Dymax iQ3 nano aquarium review

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Levi Major tries out this new nano tank which is small enough to fit just about anywhere.

It’s good…

The Dymax iQ3 is a beautiful aquarium, coming complete with lighting and integrated filtration. At 22 x 17 x 22cm/8.5 x 6.7 x 8.5” it is truly minute, but, being made from 0.6cm/.25” acrylic with curved edges, is stronger and safer than a glass alternative.

While small, this aquarium comes packed with features you would normally see on systems much larger and more expensive.  

Filtration is hidden behind an built-in false wall in black acrylic. Water from the tank goes via a surface overflow onto the biological sponge in the baffled chamber behind. The filter uses a diffusion plate to provide an even flow of water through the filter media.  

With each iQ3 is a coarse sponge that makes up the bulk of the biological media, but it’s also sold with a polishing pad to remove finer particulates from the water.

Filtered water then leaves this section via a gap in the base of this baffled section into the adjacent chamber. From here the compact return pump, with adjustable flow from 200-300 lph, takes filtered water to the display via a small duckbill-shaped nozzle to create gentle flow.

This is reasonably powerful for such a small pump, but consumes only 5w of power.

The iQ3 comes complete with the Robot LED system, which is quite a slick little unit that’s easy to attach to the aquarium and is fully dimmable. The light is bendable into any position and contains 28 LEDs, but demanding a total power consumption of just 1.6w.

To the human eye the light is bright and provides uniform illumination for the aquarium.

But…

Having PAR tested the light it’s clear that, while it may appear bright, it only produces a maximum PAR value of 100 µmol/m2/second at the surface.  At the base of the aquarium this drops to 38.

While this is still suitable for lower light plants or corals, you certainly can’t be trying to keep demanding species, such as SPS, without supplementing the lighting.

That said, this aquarium does lend itself favourably to a planted freshwater pico housing a group of shrimp. Given a volume of just over 8 l/1.8 gal, this aquarium should only house plants or inverts as it is unsuitable for fish.

Looking at this aquarium from a marine perspective, the filter media provided can clog up very easily, especially the polishing pad, given the amount of particulate matter associated with aquariums housing live rock and the myriad of critters that call it home.  

It’s therefore recommended that the polishing pad be removed or at least washed daily as part of regular tank maintenance.

Water evaporates very quickly from such a small volume of water and, as I found, if you are not religious with daily top-ups, running it as a marine aquarium has significant impact on salinity.

Another effect of taking a tardy line with with topping up is that the filter secton runs dry, risking damage to the pumps and filter, if used with this tank.

You will need to be meticulous with any maintenance!

The verdict

This is a beautiful little aquarium that takes just two minutes to set up straight out of the box.

It’s small enough to fit on your desk at work or to shoehorn into that spare bit of space on the shelf at home.  

While not suitable for full-on reefing, it does lend itself very nicely to stocking with low light loving corals.

If you are more inclined to the fresher side of the hobby, the lighting and filtration provided is more than adequate to cope with most low-light plants.

Others may require supplementary light.

Product: Dymax iQ3

Price: £59.99 RRP

Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 22cm/8.5 x 6.7 x 8.5”

Flow rate: 200-300 lph/44-66 gph.

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Levi Major

More info: Aqua Mart UK, 0845 3311522

Good

  • A smart and attractive little aquarium limited only by your imagination.

Bad

  • Lighting would need supplementing for more demanding corals.
  • Heater not supplied.