On the downside, I thought everything got to me in good working order, but I unfortunately found a small crack at the top of the sump. Ironic that the sump would've cracked in transit but not the tank! So, I called Eddie at Cadlights up and he said he'd take care of it.
Other initial impressions:
1. the light fixture is pretty awesome-looking. the moon LED lights create very nice effects in the dark, though you need to decide in advance if you like the intensity of the "spotlight" moon LEDs - they definitely aren't your typical tiny moon LEDs from a biocube. I personally think they add something to the aquarium setting, but I could also see someone not liking them. the metal halide is nice, and the actinics are very, VERY blue - should result in some good fluorescence. the LEDs, incidentally, add some good fluorescence, too. my only question is, if one of my cats jumps on the thing, are the plastic tank-mount legs going to hold the weight of the cat and the light? I would think so -- they seem sturdy enough -- but, I am not 100% certain. I guess I always have the option of using the included ceiling-mount kit. regarding fan noise from the fixture, i didn't even notice it -- doesn't mean there wasn't any, but i don't remember hearing it -- that's gotta be a good sign, right?
2. The glass is also pretty great. very thick, heavy glass. awesome. my biggest concern going in was the "bowfront" curve of the glass, but looking at it in person, it is a modest, gentle curve -- very little distortion, so I was happy to see that. my concerns about the curved glass was one of the main reasons I was thinking of getting a Solana instead. But, I am happy to say that this will suit me just fine! If you are someone who is having doubts about this tank due to the curved glass, I would definitely say that I'm not noticing a lot of distortion from most viewing angles, and it's actually a very clean, seamless look.
3. for some reason, there are no instructions in the package. not that big of a deal for a typical freshwater tank, but for a tank where you have to construct the cabinet and then plumb together a bunch of parts, it was a bit of a pain. having said that, i'd never "wired" a sump before, so... take that for what it's worth. I found a thread on reefcentral about the tank that I used as my "manual" for both the plumbing and the stand. it worked out pretty well for me. the lesson here: this is a very neat tank for a very reasonable price, but I feel like you have to have a fair amount of DIY-ishness in you to get it going. e.g., I had to cut several of the tubes that came with the tank to get things to fit correctly, etc.
4. the stand is very nice. feels very sturdy. i currently have it on hardwood, but it will ultimately be on a carpeted floor (at least, that's the plan for now.... see #5).
5. this thing is making a lot of noise so far. i'm getting some pretty intense rushing water/gurgling from the drain pipe (i'm still working on this issue -- this is almost certainly fixable), i'm getting noise from the overflow, i'm getting noise from the pump/skimmer. the most surprising thing for me, though, was the amount of noise i'm getting from the included fan (they have gone back to using the single fan because they say it moves about 30% more air -- Eddie did say he would switch it out for the older double-fans if I wanted to, which run quieter but don't move as much air). the noise is much less with the cabinet doors closed, but this is definitely something i'm going to need to work on. i'm hoping i don't need to change out the pump. that is money i'd rather not spend.
6. they are no longer shipping these with the glass top. not the end of the world, but I thought that the tank came with this. eddie says that no one used it, and it was more designed for the Signature model anyway, size-wise. truthfully, though, you can always just go get a piece of glass cut if you really want it. i'm worried about heat/evaporation already anyway, so i'm not sure closing the thing with glass is exactly what i want to do.
7. the skimmer... let me preface this by saying i've never had a skimmer before, but i'm pretty sure what it's doing is not what it's supposed to be doing. first, the skimmer assembly, once you include the drain pipe, doesn't quite fit into the compartment (it's too short), so it ends up being kind of tilted. i might need to prop it up a little bit. but, i'm concerned about elevating it too much. as a side note, does anyone know how high the water should come up into the skimmer's cup? i'm trying to figure out where i need to adjust the valve to make it skim correctly. I'm sure this will all be fine, I probably just need to spend a little more time on it. also, there is only fresh water in the tank, so i'm not sure if that prevents the skimmer from doing anything anyway. also, anyone know which of the nipples on the silencer is supposed to connect to the skimmer's tube? does it matter?
Overall, I'm very excited about this system and I am looking forward to really getting into it in the next few days. We'll see how the budget shakes out this week...!
COMING SOON: SETUP PICTURES AND AQUASCAPING. Stay tuned.
Edited by timdanger, 01 July 2010 - 10:58 AM.