the lamp. Unfortunatlly at £65, it is way to expensive for me.
This gives the look of a classic goldfish bowl, which were lovely even though they were death traps for fish. It really is a nice ornament and a very attractive tank. One of the best things about it though is that it has a magnifying effect. So very small fish like neons look absolutely massive. Although you can not use these tanks for large fish, you don't need too. Very tiny fish look like giants and suit the tanks well. The circular flow of the water appears to provide good aeration as well.
These tanks are a nightmare to clean. The plastic will scrape easily using traditional algae scrapers, and every scratch will fill with algae forever. The gravel will also cause some scratching, which can not be avoided. The filter is a real --------- to clean, as it is located under the gravel and it will need cleaning very frequently, being basically inadequate to filter a tank with more than a couple of very tiny fish.
If you fill the tank all too high you will also reduce the surface area of the water, which greatly reduces oxygen. If you fill it all the way up it looks brilliant - but the light will overheat your water resulting in boiled fish, if they do not suffocate from lack of surface area first.
The lid is nuisance lifting all the wires, etc to feed the fish each night. A seperate feeding hatch would have been a good idea.
The manufacturer claims the transformer / air pump has a quiet operation. I suppose quiet is relative, compared with a jet engine or freight train this is certainly very quiet. But it makes a lot more noise than the filters which power my 4' tank and it is very annoying noise at that, enough that it would detract from your my enjoyment of watching telly beside it. That said, it doesn't bother my son who sleeps beside it, but he can also sleep through a full scale riot so that mightn't be saying much. I would say this pump is louder than most, but I do have one louder pump.
I would also note that any item made especially for this tank will be very expensive, from lights to filter mediums, to ornaments you will pay extra for anything you buy.
It's tempting to save money and go for the smallest tank. This is false economy, you'll spend more on dead fish, and the work required to keep a small tank going properly is much more than a larger tank. I would advise buying the largest tank you can possibly afford, considering weight and overall size as well. This is the first place I feel the manufacturer has failed it's responsibility to the pets that will be housed in these tanks as it recommends the Biorb 30 litre for goldfish. This is simply much too small. On their site they specifically reassure people that small does not mean unhealthy in their sales pitch for the baby biorb, by claiming the filter is so strong it makes up for the small size. I'm sorry this just doesn't work, no amount of filtration is going to change the amount of swimming space, and while it may help with oxygenation, there are still minimum water surface area requirements for each type of fish.
Sizes ( heights approximate)
15 litre - 12 " high
30 litre - 16.5" high
60 litre - 20.5 " high
105 litre - 24.8" high
Weights for each tank size are available from the biorb web site - please keep in mind water can be very heavy. When full, the largest biorb weighs around 115 kg! This means you want a very sturdy stand. I do not feel any of these tanks are appropriate for goldfish, but if it were to be used for this purpose, the largest would be the only possible choice for the animals to a relatively comfortable existence, and only for fancy goldfish. The smallest tank is an ornament and would really only suit a couple of shrimp or bumble bee gobies with a heater added. It would be a brilliant tank to keep fry in, but I don't see many people shelling out £70 or more for a fry rearing tank. I would strongly recommend that you not buy this tank.
The 30 litre is completely unsuitable for goldfish. A single fancy goldfish is meant to have 90 litres of water. Thirty litres is just cruel. It would make a brilliant tank for bumblebee gobies though, and could also be used for a few small tropicals, I would suggest things like neons, coryoras, ancistrus, and guppies.
We have the 60 litre - which is recommended for saltwater. I would point out though that saltwater tanks take quite a lot of work, knowledge and a bit of luck as well. Maintaining stable water parameters is much more difficult in small tank, especially for a beginner. I simply can not see an experienced salt water enthusiast even considering this tank. However, this size is big enough to house a reasonable assortment of small tropicals. We currently have neons, guppies, kuhli loaches, and corydoras. We also have a plectosomus, but this tank is not adequate for this fish. The only reason we have it in a small tank as we bought it as a 1" fry and were told is was an ancistrus. It is still too small to survive in the large tank, but will be moved when it is big enough. I think this size makes a nice tank for a child's room. It did look lovely in my MIL's front room where it immediately drew the attention of any visitors.
The largest biorb would offer the most choices in what type of fish you could put in, and might even be possible for saltwater, but it would need additional filtration. This is a cracker of a tank, but at £249 + it is more than I would spend for it.
MAKING THIS TANK WORK:
Despite all the bad press, this isn't a terrible tank. The main problem with it is that the manufacturer does not really accurately represent what types of fish are suitable for these tanks. With a little care, a few extra bits and bobs, and a bit of work, this can be a brilliant tank.
First off, the purchase of a heater is absolutely necessary as these tanks do not really suit cold water fish. I would buy a heater specifically for this tank, as you don't want one that gets too hot and melts the plastic. My MIL spent £30 for the heater, which unfortunately is rubbish, but a plastic covered ceramic heater which I reviewed earlier is doing the job beautifully. I have also added a small internal filter ( aqua one - but I would recommend Fluval one). Of course you will need gravel and a thermometer as well, and a few decorations would be nice.
Please be certain you have this set up on a stand or unit strong enough to support its weight. Keep in mind on a stand that this will be top heavy and could easily be sent rolling across the floor by active children or a dog jumping up. This tank is prone to algae anyway. Be certain to keep this well away from windows and sunlight.
When filling this tank, be certain never to allow the water level to touch the light. As long as it is below the light you have enough surface area for oxygen to be absorbed and will not boil your fish alive.
This tank will need frequent scrubbing to prevent algae build up. An ordinary kitchen sponge 9 new of course) will work nicely.
Never ever leave the pump off - fish can easily swim into the central filter tube and will never get out. They will be battered about by the current until they die. My husband also managed to drop a corydora straight down this pipe, even though it was running. Thankfully I was watching and immediately switched off the pump and disassembled the entire set up to free the little guy. I was afraid he would be injured and die later, but this was a couple of weeks ago and he is fine.
Do not overstock this tank, the fish will look huge anyway, go for smaller species. Also do not rely on the bottle of bacteria they give you. Nothing really takes the place of properly cycling a tank except using pre cycled gravel and filters from another tank. If you are starting from scratch start with one or two fish and add more slowly. Buy a test kit and check your water levels, or take a sample to your local pet shop as most will check free of charge. Ideally you should start with only a few fish, wait 6 weeks and add a couple more fish every week or two. I know this isn't fun - you have a cracker new tank and it is so boring to leave it almost empty, but it is more fun than having all your fish die on you.
As mentioned, my son absolutely loves this tank, and I have to admit it is beautiful. Yes it will take a lot of work, but as nice as it is, it is worth it. My sons use fish tanks as something to watch going to sleep. They make a lovely night light if desired, but also a nice way for children to unwind and drift off at night. I have to admit, I love falling asleep watching fish as well. It's very relaxing. If the manufacturer was a bit more honest in terms of maintenance and suitable fish to keep in this tank, I would have no problem giving it five stars. As it stands though, I feel following the manufacturers advice results in suffering and death for many fish, so I am only giving this tank 3 stars. Do I recommend it? Yes, as long as you are willing to put the extra effort into making work. I will point out though, the prices are much higher than you would pay for a comparable tank. The 60 litre will cost you £145 at Pets at Home now. By the time you add filter, heater, a few decorations and so on it will be well over £200. So whether or not to buy this depends on just how much you are willing to pay extra for the unique shape and design, and how much extra work you are willing to put into it. I really love this tank - but I would never have paid for it. I would also note that a novice fishkeeper would have a much easier time with a standard tank.
Anyone wanting to start a aquarium DO NOT BUY BIORB!!!!! Starting a fish tank from scratch is tricky anyway as you need to get the system stable but the Biorb brings up other problems. The problem I am having is my fish getting trapped in the ceramic media and not being able to get out. I have lost nearly all of my fish now. I have wasted so much money on actually buying the tank along with all the accessories and then to top it off I have had to buy more and more fish. I have currently 3 fish left after losing another one overnight to the the dreaded ceramic media. After contacting Reef One who make the product they have come up with so many excuses as to the reason this keeps happening that it is a joke. Anything except admit their product is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!! Whoever heard of a fish tank that you can't keep fish in???
We wanted to have tropical fish to look at but did not like the look of many traditional aquariums as they would not have looked right in our modern house. The biorb however was perfect - a funky looking aquarium.
It comes in 3 sizes : baby, 30 litre and 60 litre. We chose the largest and purchased the stand to go with it. This is basically silver coloured mdf with a chrome pole down the front. The biorb stands on this in the corner of our room and is a real feature.
The biorb comes with ceramic media which goes in the bottom (basically looks like dirty rocks) this is used as is cultures good bacteria which will help keep you fish healthy and biorb clean. I originally purchased an extra bag as I wanted to encourage lots of the good bacteria. However I have since swapped out all of this for much nicer looking smooth gravel.
There is a bubble tube in the middle of the biorb which oxgenates the water. This also looks really good although is quite tricky to keep clean as algae grows doen it. Underneath this tube is the sponge filter which traps all the crud. This needs rinsing out each water change and replacing every 6 weeks.
At the top of the biorb is the light. You can either have the halogen or LED lights. I chose the more expensive LED light which has a built in timer and is white bright lights for approx 8 hours and then gradually dims to a blue light overnight. Again this looks really good.
As I have a tropical set up I have a heater in the biorb. It is supposed to attach to the walls with suction pads but I find due to the curved walls it is always falling off!
Once set up with these basic things you can then accessorise with plants (real or artificial), stones etc. Then you can add the fish. I have had both real and artificial plants. Although I prefer the look of real plants they do make the water greener and disintegrate a bit making more mess to clean out. I also choose the Biorb Feng Shui stones which do look very good.
The biorb is made of acrylic and scratches very easily. You do need to clean it as it gets algae on the inside so I recommend using the Biorb cleaning pads rather that anything else to prevent too many scratches. I do find the biorb easy to clean but would not be without the biorb cleaning pump (£7)- .A couple of squeezes on the hand pump is all that is needed to get the pump working. Whilst emptying water from the aquarium the cleaner pump will also suck up dirt and debris from the bottom. Without this tool it would be really hard as the hole at the top is pretty small and the biorb is far to heavy to move. I therefore pump out 2 bucketfuls and replace with dechlorinated clean water.
The biorb is not a cheap aquarium. My set up cost approx £200. However it has been a feature of my living room for about 3 years now and is always commented on for its good looks. I also purchased a large tank for another room and gave up with this after a year as it was much more work than the biorb.
I definately recommend as a beginners aquarium, however it is important to realise that there is more to fish keeping than just putting the fish in the water and for several weeks I was monitoring chemical levels etc in the water to ensure it was suitable for adding fish to.
Having owned the BiOrb for a few years now, we are in the process of installing it for the second time.
Having had a pair of fish in one for a fairly long while in the past, we decided to get a new couple in time for christmas. The BiOrb is an excellent piece of technology which enables you to have a variety of different freshwater fish in a very stylish and modern aquarium with the most minimal level of input and effort.
BiOrbs come in various sizes from the very smallest desk versions to a fairly large 80L capacity. The best thing about them is the broad range of accessories and extras you can purchase for the BiOrb. One key part is a heat accessory enabling you to have tropical fish, although I prefer to not have to rely on electricity to ensure the survival of my pets. All the BiOrbs are spherical in shape and have an essentially identical design except the scaling factor associated with the individual tank's size.
As well as a light, pump and the various filters and air stones, there are copious types of plants, stones and structures that can be placed around the tube in the centre which aerates the water in the tank. We personally chose a ruined tower style accessory which covers almost all of the plastic tubing and looks particularly good as a centrepiece of the fish tank.
All in all, the only major downside is the price of all the different components put together but once assembled it enables the laziest and least aware of us to be able to keep and maintain a fish tank of our own!
I've had this tank for quite a number of years now, its serve me well. I brought this tank initially as a simple easy to look after tank kit. I didn't have alot of time for cleaning and maintenance but I wanted fish. I brought the LED light version which has a built in timer and shares the power.
When delivered the box is very large and makes you wonder if it will fit anywhere.
The set up is easy more of a put a few bits together and cleaning the filter material before putting it, filling with water and adding the chemicals to set up the water for fish.
According to the various fish people you are meant to do fishless cycling of the water to get the tank ready for fish (lots of articles about this on the internet), which needs a water testing kit (a very good buy even if you use it only every so often).
Once fish are introduced the LED light really does come into its own, the crisp white light and dark blue for night time is awesome, its on a timer that changes the mode according to what you've set like 8 hours of daytime and when the day starts.
The filter system is very simple and old fashioned physical filter and uses the rocky base for a lightweight bacteria cleaning.
The air pump sadly is the weakest part of this kit, its in a word rubbish, loud, weak, walks around the table and oily, I had the original pump for a few months before thinking its faulty replaced it and the second one was just as bad. Don't be fouled by "silent powered" its noisy.
The tank works well, the plastic doesn't distort too much the food hole is ok but you do need to clean it often or it looks horrid.
General cleaning is easy to wipe and using a filter pump when changing the water gets most of the rubbish, see my filter review for more details on that.
After having the tank all this time I've learnt most of lessons around the problems; Use cling film over the light, the bubbles dry on the light and leave lime scale which you can't remove unlike a layer of cling which just gets replaced when dirty. Buy a different pump I use the Ehiem 3701 which is silent the bubbles popping on the surface are louder.
The airlines one way valves fail after a year or so, you can just buy the valves and don't have to have more hose. Try to keep power to the light, it resets the start time when power is lost, needs you to reset the start time which you can only do when its the actual time to start. Cheaper service kits are available check out the forums on internet.
Overall a good tank for a few fish and easy to look after, if you are after a proper tank setup look at something with a better pump and filter setup.
Bi-Orb aquariums are great starter aquariums if you are looking at starting fish-keeping. There are seven aquariums in the Reef One range, all working off the same filtration principal. The Orb tanks all use the concept of undergravel filtration in order to filter the water. an airpump is used in combination with the aquarium. The air is forced up a central tube, moving water with it, and in turn the water goes through the media on the bottom, and replaces the water that has just surged up the central tube. The media in the bottom of the tank not only collects a lot of solid waste from the water, but also houses all the beneficial bacteria that keeps the water safe for your fish. Although the instructions state that one fish can be added after only 24 hours, I would recommend leaving the Orb, with its filter running for at least a week, and then get your water tested at your local aquatic centre. All of the Orbs filters work in this way. There are a selection of different styles, and lighting options also. The Orbs can be set up for coldwater fish, or tropical fish, with the addition of a heater.
I bought my 30l red Biorb Life (the square one) ona bit of a whim because I really liked the design. Not the best way to start a fish keeping career some would say. But I did my homework and before I took delivery of my futuristic perspex cube I had been given some really good advice, the best of which was to ignore the enclosed instructions. To keep fish you have to "cycle" any new aquarium. This can take around six weeks but is essential to build up the beneficial bacteria in the tank which will then handle the fish waste before it turns into deadly ammonia and kills them. Ask any fish keeper and they will tell you this. Sadly the biorb instructions tell you that you can add fish after just 24 hours. Disaster! The instructions also advise you to keep gold fish, a big no no as they can quickly outgrow the tank! These issues aside, the tank looks great. The LED lighting cycles from daylight to blue "moonlight" at night and is a great focal point for any room. Advice varies as to how often you need to do water changes, so do your own research. Do buy a good dechlorinator to make your tap water safe for the fish. Six months on I have gone from twice weekly water changes to monthly ones. And my levels are very stable when I test the water (investing in a liquid kit that tests for ammonia, nitritrites, nitrate and ph is a must). You also need to change the filter sponges every couple of months. Yes the tanks are expensive for a piece of plastic and once you have invested in all the kit to go with your Biorb you have probably spent about the same as you would have done buying a "proper" aquarium. Saying that it is a lifestyle item (and is as such not particularly popular with the fish keeping elite), but you are paying for a unique piece of design. My orb is currently home to two male dwarf gouramis, three neon tetras and two zebra danios. All very happy and healthy in their home. One tip, invest in an algea magnet - pure magic!
I purchased a bi-orb 60 approximately 1 year ago after having a few years experience with more traditional tanks. I originally chose this tank as kit was advertised as being a lot less work to maintain than normal fish tanks. I wanted a tropical tank so bought a bi-orb 60 tropical with led light...this usually retails at anything up to £200 depending where you purchase it from. I paid approximately £165 from an internet company, it is definately worth shopping around. Bi-orbs are made by Reef One and you can buy from a massive range of fish keeping products. Bi-orbs look stylish and certainly are a talking point in any room and come with a range of interchangable lids and bases in a variety of colours. Although they seem expensive the price includes the tank, heater and heater stand, thermometer, led light, air pump, transformer, ceramic media, filter cartridge, bubble tube, airstone, water treatment pack and sample of fish food. You can then buy optional products such as tank sculptures and plants.
Once set up the tank is attractive but the claim that it is easy to keep clean and maintain is not entirely true. The tank needs cleaning every 6 weeks and to do this you require a service kit which includes a filter and water chemicals. The problem I have is that I do not have the full amount of fish in the tank that it holds but still gets extremley dirty. I find putting in a specialist water treatment to prolong the life of the tank water does help. The main problem I have with the cleaning is that the 'easy to clean' claim would work really well in the bath or somewhere where it doesnt matter if water is sloshed around. However once in situe (mine is on a wooden sideboard in the living room) you cant help but slosh some water around. overall I do prefer this tank to others on the market and the hassell is made worth it by the way it looks.
We have now used our biorb for 5 years with superb sucess and thouroughly recommend it. Fishkeeping is a fantastic hobby which brings much enjoyment but only if you manage the water and filter well - the biorb makes this job easy and we have had managed our fish with ease. First steps are that the biorb comes in either tropical or cold water boxes - the main difference is the thermometer for the tropical variety. It is tropical we use at the moment but should we wish to revert to cold water we can do so. Seemingly it can be used for salt water fish too as we recently asked about this in a pet store but it is best to seek expert advise if you plan to do this as the biorb can really only cope with 2 or so salt water fish at the one time.
The biorb is easy to clean - we use a hand pump and as advised only transfer about a bucket full per time so you are never really doing a whole tank at a time as it is better this way for the fish. The biorb company also sell a variet of gagets that will aid the cleaning process - we use the small green ball that cleans off algi on the sides if any grows. For aesthetic reasons only we wdded a volcano too again from the same company so it is up to you how much you want to spend but it can become quite addictive eg we recently bought black stones for the bottom too. You can also purchase a variety of coloured rims to match your decor.
There is one main thing that you must know about biorbs though and that is the danger of fires! Our biorb was at the back of our room - well out of the sun or so we thought but when we came back one winters day with the low sun we noticed a singed mark on our wall where the low sun had been focusing on our biorb and redirecting on the wall - we were lucky it wasnt a curtain or something and since then we have invested in blinds for the low sun winter days.The warning was on the box but to be honest we thought we had placed the tank well but obviously not well enough so please do be careful.
Some people say these is not enough oxygen in the biorb tank but we find the filter very strong and again the filter accessory is easy to replace but again remember to add these replacements along with the cartrages into your buget when concidering buying this. We change the filter roughly 2 times a month but it depends on your fish and how you feed them. Considering the cartrages it is important to note you can buy first aid ones should you find you have bought a new fish and introduced fin rot to your tank. We found this worked well but again worth remembering these additional costs should you be working to a buget.
Overall we love the biorb and think it is a nice addition to a modern home - it doesnt take too much effort to maintain - compared to the old traditional tank we had before - and we enjoy having it in our hojme.
As a long time goldfish lover and keeper I decided last year was the time to upgrade my fish home and to treat my five year old goldfish to a happy retirement. Having smashed several circular bowls in my time I wanted a stylish and bulky addition to my home and was completely blown away by the look of the Biorb.
I purchased mine (30ltr) from Pets at Home who advised me to have it established for a week and bring the water back for testing before I added my little pet. It cost £100 and I have to say I have mixed feelings a year on. My fish adores it, he now has two friends and seems very content. I on the other hand feel like im in a constant battle with the following:
1. Cleaning - as several other reviews have pointed out the self cleaning philosophy (one third water change weekly/bi-weekly) and a key selling point has not necessarily rung true. You have to change the actual filter once every six to eight weeks, these cost £5.99 each and im hoping the tank will remain in fashion as when its out im sure the stockists will begin to dwindle! It remains relatively clean but its so heavy and way to cumbersome for me to move alone. Admittedly it is no more hassle than a standard fish home but the additional expense is frustrating. It takes a good hour to do it correctly and I have now purchased a hand pump (£6.99) an algae magnet (£7.99) to help with the task!
2. The motor - the motor provides the oxygen bubbles and has to be kept higher than the tank, not difficult but ours sits in our living room and guests have commented how loud it is. I now have to change the motor every few months - more expense £11.99 but does reduce the noise level.
3. Algae - Special filters (£10.00) tried without fail and I refuse to believe the line 'once you've got it you cant get rid of it' help from the Biorb folks.
But ahh well at least I have happy fish and a stylish tank.......
The Biorb Aquarium - Designer Aquarium for your designer fish made by Reef one.
This designer fish tank is a real feature for any home. I purchased one a few years ago because when I saw it in the shop I was simply blown away by it. The simple design which is based around the 'original' fish bowl has been updated to be included in the more modern home.
The bowl which is made of arcrylic material is designed to lower the stress levels for fish. It has been proven that the biorb is the perfect shape ti give fish a fantastic view without corners and sides which seem to cause stress related behaviours.
The Biorb is designed to have higher oxygen levels - of up to 30% more than other fish tanks. The tube in the middle pushes air through to your aquarium ensuring your fish have the right amount of oxygen always.
The Biorb is also designed to reduce maintenance and help the water stay healthy and clean for your fish. Filters can last for up to 6 weeks without any maintenance and water will remain crystal clear during this time. Filters can be brought online or from any Biorb stockist at around £8.99 each. The ceramic stones at the bottom also provide a certain amount of filteration ensuring that all the 'good stuff' stays in the water.
Avaliable in a 30l of a 60 litre version
10 x stronger than glass
Ideal for medium sized cold water fish although a heater is avliable to turn it into a tropical tank.
Safe low voltage pump
A large range of colours avaliable to suit your home
height 16.5 inches
Width 15.7 inches
Weight (full) 68 pounds
Volume: 8 gallon/ 30l (avaliable in 60l)
12 v transformer
12 month guarentee.
The Biorb comes with everything in the box that you will nedd including the cermaic media, the filter and the pump. You just need the fish.
Whilst it is all well and good telling you all these facts and figures it is no use to anyone is they don't ring true and in my experience they don't. It is some time ago now that I had a Biorb - I would say 3-4 years but I guess they haven't changed much as I have heard people have the same experience as me.
Whilst Biorb or Reef one claim that the Biorb is designed to stay cleaner for longer this simply is not the case, Within about two weeks the ceramic media at the bottom was full of fish poop and the water started to smell completely stenching my house out. As you can imagine cleaning a 30l fish tank is not as easy as cleaning a tiny fish bowl which you can carry to your garage and in fact it is almost impossible. It take a small cup (which is all that will fit in the top of the tank and about 30 trips to the sink to even half empty it. It is impossible to lift to the sink whilst full because of the weight. This gives you absolutely no incentive to clean the tank and the water just gets more and more dirty.
When you do finally pluck up the courage to clean it you have to wisely choose what you use as the acrylic is so easily scratched and ruined and I did this once too often which just adds to the blurryness of the tank.
Not only this but I do not see how Biorb can claim that this is a better enviroment for fish. I had 3 lots of fish all of whom were dead within 3 months. They all miraculously contracted fish bloating and all ended up floating upside down and struggling to stay afloat which is not only stressful for the fish but also very stressful to watch. I cannot see that this is a coincidence as I kept my water and tank clean as it said to do so in the instructions (even though it was a painful procedure).
The tank retails at about £80 for the 30 l which in itself is a painful amount of money for a fish tank but when it was up and running perfectly and my fish were healthy and happy it was well worth it. Everyone commented on it and how beautiful it was and I was a proud owner. This was short lived though as soon enough my tank started growing green stuff and looked vile and had to be dragged by 5 people to the room which nobody went it because I couldn;t stand the embarassment and I just simply did not have the time to clean it every week.
I will say though that the customer service from Reff one was great and when I had an accident with the lid to my tank and split it down the middle they sent me another free of change within the week.
I think the conclusion to this is that if you have the time to maintain the tank then it has potential to be beautiful but this kind of defeats the object of the design as it is meant to keep itself clean for 6 weeks. Unfortunately my Biorb days were short lived and after 6 months I gave up and took it to the local boot sale where I sold it for £5.
What a waste of money!!
I was given a biorb for Christmas a couple of years ago and get plenty of enjoyment from it.
The set-up was pretty easy as the infomation provided is easy to follow and the tank came with gravel, so I just had to buy the plants etc to go inside.
Day to day maintenance is quite easy. I change a little of the water every couple of weeks and once every 4-6 weeks I change the filter. The filter comes as a 'service pack' which cost around £6-7, but they are the only on-going costs.
The biorb products/ornaments which are made specifically to fit the tanks are very pretty, but I feel well over-priced. If you are on a budget I'd recommend getting small ornaments that are on general sale as they can look just as good.
The biorb makes a great feature to a room-plenty of my friends have commented on it and of course its a great way to waste a few moments to fish-watch!
The BiOrb aquarium is an easily maintainable, very simplistic and elegant tank. However it is not without its faults.
Like most tanks the BiOrb is easily set-up, all the basics are included in the box; the media for the bottom of the tank, pumps and filters. Just dechlorinate the water, fill your tank up and you're on your way to a tank full of fish. It is easily modified into a tropical tank with the addition of a heater.
I am however, not impressed with the literature that comes with the tank. The literature indicates that fish can be added within around 24 hours of the tank being set up, this is now widely considered to be cruel to the fish - I would suggest any prospective fish keeper research "Fishless Cycling" instead. The literature and advertising also suggests that this tank is suitable for goldfish - this however is also untrue. A single goldfish should, according to some sources, have approximately 130 liters of water to itself. Goldfish grow to extreme sizes and never stop growing. The 'fact' that goldfish only grow to fit their tanks is a myth - their insides will continue to grow, compressing and eventually leading to death.
Despite the instructions being abysmal the tank itself is great. It looks stylish and impressive and its easy to clean - with 25% water changes every 2 weeks or so. This tank is as easy to maintain as any other on the market, so it is usually selected due to its aesthetic qualities. My only other gripe is that bulkier ornaments will not fit through the opening in the top, but this isn't a big problem.
So with proper research into the correct care of fish this tank is good for beginners and veterans alike. I myself keep a 30l and a 60l tropical tank and enjoy them immensely.
A great site to help in the research of good care is BiOrbs own internet forum BiOrbit; lots of friendly advice (on suitable fish and Fishless Cycling) and links to lots of articles.
Designed with a clear acrylic front and back