Saltwater Aquarium

Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I've been talking for years now about getting a saltwater aquarium. Chloe and Oliver both have freshwater fish and since we've been married Matt and I have usually had a freshwater fish tank.

So for my birthday, Matt surprised me with a trip to a saltwater aquarium store to meet with the owner and discuss what is involved in keeping a saltwater aquarium and our options on sizes and tank shapes.

Our original thought/plan was to get a small tank (around 50-60 gallons). True to form, we left the aquarium store with an order for a special made cabinet and aquarium system for  120 gallon saltwater reef tank.

So, it was happy birthday, happy mother's day, happy anniversary and any other gift-giving holidays to follow.

The cabinet was specially made to our height and stain specifications and took six weeks to be made and shipped.

The tank was brought to our house and installed on June 20 (our 16th anniversary). The guys set up the cabinet, filtration system underneath, base rock and live rock which will act as the anchor for the corals and polyps we get for our tank and serve as hiding spot for the fish and other creatures. They then filled it with saltwater and began the cycling of the tank (which takes 4-6 weeks).
The Before: The space in the living room for the tank.

The lower cabinet, which houses all the filtration and heating, and the tank brought in.

The sand, base rock and live rock installed inside the tank.
A look at the install.

After the saltwater was added. Super-cloudy.

The next morning after the set-up. The water was still a little bit hazy but it all cleared up by mid-afternoon.

In total, it will take about 6-12 months before we have a fully functional reef aquarium. Right now, it's rock and little else. The weekend following the install, we had several people over at different times and all of them would walk in the door, see the tank look at it and say, "Hey, do you know you have no fish in the tank?"


But, now that the cycle is under way, we have three different types of damsel fish in the tank. In about another month we can add some soft corals and start stocking the tank. Its been a learning process for me and Chloe has been a big help. She feeds the fish each day and helps do water tests weekly. Hopefully the novelty won't wear off because I feel a great amount of pressure to get this right so we will have a beautiful tank and not a big waste of money.

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