March '01 - Reggie Clark's 680 L Saltwater Fish Tank.
The Marine Aquarium Hobby has certainly made an incredible swing in the past decade or so, after people started learning the necessary requirements (water parameters, filtration, lighting, etc) to successfully keep live rock and live corals in home aquariums. We are now definitely in the "Reef Era", but there are still many "Old Style" Fish-Only Saltwater tanks out there, and it´s about time I showed an example here in this section. The beautiful tank shown belongs to American hobbyist Reggie Clark, who submitted it to me back in July´00. Unfortunately, after that, I´ve made several attempts to contact him and get further info on the tank, but we seem to have lost contact. So we´ll have to do with what can be seen in the photos.
As with most setups of this kind, the tank uses crushed shells for gravel and bleached corals for decoration, which has always been a rather controversial issue since abusive commercialization of this kind of decoration could harm our precious natural resources. Industrialized immitations can be found in the market but, just as with plastic plants, they never really look as good as real ones and don´t contribute to the water quality (dead corals and shells have the important role of maintaining pH and KH optimal). In a tank like this, the decoration tends to become greenish with time, as green algae starts appearing with the accumulation of nitrates and phosphates in the water. This is OK as long as algae doesn´t take over the whole tank, so these compounds should be checked regularly and kept at low levels with water changes. The tank also needs excellent filtration of all three kinds (biological, mechanical, chemical) to guarantee a good enough environment for the fish, otherwise they become highly prone to disease. Quarantining is a must before the addition of any fish in such a tank.
As with any community aquarium, compatibility is a serious issue in a Saltwater Fish Tank, and Reggie´s selection of fish seems to stick to some "classic" options that have always worked well: clearly visible in the tank are a few Heniochus acuminatus, Paracanthurus hepatus, Acanthurus leucosternon, Holacanthus ciliaris, plus a few Damsels, Chromis and Clowns. The tank also has more than enough room for the fish to swim happily about and not be stressed by confinement. It is a pity that very few saltwater fish are successfully bred in captivity even today, which is another reason for controversy among the environmentally concerned. I myself quit keeping saltwater tanks more than 10 years ago, mainly because of these coral/fish exploitation issues, but the understanding of the marine environment has been improving immensely in the past few years and maybe someday in the near future we will see commercial saltwater fisheries in the same way as our present freshwater hobby.
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
How about one of these in your living room?
Photos taken by Reggie Clark, and displayed here with his permission.