Number One Aquarium Brands
Over the years we've had many customers ask "If you could build your dream tank which brands would you choose and why?" Trying to pick our brains for the over 50 years of combined experience we have had as shop. We have had a lot of tanks and purchased a lot of items over the years; which also means we have had to deal with these companies a lot.
We chose our Top Brands because these companies have stood more than the majority of the other brands we carry. It's not because they're smaller so they're more involved in the products they manufacture. Most of these names even the people who are "higher up" enjoy communicating with us retailers and our customers. This to us is a major factor because several of these companies we would consider massive, worldwide, but the people who basically run them are usually still readily available.
This came down to a huge number of factors from consideration of customer finances, to investment on products that are keeping your tank alive, to warranty issues, to communication and technical support, and about 100 other factors. Enough talking on our end though. Let's get into it...
#1 Sump/Refugium - Trigger Systems
We almost didn't carry any other sump brands and only do for variety. The other brands have their benefits when it comes to cost or color or where they're located, but Trigger is really the whole package. Trigger is another brand where hands down there is no competitor. This company is located in the USA in Garland, TX. With every other sumps brand there's some pretty common problems that we hear about on almost a weekly basis. With Trigger there are none, zero. The customer service is outstanding. We have even received responses around the clock with this company.
The construction alone is well worth the money. They are exceptionally sturdy and come in variety of colors. There is great care and attention paid to every detail when it comes to what a sump should be is used for. The seams and every other part of these sumps are remarkably strong. Even parts of the sump that are sometimes more fragile with other brands, such as probe holders, hold up as well as the rest of the sump. Some people might consider the sump a piece of equipment that should be of lower cost considering what it's used. However, we believe it is the most vital piece of equipment a tank can have along with lights. Having the right sump can insure your tank stays happy and healthy for years, as well as house the majority of equipment that your tank needs to thrive.
The manufacturer we talk to on almost a daily basis, as we are also the only place in the Nation that can have Trigger sumps custom made.
#1 Aquarium Lighting - KESSIL
There is no company that's even close when it comes to Kessil for Aquarium Lighting in our opinion. When you go to the Kessil website their phone number, email and location is right there on the contact page. When you call them it's normal for someone to answer almost immediately during their business hours. They are very efficient at getting any warranty issues rectified. They care about their customers and will continue to work with someone should you have issues with their lights, even outside of the warranty coverage.
We also keep things in mind like some people save up to upgrade their lighting. We know you don't want to wait a long period of time to have warranty issues corrected and might not have a huge deposit to put down until your issue is corrected. Kessil is also located right here in the USA in Richmond, CA. This means that should something go wrong the problems are usually remedied quickly.
The performance of their lights is exceptional. We used numerous PAR meters to test Kessil lights and every other brand on the market. The results were usually always similar or they far exceeded our expectations when it comes to performance. The cost of them is even on the lower end based on application. This is part of why they are a great company. They make different model lights you can purchase to grow with you as your aquarium grows. The A80 is for Nano Tanks. The A160 is for intermediate/beginner tanks, and is still capable of supporting some corals and inverts. The A360 is for experienced reefers because the intensity and coloration is suitable for the majority of tank inhabitants. Then the AP700 is for advanced aquarists with full blown reef tanks that require a large amount of light intensity.
#1 Protein Skimmer - Reef Octopus
The majority of things that make Kessil stand out are the same with Reef Octopus. Reef Octopus should be everyone's first choice for Protein Skimmer, without a second option. We talk to a lot of people who see a new name and think that it's going to be some sort of miracle for their tank. As time goes on we'll start to see a pattern form with issues we hear about from almost every skimmer brand, besides Reef Octopus. We won't sit here and list the issues we are being told about from customers when it comes to other brands - Instead we'll just say there is not a single problem that Reef Octopus is known for.
Their customer service is amazing. They can be reached by phone, email, or by opening a support ticket on their site. Even if you open a support ticket the response time is extremely fast. They're main distribution is based right here in the USA in Slidell, LA. This is why any issues with their skimmers get remedied rather quickly. That is in the almost non-existent chance that something goes wrong with one of their skimmers. When we consider what an almost perfect product is, with an almost perfect company, Reef Octopus is the only company that comes to mind immediately. When we sell one of these, even though the profit margins are lower, we know the customer is getting the best.
They also consider the needs of customers and how their tanks will grow. They make the Classic line for intermediate/beginner hobbyists. The Regal line, which adds a DC pumps for extra control. Then the Elite line for the advanced aquarist which has performance that rivals that of any skimmer in the world.
#1 RO/DI Reverse Osmosis Unit - AquaFX
AquaFX is another brand from right here in the USA, based in Winter Park, FL. We have a long standing relationship with them as well. Not once have we heard of a unit we've sold having a Warranty problem. Like with the above brands the customer receives them and then we don't hear about the unit we sold again. That is something very important to us. They are very well constructed and come with a number of useful features. They come in a variety of sizes made for a variety of applications. Should you have any questions which RO/DI unit is right for you please contact us.
#1 Aquarium Monitor - Neptune Systems
Neptune is such an amazing brand there are almost no competitors for the same type of product in the nation. You know as a company you've succeeded in both customer service and product construction when you're basically the only name in the industry