By Blane Perun
Rate: (24 Ratings)
After the aquarium system had been running with saltwater for 4 weeks, I decided to begin stocking with various live coral and fish.
Keep in mind, I was able to transport live rock and live sand from an established 40 gallon reef system, and the new live rock I was adding was fully cured. Otherwise I wouldhave waited about 120 days prior to adding any reef inhabitants to the coral reef aquarium.
For my first step I added aragonite sand, about 4 inches in each tank. Prior to adding the sand I painstakingly removed most of the aquarium water to large garbage cans so that I could add my existing sand to the top layer of the new sand bed. For the aquarium sump I decided to go with 10 inches of substrate, I had much more room and wanted to take advantage of the ability to build a large bed of nitrifying bacteria.
All in all there were over 2000 pounds of live rock in the reef aquarium. Even though I added the water slowly back to the system, I still ended up with a some white slurry from the new sand being hammered by some of the aquarium pumps. It took about another two weeks for the salt water to become crystal clear.
In addition to the local fish store haunts, I was able to get a good variety of live aquarium rock from some pretty exotic locations, including Brazil, Haiti, Tonga, Indo (Bali and Jakarta) Samoa, Gulf, Solomon, Hawaii, Australia and the Atlantic. I was not exactly sure how it got to the states, however, I had no complaints.
After 6 more weeks, I began populating the aquarium a bit heavier with fish and coral. The process was a joy and lasted about 14 months. Aside from the local aquarium stores and private coral farmers, I had made a few road trips for some really unique live coral specimens. My collection ranged from the commonly accessible, to the rare and more exotic species. With biodiversity in mind, most everything came together. From the front of my reef aquarium, you could often find such contrast as a common yellow Gorgonian, along side of a baby blue polyp on light blue Acropora Abrolhosensis. Down the upper reef slope you could find a brilliant red and teal green centered Blastomussa Wellsi in proximity of a common green Galaxea Fascicularis.