Success in a Miniature Reef: BioCube 16 and Fluval Evo 13.5

 Success in a Miniature Reef: Biocube 16 and Fluval Evo 13.5

A flourishing and vibrant coral reef is like a dream for many people — that’s why public aquariums are so popular. However, it can be quite daunting to setup and maintain one yourself. These days, technology has come a long way — we’ve simplified, automated, and customized every detail of an aquarium. For those of you who wish to jump into the world of reef aquaria, but just want to get their feet wet, a great place to start is with a system called “AIO” or “all in one”, which means, everything you need to be successful is not only included, but built into the system in a way that allows them to work together. Today, we’ll talk about two smaller sized systems, which are perfect for those of you who are interested in a single species or two, or perhaps just a small coral reef. The BioCube 16 & Fluval Evo 13.5  fit into this realm of reef possibilities.

All in one aquariums include…

  • The aquarium itself, usually ready to simply unwrap and plug-in
  • All of the filtration, and it’s usually built into the systems in a way which hides as much as possible while running.
  • A lid which fits well
  • A reliable, tested return pump
  • A lighting system which is decently capable. Some of them, such as the ones on the BioCube, have built in timers.
  • Your first set of filters — although, we recommend purchasing extra because they’ll clog fast during the beginning stages of your aquarium.

All in one aquariums *almost* never include…

  • A heater — and unfortunately, this is a critically important piece of equipment. For these size aquariums, we recommend Fluval Heaters
  • Wave makers
  • Substrate, such as live sand
  • A high-end light (unless you are in the market for those systems, such as Red Sea Reefer Deluxe AIO
  • Rock or decor
  • Live Animals

BioCube 16

 BioCube rose to fame worldwide for being one of the first and most successful all in one aquariums. BioCube 16 is its fourth iteration of the series, having been perfected and updated more and more each time. BioCube 16 has tight fitting lid, which will reduce evaporation and prevent untimely fish jumps, and even has a built-in timer for the lighting system. BioCube is well known for its rounded corners and single pane glass, an efficient, well-hidden and customizable filtration system, and a roomy, cube shaped design. This aquarium will make an excellent coral reef and can comfortably support two or three appropriately sized fish.

Fluval Evo 13.5 

The Evo line of marine aquariums is a sleek, rectangular shaped, glass aquarium, which boasts a bright LED light, a customizable lid, an efficient filtration system and a unique aesthetic. This desktop aquarium is absolutely perfect for a vibrant and diverse reef, with single fish specimens or a pair of smaller fish. This tank is the smaller of the two, so keep that in mind when thinking about recommendations. Comfort is the key to a stress-free environment.

Fish recommendations

  • Single 3-4” solitary specimen, such as slow-moving predatory dwarf Lion, or other ambush predators.
  • A pair or trio of a single species, which is known to bond well, such as Clownfish (with an Anemone if you choose) seahorses (for advanced keepers), bonded pairs of gobies, Cardinals, Hawks, and more fish which stay below 2-2.5” of maximum size.
  • 2-3 different species fish which maximum size is 2-3” and do not compete for resources, such as a clownfish pair and shrimp goby pair, or a cardinal fish, goby, and basslet.
  • Clownfish
  • Small Basslet species, such as Royal Grammas
  • Bottom dwelling (but not sand sifting) Gobies, and even their symbiotic shrimp pair if you’d like.
  • Dart fish, such as Firefish, Scissor Tail, and Blue Gudgeon.
  • Small species Hawkfish (semi aggressive)
  • Small species Dottyback (semi-aggressive to aggressive, should be added last)

Simply put, if you’re interested in a beautiful and vibrant desktop / nano reef, with no shortage of maintenance tasks to get your hands dirty, plenty of active marine life, and thousands of possibilities, then these small aquariums are perfect for you. However, don’t worry about the challenge behind all of it — your family at Blue Fish Aquarium is here to help you every step of the way.


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