How to set up a coral tank

capman capman at
Sat Nov 4 00:00:37 EST 2000

>I would also suggest if you can get to a professionally run aquarium/zoo
>with marine tanks it would really be a good idea. Often times you can
>either get behind the scenes and talk to the experts and/or many will
>offer Workshops that will meet your needs. The reading is essential, but
>I think talking with and getting information from the experts will help
>you learn at least the basics quicker.

This is an excellent point, but you need to pick your public aquarium 
carefully.  You need to find a public aquarium that actually knows how to 
maintain REEF systems successfully, not just marine tanks, since traditional 
marine tanks for fish and the hardier invertebrates are not typically suitable 
for growing corals.  While some public aquaria have truly wonderful, healthy 
reef systems, there are others that either don't have reef systems (even 
though they have marine tanks) or that have reef systems that are quite 
unimpressive in terms of overall system health and growth and health of 
corals.  Though touring any aquarium is fun and informative, I'm not sure how 
useful touring a facility without healthy reef systems would be in terms of 
teaching you how to set up coral tanks.

In this regard, I want to put in a plug again for the folks maintaining reef 
systems in their basements as a hobby.  Though most of these folks are not 
scientists, many are incredibly dedicated to their reef systems, are very 
skilled in growing and propagating a wide diversity of corals, and have a 
great wealth of useful practical knowledge.  Many also read everything they 
can get their hands on regarding corals and reef tank husbandry issues, so 
some have a lot of self-taught technical knowledge as well. Some are 
maintaining as many gallons of coral tanks as some of the public aquaria, and 
many of these tanks are just about the finest, healthiest captive reefs you'll 
find anywhere.  So in addition to consulting the professional aquarists and 
scientists doing coral research, one of the most useful things you could do 
would be to hook yourself up with a local reef aquarium club if one exists in 
your area.  This would allow you to visit people's homes and see a wide 
variety of ways of setting up and maintaining captive reef systems (some good, 
some not so good).  I would think that if you joined an online group such as 
the ReefCentral Message board or any of the others mentioned in previous 
posts, you could post a message inquiring about local clubs and quickly find 
out if any are in your area.

Bill Capman

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