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We have put together a list of questions that might be commonly asked. If your question is not below, please use the ‘pop-up’ messenger icon on the bottom right of the screen, as we may be able to help you more promptly.

I have ordered my live rock or fish and have not received it. Why?

The shipping of live rock takes place on Monday and Tuesday each week.  It takes 3-4 days to ship the live rock.  You will receive confirmation once your live rock ships. Biota ships fish and corals Monday through Thursday via FedEx ‘Priority Overnight’.  Biota confirms that someone will be home to receive the animals before shipping.  Weather delays and unanswered emails can result in shipment delays.  If at anytime you would like to check the status of your order, please email: [email protected]

When will I receive my live rock, fish and corals?

The Biota Aquarium experience has been carefully planned so that the animals are safely transported and acclimated to their new home in the proper order. After setting up the tank, the live rock is shipped, which contains important bacteria and habitat for the fish. Once received, the fish can then be shipped so that they are going into an aquarium with the live rock in place. If corals are ordered, they arrive with the fish.

How do you ship the items to me?

Biota Aquariums uses courier company FedEx for all US shipments. They can be reached at fedex.com or 1 800 GO FEDEX.  You can also track your shipment via their website.

How can you send fish through the post?

Your fish and corals are safely shipped using the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations (LAR).  This inlcudes the use of an insulated box to ensure stable temperatures during transit,  a “liner bag” to catch any potential leaks and a carboard outer box.  The animals are packed with pH adjusted seawater and oxygen.  During the extreme temperatures of summer and winter, ice packs and heat packs are also used.

What is your ‘safe arrival guarantee’?

Biota Aquariums guarantees the live arrival of your sustainably cultivated fish and corals and that they will continue to live for 15 days. For more information see our guarantee policy.

I live outside the USA, can I order an aquarium?

Biota Aquariums is excited that you are interested in owning a marine aquarium.  Currently, the Biota Aquarium is only available in the USA.  Please email us and let us know where you live as we hope to expand our distribution in the near future.

A part of the equipment is not working, eg pump, light, what should I do?

Please call us first for advice, but if it is a tank, light or pump issue it will be covered under warranty for the specified period by the tank producer. You can contact our tank supplier http://usa.hagen.com/contactus. Details of the warranty are here.

My fish have arrived and look dead, what do I do?

Please acclimate the fish in your prepared tank even if they look lifeless. Many times, specimens that look dead will frequently recover within minutes when acclimated.

If after acclimation you are certain they are dead then we apologise in advance. We do everything in our power to deliver you healthy, live fish. Please follow the procedures found on our warranty and returns page.  Please note you must acclimate the fish in your prepared tank the day they arrive.

How long does the set up process take?

We guide you through the set up process in stages to ensure that the best environment for your fish is created, giving them the strongest chance at a healthy, happy life. After you receive your tank and set up the saltwater you activate a code to receive your live rock. After that you receive your fish. The process takes 10-14 days.

Where do I put my Biota Aquarium?

The best place for the Biota Aquarium is a very sturdy desk, countertop or other furniture item than can hold the weight of the tank full of water, live rock and sand. Saltwater weighs 8.6 pounds (lbs) per gallon! The Biota Aquarium weighs almost 130 lbs when set up so take this into account when placing the aquarium in you bedroom, office, kitchen or school. The water in the tank should not move when walking near the tank or when making contact with the furniture it is placed upon. Keep away from high traffic areas such as a doorway or other area that is too active as this increases the risk of making contact with the aquarium and possibly breaking it or scratching the glass. The Biota Aquarium should not be placed near a window as direct sunlight should be avoided. Lastly, keep the tank away from heating and cooling air ducts, as these can cause the water temperature to fluctuate too quickly and stress the fish and corals.

How do I know how to set everything up properly?

Find out more in our instruction videos and guide here.

Where should I place the corals in my tank?

There are four corals included with the deluxe Biota Aquarium package.  Two are on round disks (Pom Pom Xenia, Zoanthid Coral) and the other two are leather corals. The disk corals should be placed in the sand, away from the live rock as they have a tendency to grow very quickly and can outcompete the other corals as the tank begins to mature.  The leather corals should be placed on the live rock so they they receive direct light and some water flow from one of the return nozzles.  The base of the leather corals can be gently pushed into a crevice in the rock so that they stay in place.

Do I need to feed the corals?

No, the corals provided with the Biota Aquarium are all photosynthetic, meaning they convert light into food.  With the help of special algae cells (zooxanthellae) living within their tissues, corals have adapted to live this way in very nutrient-poor environments, like the coral reef.  This is why it is important to provide an adequate daily photoperiod for the corals to grow and thrive.

Why does my Rainford's Goby keep hiding?

The Rainford’s Goby is very shy when first intruded to the aquarium.  They will immediately go under the rock and hide, sometimes for several days or even a week!  You can notice their presence by watching for small dug out tunnels in the sand under the rock.  They are very good at picking up any food off the bottom and picking at the live rock.  After the first week, they are usually out and about and soon become quite conspicuous!

How old are the orange clownfish when I receive them?

The orange ocellaris are 5-7 months old when shipped and can live 25-30 years in captivity!  In the wild, it is estimated that 10 years is a decent life span for a clown before natural selection!  The captive-bred black clowns are older with the smaller male being 6-8 months old and the larger female 10-12 months old.  All clownfish are males first with only the dominant individual becoming the female in their host anemone.  Therefore, if you place two small clowns together, one will grow larger than the other and become the female.

I am starting to see brown spots on the sand, rock and glass. Is this normal?

Yes, this algae (brown diatoms) is completely normal during the first 8-12 weeks as the aquarium ‘cycles’ and finds it’s biological balance.  There are several things that fuel excessive algae growth that should be taken into consideration.
  1. Make sure your source of freshwater or pre-mixed seawater is of the highest  quality. Reverse osmosis/deionization (RO/DI) is recommended and usually available from your local fish store.
  2. Make sure all the food is being consumed and none is going into the overflow or sitting on the bottom.  The return nozzles should be positioned as outlined in the set-up guide to limit food from going into the overflow.
  3. Food quantity should be reduced if fish are not eating it all, especially during the first week of adding them to the aquarium.
  4. If you ordered a 6 month supply from Biota Aquariums, it includes a high quality carbon with phosphate remover to reduce algae.  This gets changed monthly using TWO of the small nano packs.  These are also sold separately in our web shop.
  5. You can reduce the photoperiod to 6 hours for 2-4 weeks to slow down algae growth during cycling.  After this time, the light should go back to being on 8 hours a day.
  6. You can gently stir the sand with your hand or a utensil to turn it over and keep it white.
  7. The black filter wall can be cleaned using the one side of the magnet (textured) provided using your hand to move it around since you cannot use it as a magnet.
  8. You can add a calcium supplement like “C-Balance” in our web shop to help inhibit diatoms and promote calcareous algae.

How often is maintenance required?

Please check our out ‘set up guide’ PDF.

What temperature should I keep my Biota Aquarium?

The ideal temperature range is 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the heater temperature at 74 and always monitor the temperature with the included temperature decal. Temperature swings of more that 2-3 degrees per day can be stressful for the fish and corals.

How much do I feed my fish?

One of the most important factors in maintaining your new aquatic habitat successfully is following the feeding instructions. DO NOT OVER FEED! The Biota Aquarium comes with a food packet and a measuring spoon. The fish should get one spoonful 2X per day. The best time to feed is after the light has been on for at least 30 minutes and again before the light goes out. Feeding should be at least 4 hours apart. Your fish “sleep” too and eat best during the times when the light is on.

How do I make seawater for my weekly water changes?

You will need special aquarium sea salt like Biota Aquariums sells, NOT TABLE SALT for making seawater. Follow the instructions included with the sea salt for best results. Use only filtered water, such as reverse osmosis or distilled freshwater as tap water is to be avoided. Filtered freshwater is available at most aquarium/pet stores or bottled water from the grocery store. New seawater should be mixed in a clean bucket (never previously used with chemicals) with a small pump or air pump/stone for 24 hours before being added to the Biota Aquarium. Make sure the salinity matches that of the aquarium before adding and adjust with more freshwater to lower or add more salt to raise the salinity. Temperature should also be the same as the Biota Aquarium before performing a water change. Biota Aquariums sells pre-mixed saltwater that is ready to be used and eliminates the need to mix sea salt on your own.

Can I use tap water?

Use only filtered water, such as reverse osmosis or distilled freshwater. Filtered freshwater is available at most aquarium/pet stores or you can use bottled water from the grocery store.

How do I measure salinity/specific gravity?

Salinity and Specific Gravity both refer to the amount of salt in the water. It is important to maintain the salinity through weekly checks such as when a water change is performed. Simply place the hydrometer in the water and shake it to remove and bubbles that may stick to the moving indicator. In order to get an accurate reading it is helpful to tap on the hydrometer to help dislodge stubborn bubbles. Place the hydrometer against the aquarium glass using the suction cup. Proper levels are 1.019-1.020 for fish only and 1.023-1.024 for fish with corals.

Can I clean my tank glass with window cleaner?

Do not spray ANY aerosol or other cleaners at or near the aquarium. This includes air freshener as these chemicals can get into the aquarium and are toxic to fish and corals. Use only freshwater and paper towels to clean the exterior of the aquarium. Make sure anyone who is cleaning your home, office or school is aware of the lethal potential of these chemicals being used too close to the Biota Aquarium.

Do the fish have to be removed in order to clean the tank?

You can safely clean the glass, pump, sponge and filter area without removing any animals.  For water exchanges, the water can be carefully siphoned out with a small hose into a bucket.  Use care not to siphon up your fish or corals!

Can I put my hand in the Biota Aquarium?

Anytime you need to place your hand in the aquarium for any reason or when performing maintenance, make sure you have thoroughly rinsed your hands and arms beforehand with freshwater and DO NOTE USE SOAP. Perfume/cologne or lotions should also be avoided so they do not contaminate the Biota Aquarium.

Can I add more fish, live rock, or corals to the tank?

The Biota Aquarium has been specifically designed to house the 3 fish, live rock and optional corals offered.  It is highly recommended that you enjoy your ecosystem and that you DO NOT introduce any other fish to the aquarium as this could comprise the health of your tank and cause biological instability.

Can I add plants to the tank?

The Biota Aquarium is a marine ecosystem that will not support freshwater plants.  We recommend that you do not add anything to the tank other than the animals, live rock and optional corals offered by us.

What happens if I am going out of town?

Your fish need to be fed daily so proper arrangements should be made to have someone monitor the tank and feed the fish in your absence.

What do I do if the fish look unwell?

If your fish are not eating, it is best to test your water at a local aquarium store.  Excess food should be kept from going to the bottom of the tank or into the filter system, as this will cause poor water quality that can affect the fishes’ health.  A 1 or 2 gallon water change is always a good idea using purchased pre-mixed seawater or making your own with filtered freshwater and a sea salt like the one included in the package.  You can purchase both sea salt and pre-mixed water from pet stores. Make sure your pump is working properly and that adequate flow is present.

Why did you pick Clownfish and Goby?

Clownfish and gobies were chosen because they are captive-raised, beautiful, hardy and they get along great together.  They also can live their complete life span in the Biota Aquarium since they do not grow larger than 3”.

What sort of fish do you release back into the ocean for the fish I buy?

At our Biota Marine Life Nursery in Palau, we release rabbitfish into the protected waters to help restock the oceans. They are hardy fish whose stocks are depleted because they are popular fish to eat.  Read more about the work of Biota Palau.

Where do the fish come from?

Our two clownfish come from an aquaculture farm in Florida, USA, and the Rainford’s Goby comes from our Biota Marine Life Nursery in Palau. We carefully acclimate the fish at our marine life center in Florida with the aim that you receive healthy, disease-free fish.

What is live rock?

Live rock is a calcium-based rock that provides both important habitat for your fish as well as bacteria that aid in maintaining your water quality.  It is carefully conditioned in seawater for 4-6 months before being shipped.  The live rock included with your Biota Aquarium is man-made in California.

What corals can I choose?

Biota Aquariums offers several hardy soft corals that are appropriate for the tank.  These were chosen because of their ease of care, lighting and water flow requirements.

How long do Clownfish/Goby live for?

Since your fish are captive-raised, their birthdates are known!  Clownfish have been documented to reach 30 years or more in captivity. Rainford Gobies have only recently been cultured are believed to live 6 or more years with the proper diet.

You say you are a 'sustainable' company. What makes you different from other fish suppliers?

We only sell captive-raised or tank-raised fish.  Most other companies sell wild-caught animals.  This is not to say that ALL wild caught animals are not sustainably harvested but it almost impossible to know which ones are and which ones are not.  The future of the marine hobby is in aquaculture and Biota Aquariums is proud to offer the first-ever commercially available aquarium that includes only cultured animals.

What light do I receive?

The Biota Aquarium includes a 16w full spectrum marine LED light that is ideally suited for saltwater fish and most soft corals.

What is the wattage of Biota’s LED light?

Biota’s LED light is a 16 watt output, 1383 lumens.

What type of pump does Biota use?

Biota uses a submersible pump with a flow rate of 500 gallons per hour (GPH).

Do backers need replacement filters?

Yes. Biota’s carbon filters should be replaced monthly and the Biomax Media and Foam Cartridge needs to be changed annually.

What does the carbon filter and Biomax Media do for the tank?

Biota’s carbon filter removes organics and tannins that make the water yellow. It ultimately maintains crystal clear water. Biomax Media serves as a biological filter to keep water safe by removing ammonia and nitrite created from fish waste.

Why do I need a thermometer? Is there an ideal temperature the tank should stay at?

Because the fish corals come from tropical regions where coral reefs are found, water should ideally be maintained between 74-78 degrees fahrenheit. This is vital to the health and longevity of marine life.

Why do I need a hydrometer?

Here’s a few reasons you need a hydrometer:

  1. To measure the salinity or specific gravity of the water.
  2. To make weekly replacement seawater
  3. To monitor the aquarium water

Sometimes water in the aquarium slowly evaporates leaving salt behind, gradually increasing the salinity of the aquarium. You’ll need to use the hydrometer to moniter this activity so that filtered freshwater can be added to keep salinity constant. Please note salinity should be kept constant at 26 parts per thousand (PPT), 1.019 Specific Gravity for fish only, or 32 PPT/1.023 for fish and corals.

How big is Biota’s heater and why does the tank need this heater?

Biota’s heater is 100 watts. It is needed to maintain the water temperature above 74 degrees to maintain healthy, happy marine life.

What are the cleaning magnets and how big are they?

2 inches X 3.5 inches

What is the Bio Starter?

The Bio Starter adds beneficial bacteria to the aquarium during the start-up process and the first month of ‘cycling.’ This helps establish necessary biological filtering bacteria to maintain proper water quality.

What type of fish food comes with my Biota Aquarium and where can I buy more when I run out?

The fish food we provide is sustainably sourced mysis shrimp pellet food. You will be provided with 60 days of fish food in your starter kit. When you run out, you can simply purchase more fish food from our website.

What color is the live sand substrate, how much is included, how long will it last, and where can I buy replacements?

The live sand substrate is white coral sand and 6.6 pounds will be included in your starter package. Luckily it lasts years and there is no need to replace it.

How much aquarium sea salt is included, how long will this last, and where can I buy replacements?

Biota comes with two packs of aquarium salt, which provides enough salt to set up your Biota aquarium at the proper salinity. You will need more aquarium salt one week after set up, as you need to change the water of your Biota weekly. You can also buy salt from our website or your local fish store. In addition, pre-mixed seawater is available on our website or at your local fish store. This means you don’t have to mix your own seawater!