red sea reefers are not worth the cost

BRS

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No you don't. You can buy another tank for cheaper and put the parts together yourself. That type of thinking is why they are able to get away with charging such high prices. If people recognized the absurdity of the pricing and how little youre getting the prices would come down.
Yeah well that simply isn’t gonna happen. We have the issue of companies charging ridiculous prices for corals shot under crazy lightning conditions and crazy names, and what do you know MANY people still buy them. Building your own tank isn’t for everyone, some prefer just having it all there ready for you to assemble. Anyways I can understand your point of view and it might be correct to some extent, but like anything it doesn’t apply for everyone. I am sorry to hear that you are not happy with your unit wish you the best.
happy reefing!
 
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dontbuyxenia

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The ATO gives me slight problems once in awhile other then that the tank is amazing. I would recommend one to anyone who asked me they are great tanks/systems

I had to laugh at the all in one system didn't come with a return pump. yeah it doesn't come with sand rock water fish skimmer wave pumps either whats your point ? show me a tank that comes with all that stuff included ?

You bought your tank used . You entered into a hobby that costs money that's just the way it is if you don't want to drive a Ferrari then go purchase a Honda
As I said originally the functionality of the ATO is not the issue. Its how its positioned making it difficult to refill. This is an easy fix on red sea's part and they failed to do it.

And how is a system "All-in-one" if you have to buy multiple other items? By the very definition it isn't an all in one setup.

And I am not at all new to the hobby. Ive been keeping saltwater for about 8 years, fish overall for 15. This tank is NOT the ferrari of tanks. Its more of a Tesla. A tank with alright reliability(so actually better than a Tesla) but its unique design draws a loyal following. The quality of these tanks are no better than any other tank Ive owned.
 
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dontbuyxenia

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But you state that your intended purpose of the critique is education. The impact of the criticism is lessened if it isn't valid. Why not just stick to criticism of the tanks' actual calculable deficits, instead of presenting opinion and subjectively perceived flaws? If I was a beginner, I'd find much more value in an objective assessment than a rant.
That's 100% true. However, if the ATO doesnt work, then how is that any different from it breaking and not using it? Sure its good to know by which line of logic it becomes unusable but still useless nonetheless. I actually don't think the ATO is entirely useless, it depends how much water you lose. But it seems that your issue was slightly different than mine and I appreciate the input.
 
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dontbuyxenia

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I can appreciate your opinion.

I am on my 4th RS tank and thoroughly enjoyed wasting every last dollar.

For me it was about having all the plumbing pretty much worked out. There is a lot of information to digest when starting your first tank. By going Red Sea, I was able to focus on water parameters, fish and coral knowledge overload. I still couldn't tell you the difference between bean animal and any other method. But man do I have a nice reef tank in my living room.

One example I can give. I found a neighbor that had your standard 125 gallon with whatever return system. He kept asking me to help him get his tank as quiet as mine. Well I couldn't because I got in on the reefing for dummies tank and never looked back.

I think it's all about preference. That's why I can respect your opinion on Red Sea while enjoying mine.

Happy reefing.
I totally agree. And this one of the best reasons to get the tank. Its absolutely about preference. I just want to make other people aware of some of the flaws and downsides to getting one of these tanks has. I'd call myself a somewhat advanced reefer and I think that for me(and possibly others like me) at least the tank doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
 
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dontbuyxenia

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Yeah well that simply isn’t gonna happen. We have the issue of companies charging ridiculous prices for corals shot under crazy lightning conditions and crazy names, and what do you know MANY people still buy them. Building your own tank isn’t for everyone, some prefer just having it all there ready for you to assemble. Anyways I can understand your point of view and it might be correct to some extent, but like anything it doesn’t apply for everyone. I am sorry to hear that you are not happy with your unit wish you the best.
happy reefing!
Ah but you see many people don't buy from WWC or Jfox for inordinate amounts of money. There are many coral vendors that sell beautiful corals for way cheaper, many of them the same named corals Jfox or WWC sell. I love WWC and Jfox and still buy from them occasionally if they got something totally crazy. But the free market accounts for those preferences and many coral vendors charge way less because of that. There is no reason why this wouldn't happen with tanks
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

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Ah but you see many people don't buy from WWC or Jfox for inordinate amounts of money. There are many coral vendors that sell beautiful corals for way cheaper, many of them the same named corals Jfox or WWC sell. I love WWC and Jfox and still buy from them occasionally if they got something totally crazy. But the free market accounts for those preferences and many coral vendors charge way less because of that. There is no reason why this wouldn't happen with tanks
Well yes but unlike WWC or jfx you are not paying for something that isn’t worth the price or shot under unusual conditions, you are paying for something elegant and well made.
 

brandon429

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Honestly curious: where’s the series of threads where owners of oceanic tanks woke up and found all their reef in the floor due to a seam split. If I was pressed to find and link those posts from the last ten years, the brand causing it would be ____ ____?
 

reefah

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I know this is controversial, but there is no way red sea tanks are worth the money at all in the slightest. I bought a red sea 250 after moving and needing to downsize from my 150(which was just a standard 150 from planet aquariums I purchased from my lfs). It was somewhat sudden and I didn't want to go through the hassle of designing, purchasing, and installing plumbing; I found a good deal so I decided to get it. I bought the system used for a price of $800. It had only been used for a year and everything worked fine. So I figured I would outline the things I don't like about the system to warn others but hopefully have some input from to improve these issues.

1. The "all in one"/"plug and play" lie: The red sea 250 system cost $1824. That includes the tank, stand, sump and plumbing. How is this plug and play? Theres nothing even to plug in as it doesn't come with a return pump. I think that most people would agree that to just get the tank started you would need to put in at least another $1000. You could easily spend over $3000 including the tank and not have any fish or coral. Thats insane for a tank with a system volume of 65 gallons. You could easily find a tank at least twice the volume including stand and probably a sump for the same price or less. Even other all in ones like IM give you a pump, media, and a top. Luckily I had a bunch of extra stuff from my 150 but for someone starting out it would be ridiculous.

2. The lack of space: One of Red sea's main selling points is that you wont have to spend time and money buying different pieces of plumbing and filtration equipment to put your system together. For a beginner who has no experience in what to look for in buying equipment this is a good reason to buy Red sea. But for more experienced reefers who are looking to run more sophisticated equipment such as gfo reactors, calcium reactors, auto dosers, or an ato(i will cover this more later) they will be greatly restricted by space. The sump takes up a considerable amount of space and leaves just a small area, about 14inx20in, to store EVERYTHING else. My stand looks like a bomb went off. Between auto doser pumps and containers, wires for the heater, refugium light, skimmer, and return pump there is almost no room to store anything else. This is because the opening for wires require that they be stretched across the sump from the left side. And the sump has to be installed on the left. This means wires get covered in salt creep and take up valuable space in the storage area.

3. The ATO: The ATO is famously hated among red sea owners. This should be no surprise since all it is is a cheap float valve system with no real fail safe in it except for the fact that the volume when filled is not enough to overflow the sump. That's fine if you don't mind losing sensitive species to a large salinity swing. Now granted, I have had no reliability issues with the ATO and the feature for adjusting the water level in the return pump compartment is very nice. My main issue is how it is positioned. Since the ATO sits on top of the sump, it is high above everything else so it is difficult to access. You can't pour the bottom half of a 5 gallon jug into it as you cant tip the jug over enough to get the water out. This means you need to empty the water and scoop it in with a cup or something. And forget trying to take the ATO out and filling it. The reservoir is a small glass tank with an open top so there would be no way to reinstall it without sloshing water all over the place. And that open top quality makes you lose lots of extra water due to evaporation. The design is so poor that it makes way more sense to just get another ATO, especially if your house is as dry as mine. The design could have been fixed so easily too. Just make the reservoir a closed top jug with a hole at the side and include a funnel to pour the water into. Almost like a gas tank or oil for your engine. But it is so obvious that red sea instead chose to forego functionality for aesthetic by keeping their minimalistic glass box instead of a custom plastic jug that would have made sense. Instead I have to keep a new ATO outside of the tank stand as there is no room inside the stand for one.

4. The quality issues: Red sea has a reputation of quality in general. That is until you start to have problems with your tank and find all the red sea owners with the same problem. From seam leaks to the incredibly annoying defect with the drain plumbing that causes the tank to sound like a toilet 24/7, red sea has its fair share of issues. Personally, my tank is way louder than my 150 ever was. If the dial on the drain line isn't tuned exactly right it is extremely loud. Many people replace this part with one from home depot. For a near $2000 tank kit, this is unacceptable.

Conclusion: Red sea systems are great if you like how they look. That's it. After owning one for the past 6 months I can tell you that it isn't worth it. The equipment is not better. It requires mods to make it function optimally and you will be spending hundreds of more dollars before ever putting a fish in. In my opinion, red sea takes advantage of people with the idea that they will provide you with everything you need to get you a tank that looks like the ones on their website or at fish stores(btw, red sea requires displays in stores that sell their tanks, the stores aren't necessarily choosing red sea because they want to). I understand that many people love red sea reefer tanks. And not all red sea products are bad either, just the tanks(and test kits lol). If you want to buy a red sea tank, just do your research and think about how your money is being spent and where else it could go. Cheers!
As an owner of a Red Sea 350. You make a lot of really good points. Firstly the space in sump, yes it’s very small. I can barely fit my carbon/GFO & RSK 600 skimmer and UV. I would need to opt for a HOB refug or anything HOB going forward as there isn’t anymore room down there.

The ATO is …okay. I’ve found a way to pour my 5gal rodi jug just enough so it’ll pour directly into the ATO but I do place a towel down because I tend to get some splashes here and there. It’s annoying but it’ll do

The return does in fact sound like a toilet but once you get the right pump speed plus dialing the knob just right, you basically set it once and forget it.

Initially I did assume I was in for about $3400 total for my cost of tank and equipment. Well, next thing you know I was at around 5.5k for everything and that does not include any corals or livestock.

Overall I am pleased with my tank once everything got up and running. It’s beautiful. But a lot of work. I guess that just comes with the hobby.

I can agree that you could easily get a water box or some other tank at a LFS for half the price easily but I guess it really just depends on the persons preference.

Everything you said though I LOL’d cuz it’s all true
 

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dontbuyxenia

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I'm going to disagree with almost everything you said.

1. Basically every fish tank is like that?

2. Lack of space? I have no problem fitting everything inside of it, including a Kalk Stirrer?

3. ATO I cant really voice my opinions on because I have an external ATO that holds 10 gallons, however when I had my 250 I never had a problem with it?

4. Personally I have never had ONE problem with either of the Red Seas I have/do owned. You also have to remember that more people will leave bad reviews then good (basic Marketing)....I'm not saying they haven't had their flaws but part of it is people not leveling their tanks properly as well.
1. How? Smaller tanks are usually way cheaper, thats just common sense.
2. I'd love to see a picture! I think the space is tiny and if you can maximize it I'd love some pointers!
3. Why do you have an external ATO? If the included one is okay why change it? And Im assuming you mean the ATO is outside of the stand. If space isnt an issue then why isn't it inside?
4. This is very true, most red sea owners seem happy. The leveling detail is also relevant. Many houses floors are not perfectly level at all. My old house where I had my 150 was so bad there was almost a 1.5 cm difference between both sides of a 6 foot tank before shims. I got it reduced to about 0.5 and it was perfectly quiet. Floors at my new house are perfectly level and my red sea tank is way louder.
 

Dragonsreef

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My only gripes with the red sea reefers are the price and quality issues their tanks have been having. You can definitely build a tank with the same specs as a reefer for much less, youre just paying for the red sea name and having everything conveniently packaged in one place. As far as the space, any tank that size will have limited space if running a sump. I havent personally used a red sea ato but if youre having issues id just swap to a tunze
 
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MichaelReefer

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1. How? Smaller tanks are usually way cheaper, thats just common sense.
2. I'd love to see a picture! I think the space is tiny and if you can maximize it I'd love some pointers!
3. Why do you have an external ATO? If the included one is okay why change it? And Im assuming you mean the ATO is outside of the stand. If space isnt an issue then why isn't it inside?
4. This is very true, most red sea owners seem happy. The leveling detail is also relevant. Many houses floors are not perfectly level at all. My old house where I had my 150 was so bad there was almost a 1.5 cm difference between both sides of a 6 foot tank before shims. I got it reduced to about 0.5 and it was perfectly quiet. Floors at my new house are perfectly level and my red sea tank is way louder.

1. That logic makes no sense. The bigger the tank of course you will have more expense. You need more lights, more powerheads, more rocks, more sand, etc etc. My point is no tank setup comes with lights, powerheads, etc etc. Its common sense you will have to buy those?

2. You mount on the walls and back plate?

3. I have an external ATO because I wanted a larger one.

4. I cant even hear my tanks overflow *shrug*
 

flashsmith

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The only other systems in my mind to compare with RS as far as what they come with are Cade which are ridiculous expensive. Would love to have one though. Reef Octolux they come with a protein skimmer and a built in ato. Waterbox only a reservoir you supply the pump. IM only a tank and stand. Build as you please but price all that stuff out and then take a hard look at RS. I did and ended up with a RS 625 and couldn't be happier.
 

flashsmith

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My only gripes with the red sea reefers are the price and quality issues their tanks have been having. You can definitely build a tank with the same specs as a reefer for much less, youre just paying for the red sea name and having everything conveniently packaged in one place. As far as the space, any tank that size will have limited space if running a sump. I havent personally used a red sea ato but if youre having issues id just swap to a tunze
You sure can build a cheaper tank no doubt about it. A 40 breeder sitting on a metal stand yep...
 

Pntbll687

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I know this is controversial, but there is no way red sea tanks are worth the money at all in the slightest. I bought a red sea 250 after moving and needing to downsize from my 150(which was just a standard 150 from planet aquariums I purchased from my lfs). It was somewhat sudden and I didn't want to go through the hassle of designing, purchasing, and installing plumbing; I found a good deal so I decided to get it. I bought the system used for a price of $800. It had only been used for a year and everything worked fine. So I figured I would outline the things I don't like about the system to warn others but hopefully have some input from to improve these issues.

1. The "all in one"/"plug and play" lie: The red sea 250 system cost $1824. That includes the tank, stand, sump and plumbing. How is this plug and play? Theres nothing even to plug in as it doesn't come with a return pump. I think that most people would agree that to just get the tank started you would need to put in at least another $1000. You could easily spend over $3000 including the tank and not have any fish or coral. Thats insane for a tank with a system volume of 65 gallons. You could easily find a tank at least twice the volume including stand and probably a sump for the same price or less. Even other all in ones like IM give you a pump, media, and a top. Luckily I had a bunch of extra stuff from my 150 but for someone starting out it would be ridiculous.
Don't most people use whatever pump they want? If RedSea offered an AC single speed pump with it would that be acceptable? Because they could easily add that with minimal cost increase (they would just get the non needle wheel pump they use in the skimmers). Or if you don't like the option they provide that's unacceptable too?
2. The lack of space: One of Red sea's main selling points is that you wont have to spend time and money buying different pieces of plumbing and filtration equipment to put your system together. For a beginner who has no experience in what to look for in buying equipment this is a good reason to buy Red sea. But for more experienced reefers who are looking to run more sophisticated equipment such as gfo reactors, calcium reactors, auto dosers, or an ato(i will cover this more later) they will be greatly restricted by space. The sump takes up a considerable amount of space and leaves just a small area, about 14inx20in, to store EVERYTHING else. My stand looks like a bomb went off. Between auto doser pumps and containers, wires for the heater, refugium light, skimmer, and return pump there is almost no room to store anything else. This is because the opening for wires require that they be stretched across the sump from the left side. And the sump has to be installed on the left. This means wires get covered in salt creep and take up valuable space in the storage area.
This is literally a non issue because it's up to YOU to do the wire management. I bet we can find some pretty awesome looking sump compartments on RedSea reefers just by searching R2R.

Are you taking stuff you ran on a standard 150 and trying to shoe horn it into the cabinet?
3. The ATO: The ATO is famously hated among red sea owners. This should be no surprise since all it is is a cheap float valve system with no real fail safe in it except for the fact that the volume when filled is not enough to overflow the sump. That's fine if you don't mind losing sensitive species to a large salinity swing. Now granted, I have had no reliability issues with the ATO and the feature for adjusting the water level in the return pump compartment is very nice. My main issue is how it is positioned. Since the ATO sits on top of the sump, it is high above everything else so it is difficult to access. You can't pour the bottom half of a 5 gallon jug into it as you cant tip the jug over enough to get the water out. This means you need to empty the water and scoop it in with a cup or something. And forget trying to take the ATO out and filling it. The reservoir is a small glass tank with an open top so there would be no way to reinstall it without sloshing water all over the place. And that open top quality makes you lose lots of extra water due to evaporation. The design is so poor that it makes way more sense to just get another ATO, especially if your house is as dry as mine. The design could have been fixed so easily too. Just make the reservoir a closed top jug with a hole at the side and include a funnel to pour the water into. Almost like a gas tank or oil for your engine. But it is so obvious that red sea instead chose to forego functionality for aesthetic by keeping their minimalistic glass box instead of a custom plastic jug that would have made sense. Instead I have to keep a new ATO outside of the tank stand as there is no room inside the stand for one.
OH NO! A company wanted their product to look nice and keep everything fashioned in the same way. Not a glass ATO, with a glass sump, and a glass aquarium. And it's your choice to run the ATO outside the stand.
4. The quality issues: Red sea has a reputation of quality in general. That is until you start to have problems with your tank and find all the red sea owners with the same problem. From seam leaks to the incredibly annoying defect with the drain plumbing that causes the tank to sound like a toilet 24/7, red sea has its fair share of issues. Personally, my tank is way louder than my 150 ever was. If the dial on the drain line isn't tuned exactly right it is extremely loud. Many people replace this part with one from home depot. For a near $2000 tank kit, this is unacceptable.
Mass produced anything has quality control issues. I saw Ford cars/trucks/suv with less than 100 miles on them blow a rod and need a new motor when I worked at ford.

For every 1 person that has a seam let go, there's literally thousands of others who have no issues. We just don't hear from the ones with no issues.

Conclusion: Red sea systems are great if you like how they look. That's it. After owning one for the past 6 months I can tell you that it isn't worth it. The equipment is not better. It requires mods to make it function optimally and you will be spending hundreds of more dollars before ever putting a fish in. In my opinion, red sea takes advantage of people with the idea that they will provide you with everything you need to get you a tank that looks like the ones on their website or at fish stores(btw, red sea requires displays in stores that sell their tanks, the stores aren't necessarily choosing red sea because they want to). I understand that many people love red sea reefer tanks. And not all red sea products are bad either, just the tanks(and test kits lol). If you want to buy a red sea tank, just do your research and think about how your money is being spent and where else it could go. Cheers!
Make it function optimally according to who? Why don't you run it the way it was designed?

Stores LITERALLY choose RedSea because they want to. RedSea can't force a store to carry their products.

Not gonna lie, it sounds like you didn't take your own advice.

Was this post just because you are unhappy with your own decision to buy a tank that didn't turn out the way you thought it would?
 

tautog83

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You're complaining about price but in the brief look I noticed you buy from wwc . That's so funny to me because they're the most overpriced vendor on here. Anyways to your points , if you're an experienced hobbyist , you probably dont want the crappy lights or crappy return pump they would include in a "plug and play " system . Great IM provides a mini jet return pump, go look at all the posts of people replacing them with a sicce. These kind of systems are catered for convenience really . As far as the pricing a custom would look nicer and is a little more expensive but than you have to pay freight . Also have you seen how much let's say a 5ft or 6ft custom steel stand costs??? It will last forever but I got quoted from a couple companies around $2k not skinned !!! If replacing the ato is going to break the bank you're in the wrong hobby for sure . I'm not saying they're the best setups but any means, but price out a custom tank exactly the way you want and let me know where you're at .
 
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czoolander

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As I said originally the functionality of the ATO is not the issue. Its how its positioned making it difficult to refill. This is an easy fix on red sea's part and they failed to do it.

And how is a system "All-in-one" if you have to buy multiple other items? By the very definition it isn't an all in one setup.

And I am not at all new to the hobby. Ive been keeping saltwater for about 8 years, fish overall for 15. This tank is NOT the ferrari of tanks. Its more of a Tesla. A tank with alright reliability(so actually better than a Tesla) but its unique design draws a loyal following. The quality of these tanks are no better than any other tank Ive owned.
Yeah the ATO is not easy to fill I agree 100% I was filling it cup by cup for awhile by hand LOL until I just bought a funnel with a 1 foot hose. super easy to fix it literally takes me less than a minute to fill now :) but yeah its a frustrating design on the ATO for sure

No tank is truly an all in one system however the red sea reefs are the closest to this I think we can agree on that much ?

I love my red sea 525 xl . yes I paid premium for it . But to me it has been worth it !

We can disagree that is all good haha
 
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dontbuyxenia

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Don't most people use whatever pump they want? If RedSea offered an AC single speed pump with it would that be acceptable? Because they could easily add that with minimal cost increase (they would just get the non needle wheel pump they use in the skimmers). Or if you don't like the option they provide that's unacceptable too?

This is literally a non issue because it's up to YOU to do the wire management. I bet we can find some pretty awesome looking sump compartments on RedSea reefers just by searching R2R.

Are you taking stuff you ran on a standard 150 and trying to shoe horn it into the cabinet?

OH NO! A company wanted their product to look nice and keep everything fashioned in the same way. Not a glass ATO, with a glass sump, and a glass aquarium. And it's your choice to run the ATO outside the stand.

Mass produced anything has quality control issues. I saw Ford cars/trucks/suv with less than 100 miles on them blow a rod and need a new motor when I worked at ford.

For every 1 person that has a seam let go, there's literally thousands of others who have no issues. We just don't hear from the ones with no issues.


Make it function optimally according to who? Why don't you run it the way it was designed?

Stores LITERALLY choose RedSea because they want to. RedSea can't force a store to carry their products.

Not gonna lie, it sounds like you didn't take your own advice.

Was this post just because you are unhappy with your own decision to buy a tank that didn't turn out the way you thought it would?
1. The point I was making as far as the AIO comment is that you are not getting very much for the money. It is far from an all in one kit. I think they should include a pump. I don't know why it is controversial that a company provides all the bare bones parts necessary for it to function. Imagine if you bought a car without wheels or a phone without a charger, wouldn't you be upset?

2. It is up to you for wire management but Red Sea does not make it easy. They could have put some holes on the left or a small shelf on the right to make it easier. Very small things that would have drastically improved the functionality

3. I dont care what the ATO is made of. They could make it as minimalistic as they want. I do have a problem when that aesthetic design hinders functionality. Especially when it is in a part of the tank you dont even see.

4. 100% true on defects with the seam. Seems to be a rare occurrence but should be noted

5. The ATO objectively has issues. The drain objectively has issues if it is loud like mine. Nobody likes these problems, they aren't subjective.

6. I'm not running the ATO the way it was designed because it has problems that make it difficult to run. Everything else is running as designed.

7. Before I owned a Red Sea tank I had no opinion. The AIO qualities seemed enticing. After owning one Ive learned a lot about the system and am not impressed.

8. Stores choose Red Sea because of the loyal following it has along with the large diversity of the products it sells making it easier on wholesale ordering and selling. People like the idea of buying all the things you need and not having to piece it together.

8. If you like your Red Sea tank that's fine, many do. I'm just trying to start a discussion about the true value of these tanks.
 

Dragonsreef

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You sure can build a cheaper tank no doubt about it. A 40 breeder sitting on a metal stand yep...
Im not talking about bare minimums, i mean a low iron glass rimless tank with a nice stand and sump can still be had for much less.
 
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dontbuyxenia

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You're complaining about price but in the brief look I noticed you buy from wwc . That's so funny to me because they're the most overpriced vendor on here. Anyways to your points , if you're an experienced hobbyist , you probably dont want the crappy lights or crappy return pump they would include in a "plug and play " system . Great IM provides a mini jet return pump, go look at all the posts of people replacing them with a sicce. These kind of systems are catered for convenience really . As far as the pricing a custom would look nicer and is a little more expensive but than you have to pay freight . Also have you seen how much let's say a 5ft or 6ft custom steel stand costs??? It will last forever but I got quoted from a couple companies around $2k not skinned !!! If replacing the ato is going to break the bank you're in the wrong hobby for sure . I'm not saying they're the best setups but any means, but price out a custom tank exactly the way you want and let me know where you're at .
I have bought from WWC in the past but havent recently. They are mega overpriced for sure. I usually only buy the auctions on ebay if I can get a good deal. And as far lights and pumps. Red Sea makes decent lights and pumps. Why not include it? All I've ever said is for the money you get very little, either include more or lower the price.
 
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