Review: Coral Aquarium Cabinets (CAC) Liverpool

We’ll be bringing out more detail soon, but for our latest project here at Digital-Reefs, we recently found ourselves in need of the services of a customised aquarium manufacturer.

After spending the best part of 4 weeks contacting (or in some cases, trying in vain to contact) around half a dozen of the most widely advertised companies, frankly we were on the verge of considering the ‘DIY option’! It was at that point though, we were fortunate enough to spot a display tank in sponsor outlet Ocean Gems showroom that immediately piqued our interest. Discovering that the maker was Coral Aquarium Cabinets, based just North of Liverpool, we decided to drop them a quick email to see if they could help. A quick web search revealed positive feedback and their website looked OK too.

In contrast to the majority of companies we’d already tried, we were pleased to get an almost instant response from owner Les, and we were impressed from-the-off that he didn’t start trying to change our design. Instead, we began an exchange of messages, sometimes quite lengthy, in which all of our burning questions were answered in a straightforward and patient manner. We immediately felt confident that ‘this was our man’ and, after finalising most of the major details, arranged a visit to the workshop to order the system.

Accessed through Neptune’s Aquatics, Coral Cabinets is exactly what we expected and hoped for. Occupying a total of around 3000 square feet, their workshop is divided into 3 main areas and these house all the equipment and materials necessary. It was immediately comforting to see that this is an established (since 1984) and busy operation. As we discussed the best way to install our lighting system in the staging area, three huge shallow frag systems sat gleaming alongside a system of smaller cube style tanks destined for a commercial outlet. There was even a tank of just a few gallons in for replacement. It is clear that they don’t consider any job too big, or to small.

Moving into the main workshop we were impressed with the general level of organisation, lighting and equipment. Les explains that the vast majority of his materials are locally procured, apart from some of the panels which are Italian in origin. This allows them an exceptional turnaround time that seems to be a good week or two quicker than most other operations. Pilkington glass is used exclusively, with 4-19mm Optiwhite or standard available, and all the edges on their systems are polished. They don’t outsource any of the build here either so quality control is excellent, and attention to detail also seems superb with cabinet sealing and ventilation all taken into account. Toward the back of the workshop we notice some completed systems and are impressed with the workmanship on display.

Over the course of an hour or so Les and I discuss all the details of the system… from the customised bracing layout to cabinet ventilation. We were pleased to find Les really easy to talk to and we are impressed that he clearly treats customers as he would expect to be treated himself. When it comes time to commit it is reassuring to see that he has taken plenty of coherent notes and we feel confident that all the details of the system will be as desired. On the subject of cost, CAC isn’t the cheapest option, but they are far from the most expensive either. Overall, Les is keen to stress that he offers a quality end product but doesn’t push for excessive profit.

So now it’s just a waiting game until the new system is delivered and installed. Keep your eyes on the board in the coming weeks as we’ll be bringing out plenty more detail on this project. If you are in the market for a bespoke system, based on our initial assessment, we are happy to recommend CAC. Take a look at their website by clicking the banner below for further information.

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