It has been nearly a year since I reviewed my Royal Exclusiv Dreambox and I wanted to provide an updated review to pass along some new insights and observations. I had been using my Dreambox for about a month and a half when I did the first review so at that point my system was brand new. As a reminder, the sump is 74 US gallons and measures 59″L x 23-1/2″W x 13-3/4″T.
Along with the sump I purchased a Bubble King Double Cone 250 skimmer, which included a RD3 Speedy pump, two Red Dragon 3 Speedy return pumps and two Royal Exclusiv Media Reactors, one with a 2L capacity and the other with a 5L capacity.
My overall impression of the sump has not changed. You get what you pay for and this pricey unit has been worth every penny in my opinion. I love the fact that it is all self contained, with each component designed to work together.
In my earlier review I raised a concern about not being able to remove the dividers between the different sets of filter socks to thoroughly clean out all of the trapped detritus. This remains a concern and I have found it necessary to siphon out what I can every couple of weeks, although it is tight inside the compartments and not optimal for cleaning.
The Bubble King skimmer is a powerful skimmer and has done a great job. It took me a while to dial it in so there was a bit of a learning curve. One thing I didn’t realize is the outlet pipe of the skimmer has to point to the end of the sump towards the baffles and two return pumps. The skimmer will not perform at an optimal level if the pipe is positioned incorrectly, a point not mentioned in the instructions for the skimmer. Perhaps it is obvious but it doesn’t hurt to state the obvious when performance it potentially impacted.
One other thing I should mention about the skimmer itself, you need to make provisions for any potential overflows into the sump. There is a drain line in the cup that can be connected to a waste collection device you can put next to the sump but this can still overflow onto the floor or inside a stand. Another option is to use a waste collection device connected to a controller to shut the skimmer pump off when an overflow occurs. It’s a great way to go but these types of units are pricey.
What I did was add a DIY float switch to my cup that was attached to my controller. When an overflow occurs it triggers the float switch and turns off my skimmer pump. In total the setup cost me about $40. This saved me a few times so it would be nice if Royal Exclusiv added this type of option to its line of skimmers. Perhaps this is in the pipeline.
The RD3 Speedy pump that drives the skimmer is adjustable, a huge benefit since the speed can be controlled to optimize the skimmer’s performance. A drawback is the price of the pump, which makes it tough to keep a spare on hand in case something goes wrong. The same is true with the premium priced Red Dragon 3 Speedy return pump.
What about other less expensive pumps? Well, finding a cheaper alternative is a challenge since the Royal Exclusiv pumps are designed to fit their skimmers and custom sumps. Yes, the pumps are extremely well built, efficient, deadly silent and are perhaps the best DC pumps on the market so the chances of a failure are very, very remote, but stuff does happen.
In my prior review I also mentioned that the fittings for the drain holes leading into the sump come as either metric or US fittings. You Yankees out there should make sure you request US fittings. My sump came with metric fittings and it was a bit of a drag getting the proper US fittings.
The media reactors have really made my life easy. They are simple to remove and clean and the separate valves are great for adjusting the flow for each reactor. Overall, if I had to start from scratch in terms of a sump, skimmer, return pumps and media reactors, I would take the plunge again and buy the Dreambox setup. Yes, there are some drawbacks but the pluses in terms of the quality, reliability and ease of use far outweigh the minuses. There is no perfect solution out there but this setup comes about as close to perfection as you can get. For a closer look you can check out this video:
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
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