Review Of The Fluval Flora Nano Tank
Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:51 PM
Just a little (it's actually quite long as I got carried away) review of what I think about the Fluval Flora Nano that my GF brought for me. I am just going through parts as I have been using it. There are rather allot of room for improvement but I have given a final paragraph that should show that this is a step in the right direction.
The cost of this tank with all the parts included as mentioned below is around the £85-£90 mark.
Not really much to say here. Everything was in separate boxes in the main tank box with each individual instruction booklet inside as required making setting up easy enough to get started although the instructions are minimal and there is no trouble shoot guides should anything seem wrong initially.
There is also a plant growing booklet with some basic plants and what they recommend growing. This seems like a good idea for the beginner and even someone just wanting a few ideas and know what each plant requires in terms of CO2 and lighting.
I would say that the CO2 instruction pictures are useless as it is all grey scale and makes it difficult to see how it should look set up as they are post stamp size so for beginners the task of putting it together can seem a little daunting .
I don't like the substrate. Every time I try to plant in it another plant comes out. I left it to settle naturally after rinsing carefully for 12 hours. All looks clear and fine but with this planting problem and how low density it is (Says it's meant to help growth) it just doesn't hold the plants even will some lead on. It could do with another pack of 1kg topping such as a quartz/sand that is more dense to hold the plant substrate it comes with down so that you could plant easier. You could probably get away with half the amount of topper to the plant substrate so not to lose too much height.
The Filter it comes with is OK. It has good flow and easy for maintenance and attachment to the tank. You can fill it with polishing pads and other media in the same space that is provided. I have placed a pack of Biomax and the sponge from the Edge range as well as some polishing wool while just squashing the net pad it came with as there was no need to have so much open space in the filter, this should hopefully help the water quality in the tank and make sure that it can be stocked with a few nice fish even if it's not heavily planted.
The spray bar hole wasn't the right size for mine and actually cracked while placing the spray bar on top of the filter. It still fits and works with no air gap but means it is a little loose. The spray bar 90 degree attachment would benefit from being clear like the spray bar itself to be less visible.
The top of the filter does not connect to the bottom of the filter where the media goes very well and you need to hold both together to move it about the tank until you have it in its desired position as it gets too heavy for itself once full of water.
The CO2 diffuser is too big and bulky and doesn't work very well. It appears that rather than realising the CO2 over a period of time as the instructions suggest it loses the CO2 very quickly and means you are not getting a very stable supply during the photosynthesis period.
Providing a small glass ceramic diffuser and a drop checker or a standard ladder style diffuser would be much better for the type of tank as they are less visible and would make control allot easier.
Obviously if you go down the ceramic diffuser/drop checker route I would suggest a small inline Solenoid should be used to control the regularity of the CO2 where as the ladder style diffuser would be simple to just count the number of bubbles per min to give you an idea.
At this price point I would not expect a Solenoid to be provided so a standard ladder design diffuser seems a sensible change to the kit that it comes with.
For a price comparison and cost of the kit the other option that could have been provided is the Hagen Nutrafin CO2 Bubble Counter & Fermentor which provides about 3 months supply and cost the same as the little CO2 kit.
You could also completely remove the kit and just go for Flourish Excel or similar as on this size tank daily dosing would be easy to maintain and cost a fraction of the price long term to the kit and also mean that the initial cost of the tank could be reduced.
The plastic supports for the lid are a little unsightly and rather flimsy and not very securely connected . To make this work better I would suggest allowing the glass to sit on top of a small strips of glass along the front of the tank around 2" long by 0.25" deep. Something around 3-4mm would be plenty. This could just be attached on with some clear silicone at the required height and although visible would be less unsightly than the current corner connections. The rear of the top could just sit on the light attachment support as current.
The corner supports would then not be needed which means less plastic moulding needed for manufacturing considering they use two different plastic moulds due to the curved corners at the front. It would also keep the clean look much better.
The Lid is alright. It gets finger prints on quickly meaning constant cleaning to keep maximum light in the tank and maybe a Perspex top would actually work better for this application as it is easier to keep clean. It would also be lighter for terms of packaging. Currently there is small holes for one cable to run each side of the lid out the tank with the corner supports but this means adding a heater will leave a cable trailing out the side of the tank or right across the back. A better solution would to have just left the cut outs open without the plastic in the way and to use small clear suction cups on the rear of the tank.
This design also means you cannot retro fit a small external canister with spray bar as there is not enough space to get even the smallest of tubing through. Maybe some nice curved cut outs about 16mm in diameter would be better suited. This would allow for more filtration options.
The light is good. It has plenty of adjustment and easy to install to the tank. The bulb always flickers on because of the type but defiantly produces enough even for the higher light plants. It has a pre-built reflector which works well and the light is kept out of the way for maintenance.
The fixing to give the adjustment does seem a little cheap and over complex. It may have been easier to use a flex light arm which you can move in position to suit as it has less parts to brake/loose/replace.
The background for the tank is actually well finished. You can see the mould markings if you look close but as a pre-installed fixture works well.
It is a basic polystyrene material and although the bubbles in the poly seem large it doesn't appear to show the poly effect like you get off some of the other cheap 3D background as it is moulded. It is painted with some good detail and appears to be painted with black protective paint to edges and back to finish off. For the price of this tank there is nothing to complain about here.
The tank itself seems well made and has lovely curved corners on the front which keeps viewing angles well no matter how it is positioned. The silicone is clean and glass is nice and clear with no obvious flaw's. At 7.9 Gallons (30litres) and dimensions of 30x35x30cm/11.8"x13.7"x11.8" (LxHxD) for the price this isn't a bad size. It comes with a black foam mat to place the tank on which fits fine although the front corners are chamfered flat rather than curved to suit the shape of the tank but you could adjust this yourself with a Stanley knife. It would have been good to see the mat come about 1cm larger than the tank so you could cut around the shape yourself as it does not quite support the whole tank although this is minimal and would certainly not affect the tank stability in any way.
Further to what is already included above you get a set of planting tweezers that seem to do the job fine and at this price point was a nice inclusion but it would have made more sense to include a single pair of long handled scissors for trimming. It also came with a small thermometer which is nice and small but I am a little dubious of how accurate it is as it read my tank was 38 Celsius without a heater for two days until it dropped to a temperature of around 25/26 Celsius with a heater in there.
The last inclusion with the package is the Nutrafin Plant Gro Supplement which I personally have never used before. It comes in a little 30ml bottle and is Iron Enriched. With its instructions on the bottle it states to shake well and to use 5ml for every 37 litres of water but does not state if that is daily or weekly and I cannot find direct info on what this recommendation is as all of their product data says to just test for the iron content and too top up accordingly. As it says to test weekly for Iron I would assume it is required to be added weekly as well meaning the little test bottle will last you about 6 weeks if you just dose 5ml each time.
So overall I probably don't sound that impressed but let's factor in the price for the whole kit. You get a great little 30 litre tank with a nice background and light which for the price I would not complain at compared to some of the slightly cheaper 30 litre tanks out there. The filter itself works well and you can fit quite allot of media in there although it is limited to the internal filter which is a shame as an external would make a much nicer and cleaner look.
The dimensions are good and it looks clean even next to the TV and other mod cons. It doesn't come with a heater and trying to find one that is discrete and works is a little tricky and the CO2 kit is not the best for this set up due to the size of the diffuser but you could easily change to the slightly less obvious and bulky ladder or a glass tube one or go for the Flourish Excel bottle that will see you well as long as you remember to dose daily.
The things that really let this down is the quality of the instructions with the small pictures and no guidance to really setting the tank up as a whole and the substrate that I think allot of biggeners or even experienced aquarists will find frustrating to plant in because of how low density it is. I would advise to add plants that grow on rocks and woods rather than stem plants as they tend to float away. One way to solve this would be to start slow and let each stem take route before planting the next but this is time consuming and makes it more tedious than the kit should. All in all if they added a different diffuser a pair of pruning scissors to make up the tools and a topping substrate for a little extra cost to keep it just under the £100 mark it would be a great little set up that allot more people would find more user friendly and enjoyable.
Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:51 PM
Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:18 PM
Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:46 PM
Just as a thought do we have a section for product reviews that I have missed? It would be good to get some area for this. If we just pinned a section in top of hardware or something so people can look though the threads for filters, tanks etc it may give people a good starting point.
As I have got on with the tank I have found that you need to minimise the lighting period on the tank as it seems to create high amounts of algea even if you heavily plant with fast growing stems.
I have cut down my lighting period to only 6 hours a day and still struggling to keep it under control. I haven't got a solution to this as I have adjusted what I can in the tank and with the parameters. I now have 3 Dwarf puffers, 6 Black Neon Tetras and 2 Pleco's in there at moment. The pleco's are for algea control until I find the right balance.
Hope this helps and will try to get pictures over the week, will have to borrow dad's camera.
Edited by curlyriff, 22 February 2011 - 09:40 PM.
Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:59 PM
Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:04 PM
Posted 22 February 2011 - 09:40 PM
Not sure the quality of the pics will do the tanks that must justice as said having slight algea issues with the light being almost too good.
The puffers are great towards the other fish I have in there, not always to each other though, although all aggresion has been minimum and only slightly during feeding but they have got there pecking order now and seem to know each other and where they can be in the tank.
I am not happy with the current scape but the GF picked all the plants and just asked me to put them in. I will get around to doing a better scape when I have some more time and finished setting up my Cichlid Tank.
Anyways here are the photos I said I would get. Hope you like.
Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:09 PM
looks nice, BTW are they figure 8 puffers?
Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:38 PM
I found it just too large and taking up too much space in the tank for the benifits. As said I am not completely happy but thanks for the compliment.
I want to get some nice bogwood in there to give it some height at front with some anubias or similar attached to give better cover so that it breaks the fish line of sight up.
Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:07 PM
It looks and sounds like such a great tank, I'll have a mission on eBay
Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:29 AM
Posted 23 February 2011 - 11:03 AM
Posted 23 February 2011 - 12:18 PM
Thanks for comments on scape. I will go for smaller shoaling fish though. I haven't got another tank to put these guys in at moment.
Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:05 AM
New to the forum and just want to say what a brilliant tank this really is! I paid £40 in a pet store closing down sale and it really is amazing! I have attached some photos of my tank set-up!
Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:48 AM
I feel its a good wee tank, I don't use the CO2 as it was just too big and bulky. Like the OP I found the Fluval Stratum to hold very little down, IMO you'd need another 2Kg bag as I've found I really have to heap the substrate up on top of plants so its not great for plants like crypts.
The background actually popped off on mine, it did with another person on here too so I kept it out as I really didn't wish to upset the shrimp so that is now laying in a cabinet in another tank.
I did want some galaxy rasboras to put in there initally but couldn't find them so its shrimp only.
I keep my light on for five hours a day, I do not dose anything as yet and do not use any CO2 or liquid carbon but this is going to change soon.
I will be adding an external filter as soon as I can source a small enough one that's safe enough for shrimp (may be a hard task)
Like the OP I didn't use the small bottle of ferts they supplied as I thought if I couldn't source the same stuff again it may do more harm than good.
All in all, I cannot complain about it as I got it for free but there are improvements that could be made to the tank.
Oh, it doesn't come with a heater for those of you wishing to buy.
Thanks for sharing.
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