Shaun's 2000 Litre (530 USG) Living Reef & Red Sea Max S 650 LED Design & Build


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I’ve been a bit busy today from early morning to early afternoon. Mainly because some idiot called ‘Boris’ has decided to close all the golf courses. I can take my clubs into Newstead Abbey (its were Lord Byron lived behind my house) or any other type of park, but no, I can even walk around my golf course even on my own! Anyway I digress......

The X Filter 1.7 arrived a few days ago and it’s time to install one into the Red Sea S650, using the experience gained from plumbing the ‘big house’. I went for the 1.7 so both systems use the same media.

The main reason for installing an X Filter, is low maintenance, but it also removes organic waste before it pollutes the water, and therefore should make a major difference to nutrient control. 25 micron rolls compared to 225 micron filter socks should make a significant impact

A 25 micron roll in the big tank lasted nearly 3 months, so in the S650 is should last much longer, certainly once its run in

The reason I’m doing this, is because the intention is to make minor rearrangements to the rockwork, and get the water quality a bit better, so nitrate to around 5-10 as opposed to around 20, so that I can easily frag some of the better SPS from the big tank into the S650, because I hate throwing them away! lol

Ive also found in the big system, that the rowaphos lasts much longer, 900g last around 2-3 months, and that’s probably a lot to do with the X Filter. At the moment in the S650 I change the rowaphos of around 400g around every 3 weeks. I’m not being ‘cheap’ but do you know how much the stuff costs!! Lol

Anyway this is the system we’re talking about, the Red Sea Max S650....

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So for any Max S series owners this is what I did

Firstly for those paying attention, you will recall I removed all 4 rear circulation pumps from the rear chamber a while ago, for 2 MP40’s, so it’s empty, so ive moved all the Seachem matrix into there. I had a marine pure block but it’s a bit old so that went in the bin and I might get some more matrix, you know I like it!

I then brought the python water changer out of retirement (because I now use Apex DOS for water changes). I can tell you the sump water when stirred up was absolutely filthy, like a brown sludge and it just shows how inefficient the filter socks are.

The Max S Series sumps, to be frank, are not the best designed sumps, or plumbing in general, infact once you know what your doing it’s pretty poor to be honest, and I think someone at Red Sea should review it. Why would you put a bespoke Red Sea type of gate valve behind the tank, so that it’s virtually impossible to remove and clean, and it also means tank owners have to leave at least a 6” gap behind the tank in case you need to remove it, when you can just put it in the sump, with you know, easy access..... I’ve always jokingly said, I’ll buy a new tank before attempting this, but now don’t need to.

So being brief, because of the design of the S650 sump, the best place to locate the X filter was were the skimmer is designed to go, so it’s sat on an egg crate shelf lifted up slightly to make it roughly level. The X Filter comes with hanging brackets, but in the S650 sump there‘s nothing to hang it to as the side are all way to high. So it’s just sat down which is fine. The skimmers been moved to the main chamber on the left hand side of the sump

I then designed the pipe work which is pretty basic, and then I sat for a while, quiet a while actually, contemplating cutting the main downpipe, the point of no return. Some will be familiar with the terms ‘pooing ones pants’! Lol

Now I have a proper plastic pipe cutter, from building the big tank, but sometimes, the pipe can just snap rather than cut, if it’s a bit brittle, I ran a test and most cut perfectly, but one shattered..... and that would mean ‘problems’.......

So after saying several hail Marie’s, and putting my big boys pants on, I went for it...... all went well, fortunately.....

Anyway hopefully my experience might help other Max S Series owners contemplating something similar. I’ve still got to change the emergency overflow pipe, which will be fairly easy, but this is enough for one day. Here’s a few pictures and the waters already looking crystal clear

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Morning mate, do you have a parts list of what you used for this plz? Or at lease the pipe diameters of the original red sea pipes?


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Morning mate, do you have a parts list of what you used for this plz? Or at lease the pipe diameters of the original red sea pipes?
The main return pipe is 40mm so you just need a 40mm gate valve, unions connectors, elbows etc. The emergency pipe is 32mm but I haven’t bothered amending that.

Its hardly used and although I have the bits to do it I haven’t as yet.


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For anyone looking at the X Filters, which are very good, for a tank the size of the S650 or less, I would go for the X Filter 1.0 not the 1.7

The 1.7 has capacity for 10000 lph but unless your putting high flow through the filter paper it can jam through lack of movement.

In the S650 I’m currently using the smallest 9 micron paper and thats fine but anything higher and it can get stuck (build up of debris etc on the paper) and it’s stated in the instructions. And it lasts months, and months....

I had the 1.7 simply for standardising the media as that’s what’s in the big tank

These really are excellent pieces of kit and now widely available in LFS and certainly online and the customer service is first class


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In the picture below you can see to the left hand side a little sweet yellow goby.

That goby has decided he likes the taste of my favorite SPS corals, so when I catch him, and I will, he's going to get rehoused!!