AquaOne ReefSys 180 Build 2022


New member
Hey all!

I wanted to make this post as I struggled to find good info about this system of tanks, and I just wanted to share my experiences. This is my second build, with my first being an Aqua One MiniReef 90.


Aqua One Reefsys 180 w 'Concrete' cabinet
  • 150L display
    • Herbie drain system with main drain pipe, E-drain and return pipe
    • Overflow in the centre of the tank
    • Split return heads
  • 30L sump
    • ATO reservoir compartment with lid
    • 5 compartments. 1st - drain outlet. 2nd - filter sock (comes with sock and silencer). Then 3 chambers with baffles.
    • Adjustable acrylic baffles in sump
  • Doesn't come with the cheap accessories (light, skimmer and return pump) that the mini reef series comes with that you end up upgrading within the first year anyway
  • Nice aesthetics. I absolutely love the cabinet and overall look of the tank
  • Affordable, good value for money
  • Sump design. Much nicer sump design than the mini reef series
  • Drain system. Much quieter than the old durso stand pipe system
  • Silent. With some tweaking, it doesn't have the "dishwasher" noise that the mini reefs do
  • Cabinet feels sturdy and was easy to put together.
  • Build quality. You get what you pay for, and the build quality just isn't as seamless and tight as the more expensive tanks (Red Sea, Waterbox etc).
  • Sump issue due to poor build. I had to have my sump swapped under warranty, as the silicone wasn't sealed properly causing salt water to leak into the ATO reservoir. The last baffle was also siliconed in at a weird angle. Something to keep in mind when setting up - just leak test it before putting it in the cabinet.
  • You have to take the doors off to get the sump in and out of the cabinet easily. It's a bit of a tight fit otherwise.
  • Requires some fiddling to get it to run silently. I had to cut the plastic cross bar off the filter socks, and the 'silencer' that comes with the sock makes it more noisy. I also had to spend a bit of time tweaking the valves to run as silent as possible. But now that it's set up, runs fine even when turning pumps off for maintenance.
  • The main drain doesn't come with a strainer, leaving it exposed to snails etc getting into the pipe and blocking it
  • The overflow cover impacts your ability to mount a light in the centre of the tank. It needs to be removed or modified to allow for the arm attachment. This, coupled with the lack of strainer, may expose the tank to possible blockages and overflow if the e-drain can't accommodate the volume.
  • AI Prime 16HD (planned once at the point of adding coral)
  • AI Nero 3
  • Nyos 120 Skimmer
  • Seachem Impulse 400 return pump
  • AutoAqua ATO lite
  • 100w heater
  • 8w LED light for refugium (will upgrade at later date)
Set Up

As with any new build, setting up the cabinet, plumbing etc was a two person effort. Luckily with this tank, you don't need to unscrew any of the pipes to be able to get filter socks etc out. You need to hold the bottom pipe and screw down the top pipe. Double, triple check that it's tight enough, even if it stops turning - I ended up with about 3L of water on the floor. Oops. Had the whole thing up and filled with water in about 3 hours.


The tank took about 3 weeks to fully cycle. Last time I cycled a reef tank, I had used live rock. This time, I was opting for dry rock to try and avoid some of the pest creepy crawlies you get with live. Maxspect-like bioballs in the sump. I added Dr Tim's One and Only, and dosed to 2ppm ammonia. Waited 48hrs, then reintroduced the filter sock and turned on the skimmer. After about a week, nitrite had spiked to well over 5ppm. Did a 50% water change, nitrites still over 5ppm. Decided I'd just sit and wait for another week. Ammonia hit 0.

Added the Nero 3 to the tank. After this, I saw nitrites quickly drop from over 5ppm to 0 within the space of 4 days. Nitrates dropped from 80+ to 10. 20L water change, then added my first two clownfish.

Plans for nutrient control/dosing

So I was going to have a refugium with a 150w ufo light, until I dropped said light into the tank while trying to mount it *facepalm*. So I've got a 8w Aqua One LED light that has red/blue leds. Probably won't be enough for anything amazing, but with Chaeto impossible to source atm it won't be that much of a short term issue.

I'm planning on dosing nopox, combined with weekly 12% (20L) water changes. With the water changes, I'm going to vac part of the sand bed.

Once I introduce coral, I'm going to be manually dosing elements to elevated levels. I was tossing up using the Red Sea system, because they have a cheat sheet and I'm super busy, but I'm not entirely sure. This will be eventually upgraded to an auto dosing system once I've got a proper idea of my tank's demands.

Plans for stocking

My main goal for this tank was the clowns, maybe a lawnmower blenny and some of my favourite coral pieces. CuC comprising of some snails and shrimp. Zoas, hammers, acans, Duncan and an elegance coral are high on my list of first corals.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I'm really happy with how this build is coming along. I knew the sump issue was a known thing with these tanks, and being in Australia warranty from retailers is always exceptional. With a few tweaks, most of the 'cons' can be mitigated.

Running no lights during the cycle means I've had no algae issues, no diatoms etc. I'm hoping to keep it that way once I introduce lighting and coral. Remains to be seen lol.

If you've made it this far, thanks so much for reading. Happy reefing :)


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RC Staff
Staff member
That's a great looking tank Rose! I'm looking forward to seeing it progress.