and Plumbing
Water treatment
Viewing Room


The tank was installed in 1995 by Reef Systems as the house was being built. It sits on a cast iron and plywood frame which, in turn, rests on a cement slab floor behind the Viewing Room wall. My guess is that the complete set-upwith live rock weighs over 2 tons. By the way, raising the tank to eye level puts the top of it at a little over 6', not counting the hood. In order to reach, let alone maneuver up there (I'm 5-9…maybe), I was provided with a sturdy aluminum 'catwalk' which runs the entire length of the tank. I access this catwalk via stepstool. And although it is configured so it can be folded away when not in use, I never have. It actually makes a good clothesline from which to soak and hang the micron socks.

The tank was first 'fired up' in 1996. It was originally designed as an 'LPS/Softie' tank and as such, started with only 175W halides and much less turnover. The cured live rock (I can't recall the amount) was secured and shipped by Reef Systems and was placed in the tank over a period of two tortuous weeks (also another LR order had to be placed). Then finally it was finished. But before it could finish cycling, I heard the first dreaded 'click' of a mantis shrimp. Then another. This led to a complete tear down of the rockwork as it was sorted into several

containers in hopes of finding the pests. I found three. Then, the reef structure was rebuilt, recycled, and populated with the first few corals sent from CA.

It was 1997 and I was going back and forth to Los Angeles with great regularity so things with the tank were going much more slowly than I had hoped. It was also before one of these trips that I noticed the first few cysts of Valonia (Bubble Algae) on a few of the rocks but there were so few, I didn't take it seriously.

When I got back, a couple MONTHS later however, the reef looked like a Valonia wholesalers tank after a new shipment had come in. I really wish I had a shot of this to show you as it was truly an amazing sight. Of course, I was far too discouraged for that and as there was no way of controlling this stuff now, I sold off the few corals that I had and againstripped out all the rockwork. What followed was a painstaking process of scrubbing each affected rock individually until it was clear of Valonia which my wife and I did over a period of an entire week. At this point, I was giving serious thought to just making this a 500 gallon terrarium and tossing in a Boa Constrictor or something. But cooler (wiser? dumber?) heads prevailed and

Smart jump back 1
©2006 Michael G. Moye