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Fusion 20 vs. Red Sea Reefer Nano

North Borders

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North Borders
Hey guys, I'm trying to decide between 2 tanks for my first foray into reefing. I've narrowed my choices down to the Red Sea Reefer Nano and the IM Nuvo Fusion 20. I've seen a lot of amazing build threads for the Nuvos, but not much for the Reefers since they're so new. I don't plan on having anything crazy exotic in the tank because it's my first one. Softies, zoas, clownfish or two, standard CUC, maybe a goby or wrasse and a couple puffers (j/k on the puffers :))

I guess my main questions would be:

-Is the sump on the Reefer a pretty big deal to have? If I went the Nuvo 20 route, I'd likely get the Ghost desktop skimmer to go with it and the media reactor that IM sells that fits it. I've seen kind of meh reviews on the Ghost and am starting to wonder if the sump + a better skimmer might be the better option.

-The ATO of the Reefer looks pretty interesting and handy. How big of a pain is it to add an after market one to the Nuvo?

-For lighting, I had seen a few videos and reviews for that new AI Prime. Looks like it would be a pretty ok fit for these tanks, but anything I'm missing?

-Another advantage is that my LFS just started getting in the Nuvo, whereas, I've yet to find a place selling the Reefer. The one website I found that was advertising the Reefer looked kind of sketch. Are these hard to locate, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?

Cheers and thanks! :)

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I would def go with the red sea reefer it pretty much has everything you see for a tank. The only bad thing is that it doesn't come with a return pump.

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+1 with Reefer


Having a sump is a big deal. Sure, the AIO tanks are cool, but you are extremely limited with your equipment and such.


(And I have an AIO aquarium and always wish for a sump)

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The reefer's look very slick and I would love to have one if they're still relevant when I set up a tank again. I've looked up build threads/videos on them and haven't found much. One thing that was mentioned is that the ATO it has doesn't hold as much volume as one may like. Speaking about volume, a sump allows you to have more saltwater in the system which not only allows you more space for filtration, but to also perhaps lessen the chance of general saltwater parameter fluctuations. As far as a sump being a big deal, it can be depending on the person but it's not required. I do think sumps look pretty sweet though. I feel like it makes it feel like a "complete system". I could say the same about AIO's also.


AI Prime looks like a good light and one would perhaps suffice for an IM 20/Reefer nano. However, If it was me in your situation and I was set on the Prime, I would buy one with the possible intent of adding a 2nd one in the future. I am not the expert though and it also depends on the kind of corals you wish to keep. Also consider the prime is controllable which is a huge bonus. You could get 2 primes for the cost or less of the cost of a radeon 30/pro or other high end fixtures and still get very good light.


This is only my own opinion though. Feel free to criticize if anybody wants. My post count may be low so feel free to take my advise with a grain of salt if you want.


Here's a link to a fellow member's Red Sea Reefer 170 build. It's not the nano but it's the next step up and pretty much the same thing besides the tank volume that it holds.




Most importantly though, any choice you make is bound to be a good one and have fun!

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Kind of tough to compare a $200 AIO with a ~ $800 setup.


By the time you add a stand and ATO to the fusion the reefer only cost $300 more. I would gladly pay that for a sump setup vs AIO.

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North Borders

I've been having a hard time finding the Reefer tank for sale. I live in the Midwest and the closest 'Red Sea Preferred' dealer is 4 hours away. I haven't really seen them for sale on the web outside of some UK shops. Any thoughts on where I could procure one?

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I hope you will have a wonderful time in reefing but I have some very different thoughts on your situation that I hope won't offend you or anyone else who has replied to your thread but here goes.


You say that this is your first "foray" into reefing and it sounds like you're willing to spend at least 700.00 up to possibly 1400.00 or more (if you go Red Sea) on this first experience.


Most of us have started with much less expensive tanks and equipment and gained a lot of experience this way before upgrading probably several times to where we are today. This way gives one a chance to learn, experiment and also make the many errors that we all make on the way up in reefing. It also gives us the chance to learn all about the plethora of tanks and equipt choices that we have available before spending big bucks on professional grade equipt.


I started with a 6 gal glass cube and a AC 70 filter converted to a small refugium along with a PAR 38 light. No ATOs, computerized lighting, skimmers, or controllers. It was a real hands on setup which forced me to monitor closely and maintain daily. I learned a ton about reefing by doing that. The whole setup was about 300 bucks. I have upgraded several times since then by using the knowledge I gained at each step of the way.


A lot of folks will tell you to "buy quality stuff to begin with and you won't have to upgrade later". This is somewhat true, but you can buy quality stuff without buying "top of the line stuff" to begin with until you learn for yourself over time what it is that you ultimately want.


Ask a lot of the others who responded to your thread what they had for their very first tank and lighting and why they did it that way.

If you are one of those lucky folks who can drop a Grand like I can drop 10 bucks then go ahead and purchase top of the line to begin with but I really think you may miss out on being forced to learn some of basics of reefkeeping and lighting by starting with top of the line, automated equipt that will tend to compensate for lack of basic (and sometimes cumbersome) daily care.


Expensive tanks are not needed, ATOs are not needed, sumps are not needed (just ask Julys TOTM about that) , Adjustable, computerized lighting is not needed, controllers are not needed, skimmers are not needed, and so many other items aren't needed either. You can go to Petco and buy a 20 gal tank for 20 bucks which will grow any coral and house any fish that a 800.00 Red sea will.


Again, welcome to reefing and I'm sure you will learn to love it as much as we all do.

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