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My Garden of Eden

The aquarium portrait by Pawel Szember - They say in this hobby that you want to have a bigger and bigger tank as time goes by! It was actually like that for me at the beginning, but in the end it looked completely different.

Exactly 8 years ago I started my first 800 litre reef aquarium. After a very successful 3.5 years, the tank was already too overgrown and I wanted more space for my corals. So one day I moved everything to a larger 1400 litre tank.

Unfortunately, the larger tank proved to be no better for my personal situation - measured in terms of maintenance, power consumption and heat development, with the responsibilities of work and family. So the motto the bigger the better proved to be wrong for me and ultimately ended after 1.5 years with my third and hopefully last reef tank of 660 litres measuring 160 x 75 x 55 cm.



Unlike most reef aquarists, who often start with a few soft corals, perhaps switching to LPS and sometimes to SPS, I mainly wanted one type of stony coral from the start, namely Acropora in various colours and shapes.


In all my reef tanks I always had a few exceptions such as Catalaphyllia jardinei or Pocillopora elegans - and this was purely for sentimental reasons. I had kept these corals since my first tank and they had survived all the moves and problems I had experienced over the years.

To come back to my current tank: it was restarted in 2018, the tank was completely remodelled, using rock from my previous tanks and Corallenzucht Aragonite substrate. It was run in in 14 days according to the instructions from Korallenzucht. The existing technology such as pumps, skimmer, cooler etc. was in good condition and could largely be reused for the new project.

Technical details:
I use a combination of T5 10 x 80W as the light source:
6 x Korallenzucht New Generation
2 x Korallenzucht Fiji Purple
2 x Ati Blue Plus

The tubes are switched on from 10 am to 10 pm, full illumination of all 10 tubes from 12 pm to 8 pm.
Flow: 12m3 from the return pump from the technical tank and approx. 60m3/h with 4 flow pumps for pure circulation in the tank.

Filters and additives:

The tank has been running with the ZEOvit system from Korallenzucht and Korallenzucht products right from the start: Zeovit, Zeobak, Zeostart, Zeofood Plus and activated carbon ensure good water quality in continuous use and maintain the necessary biological performance. I also occasionally use Biomate to reduce mulm.

I add Sponge Power, Xtra Special, B-Balance, A-Balance and Coral Booster to ensure the bright colours of the SPS corals. In my opinion, these products release the minerals required by the corals into the water in the optimum form.

My corals also react incredibly strongly to the Coral Vitaliser and Amino Acid Concentrate food, which I add alternately. They contain amino acids and other important nutrients in liquid and solid form. The reaction follows immediately after dosing: all the corals react with a beautiful polyp pattern!

I add K-Balance and Zeozym regularly and as required to replenish the potassium that has been used up and to boost the metabolism in the tank.

The dosage is based on the "less is more" principle as recommended by Korallenzucht, I always adjust it according to the development, health and observation of the tank inhabitants!
Water change: 100 litres every 2 weeks

Tank inhabitants:

Fish: Acanthurus leucosternon, Zebrasoma flavescens, Zebrasoma xanthurum, Chelmon rostratus, Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, Pseudanthias squamipinnis, Pseudanthias evansi, Nemateleotris decora, Pseudochromis elongatus, Halichoeres rubricephalus, Synchiropus splendidus, Halichoeres iridis, Forcipiger flavissimus

Corals: approx. 100 different SPS, mainly Acropora species + a few LPS + 1 Tridacna
Invertebrates: 4 Lysmata amboinensis, snails etc.

What I find very difficult is deciding on new arrangements in the tank every few weeks, as my corals grow quite quickly. Should I just cut a coral and get new offshoots or should I remove a coral completely to make room for other corals?
It is not easy work for me to reduce the number of corals. But over the years I have learnt to accept that apart from the ocean itself, there is no aquarium in the world big enough to hold all the corals you want.
There are two beautiful types of reef tanks - wild nature and garden type. In the end, I decided in favour of the garden type. With this approach, my job is like that of a gardener - I have to keep my tank running smoothly and cleanly and make clear decisions to maintain the vision of my dream tank.

Pawel Szember




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