A True Saltwater Aquarium Starter Kit with Fish and Corals


Biota Aquariums launched a new saltwater aquarium kit which may not sound like a big deal but this kit actually includes everything needed for the tank. From the tank and lights to the salt and a hydrometer plus a heater. That alone will make this kit a better experience for someone just coming into the hobby but they did not stop there, it also includes live rock, corals, and fish!

If you are interested there are two options, you can purchase:

  1. Standard Complete Aquarium, this is the fish only option for $399 (retail ~$550), includes all the hardware needed to start your aquarium, 1 months’ worth of fish food, live sand, (2) packs of salt, (2) Orange Clownfish, (1) Goby & 1 Live Rock
  2. Deluxe Complete Aquarium, this is the fish and coral option for $529 (retail ~$750) includes everything in the Standard package plus: 4 Cultured Corals, 6-month worth of supplies.

There are other options you can add to your Standard or Deluxe package but keep in mind that Biota Aquariums is limiting you to 4 corals per tank. That’s not a bad thing but if you buy the Deluxe package and also want an anemone for your clownfish to host in then you have an issue. You could get the Standard package and choose an anemone plus the (3) pack of Cultured Corals and end up with a bill of around $550 to $600 depending on what you choose.


Ok, so some fellow reefers may look at this and say that the prices are a bit inflated, well you are not the target audience for Biota Aquariums. They are trying to target new people to the hobby, there are many kits that are sold today that does not include everything truly needed and in the end provided a bad user experience to the person who tried to get into the hobby. The kit they provided seems like a good kit and I like how they even go further and help them choose their first fish and corals. The fish they choose are hardy fish that are all sustainable the same goes for the corals.

I looked to see what the big chain pet stores had to offer people new to the hobby. I will assume that a big chain pet store will be someone first attempt at the hobby, how in many cases it is unless they were introduced to the hobby and someone already in the hobby. I found a similar 12-gallon acrylic tank for over $400 with a built in sump and return pump, and they claimed this was all you needed. Now you could go with a 10-gallon tank, external filtration and save about $100 bucks, it will not look anywhere close to as nice as the package Biota Aquariums is providing and everything in their package is specially designed or chosen to work so there is no second guessing as to what you need or if it will work.

How’s does it work?

  1. So you will receive the aquarium, you unpack it and set it up. Mix the water, drop the sand and set up the light timer. Once you are done you let them know that your tank is setup and you have the correct salinity.
  2. Bio Aquariums then ships out your live rock, the live rock that is sent out has been specially chosen to make sure it fits the tank well and is one large piece so no worries about how to aquascape it.
  3. Once your rock is in place you can then request the species that you purchased either fish or fish and corals. They are then shipped out to you, once you get them they explain how to acclimate them to your tank.
  4. Enjoy the aquarium

They have a few add-ons as well that you can purchase:

  • $29 – 6 Month of Supply, you get fish food, enough salt to make 25 gallons of saltwater and 6 carbon filters
  • $29 – Get (1) Cultured Coral, you can choose a zoanthid or a leather
  • $40 – Natural Sea Water Delivery, they will deliver a 5-gallon jug of water so that you can do 5 1-gallon water changes each week
  • $49 – (1) Bubble Tip Anemone – Green
  • $57 – Get (2) Cultured Corals, these are the zoanthid or leathers again
  • $85 – Get (3) Cultured Corals, these are the zoanthid or leathers again
  • $89 – (2) Black & White Clownfish, this upgrades your current clown fish to the black & white clownfish
  • $113 – Get (3) Cultured Corals, these are the zoanthid or leathers again

So some of the options make sense and some at first did not make sense, first of all, I remind you again that the Deluxe package comes with (4) cultured corals, and you are limited to 4 corals per tank. All of the optioned prices are not bad when compared to online retails and you add shipping to their orders.

The only option that did not make sense was the 5-gallons of water for $40 when you can pick up 5-gallons of water at your LFS (Local Fish Store) for less the $10. As you can imagine how shipping is included in the US the majority of that must go to shipping and handling charges. But if you do not have an LFS nearby and do not wish to make your own salt then maybe it is a good deal for you. I would suggest getting your water from an LFS. With that in mind, I would also suggest holding off on introducing any new fish or corals to the tank no matter how tempting you think it maybe for 3-6 months just to make sure you don’t get any unwanted hitch hackers that could provide a bad experience and to make sure you have enough time to maintain the current fish/corals that you have.

Biota Aquariums current plans are to start shipping to Indiegogo users by November 2016, so it could even be a good Christmas present.


What comes with the kit:

  • 13.5 Gallon Tank
  • LED light
  • Light timer
  • Filtration system (Sump)
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Biological additive
  • Live sand
  • Cultured live rock
  • Captive-raised starter fish
  • Aquarium sea salt
  • Glass cleaning magnet

Fish options:

Corals:

  • Pillow green nepthea
  • Long polyp leather
  • Green polyp leather polyp
  • Zoanthis Coral
  • Rose Bubble Tip Anemone
  • Green Bubble Tip Anemone

Biota Aquariums is founded by marine experts in hope to attract new people to the hobby and educate them about reefs to build awareness to reef conditions. Biota Aquariums plans to donate 1% of their sales towards ocean conversation. With every fish purchased through Biota they also promise to release a fish into protected waters of Palau.

Check out Biota Aquariums website to learn more. Also, check them out on Indiegogo

Currently, if you go to Biota Aquariums website it redirects to their Indiegogo campaign where you can purchase one of their tank options. Any crowd-funded project has a chance of never happen, currently everything is in prototype stage with that said I feel confident on this one that it will.

So what do you think this kit is missing? Let me know below and lets me know what you think about this kit.