The Red Sea ReefMat is an ambitious new device which is making its mark in the burgeoning young product category of automatic filter rolls. First announced just a few short months ago in December the ReefMat has been one of the most hotly anticipated new products at 2022 and following its world debut at ReefStock Denver we’ve scored one unit to thoroughly put through its paces.
As with nearly every product we are eager to review we began not by reading the instructions or actually installing it but by thoroughly disassembling the entire device down to all of its irreducible components. The first thing that struck us when getting our first hands-on with the Red Sea ReefMat is that it does not feel like a first generation product with so much thoughtfulness injected into every element of the design.
The more we handled the ReefMat and geared up for actual installation the more excited we got and now that the device is actually running, here are a few of our first things we already love about Red Sea’s automatic filter roll.
It Completely Disassembles – Depending on your point of view his might seem like a small detail or a foregone conclusion but for a device which relies on smooth operation to properly function, being able to service every component and moving part signals that we’ll be enjoying the cleanup process after it’s been running for a long time.
Hang on or Standing Operation – The Red Sea is not the first auto filter roll that works both standing or hang-on but the ReefMat just does it a little better with a solid bracket and bumpers for hang-on operation, and stout sturdy legs for free standing applications.
Fully Reversible – It would have been easy for Red Sea to design the ReefMat to work with water only coming from the side which is optimized for installation into Red Sea sumps, but the ReefMat is not only reversible but it’s quite easy and straightforward to arrange the fittings to come from either side of the unit.
Solid state & replaceable level sensor – An automatic filter roll is only as good as its moving parts and with most models the mechanical float switch is crucial, but also subject to sticking on or off. With a solid state sensor using conductivity, not an optical sensor, with redundant electrodes this is one less part that you’ll have to worry about.
Flexible Tubing for Installation – We kind of always knew that Red Sea was going to someday offer an automatic filter roll but we always wondered how they would make it an easy drop-in install for current and future users. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best because the included corrugated ‘vacuum’ hose with union-style connectors makes attaching the Red Sea ReefMat to your primary drain incredibly easy and trouble free.
Built in Media Reactor – The media basket built into the base of the ReefMat is a very welcome surprise add-on and it basically means that you get a media reactor in addition to the ReefMat without taking up any more space in the sump or the need for secondary pumps.
200 Micron Fleece – The decision to use a larger 200 micron porosity in their filtration material was a brilliant move which has a number of far reaching implications. Not only will you get a lot of mileage out of every roll of ReefMat but it does mean that the spent material has a chance to dry out somewhat before getting spooled up.
Designed with Servicing in mind – The most important design detail of the ReefMat that users will notice the most is how much consideration Red Sea placed into being able to easily service and replace the spent filter rolls. The bottom retaining roll is very easy to remove and replace with no need for a dedicated stapler and there’s even a place to set down new rolls as you’re installing fresh material.
Even Quieter than Filter Socks – The best way to silence the operation of a reef tank is to use a continuous siphon drain to eliminate the gurgling. But once that part is quieted you can still hear some sound from the movement of water over the filter socks, especially when they clog and begin overflowing and loudly splashing into the sump. All things considered the sound of moving water this way was always a small amount of noise but since most of the ReefMat is enclosed the sound is further reduced to an appreciable degree.
First app-controlled Filter Roll – The one thing we haven’t yet been able to test is the app connectivity but from what we already know it will be an Ace up Red Sea’s sleeve when it comes to differentiating their product from comparable models. Learning how much roll is used daily and getting notifications of when you’re running low could do nothing but improve the overall user experience and we’re dying for the updates to the ReefBeat app to be released, any day now.