Newbie deciding between AIO and Built

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Bendor, 20 Aug 2011.

  1. Bendor

    Bendor

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    Hi everyone. MASA is fantastic, I've had FW for about 5 yes, sold all before exams and now I would like to come back to the hobby but with a SW reef tank. I've been skulking around your site for a while now and I was beginning to form an idea of what I wanted: Small enough to fit in the lounge, large enough not to be too dangerous/unstable, neat and tidy to allow tank to be put in the lounge (wife factor but also my own need for something aesthetically pleasing) and sufficient caliber to allow a reef setup. I got stuck on a RSM 130D and I've seen some locally doing very well, but recently I've started worrying that it's too small. Also no gravity sump option and therefore stuck at 130 liters and also no DSB or algae scrubber options. Might need to upgrade skimmer, LFS stock rsm skimmer working really well though.

    Now I'm thinking of a self built larger set up but I'm really worried that price (especially of a fully concealed cabinet) might be too much. The RSM 250 is nice but selling for R16000!

    I know it depends on what I want and need but at the moment I'm stuck and would appreciate some advice based on anyone's previous experience.
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hi and welcome!

    the RSM250 is a great tank to start, got a skimmer, 6 x 54w T5 lights, all the frill so that you can keep all corals, fish etc without any issues.
    a DIY tank that looks neat etc will cost about the same in the long run.
    There are also some nice nano units out there as well.
     
  4. Bendor

    Bendor Thread Starter

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    Thanks Dallasg. What do you think of the 130D. Read all the reviews and know the setup. I'm worked about the size. Is it big enough? Some guys have great 130's long term.
     
  5. brentch

    brentch

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    My Dad got rid of our TV before my Matric exams:eek: Still don't have one!
     
  6. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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  7. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    I have a RSM 250, it might look neat and pretty, but the brains are not all there. PM me if you need details about the tank, the pros and cons and also the mods I have done to add "brains" to the RSM 250.

    The money you spend on a RSM 250 can get you a much better system, for half the price!!!
     
  8. Bendor

    Bendor Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the advice Carlos. From what I've read in the newbie sections, it seems to weigh heavily towards slow setup, large and adaptable systems. There are so many threads where people say "I should have waited, should have read this, should have bought a better/bigger piece of equipment". Seems very easy to make a massive mistake right at the beginning that could take a lot of time and money to fix, if at all.
     
  9. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hi Bendor, and WELCOME to MASA and to this great hobby.

    These all in one units look great, but in my humble opinion one can do much better by either just buying everything separately, or better still, to DIY whatever you can (but that's partly because I like tinkering :whistling: )

    It would also depend, to some extent, on what you ultimately want your tank to be - a "reef" type set-up with predominantly SPS corals would need more flow, and more lights, than what these AIO units are supplied with. They are also IME more complicated/difficult to modify than "normal" tanks, and you are pretty much limited to the skimmers that are supplied with them (upgrading to a larger skimmer at a later stage might mean cutting part of the lid or cladding, or being forced to install it outside the tank...)

    I also believe that ultimately, the enclosure should be made from either solid wood (best, but expensive) or marine plywood with a nice hardwood laminate. Most (all ???) of these AIO units are made from "superwood" or "chipboard", and both of these products become soft, and can even fail catastrophically, if the "wood" becomes wet (as is bound to happen at some stage...). Also, many of these AIO stands have a vertical wall in the middle of the tank's span (creating two cupboards/compartments below the tank), to help carry the weight of the tank. This then makes it impossible to install a large sump spanning nearly the full width of the display tank, again limiting your options.


    Oh, and keep in mind that a tank is never "done" - most reefers that I know are forever upgrading or adding something (some 13-14 years later, I'm still doing that as well :blush: :blush: :biggrin: The point I'm making here is that you do not need to start up with "everything" - that chiller, Ca reactor, ozone generator, pH controller, tank computer, etc. etc. can all come later. You should, however, get the best possible pumps, lights, heaters, skimmer and RO unit that you can afford right at the start it will save you lots of money in the long run.

    Hennie
     
    Last edited: 21 Aug 2011
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    That is a lot
    BUT
    A new 250L tank, sump, stand, cabinet, lights, skimmer and return pump, could be about the same. Less if you do go second-hand and depends on how mush you DIY. Check the for sale forum out.
    Internal circulation pups you still need for both options. Heaters you need.

    The RSM units are neat. But you are stuck with no sump option.
     
  11. Bendor

    Bendor Thread Starter

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    Thanks Hennie and RiaanP. You guys seem to be involved on almost every thread on MASA. I appreciate the advice and I'm leaning heavily towards custom. I'm busy with the starter sections and "what to buy first" articles and then I'll start looking at prices and maybe second hand tank, sump and stand plus new equipment. The LFS told me they can set up a Juwel 240 with sump, skimmer, lighting, powerheads, sand and LR for R15000. Volume should be about 350 liters I think. I've read some great and also some scary things about live rock. With new tanks do start with dead rock and ammonia source or live rock? I'm worried about unfriendly critters/growth becoming a lifelong pest? Thanks again for the help!
     
  12. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    I have TWO sumps Riaan, but at a cost and stress!
    You are most welcom, call me anytime!
     
  13. ThaneF

    ThaneF

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    When I was looking for a tank, I loved the idea of the rsm as they are labeled as been 'plug 'n play' which they are mostly. I wanted to get the 250 by I didn't have the space at the time so I bought the rsm 130d and I love how neat the tank is. With that been said, the only 'original' parts of the rsm are the 2x 'return pumps'. I have replaced the skimmer, lighting, heater and added a chiller. The tank is a little small so do for see an updrage in the future. Nice tanks and work well but need to have some 'modifications' done to the the super model that you are looking for ;)
     
  14. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    You are most welcome, call me anytime!
     
  15. Bendor

    Bendor Thread Starter

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    I have, lots of nice things available. Some too big, some too far. Will keep looking.

    R16000 excluding modifications seems a bit wild. Seems like you can get a lot for that amount of money.

    My current plan is a custom built 1200 by 600 by 600 with the largest sump that can fit in the stand. I've been talking to Leslie Hempel about tank builds, very helpful guy, check out this thread to watch him build a 5 foot tank.

    http://http//www.marineaquariumsa.com/showthread.php?t=22494&highlight=Leslies

    I've also been given lots of good advice by Marco The Waterboy. Thanks everyone for the help and advice. This website is addictive.
     
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