Yes, indeed, the Red Sea Max 250 plug-and-play Coral Reef System 65 Gallon Aquarium that you are interested in is basically a newer, larger version of the Red Sea Max 130D plug-and-play Coral Reef System 34 gallon aquarium that I recommend for seahorses. They share many of the same features and advantages, including coming with the complete Max Starter Kit and instructional DVD, which will make them easier for a beginner to get up and running properly. In addition, the new Red Sea Max 65 gallon Aquarium has an additional 30 gallons of water volume to provide even better stability and a bigger margin for error, which is very nice.
For example, here’s what one hobbyist reported regarding this particular aquarium package, Irish:
Red Sea Max 250 by Reefing Joe
Experience Level: Expert
Posted on 8/16/2009 from FARMINGTON, NH UNITED STATES
Comments: I have been reef keeping for over 25 years & naturally have encountered every easy fix claim out there. Red Sea Max has taken a ton of guess work & selection of equipment out of the scenario & much more! I say BRAVO! They’ve taken something complicated enough to intimidate any educated inquiring novice looking to break into reef keeping & simplified the heck out of it! Again,… BRAVO! Of course the worst part of any NEAR-ALL inclusive system is replacement parts. Will the company be around when you need parts? No worries! Red Sea Max has done their homework, R&D to develop a very stable company based on quality products & yes… available parts @ reasonable prices. WELL DONE! In short,… Beginners take notice! This is a GREAT way to get started into the world of reef keeping. Stick to some elementary procedures of frequent water changing using quality water & salt, frequent testing to help understand the cycle process of your miniature unique world & finally some patience & slow reactions to changes & newly obtained info. Nothing too fast! Consume & learn without quick reactions & you’ll be fine with a system from Red Sea Max. The only downside to these systems, if any, consider adding some small power heads for higher rate of flow & circulation to help feed filter feeders, (inverts), AND clean your lamp covers often & change lamps when recommended for optimal lighting conditions. THAT’S IT! There’s NEVER been an easier system priced right! I’ve spent a ton less time with maintenance, more time enjoying with the entire family. Better than TV any day! Even my dogs get curious & come take a closer look. So,… Go for It!
Yes, I would recommend this product to my friends.
So it sounds like the Red Sea Max 250 aquarium system is a good choice for beginners, Irish, and that it would not be too difficult for you to get this tank up and running properly. Because of the upgraded lighting system and reports from other hobbyists I have heard, I do believe that an aquarium chiller will probably be necessary in order to keep the water temperature for this aquarium system within the comfort range for the seahorses.
You would regulate the water temperature in your aquarium using the aquarium heater and the chiller together, Irish. The aquarium heater establishes the lowest temperature desired; when the water temperature drops below that specified point, the heater will switch on and warm the water to keep the aquarium temperature from falling any further. In this particular aquarium system, the heater will remain off most all of the time, particularly if you live in a warm area with mild winters. (Your aquarium heater will come with instructions for adjusting the temperature and setting the heater to hold at the desired temperature.)
Likewise, the aquarium chiller is useful for preventing overheating, and if the Red Sea Max 250 typically holds at 77°F-79°F, then you may need a chiller that can cool the 65-gallon aquarium down by at least 3°F-4°F in order to keep the water temperature in the comfort range for seahorses even during the summertime heat waves.
In short, Irish, my only concerns with the Red Sea Max 250 are the powerful water circulation and the potential for overheating associated with the upgraded Power Compact lighting system, which is intended to provide the strong lighting needed to maintain stony corals, but there are ways to overcome those potential drawbacks. As I mentioned, the upgraded lighting system could be problematic if it means that the aquarium is going to be running on the warm side, which is likely according to the reports I have heard. I do believe that the Red Sea Max 250 plug-and-play Coral Reef System 65 Gallon Aquarium could make a fine seahorse tank, providing you can keep the water temperature in the comfortable range for the ponies (72°F-77°F, with 75°F being ideal). This may require operating only two or three of the six T5 Linear Compact Lamps, or very likely installing an aquarium chiller, if you prefer to operate all six of the lamps at one time.
If, as a beginner, you do not intend to keep the delicate stony corals in the aquarium, but rather, are primarily interested in using the Red Sea Max 250 aquarium system as a seahorse tank, perhaps with some seahorse-save soft corals, which do not require especially intense lighting, then you may be able to keep the temperature down sufficiently by only operating two or three of the T5 Linear Compact Lamps, using primarily the actinic bulbs.
The Red Sea Max 250 is also designed to provide the vigorous water circulation that stony corals require to thrive, Irish, and that can also present a problem for seahorses because of their relatively limited swimming ability. As you know, I like the pump and filters for a seahorse tank to turn over the entire aquarium a minimum of five times per hour, and the water circulation can become too overwhelming for the seahorses if the turnover rate approaches 10 times per hour or more. In this case, the Red Sea Max 250 has two circulation pumps, one which puts out 320 gallons per hour, and one which puts out 640 gallons per hour. For a 65 gallon aquarium, that means the 320 gph pump turns over the entire volume of the tank about five times every hour, whereas the more powerful 640 gph pump can itself turn over the entire volume of the tank about 10 times every hour. Together, the two circulation pumps have a combined turnover rate of 15 times per hour, which will likely be problematic for seahorses.
You could perhaps address that problem by operating only one of the circulation pumps at a time, but I don’t know enough about the Red Sea Max 250 and how the output for the pumps is oriented and directed in order for me to determine how that will affect the overall water circulation in the aquarium. (You don’t want the tank to be left with dead spots and stagnant areas where there is little or no water circulation.) Perhaps you can achieve satisfactory results by operating only one of the circulation pumps at a time, but regularly alternating which of the pumps is operating; that might be an acceptable solution, but you would have to determine that an actual practice…
Other than that, Irish, there are a couple of other tricks for moderating the water flow in your Red Sea Max 250 to make it more suitable for your seahorses, which you can consider that can make a big difference in that regard. For example, if you can attach a spray bar return to the output from the primary circulation pump (640 gph ) and then adjust the spraybar so that it roils the surface of the aquarium, that would greatly diffuse and moderate the resulting water currents, and the resulting water flow should then present no problem for your ponies. The less powerful circulation pump (320 gph), which turns over the tank five times per hour, will be fine for your ponies, so moderating the output from the other circulation pump so it was also acceptable could solve this problem.
If it’s not possible to attach a spray bar return to the output for the primary circulating pump, I know that you can adjust the direction of the outlet for the circulation pumps on the Red Sea Max 250, so if you can adjust the output upwards so that it roils the surface of the aquarium, that in itself should help to moderate the water currents somewhat.
Another good way to accommodate both the needs of corals that prefer brisk currents and the seahorse’s need for slack-water retreats is to create tall rock formations a foot or two down current from the strongest water flows to intercept and deflect or divert that strong flow of water, creating eddies and slack-water zones where there is relatively little water movement down current. Seahorses will hold in these low flow areas when they want to move away from the current, so it’s a good idea to position convenient hitching posts in the lee or down-current side of such formations.
Okay, Irish, those are some suggestions for moderating the powerful water currents produced by the circulation pumps for the Red Sea Max 250 aquarium system.
As long as you are prepared to either adjust the lighting or install an aquarium chiller in order to maintain comfortable water temperatures for your seahorses, and you can moderate the water flow one way or another, Irish, then I think the Red Sea Max 250 should make an exceptionally nice seahorse setup.
Best of luck finding just the right aquarium system for your needs and interests, Irish, as well as those of your seahorses!