My Coral Reef Tank

In October 1999, I started a 20 gallon Berlin system tank with 30 pounds of Philippine live rock at work. In addition to being conveniently located, the reef tank was also a relaxing alternative to the cichlid tank. After acquiring some zooanthids, mushrooms and star polyps, I was hooked. In December 1999, I bought a 40 gallon breeder tank and 50 pounds of live rock. Soon I had an arrow crab, some peppermint shrimp, a Tonga yellow leather and an anchor coral.

Unfortunately, MIT decided to move us to another building in July, so I set up the 65 gallon tank in my new apartment's kitchen. I moved the tank in two stages, separated by 3 weeks to let the tank cycle before adding the corals. When I first set the tank up, I added two inches of crushed aragonite and an inch of GARF Grunge live sand activator. On top of this I added 30 pounds of my live rock, emptying the 20 gallon tank. After three weeks I moved the remaining 50 pounds of live rock and invertebrates. If you have a month to move your tank, this method works extremely well.

Here is the tank shortly after I moved it in July:

Coral reef tank after initial setup

Below is the same tank in January 2000. As you've probably guessed, I've added a bunch of corals and a tree sponge. In addition, the coraline algae and other macro algaes have really taken off. The snails and hermit crabs are all GARF Reef Janitors. Like GARF Grunge, these guys are excellent. Many of the smaller corals in my tank are captive raised corals from either GARF or my local fish store.

Coral reef tank after 6 months

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All pages copyright ©2000-2015 Alexandra Ellwood.
Last modified at Sunday, April 19, 2015