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Jebo Tanks


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
Hi, folks.

I stopped in an LFS that seems pretty good, and spoke with them a while. The guy there (and one random customer) said that they had had good luck with the Jebo all-in-one tanks, and I was thinking about looking into them as a "learn my stuff before getting a ceph" tank. I'd ideally like one that could have a bandensis at some point once I get the bugs worked out, and was wondering if anyone knew if the 40 gallon Jebo 375 they recommended could handle that... The LFS guy was recommending it as a good starter tank, in that it's got "everything you need built in," but of course that means that it's harder to customize and sort of wasteful if it doesn't suit my needs. I'm also interested in experimenting with DIY stuff, and I'm not too scared of drilling holes and running pipes and such, but I'm not sure that's a good idea in an all-in-one type tank like this... so things I'm considering are:

1) get the Jebo to learn about water parameters and cycling and such, and just keep fish and/or reefy stuff forever, and get another tank later

2) get the Jebo as above, but with the plan to stick a bandensis in it eventually.

3) same, but assume I'll have to drain it, re-plumb it to have a sump and other stuff and then re-cycle it (or maybe I can drill it first, but not do the whole plumbing arrangement until later?) before adding a ceph

4) same, but set it up with a sump and other add-ons from the start in addition to its built-in stuff

5) get some other small learning tank, maybe one that's more built from bits and pieces than one of these all-in-one tanks

6) get a huge tank suitable for long-term bimac/briareus sized cephs, and learn on that

I'm assuming #6 is foolish for several reasons: expense, and it's probably better to learn about water parameters in a small tank where there's less "inertia" from water volume, so that changes happen fast, and then switch to a big tank for ceph keeping.

I note that Jebo lights have a bad reputation and there seem to be some misgivings about their skimmers, but no one here has mentioned having one of their tanks. I think the one they guy was suggesting was one of the R375 tanks here but I thought it was model # R375KG which doesn't seem to be on that page. He also said it had an integrated wet/dry filter that used some sort of ceramic medium instead of bioballs to save space, but that it was very effective (they said they'd run a similar model as a test reef tank, and it had been supporting a large load for months and was doing well, and another patron in the store said he had the 40gal one at home, and its filtration worked better than the larger, custom tank he'd "moved up to." On the other hand, neither of them seemed to know much about ceph needs, but I did get a pretty good feeling from them, in that they seemed to be helpful and not too "hard sell"-- in fact, they encouraged me to not take on too much too fast.

Anyway, I'm in sort of a weird "half expert/ half novice" state because I've been reading all the TONMO discussions for over a year, but I haven't kept a tank since my seahorse around 1978-1980, and then, either because it wasn't popular yet or I was clueless, I didn't use all the "fancy, modern stuff" like skimmers, wet-dry filters, live rock/sand and whatnot, I just used an undergravel and a carbon filter on a bubble-aerator thingie, and did a lot of water changes.

So, what do people think? This was kind of a spur-of-the-moment idea, anyway; my fiancee and I are both in "career flux" right now, anyway, so it may be foolish to take on a hard-to-move thing like this lest we have to relocate, but it did sound like fun...
Monty--I applaud your forethought and rationality in this matter! You're definately not one to rush in where angels fear to tread.

That said, I'm a bit skeptical of any "all-in-one" systems. Even the best seem to me pretty gracile compared to conventional equipment. I don't see them so much being marketed towards beginners per se, as marketed towards one with a milder affliction--those who want something cool but don't really care about the details or going further with the hobby. Either person could be called a beginner, but I think its fair to split the definitions. A beginner can very well build an aquarium filter, a hovercraft, a CNC router, an underwater ROV or a high-definition video projector and do a pretty good job! Another beginner could just as happily buy all of those things.

Now, my point is that marketing an item forces compromises in design. Of all of the things I listed, the beginner in question can build it to a higher quality and utility than those available commercially--that is, than those available commercially for less than four or five times the price. No one's going to buy a video projector that's three feet long, so manufacturers have to use tiny LCDS that are more expensive to fit in a reasonable box; even if the LCD out of an of-the-shelf computer screen would give a better picture. Likewise, the person who designed the Jebo system (and the Eclipse, etc etc etc) invariable had two criteria, in order: a) it has to fit the space alotted and b) it has to work.

Given all that, I think you'd be best served buying a conventional tank and doing modification work yourself. The important question is which strategy to pursue: You want a reasonably small first tank, but big enough to put a sump under. You've got a huge variety of directions you can take, although the best for you might be a fish-only-with-live-rock system. You can have a whole lot of LR in the tank, a skimmer in the sump and probably have enough filtration to not need a separate biofilter. You could have some clownfish in there, or go with cuttles. Depending on the amount of live rock and the number of cuttles, you might add a biofilter at a later date.

Either way, you want a system that's flexible and you can learn the hands-on part of plumbing and sump design. The only thing the all-in-one system would teach you would be things you can learn by reading. Later on if you wanted a larger ceph like a bimac you'd probably want a larger tank, but you already know that.

thanks, Dan. A nudge in the DIY direction certainly appeals to me, although I guess it's partially offset by my not having as much free time as I'd like to spend fiddling with it, so I imagine getting an all-in-one is that I could be up an "learning" without needing to do a lot of plumbing and drilling and such...(particularly if I'm distracted by building ROVs and CNC mills and stuff... I also need to fix the window crank mechanism and heater in my car, and finish building a linux-based DVR, and fix the deck, and pull some cables under the house, and.... ) Speaking of such things, do you know about the company (I think it might be related to the MIT Media Lab) that lets you send in a CAD file, and will fab the custom part you specified? I think I read about it in Wired or Slashdot or Make magazine, and have been keeping it in mind as a possible resource... too bad I can't remember what they're called... I'm also bummed that the local "huge warehouse of surplus equipment" store is going out of business, as another case of "inconvenient for the local mad scientists" problems... sigh.
I've heard of those services before; but then again, when I have a house and the CNC is done I can have my own prototype service :smile:

My point is that the plumbing is where the learning curve is--throwing some sand and rock and fish in the tank isn't tough. No one's first sump is their best sump (and most people's first sump is almost completely unworkable!), so you probably don't want your first sump to be under a big tank with a big octopus and a big flood potential.
If you do want a complete system, the 29 gallon Biocube seems to be one of the best. There have been a couple of threads about it recently on Ceph Care.

Nancy;83545 said:
If you do want a complete system, the 29 gallon Biocube seems to be one of the best. There have been a couple of threads about it recently on Ceph Care.


Thanks, Nancy!

I figured that would be too small for even a bandensis without adding a large sump or something, although I've been watching the threads with some interest... but I'm definitely keeping it in mind if we go in the direction of a permanently non-ceph starter tank... or is the filtration in those good enough to handle the bioload of a small cuttle? I guess it'd be OK for a dwarf... I also wonder if an o. rubescens could be happy in one (with a chiller)....

I happily kept my three cuttles in a 29 gallon (without a sump) until they got too big for it. I have a HOB filter and a protein skimmer on that tank. But I think if I only had one cuttle and did water changes, I could have kept one in the 29 gallon and it would have been perfectly content.

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