Cubic Orbit 20 Tips and Tricks

Cubic Part 1: Need Some Help with Your Orbit 20?


We’ve put this 3-part video series together to help you set up and keep your jellyfish in the Cubic Orbit 20! It’s a great little tank and if you follow a few of our tips, you’ll be super successful!

Next two parts coming soon!

61 thoughts on “Cubic Part 1: Need Some Help with Your Orbit 20?”

    1. I used baby brine shrimp (quite a lot). My bacteria was some already matured saltwater live rock, and I added some API quick start recently. Everything’s running 🙂 thanks


      1. If you only added it in the beginning of the cycle, you probably need to add more now as the bacteria most likely are not getting enough to eat in order to continue to reproduce and populate your biological filters — you are kind of stuck in the middle of the cycle. Add the brine shrimp everyday (not a lot…just about what you might feed your jellyfish) and it should cycle out.


  1. Hello, I have been cycling my cubic for 3 weeks now and the cycle is going fine. My only concern is that the ph has dropped to a 7.6. I was wondering if this is normal?


      1. Hi! Since my last post, my ph is now at the lowest on the API scale, There is no ammonia present, but my Nitrites have remained At constant 3 ppm and nitrates have been at around 40ppm. for 3 weeks nothing has changed for both of them. What should I do?


  2. Hi,

    I have an Orbit 20 and the remote for the light sometimes works but most of the time the light will not respond to it. Do you know where I can find a replacement remote?



  3. Hello! I haven’t been using my Orbit 20 that I got as a gift 2 years ago. Recently, I wanted to set it up and get it running; however, there is a dust build up inside of the ring portion of the tank that I have a hard time cleaning. What are your recommendations?


      1. Thank you for your response. I was trying to avoid that as the tap water contains chlorine and I didn’t want any leftover residual. Do you think I can safely rinse it under running tap water?


  4. The spray bar on my orbit 20 is very dirty and water seems unable to be coming through the spray holes. Any tips on cleaning it or removing it to clean it??


    1. Yes! That happens to us in the lab all the time. You can’t remove the spray bar from the Cubic Orbit, but you can try to scrub the holes manually with the spray bar in place. We use small interdental brushes (small, pipecleaner-like brushes different from normal toothbrushes), which work very nicely. Fair warning, it might take a few rounds of cleaning before you get full flow back, and it will deposit a lot of algae gunk in your tank. But you can remove that with a turkey baster, as long as you can maneuver around your jellies. If you’re worried about them you can always set them aside in a clean container with a liter or two of tank water for a few minutes while you clean the tank.


  5. Hi guys!

    I’m having quite a lot of trouble with my Cubic Orbit 20 – the problem being the noise of the water pump.

    I have tried cleaning the pump several times, tried 2-3 replacements and still had no joy. It sounds like the pump is rattling and causing a vibration with the outer wall of the tank.

    Any ideas? also if there are any videos of the noise that the tank should make/pictures showing where the pump should be placed or the optimum position would be much appreciated!


  6. Hi there,

    I have had my Orbit 20 for about 2 months now. About 3 weeks ago, my tank started to build up brown algae on all sides of the tank, and I’m hoping you could point me in the direction of a solution.

    The water levels all look good which is why I am at a loss. I am able to clean the main part of the tank with a brush and frequent water changes. This has lead to a significant slow down the growth, as in it now takes 3-4 days for it to start appearing again. However, the part of the tank with the pump, sponge and filter media has a lot of algae.

    Any advice?


    1. Hi Anita– Have you contacted Cubic about your concerns? We don’t advise cleaning that outer ring area with the pump, sponge and filter media–as that is where the beneficial bacteria live–but you might check with Cubic to get their opinion, too.


  7. Hi firstly thanks for all your articles and posts they have been a big help to me keeping my 3 moon jellyfish. I fell for that 2 weeks and your ready to add jelly’s stuff and lost my first 2 jelly’s in the first week, while the tank was cycling, I do now have a fully cycled cubic orbit 20 with 2 small jelly’s and 1 medium to large, but they just didn’t seem happy, after finding your website I realised I wasn’t feeding enough and also the flow was way too slow, I have now corrected that and the bigger one and 1 smaller are much happier, belling much more and feeding well but 1 of the smaller ones is really struggling, not belling and not feeding. I am hatching my own baby shrimp brine so it is always fresh food but I am at a loss as to why one is struggling? Any advice would be much appreciated. Nitrates and nitrites level are fine and ph is about 8 as far as I can tell ( colour is not my strongest trait). I did think salinity but I buy ready mixed from my local aquarium.


    1. Glad to hear our stuff was helpful, Mark, thanks for reading! We always appreciate people who take the initiative to really care for their jellies. A few thoughts:

      1. This probably isn’t a water quality or food freshness issue because that would be affecting all three jellies equally.

      2. It might be that the other two jellies are just outcompeting the third one when you feed, so it’s been going hungry and doesn’t have the energy to bell. If it can’t bell it can’t feed, so that might explain the movement issue. If you want to make sure that this isn’t the problem, keep the struggler in a small container (but obviously big enough that it has some room to move around) and feed it separately. Keep doing that until it gets big enough and make sure that all three are getting enough to eat (just make sure you don’t “target feed”; we have another blog post about that).

      3. It’s also possible that your little struggler might have been damaged by your earlier tank problems in a way that’s disrupting its feeding. If you can’t see its stomachs (the little loops in the middle of the bell that turn orange during feeding) or its oral arms (the frilly strands coming from the middle of its underside), then it might be too late. Jellies can regenerate their tissues, but again they need energy to do this and if they can’t feed they can’t get that energy. If the isolated feeding isn’t working, maybe try to mush up the brine shrimp into a more liquified form with your fingers so it’s easier for the little guy to ingest.

      Hope this helps! Give our regards to your little jelly friends.


  8. So I bought my tank from someone just how he had it set up. It seems to do well but needs a good cleaning. Is there a way I can clean the under the outer ring like where the filter and the bio are? He has crabs and snails in here to help but it is still dirty. Thanks!


    1. Emily, the outer ring is the biological filtration area & should be “messy”. That is where the living bacteria exists and should not be cleaned. Cleaning it will wipe out all of the beneficial bacteria living in the “detritus” (dirt looking stuff in the outer ring). You can flush it a little bit with new saltwater and rinse it a bit, but just a little bit.


    2. Hi wonder if you can help I have been struggling with my PH getting it up I have been talking to the Pet jellyfish man who have been helping but even he is at a loose end now I have a Orbit 20 and seem to going through jellyfish like anything I have done the regular 20% water changes for weeks and even daily ones I have also done a 25% water change and even with the red tap dripping to increase water flow for a few hours but cant get it above 7.4 please help I have also just done a full tank clean or rinse through.
      Regards Lee

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Run an air pump with a stone in the outer ring. The problem is with trapped CO2 that is lowering your pH. With the air stone, you disturb the surface tension of the water and let the gasses out more quickly. Make sure that you don’t get bubbles into the pump, it’ll get into the main tank area.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I already have one running but without a stone on the end of it had this going since I bought the tank back in August I also got advised by the UK jellyfish man to turn flow up and let water dripping from the red tap for periods of time this helped after doing a repid 25% water change but did not stay.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, it’s best to place the air bubbler on the opposite side of the pump. Once it’s in place, watch the bubbles for a bit to make sure none are making their way towards the pump. Microbubbles are one of the worst enemies to moon jellies!


      4. Hi Lee, adding the bubbler will help keep the pH higher consistently. However, you should also be checking the water quality parameters of the new saltwater you are adding while performing weekly water changes. Adding new saltwater with a pH of 8.0 will certainly help with bring the low pH up, in addition to the bubbler to keep it consistent.


  9. Help!!’Hello,
    My orbit 20 jellyfish tank was purchased in September of 2016. it has been a wonderful tank with no problems in the last 7 months. Our jellies are very healthy and happy. However this morning I was up and the tank was off as well as the lights. We checked the the plugs and outlets and there was no damage. We unplugged and plugged t back in and checked all the connections and still wasn’t working. I’m not sure how long it’s been off but I don’t want my jellies to die. Any tips!? Does this happen often?


    1. Hi, Devon. Sorry, we hope your jellies are okay! Unfortunately, we haven’t had any such experiences with those tanks. You’ve probably already contacted Cubic by now, but if they had nothing to say about it, the issue may have been caused by some water on one of the connections or your main breaker may have tripped. Please let us know how it worked out!


  10. Hi,

    I’m new to jellyfish keeping and I have just ordered this tank. How did you cycle your tank? The manufacturer recommends just leaving the tank for 10-14 days with salted RO water in before adding the jellies. However this won’t establish the nitrifying bacteria will it? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Heather and thank you for your question about cycling your jellyfish aquarium. Cycling an aquarium is the first step in establishing ANY type of aquatic environment: reef tank, freshwater tank, saltwater fish tank, and jellyfish tank. It is a biological process that turns your brand new, static and very clean aquarium into a living environment ready to handle animals and the waste created by them and the food you feed them. This process takes about 4 weeks. It is simple biology. I don’t know why you are instructed to do anything but properly cycle your tank? Letting it sit for 10-14 days with only saltwater does absolutely nothing to help establish your beneficial bacteria colonies and cycle your tank.

      If your tank is not properly cycled before adding jellyfish, they will die within the first 2 weeks. Placing living animals into the tank and starting to feed them creates ammonia in the water. This ammonia is toxic to the jellyfish and as it builds up the jellyfish will stop eating as much food as they once did, they will begin to shrink and their bells will become very opaque. Then another mistake is made when a water change is conducted after the ammonia builds up. I know this sounds like it will help the situation by lowering the ammonia level, but it does the opposite. It creates a very unstable water quality issue and the jellyfish respond by literally getting holes and falling apart. Your best option is to sign up for our Fish-less Cycling Program and we will walk through the process with you. And to reward your patience and willingness to do what is required to keep jellyfish as pets, we will give you 3 free jellyfish with your first purchase of jellyfish after successfully completing the program!! Now, let’s cheer because everyone’s a winner!


      1. Thanks for all the advice. I’ve cycled a tropical tank before using the fish-less method and it was successful (slightly smelly to begin with!) but I wasn’t sure if it was the same for a marine tank and I didn’t want to seed the jellyfish tank by placing the filter sponge in my tropical aquarium. I will sign up for your fish less cycling programme as I certainly don’t want to cause harm to the jellies. It is disappointing that the manufacturers of the tank give such advice to just leave it for 10 days to settle then introduce the jellies.


  11. Hey guys,

    I’m trying to use the external ports on the bottom of the Orbit 20. For the life of me I can’t find the proper tubing or barb connectors for what they use.

    3/8″ is too big
    5/16” too small
    7/16” too big

    Anybody know what cubic uses for it tubing and external ports?




    1. Hi Patrick. I have no affiliation with this item or manufacturer, but this is the item I used. It plugs in; a perfect match.

      I’m sure you could probably sort through the “Ask A Question” section and find the exact size. It’s totally unhelpful that the manufacturer wouldn’t list that as a basic spec, but again, I promise you it works.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Not sure if I’ve been crystal clear on this or not, but the flexible tubing doesn’t’ actually get threaded through the existing expansion tubing. Just two pieces. One goes from air pump and ends at the barb on the outside – just plugs in, that’s it! The other begins at the “L” adapter inside the tank, as depicted in pictures 2-3 two posts up.


  13. What other photos would any of you like to see, anything? Here’s a few more pictures of the rigid tubing, which I’ve placed in back to house the smaller diameter flexible tubing.

    1) Basic view from the front. The rigid tubing has been placed in the rear, behind the two built-in expansion ‘ports’
    2) Where the L-barb meets your new, flexible tubing. Electrical tape is crude, but sufficient to join pieces, as any air pump paired an aquarium this small won’t necessarily need to be airtight. Notice the rigid tubing is not seen. You’ll wedge that flush with the curve of the aquarium so you may close the lid.
    3) Where the flexible tubing meets the rigid tube
    4) You can see the flexible tubing protruding the rigid piece in this configuration.

    Due to the rigidity of this piece, you just wedge it in, anywhere you want, and it just stays held in place on it’s own. This works well for me, because it allows you to target exactly where you want the air bubbles to escape. Without this piece, I suspect my strand of flexible tubing would wave around, disturbing the media or possibly even float to the top.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Okay gang, here’s a photo. I made sure the order of the photos is logical and in following the signal path.

    Bonus picture #4: Other modification: I found that the water line (red plastic twist) was constantly dropping water into the tank, and the air bubbles caused from this were causing health problems. I simply cut and moved the existing tubing so that the “T”-fitting – if it drips – drips into the filtration chamber and not into the tank.

    I hope this little bonus makes up for the long wait. I really appreciate your patience here.

    Please still e-mail me to coordinate the shipment of 1 or more Moon Jellies. I kid, unless you’re actually in a position to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hello! I wrote all of the following just a minute ago, not remembering or realizing that only a single photo was needed, so I’m going to paste this unwanted guide anyhow. Brad (any anyone else), please e-mail me at, as I am not familiar with how to post pictures here.

    a) Small diameter, “standard” aquarium size flexible tubing, which routes directly (nothing else required) from the external air pump to one of the barbed ports on the outside of the Cubic Orbit 20. A single piece from air pump to barbed port. Length to size for your setup. A second and final length is cut to be routed from L-fitting (to be discussed shortly) inside the Orbit 20, to (and through) the hard tubing, finally ending in the bottom of the filtration chamber, and which produces the actual air bubbles at the end of this design

    b) Barbed L-fitting. As with every item here, doesn’t need to be this specific item. I only use one total. It pops into either of the two existing built-in lengths of the expansion tubing at the top,
    just underneath the removable lid on the top of the Orbit 20. I use this to route my tubing away from it’s natural direction, towards the back of the aquarium.

    c) Rigid tubing (5/16″), which does nothing in my setup but keep the flexible tubing in place where I want it, regardless of air pump speed/power. A single piece (about 1′).

    d) Electrical tape. Forgive me with this crude item. I used a very minimal amount, just enough to make an economical coupler, fitting the small diamater “Item A” to the much bigger opening
    of “Item B”. One of the reasons this works for me, is that none of this needs to be airtight. You might be surprised how many bubbles are produced, even with the smallest of air pumps, considering
    the tank is only 4-5 gallons.

    Here are some pictures, if they help you to imagine how this works. Thank you so much for tolerating me, and the delay in writing this. Also, feel free to coordinate sending me 1-4 moon jellies for
    writing this. Thank you so much!

    Eric Johnson

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Can you add an air hose to one of the auxiliary ports on the Orbit 20 AFTER it has water in it? How is that done? Thanks for your help.


    1. Hi Greg,
      Yes! You can!! I’ve been meaning to write a blog about it, but I’m just going to share Eric Johnson’s ideas with you straight from his email to us in October. Here is how he did it…

      Hey guys! So, I wanted to take some minutes out of my day, and give something back to you for once.

      Thank you all so much for shedding light on the aeration problem with the Orbit 20. I devised a way to utilize your principle without having an airline or additional cable going through the top. A clean setup if you will, utilizing one of the two ‘spare’ built-in ports/airlines that are already inside the unit.

      Additional supplies not all necessary, but I added the following items:

      1) One, one-way airline (red item) accessory to prevent water spilling into my living room in case air pump is powered off. Honestly, I only used this item because I bought it first, and read that it is necessary. Take my word for it, I’ve played around dozens of times with it off, and water has never made its way out of the aquarium. In fact, I built this ‘system’ after watching your “aeration problem” video last month, and only added this piece today for the pictures I took for you.

      2) One right angle adapter, connecting the aquariums built in spare airline to the following pieces. Placed inside aquarium at top/exit of built-in, spare soft tubing. Mentioned in item “4”.

      3) One, Rigid airline, approx 12″ long

      4) Two, soft airline pieces, cut to size. One feeds the air pump, going directly into one of the two barbs on the outside of the Orbit 20. The second piece is shoved into the right angle adapter, which is placed in the inside of the tank, at top of spare tubing. This piece (again, soft tubing) is then routed inside the rigid tubing.

      5) Pick one or both of the following: Electrical tape (or Christmas tree-style adapter to connect varying sized airline) to better seal (air tight) the soft tubing exiting the right angle adapter on its way to the rigid tubing, which is the conduit to the bottom of the tank, producing air bubbles. I used both, only just adding the electrical tape last night, so as to guarantee air bubbles being produced even on the air pumps lowest setting.

      If you guys have any questions, want more pictures, or even a better write-up for your blog, I would be so proud to get involved with you. Please, please just let me know how I can help! It would be an absolute honor.


      1. Step 4.  This specifically.

        The second piece is shoved into the right angle adapter, which is placed in the inside of the tank, at top of spare tubing. This piece (again, soft tubing) is then routed inside the rigid tubing.


        Brad Williams 

        Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


  17. Thanks! Hope you’re not sick of me, but I remain pretty curious in my care of the jellies. Why must the jellies be acclimated after an air pump is added? I trust your expertise, and am just curious. I would have suspected that the rise in pH from added oxygen would happen very slowly – slow enough that they’d naturally acclimate with a rise over 24 hours or beyond. Looking forward to gaining more knowledge. Thanks!


  18. Here is a good little air pump…you will need to adjust the bubbles to meet your needs. You will also need to pick up some airline (5/16) and a small valve for it, as it doesn’t come with any accessories.

    You can purchase small dental brushes to clean the holes in the spray bar:

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi again! Loved your video with adding the bubbler into the Orbit 20! Could you recommend one, or state which one was employed in that video? Not sure how to add accessories to the two extra ports. Also, do you happen to know the size of the airline tubing so I can replace/renew? Would also love to clean out the trapped gunk in the spray bar but the angle from the inlet port to the spray bar is too sharp to stick anything in to scrub. Love your videos! You’ve taught me everything!


  20. Greetings! Do you happen to know the speed (or gallons per hour?) of the pump that is bundled with the Cubic Orbit 20? Cubic does not list the specs. I ask because one of mine needs to be replaced, as it is no longer silent. Due to the special size (tiny) of this pump, it’s tricky trying to find the proper replacement that is both small enough to fit inside the opening, but is also powered by the adapter instead of a standard power-plug. I don’t want to guess, and have it be too fast, thrashing these fragile guys into poor health. I can’t get it through Cubic because I purchased my tank on Amazon, about a year ago. When I contact Cubic they advise me to contact the store where I bought it. Unfortunately, there are no retailers of Cubic products in a 500-mile radius. I am all about buying a new one out-of-pocket (I am big on being proactive instead of having to react in a situation where I might not be able to correct it in time, without resources, or exercise control). I’d like to have the peace of mind that I can maintain my Orbit Cubic 20 aquariums completely on my own, and not be out of luck if or when the Orbit Cubic 20 were ever to be discontinued or disappear. Thanks!


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