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So I keep going back and forth about which tank I should get myself for Christmas, the "boss of the house" (you know the person I'm talking about 😉) I would love a larger reef tank that preferable a tank I could keep a kole tang or a dwarf angel in but I don't think I can afford that... so I decided that I can afford a medium-smallish size reef so I can get better equipment and grow nice corals. Im wondering what would be the best AIO for my situation (I know a good bit about saltwater) Ive been allowed about 1,300-1,500 TOPS for the tank, corals, fish, (so basically everything...) down the line I can spend some more but I already have two high end planted tanks (freshwater) and a bioactive viv, so my budget is pretty set in stone. Im just wonder what you guys think would be the best tank most preferably an AIO, Im willing to do hang on equipment if I could get a slightly larger tank with good conditions  but I would strongly prefer a all in one. What would be the best size tank AIO that would be a good size that would cost tons to fill with corals and not much for upkeep. So whats gonna be a good buy, good equipment. Any thoughts are much appreciated. 😉

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The IM Nuvo Fusion tanks are good ''AIO'' tanks. There's a few different sizes depending on what you are going for, anywhere from 10-50 gallons I believe.

 

And someone correct me if I'm completely wrong, but I think a lot of gear for a 10g would work for a 20-25g, so you may find getting one of those two would be more fulfilling.

 

I'd invest in an auto-top off system as well, its one thing that'll add to the price but in the end be worth it.

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I’ve been pieceing together a WaterBox 20 AIO. I’ve upgraded the pump it comes with but it’s ready to roll as is. Just add a light.

 

saltwateraquarium.com has some bundles with AI Primes that will get you reward points and they ship fast and free. WaterBox also has a slight cheaper bundle of the same equipment but I chose SA.com to have a vendor on my side of I had any issues.

 

Figure $400 for tank and light... and really all you need from there is a koralia, heater, and a stand to be reef ready. (And an RODI if you don’t already).

 

I added a XPAqua ATO, NeoTherm 150W, PLS - 50 Elite 2 from Cadlights, an MP10, a second Prime for complete light coverage, and and IM Mini Desktop Reactor. It all fits along the back. Though the skimmer required some “adjustment” with a dremel.

 

Im somewhere around $1000 invested at this point. That figure includes a 20# box of CaribSea life rock I used for scape, and some chemi pure, some reef roids, salt, a used spectrapure 90GPD, and a flipper nano.

 

Only the Tank, Sicce Return Pump, ATO, and Heater I bought new (and the misc dry goods). Black Friday was convenient. The rest I just kept hunting for used stuff, and my buddy had an old Solana stand I’ve been refinishing.

 

So.... I’d say go slow on buying the stuff since you already have other tanks keeping you busy, and get what you can used... save the money for some designer clowns or fancy coral you couldn’t have otherwise justified. If your smart but frugal on the build, you won’t be pinching the pennies as hard come stocking time when the real fun begins! 

 

/sorryfortherant

 

 

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Really, any well made aio will work. Just find one with the volume and dimensions that you like that has good reviews. 

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18 minutes ago, shaner014 said:

I’ve been pieceing together a WaterBox 20 AIO. I’ve upgraded the pump it comes with but it’s ready to roll as is. Just add a light.

 

saltwateraquarium.com has some bundles with AI Primes that will get you reward points and they ship fast and free. WaterBox also has a slight cheaper bundle of the same equipment but I chose SA.com to have a vendor on my side of I had any issues.

 

Figure $400 for tank and light... and really all you need from there is a koralia, heater, and a stand to be reef ready. (And an RODI if you don’t already).

 

I added a XPAqua ATO, NeoTherm 150W, PLS - 50 Elite 2 from Cadlights, an MP10, a second Prime for complete light coverage, and and IM Mini Desktop Reactor. It all fits along the back. Though the skimmer required some “adjustment” with a dremel.

 

Im somewhere around $1000 invested at this point. That figure includes a 20# box of CaribSea life rock I used for scape, and some chemi pure, some reef roids, salt, a used spectrapure 90GPD, and a flipper nano.

 

Only the Tank, Sicce Return Pump, ATO, and Heater I bought new (and the misc dry goods). Black Friday was convenient. The rest I just kept hunting for used stuff, and my buddy had an old Solana stand I’ve been refinishing.

 

So.... I’d say go slow on buying the stuff since you already have other tanks keeping you busy, and get what you can used... save the money for some designer clowns or fancy coral you couldn’t have otherwise justified. If your smart but frugal on the build, you won’t be pinching the pennies as hard come stocking time when the real fun begins! 

 

/sorryfortherant

 

 

Thanks for all the help! I was looking at the waterbox tanks but the ones with sumps, the deal with the AI prime is GREAT, I just wish there was a stand for it but im pretty good at building those things so I could propably build one for quite cheap, but it won't look nearly as nice. I was looking at AI primes anyways, just I hope that maybe I could keep 2 clowns, and goby shrimp pair, and a cleaner shrimp, but ill probably have to rethink my stocking huh... But I love that tank, another good suggestions?

 

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Everyone has their preferences with tanks. 

Budget plays a huge role in deciding what your options are.

 

I love my innovative marine tanks. The one upgrade that is highly recommended is ditching the stock filter socks and getting media baskets.

 

 

I would look into all the things you will need and factor in those costs. That may help with deciding the budget for the tank.

 

Tank

lighting(unless you go with the Evo or Biocube)

Ato(unless you want to manually top up daily)

Rodi unit/buying distilled

Powerhead/wavemaker

Heater

Media baskets and media

Liverock/dryrock

Sand

Salt

Refractometer

Buckets

Test kits

 

 

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And I already have an RODI for my freshwater planted tanks, and if I every need emergency water I help out around my fish store (freshwater so I sadly don't get a discount on reef stuff) so thats one thing I won't have to drop a lot on...

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2 hours ago, If_Only said:

  What would be the best size tank AIO that would be a good size that would cost tons to fill with corals and not much for upkeep. 😉

What is too much for upkeep?

 

I do a fair amount of upkeep on my tanks. Softy/macro tanks need less but even stepping into LPS I need daily dosing once they got past frag size which also means testing. Upkeep heavily depends on fish load and types of corals.

 

Daily: dose/feed

2-3 times per week: change floss, scrape glass, test alkalinity

Weekly: water change, blow off rocks, manually remove any pests/algae, stir/siphon sand, empty skimmer and clean cup

Every 2 weeks: change carbon, clean and siphon back chambers

Monthly: dismantle pumps and equipment to clean/scrub, test magnesium and calcium, nitrates and po4

 

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17 hours ago, Ocellaris PDX said:

The IM Nuvo Fusion tanks are good ''AIO'' tanks. There's a few different sizes depending on what you are going for, anywhere from 10-50 gallons I believe.

 

And someone correct me if I'm completely wrong, but I think a lot of gear for a 10g would work for a 20-25g, so you may find getting one of those two would be more fulfilling.

 

I'd invest in an auto-top off system as well, its one thing that'll add to the price but in the end be worth it.

Agreed.  As nice as the Red Sea Max type setups are, the cost is simply ridiculous.  IM Nuvo Fusion is probably the best bang for buck AIO in the 20-40 gallon range.  

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First, size of the tank is not really correlated to the cost.  You can run a big tank for cheaper than some runs their nano tanks here.  So if you are set on having a dwarf angel down the line, you save more money by getting a bigger tank now than switching to a bigger tank later on.

 

Having said that and you are still looking for a smaller AIO, Innovative Marine, Fluval, and Cobalt all make nice AIOs.  They are all comparable so it comes down to personal preference on shape of the AIO.  Are you looking for a shallow build?  A rectangular build?  A square build?  

 

If I am in your shoes, I will invest in an IM Fusion 30 because you could house a dwarf angel in that easily.  It is long so there's more swimming room for the angel.  You can also get the Fluval M90 which comes with a stand for relatively cheap during a DrsFosterAndSmith sale.  If you already have a place to put the aquarium, then IM Fusion 30 makes more sense.  

 

And if budget is a concern, ditch all those expensive unnecessary gears in the beginning.  Skip the reactor, skimmer, algae scrubber, etc.  Invest your money into a tank with the right dimension for you and a decent light.  Don't go crazy and get a Radion.  Get something like MarineDepot AquaMax or CurrentUSA Orbit.  Spring for a Kessil or AI or Nanobox if you got spare change.  

 

 

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Going to the cheaper end beginner option, there’s the Fluval Evo XII. Sharp looking tank, imo. Comes with light that covers basics (fluval timer sold separate). Non adjustable so one less thing to tinker with. Can upgrade things like main pump, change sponge to media basket, and there’s a skimmer that is sold for it that gets mixed reviews. 

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16 minutes ago, xthunt said:

Going to the cheaper end beginner option, there’s the Fluval Evo XII. Sharp looking tank, imo. Comes with light that covers basics (fluval timer sold separate). Non adjustable so one less thing to tinker with. Can upgrade things like main pump, change sponge to media basket, and there’s a skimmer that is sold for it that gets mixed reviews. 

Agreed, Fluval Evo XII and Biocube 16 both great to start in the hobby. Best to learn and make mistakes on a tank like that, and then upgrade if you want.

 

Only tank I would upgrade from my Biocube is a IM Nuvo Lagoon 25

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19 hours ago, shaner014 said:

I’ve been pieceing together a WaterBox 20 AIO. I’ve upgraded the pump it comes with but it’s ready to roll as is. Just add a light.

 

saltwateraquarium.com has some bundles with AI Primes that will get you reward points and they ship fast and free. WaterBox also has a slight cheaper bundle of the same equipment but I chose SA.com to have a vendor on my side of I had any issues.

 

Figure $400 for tank and light... and really all you need from there is a koralia, heater, and a stand to be reef ready. (And an RODI if you don’t already).

 

I added a XPAqua ATO, NeoTherm 150W, PLS - 50 Elite 2 from Cadlights, an MP10, a second Prime for complete light coverage, and and IM Mini Desktop Reactor. It all fits along the back. Though the skimmer required some “adjustment” with a dremel.

 

Im somewhere around $1000 invested at this point. That figure includes a 20# box of CaribSea life rock I used for scape, and some chemi pure, some reef roids, salt, a used spectrapure 90GPD, and a flipper nano.

 

Only the Tank, Sicce Return Pump, ATO, and Heater I bought new (and the misc dry goods). Black Friday was convenient. The rest I just kept hunting for used stuff, and my buddy had an old Solana stand I’ve been refinishing.

 

So.... I’d say go slow on buying the stuff since you already have other tanks keeping you busy, and get what you can used... save the money for some designer clowns or fancy coral you couldn’t have otherwise justified. If your smart but frugal on the build, you won’t be pinching the pennies as hard come stocking time when the real fun begins! 

 

/sorryfortherant

 

 

Also building a WB 20 and your setup is my "wish list." Any thoughts on the PLS-50 Elite II, and how tough were the "adjustment" with the dremel? Also, what stand did you use?

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1 hour ago, ninjamyst said:

First, size of the tank is not really correlated to the cost.  You can run a big tank for cheaper than some runs their nano tanks here.  So if you are set on having a dwarf angel down the line, you save more money by getting a bigger tank now than switching to a bigger tank later on.

 

Having said that and you are still looking for a smaller AIO, Innovative Marine, Fluval, and Cobalt all make nice AIOs.  They are all comparable so it comes down to personal preference on shape of the AIO.  Are you looking for a shallow build?  A rectangular build?  A square build?  

 

If I am in your shoes, I will invest in an IM Fusion 30 because you could house a dwarf angel in that easily.  It is long so there's more swimming room for the angel.  You can also get the Fluval M90 which comes with a stand for relatively cheap during a DrsFosterAndSmith sale.  If you already have a place to put the aquarium, then IM Fusion 30 makes more sense.  

 

And if budget is a concern, ditch all those expensive unnecessary gears in the beginning.  Skip the reactor, skimmer, algae scrubber, etc.  Invest your money into a tank with the right dimension for you and a decent light.  Don't go crazy and get a Radion.  Get something like MarineDepot AquaMax or CurrentUSA Orbit.  Spring for a Kessil or AI or Nanobox if you got spare change.  

 

 

Alright so I just went to the LFS cause its right by the supermarket and I went in for a little peak and I see there is a slightly run down 125 5' bow front, with sump (no stand) for only $150, how much would that cost to run as a soft coral tank? I would love to be able to keep a trigger... but I bet the expenses will really tack on huh?

 

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38 minutes ago, If_Only said:

Alright so I just went to the LFS cause its right by the supermarket and I went in for a little peak and I see there is a slightly run down 125 5' bow front, with sump (no stand) for only $150, how much would that cost to run as a soft coral tank? I would love to be able to keep a trigger... but I bet the expenses will really tack on huh?

 

I think the main reoccurring expense is going to be salt and carbon for a soft coral tank. Maybe dosing or kalk it coralline takes off and eats up your alk.

 

But you would need to purchase larger quantity of rock and sand...skimmer.... Maybe some Chinese led boxes... Couple of big pumps and a return pump...stand..plumbing... A top if it doesn't have one...

 

You may also want a QT tank as a bigger tanks means more fish and ich magnet fish is more room for disease and a total tank wipe out.

 

You probably need to get out a pen and paper and look up equipment and see how much it is going to set you back and what's left for corals and fish.

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I would not get a 125 as your first aquarium (unless your planted tanks are that size). I would say that sometime in the 20-50 gallon range would be the best . I like the IM tanks a lot and they have some grate options. I would actually suggest the IM 40g Aio, that way you could light it with a song AI prime (for a softie tank)

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Personally, I wouldn't go into it with the only softies plan. It limits you and I can tell you first hand that that can change quickly. Lol

 

I rather put the money into a better smaller setup than a larger budget setup. 

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8 minutes ago, MrObscura said:

Personally, I wouldn't go into it with the only softies plan. It limits you and I can tell you first hand that that can change quickly. Lol

 

I rather put the money into a better smaller setup than a larger budget setup. 

This.

 

You’ll be selling the planted tank stuff in no time as the reef bug bites. Not that it’s not cyclical and you’ll buy planted stuff again. Ask me how I know...

 

A fully upgraded nano will be more “fun” to build and operate if tech and gear is your thing. Being meticulous and attempting to have the whole setup look “pro” is half of the appeal to me. Everyone appreciates different things... and all of that said, my most successful (least algae and fastest coral growth) was my first 10gallon nano with a dual bulb T5, AC70, and Manual Top-Off. 🤪

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2 hours ago, If_Only said:

Alright so I just went to the LFS cause its right by the supermarket and I went in for a little peak and I see there is a slightly run down 125 5' bow front, with sump (no stand) for only $150, how much would that cost to run as a soft coral tank? I would love to be able to keep a trigger... but I bet the expenses will really tack on huh?

 

A 125 is a lot to take on for a first tank.  Go for a 30 - 40 gallon tank instead.  Difference in cost for upkeep and equipment between a 10g and a 30g tank isn't much.  The difference jumps when you compare 10g to 50+ gallons.  30 - 40 gallons is the sweet spot because it allows you to keep more variety of fish like a dwarf angel.  I have seen the Fluval M90 go for as little as $600 with tank and stand at https://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=31003 .  It comes with lights, circulation pump, tank, stand, etc.  Pretty much everything you need to get running.  You may need to supplement with additional strip of light if you go for SPS, but for softies, it should be more than adequate.  

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Yeah I guess you all are right I might go smaller, I might try a IM 40, or a 25 lagoon, I would like a tank that can be lit by one AI prime, and I have some experience with larger tanks I maintain a 550g planted tank at the store I help at (I know, freshwater) but I guess a smaller tank would be better, I just really want a fish like a tang or large wrasse that is a little more unique and not just clowns and a goby shrimp pair (which is what I would do for a small size) any really unique fish for a 40 IM nuvo?

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Yea, I started  the plan with the idea of a softie tank with maybe a few Lps and then a birdsnest up top, with manual top off and a budget light. 

 

Fast forward a few months and my nuvo 10 is a full blown mixed reef with plenty of sps including a number of acros. Which weren't in the plans at all originally. Lol

 

Oh, and regarding fish. I was always a fish guy, going back to when I was a kid. But once the coral bug hits, fish are kind of just a bonus. I just got a pair of a unique morph of clowns for my tank and I'm happy with that. Though I originally I wanted more fish, corals keep me happy.   

 

But a 40g does open things up quite a bit for fish. Though, if budget is tight, I'd still go smaller so youre not limited  when it comes to what direction you want to go with the tank. 

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9 minutes ago, If_Only said:

Yeah I guess you all are right I might go smaller, I might try a IM 40, or a 25 lagoon, I would like a tank that can be lit by one AI prime, and I have some experience with larger tanks I maintain a 550g planted tank at the store I help at (I know, freshwater) but I guess a smaller tank would be better, I just really want a fish like a tang or large wrasse that is a little more unique and not just clowns and a goby shrimp pair (which is what I would do for a small size) any really unique fish for a 40 IM nuvo?

I love my lagoon. Awesome tank.

The dimensions are 24x20x12

 

The ai prime HD has a spread of 24x24 so 1 is enough unless you plan on a full tank of sps like acros.

 

 

Always consider that you may not stick with just softies, many plan only to do softies and then move on to other corals and others don't. 

 

You can still do lps and even monti's, stylo's with 1 ai prime. Placement for higher light demanding corals should just be placed higher up in the tank.

 

Most Lps are not high light corals so you still can do them with the light but you may need to dose in future.

 

Each system is different and how a hobbyist sets up and runs their system is different.

 

 

I have 3 tanks. All mixed reefs, 3 different lights, no dosers, no reactors, controllers only with the lights and my inkbird for heaters.

I manually dose if needed, manually top up daily.

Very simple systems but it still has its upkeep. They all do.

Similar to @Tamberav upkeep except I clean my pumps every few mnths. 

 

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45 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I love my lagoon. Awesome tank.

The dimensions are 24x20x12

 

The ai prime HD has a spread of 24x24 so 1 is enough unless you plan on a full tank of sps like acros.

 

 

Always consider that you may not stick with just softies, many plan only to do softies and then move on to other corals and others don't. 

 

You can still do lps and even monti's, stylo's with 1 ai prime. Placement for higher light demanding corals should just be placed higher up in the tank.

 

Most Lps are not high light corals so you still can do them with the light but you may need to dose in future.

 

Each system is different and how a hobbyist sets up and runs their system is different.

 

 

I have 3 tanks. All mixed reefs, 3 different lights, no dosers, no reactors, controllers only with the lights and my inkbird for heaters.

I manually dose if needed, manually top up daily.

Very simple systems but it still has its upkeep. They all do.

Similar to @Tamberav upkeep except I clean my pumps every few mnths. 

 

Yeah I do really like LPS I think im gonna do the lagoon what cool unique fish I could keep beside a pair of clowns (something not everyone has)

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know that the 25 lagoon is probably too small for a dwarf angel long term or tang of any kind.  No big wrasse or anthias either.  So you will be limited to mostly fish for nano fish. 

 

Some cool nano fish:

- midas blenny

- flasher wrasse

- female blue star leopard wrasse

- long nose hawkfish

 

A tiny dwarf flame angelfish or pygmy angelfish can work but just be careful of aggression with other fish in a small space.  

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1 hour ago, If_Only said:

Yeah I guess you all are right I might go smaller, I might try a IM 40, or a 25 lagoon, I would like a tank that can be lit by one AI prime, and I have some experience with larger tanks I maintain a 550g planted tank at the store I help at (I know, freshwater) but I guess a smaller tank would be better, I just really want a fish like a tang or large wrasse that is a little more unique and not just clowns and a goby shrimp pair (which is what I would do for a small size) any really unique fish for a 40 IM nuvo?

Look at my setup, I have both a dwarf angel and an eel, in a 28 gallon. It can certainly be done, but larger (within readon), is better.

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