It was inevitable that I would eventually start a reef tank. I had grown up keeping fresh water fish for all their ease and cost, yet I was always drawn to the reef display at the LFS
Eventually came to reality and after much reading, pondering, and designing, I have built a reef system that I hope will be beautiful to look at, easy to maintain, operate quietly, and provide a healthy environment for both fish and corals.
In my quest to build a reef system, I found the web an invaluable source of information. In creating this site, I hope to share my successes and discoveries that will benefit anyone wishing to start a reef tank. Happy reefing!
For most people, A reef tank is very likely the single most beautiful "decoration" most people have in their homes. I wanted not only to add a highlight to the house, I wanted it be a bigger part of everyday life than just sitting along a wall in one of my rooms. I wanted it to alter my normal everyday experiences at home. I also wanted it to be in a place where visitors would be comfortable approaching to get a closeup. I wanted to be forced to walk by it a hundred times a day, and be able to peer into it without having to stoop. My answer was to build it into the wall in a central location (above the bar along the entrance to the kitchen) and taller then normal.
Growing up one of the things you just "get used to" is that standard aquarium equipment and setups emit quite a bit of noise. While some find the hum "soothing" most of us put up with it competing with the sounds of the TV and nearby discussions. Water trickling, pumps humming. Air stones hissing. For me these sounds distract from the beauty that any tank provides not to mention complete with other things in the home like the TV or phone. I really think an aquarium should be seen, but not heard.
I set out to make a quiet fish tank. Absolutely quite. Without sacrificing on any the other things like water flow, air cooling, and a powerful skimmer, and efficiency. I don't have basement or a place for a "fish room" to hide all my noisy equipment. My system had to sit in the stand under the tank. A pretty standard setup.
The answer to this quest was two fold. First minimize all the sounds generated by the system. Secondly keep the sounds from escaping. It's interesting to look at commercial aquarium stands. The all seem to have a huge open back. I doubt this is to aid in allowing plumbing routing options for the customer. It is more likely the result of a reduction in material to remain competitive. These stands do absolutely nothing to keep sound in. I realized I would have to design and build my own stand and make sure I designed the system so the sound couldn't escape.
If you are to succeed at keeping a reef tank healthy, you must stay motivated to do regular Maintenance, or you will fail. I was hoping that I could do a water change without getting water in your mouth, touching the water, finding a bucket, finding a siphon hose, worrying that something could overflow or leak. I also wanted to have clean spares for skimmer bodies and filters to make swap out replacement. And cleaning on your own time.
I was hoping to create a system that would be stable and handle a little stress if I wasn't an angel at maintenence. If your fish aren't eating or your corals are dying and it's a struggle to keep the tank from going under - Or even if you can keep your tank in pristine condition, but can't have a life too, then you've got a problem. I didn't want a burden like that.
There are plenty of species of hardy corals and fish that that provide all the beauty and color that I am looking for. There is a huge selection in this area, and with proper aquascaping and placement, can create a beautiful environment.
This way I get to have a life, go on vacation, without being hog tied to the tank or always nervous that everything is ok.