Cade 1800 S2

lafarrow

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TLDR
Lessons learned & initial mistakes made: (1) When doing your aquascape account for your sand bed. I went with 2” sand bed and ended up burying some of my lower aquascape features; (2) make sure you leave some room behind your tank for fixtures. I went pretty close to the wall and ended up having an issue mounting my lights - give yourself some space (3) thank goodness for the internet because an answer is always just a click away. Sometimes 10 answers but more information is usually a good thing.
I am very happy with AlgaeBarn, Bulk Reef Supply and Marine Depot. They have wonderful customer service and a huge knowledge base available. They have also been very trusted sources for real reviews and discussions of issues that come up in reefing.

Prologue
I started keeping an aquarium in the late 70’s with a fresh water hex, moved to saltwater and finally abandoned the hobby in the mid to late 80’s when life got in the way. I wanted to get back into the hobby for quite some time but stuff always got in the way. Fast forward to 2020 when I decided the journey always starts with the first step. Began researching the hobby in earnest a year or so ago. The BRS videos, this forum and myriad other web sites old and new were a great and a wonderful introduction to all the new technology and its uses. It looked like the hobby had addressed a lot of the earlier issues with mortality of the fish, lighting, filtration and a better understanding of the biology. I was ready to pull the Humu Humu trigger. (last fish I had in 1985!)

I started looking at the AIO options (to avoid a mistake because I did not know what I did not know) and kept increasing the size of my list of candidates and the size of the tank I wanted. My available space is 90” x 24” and I was stuck on that 200 gallon threshold. I figured 30” was too deep for me and would be a huge tank for my spot. I decided I wanted/needed a 72x24x24 tank. I also became intrigued by the Triton method since it fit with how I wanted to get back into the hobby. That of course meant a sump with a large refugium.

With the 72x24x24 size in mind I began looking at mass produced, customs, and everything in between. My top candidates quickly became: Red Sea, Water Box, Glass Cages, Crystal Dynamics, Reef Savvy. And finally, as you will see below Cade (a late entry and eventual winner of my dollars). I decided to go with the Cade 1800 S2 based on its dimensions and feature set. It didn’t hurt that @AlgaeBarn was their distributor b/c they looked to be a supplier of choice for me.

I pulled the trigger right before the November sale but AlgaeBarn came through and since I was a Halloween order gave me the benefit of the doubt and loaded me up with the stuff as though I pulled the trigger on Nov 1. Thank you very much and solidified my choice to use them as a preferred supplier. Spoke to Sandra and got everything squared away. It arrived about two weeks after I ordered it.

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Holy cow is this bad boy heavy. The crating and delivery was top notch. The suggested “unboxing” video made it look easier to get into than it actually was but once I understood the theory of the clips it moved along quite swimmingly. Make sure you have a wide open space to open the crate because the sides fold down and have to fold down, essentially simultaneously, for the easiest unpacking. When I had it right it was a breeze. When I had it wrong it was a bit of a pain. Tank arrived unscathed and in perfect condition.

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You can see the plumbing inside. You do need two people for the installation unless you are stretch armstrong b/c you must hold the drain pipe from the top while you attach the bottom half of the pipe. More on that in a bit. The stand is top notch. Well constructed, padded top and fits the tank seamlessly.

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The stand fit nicely into my spot and the tank, well it was so heavy it sat on my floor for awhile until I could get some bigger guys to help. My first crew had big hearts but their backs were not strong enough! Got some bigger stronger guys to help and got it on the stand and leveled in about an hour or so. Took that log due to my tight spot and old house. (100+ years) Algae Barn offered the rental of some suction cup handles which made it easier and to be honest I am not sure how the tank could be set up without them. They sent three sets but probably would have been better with four sets just due to the weight. (Your mileage may vary) Heavy is the word. No, make that HEAVY. 3/4” glass all around so what else did I expect. On the suction cups - you give AlgaeBarn na deposit and when you return the suction cups you get your deposit back. Would recommend!

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Got it set up and leveled. The eight adjustable feet made that easy. Also I know there was some discussion about the "CADE" label being etched on the tank. You can see it here but it is invisible for the most part. DO NOT let that dissuade you from getting this tank. It is all but invisible with water in the tank.

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The plumbing was easy but does take two people for part of it. All parts fit snugly without any difficulty other than user error. I watched and rewatched the video to made sure I got it right and it did take me awhile but that is because I have never had a tank with a refugium before. They also measure very well. My version of the plumbing was a bit different than the video they suggest you follow in that the return is a flexible hose as is the ATO. In the video they were rigid. To be candid I am not sure how easy it would have been to connect them if they were rigid so good design choice to go with the black vinyl. From a customer standpoint I would have preferred a sticker on the pipe or part so that I knew I had the right piece in my hand. All in all though that is on me not Cade.

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And here is where I had to stop b/c I realized I could not attach the return pipes without some help. The stand is very high quality and well constructed. Very satisfied with my choice. The ATO is a separate compartment in the rear, the return runs through it. In this picture it is to the viewer's right. The overflow is to the viewers left and there is a lower and upper weir. Very clever design. Oh, configuring the ATO top off float was a bit of a challenge. Need to make sure the float is properly oriented or when you test it it will either never shut off or never come on. Almost found out the hard way that I had it backwards to start! You can see the float hanging directly down in this picture. I tightened the screw but had it the wrong way. Once I figured it out it was a simple fix but still caused some consternation sit dawned on me what I had unknowingly done.

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Another pro tip - fill the ATO first to check for leaks. You will see if it leaks into the drain compartment. I also found that the ATO plumbing was the more difficult to get plumbed in right to ensure a tight seal and prevent leaks. All the moving stuff around as you set it up and tighten fittings etc.. can cause movement in unexpected places. Also on the stand the doors open all the way so the middle two will actually open to the point where they are flat on the outer two doors. Wide open easy access. I am broad shouldered so it is a squeeze but I can get half my body into the sump area. Old eyes will force you to get very close to stuff sometimes! I also positioned my tank where the side doors will not be easy access. My choice and I knew what I was doing but the power side has the ATO viewer glass to check levels. I will have to do a work around so that I can check the level another way b/c I am too close to the wall to easily see it.

Plumbing complete and rock in. I should note that AlgaeBarn also sent me some choice rock as part of the Black Friday deal. You can really see the white covered bottom here. If you were to go bare bottom this is the tank for it. The coating is on the sump side and is some sort of vinyl coating. Very clean look. I almost changed my mind but didn't b/c I like the sand look.

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Water next! IMG_1911.jpeg
 
Click to watch best scape method in 5 easy steps!

Seadoc

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It looks great!!! I am looking into CADE as an upgrade from a reefer 350. Quick questions: How much floor unevenness can you compensate for with the leveling casters? Also with the ATO reservoir in the back, is there a space to place light arm mounts?
 
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lafarrow

lafarrow

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It looks great!!! I am looking into CADE as an upgrade from a reefer 350. Quick questions: How much floor unevenness can you compensate for with the leveling casters? Also with the ATO reservoir in the back, is there a space to place light arm mounts?
It would have to be substantial for the adjustable feet not to cover it. I did not reach the max limit and with 8 feet the load was evenly distributed. Took some time and it is heavy empty. I would not worry about an uneven floor except in the most extreme cases.
The ATO and mounting lights could be an issue. I saw one build @Ozreefer (perhaps) where he cut little notches in the ATO lid, another @midgaar (maybe) where they just rested the lid on the light mounts. You could leave the lid off. Since I did not realize I was too close to my wall until it was full of water I didn't have to address the issue b/c I ended up mounting my lights directly to my wall.

ATO lid off
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ATO lid shifted to the viewer's right (overflow to the viewer's left)
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Top down on the ATO. You can see one of my light mounts to the right (behind the tank).
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And how I ended up mounting the lights (very uneven ancient brick!)
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Seadoc

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The look on the brick is fantastic. I can see what you mean by being to close to the wall. I might plan for hanging the lights from the ceiling. I don't feel cofident to do a good job cutting parts of the ATO lid.
 
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lafarrow

lafarrow

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With the tank set up here is my thinking for sand, salt and rock.

Sand – Carib Sea Aragonite 2” sand bed. Not too keen on the pink and black seemed to far out of my comfort zone. Shipped by AlgaeBarn as part of the Black Friday package. They did allow me to pick my sand which was accomodating.

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Salt – Tropic Marin – apparently salt is not salt! This brand seemed to get the thumbs up from those trying Triton and others. I also considered Red Sea and Instant Ocean. The stats on the salt are interesting and it really boiled down to the target levels that I thought I wanted to hit. AlgaeBarn did send me a box of RPM Salt so I am using it to cycle the tank.

Dry rock – Marco Rock - I really like the open (negative) space ‘scapes and as long as I have plenty of live rock in the sump I should be able to get away with less than the suggested weight in the DT. I decided to go with some 2 big blocks of Marine Pure in the sump as well as the balls to up the bacteria living space. The Marco Rock was shipped with the tank and I was surprised at how few pieces broke.
I really like the shelf look and saw some ‘scapes that looked good. Used the Marco E400 mortar.

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Filtration – Triton method. I really like the approach and the thought of balancing plant and animal life was very attractive. Not gonna lie the lack of serious water changes also has an appeal since a 10% change was gonna be 20 gallons. Triton requires healthy algae and a quality skimmer. As noted above AlgaeBarn is gonna be my go to for this. I’ll go with a nice red, chaeto and then a wild card choice of what they recommend. Looking at the 5 pack and get some diversity in the greenery.

Skimmer – Looked at Reef Octopus, Nyos, Deltec, Aquamax and Skimz. The feature set for the Reef Octopus (Int 220) looked like it fit the bill. Third party controller option, DC pump, auto shut off on over flow, etc. I am auditioning vendors and since equipment comes from the same manufacturers and the pricing is relatively static across vendors I ordered it from Aquarium Specialty. I guess Bulk Reef Supply and Marine Depot spoiled me for delivery time. I ordered the skimmer and it took quite some time to arrive. Likely COVID related delays but Marine Depot and Bulk Reef Supply are really competitive when it comes to getting you your stuff quick. I’d be hard pressed to order from Aquarium Specialty if I needed anything quickly.

Water going in!
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lafarrow

lafarrow

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Powerheads – 2 MP40’s - I got hooked on EcoTech wavemakers/powerheads early and after some looking around did not keep comparing. The MP40 seemed to be the gold standard. Liked the MP40 for the EcoTech reputation, app, and crowd sourced wisdom. Going with 2 units to start. Of course going with these crowd favorites also meant I was going to look real hard at the EcoTech return pumps and the Mobius interconnection.

Pumps – Vertec M2 - For the size of the tank, flow capacity and the water movement I was looking at 2,000gph options. Looked at Abyzz, Siccee, Vertec. Decided to stay in the EchoTech ecosystem with the powerbeads. Figured lighting will be one microcosm and plumbing will be another. Powerheads and return Pump from Marine Depot.

Lights – Kessil AP9X - Was going to be Kessil all the way. I like the form factor, the reviews are stellar, seemed like a best in show option and also took some of the likely rookie lighting mistakes out of the equation. Most of my early issues were with lighting so I was particularly keen on getting a great light. Decided for the size of the tank to go with the AP9X. Heartbreak when I learned that my tank was too close to my wall to mount them on the tank. I ended up mounting them directly to the wall. Works just as well just took some time. A360X in the fuge. I got the k-link cables so I could have just one master but I could never get the A9X to “take” to the A360X. Not sure if it was user error or a compatibility issue. I order the dongle and just hooked it up wirelessly. Ordered the AP9X and mounting arms from BRS and A360X from Marine Depot.

My fuge will be AlgaeBarn’s domain. Ordered some Red Ogo, Ocean Magic and will let the pods and bacteria do their thing.

I used Dr. Tim's for a fishes cycle and ammonia went to zero pretty quick. I screwed up though and ordered too small a container of the ammonium chloride and had to ghost feed on the second addition. BRS delivered the right size container (4oz) and I got back on track. Rookie mistake though. Water went in over Thanksgiving holiday.

My plan was to use macro algae to lower nitrates. Ammonia went to zero in nine days. Red Ogo added Dec 9. along with Algae Bran's ecopods and Oceanmagik.
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The above is what 2 oz of red ogo looks like.
Skimmer arrived a few days later so added it on Dec 12 and let it run with drain plug pulled so it could "break in"
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I kept feeding the tank oceanmagik every day and added some more pods from Rusalty
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I added half the bag of Phyto on day 1 and the other half on day 2.
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Dec 17 added more pods
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My strategy/theory is that you can't really do too much harm and you can do a lot of good by adding things like phyto and macro algae and pods before fish. By day 21 of my cycle my ammonia is 0, nitrites are .15 and falling. I am sure it is safe for hardy/first fish, but not yet.

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And look at that red ogo GO! Two weeks after introduction, nitrate phosphorus soup getting sucked up. Chaeto starting to look up as well. 10 days post introduction.

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midgaar

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That red ogo is going hot, I’m definitely going to be adding some to my fuge in the future. I heard it’s a great snack for tangs too. What intensity do you keep your fuge light at? I’m not satisfied with the way my cheato is growing, seems like it’s dying.

How many display lights are you using? Is it just a single AP9X?
 
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lafarrow

lafarrow

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That red ogo is going hot, I’m definitely going to be adding some to my fuge in the future. I heard it’s a great snack for tangs too. What intensity do you keep your fuge light at? I’m not satisfied with the way my cheato is growing, seems like it’s dying.

How many display lights are you using? Is it just a single AP9X?
I have a single A360x in the fuge. I am using the preset refugium setting. I am sure my water is perfect for macro algae as I have not done a water change yet. Letting the macro pull out what it can until New Year’s Day or so. My chaeto is not going like the red but we’ll see if that trend continues.
 
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DocRudy

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Also with the ATO reservoir in the back, is there a space to place light arm mounts?
I'm actually using a long mount across the tank with 3 AI Hydra 32's. Still waiting for the mount to come in.
 
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lafarrow

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Waiting on the post holiday shipping log jam to clear so I can put in some fish. I am pleased to report, however, that my redo ogo is still kicking. Here is a pic just short of 1 month post introduction.
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I believe it is also knocking my nitrates down ever so slowly. I've gone from over 50 to down to 10-12 with out a water change. Just letting the macro do its thing.

Just added some emerald crabs and a lettuce nudibranch from Rusalty. They all took right off minutes after I added them. Here are some pods acclimating - without fish they are just keeping my rocks and glass clean and will be food soon.

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I went ahead and did some water changes to get ready for some fish that will be added shortly. I'm going to go traditional to start - Clowns/ pajama cardinals / hippo tang / yellow tang / couple shrimp and a friendly goby. After that I'll figure out where I am headed. Fish coming from Dr. Reef and should be in a week or so. I'll get a Triton test done and see where my water is. My tests (hannas) show I'm ok and I believe I am.
 
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lafarrow

lafarrow

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Well my fish tank is actually a crab, snail and worm tank right now. About the time I was ready for fish the holiday shipping log jam happened and all the vendors stopped shipping fish. No worries as I figured it would just give my tank more time to age. Before the shut down I was able to get 5 emerald crabs. Fun little creatures and it was nice to have some life in the tank.
I have suffered through 2 algae blooms solved by killing the lights for 2-3 days. I know when they are coming now as the glass looks like it has been smeared with vaseline.
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If I let it run it gets to where you can't see the back of the tank. Been doing 10% water changes/week. Figured I'd get a baseline ICP test (pretty neat). I was surprised to find my biggest deficiencies were Sulpher, Strontium, Calcium, Potassium and Lithium. Did as instructed along with a handful of other elements. Continue to test my water weekly.

Nitrates are staying below 5 (in the 2.5-3.5 range), ph hovers at 7.7-8, dKh declines from 8-6.6 and I have been adding baking soda (about 6-7 tsps a week) to keep it up. Last calcium test had 440. Not a lot using calcium except my molting crabs.

I did get some unexpected life while adding either the macro algae, the crabs, the cerith snails (those are like bitcoin man - if you can find em buy em!), the phyto or the pods. I have introduced medusa worms and a lone aptasia

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I am aware that if I see 1 aptasia I should be prepared for more. So far none yet and I am waiting for the great freeze to be over so I can take shipment of the nudibranchs. I did hit the aptasia with 10ml of "nellie & joe's" key west lemon juice. It knocked him back to a stump but a new growth appeared after about a week. Like a phoenix the new bud sprouted from the ashes of his forefather. I just hit the new one with another 10ml. We shall see.
As far as the medusa worms I have scoured the internet and it looks like there are a couple different concerns about them. I decided to see what they do. I do have them in the display and they show up as tiny white floating tubes that will stick to the glass. They are definitely in may rocks and come out at night. I know where they are b/c the rocks are scoured white. They flop their bodies on the rock over and over again. Next morning it is white rock. They also stay on the red ogo but do not seem to be eating it - hard to tell though.
I thought I saw one of the crabs go after one of the bigger worms but he got where I couldn't see him. So I don't know what happened.

I have some cleaner shrimp, a melanarus wrasse, some nassarius snails, some more cerith snails, and some cardinal fish coming. Once Dr. Reef is back up I will also have some clownfish coming as well.

Hopefully next month's update will be more interesting than worms, snails and crabs!
 
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lafarrow

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Well month 3. I got caught like everyone in the great holiday and then freeze induced shipping delays. I managed to get some Berghia nudibranchs from ReefTown to nip an aptasia issue in the bud. It looks like my key lime juice worked but I went with a belt and suspenders approach.

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ReefTown was incredibly proactive with updates on shipping delays and likely delivery dates. Crazy good. I would have no qualms about ordering from them again. Everything arrived timely, packed well and very robust life.

Unfortunately, my clownfish order from Dr.Reef got stuck in his tear down and relocation so my clownfish will arrive when they arrive. Hopefully soon - placed my order before Christmas!

I did go ahead and get some snails (trochus/cerith/nassarius) and fighting conchs from Live Aquaria. I also ordered a couple peppermint shrimp. 1 was DOA (extra day in shipping I suppose) and sadly I killed the survivor. Not sure what happened. 2 hour acclimation and per live aquaria did not due drip. He looked good and found a hiding spot that night but the next morning he was floating upside down like he was paralyzed until he drifted in front of one of the emerald crabs and then the crab does what a crab does and stopped the decomposition process.

I also got a pre-ordered shipment of pods and phyto from AlgaeBarn. Pods loaded up the tank and do what pods do. Those little white dots are all over the glass eating algae. Very nice. I am starting to worry a lot less about a Mandarin as a possibility. I'm not jumping in yet but it seems I have a very large pod population. Whenever I clean my sump and the pump comes back on there are pods everywhere.

I have run into the same issue everyone else has with the Tropic Marin salt mix being hard to find. I've got enough salt for just a few more water changes and then I'll be looking for a substitute mix to get me over the supply chain hump.

I already burned through a filter on my RODI unit. About 1300 gallons through.

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I ordered the additional membrane to go from 75gpd to 150gpd. Should have done that to start. Has made the water changes and ATO top offs much easier.

I continue to measure parameters and trying to relearn good habits.

My nitrate has remained below 5 for about 45 days. Phosphate peaked at .08 one day but has remained in the .02 and lower range. I have been feeding very little so the bit of life I do have has some new detritus to go after. I also think that the red ogo has sucked up my nitrates/phosphates since after a substantial harvest (about 2.5 quarts) that high phos number dropped back down. I do see some reddish algae in the low flow area in the back on the sand. Very little but its there.

The medusa worms don't seem to be an issue. I have seen some floating around in the water column and even sticking to the glass. Hard to get a picture of them. I pulled an adult out of the sump. Small paper clip for scale.
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I know it looks like a peanut worm but when in the water he has that multi arm tentacle deal around his/her mouth. If I can ever get a good shot of one I'll post it.

This month's rather disappointing tank shot - slowly aging rocks, crabs, snails, worms & conchs. Maybe next month my Cardinal fish, clowns and melanarus wrasse will be members of the club.

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danieyella

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Just caught up on your thread, currently mentally battling myself to decide between the 1500 and 1800 for my upgrade. Nervous because it's going in the same location as my existing tank is right now so it's going to be some work.
 

DocRudy

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I'm 5'6". A bit of a ladder, in the corner, and I can do everything I need to. I can reach to the bottom of the tank. Short persons creed, bring it on, nothing is to big for us! All joking aside, you will love the 1800.
 
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