Inexpensive Low-Iron Tank Options??

Fish Fan

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Hey all! I haven't had a reef or saltwater tank since 2018, but I'm planning a new build presently. I have a brand new in the box IM Nuvo Black 40 gallon. This is their discontinued, non-AIO, rimless, low-iron tank with a "smoked" (read: semi-transparent) back panel that I will likely paint fully black. I also have a Synergy overflow as well as lighting, a sump, sand, rock, and nearly everything I need to get this tank going. However, I have been getting the bug for a slightly larger tank, primarily because we do go out of town a handful of times a year, and I have no one to care for the tank when I'm gone. I am thinking a tank in the 60-80 gallon range may be better for stability, and all my equipment such as lighting, sump, etc. should be more than capable of handling a slightly larger tank in the 60-80 gallon range.

I decided to start looking for a new aquarium, and I almost pooped a little when I saw their pricing lol! I apologize for my crudeness, but I was really taken aback by how much a fish tank can cost theses days (especially when we all know it's not the most expensive part of the build!).

For years now I have known about SC Aquariums out of California (not to be confused by SCAquarium.org, which is the South Carolina Public Aquarium). SC Aquariums seem to have decently priced budget aquariums. I really like their 66 or 80 gallon tanks as they are 32" long, which would fit my space perfectly.

I want to ask, is there any other budget brands of higher-end, low-iron tanks that I should be looking at? Rimless tanks would be preferred, but I almost certainly want some kind of screen or acrylic top to keep jumpers in, and will then likely build a canopy, so rimless is not a dealbreaker. I would like crystal clear, low-iron, and neatly sealed joints, with ideally black silicon.

Is there anything other than SC Aquariums I should be looking at?

Thanks very much!
 
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Fish Fan

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"budget brand" and "higher end" don't go together, lol
I know! But the tanks from SC Aquariums seem to be the most affordable. I'm asking if there's any other brand I'm missing.

Thank you for your reply!
 

nereefpat

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I assume you've seen all the Red Sea, Innovative Marine, Fiji Cube, etc. Part of the cost is paying for their crappy stands, but that's another discussion.

I would reach out to glass cages for a quote.
They have listed rimless 36x18x24H low iron for 1300-1400. Or a Eurobraced, rather than rimless but still wouldn't have trim, for a little less.

Rimless inherently makes things more expensive, since the glass has to be thicker. An Aqueon 75 gallon would be cheap, but not rimless or low iron ;)
 

Lbrdsoxfan

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I know! But the tanks from SC Aquariums seem to be the most affordable. I'm asking if there's any other brand I'm missing.

Thank you for your reply!
SC Aquariums as about as 'cheap' and as good as your can get. Tanks come from china like most of the large brands (IM, RedSea, Waterbox, Cade, etc...) But the markup isnt as fierce and the package isnt as snazzy.

I'm a owner of a early SC 50g cube (+10 years old) its held up well.
 
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I assume you've seen all the Red Sea, Innovative Marine, Fiji Cube, etc. Part of the cost is paying for their crappy stands, but that's another discussion.
Hi! I am entirely peeved that these places basically force you to buy their crappy stands!!! It drives me crazy. I am something of a woodworker and I prefer to build my own stands.

I have two IM Nuvo 10 gallon AIO's from back when you could get just the tank for $100 ($70 on sale) and not forced to buy the whole kit. I also have the IM Nuvo Black non-AIO 40 gallon mentioned in my original post. I had really wanted one of their 20 gallon AIO's recently, but, again, you can't buy just the tank, so I ended up ordering their Nuvo 15 AIO instead. At $100 (plus $30 shipping) the IM Nuvo 15 AIO isn't a bad deal, but I sad to see they no longer included a screen top, which I think is being a little cheap on their part. I don't think it would cost them that much to include a basic screened top. Of course, they will sell you one separately for 40 bucks.

I also have a FijiCube sump.

I have looked into IM, FijiCube, Waterbox, Red Sea and SC Aquariums, and SC Aquariums seems to be the least expensive by a long shot so far. I also found some off names on Amazon, but I don't know.

I would reach out to glass cages for a quote.
They have listed rimless 36x18x24H low iron for 1300-1400. Or a Eurobraced, rather than rimless but still wouldn't have trim, for a little less.
Yeah, SC Aquariums has an 80 gallon 32"x24"24" for I think $900, and the 32" length would fit my space nicely.

Rimless inherently makes things more expensive, since the glass has to be thicker. An Aqueon 75 gallon would be cheap, but not rimless or low iron ;)
I don't actually *need* rimless because I may end up going with a canopy anyway, but I'd really like the low iron glass. I have a standard, rimmed 75 gallon freshwater tank currently, as well as an old but nearly new Marineland 65 gallon "reef-ready" tank. I am at least considering going with the 65, but I would ideally prefer low iron glass.

Thanks for your reply!
 
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SC Aquariums as about as 'cheap' and as good as your can get. Tanks come from china like most of the large brands (IM, RedSea, Waterbox, Cade, etc...) But the markup isnt as fierce and the package isnt as snazzy.

I'm a owner of a early SC 50g cube (+10 years old) its held up well.
That's what I was thinking, but I wanted to ask if I was maybe missing another brand. Definitely good to hear that your SC Aquarium tank is holding up well! I don't think they are terribly popular with members here, which is surprising given their low price, and I've personally never heard of anyone complaining about them.

Thank you for your help!
 

Gill the 3rd

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Are you 100% set on having low iron? I have a few standard aqeon tanks and one tank from glass cages with low iron. I honestly cant really tell the difference. Low iron also scratches really easily compared to standard glass. The glass cages tank I have is a rimless 40 gallon and it is built really well, I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They are also great to work with. I cant speak to SC aquariums personally, but they look like pretty nice tanks on their website.
 
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After reading and responding to this thread I am intrigued by SC aquariums. The prices are really good!
They really seem to be the best deal in town on tanks these days, I can't understand why we don't see more members using their tanks.
 
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Are you 100% set on having low iron? I have a few standard aqeon tanks and one tank from glass cages with low iron. I honestly cant really tell the difference. Low iron also scratches really easily compared to standard glass. The glass cages tank I have is a rimless 40 gallon and it is built really well, I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They are also great to work with. I cant speak to SC aquariums personally, but they look like pretty nice tanks on their website.
Yes, I do think I want the low iron option. I have a few small low iron tanks, like the IM Nuvo 10 AIO, as well as dozens and dozens of standard tanks over the years, and to me the difference is quite noticeable. However, I do happen to have an older Marineland 65 gallon "reef-ready" tank that I could use if I went with the standard tank option. But I think I'd really prefer the low iron if I can find one that's affordable and fits my space.
 

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Not being low iron is a deal breaker to me. The tint of non-iron looks terrible. Sure you might not notice it when you have it in place or unless another aquarium to directly beside compare it against. But the difference is pretty noticeable.... especially when we are trying to get the best colors out of our corals. why hurt that with a tint on regular glass.
 

Lbrdsoxfan

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Not being low iron is a deal breaker to me. The tint of non-iron looks terrible. Sure you might not notice it when you have it in place or unless another aquarium to directly beside compare it against. But the difference is pretty noticeable.... especially when we are trying to get the best colors out of our corals. why hurt that with a tint on regular glass.
This. One low iron and one non low iron tank in my house, its insane the differences when viewing.
 
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Not being low iron is a deal breaker to me. The tint of non-iron looks terrible. Sure you might not notice it when you have it in place or unless another aquarium to directly beside compare it against. But the difference is pretty noticeable.... especially when we are trying to get the best colors out of our corals. why hurt that with a tint on regular glass.
I agree. I think it's less noticeable in freshwater tanks where everything is largely green and brown anyway, but when you look at the bright colors of the animals we keep in reef tanks, I think the low iron becomes more important.
 
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This. One low iron and one non low iron tank in my house, its insane the differences when viewing.
You got it! I have had standard tanks on and off for about 40 years now, and I was amazed when I first saw the newer low iron tanks in person.
 
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After these responses I'm now wondering if my low iron tank is actually low iron lol
LOL! Are you thinking it's not? Some tanks are of better quality than others. I have a off brand tank I got at PetCo for the wife's Betta fish, it's clearer than an old standard rimmed tank, but not as clear as my Innovative Marine tanks.
 

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After these responses I'm now wondering if my low iron tank is actually low iron lol
look at the glass where there is no water, do you see a noticeable green tint? if so then not low iron.
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