Nero 3 Anemone Guard Design & Creation | Aquaillumination

Nero 3 Amemone Guard Design and Creation | Named “Neer-ho Nem the 3rd”

This article documents the design and creation of the Neer oh nem III (the third) an anemone guard for a Nero 3 wave marker by Aqua Illuminations. Read more and watch the video below to see the process from start to finish.   
Nero 3 Anemone Guard

How did the Anemone Guard Project Start?  

This project began in December of . During the holidays I started a thread on titled “What do you need 3d designed for Christmas? I’ll make it for the community…” Link to the Thread

The goal was to do something nice for people considering everyone had an extremely rough year due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. I figured that I could use my design skills to create things the entire reef community would benefit from having access to.  

In the thread, I asked fellow reefers to suggest things I should 3d model and make available. I started getting submissions and the second item suggested was to create an anemone guard for an Aqua Illumination Neer 3 wavemaker pump. I checked out the pump and figured this would be a good place to start.  


Starting with Drawing the Anemone Guard

I typically start every project with a sketch(sometimes hundreds of sketches. This is an important step because it helps to flush out the idea before diving into the time-consuming process of modeling.

The plan is to add a small mesh back piece to the Nero 3 pump that will help reduce the amount of pull that the water flow creates at the inlet. Additionally, the design and size of the mesh will make it harder to suck things through to the Nero 3 propeller. The mesh should keep anemones, roaming mushrooms, and small fish from getting chopped up into sushi.

Nero 3 Modeling in Fusion 360. 

With the drawing complete the Anemone Guard is ready for 3d modeling

however it is not a good idea to start straight on the guard. It is better to start by creating a reference model of the pump so I can get a good sense of where everything should go when creating the anemone guard.

It is important to make sure that your measurements are accurate when making the reference model because this can affect everything you create down the line. When I first started this project I did not own the Nero 3 pump so I had to get measurements from the person that suggested making the guard. I also grabbed some reference images online then got to work.

I am not writing a tutorial on how to 3d model so I am going to keep the rest of this section brief. You can see the entire process at about 20x speed if you watch the video below. If you are looking to learn 3d modeling I highly suggest starting from scratch with the Fusion 360 training courses. It took me just a few weeks to start making some complex models. I am now roughly 3 years into modeling and can make just about anything; however, I’ve only scratched the surface of Fusion 360’s capabilities.

Test Printing the Nero 3 Anemone Guard

The 3d model is complete so the next set is to test print and fit the model onto the Nero 3. This step in the build process is my favorite because the hard work you put into modeling pays off when you can hold the part in your hand. This is also one of the most volatile times in the build process because printing can be a challenge.   

Today’s 3d printers are extremely affordable and capable but they all still have a learning curve. No matter the printing type (FDM, SLA, etc) you are going to have to have some knowledge on orienting the model and what printer setting to use. Much of this knowledge comes with trial and error and the experience gained over years of printing. In general, the more complex the model the harder it becomes to print. 


The First Nero 3 Anemone Guard Model Fail (FDM)

Nero 3 Anemone Guard Test Print

The first model on nearly every project has something that does not fit right or just outright fails. The first test print of the Nero 3 anemone guard was no exception however this was due to measurement errors. When this project started I did not own a Nero 3 pump so I had to build the reference model based on measurements that some else had provided for me. To no surprise, the measurements were not accurate so the reference model that was created was too small which resulted in the guard being too small and not fitting the pump.


My solution was to simply go purchase a Nero 3 because I needed a pump for one of my tanks anyways. With the pump in hand, I basically had to start the whole project over again. Back to the Fusion 360


Rebuilding the Nero 3 Reference model in Fusion 360

Nero 3 Anemone Guard Model

This totally sucked because everything that I had created in the first modeling session was not completely useless. It was not worth trying to salvage the model because that would have caused more errors done in the building steps. It likely would have taken me longer to fix the first model than to just start again from scratch.  

I made sure to leave nothing to chance the second time around trying to recreate the Nero 3. This time I used calipers to measure all the way down to one-hundredth of a millimeter. Be sure to watch the video to see this process in more detail.  

Round 2: SLA Resin Printing the Nero 3 Anemone Guard

Nero 3 Anemone Guard Print Sliced

The second attempt at printing the anemone guard was my Elegoo Mar which is a small and cheap resin printer. This model can be successfully printed with an FDM printer but this would not be a good option for testing the fit. The FDM print is likely going to need some post-processing and sanding to fit properly.  

The resin print went well and came out will one

flaw on the top left corner of the print. The flaw was not a problem because the only purpose for this print was to test the fit and it fit like a glove. In general, I don’t trust resin prints in my saltwater aquariums because they are generally loaded with chemicals.

View the video to see the entire resin print slice profile and timelapse.

 Nero 3 Anemone Guard Print LCD

The Guards Final Details & Professional Nylon 12 Print

Once I was able to confirm that the model fit well it was time to finish off some final details and send off the file to get professionally printed. The front of the guard was updated with a hexagonal design that features the iSeaLive seahorse logo. 

Nero 3 Anemone Guard Final Print

Nero 3 Anemone Guard Final Print #2
Nero 3 Anemone Guard Final Print #3

The model was printed on an HP fusion jet commercial printer in a black Nylon 12. This material is extremely strong and generally accepted as reef safe. It is important to note that nylon is reef safe and it is likely that nylon 12 is also safe as it is just a slight variation on the standard nylon formulation.

Where Can You Get the Nero 3 Anemone Guard? 

I’ve made the guard available in 2 locations.  

1st: You can purchase the professionally printed version of the guard here at It is really hard to beat the detail, unique finish, and quality of this model. Each purchase helps me to continue making new reef hobby things.  

2nd: If you can print this model yourself you can download the STL file from the link below on If you download and print the model please email a picture or video of the finished model. Or tag @iSeaLive on Instagram.  

What's Next for the Nero 3

Nero 3 Anemone Guard In Tank

With the detailed reference model, I would like to create some interesting new attachments from the Nero series of pumps. If you have any ideas on some cool things I could make please let me know.