Frequently asked questions
If you’re new to biOrb, these FAQs will give you a quick start. Do you have a question not listed here? Drop us a line at talktobiOrb@oase.com
How do I change the aquarium filter?
Changing the filter is easy. Reach into your biOrb and turn the bubble tube a quarter turn to release it. Then simply lift out the entire filter cartridge. Another quarter turn removes the filter which contains all the waste. Twist on a new filter. Place back into your biOrb, switch the pump on and you’re done.
How long should I leave it before adding my first fish?
You should leave the biOrb running for at least 24 hours before adding your first fish as this allows the water to stabilize. If you are using tap water always use the de-chlorinator provided.
Can I add more than one fish in the first month?
You should not add another fish for at least 28 days unless you are closely monitoring the ammonia level (high ammonia build up can kill fish). Ammonia test kits only cost a few pounds and are a worthwhile buy. Once matured the bacteria will convert the ammonia to less harmful substances. You can dilute the ammonia with 1/3 water changes if it does get high, if you are unsure of what level it is at or if you have added more than one fish.
Why has my biOrb gone cloudy?
Immediate cloudiness can be a result of insufficient cleaning of the ceramic media; if so it will eventually settle out. Wiping the inside of the bowl with your fingertips will also help. Cloudiness and smelliness, especially over a short period of time, indicates overfeeding or the use of the wrong type of food.
Why has the water in my biOrb got a brown tint?
The brown tint that builds up in aquarium water over time is a concentration of dyes from fish food and organic waste from fish. How quickly this tint builds up is directly related to what you put in the biOrb. If it happens quickly after setting up the biOrb, consult the ‘how much should I feed my fish’ FAQ above.
If after a month or so you notice a tint, do a water change and change the filter cartridge. If you notice that the water goes brown quickly after maintenance ensure that when you remove the water you use a siphon. Sucking out the dirt after removing the filter cartridge prevents any solid waste being left in the biOrb, which quickly discolours water. Agitating the stones before siphoning will also help to loosen any trapped dirt.
Why is there algae growth on my biOrb?
A small amount of algae growth is a sign of a healthy aquarium and not something to worry about. We say this because harmful chemicals such as ammonia are metabolised into a less harmful substance such as nitrate, which actually feed algae. Where there is excessive algae growth, a number of parameters could be accelerating it. These are outside parameters such as light and heat and inside parameters such as high nitrate/phosphate levels.
High nitrates and phosphates are a direct result of either overfeeding or a lack of maintenance. It is important to carry out regular filter changes and partial water changes. It is not necessary to empty the biOrb and start again, just increase the maintenance for a while and follow these tips:
Make sure the biOrb is away from any sources of heat.
Make sure it is in a dark area (even non-direct sunlight can be strong enough to accelerate algae growth).
Reduce feeding/ stocking levels.
Clean any algae away with a cleaning cloth.
Change/clean the filter more regularly. Leave a maximum of one month between changes until problem subsides.
Use a siphon pump/tube to remove any solid waste. Sucking out dirt after removing the filter cartridge prevents any solid waste being left in the biOrb that could cause nitrates. Agitating the stones before siphoning will also help to loosen any trapped dirt.
When carrying out water changes, take out more than 1/3rd of the water to dilute the nitrates but do not exceed 2/3rds. Try to ensure the new water is of a similar temperature to minimise stress. Use chemicals provided with service kits when doing water changes.
Some chemicals are available to reduce nitrates and phosphates and may help. However, they are no substitute for taking more care with feeding and regular maintenance.
Why am I getting fewer bubbles?
If you’ve noticed that the rate of bubbles has decreased compared to when you first got your biOrb, you’ll need to change the air stone. This is normal for all aquariums, air stones simply become blocked over time by calcification, especially in hard water areas. They’re cheap and changing them regularly will help to prolong the life of the air pump and improve filter performance. To change the air stone remove the filter cartridge as if you were doing a filter change. You should now be able to see a small white cylinder about 20mm high where the bubbles come out; gently pull up on it to remove the air stone and replace with a new one. Be careful not to push down to hard on the stone as it may become damaged.
Why do I have to change the filter so often?
Changing the filter is important as it becomes blocked over time and reduces in efficiency. As a result, the waste it has collected starts to break down and rot, releasing toxins. Regularly changing the filter removes this waste. It is also easier and more effective to siphon water and dirt out whilst the filter is also out. Siphoning dirt from the lowest point ensures the maximum amount of waste is removed. The sponge can be cleaned under a tap as they provide mechanical filtration only. This however does not recharge the chemicals in the cartridge.
Why do I have to keep the biOrb out of sunlight?
All aquariums should be kept out of sunlight. There are three main reasons why;
Direct or strong daylight will cause excessive algae growth.
Direct or strong daylight will cause excessive temperature fluctuations in the aquarium.
All round fish bowls, both glass and acrylic have a magnifying effect. Whilst this adds to the appeal of them, one down side is that if placed in direct sunlight they produce a focal point of light that can scorch/burn materials and possibly cause fire.
Do I have to keep the ceramic media provided?
The ceramic media provides important biological filtration so removing it may be detrimental to the fish. If you add finer material like gravel, you may find it becomes blocked, preventing the filter from working effectively. If this does happen switch to a coarser gravel and/or siphon clean the gravel more regularly.
What should I do if a fish dies?
There are two main causes of fish death in new aquariums: overfeeding and over- stocking. A new aquarium has no bacteria to cope with the biological load produced by fish and food so the ammonia level rises very quickly and toxic levels build up. If you think you have overfed or overstocked your aquarium you can lower the level of the toxins by diluting the water with fresh water and carrying out maintenance to remove solid waste. In a mature aquarium bacteria will consume most of the toxins but it takes around 28 days (with fish in the aquarium) to start the maturing process. This is why we recommend only one fish for the first month. Your fish is most vulnerable during this period as the water can look very clear but still be very toxic.
Always remove dead fish immediately. Fish can die naturally but more often than not something has caused it to die. Examine the fish for outward signs of disease and have a sample of the water tested for ammonia, nitrate and pH, as something may be about to affect your other fish. It is usually pragmatic to ask yourself if everything is all right in the aquarium; am I overfeeding? has waste been allowed to build up in the aquarium or am I doing enough maintenance?
What types of fish can I put in the biOrb?
Whilst all coldwater fish are suitable for the biOrb, size should be a consideration. We recommend that the smaller the fish the better, and that you use some of the more hardy varieties such as white cloud minnows that do very well in a cold-water biOrb set-up. Always remember more fish equal more maintenance.
Can I add a heater to my biOrb and make it tropical?
Yes. All biOrb’s can be set up as a tropical aquarium simply by adding a standard aquarium heater. A 50-watt heater should provide plenty of heat.
What chemicals should I use?
Try to use as few chemicals as possible. Excessive additives and chemicals will not help the condition of your biOrb. Choose a set of chemicals to do a job and stick with them; do not mix additives from different companies to do the same job as they may react adversely together. Think before using chemicals and additives: do they do the same job? Can they be used together? You only need to use a de-chlorinator to remove chlorine if you are using tap water etc.
How do I change the biOrb AIR filter?
Changing the filter is easy. Simply unclip the lid and remove the cartridge, replace with a new one to keep the air in your room odour free.
Why should I use Humidimist?
Tap water has a lot of impurities in it. It’ll clog and calcify the misting unit and it’ll also settle as watermarks on the inside of your globe. Humidimist is perfectly balanced to give your plants the humidity they need, but not to damage the delicate components in your biOrb AIR.
What is Coir compost?
Coconut husks (which are used to make coir) are a waste product from the coconut industry. Coir mills buy this waste product from multiple traders, then shred the husks for several different uses, including coir doormats, animal bedding and growing media.
Cocopeat (coir) is a renewable resource unlike peat moss, which has taken centuries to evolve. The extensive use of traditional peat moss in horticulture has resulted in the depletion of natural bogs (swamps), an essential part of our wildlife heritage. Peat moss extraction harms the unique and fragile wetlands ecosystem as there are many highly adapted plant and animal species that are found only in peat bogs. The destruction of the world’s wetlands is progressing at an alarming rate. We can all play our part in assuring the conservation of peat bogs by using alternative substrates to peat moss, such as coir.
Does my biOrb AIR need daylight?
No, it doesn’t. All the light your plants need to thrive is provided by the biOrb AIR. You can place your biOrb AIR in a dark room where house plants wouldn’t normally thrive and enjoy watching them grow.
Can I use tap water in the base of my biOrb AIR?
Yes, where it is not turned into mist for humidity, it is okay to use ordinary tap water in the base of your biOrb AIR.
Why is my Misting Unit only working occasionally?
The misting unit will only mist when the humidity has dropped. The biOrb AIR has been designed to retain humidity and reduce the need for repeated topping up of the misting reservoir.
How often should I change the biOrb AIR filter cartridge?
You should replace the filter every six months so that it can continue to absorb aerosols.
Can I add fertilisers to the misting reservoir?
No, anything added to the fogger reservoir will be vaporized into mist and eventually precipitate on to all internal surface possibly causing irreparable damage.
What can I grow in my biOrb AIR?
Depending on whether you choose AIR 30 or 60 your choice of plants is wide. AIR 60 is specifically designed for tropical plants, whereas the AIR 30 can support tropical, temperate and arid species.
The key is to choose plants that grow together in the same climate. For example, you would not choose a tropical plant like an orchid and an arid cactus together. They require two very different climates. For clarity, we list the plants under their Latin names below. Many of them are also known under more common names.
Suitable arid plants include;
Aloe, Conophytum, Echeveria, Haworthia, Sansevieria, Sempervivum, Senecio, Austrocylindropuntia, Astrophytum, Cleistocactus, Dolichothele, Echinopsis, Euphorbia lactea compacta, Acanthocereus tetragonus, Ferocactus, Lobivia, Mammillaria, Crassula, Lithops, Parodia magnifica.
Suitable temperate plants include;
Tillandsia Cyanea, Tillandsia Festucoides, Tillandsia Ionantha Rubra, Tillandsia Brachycaulos x Abdita, Tillandsia Fillifolia, Tillandsia Ionantha Fuego, Tillandsia Tricolor Melanocrater, Dionaea muscipula, Drosera Aliceae, Pinquicula, Sarracenia, Heliamphora nutans x heterdoxa.
Suitable tropical plants include;
Fittonia Skeleton bicolour, Fittonia Red, Fittonia Lemon, Fittonia White, Peperomia, Rotundifolia, Peperomia Angulata, Peperomia verticillata, Peperomia mixed, Ball / Pillow Moss, Micro Phalaenopsis, Ceratostylis Retisquama, Haraella Ordorata, Psygmorchis pusilla, Ornithidium Sophrontis, Ornithophora Radicans.
What is the job of UVA light and what is the lifetime?
UV-A stimulates pigmentation. Lifetime of the light is 20.000 hours
What is the job of UVB light and what is the lifetime?
UV-B stimulates vitamin D3 synthesis from the precursor vitamin D2. Lifetime of the light is 20.000 hours.
What is the job of infrared light and what is the lifetime?
The Infrared & RGB LEDs that are in the biorb EARTH fulfill the rest of the needed wavelength for reptiles. Infrared wavelengths are the primary terrestrial wavelengths known to penetrate the skin. This means that they are more effective at heating animals.
Infrared-A is also known as ‘near infrared’. It is the shortest wavelength within the group: 750-1400 nanometers. That is because it is the closest to visible light – that which humans can see. It has a high energy and is beneficial for animals. This is because the photons penetrate into the dermis of the skin. Infrared replicates 850nm and 940nm.
What does the App control?
The App controls everything inside your terrarium. This includes:
Pre-programs based on climate zones
Can I use the biOrb EARTH if I do not have iOS / Android device?
The biOrb EARTH needs to be controlled via an App on an iOS / Android device, either a tablet or mobile phone.
If I have a fault with my wifi – will I still be able to control the habitat and the environment?
If you have a fault with your wifi, the selected program will keep running. Please make sure to get your wifi connection back as soon as possible to be able to adjust values in case that’s needed. In the meantime, make sure your water reservoir is filled up.
Is the speaker just for background noise just for my enjoyment or will this serve a function for the animals?
Like us, it’s natural that animals respond to sound. Some sounds replicate the natural surroundings of the reptiles environment. For example, a frog breeding chorus. This can help your frogs to breed.
As people, it is also nice to experience our animals with sound. Mute or un-mute, the choice is yours.
Is the speaker waterproof/splashproof?
The speaker is not splash or waterproof. The speaker is deliberately situated in the opposite corner to the water refilling hole. The chances of it being splashed with water are very low. If you’re unlucky enough to damage the speaker, it is available as a spare part.
Is there a safety catch for the lid?
The openings of the biOrb EARTH are from the top. For additional security, we offer 77493 biOrb Lock set accessory. This item includes two locks including plastic components which will be taped onto the right and left hand side of the terrarium lid-frame.
How are the top wings fixed?
The wings as well as the mid-section of the light are locked in tight. For additional security, we offer 77493 biOrb Lock set accessory.
Can small flies/food escape through the venting system?
The biOrb EARTH outlets are equipped with a fine mesh foam which keeps inhabitants and their food inside the enclosure.
Why does the biOrb EARTH need a drainage hose?
Some reptiles require a system rains a often. You can also use the manual rain and boost function. It can happen that your system gets too wet. This may result in the humidity level constantly at 100% which can cause further problems. The drainage hose on the back of your vivarium allows you to control this if needed.
Can I use tap water in the reservoir?
We only recommend to use Humidimist. Using tap water will make the guarantee void.
Reason for the need to use Humidimist is that we cannot guarantee the functionality of the product worldwide due to variations in water quality.
Can the heating be switched off from below?
The heater cable can be switched on and off within the OASE Control APP.
How scratch resistant is the acrylic?
Acrylic, while very clear can be scratched. In case of small scratches, the 46026 scratch remover polish from the biOrb aquarium range can be used to restore the acrylic.
Is there a water level indicator installed in the water tank?
The water level cannot be seen in the APP. However, the APP will let you know when you will need to refill your water reservoir.