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LFS Advised me not to purchase Waterbox RedSea

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FlexingFishSticks

FlexingFishSticks

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I’m in So Cal and was wondering who you went with for your aquarium and stand.
I was going to go with SCA or planet aquariums but since I have to move early next year I decided to postpone and just work on 40 breeder tank in the meantime.
 
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Letterkenny

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Haha I read your post and immediately thought, gotta be in San Diego. I have a decent feeling I know the 2 shops in question, one that tried to sell us on a Red Sea and the other who’s owner is very vocal and negative about ‘Chinese made crap tanks’ but yet still has them in the back with the rest of their tanks. He really rubs me the wrong way in how he treats his customers, I went in asking if he had specific plumbing parts twice now and both times he puts me down and wants to ‘teach me’ on how to do something. I get it to an extent but when I come in specifically asking if they carry gate valves because I’m setting up a herbie drain and get scolded about how they don’t sell them because they don’t get used correctly and are inferior to ball valves and a duraso system... (funny how 2-3 months later I go in and they now carry them...)


We ended up going with a mode aquarium that we got up at Tongs in OC but haven’t had it long so I can’t comment on Long term for them, we just liked the setup. With that all being said I would look into a water box probably over Red Sea just because I like their look and have seen/read good things about them. All metric plumbing on tanks in the US are a royal pain in the butt I have found but if you use the supplied plumbing then you should be fine. I am difficult and had to convert it all to imperial and custom plumb all my stuff.
I recently got my tank from that store. I was set on Waterbox but he told me to come down to check out this other tank they have that isn’t a “Chinese piece of crap”. Well, checked it out and thought that tank was a piece of crap and told it to him. Silicon work was poor, stand finish was poor, and they wanted more for it. I ended up ordering a Waterbox from them since I did end up getting it a couple hundred cheaper than what Waterbox or online sells for so that was the one plus at least.
 
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FlexingFishSticks

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Thanks! I’m quite the fan so far but would also consider Planet Aquariums just so you don’t have to build the stand. That’s likely where I’ll go next time.
What size waterbox did you get ?
 

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The only thing I can add to this is that every Red Sea I've seen in a LFS, the stand is falling apart.

For that and other reasons I decided I could build my own system for less or the same price, and come away with something that would have much better plumbing and stand.

If I had to do it over, I would not have done what I did. I would have bought the Red Sea, and then upgrade it (stand, etc.) as necessary. Or a Water Box.

But this is my first tank, so it meant 6 months of prep that delayed me from trying my hand at actual husbandry, which is the main experience I wanted to try first (to see if reefing was for me longer term). A long time preparing a tank when you already have one would be ok, but not when you're trying to get a tank (first tank) going. IMO.

The problem is: I ended up investing an enormous amount of energy and time in my tank build. ENORMOUS! And while a lot of it was fun and I learned a fair amount, if reefing turns out not to be my thing (eg. dislike the weekly chores, etc.), that is basically wasted time and effort as far as I'm concerned. The savings? Not much.

So IMO these ready made systems that look nice at first, have a roll to play. I think they can be great beyond a first tank, but I'm less sure about that. I think I'd want a custom built stand at the very least.
 
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The only thing I can add to this is that every Red Sea I've seen in a LFS, the stand is falling apart.

For that and other reasons I decided I could build my own system for less or the same price, and come away with something that would have much better plumbing and stand.

If I had to do it over, I would not have done what I did. I would have bought the Red Sea, and then upgrade it (stand, etc.) as necessary. Or a Water Box.

But this is my first tank, so it meant 6 months of prep that delayed me from trying my hand at actual husbandry, which is the main experience I wanted to try first (to see if reefing was for me longer term). A long time preparing a tank when you already have one would be ok, but not when you're trying to get a tank (first tank) going. IMO.

The problem is: I ended up investing an enormous amount of energy and time in my tank build. ENORMOUS! And while a lot of it was fun and I learned a fair amount, if reefing turns out not to be my thing (eg. dislike the weekly chores, etc.), that is basically wasted time and effort as far as I'm concerned. The savings? Not much.

So IMO these ready made systems that look nice at first, have a roll to play. I think they can be great beyond a first tank, but I'm less sure about that. I think I'd want a custom built stand at the very least.
Yeah it would be nice if you could jus buy their entire set up minus the stand! :D
 

Letterkenny

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Yea I have a JBJ 45 as well and honestly really dislike not having a sump. I hate not being able to easily cover up the back of the AIO which causes algae to grow versus blackout for a sump. It can also be a lot more challenging to access and clean the back of an AIO. I am seriously considering drilling it and adding an overflow box and sump to it.
 

Trever

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Yeah it would be nice if you could jus buy their entire set up minus the stand! :D
My take:

Stands are the hardest part of reefing, where system builds are concerned.

No one seems to talk about this, but I believe it's true.

Stands are either ugly and not roomy enough, or they cost a lot- so much that if you try to save money somehow on the stand, it's going to be a complete fail in most cases. (There's a kind of a trap that is set here.) Stands are hard at least in the sense that they cost a lot more than seems reasonable, if done right. They are also hard to do right.

I can find a ton of information on plumbing, discussed from all manner of angles (cost, results, yada yada).

I can't find boo on how to put together an 80/20 system properly by myself, or wood working plans for a stand that aren't built with 2x4s (which I consider unworkable), etc.

The information you can find on stands is:
Make sure you get something that will hold the amount of weight your tank will put on it.

Compare this to information on tank size, builds, plumbing, lights, skimmers- you name it.

Knowledge is lacking too, for example, does a stainless steel stand rust? Good luck getting reliable information on that. People will tell you stainless steel is corroded by salt water. But then some will say water will get under the tank and rust your top, others will tell you that's nonsense. Etc.

One of the most popular (viewed) YouTube videos I've seen in the hobby is one describing and showing two 40 gallon breeders on a big box store general purpose stand that is cheap but a super strong metal stand, and the breeders fit perfectly (as if the stands were made for them), were cheap, looked pretty decent, etc. It was an "ah ha" moment that went viral, because it solved the stand problem, at least for many, at least for 40 gallon breeders. That was my take on the popularity of that video anyways- it shows what a problem stands are, and how many are desperate for good, affordable solutions.

I've even wondered if there is a huge business opportunity in stands alone. There's just so little information and they are so hard.

My opinion.
 
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joshwaggs

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My take:

Stands are the hardest part of reefing, where system builds are concerned.

No one seems to talk about this, but I believe it's true.

Stands are either ugly and not roomy enough, or they cost a lot- so much that if you try to save money somehow on the stand, it's going to be a complete fail in most cases. (There's a kind of a trap that is set here.) Stands are hard at least in the sense that they cost a lot more than seems reasonable, if done right. They are also hard to do right.

I can find a ton of information on plumbing, discussed from all manner of angles (cost, results, yada yada).

I can't find boo on how to put together an 80/20 system properly by myself, or wood working plans for a stand that aren't built with 2x4s (which I consider unworkable), etc.

The information you can find on stands is:
Make sure you get something that will hold the amount of weight your tank will put on it.

Compare this to information on tank size, builds, plumbing, lights, skimmers- you name it.

Knowledge is lacking too, for example, does a stainless steel stand rust? Good luck getting reliable information on that. People will tell you stainless steel is corroded by salt water. But then some will say water will get under the tank and rust your top, others will tell you that's nonsense. Etc.

One of the most popular (viewed) YouTube videos I've seen in the hobby is one describing and showing two 40 gallon breeders on a big box store general purpose stand that is cheap but a super strong metal stand, and the breeders fit perfectly (as if the stands were made for them), were cheap, looked pretty decent, etc. It was an "ah ha" moment that went viral, because it solved the stand problem, at least for many, at least for 40 gallon breeders. That was my take on the popularity of that video anyways- it shows what a problem stands are, and how many are desperate for good, affordable solutions.

I've even wondered if there is a huge business opportunity in stands alone. There's just so little information and they are so hard.

My opinion.
If someone came up with a modular stand system that allows you to buy the main part that holds the tank and sump, then offers a bunch of add on pieces, that would be perfect. For example, you pick your stand (color, style, etc), then you pick add-on parts like a side cabinet, a cube system, shelves, etc.

The hard part about stands is every person is different and wants different things. Some people want aesthetics, some just want practical, some want cheap, and some want a mix of all of those options. For those that want aesthetics, it is hard to find furniture that matches the style of your house. On top of everything, aquarium places generally arent in the furniture business and dont have the supply chain to offer a lot of options at high volumes. So this kind of thing would probably have to be done by a furniture company or through a partnership between the aquarium company and a furniture company (Ikea, Target, etc.).
 
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swiss1939

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Yeah it would be nice if you could jus buy their entire set up minus the stand! :D
You could always sell the stand unused. If they are falling apart so much as people say.. im sure someone else needs one. Personally on my 170, the stand is fine. Its still rather new, but I am not concerned with the build for this size tank. I can definitely see questioning similarly built stands for much larger Red Sea tanks, but then again I wouldn't get a massive tank as I can't deal with the idea of if that thing fails. I can barely deal with the worry on a 170!

I do wish the stand internals were just a bit wider, but that would throw off the clean edge aesthetic they are designing to.
 

Darren in Tacoma

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The Reefer xl and above feature marine grade plywood with an HPL coating. I don't know what material would be better for building stands than that.

One thing I think most people miss is that all these companies are hitting a price point. Custom tanks are great, (assuming the builder builds great tanks) but are not in many peoples budget. By the time you add up all the premium parts you can only afford a tank 1/2 the size you wanted. Back to the bigger, less premium tank that I can still make work for the next ten years. Compromises need to be made for most of us mere mortals.
 
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