All-In-One tanks are a great way for anyone to set up reef tank quickly and easily.
They provide all the necessary features for keeping corals, raising fish, and keeping a healthy tank. When I started my reefing hobby, I put together everything myself, drilled my own tanks, and did countless hours of research.
After a few years in the hobby and more problems than I can list, I decided to switch to an All-In-One tank. Let me tell you, this was the best decision I ever made. My tank looks better, my corals are healthier, and my fish are happier.
In the world of All-In-One reef tanks, two setups dominate the space; the Coralife Biocube and Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion. Both brands make great beginner setups, but both have unique weaknesses.
Through this guide, we will go into detail of the strengths and weaknesses of both setups and help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
The Coralife BioCube
- Programmable hinge top hood with 24-hour timer...
- Features 30-minute gradual sunrise/sunset and...
- Integrate backwall filtration chambers to hold...
The Coralife Biocube was one of the first All-In-One saltwater tanks on the market. Originally made my Oceanic, they were lacking in a few departments and had some problems. When bought out by Coralife, the Biocube got a complete makeover. Here is a list of all the features included in the new Coralife Biocube and what we think of them:
The Coralife Biocube All-In-One tank comes in two models; 16 gallons and 32 gallons. In my opinion, the size options for the Biocube hit right in the sweet spot for beginners. Previous 10 gallon models were too small, leaving little room in the tank and making upkeep very hard. With such small water volume, previous models were too prone to salinity and other parameter swings.
The new, 16 gallon model provides an extra 6 gallons of water volume, helping keep your reef tank more stable. Personally, I think that the 16 gallon model the perfect blend of size, portability, and ease. The new 32 gallon Biocube is great for reefers who are looking for a little more space. With the 32, you will be able to hold way more livestock and larger fish. The larger water volume also makes your tank less prone to parameter swings. Of course, the increase in size makes the tank harder to transport and keep clean. That is a trade off you have to make, though, if you want more tank space.
Coralife really stepped up their game when designing the new Biocube. The new LED lighting system is a MASSIVE upgrade compared to their old Power Compact lighting.
In the 32 gallon model, PAR levels read 399 at 2″, 108 at 8″, and 50 at the tank bottom. In the 16 gallon model, PAR levels read 455 at 2″, 159 at 8″, and 68 at tank bottom. Depending on what type of corals you plan to keep, these PAR levels should be more than enough. Just be sure to keep more difficult corals at the top of the tank. Softies such as Xenia, GSP, and Kenya Trees should be good anywhere in the tank.
Another huge benefit of the new LED system is temperature comtrol. Previous PC models were very prone to overheating, which more coral-keeping very difficult. The new LED model runs much cooler and you should not have any temperature issues. Perhaps the coolest feature of the new LED Biocube is the built in light timer. The lights are controlled by a 24-hour built in clock which features a 30 minute sunrise and 60 minute sunset setting. This allows for a much more natural feel and help corals acclimate to your tank.
Filtration, Pumps, and Extras
Like other AIO tanks, the Coralife Biocube as built in filtration in the back of the tank. Filtration is fully customizable, and Coralife offers ton of upgrades if you want to take your reef tank to the next level. All previous accessories are completely compatibly with the new models. A cool feature of the new model is the clear glass back, making it a lot easier to see what is going on with your filtration. It also allows for a built in refugium and light, which can be a game changer if you want to keep pristine water. Nothing help water quality like some macro-algae!
If you want to take your filtration to the next step, pick up an inTank Media Basket. This is an amazing product that gives you multiple shelves, allowing for extra space in the back chamber. These are absolutely amazing, trust me.
- Doesn’t require any upgrades or additional purchases
- Upgraded LED system that can handle a variety of coral types
- 24 hour timer with built in sunrise and sunset feature
- Customizable filtration chambers
- Dual intakes and adjustable return nozzles
- Few users reported receiving tanks that were cracked, but this is taken care of immediately by Coralife. Their customer service is quite good.
- Fans can be a little noisy
The Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion
There is no doubt about it, Innovative Marine makes gorgeous tanks. The glass is exceptionally clear and the tank has a much more “professional” feel than the Biocube. It isn’t known to be as much as a starter tank, but that does not mean it is better. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Nuvo Fusion and help you decide if it is the right tank for you!
The Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion comes in a variety of different shapes and size, allowing reef keepers to select exactly what they want. A list of their sizes are as follows; 10 gallon, 20 gallon, 25 gallon Lagoon, 30 gallon, 40 gallon, and 50 gallon Lagoon. Regardless of whether you want a pico reef or a full size reef with massive corals, Innovative Marine has something to fit your needs.
Personally, I love the Nuvo Fusion 10 gallon model. Even though small reef tanks can be hard to keep, this tank has a very solid and sleek build that is sure to impress. Like all other models, glass clarity is top notch. All of the IM Nuvo Fusion models are made with the same high quality, sleek materials. Trust me, pictures don’t do these tanks justice. The black backdrop give the tanks a very profession feel and not the “All-In-One newbie” feel that many people associates with the old Biocubes.
I have to say, Innovative Marine really left a lot to be desired in regards to lighting. The LEDs that come with the tank are pretty weak and could only satisfy easy-to-keep corals at best. They are also known to break at around the 1-1.5 year mark. That being said, the Nuvo Fusion is very easy to customize and add better lighting. You can purchase only the tank without the stock LEDs, which makes the setup cheaper and frees up money to get custom lights.
I currently own the Nuvo Fusion 20 gallon, which I bought tank only. Instead of the stock IM lights, I purchased an Aqua Illumination Prime and I could not be happier. One Prime was more than enough light for the corals I wanted to keep and it is fully customizable. I would highly recommend taking the same route as I did; skip the stock IM light and spend a little extra on an AI Prime. You won’t be disappointed. You can read my full review of the AI Prime here.
Filtration, Pumps, and Extras
Much like the Biocube, the Nuvo Fusion features a fully customizable back chamber that houses all the filtration materials. The 10 gallon features a 92 GPH return pump while the 20 gallon features a 211 GPH return pump. In my experience, the return pump a kind of low quality an can be quite loud, so they may require an upgrade.
Every Innovative Marine tank comes stock with a mesh top and filter socks for the back chamber. While these are nice add ons to have, I really prefer the closed top of the Biocube. The open mesh top of the Nuvo Fusion allows water to evaporate way faster, leading to swing in salinity and other parameters, especially in smaller tanks. In my opinion, the mesh top looks incredibly sleek, but just requires a bit more work due to increased evaporation. In the end, you just have to consider if this is a trade off you want to make.
- High quality, low iron, ultra clear glass that is sure to impress
- Sleek, modern look
- Comes with mesh top and filter socks
- Great warranty
- The light is severely lack, you will probably want to replace it if you plan to keep corals
- Weak return pumps that can be loud
- Requires a good amount of upgrades that can get expensive, such as lighting and return pumps
Winner For The Best All In One Tank Is…
The Coralife Biocube! If you would have asked me to write this review last year, the Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion probably would have won. I currently have a 20 gallon Fusion set up in my bedroom and it is a beautiful tank. In terms of the better All-In-One tank, though, the Coralife Biocube wins hands down. It has better features without a doubt. The upgraded LED lights in the new Biocube solved nearly all of the problems that plagued all models.
Between the weak lights and the lacking return pumps, the Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion requires too many upgrades to make it a beginner friendly setup. Overall, both tank are great and look beautiful in any setting, but the Coralife Biocube wins in the end!