Marina Lux LED Aquarium Kit 75L

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Fish Aficionado
Feb 16, 2008
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I needed a tank in a hurry last weekend and had something around 80 litres in mind (that's about 20 US Gallons). Unfortunately nobody in the UK does dollar per gallon sales so I was scouring the internet for tanks. I was happy with tank only but did want something with either a cover or hood. On the off chance I popped into the LFS and spotted that they had a stack of these - allegedly on special offer reduced from £159 to around £90. Be aware that £159 may be the RRP but several on-line retailers are selling these at around the £90 price point.

Since that was as good as any prices I had seen for a tank (without cover) it seemed like the easy option.
Here is the Manufacturers description

The tank itself looks good and fairly modern with a black plastic frame. The hood also looks good. Up close you can see that it is fairly flimsily constructed but it is a similar design and looks marginally better than the lid on my Fluval Flex - supposedly a premium brand. Marina is one of Hagen's budget brands. One of the reasons I stay away from the usual so called "starter sets" is they often look like they were intended for a 6 year old's bedroom. There is no cover for the feeding hole and a fairly large cutout at the rear for cables, pipes, airlines etc. Not a big deal for me but if you have jumpers or escape artists you may want to make some covers :). I never bought a stand but the only option for a tank specific stand is an oak finish.

Filled the tank up and it never leaked which is always a good start. The lid fitted well and is a simple lift off design. Inside the hood is a single strip of LED lights. No specifications available but the claim is "natural daylight". To my eyes it seemed a bit dim, but I have used a black background and black sand substrate, I also have the hood completely filled with floating plants as the tank was put in use for live fish on day 1. It is bright enough to cast shadows from the chunks of driftwood on the substrate - even through the floating plants. Not a big deal for me as I don't plan on putting any plants in with a high light requirement and most people wanting planted tanks (as opposed to plants in their tanks) replace the lights of whatever aquarium they buy. IMO all the different modes and fancy remote controls are a gimmick anyway. The output is not adjustable and controlled by an on/off switch - so easy to attach to a timer.

The filter is a Marina i160 internal filter. This is definitely manufactured to the price point. The two cartridges are carbon wrapped in a fine cloth which you are supposed to replace periodically. They make a big deal of the so called bio grid which is where the bacteria live (and why its safe to just throw out the cartridges regularly). In reality these are just plastic mesh inserts which don't provide very much surface area. It does provide a decent flow and is virtually silent. The water return is via a slit which should be positioned above the water line to create a mini waterfall effect, which will take care of oxygenation. The suction caps are good and solid. They attach to a plate you stick to the back wall and then the whole filter slides on to the plate. Rather neat IMO.

My impeller jammed almost immediately as I started it up immediately after I filled the tank, first with sand then water. It wasn't immediately obvious how to get at the pump but I eventually worked out that if you pull hard enough the media tray comes out of the top of the filter. The instructions don't mention this, or the fact that cleaning the pump occasionally is a good idea. The big cutout in the lid makes sense now because you can replace the cartridges without taking the lid off. I won't personally be using this filter but if I did I would ditch the carbon inserts and cut some sponge to fit. On the plus side set-up was dead simple. It will do the job and is not too obtrusive against my black background but I have opted for a hang on filter to reduce the hardware inside the tank.

The heater is branded Hagen and is adjustable. It does not have a guard if that is important to you. I haven't actually turned this on as I used one of my spares :cool:. Also in the box is a stick on thermometer which I have binned. I have a box full of inexpensive digital thermometers which are very accurate. In fairness I have never encountered a stick on that didn't work, given that most people don't need a high degree of accuracy.

The verdict

OK its not going to win any awards for style but its a nice enough setup that I would have it in a publicly accessible living room in the house. Mine is in my study and I have not been brave enough to break the news to SWMBO that this is anything but a temporary hospital tank but she agrees that it looks nice.

From a value for money perspective its great. Its no frills but for less than £100 pounds you get all the hardware you need to set up a decent sized tank quickly and easily without having to go down the restrictive nano cube route. My preference would have been for a long tank (and not as deep) with the same volume but all in all it was a good buy.

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