Re:Type of tank?

Pete Giwojna

Dear Jayne:

I am not familiar with the Red Sea Max tank that you are considering but I went to the site that you mentioned and checked out the specs and the system certainly has a lot of very nice features. The built-in protein skimmer is very nice, surface skimming is desirable, and the power compact lighting system is what I prefer personally and the LED moonlights are a nice addition. All things considered, it seems to have a very efficient filtration system. And the main control panel and power center are great features! I love that aspect of this aquarium!

But never having seen the system in operation, I can’t say for sure if overheating could be a problem with this unit or if the twin circulation pumps might generate currents that are too strong for seahorses. The two pumps turn over the entire volume of the aquarium about 10 times per hour, meaning that the output from each pump turns over the aquarium five times per hour. That sounds like pretty decent circulation for a seahorse tank, but there is no way of determining whether the two pumps confined might produce too much turbulence for seahorses in areas. The directional outlets are adjustable, so it seems like you should be able to come up with the configuration that would work well, but there’s no way of knowing for sure until you actually see the filtration in action. Some filtration systems with built-in protein skimmers (e.g., CPR Bak-Pak) are notorious for releasing clouds of microbubbles into the aquarium, and I don’t know if that might be an issue with this particular design. On the plus side, it has a built-in compartment to install an aquarium chiller if the system is running warmer than you would like for seahorses (optimum temperature for Mustangs and Sunbursts is 75°F), so you should be able to keep the water temperature in the comfort zone for the seahorses.

A minimum height I recommend for a seahorse tank is 20 inches, and 19.7 inches is close enough that it shouldn’t make a significant difference. Just use a thin layer (1/2 to 1 inch deep) of fine-grained oolitic sand as your substrate, and the overall height of the aquarium should be acceptable. Hippocampus erectus and most other seahorses should certainly be able to mate comfortably in a tank of those dimensions.

If the Red Sea Max tanks are available in a height up to 24 inches that would be even better, but if not, I would say that it sounds like this aquarium system is worth a try, particularly if you would like to keep a selection of seahorse-safe corals in the tank. Before I made a purchase, however, I would try to find out what the combined flow rate produced by the twin pumps is so that you can get an idea of how powerful the water flow they produce may be, and ask the manufacturer what water temperature the system typically operates at so you can determine if you will also need to invest in a chiller.

Best of luck with your efforts to find the perfect seahorse tank for your needs and interests, Jayne! Keep us posted regarding any additional information you can find out regarding the Red Sea Max tank, since it seems like a promising system.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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