Review: TMC 90cm Signature aquarium set

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The choice of marine aquariums just gets better says Jeremy Gay, as he reviews TMC's latest and larger aquarium offering.

It’s good…

This new set is good for either an existing or potential reefkeeper shopping for a tank which combines both form and function. It will also appeal to those who are influenced by modern tanks, clean lines and aquascaping all at the same time.

This is the third model available in TMC’s Signature range and is the largest yet, being 90 x 45 x 45cm/36 x 18 x 18” for the main display tank with a 80 x 38 x 35cm/32 x 15 x 14” sump.

That gives a total volume of 288 l/64 gal before displacement and we reckon about 200l/44 gal afterwards — making it a good medium sized reef tank with a 90 x 45cm/36 x 18” footprint.

As with other models in the Signature range the 90cm has Optiwhite low iron glass for better clarity and is open-topped, rimless and braceless for a modern, clean look. It also benefits from great access via the top and it comes on a trendy Japanese-style cabinet in either white or black.  

The sump has been designed and built for you, so no calculations or custom builds are necessary, and this time the sump for the 90cm model also comes with a handy reservoir in which to store fresh top-up water.

Up above, the tank’s inlet and outlet are as discreet as possible and you get two choices of inlet: one being a nifty rotational device to alternate flow patterns and that’s a nice touch.

A major plus point with the Signature range is that equipment choice is entirely up to you, right down to sump pump and lighting. Yes, TMC provides skimmers, lights, heaters, pumps and top-ups, but if you want more or less flow, extra light or even completely different brands of lights or pump, you can kit this out to your own specifications from day one as it doesn’t already come with them.

The set therefore frees you up to choose your own gear, but it also means that you’re not paying from the outset for compulsory, included gear that you may not want or choose to upgrade, but still have to pay out for as part of the whole package.  

Build quality of both tank and cabinet are good and I’d definitely recommend investigating these tanks.

But…

Minimalistic, Japanese style tanks aren’t to everyone’s taste and if you live in a cottage racked out with mahogany it may not sit as comfortably in your living room as some more traditional tank designs — although be aware that fishkeeping trends are definitely leaning towards the very modern in most off-the-shelf tanks.

Sumps don’t suit everyone either as some struggle to get their heads around pump flow and outlet pipe tweaking, topping up and water changes, although this is not a criticism of this range, just of sumps in general.

Lots of marine fish are prone to jumping, especially tank-bred clownfish, so look into covering your tank if you’re worried.

The purist reefkeepers with sump tank experience may prefer a durso style, twin standpipe outlet and weir combination than the fittings supplied here, as they can be tweaked to be almost silent, yet handle more water flow from display tank to sump tank.

Verdict

This is a welcome addition to the aquarium market.

TMC is continuing to demonstrate that it has its fingers on the pulse when it comes to giving hobbyists what they want and we were struggling to find anything wrong with it!

The next request will be for ever larger models, the next logical size being 120cm/4’ long, but in the meantime this will certainly shake up that mid-sized Clearseal, Betta Lifespace and Red Sea Max 250 aquarium market.  

Price: £599.99.

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