The Ecoxotic 25 Gallon LED Aquarium System is a modern all-in-one reef tank, providing a solid and stylish all-in-one system. For a company just over a year old, Ecoxotic has made their presence known in the aquarium and reef aquarium LED lighting market. As an outsider not heavily into the specifics of Cree this and PAR that, it was more fundamental design choices and more affordable pricing of the Ecoxotic 25 gallon LED aquarium that caught my attention.
Ecoxotic also makes a strong brand promise with the tagline “Endangering the Status Quo.” For a guy who has a few 24 gallon JBJ Nanocubes that are truly on their deathbeds after four or five years and arguably embodying the “status quo,” what does progress and evolution look like? Well, the crew at Ecoxotic answered that question when I sought out a tank manufacturer to provide upgraded digs for the infamous Lightning Maroon clownfish. Now, courtesy of Ecoxotic, I get to share their idea of what it takes to “Endanger the Status Quo” with the Reef Builders audience.
The Ecoxotic Aquarium System arrived via FedEX after a week transit time. Three brown boxes marked with prominent “Fragile” and “This End Up” labeling were delivered to my front door. While hefty, all were manageable for a slightly overweight, non-athletic desk jockey like me. I opted to work from the ground up, starting with the stand.
Assembling the Stand for the Ecoxotic 25 Gallon 18 in. Cube LED Aquarium System
First off, I was definitely impressed by the quality with heavier, more dense components than other particleboard stands on the market. I can only hope this translates into a longer lifespan than the coarse particleboard of the Nanocubes, which over the years has absorbed spills and drips and is now “blossoming” at the seams. Ecoxotic tells us the stands are made from MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), which won’t swell if it gets wet.
Don’t do what I did and lay out the stand panels on a hard surface like a hardwood or tile floor. Even though I thoroughly vacuumed, there was still some dirt or grit between the finish of the panels and the hardwood floor. I scratched the top panel simply by dragging it on the hardwood, so be careful when moving the things. You might want to put down a fresh drop cloth or do assembling in a carpeted area.
There was really only one or two tips I had on stand construction. First, pay special attention to the differences in the front and back panels.
If you look real carefully at the back panels (right two panels), you’ll see three small holes running vertically in the picture. These holes are pilots for stand mounting of the Panorama fixture, and they’re only on the cam-lock side of the part. I didn’t realize that, and I assembled the stand with the cam locks on the inside. When it came time to mount the stand, I had to do some drilling from inside the stand. My best solution — if you’re going to use a stand mounted Panorama light, drill these holes out (I used a 7/64 in. bit) before assembling the stand, then it won’t matter which way you install these panels and you’ll be ready later on.
Another thing I didn’t quite catch initially was the installation of the hinges on the door. Note that I’m depressing a lever in the image above. You have to have this lever “up” when you drop the hinge into the hole — depressing causes little grippers to spread out, locking it solidly into place.
Fully assembled, the stand looks nice. In the interest of bringing a critical eye, here’s the issues I found. You can see the scratch in the top — that’s the one I did that I mentioned earlier. I am lucky that the tank will cover that up. The top left corner of the door appeared to have been nicked. I don’t know if I did that (I probably did), but that just reiterates to be careful and patient in opening up the packaging and laying out the components. In truth, I can easily flip this door and will never see it.
In the photos above, I have yet to clean up the stand but it appeared the panels are scuffed around the edges. It’s one of those things where you see it when the light is reflecting off the material, otherwise you never would notice. I initially tried cleaning it with 7th Generation Glass and Surface Cleaner and got nowhere.
After asking Ecoxotic about this — and first let me say that if there was any issues with any of the panels they were very willing to take care of it — and if your paneling shows similar smudges or scuffs when unwrapped, Ecoxotic suggested a product called Cabinet & Wood Magic. I found it for just under $5 at Home Depot. You spray it on a cloth and then wipe the stand (maybe spray in another room, to keep spray from getting into the tank). PRESTO — scuffs and smudges are GONE and the stand was looking absolutely showroom ready.
So my other tip — might not be a bad thing to pick up a canister of this cleaner now and simply clean up all the pieces as you unwrap them plus have it on hand to give it a good cleaning once it is finally assembled and in place.
All of the components fit together extremely well. Honestly, the $2,000 couch that replaced our orange monster from the 1970s had more problems “out of the box” than this aquarium stand. Assembly was reasonable and instructions were pretty good although some of the black and white images were a bit dark, which meant it might take a minute the first time around to pick out the details of “black on black” to help with orientation of the pieces.
Once I got it cleaned up, the stand looks beautiful and definitely is a higher-end product in all regards. As a side note, you may also be happy to learn that the stands are manufactured right here in the U.S. In the end, with the few tips I’ve provided, I believe you will be fully satisfied with this component of the LED Aquarium System.
FTC regulations require that we inform you that we were given this product for review, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them.