New Tank Advice - Custom Or Plug And Play?

Discussion in 'New To Reefing' started by viscera89, Oct 23, 2017.

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  1. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    Hi All,

    As the title suggest am looking at a new tank. I previously had a simplish 4ft set up with a standard corner weir.

    Currently I am tossing up getting a new larger unit. Options are either a Red Sea Reefer 625XXL or a Cade PR1500 or obviously a custom set up for a similar size.

    They all have pros and cons, Pro of the Reefer and Case system is I dont have to think about much to set it up and get it running. Cons are I guess the same that they are limited.

    Pro for a custom is i can theoretically set it up how I want, con here is i am indecisive and like to over think everything.... Especially the sump and if to go close loop system or not.

    I only want to keep a few fish and limit coral but have plenty of open swimming space.

    Price isnt a huge factor but it should be considered.

    Are the Reefer and Cades worth the coin?

    Custom be cheaper option?

    Are the sumps in the Cade and Reefer's decent?

    Other equipment I'd have to get ontop of the tank purchase (mainly for the cade and reefer), thinking lights, pumps, heaters, wave makers,

    build quality?

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Savage Henry

    Savage Henry Member

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    I have a CADE, which I am not using at the moment. Though, even when I was using it, I didn't use the sump. This was due to mould issues where I was living and nothing to do with the tank setup itself.

    I like the Cade cause of the quality of the glass and aluminium cabinet for the money you pay. I liked the idea of not having to worry about water damage to a cabinet.

    I do like to make my own modification but I am pretty crap at making them so going the Cade was the way to go for me.

    I would suggest buying a second hand Cade or Red Sea and seeing how you feel after a couple years or so.

    If I could have found a place to build an aluminium cabinet I would have gone the route of a custom built tank.

    I currently have a Fire Aquarium sitting on a low solidly built jarrah coffee table. I don't run a sump on this tank either. I like the quality of the Fire Aquarium and have been running it for almost one year.

    Eventually I want to set up my Cade again and hopefully get to use the sump.
  3. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Custom is entirely the way to go, BUT ONLY, if you are ready to make every decision about what you want and I mean every decision.

    Therefore, for your situation, I would recommend a reefer or cade every day of the week. They both have the flexibility for you to chose your lights, skimmer, return pump and other equipment, but not have to worry about drain design, weir placement and where to fit electronics etc.

    Not to mention, they are both great looking tanks
  4. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    Thanks for the input.

    Whats your thoughts on price point though? The Cade is roughly $3,999.00 and the Reefer $3,890.00, would custom be much cheaper for a similar build/design? My LFS builds tanks as well and they put out some decent work so I trust their quality to be as good as the Cade or the Reefer, the stand being a cabinetmaker by trade I can do myself cheap and easy.
  5. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    it will be a lot cheaper if you go custom, especially if you can make your own cabinet. If you like the look of the work your LFS can produce, go for it!
  6. Franklin Dattein

    Franklin Dattein Member

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    I don't think you can get a custom made, with Aluminum stand, for cheaper than a Cade or RS Reefer. I made the comparison 5y ago and custom build was more expensive, in Sydney.

    I would recommend Cade, the new design looks great with side doors and internal power sockets. However, the new ATO reservoir at the back is a deal breaker for me. It takes precious space and cannot be replaced. I like it oversized to reduce maintenance. Reason why I would lean towards the RS Reefer.
  7. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    Thanks again, appreciate it.

    In fairness one of the big draw backs against the CADE is the stand. Black wont work in the room its going in (mrs words) and the white and champagne is tacky. I actually think their stands are pretty ugly either way and could be designed better. The Reefer stand in my opinion is more visually appealing.

    If I was to go custom I think I'd prefer to go a coast to coast weir rather then a corner or center. I think the added surface skimming it provides is better then a corner, also a little neater as it helps keep the tank squarer. Any thoughts on that?

    I guess designing a sump would come down to what sort of livestock I wanted to keep to what extra's id need to run.

    Seeming how I am thinking of a real minimalist approach to the aqua scape and coral. Id prefer to have more swimming room for the fish. I'd probably lean more towards the soft coral types and maybe some SPS which I guess are a little more demanding on the additive dosing side of things.

    Anywhere decent to read about different sump layouts and things to consider?
  8. Savage Henry

    Savage Henry Member

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    Go second hand Cade or Red Sea for a couple years until you really know what you want and then get a custom built tank made. You'll get most of your money back selling your tank later on.

    Also, why not paint the Cade's aluminium cabinet? They are solid cabinets and as others have said above, you won't get one made in Australia for the cost of the Cade.

    Finally, best advice with the Cade, Red Sea and anything else is to view them in the shops (or at someone's house).
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  9. SantaMonicaHelp

    SantaMonicaHelp Member

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    Be sure to let us know how your setup goes, viscera. I love seeing works in progress.

    -Kamran
  10. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    Will do, thanks for the imput.

    I think I am going to go a custom route and downsize the tank a bit to save on running costs.

    Looked at the CADE tank and whilst I like their setup the mrs and I both hate the stand with a passion. The issue for the Red Sea for me is the depth. I previously had a 4ft by 20x20 tank and found that I couldn't achieve the aqua scape that I like in the shallower depth.
  11. Savage Henry

    Savage Henry Member

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    I find the 60cm wide by 55cm deep very good: I can reach to the bottom and back corner. Once it gets to 60cm wide x 60cm deep it's a hassle for me.

    In terms of running costs, I think it's worth looking at it this way: go the bigger tank, but only get the live rock and stock with corals and fish to the size of a smaller tank. Cause, we all know that you're going to be looking for an equilibrium where your live rock supports the amount of fish and corals you have regardless of whether you cram it all into a 3 foot tank or give it space in a five foot tank. So, you could go for say a 5 foot tank and stock it minimalistically as if it were a 3 or 4 foot tank and also just have the lights required for a 3-4 foot tank etc. That way you can still run the amount of lights/pumps as you would for a 3-4 footer, but you have this reserve of volume there to keep everything more stable.

    I currently run a 3 footer (90x45x45), but I can't wait to put it all back into a 90x60x55 Cade to spread it out. I am currently experience issues with corals growing out and now I have a few corals harming each other cause they are getting too close. Terrible casualities from hammers touching flour green morphs and even morphs having a go at Hydnophora. Those wretched morphs: they creep up on everything and destroy corals! I'll never again attach a morph or mushroom to a rock that has another coral growing on it as they eventually dominate the rock and kill off whatever else is there (except perhaps for zoas and palys).
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  12. Franklin Dattein

    Franklin Dattein Member

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    There is a new kid in the block, Waterbox tanks.
    http://www.waterboxaquariums.com/

    There is a 2ft and a 4ft for display at Reef Secrets and it has become my number 1 option for the next upgrade.
    I like it a lot, similar rimless design and dimension of the CADE, with an extra depth which is great and with the wooden stand of the Red Sea Max. The sump is also well designed, with section for filter socks and an acrylic rim, with roles for probes and plumbing.

    If it only had the aluminum stand it would have ticked all the boxes for me.
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  13. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    are you talking about the Platinum series? Price looks good even if you add in their loop system.

    where are Reef Secrets?
  14. viscera89

    viscera89 Member

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    wait was looking at what i presume to be the american cost. Will have to contact Reef to get a price delivered.

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