All-In-One Or Build Your Own Aquarium
All-in-one aquariums are a quick and easy way to get started in reef keeping. Build your own requires you purchase each piece of equipment separately and then learn to put it all together. Both get you where you’re going, and it just depends on how much you want to be involved in the process.
Here we give you a quick introduction to all-in-one aquariums vs. building your own.
For beginners, the all-in-one is the straightforward way to go. All-in-one aquariums come in desktop sizes up to larger 140 G (525L) full blown reef ready systems. If you are unsure what size you need, check our post here about picking a tank size.
All-in-one aquariums come with a pump, filtration system, and lights. Some tanks come with a stand which has a sump and extra filtration space below the tank. Small desktop tanks have filtration systems build right into the back or side of the aquarium.
All-in-one aquariums take the leg work out of sourcing your equipment.
Build Your Own
Building your aquarium piece by piece is more time consuming, however, this option may save you a few bucks. If you have patience you can start building your aquarium with minimal equipment to get the saltwater flowing. Start by buying a tank and powerhead to create flow.
Once your tank is up and water is running, you can install a filtration system by adding a protein skimmer in your tank or under your tank in a sump. If using a sump, you will also need a recirculating pump to circulate water from the sump to the tank.
Add some live rocks to your tank and/or sump to encourage the growth of bacteria to help in the cycling process. While your tank is cycling, you can add a light and any other equipment. You can also buy everything at once, and set the equipment up together.
All-in-one aquariums are an easy way to start keeping aquariums. All-in-one aquariums take the hassle out of researching and buying individual equipment and can be assembled and running with saltwater the first day.
Build your aquariums take more time to source materials and to build your tank. If you have patience and build slowly, you could save a couple of bucks in the process. For new reefers, however, we recommend keeping it simple and make your first aquarium an all-in-one.
The Reef Builders guide to setting up a Saltwater Aquarium or Reef Tank. What to know before you buy a Saltwater Aquarium. We will cover more aquarium basics topics in future articles.