New Setup commencing soon: JBJ vs BioCube vs ?

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Son of Red

Aquarium Advice Regular
Feb 16, 2010
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Hi all. Newb here and planning on setting up a Nano system. Plans are for a 24/28g FOWLR and if that works out possibly adding some coral but I'm getting ahead of myself. This will be my first SW tank. My question is, does anyone have any insight on the products mentioned above? JBJ seems to have a slight advantage over the BioCube with the wave motion and the apparent capacity to have a refugium setup inside. It looks like the BioCube could do the same with some modifications. Any thoughts? The JBJ also has the protein skimmer, but do I really need it initially? As for lighting, I understand that HQI is better but what about the newer LED system that JBJ has? Would it really be worth an extra, $300-$400?
Im not familiar with either tank, however I do have a biocube 14 gallon. I know the lighting is limiting in terms of any SPS although it does allow me for a variety of corals which I am more than happy with. I believe the 28 biocube has even less watts per gallon and they are pc. If the back filter area is any where near the size of mine it would be very hard to start a refugium, however ive heard its been done. I would research what corals you might eventually want in the long run and buy the tank based on that.
Thanks for the reply. I was thinking that if I do decide to go with corals the Nano would probably be best as they have a 150 W HQI model. They also have a LED model which is supposed to be comparable to the HQI output, but its a LOT more expensive. So wondering if it is worth the extra expense just based on money saved on bulb changes with the LED. I like that they are mostly all in one systems as there are just so many equipment options out there these days. Are there other all-in-one systems out there besides JBJ and BioCube?
From what I have seen most of the less expensive ones are all the same as the biocube with slight differences. The more expensive ones usually are larger and when I was researching tanks I wasnt really looking into anything bigger than 14. So if you go for a cheaper tank id say go biocube for its been great for me. However if you want the extra lighting I cant really help as I am in familiar with the other all in one systems out there. Im sure others on here have some more experience with them.
Before buying look into how people mod the different tanks, chances are you will end up doing some type of mod for any tank AIO tank. Some will be easier to mod than others.
I think I've narrowed it down to the JBJ HQI w/ Stand package. Seems to be the best bang for the buck Nano system and if I decide to add corals it can handle that. I'm not sure I'll be doing much modifications (other than pumps and PH, etc). I need to have a system that will be relatively low-impact on our living space. We're expecting a new son in a couple of months so I can't afford a lot of space or time right now, but need something to do between feedings and diapers. And what could be more soothing than the moonlight glow of a SW tank to calm a colicky baby? Thanks for the input.
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