Style and Design
AquaOne's UFO 550 with its 78 litre capacity is ideally sized for the corner of a smaller room. It used to be available in a selection of finishes but you're unlikely now to find it new in anything other than its black incarnation. It's well suited to freshwater tropical fish and the colours of the tank's occupants should contrast well with the sleek black finish of the tank and cabinet.
The current version of the UFO 550 features an LED lighting system which is both bright and energy efficient and enables the user to switch between daylight and moonlight settings. Older versions are illuminated by two fluorescent PL11w lamps which are still widely available in a number of lighting styles.
Filtration of the UFO 550 is by means of an external wet and dry trickle filter which is located in the tank hood. Maintenance is straightforward as the filter is easily accessible, the only part of the mechanism contained underwater being the inlet pipe.
No heater is supplied as standard with the UFO 550. An aquarium heater with a minimum capacity of 100w will be required if the tank is to be used as a tropical aquarium.
The tank measures up at 86cm wide across the front, 60cm from front to back measured along the sides of the tank and 58cm deep from top to bottom. The dimensions of the cabinet are 86cm by 60cm by 72cm giving a combined unit size of 86cm by 60cm by 130cm.
Delivery arrangements and costs will vary depending on where you buy your tank from. You can expect to find pallet delivery to your front door. The cabinet is delivered flat packed for DIY home assembly.
The UFO 550 is no longer widely available but we've listed the sellers we've managed to find above. We work hard at keeping prices up to date but these can change at short notice. Just click on the shop name to confirm the current price and availability - without any commitment.
With a capacity of 78 litres the UFO 550 is smaller than many other corner aquariums on the market. This makes it ideal for the smaller room where a 180 or 350 litre tank might be rather dominating (although that of course is the goal of some enthusiasts!). It does however make the UFO 550 rather borderline for keeping marine fish if you lack experience - the Trigon 190 or Venezia 190 are more suited to this - but its size is ideal for freshwater tropicals. In spite of the smaller volume there is a decent amount of room internally thanks to the external filter which in this case is unusually located in the tank hood. As far as filter intrusion is concerned, this is limited to the intake pipe which projects downwards into the middle of the tank towards the rear.
The front portion of the hood can be removed conveniently for major tank maintenance, but for day to day management and feeding the hatch situated to the front of the hood gives adequate access. Hatch access is also sufficent for siphoning out and replenishing water as part of the regular programme of tank maintenance.
We'd expect the updated LED lighting system to be perfectly adequate for a tank of the UFO 550's size. Certainly the original fluorescent system serving these tanks was ideal for the aquarium type and in our experience the more modern LED systems are an improvement on the older style in pretty much every aspect: economy, controllability and light quality.
Initially we felt the idea of a filter contained in the hood seemed a little gimmicky but experience has shown these concerns to have been unfounded. As well as providing adequate filtration for the tank's capacity the filter is quiet in operation and compared to an internal filter, cleaning is a breeze. The water from the tank is trickle filtered through fitted pads which provide mechanical filtration, while the biological and chemical aspects are attended to by ceramic noodles and activated carbon pellets. Access for cleaning is easily obtained by removing a lid on the rear portion of the hood without any need to upset the interior of the tank.
The only downside to the filtering arrangements is that the intake pipe projects straight down into the middle of the tank and is difficult to conceal it in any way. We've had a UFO 550 here at the Corner Aquarium Guide for over 10 years now and we did eventually install an external filter in the cabinet below the tank which allowed us to remove the offending pipe completely. This freed up the centre of the tank and was certainly an aesthetic improvement. The external filter we used was the Fluval 206 although the cheaper 106 would be sufficient for the tank's capacity. We'd certainly recommend this solution although Fluval's 06 filters have now been replaced by the Fluval 07 series.
As standard there's no heating supplied with the UFO550 but any standard aquarium heater with an output of 100w or more will be sufficient although if you live in a colder area of the country we'd suggest a minimum rating of 150w. It shouldn't be difficult to pick one up online.
The cabinet also is attractively styled with a single door and shelf and contains useful cupboard space for all the odds and ends that go with a corner aquarium. There's plenty of room for an external filter too if you decide to go down that route.
As we've mentioned, the UFO 550 is no longer widely available as a new model but you may be able to find a used bargain locally online on eBay. Note though that most of these will be sold on a pickup only basis. We think it's a great buy, especially if you have a smaller room which needs a focal point. The corner design gives a superb view of the aquascape inside without taking up the space of, say, a Fluval Venezia or Juwel Trigon and the trickle filter in the hood is a definite plus when it comes to maintenance. The cabinet is well designed too and all in all we find it a good package. The only negative really is that intrusive filter intake pipe. We've awarded the UFO 550 4.5 corner aquarium stars.