During the last sixty days I have been setting up a 125-gallon reef aquarium at Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation's new photography laboratory. The directors of GARF decided that it was important to build a separate laboratory in another part of Boise, Idaho so we will be able to separate specimens of each of our ornamental corals. This will be one more step that we are taking to safeguard the hundreds of types of ornamental corals GARF has collected.
Each of the new reefs will set up using Aragocrete SculpturesTM and Dale Bargers Aquaculture Rock. The base of these will consist of several inches of CaribSea Aragonite Gravel and it will be seeded with GARF GrungeTM. The first two pictures show how we use the Aragocrete to reefscape our systems.
It is important that we provide an open structure for a reef base so we can glue the brood stock corals in different locations. We used Eddie's AragocreteĆ arches and caves for the main structure. I placed three arches on the left end of the tank and I used four Cave Tables on the right side.
Sally Jo and I have a built-in greenhouse in Boise. This greenhouse will eventually contain six 125-gallon reef aquariums and six - four tank coral farming units. The first 125-gallon reef tank that we're setting up is in our living room, and it is the first tank that I have had in my home in several years. Sally Jo and I care for dozens of reef aquariums everyday at work. It has been very interesting and enjoyable to set up a home aquarium again. This aquarium is sitting on a beautiful birch cabinet with a furniture quality aquarium hood.
This 125 gal. aquarium has been set up approximately eight weeks now and it contains a collection of pet Fish. Many of our aquariums at the laboratory contain Tangs, and Copper Band butterflies. Several different people care for these aquariums and it is easy to forget how each fish can have its own personality. The fish in Sally Jo's new aquarium all rushed to the end of the tank when I open the front door, and they all know when I'm opening the drawer with the fish food in it. The Clown fish have adopted soft corals for their new homes and they are featured in GARF's first video.
This aquarium has been fun because I am able to utilize all the resources at the Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation to make these tanks as stable and trouble free as possible. During the last five years I have assisted people from around the world who are setting up brood stock tanks for coral farms. I will explain the equipment and process I used to get this aquarium operating.
One of the most important considerations when you're setting up professional brood stock tanks is that these tanks are ready to hold corals in a very short time. The second important consideration is that these tanks be as easy to take care of as possible. It is vitally important that these aquariums also be extremely stable and trouble-free. Many of the 125-gallon brood stock aquariums contain tens of thousands of dollars worth of ornamental corals.
THE TROUBLE-FREE BULLETPROOF REEF
When I decided to set these aquariums up I thought of all of the equipment that could be used to maintain a reef aquarium, and I immediately remembered all of the types of problems that these pieces of equipment can cause. The first aquarium that we are setting up has a factory made sump. Sumps are great places to hide your heaters and other equipment, but sumps also have a tendency to overflow. I have decided not to utilize the sump in this aquarium system. During the last several years I have been experimenting with setting up a large aquariums that contain a Plenum and Aragonite gravel.
One of the most important considerations when setting up brood stock aquarium is that these aquariums must operate for long periods. We often plan to operate a brood stock aquarium for up to ten years.
For several years we have been experimenting with mud filtration, deep gravel beds, and deep sand beds. We have found both the mud filtration and deep sand beds make very interesting sumps and outside filters. It is always interesting to read about new ways to maintain reef aquariums systems and we always say that there are one thousand ways to do it exactly right. At GARF we have been maintaining saltwater reefs professionally for several decades and the reefs that have had the longest life and the best production contain Aragonite Gravel such as CaribSea Seaflor special grade.
We use an Eco-Sand Plenum that has a black nylon geo-fabric 1 in. thick. The plenums are made from fluorescent light grid that is supported by 1 in. PVC pipe. There is a three quarter inch uplift tube built into each back corner of the Plenum. The black nylon geo-fabric allows the gravel to fall between the threads so it can not pack down, and the gravel in this layer is not disturbed.
One of the most controversial things we do when we are starting a brood stock aquarium is that we utilize the Plenum as an under gravel filter for the first few months by placing a Maxi-Jet 1200 power head in each of the uplift tubes. Using the Plenum as an under gravel filter allows us to safely introduce a large amount of brood stock after one week. In this 125 gal. brood stock tank the Plenum is designed in two pieces, and each section has its own uplift tube. The pictures in this article were taken when this tank was eight weeks old, and you can see that the corals and fish are thriving.
Sally Jo and I will be reporting on the production and progress of all of the tanks at the new photography lab. Next week I will explain the equipment we used to set up this simple Bullet Proof 125 gallon reef. One of my favorite new toys is the Power Strip Wave Maker that is made by Aquarium Systems.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.
The GARF staff knows that each aquarium is different and they will ask about the size, lighting, and age of your reef. Summer is the most important time to add extra janitorstm because there is more light and the reef will be a bit warmer. When you order any Reef Janitor pactm you can pick a free coral or two pounds of GARF's FAMOUS GRUNGE LIVE SAND ACTIVATOR Reef Janitors tm or call toll free 800-600-6163.