Waterbox vs Red Sea for Your Next Saltwater Aquarium

This brief article is about two amazing aquarium brands available on the market today: Red Sea and WaterBox.

Whether you are considering getting a new tank or replacing an old one, you will find different options for tanks and stands of various sizes.

Let’s take a deep dive into the Waterbox vs Red Sea debate to help you decide which saltwater aquarium is better for your needs.

Red Sea versus Waterbox

Waterbox Marine Aquariums

Waterbox Aquariums are known for their understated style on the outside and high-quality components on the inside.

Some models can be purchased with a stand and optional filtration and lighting system.

You can also purchase the tank and use your own stand. The aquarium cabinets are constructed of 18-millimeter plywood for superior strength and resistance to moisture.

They’re finished in UV-cured white, black, or oak laminate for durability and good looks. The cabinets feature soft-close door hinges and recessed push-open latches for easy access.

Aquariums are hand-made using 5 to 19-millimeter Starphire glass. The tanks are finished with beveled glass for clear edges and have a rimless top.

The unique glass overflow system makes it easy to clean and keep free of algae.

Every aquarium is tested by filling with water before it leaves the factory. This ensures the tank is made properly and will provide years of leak-free service. 

  • The Marine X entry-level series of reef-ready aquariums come with a stand and all-glass filter sump. The sump comes with a filter sock. The +HD option includes AI Prime 16HD Lighting & Flex Arm.
  • The Frag series is based on a shallow aquarium suitable for fragging or a shallow reef tank. The sump features ready to assemble plumbing for the overflow and return system. The sump includes filter sock silencers. The +Plus HD Edition Includes AI Hydra 32HD Lighting & mounting system.
  • The Reef series aquarium systems are designed to give reef aquarists a starting point when designing their own unique reef system. The systems all come with a multi-chambered glass filter sump, plumbing, filter sock system, and built-in overflow and return system. There’s room for a skimmer, pump, and refugium. For lighting, you can add your own or choose AquaIllumination or Ecotech Marine +PLUS HD and +PLUS XR Edition aquarium bundles.
  • The Peninsula line of reef aquariums uses the same features as the Reef series. The overflow and return are located at the end of the aquarium. This makes it easy to place the aquarium so both sides can be viewed without seeing the overflow and return system.

Overall features

Cabinet design

  • Soft-close door hinges
  • Multiple leveling feet
  • Recessed doors with push-open latches
  • Not designed for placement on carpet

Aquarium construction

  • 2-year warranty on glass
  • Beveled edges
  • Rimless design

Filtration system

  • All-glass filter sump
  • Multi-chambered for pumps, ATO, and skimmers
  • Glass overflow for easy cleaning
  • You add your own return pump, skimmer, and other components.

Red Sea Marine Aquariums

Red Sea has been manufacturing marine aquarium products for over 25 years.

The company’s objective is to make reef-keeping easier for all levels of aquarists.

Red Sea developed the all-in-one MAX aquarium line-up to be a plug-and-play reef system.

The tanks come complete with LED lighting and a filtration system. This takes the guesswork out of assembling a reef aquarium.

The Red Sea aquariums use low-iron glass for crystal clarity. The full-width internal surface skimmer runs silently and won’t clog.

The hidden overflow contains recirculation pumps, freeing up valuable tank space for your corals. Aquarium water is purified with the protein skimmer and dual micron filter bags.

Also included is Red Sea’s ReefLED lighting system designed specifically for SPS corals.

The cabinet frame is constructed on water-proof aluminum. Decorative white or plastic cabinet panels complete the assembly. You can change the panels for a new look at any time.

The Reefer series gives you a base reef system that lets you add the components of your choice for a custom reef setup. You select your own style of lighting, filtration, circulation, and controllers.

All Reefer aquariums come with a water management system that includes a refugium-ready sump with integrated automatic top-up and Red Sea’s unique silent down-flow system.

The Reefer aquariums are constructed of beveled-edge, ultra-clear glass with a rimless design. The cabinet is plywood with adjustable leveling feet. The doors are epoxy-coated for moisture resistance.

You can choose between black or white finish. All Reefer aquariums come with a water management system that includes a refugium-ready sump with integrated automatic top-up and Red Sea’s unique silent down-flow system.

Overall Features

Cabinet design

  • Reefer series are made of plywood
  • Max series use an aluminum frame
  • Max cabinets have removable panels

Aquarium construction

  • Two-year warranty
  • Low-iron glass
  • Beveled edge construction

Filtration system

  • Modular sump and overflow included
  • Max series includes a protein skimmer
  • Integrated automatic top-up system
  • Micron filter bags


  • Max systems come with a LED lighting designed for reef corals
  • Lighting can be controlled with the ReefBeat app


The first factor to keep in mind is that Waterbox states that their aquarium systems should not be installed on carpet.

The reason being the company feels it is not possible to evenly support the aquarium and stand on a soft, cushiony surface like carpet.

While many aquarists probably do have Waterbox tanks on carpet, it may void the tank’s warranty if a leak occurs.

Aside from this, Waterbox aquarium systems offer all the features reef aquarists are looking for to build a reef system.

You’ll find a variety of tank sizes and styles to choose from. You can purchase the aquarium or add a stand. Some Waterbox aquariums come with AI or Ecotech LED lighting.

The aquariums include a multi-chambered sump that you can customize with ATO, pumps, etc. 

Red Sea Reefer systems offer similar features to Waterbox but with a different look to the tank and stand.

The rimless Reefer series is ready to customize with gear like a protein skimmer and ATO. The plywood cabinet is sturdy and water-resistant.

You can set your lighting to go with Red Sea’s LED system.

The Max series is more advanced and comes with Red Sea’s own LED lighting system. The stand’s frame is constructed of aluminum. This makes it easy to move into place. It also offers a water-proof structure that won’t sag if it gets wet.  

All of these reef systems are reliable and solid performers. The best advice is to study each series and compare aquarium size, appearance, and features.

If you want to use some of your existing gear, the Waterbox and Reefer lines are the way to go.

For a complete reef aquarium with matched lighting, the Red Sea Max series is an ideal choice.