what is the best rimless aquarium? indo - reef shirley aquatics knowledge article

What is the best Rimless Aquarium?

Molly 14.01.20 Aquarium

Rimless or bracerless aquariums have become extremely popular. Normal aquariums have a lot of supporting glass bars around the top of the aquarium to add strength. They look ugly and are usually concealed behind a canopy. Rimless aquariums use thicker glass on the back and sides, so they don’t need the extra supports.


When is a glass box not just a glass box?

Asking “what’s the best rimless aquarium?” is like asking “what’s the best potato” … there are subtle differences but which ever one you choose it will easily do the job it’s intended for.

Rimless tanks all hold water, nearly all of them are using high clarity opti-white glass and the cabinets they sit on are all built to hold the weight. It’s the subtle differences between brands that can really enhance your fish keeping experience. Consider the following:

Has the glass been finished to a high standard?

Does the position of the weir make a difference?

Is the cabinet built to last?

How do I stop my Cat/dog/child/rabbit from climbing in?

Is there enough space in the cabinet?

Can the sump be modified?

What type of silicone has been used?

Am I getting good value for money?

Will it be quiet?

Can it be used as a room divider?

Can the backing be taken off or changed?

The answers will separate good rimless tanks from exceptional ones.

The range that always comes out on top in my book is the Indo-Reef range by Cleair Aquatics (Clee-air).

The Indo-Reef range is available in 9 different sizes from 170 litres to a whopping 700 litres. All but the very largest tank come complete with high power LED lighting. This lighting is more than sufficient for either a planted aquarium or mixed reef tank. If you were looking to keep some of the more light thirsty SPS corals then I would suggest asking for a lighting upgrade. The cost of the lights can be subtracted from the price of the tank, and an alternative light supplied.

Indo-Reef Aquarium Indo-Reef Aquarium Indo-Reef Aquarium Indo-Reef Aquarium

The Aquariums:

Are made using opti-white glass with polished and bevelled edges.

Cleair use clear silicone instead of black which I feel this gives an impressive “clean” finish. This makes the tank blend in perfectly with its surroundings as opposed to having a dirty great thick black line around the whole of the tank.

The weir in the aquarium that contains all the pipe work, is located in the back right hand corner. I have found this to be a lot more convenient that a central weir, when aquascaping, it also tends to be a little less obvious and improve the flow around the tank. The pipe work is all included and is more than enough to create the sorts of flows needed for even the most demanding reef tanks.

The icing on the cake with the aquarium is that it comes with cover plates. This may seem a very small issue, but with any other rimless tank, if you want to put a cover on, even just temporary, maybe whilst new fish are being acclimatised, then you have to buy (…and build!) a mesh cover. These I think detract from the look of the aquarium and always seem like an afterthought. The cover plates that come with each Indo-Reef actually add to the look of the tank and can be incredibly useful.

The Cabinet:

They currently come in either high gloss black or white but I have heard there are more colours due any day.

It is built using a combination of solid wood frame work and metal struts in the bigger models. There is no MDF in sight! I can be pretty clumsy when it comes to water changes and I would worry about the durability of an all MDF cabinet.

Coloured glass and gloss acrylic are used to clad the cabinet, this gives a really refined look and will look as good as new for many years to come. Any scratches in the acrylic trim can be easily polished out.

Soft close hinges are used with push catches, again to keep the clean external appearance.


The Sump

It’s a multi-chambered sump, with filter sock compartments, a skimmer chamber and circulation pump chamber. These sumps have been modified previously to accommodate and algae bed or refugium. The sumps are also stylishly trimmed as well, which isn’t a major consideration, but I certainly think it’s a nice touch.

Indo-Reef Grande 680 Sump left chamber Indo-Reef Grande 680 Sump right chamber


All in all, I think you would have to go a long way to beat these aquariums, more and more people seem to be opting for a rimless aquarium, and with these beauties being cheaper than others on the market it’s difficult to find a reason not to buy one!

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