Unboxed: Red Sea Max Nano

If you noticed our teaser pic on Facebook you’ll be aware that we recently acquired one of the new Max Nano systems from Red Sea. In this unboxing review we’ll give you our initial thoughts on the overall package before we begin the set-up process. 

Coming in two boxes, the cabinet and tank are superbly packaged. Tackling the cabinet first, we performed a close inspection of each component one-by-one and found all to be free from flaws and of apparently excellent quality. The most impressive piece was the marine-spec epoxy-coated door which really looks good (in high gloss white in our case, black is also available). Assembling the unit was very easy and only took about 30 minutes with the help of a cordless screwdriver. The assembly process primarily relies on the use of dowels and cam bolts with the latter provided with plastic covers for a neat finish. The rear of the cabinet also features a large ventilation hole should you wish to install a chiller, and the base of the cabinet sits on hard plastic feet. In short, we were most impressed with the well thought-out design and quality appearance of this cabinet, and we are completely confident in its ability to support the aquarium safely.

Talking of the display tank, this nestles safely inside its box with thick polystyrene holding it in place. Within the tank are the various components that complete the system, packaged neatly. Lifting the tank out is much easier with 2 people by the way. Once in place, resting on the custom-cut cushion pad provided, the clean lines really stand out with the tanks bevelled-edge, high clarity, 8mm glass front and sides lying flush with the glossy cabinet for a super-modern minimal look. This is quite a large nano system by our reckoning too. Dimensions are 45x45x45cm for the display (including the rear compartment) and the combined tank and stand are 132cm tall (excluding the LED light bracket). The display volume is 63l, plus 12l for the rear compartment.

Unpacking the rest of the smaller boxes and packets included, we encounter the filtration system components that sit behind the black glass rear partition in the sump compartment. This nano literally has all the life support systems included (apart from a heater) and these all cleverly fit together. The skimmer is rated to draw 60l of air per hour and the eco-circulation pump will turn over the system volume (75l) around 12.5 times per hour. We found all components to be of apparently good quality and in perfect working order, and it all fitted together really well. The incorporation of the hinged screen to conceal the 1.5l top up reservoir ‘hopper’ and skimmer cup is also innovative, and the moving parts of this hinge system seem highly durable. All-in-all, as with the cabinet, it promises to work well, while looking superb! Also included we have a 225 micron filter sock, a couple of black foam sponge pads and 100g of Red Sea marine-spec activated carbon. These filtration components all sit where you would expect in the rear compartment and add superb mechanical and chemical water polishing capabilities.

The final major part of the system is perhaps the icing on the cake – an AI Prime HD light. This unbelievably compact unit, which is included as part of the package, can emit up to 55watts of light spread over 7 colour channels. What’s more, with built in Wi-Fi, controlling it is as easy as installing the “myAI” app on your iOS/Android device. In our case this proved to be ridiculously simple with the process completed in literally a few minutes. Once running it is possible to enter ‘easy set-up’ to get started with a dawn, day, dusk cycle with a spectrum of your choosing, or you can go into a more advanced mode to set additional points on your schedule and to control individual colour channel ramping. Beyond this there are also lunar, weather and acclimation cycles available. The puck itself is supported on a slim but sturdy metal bracket which simply clicks into place into a socket which is incorporated into the power centre junction box at the middle top of the rear panel. Once in place it can be rotated left or right to move the light out of the way for maintenance. It can’t be raised or moved forwards or backwards laterally but the set position looks ideal for the display. It is also possible to angle the light actually, using the ball and socket type connector which links it to the bracket. We couldn’t discern any ‘disco’ effect with the light and the fan is barely audible when it operates.

So, that essentially covers our initial impressions, which are clearly very positive! Literally all you’ll need to add to this system is a heater (and ideally a controller system) plus maybe a cover, and you are ready for rock! In terms of electrics, you’ll be needing (for tropical use) at least 3-4 sockets, possibly 5-6 if you want to add additional flow in the display tank (for SPS corals).

For anyone interested in acquiring a cutting-edge, low maintenance ‘plug and play’ reef system, the Max Nano has got to be at the top of your list. The system retails for £499 (for the display tank on its own) and the stand is available for £200 in black or £225 in white. If display and stand are bought together, you can save around £25. For more information and official stats check out Red Sea’s website and for a long-term review, in which we add livestock to the system, look out for the December 2016 issue of Ultramarine magazine.

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