Red Sea Max S-Series

Seraphimas

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#1
Since so many of you have been in the hobby for years and mostly build your own tanks/sumps from scratch, how do one of these "plug and play" setups compare? https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/max-s-650-led-complete-reef-system-red-sea.html

Keep in mind that I'm extremely new to saltwater tanks and have no idea how to even start to choose individual components to support a system this large. (Definitely willing to take the time to learn) So my question is: Am I better off starting from scratch, getting each piece based off reviews/recommendations and plumbing a tank myself or can you really just buy the Max S-Series and expect it to perform like a well pieced together system? I feel like this is a hobby where easy shortcuts are a bad thing. I would really hate to fall into the noob trap of spending this kind of money on a poorly made system of either type. I've looked at some really nice used setups but decided that I don't have the knowledge to know what kind of condition the system is in and if it'd actually be a great deal or not. If I'm going to do a large tank, I want to do it the right way and be well informed so any suggestions/opinions are appreciated.

Another random question about this size tank is how on earth do I work in the bottom of it once filled? Just tongs? I'm 5' tall... my tiny arm isn't even as long as the tank is deep. I'd have to climb a ladder and wear a scuba mask to even think about touching the sand. I'm guessing most of you just get wet armpits but I'd be half submerged, heh. It seems like all of the larger systems are really deep unless you make a custom tank.
 

Reefchef

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#2
Hello and welcome to the forum. I am in the process of building my first tank. Im going with a red sea but the 750xxl.

The s series are beautiful tanks, I just don't care for the frame or the built in power center. I will be running a full apex so the power center would be useless. I do love the way the power heads are built in the back and the overflow is great as it runs the entire length if the tank. Premier aquatics on Roswell has one set up if you would like to see one operational.

This is my first salt water tank and also my largest, but half the fun has been researching, choosing the equipment I like, finding deals here and there, and just over all knowing my equipment piece by piece. It is a lit harder than a plug and play, but more rewarding for me. Hopefully if something goes wrong im able to find it quicker, as I put it together! The guys and gals here have been awesome in helping, they will help any questions you have. I will say that is a very expensive set up, you can go custom for that amount or a bit less depending on your taste and requirements. I would also suggest go see Rit at Atlanta aquarium whenever your ready if you do decide to go with a red sea.

As far as depth step ladder, tongues, and gloves!!! I'm only 5'4", so not much better! Good luck on your build and please ask any questions, they really are an awesome group on here.
 

Seraphimas

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#3
@Reefchef Thank you for the warm welcome. I completely agree about how helpful everyone is here. That's really great advise about how choosing/knowing each piece would really help in finding the problem if something went wrong. It really does seem like it would be way more rewarding than saying "This arrived, I plugged it in." and then shrugging, lol. I was just wondering if something like this performed as well as custom since all of the components were specifically designed together for the system. Most of the time if something seems too good to be true or too easy, it is.

Maybe what I need to find is a reef buddy that I can give a budget and set them loose on how they'd build a dream system. Then I can research each piece before buying/installing. That might actually be the best way to get both solid equipment from choices based off a seasoned reefer's suggestions and learn how everything works together all in one go.
 

hatzo1

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#4
I’ve had a few different tanks. I sold my 125 Aqueon set up and I just purchased a Max S 400 in Sept. I don’t think you can go wrong with one of these.It is deep but I get a step ladder to place corals . LOL
This tank is awesome. I am having more success with this tank than any of my previous. Everything works in harmony as it’s matched from the manufacturer. In general I find maintaining very easy . I had always wanted one of these and was able to finally afford on.
That’s not to say you have to spend a lot to have a great tank. Having a tank buddy definitely helps and being a member of a great group like this one helps tons.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jcook54

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#5
I've got all kinds of tank and equipment that I've bought, sold and traded for over the years and if I had the dough, I'd seriously consider a Red Sea system. Everything I'm about to say is my opinion:

Red Sea used to be what I would consider a "store" brand. There were the custom equipment manufacturers and tank builders and in order to get a really good system, you had to pick and choose the best of the category and build it yourself. Red Sea has been there all along but there stuff really wasn't considered all that good and was mainly sold through big box stores. At the time, the only excellent option for true plug and play tank was Elos. The product Red Sea was making was cheap with mediocre stands, flimsy plastic lids and thin acrylic everything else. They sold because they were plug and play but they didn't function all that well and their re-sale value wasn't too great. Fast forward to now and Red Sea has poured a TON of money into R&D, introduced some pretty amazing products and really, really improved the overall quality of their complete systems. You see their hardware and their products in the best stores around. If you want a true measure of how people in the hobby view their product, just look at the re-sale. Their systems hold their value and get bought pretty quick when they come up for sale. So, what makes their systems so great?
  1. The quality is good. Good glass, better hardware (build quality and functionality) and greatly improved stands. If you could get you hands on one of the older version and sit it next to a newer one, you'd hardly believe it was from the same company.
  2. These systems are really common. In the past a plug & play tank was somewhat risky because everything fit together and if something broke, you were at the mercy of the original manufacturer to get a replacement. Red Sea systems are everywhere and there are 3rd party companies that make after-market parts just for them. (Kinda reminds me of performance car parts for a Chevy 350 engine.)
  3. Good local stores with outstanding reputations sell them and stand behind them. They have had some issues and I know a few folks who ended up getting their systems either replace or repaired at no charge to make up for their issue. A warranty is only as good as the company backing it and while I'm certain there are some horror stories floating around the web, the few folks I know that have their systems and have had issues were pleased with the actions taken to make the situation right.
  4. The entire Red Sea product line has been doing really well in terms of quality and variety. The $$$ they pour into R&D has paid off and given them some really good products. You'll find some really nice coral growers using their stuff and that just wasn't the case 15 years ago. So, it's not just the tanks that are improving.
It's entirely possible Red Sea has been an industry leader from the very start since my experience is based on what was going on in the Atlanta. If someone I knew was looking to spend the $$ on their dream setup, I wouldn't hesitate to steer them towards a Red Sea product. Heck, I've seriously considered getting one myself and might pull the trigger if it weren't for my basement that has a system or two worth in pieces laying around.
 
Messages
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Location
Commerce, GA
#6
@hatzo1 and @jcook54 Thank you both for taking the time to detail your experience with these tanks. That's exactly what I was looking for, someone who'd either actually owned one or seen enough in action to say yea or nay. I was actually speaking with someone today who highly recommends Red Sea tanks but frowned on the large AIO variants. He was praising the tank/stand/sump/lighting packages but then said it was much wiser to choose pumps/skimmer/controller etc individually. I can certainly see where this would be beneficial but it's also where I run into the problem of buying the Ferrari thinking expense = performance when all I really needed was the Lexus version.

So far I'm looking at https://www.marinedepot.com/Reefer_...Light_Fixtures_Red_Sea-RS42264-FIAQML-vi.html as a potential tank package. (I'd really rather have Hydras I think, we'll see.)
Then everything I've read steered me towards https://www.marinedepot.com/Eshopps_S_Series_Protein_Skimmer-QH55001-FIPSIS-vi.html
Apex controller and of course...the sold out Trident because who -doesn't- want that? pfft.

And now I'm pouring over page after page reading about pumps, heh. I'm sure if I think the researching/choosing is daunting I'll really be in for it when it all arrives on my doorstep and I need to plumb it. :D Fun times.
 

hatzo1

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#7
See I feel the larger AIO is wonderful. Besides my new tank my friend has a MaxS 650 (small car ,LOL)that is amazing and super healthy. I look at it this way ,the system is designed to work together so the pumps and skimmer work perfect for how the tank is designed. Red Sea has upgraded their skimmers on these systems and now the lighting .I have the version with the Hydras but the new Reefer Skimmer.I haven’t had any issues with the way everything performs together now that it has all be up and running. If I ever have issues all the parts are available either locally or via Red Sea direct. The only thing I have added has been some random flow generators in the main output, Bio Pellet Reactor and dosing system oh and the one thing it didn’t come with a heater. I hope to add an Apex sometime once my yard equipment quits breaking lol.For me it took the guess work out of the setup. I have done it both ways and prefer this way. Yes more money for sure but less headache making sure it all works together properly.
Granted to each their own also.

I also find the Red Sea and Waterbox systems very pleasing to the eye.

Regardless best of luck with what ever you do. This hobby is awesome and page is great and full of knowledge.
I would also check out Saltwateraquarium.com for tanks . I can speak first hand how great their service is a I purchased my system from them.




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Messages
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Location
Commerce, GA
#8
@hatzo1 Wow, thanks for the pics of one up and running, that really does look sleek. The sump area looks really nice and roomy as well. After seeing your pictures my new questions are: how annoying/hard to clean is the frame at the top? I feel like rimless would be way easier to keep clean. That's one thing I've learned about myself in this hobby so far, I'm a bit fanatical about scrubbing my tank. I don't like bits of detritus/algae anywhere. I'm in there every afternoon with a toothbrush making sure every nook, frag plug and powerhead are clean. I'm sure my snails wish I'd give it a rest, heh. And lastly, how easy is it to add components to this type of tank since everything is all snugged in there? I've upgraded my nano non-stop since I got it. So far ATO/media baskets/skimmer/lights. I need to know I can have the ability to add all the little bells and whistles when I get the itch.

Sorry for peppering you with these odd questions, I just -really- want to make sure I'm making the right tank choice for me. I really appreciate you taking the time to share all this information with me. You guys are the best.

If I do get one of the Max S-Series I'm definitely going 650 since I have the perfect space to not only support the weight but also have plenty of room to work in it. I'd really like to try an sps dominate tank and still have plenty of room for tangs to be happy in. I figure it's go big or go home at this point. :D (I'm doomed)
 
Messages
13
Likes
8
Location
Columbus Ga
#10
Since so many of you have been in the hobby for years and mostly build your own tanks/sumps from scratch, how do one of these "plug and play" setups compare? https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/max-s-650-led-complete-reef-system-red-sea.html

Keep in mind that I'm extremely new to saltwater tanks and have no idea how to even start to choose individual components to support a system this large. (Definitely willing to take the time to learn) So my question is: Am I better off starting from scratch, getting each piece based off reviews/recommendations and plumbing a tank myself or can you really just buy the Max S-Series and expect it to perform like a well pieced together system? I feel like this is a hobby where easy shortcuts are a bad thing. I would really hate to fall into the noob trap of spending this kind of money on a poorly made system of either type. I've looked at some really nice used setups but decided that I don't have the knowledge to know what kind of condition the system is in and if it'd actually be a great deal or not. If I'm going to do a large tank, I want to do it the right way and be well informed so any suggestions/opinions are appreciated.

Another random question about this size tank is how on earth do I work in the bottom of it once filled? Just tongs? I'm 5' tall... my tiny arm isn't even as long as the tank is deep. I'd have to climb a ladder and wear a scuba mask to even think about touching the sand. I'm guessing most of you just get wet armpits but I'd be half submerged, heh. It seems like all of the larger systems are really deep unless you make a custom tank.
If money is no object than a redsea system is like the bose or apple of aquariums!
They are super nice and very high quality.
With that being said may I suggest looking at a SCA Aquarium complete pnp system. I bought mine and saved 2k over going with SCA AQUARIUM and that 2k paid for live rock sand salt fish and soon to be coral!
Also it was delivered to my door!
 
Messages
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Location
Commerce, GA
#13
Thanks @80 cube . That's a really nice looking setup. I will definitely have a look at their packages. After all, I like saving money as much as the next person :D Until a tank of frags is in front of me... then somehow all of my money saving ideas fly out the window.
 
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