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The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Biorb Fish Tank

What is the Biorb Aquarium System?

biOrb Aquariums and biOrb filtration technology are produced and promoted by Reef One.  They offer a highly advanced and complete aquarium system that is quick to install, easy to maintain and looks good. This is their marketing blurb and looking at the operating item they do look attractive - but are they the answer to everybody's needs?

This article looks at the very good points that these modern and well designed systems have - and raises points that many people will need to consider before running out to but one.

In all aquariums the main point is to keep the fish and other living organisms that you might choose to house in them in as healthy a condition as possible. The display must also look good and the only way for these objectives to be met is to keep the water crystal clear and fresh, thus avoiding algal build up and bacterial infections.

Reef One have developed what they consider to be a unique filter within their biOrb Fish Tanks using mechanical and chemical filtration methods house within an easy-to change cartridge system. The oxygenation of the non-square aquariums is said to be much better than in conventional designs and further biological filtration takes place on the surface of ceramic media that forms the substrate at the bottom of the bowl shaped tank.

The Biorb 30 Bowl


The biOrb Filtration System Examined


Biological filtration takes place on the ceramic media at the bottom of the tank. The water containing the excreta passes over the media allowing the bacteria housed there to break down ammonia to nitrite. This nitrate which is poisonous will be further broken down to nitrate. Therefore, as with all aquaria there must be further water changes to remove the nitrate which although not poisonous to fish will need to be kept at reasonably low concentrations.

The water movement within a biOrb is not as focused as in a conventional aquarium utilising pumps to draw water evenly through large volumes of biological filter media but is effective on modest bio-loading nevertheless.


Suspended debris is removed from the water using the filter cartridge. This cartridge is separate from the biological filtration media which allows for its removal and replacement at regular intervals without disturbing the bacteria on the ceramic media.


Toxic substances are removed from the water (other than the nitrite waste products from the fish) chemically using resin particles in the cartridge filter. Typically the cartridge filter will need changing every six weeks but this will depend on the biOrb being kept at a recommended level of stocking and feeding of the fish is kept at stated levels.

Buffer compounds are also kept within the cartridge filter to keep the pH of the water stable.


Maximum oxygenation takes place by air bubbles continually breaking on the water surface of the aquarium. As there is a smaller air/water interface with a biOrb Fish Tank than with a conventional aquarium there is less natural oxygenation taking place here and reliance is therefore placed on the mechanical aeration system. However, so long as this remains operational and there are no electrical failures, the fish will stay safe.

The overall filtration of the water is powered by the air bubbles causing movement of water opposed to using a pump. This means that both aeration and biological filtration depend on a single air pump - whereas an additional safety margin is found in more conventional aquaria where one or more pumps and aerators are often used in combination providing the security of redundancy.

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The Benefits of an Acrylic Fish Tank

Most fish tanks are made from glass. Glass is extremely heavy, with any tank over 75 litres or so in volume requiring two men to lift (when empty!). Glass tanks are also vulnerable to cracking and shattering, which when considering the amount of water they contain, can cause a great deal of damage should they fail.

BiOrb Fish Tanks are constructed from ultra clear plastic that is crystal clear to look through and just as strong for keeping the water in place. It will not however shatter in the same way as glass and in this respect is much stronger. It will take knocks and bashed much better than glass panels without complete failure and the resulting loss of fish and damage to the room.

Acrylic plastic is a better insulator than glass and so will not cool down should there be a power failure and the heater stops working to keep the water temperature suitable for your expensive tropical fish.

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The manufacturers claim that acrylic plastic, unlike glass, can be polished perfect should it become scratched. However, it must be born in mind that glass does not scratch very easily whereas plastic can very quickly become scuffed when treated badly.

There is no doubt that acrylic is a more modern material from which to construct aquaria than glass, and is better in many respects. It can be manufactured seamless and into many more shapes, including rounds, ovals etc. It is stronger and lighter and the finish is better, but it is prone to scuffing and therefore must be treated with care.

It is said that these days most major public aquaria are mad eout of acrylic and not glass for all of the above very good reasons. It is more expensive than glass.

The Biorb Marine Bowl


A Versatile Product?

The biOrb Fish Tank is very versatile and a great item for installing in offices, sitting rooms and other areas where a dramatic display is required. It is even offered in a marine version. Marine fish are stunning to look at but are generally much more demanding than their tropical freshwater counterparts.

Where a large specialist display is required, a conventional aquarium might be the choice for the fish keeping enthusiast. But where a bold statement is required then the biOrb fits the bill.

Biorb Aquarium Products

Buying a Biorb Fish Tank

The Biorb Fish Tank arrangement does have a great benefit when used in some circumstances. It provides a easy to set up unit that can be on display within a very short space of time and will stay looking good for as long as you follow the maintenance guidelines accompanying it. Like any aquarium, if you neglect its care it will begin to look dirty and the health of its inhabitants will suffer.

Buying a Biorb Fish Tank is particularly easy as a result of their light weight. Compared to extremely heavy glass aquariums they can easily be bought through reputable shopping sites on the Internet and sent through the postal system as well as easily carried home from your local aquatic retailer.


Many enthusiasts frown on the quick and easy biOrb type kits. Howver, they fulfil a great need and allow some people who would not otherwise keep fish to take advantage of the quick and easy approach.

However, a word of caution! Even if keeping fish is made easier, you are still looking after livestock. You cannot set up such an aquarium and then leave it to fend for itself. It will still need care and attention, and make sure you do not overfeed! These "turn key" aquariums in a box will not protect fish from the careless keeper.


Rae on November 14, 2013:

can you have live plants in these sort of tanks?

Mark Jenner (author) on October 11, 2012:

It might be the species of fish, or their size?

underworld1961 on April 18, 2012:

can you tell me why my fish i have neons & guppeys they keep getting stuck in my filters i cant see how they are getting in there help .

underworld1961 on April 18, 2012:

hi i have biorb bowl a very big one i have the filter in place & its tight but why do my fish keep getting caught weel stuck in side my filter on the sponge 3 as died . help ta .

Mark Jenner (author) on February 16, 2011:

I agree, and very suitable for offices and studies etc.

fishman brit on February 16, 2011:

I like the fact that there are no ugly silicon seams, as per standard fish tanks. They are also easier to get delivered via mail order - no fragile glass worries.

Mark Jenner (author) on July 22, 2010:

Many thanks I appreciate your comment.

caninecrtitics from Massachusetts on July 21, 2010:

Great Hub I love the biorb its a great fish tank.

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