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Quote of the moment: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller


       Welcome To The Glass Reef


Aquariums have been a lifelong interest - I can still remember my first. It was just a mason jar which held a couple of tadpoles I had captured at a local farmer's irrigation pond. That was quite a few years ago, but I haven't lost a bit of the fascination I felt watching those "wanna be" frogs swimming around in that one quart glass.

Over the years the mason jar turned into a ten gallon aquarium. A little later it was a twenty, then a fifty gallon tank. I graduated from one aquarium to two - soon I had four. During those years it was only fresh water aquariums. I had heard from "the experts" that marine aquariums were just too hard for normal people to maintain. Then in the early 70s, while living in Europe, I happened to visit a store that specialized in saltwater aquariums. I remember that I couldn't believe my eyes! What an unbelievable world. The colors, the shapes, the life! There was a living tropical reef right behind that glass - I knew that I had to try my hand at this!

The years following that visit saw the demise of my fresh water hobby and the flowering of my interest in marine aquariums. I started slowly, reading every bit of literature I could find on the subject. My first couple of attempts were not exactly total successes. After a while though, I had gathered sufficient knowledge and experience to allow me to overcome most of the pitfalls that can (and will) plague the beginning marine aquarist. In the interim, I've had a number of marine aquariums.

The experience and knowledge gained through the years finally led me to attempt the crowning jewel of the saltwater aquarium hobby - the reef tank. The maintenance of stony corals (SPS) over a period of many months and, indeed, years is the dream of many a beginning hobbyist. Now, in recent years, technological advances, such as high efficiency protein skimmers, stream pumps that provide the necessary, in tank, flow, and appropriate light sources, combined with new knowledge about exactly what is required to nurture the corals we want to keep have made the dream into more than a possibility. It has become a reality.

My wife and I recently had a house built - the perfect opportunity to integrate a fish room and large "in the wall" reef tank. I did most of the work on the installation myself. I thought it would be a lot of fun to keep a journal of the process of creating the new system - and what better way to do that than this website.

So, what will you find here?

My website contains pages describing my 375 gallon glass reef, it's components, and many of the projects I've worked on during it's completion. I have tried to present the projects that tend to lend themselves to a DIY effort in a way that might provide a "nudge" to the reader in the direction of trying such projects for themselves.  In addition I've added any information I thought might help to complete the  picture of reef keeping, as it exists, today.  I hope my efforts can be of some help to other hobbyists striving for success in this wonderful hobby.

I've tried to set up the site's menus in a logical way:

An Overview - concentrates on system design, procedures, methods, and maintenance

Projects - articles describing the why and how of the many DIY projects that required completion

Equipment - short descriptions - and some reviews - of the equipment used in the glass reef

Livestock - some information about the creatures living in the glass reef and their needs

Photo Gallery - an exhibition of of some great, reef related, images from various talented hobbyists

Reef Stuff - a collection of tips, tricks, my thoughts on particular subjects and general reef related news

So - all in all - it's been quite an experience building my glass reef, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the knowledgeable participants of Reef Central (where I started a build thread about the glass reef), and all the great folks at the Tampa Bay Reef Club (where I am fortunate enough to be a member). Without their considerable help, I never would have been able to get this sizable project off the ground. 


Tom White - January 2009


1 2 3 > [last]
Matt says...
Hi Tom,

Love what you did here and using some of your ideas fore sure....

Hope all is well. Thanks for your contribution to this great hobby.....


9th June 2015 8:45pm
Van says...
Your site is a wealth of information - many thanks!
I made a 7' glass tank with an external overflow. Did you use a black acrylic sheet for the background? Is it siliconed to the inside of the rear glass panel? Thickness of acrylic?
Thanks for your response!
GlassReef: Yes, the background is 1/8" black acrylic sheet which has been siliconed to the inside of the back pane.
24th November 2013 5:23pm
David Henley says...
How are things? havent seen you here or on any boards lately.... last we talked you were having a few health issues. How are those going?

Lastly (and the aquarium question)
Did you ever hook up your Ozone? and does that model have a built in air pump? some say yes and some say no. i was just curious. (also are you running it through your skimmers or using a reactor.)

Good luck and hope all is well

28th May 2013 6:41pm
dave lemke says...
just dpent the last 2 days reading you posts and 65 pages worth of information, thats a dream setup. hows the tank today, any updates. i have been in the hobby since 1997 and have seen some tanks but nothing as clean and setup like you have. congrats on a job well thought out and done.
7th March 2013 1:08pm
Dan says...

Great site and I've spent about 2 hours reading over all the great information you have here. I am considering using the same setup for continuous water changes with the Spectrapure Litermeter 3 on my 210 gallon tank.

Thanks for your time and effort.

How's your tank nowadays? Hope you are doing well.

GlassReef: Hey Dan, Glad you enjoyed the site. You'll love the auto-water-change setup! Have fun...
22nd March 2012 9:58pm

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