Highly's Red Sea Max 400 Mixed Reef


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And just like that after 11 hours of work the tank is empty and everything has been transferred to my mates take for safe keeping till my new tank arrives.

All the CUC and my clowns were put in a nano i set up though, takes get setup so fast and dam the tear down is intense lol


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Active Member
Well sadly my mates just contacted me and told me his fish have kicked my tangs asses and I have so far lost the yellow belly regal, yellow and sail fin tangs along with the Lobophyllia. I knew it was going to happen but whats pissed me off the most is that this has been a forced change which I never wanted as I was happy with my tank (guess thats what happens when you listen to your wife).

Now not only am I bloody depressed about loosing my livestock just because of a forces change but im pissed that this has all happened with such a massive cost on my pocket and it is not even a tank upgrade (equipment is ofc mostly best on market gear) but the tank is the same litres just diff dimensions. I keep pushing for the 525 but she just wont budge dam it lol is it really worth the money to change from a max 400 to a reefer xl 425 seriously tempted to cancel my order as I feel like its size will be such a let down when it arrives.

Man what a rant lol sorry guys, news of loosing my livestock due to an un needed change has really got me thinking about things. And whats worse is wife is brushing it pff saying oh well just get new ones when you get the new tank... well thats not the bloody point now is it ffs lol

What you folks think should i just throw in the towel and cancel the order? And maybe eventually get a bigger tank (never gonna happen) just finding it so hard to spend 4k on a tank thats the same as what i had.

Update: to add insult to injury the sale has fallen through guy said he has been told to leave the hse he is renting
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Active Member
Ok so quick updated on last nights rant, old tanks been moved temp to my study until it gets sold. Ive gone ahead and changed my order to the 525xl (wifes gonna hate me but once its here no turning back), hopefully in a months time I will be starting a whole new journey and try to record and share as much of it as I can with you folks.

Due to the increase in price from the 425 to the 525 (£900) to be exact, im going to have the tank setup and sit empty for a few months till I can afford all the sand rock and return pump for it. While I wait I will start to modify the plumbing and get an insert done for the cable management and dosing pump. Ill keep you guys posted


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Hello my friend, how is the tank doing?
Hey bud been ages since my last update, keep forgetting especially now with kid number two in the picture lmao

Ill work on getting a few pics of the build today, ive had it running about 8 months or so and slowly adjusting the tank to where it needs to be. My old doser broke so had to get a new one which arrived a few weeks ago during my wifes labour. Sadly nigelected the tank for a week so alk dropped and most of my sps/lps have slowly died or are in the process of receding, have now got the kh at around 8.5 but I need to slowly correct the other parameters.

ill see if I can post a proper update for you all when I get home later ;)


JoePa lives on!!!
Staff member
I’d love to see an update. Takes are working but even when I’m busy I enjoy the mindless nature of it. Just do water changes, that really helps!

I took 5 years off but now I’m back in for good!


Well-Known Member
Good to read you, congratulations for the baby!
I’m sure your wife deserves a medal.
I take breaks from the site also from time to time.
Looking forward for the pics.


Active Member
Ok so now I am at home and I finally have some time to dedicate for a decent update to whats been going on with the new tank.

Ok so lets start at the begining, The new tank arrived on the 7th August 2020 and I was absolutly loving it and so was my son. Everything took about a day to unpack and build, and me and the lil one enjoyed every minute of it.

Boot with tnak.jpgDelivery 1.jpgBuilding base with luke.jpgBase 8.jpgBase 9.jpgTank build.jpgtank build side 2.jpgtank build side.jpg

Ok sorry for the flood of images but even then Ive had to cut back as I have loads lol but do not worry many more to come as we go on. So once all this was done and I was happy with the placement the long wait began as a ton of my other much needed items were yet to arrive, still pending was all the D-D rock, AF bio sand and most importantly the new dual turbine returnpump by maxspect.

Once everything arrived I took a day off work and got streight to making the plumbing and rockwork structure which with all the planning I had previously done took just a day. In my opinion I think the structure turned out really nice considering it was done in about 5 hours flat, I do however think it would have been a lot less but I used a combination of glue, apoxy and Aqua forest stone fix which was absolutly rubish and dried to a very brittle state causing the structure to collapse when trying to get it into the tank. Thankfully everything went well and the tank was full the very same day and the cycle with Red seas reef mature began!


Active Member
AF bio sand.jpgStructure plan.jpgStructure 1.jpgStructure 2.jpgOutcome.jpgoutcome with lights.jpg

So as you can see I purpously left a big area on the right for a rock with a leather and some mushrooms I kept from my old tank along with plently of sand realestate up front for some nice fungias and meat corals which I have yet to buy lol, I am also planning on adding an extra structure on the right top which will arc to the back of the tank.

So once everything was to my liking I filled her up with good old RODI water mixed in some salt, added red seas reef mature program and off she went the begining of the fishless cycle had commenced. All in all I used 20KG of D-D natural dry rock and 28kg of aquaforest bio sand along with two large marine pure bio blocks in the sump, and running the included filter socks with some rock rubble in the empty baskets and some filter floss.

While the tank was cycling I decided to tackle the worst problem this hobby has with electronics and that is cable management, I got some marine plywoof and made a shelf/false back into the cabinet with a large square space for ventilation for my chiller (little did I know it would catch fire a few months after it was setup, bare in mind it was from my old tank so not new). I also made a manifold, due to how the single return pump works (has two turbines, so one pump two outlets). One pipe goes to the tank and the second to the manifold which in turn divides the flow between the Uv steriliser and chiller which sadly is no longer there lol

Cable managhement.jpgManifold.jpg


Active Member
Everything was going as planned and as directed by the reef mature program I added my fish and cuc ect as advised, so the stock at the time I started off with a pair of clown fish and a cardinal and shortly after that I introduced the survivors from my old tank a foxface, blue spot gobby & blue cleaner wrasse as for clean up crew I went with 2 huge super turbos, 2 fighting conch, 5 cerith snails, 5 narsissus snails, 5 bumble bee snails, a cleaner shrimp, a pom pom crab and a pistol shrimp. I also added a few of my old corals but sadly I do not have pictures of them back then as some have sadly passed.

By this point I had my param's at:
Ammonia - 0
Ph - 8.2
KH - 8
No2 - 0
No3 - between 30/40
Mg - 1200
Ca - 385
Salinity - 1.024
Temp - 25.5 Cel

And then had a slight mishap (the first of many) and had the skimmer freakout on me randomly and overflow, now normaly thats fine but the way this tank is designed the dam water hits the back of the cabinet and flows to the bottom and out the back so lets just say ive wet my floor quite a few times since then and the wife was not amused.

So with that I think ill skip the boring part of the ugle phase which to my suprise went by very fast and light stocking continued. Sadly one day around jan this year I got a dam awesome deal on a baby regal tang which I wanted but the price my LFS had it at was horid, end of the day I found a guy who was selling his tank and sold me the fish for a shocking 20 euro. Fast forward a week and bam my fish had ich, two weeks later boom velvet.... lets just say I lot the hippo, foxface pair or dragonetts and my yellow eye kole tang. Lesson learned no matter how good of a deal theres always a chance of it going bad, and due to not being able to have a hosp tank well every buy is a risk sadly.

So I made the hard choice and used copper medication for about 2 months in the tank risking the death of corals and inverts to save my fish, low and behold everything else I had pulled through and till today the tank is parasite free.

So whilst dealing with all this I seemed to suddenly have a massive build up of what I thought was detritus but my flow was quite strong so that was not possible, no one online could positivly identify what it was until one day I decided to show a friend of mine who has his own fish store over the border in spain and immidiatly asked me if I was dosing RS no-pox, which I was. He said there you have it stop dosing it and you will see the difference in about a week, a week later low and behold it had completly cleared up to my amazement. I guess this was just a massive bacterial buildup on all my live rock.

bacteria bloom.jpegbacteria.jpeg


Active Member
Sorry for the multiple posts, it will not let me post more than 10 photos per post and I decided to break it up anyways instead of having a massive wall of text in one post lmao.

So fast forward to about a month ago, I decided to pull the trigger and try out some easy sps. Got myself a few stylophora, hydnophora & montipora frags which all took well to the tank, they were growing and having massive polyp extention but all that was short lived. A few weeks after getting them my wife went into labour and for about two weeks the tank was forgotten completly along with the daily dosing of aquaforests componant 1+2+3 which is KH, Cal, Mg and trace elements, when I noticed corals start to bleach the damage was done and KH was down to 6. Few days of tweaking and I got all the parameters where they need to be but sadly it was to late and I lost all the sps I had bought, so it was about time I forked out some more cash and replaced my old broken doser. Few days later and my order had arrived, the coral box wifi doser is so small I was sceptical at first but man am I impressed with its acuracy and the controlability with the phone is brilliant. So now I think the tank should be stable enough to start adding sps again which should hopefully be next week.

As it stands here is all the equipment and stock I currently in the tank:

Reefer XL 525
X3 RS reef led 90
X2 RS reef wave 45
Rs 600 skimmer
Maxspect turbine duo return pump
Jebao Uv steriliser
X2 marine pure large bio blocks
28kg aqua forest bio sand
20kg D-D natural rock (adding a few more KG of Aqua forest rock soon)
Coral Box wifi dosing pump
X2 filter sock
X2 backets with 50/50 rock rubble and filter floss

Regal tang
Large vlemengi tang
1x 8 line wrasse
Blue cleaner wrasse
2x juvenile clown fish
Bristletooth tang
Pistol shrimp
Skunk cleaner shrimp
Sandsifting star
Variety of bumblebee, ceritium, turbo & nasarius snails

Tomorrow I will be running my tests on the tank and I will see if I can take a few pictures of how the tanks currently looking, Ill drop a pic of how it was a few months ago just so you can get an idea of how its looking along with a few recent pics.

I am also contemplating getting a monitoring system and I am trully leaning towards the apex and the trident, however a few newer systems have various additions which would be nice like monitoring No3 for example. I was also looking at the GHL but I feel like its to bulky for the whole system and way more expensive. Anyways if you guys have any feedback on the matter or some personal experiance I would appriciate it as I really want an apex but its a lot of cash to fork out for a monitor.

update tank.jpeg
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Well-Known Member
Wow that is a massive update.
Congrats for the new tank! it is very nice, you have gone through a lot however you keep prevailing. I like vlemengi tang, the tang and the gorgonian, they really stand out in your pics.
For the controller I can only talk about Apex, I am using it and love it. Accurate, easy to use and flexible. I am not convinced yet about Trident, it forces you to make a lot of testing and you have to buy all reagents from Neptune. I took a look of the Reefbot V2 is really nice, you can use normal reagents, performs testing for more paramenters but it cost $900 USD. :(
I didn’t know the RSK skimmer had those issues. I have only see one operating and cannot make an opinion about them. It is great to have your update.


Active Member
Wow that is a massive update.
Congrats for the new tank! it is very nice, you have gone through a lot however you keep prevailing. I like vlemengi tang, the tang and the gorgonian, they really stand out in your pics.
For the controller I can only talk about Apex, I am using it and love it. Accurate, easy to use and flexible. I am not convinced yet about Trident, it forces you to make a lot of testing and you have to buy all reagents from Neptune. I took a look of the Reefbot V2 is really nice, you can use normal reagents, performs testing for more paramenters but it cost $900 USD. :(
I didn’t know the RSK skimmer had those issues. I have only see one operating and cannot make an opinion about them. It is great to have your update.
Thanks, update was not as indepth as I would have liked but it explanes a little on the journey so far. I will be doing weekly updates if I can from now on, plan on getting a few corals this week along with a product called skimmer guardian by h2ocean which will auto shutoff the skimmer when the collection cup gets full thus preventing any more overflows.

As for corals well im planning on getting a nice hydnofora frag, a fungia if they have any & perhaps a lobo not to sure yet.

The trident does limit you a little but having the three main parameters available 24/7 and how ever many times u wanna test is nice for stability. I also looked at the reef bot but that price tag and the amount of space it takes it is to much for me. Another product that looked interesting to me was the new spanish made xepta auto balance with auto balence extension but again hefty price tag.

going to make a new thread for the new tank and pass over lastnights updates
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Active Member
Nice update and the tank looks good. What copper medication did you use in the tank?
I used cupramin as it was the only product available to me on such short notice. Did the job but maintaining the correct levels for it to work was a pain as something in the tank kept lowering it daily.


JoePa lives on!!!
Staff member
Well I’m hoping this won’t be the case but you may have problems with your tank going forward. Your rocks and sand all likely absorbed the copper and that can have bad effects on corals and inverts for years to come. Continue to run carbon but I bet if you sent out an ICP test, you’d see dangerously high level of CU.

Copper should never be dosed in a reef tank.


Active Member
@PSU4ME this was quite some time ago and I ran heavy amounts of carbon and cuprisorb by seachem to remove any traces of it. Obviously standard test kits will not detect copper under a certain amount like an ICP test would but if any traces were still left in the tank most of my lps and my shrimps would have been badly effected by now. However there is always the chance that it is infact leeching from my rocks, at some point I will try and take an ICP test and see what pops up. Sadly no labs near me so it will prob take a long time to get any resaults especially with silly covid measures delayin everything. Taken todays water tests and a bunch of photos so I will now be working on making the new thread for the new tank and leave this one be.


Well-Known Member
I like using the ICP tests. I usually get one every six months or so. It's a good comparison to the 'normal' home tests we do. For example, I've discovered that the Salifert tests I use for Mag and Calc are reading to high. When I think they are spot on using Salifert, the reality is that the test results are usually reading too high and my real levels are lower than I think. I usually do a full test with the home kits at the same time as I take the sample of water to be sent off. It's pretty easy then to compare the results. I have to assume that the professional test would be more accurate than my home tests. For example, if my home Salifert test rates my Calc at 450ppm, then I know it's really around the 430 mark. The same with Mag as well.