The Saga of Matt's 2005 Saltwater Reef Aquarium

  • Updated: April 13, 2006
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

Back in 2005 when I had a little more of a home based existance I set up the salt water tank I'd wanted ever since I was a kid.

Tank Progression

September 2nd, 2005
September 21st, 2005
September 26th, 2005
October 6th, 2005
October 21st, 2005
November 6th, 2005
April 13th, 2006
This is the last sequential picture I have before the disaster.

One day in 2006 I left for work and everything was fine.  When I got home 10 hours later I could tell right off something was amiss.  The tank was right across from the front door and instead of the explosion of color the tank had been that morning it looked like everything was missing and there was a strong smell in the apartment.

Down in the sump I had a heater running.  I'd just bought whatever the aquarium store had and that ended up being a glass rod heater.  It had cracked electrocuting the tank and killing everything except for the hermit crabs

All the coral was dead, all the fish were dead.  Most of the remains had actually dissolved already.

I tried to start it up again but only half heartedly.  I put in a metal heater, cycled it for a while, and tried reintroducing a few things but they failed.  Eventually I drained it and sold it several years later.

2011 when I sold the remains
I loved having the tank.  It was a dream come true setting it up and despite all the work it brought me a lot of joy.  Sadly my life circumstances have changed to where doing another isn't really an option but maybe some day.

Tank Inhabitants

Bubble Coral early on
Bubble Coral later

Pulsing Xenia when added
You can see how much the Xenia had expanded

Brain Coral

I always loved clown fish and really wanted to keep some.  However 2 mated pairs both failed quickly.  Best guess (other than maybe they'd been moved too quickly once arriving at the store) was the water flow in the tank was too strong.

Yellow Tang

I also had a few invasions

These things showed up when I dropped the rocks in and reached epidemic levels at times.

Tank Setup

After talking with the aquarium store I tried to make the sump myself.

Sump Mark I

Sump Mark I Installed

I honestly don't remember what exactly didn't work well.  I believe it had to due with the baffles coming unstuck.  Not long after I ended up getting a storebought one I liked a lot better,

Sump Mark II Installed

Taking the rocks home from the store

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