Help with first tank purchase

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After weeks of searching/viewing various tanks/setups we are still unsure what to go for??

we are completely new to saltwater aquariums after having a few tropical tanks in the past, we have a long wall in our house (approx 20/25') where the tank will be situated and so accomodating a larger tank isnt a huge issue, we started looking at small 50-100l setups but quickly set our sights on sonething larger as we would rather 'future proof' ourselves and not waste money now on something we want to upgrade later

We are looking for a starter setup, initially taking our time and adding as we gain confidence, we are not ruling out corals in the future but initially a fish only/liverock tank perhaps with some artificial elements to brighten it up

A big consideration for us is the tank cannot be opem at the top, we have St Bernard dogs and although we clean religiously the drool/hair  can get anywhere :)

We were set on a minreef 180 (with the glass infill in the top)for a while and found it at a decent price (£640) our LFS is excellent and was willing to price match and order one, we decided it would be an idea to see one in the flesh so travelled a few hours yesterday and found one, to be honest we were a bit underwhelmed with it (aesthetically) we were also asvised the lights were not the best which seems to be a common view, we also were a bit unsure going for something that small and would hate to be restricted down the line

We really like the look of the aquareef 300/400, the new version looks great and has LED lights as well as a bigger sump (i think) this is coming in at £1500 and top end of the budget allowing for setting up the tank (2k all in) the lighting looks ok, certainly good enough to start with although lacking any trick features (love the gizmos/modern lighting)

We have seen a old version 1 aquareef 400 for £925?that looks great, the lighting would need updating and the sump appeared quite small/cramped although i am sure it would be sufficient, we budgeted £500 for lighting and woukd remove the top cover and mount the light above the internal glass panel, we have seen and played with a TMC V2 1200 light which looked amazing but since reading up worries me slightly (not well liked on here)

The last option is a clearseal tank, not too familiar with these except as far as i know it can be configured to suit, I would choose sonething around the 300l mark and go for the fully enclosed top which looks extremely sturdy, we would then have to choose lights, skimmer, pump, heater etc etc, I would hope to get this for all within the 2k budget but who knowa where I would have to cut corners

I hear great things about red sea but no enclosed top option puts me off, to be honest the solid glass/acrylic sheet with clips looks a bit untidy and mesh is a no as mentioned earlier

So if you made it this far what do you think? we are at the moment edging towards the series 1 400 with TMC V2 light, msjnly because of value for money and knowing we would want a configurable light later on

Our heads are ready to explode at this point and we are still trying to learn the science/mechanics of it all at the same time

Thanks for reading

Asco1104

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Reply #1

Chricky you must have exploding heads.

There are a few cons to the aqua tanks, they only come with one drain wich is noisy. To have a quiet overflow you want 2 drains.

The aquamanta return pump is noisy to.

Clearseal tanks are good, what was the cost of that?

Just to through a spanner in the works, my tanks not rimless but is open top with a pelmet and I have 3 dogs.


Tim

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Montybaber

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Reply #2

Thanks Tim

I think the worry is one shake of the head and a lump of drool or a loose lump of fur will inevitably end up in the tank, also we have a cat that will most likely jump inside lol

Thankyou for the info on noise, the pump can be upgraded later i suppose but the single drain is a slight concern, the red sea tanks look very nice but I fear it will be hard to fabricate an acrylic lid to fit

At the moment I am a but tired of going over and over the various options, If I can get the old 400 setup for £925 then I will go for thst I think, I will get an acrylic sheet to sit on to internal shelf below the light unit

I sm thinking the £500 light may be a bit excessive so perhaps something a bit less expensive like the full spectrum fluval unit

Radiation91

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Reply #3

Thanks Tim

I think the worry is one shake of the head and a lump of drool or a loose lump of fur will inevitably end up in the tank, also we have a cat that will most likely jump inside lol

Thankyou for the info on noise, the pump can be upgraded later i suppose but the single drain is a slight concern, the red sea tanks look very nice but I fear it will be hard to fabricate an acrylic lid to fit

At the moment I am a but tired of going over and over the various options, If I can get the old 400 setup for £925 then I will go for thst I think, I will get an acrylic sheet to sit on to internal shelf below the light unit

I sm thinking the £500 light may be a bit excessive so perhaps something a bit less expensive like the full spectrum fluval unit
I've gone with the Red Sea Reefer mainly based on their reputation for being almost silent. But i have to say that i fully sympathise... we're spoilt for choice! I would suggest you rate the tanks on the key attributes you're looking for and then see which has the highest rank overall?

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Montybaber

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Reply #4

Just read that acrylic will warp under the lights but is this still the case with LED's

Cobrace

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Reply #5

Just read that acrylic will warp under the lights but is this still the case with LED's
Acrylic won't warp under leds but it will scratch if you so much as look at it funny

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ajm83

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Reply #6

Just read that acrylic will warp under the lights but is this still the case with LED's

Moisture can make it lift/curl up. I think it's the fact it's wet on one side, dry on the other.

I used Lexan (aka polycarbonate) which is (much) stronger than acrylic and doesn't lift.  It does however scratch easily like acrylic.  Even using microfibre cloths has left tiny scratches on it.

HK_Fuey

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Reply #7

Why not glass?
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fr499y

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Reply #8

lighter, safer, easier to shape

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