Has Fluval given the hobby the best all in one nano reef system?

Reviews | 22nd December 2013 | Article by Curvball | View comments (5)

Awhile back the great people at Fluval sent me one of their Premium Aquarium Kits to review. As this blog is focused primarily at the nano side of our wonderful hobby, the supplied system was the smallest in their marine range, the Fluval M-40.

Fluval Marine 40 box

What arrived was two boxes, one containing the tank and equipment with the other box containing the stand. The stand is straight forward to assemble, you just got to give the instructions a once over before jumping in. Build quality is very good with a modern touch to it.

On to the more important box, the one containing the tank and the equipment. What you get for your money is pretty much everything you need to get started in nano reefing world. Contents consist of:

  • Clear siliconed all glass aquarium with sandblasted ‘rim’ and built in sump zone.
  • Fluval Sea reef/marine full spectrum LED unit
  • Fluval Sea protein skimmer
  • Fluval return pump and all required plumbing
  • Fluval 50w heater
  • Fluval Sea 1600lph powerhead
The Fluval M40 and all the equipment included

The Fluval M40 and all the equipment included

The Fluval LED unit

The Fluval LED unit

The 1600lph powerhead for in tank water movement/circulation

The 1600lph powerhead for in tank water movement/circulation

The return pump and associated plumbing

The return pump and associated plumbing

The protein skimmer

The protein skimmer

Fluval heater

The heater

A good set of instructions is always a good addition to any kit.

A good set of instructions is always a good addition to any kit.

If you look at that list, you’ll see that pretty much all the main areas of gear are covered. You could really just put it all together (thanks to the easy to follow instructions included, throw in your favourite substrate ( I like aragonite), a few kilograms of live rock (amount depends on your desired aquascape) and fill it up with sea water of your choice (again, natural sea water is always the best option if you have access to it).

Neat clear silicone work.

Neat clear silicone work.

The sandblasted rim.

The sandblasted rim.

Fluval M40

The sandblasting continues down the side to mask the internal sump system.

The sandblasting continues down the side to mask the internal sump system.

One of the best features of the M series from Fluval is their integrated drain system which can be found in the final chamber of the internal sump system. The larger versions of these tanks have the drain drilled directly into the base of the tank while the M40 has it’s drain in the rear panel. Not a train smash but it does mean you need to have some clearance behind the tank. The beauty of this drain in the M series – it makes changing water so quick and easy. A very clever concept. Although, even though the drain is there, I would still recommend siphoning directly out from the display when doing maintenance so you can remove any accumulated debris. For the more adventurous of hobbyists, this drainage hole can be a really simple way of attaching an external sump or even a canister filter.

The rear chambers of the Fluval M40 give enough room to add your chemical media or even a mini refugium.

The rear chambers of the Fluval M40 give enough room to add your chemical media or even a mini refugium.

The 'water changing' drain can clearly be seen in this image.

The ‘water changing’ drain can clearly be seen in this image.

So far I’ve really sung the praises of this system but in order to offer a fair overview there are a few aspects of the system I think would make it even more impressive. Where is the auto-top system? The addition of just this one key bit of equipment would really make this the perfect tank to get started with. Keeping water parameters stable in a nano reef are never easy but having an auto-top up system in place will go along way in ensuring salinity remains constant.

The price tag of the above setup hovers around the £380.00 mark depending on which retailer you opt to buy from and gives you an excellent starting point for a nano reef. If you find the M40 is a little small at 54litres, why not look up their systems in the range – M60 and the M90 (which was featured on an episode of Fish Tank Kings).

Here are a 2 great examples of what others are doing with their Fluval M40…

Nanoriff.de admin Mark, shows off his Fluval M40. Click the image for a link to his thread

Nanoriff.de admin Mark, shows off his Fluval M40. Click the image for a link to his thread

Fluval M40 by Jackie

Fluval M40 by Jackie Allum

In 2014 this Fluval nano reef will take shape with the aim in running it using the stock equipment and see what results can be achieved. Do you already run one of these Fluval systems? If so, please share your experiences, tank build links etc in the comments below.

About the author:

Curvball is the editor and founder of nanoreefblog.com. Having kept aquariums on and off since the age 8 years old, this now 32 year old hobbyist is well versed in various types of aquariums. His passion is SPS corals and the challenges of maintaining them in relatively small amounts of water. His professional background as a designer and writer combined with his love for this hobby makes nanoreefblog.com the perfect extension of his passions.

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5 Responses on Has Fluval given the hobby the best all in one nano reef system?

  1. Love the sandblasted rim!

  2. Markl says:

    Hi we just set up a fluval 35 in marine instead of tropical so am running basically the same kit first week of 2014
    So am very keen to see the out come.

  3. Mark Flato says:

    Hello Nano Reef blog

    I am as happy as far come our pictures. Thanks that you have set the.
    Send Fluval basin has since built, like us very well.

    Villeicht you can do something together soon so times. Would appreciate guys!

    lg Mark

  4. Donald says:

    What chamber did you put the heater in. My tank is amazing just having a little trouble with the heater. Can put it in the chamber with the pump cause it runs low amend I have some rock in the middle chamber. I could use some help here.

    • Mark says:

      I had mine in the middle camber but found the temp control was terrible. Therefore I moved it to the last chamber with the pump and seems to work better. The middle chamber appears a complete waste to me, although might try put some live rock.

      On the whole a nice tank, had it for over a month now and the items which annoy me;
      – my skimmer is not silent, a hum is constant no matter what and often vibrants round the cabinet. The clip for the skimmer means you need to have the water level really high to maintain the skimmer min water.
      – No timer option to go from day to night is a real pain, so if out a lot or away you basically need a plug timer and can only use day setting.
      – The tap to empty option is clever, but you need to remember to turn heater off.

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