Embracing a plug and play aquarium for personal coral reefs

Review of RSM 250

Below is my ongoing review of the Red Sea Max 250 (RSM 250) tank.

Good

  • The Red Sea Max 250 glass tank and it’s cabinet are of high quality and both look and feel that way. It was worth the investment.
  • No risk of flooding! This was an important point in choosing the Red Sea Max 250. However, with the automatic water top off system and in the future, maybe a chiller, this point might be crap.
  • All in one design is excellent. I don’t have any equipment hanging outside of the tank . I especially like having only one electrical cord exiting the tank instead of 6 or more.
  • Lights seem great. Photosynthetic corals have done great so far, but I have mostly soft corals so far. The moon lights are barely adequate but is a great addition.
  • Built in timer for lights is awesome.
  • The waterproof witches on the side of the Red Sea Max 250 to control lights, heater, skimmer and pumps are very convenient and functional. This helps when I need to shut down the pumps and skimmer to feed pellets.
  • Pumps are powerful and current in tank is strong. I do think I will add additional intermittent wave-like circulation in the near future.
  • The protein skimmer is adequate and gives me great water quality.  However the control knob requires very small turns but could have been better built. Skimmer performance is dependent on water level. I have used an automatic water top off system that helps to circumvent this problem.
  • Excellent customer service.

Bad

  • The heater that came with the Red Sea Max 250 didn’t work at all. I had also read on a few forums that people have had these glass heaters break or explode in the tank. I thought about getting a new one from Red Sea but decided to buy a better non-glass heater, the Rena SmartHeater 300W. Update: the temperature of the area where my tank is located can go down to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and one 300W heater isn’t enough. I added an additional 300W titanium heater and it works well.
  • The Red Sea Max 250 lights, while powerful and great for my corals so far, do not allow for the great colors and fluorescing that you get with alkaline halide type lighting. I have gotten around this by installing 2 strips of Stunner LED 450nm lights. During the summer months, with the 6 fans in the hood running, the Red Sea Max 250 overheated. Temperature changed from 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit when the lights were on for 2 hours. If you live in a warm climate, you will need to buy a chiller. Fortunately, Red Sea Max has provided an insert to accommodate the tubes for a chiller.
  • With a closed hood system like the one on the Red Sea Max 250, there is significant evaporation of water when the lights are on.
  • The protein skimmer control knob requires very small turns and could have been better built. Skimmer performance is dependent on water level and with the significant evaporation of water (see above) it is difficult for the skimmer to perform well without constant adjustment. I have used an automatic water top off system that helps to circumvent this problem.
  • Impeller of larger pump broke after 2 months. However, Red Sea Max did send a new impeller free of charge.

 

Judgement: The positives far outweigh the negatives and the Red Sea Max 250 tank is definitely worth it if you want to concentrate on building your reef ecosystem and not worry about floods or equipment. The competition for this size and price point doesn’t exist.