The NextReef MR1 media reactor is one finely crafted piece of reefing machinery that is not too heavy on the bank account and recently the company recently released an all-inclusive media reactor kit that includes the reactor, pump and tubing. Thanks to Dave and the team at NextReef we have the opportunity to see one of these units firsthand and put it through the paces. The MR1 Complete System kit comes with the standard MR1 reactor, Eco Plus Eco132 submersible pump (rated at 132 GPH) and 48 inches of 1/2-inch diameter tubing. Right out of the box, you know you have a well constructed, quality piece of equipment. More details and pictures after the break.
Constructed from sturdy and thick acrylic, this is definitely a step up from thinner-walled media reactors commonly seen on the market. All the parts are machined from quality stock and the care in the design and manufacturing is easily seen in the finished product. Access to the media chamber is through a simple twist locking keyhole flange and is sealed with an o-ring to provide leak-free operation. Six nylon knurled thumb screws are used to secure the lid and only need to be slightly loosened or tightened to open or seal the reactor.
The MR1 boasts a wide 4-inch diameter chamber and 14 inches tall, you have plenty of real estate (approximately half a gallon) for tons of media making this unit a good choice for tanks up to 250 gallons. The size of the unit may be a tough fit if you have limited space under your tank but they also carry a smaller “Shorty” version. Your media of choice is held in the chamber from machined acrylic plenums and exquisitely fitting sponges. Included with the kit is an optional hang-on adapter that screws into the bottom of the top neck using the same fasteners used for securing the access lid. The instructions are simple and well written including a great warning about sticking your hand inside the chamber too far, “Please do not get your hand stuck in the MR1, it’s far harder to cut off than a Pringles can…”
We were pleasantly surprised by the craftsmanship of this unit from first look and were constantly surprised at little nuances of the product that we really appreciated. From the choice of sturdy material, to the tight and clean fit of all the unit’s joints and seams to the mini spool of Teflon tape included in the kit — NextReef hit a home run even before we added media and fired the unit up.
Retailing around $69.99 USD for just the unit alone or at $89.99 for the complete kit, this unit is worth the extra money spent over similar products in the $40 range. NextReef also has a range of other reactors from the MR1 “Shorty” to the twin-barreled, extra large MR1 “Monster” to fit whatever you may need. We just can’t wait to get the media in and get it hooked up to our 6 gallon pico tank….just kidding! We will have this puppy plumbed into a 75 gallon mixed reef in the next day or so and will report back with performance results shortly.
(Disclosure — NextReef provided the complimentary unit for this review. This has no bearing on the overall review as our experiences and opinions are not influenced at all by the vendor. Our goal is to provide honest and open reviews of all products we receive.)