Product Review: Reef Casa Studio 12 All In One Saltwater Aquarium Kit

by | Feb 8, 2023 | Equipment, Tanks | 0 comments

Reef Casa was founded by a local fish store, FragBox Corals, in Toronto, Canada. The company’s goal was “to make reefing easy and enjoyable for hobbyists at any skill level.” Reef Casa’s line of Studio nano aquariums have been out on the market since early 2022. In addition to the 4 sizes of aquariums (6,12,18,24 gallons), they also provide an entire line of products to support these all in one aquariums.

Pre-packaged kits make it easier to jump into the saltwater aquarium hobby. This is especially a great option to those who live in places where there may not be access to local brick and mortar stores nearby. The only way to sustain the hobby is to grow the market and ensure beginners’ success by providing the right environment up front to sustain the precious livestock.

I would like to thank Reef Casa for providing their Studio 12 Saltwater Aquarium Kit to me to review. I will go over the unboxing of this shipment since they do ship internationally. Customs usually adds an additional handling factor of concern.  Fortunately, my 2 boxes came intact and only took four days to arrive.

The Studio 12 Saltwater Aquarium kit includes the following per the vendor website:

  • 1 x Studio 12 All In One Aquarium [Width 16” x Length(Front to Back) 15” x Height 11”] ( Includes Self levelling matt, Return pump (200 gallons/hour), Plumbing for Return Pump, Directional nozzle), 6lbs of Reef Casa Sand (1” Coverage)
    9-10lbs Dry Rock
    1 x Bottle of Ammonia Chloride (12 gallon premeasured)
    1 x Bottle Life Bacteria (12 gallon premeasured)
    1 x 50ml Seachem Prime Water Conditioner
    1 x 50w Heater (120v/North American Socket)
    1 x Battery Operated Digital Thermometer
    1 x 16 Gallons Of Reef Salt
    1 x Salt Measuring Hydrometer
    1 Month Supply Of Filter Floss
    1 Month Supply of Activated Carbon
    Reef Casa Bacteria Hotel Blocks
  • 3 lighting choices are offered: Beam, Halo, or AI Prime Black – (Mine arrived with the Halo for a Package price of $380)

Unboxing

Box #1 contained the following:

  • The tank, pump/plumbing, filter floss, carbon, ammonia chloride, and bacteria blocks
  • The Box#1 unboxing video showed that Customs did not place one of the foam supports back properly that held the inner box in place but it was still undamaged.

Box #2 contained the rest of the items. The thermometer box got crushed but that was OK. Just had to find the battery that fell out of the box that went with it.

Empty Reef Casa Studio 12 w/ Halo LED set to 100% on all 3 channels.

Supporting Documentation and Media

I am very pleased to see that Reef Casa opted to create video setup guides. The videos show how everything works, bypassing any language barrier. I know personally that translating documentation is a very costly activity when launching an international product. All their documentation is browser-based on their website. This makes updating information quick and direct to their customers and is especially important when targeting new hobbyists with little to no experience. Luckily the most complicated-looking device included was the LED light. With the provided QR code link to their Halo Setup page it was really intuitive.

Halo LED

The Halo LED is a simple but effective light for this size system.  Since the tank is only 11″ deep the lighting does not need to be too intense to provide what is necessary to sustain corals that require low to moderate light. The Halo appears to be an OEM variant similar in form to the Reef Breeder Nano LED and the Aqua Knight V2 LED. What I see is a simplified version with three color channels and a three point light timing profile for Start, Peak, and Stop times.

Much of today’s high-tech lighting have too many settings to adjust and most hobbyists do not have PAR meters and spectrum analyzers to verify achieving the required light parameters. Beginners will highly appreciate Reef Casa providing a recommended setting schedule in their Halo Setup Instructions.

Halo Color Channels:

  • A: Royal Blue
  • B: Cyan
  • C: White

Some people may question the viability of such a limited assortment of colors but I can personally vouch that you could grow Acropora with just Royal Blue and Cool White back in the day on those cheap 1st generation black box LED fixtures.

Initial Observations

This is definitely the most complete nano setup I’ve seen in terms of what is provided.  I am most impressed with the size of the filtration chamber for serviceability. I can actually fit my hand in it to clean it. Most nano all-in-one tanks this size are just barely sized for the equipment.  As advertised, this package includes everything you need to get started. If you purchased everything at retail separately it would have been ~$470 (not including tax & shipping). So at a $380 price point (not including tax & shipping) it is a good value for a sleek looking system.

Next Steps

In the next few months I will have to source a stand and location to set this nice package up. This will make it tank #9 in my house.  Once I get things going I will report back on how the system holds up and if there are any challenges along the way. For now it makes a great frag swap tank or temporary small quarantine tank since it fits right on my maintenance cart at home. It is light to transport and pretty much ready to go by adding existing tank water and plugging in a single power strip for the light, pump, and heater.

Reef Casa Studio 12 w/ Halo LED set to 100% on all channels. Click the link below for more details on all that Reef Casa has to offer:

Reef Casa

  • Ellery Wong

    Ellery is a mechanical systems engineer at a Fortune 500 technology company. He has automation experience in the automotive, appliance, printing and robotics industries as a product development professional but also has over 35 years of saltwater aquarium experience as a hobbyist. He currently maintains a 9 tank / 540 gallon SPS/LPS/Mixed systems. DIY is his forte!

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