The Red Sea MAX E Series is the company’s fourth major generation of All In One aquariums and it is a truly worthy successor to the MAX S that came before it. This past weekend at ReefStock in Denver we got some quality face time with the first Red Sea MAX E to be displayed in North America, the 69 gallon MAX E260, and we just couldn’t believe how lust-worthy this aquarium system is in person.
We saw the first Red Sea MAX E concept and prototype aquarium at InterZoo 2014, back when Red Sea was still dabbling in making their own LED lights, and before the groundbreaking Reefer series was launched or announced. The Red Sea MAX E series we have now is a totally different beast from what was initially proposed, and all the changes are for the better, in all the most fundamental ways.
The MAX E series was first revealed with Red Sea’s own LED lighting and a sort of in-house controller system, neither of which really got our juices flowing. For the lighting Red Sea has since decided to enlist an industry lighting leader, Aqua Illumination, to supply their tanks with the new Hydra 26 HD LED lights. As for the control of the tank, now that the lights have their own programming Red Sea has opted to use their own simple control center power strip instead.
But the most tantalizing feature of the Red Sea MAX E, the ability to use the tank either with the built-in filter system or with a sump, is still present. This duality of filtration options is what differentiates the Red Sea MAX E series from the Red Sea Reefer which doesn’t have any built-in filtration in the back of the aquarium.
By using AI’s very popular Hydra 26 HD line of LED lighting and built-in controls, Red Sea was truly able to focus their attention on other aspects of the tank, and with that increased bandwidth they’ve been able to do a lot. For starters, the mounting arms which suspend the LED lighting over the tank are some of the best we’ve ever seen, and even nicer than AI’s own offerings.
The mounting arms are fully adjustable, with cord management to make the entire assembly as clean as possible. But the part of the mounting arms which truly made our day is the ability to make subtle adjustments of tilt, allowing users to angle the Hydra 26 HDs down and back towards the reef, reducing glare and algae growth by limiting how much light falls on the front glass.
The cord management system doesn’t end at the base of the mounting arms however, since there is additional channels on the back of the aquarium to route all the cords from the light, pump and protein skimmer in a clean and elegant manner. The motif of order and cleanliness extends all the way to the power control center where a potential tangle of cords and power strips transforms into an easily controlled power center with graphical on/off buttons for each piece of equipment.
Underneath the swanky cabinet stand of the Red Sea MAX E Series you’ll find plenty of space to install the optional glass sump, which is precisely the same piece of kit that is offered with the Red SEA Reefer tanks. But to start out their aquarium, many users will likely get the tank going with the built in filtration, which is no slouch either.
The Red Sea MAX E Series come with powerful return pumps which double as the flow pumps for the tank. Better yet, the outlets from the return pumps are a kind of ball-joint-nozzle which enables the flow to be directed about 45 degrees in any direction, so users can easily determine where to direct the incoming flow to their aquarium.
With its flat backed design, you might be forgiven for thinking the Red Sea MAX E Series is a shade more elegant even than the Reefer series, especially with the hinged glass panel that hides the built-in filtration from sight. If you know you’re going to use the sump but don’t like to see any overflow boxes or return lines in the aquarium, you might consider the MAX E over the Reefer
When the first Red Sea MAX was launched, and then succeeded by generation after generation of All In One hits, we thought that Red Sea would eventually come to a plateau of features and design. With the Red Sea MAX E Series the company proves that it still has the design skills to make some of the most desirable aquariums in the world.
Red Sea is making the MAX E series in two sizes, the 45 gallon MAX E170 and the 69 gallon MAX E260, both of which will be arriving to your local fish store very soon. For an in depth look at the specifications and sizes of the new line, see our coverage of the announcement of the Red Sea MAX E Series.