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Quote of the moment: Habits are safer than rules; you don't have to watch them. And you don't have to keep them either. They keep you. - Frank Crane, Essays

 


       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



Comments

Jeremy Martin says...
I am getting ready to do a few DIYS and am looking for sheet acrylic and saw you have used freckleface. Which sheet would you use the poly or the acrylic. Thanks for your time.
GlassReef: Go with the acrylic, Jeremy. They have a great assortment and I've only had good experience with them. Have fun with your projects.
7th February 2012 10:13pm
gwenda says...
Hello, I wanted a glass tank with your exact set up, toothless slot, bean animal external overflow. I showed pics of your tank to LPS and was told Miracles in Canada built the tank, however Miracles stated they could not do a slot. Please send email who built your tank, is is glass or acrylic. Thank you
GlassReef: The tank is 3/4" glass and was built by ConceptAquarium.com in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). The owners have since retired.
20th January 2012 11:15pm
Les says...
Love the site, thanks for helping so many of us with our own tanks. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the reeflo orca 111. I am looking for a new skimmer. Didn't know if you could comment on them.
Thanks Les
GlassReef: I'm sorry Les, I don't have any direct experience with that model. I will say that the manufacturer is great, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of their products based on quality.
24th December 2011 1:19pm
KWASI KUSI says...
Let me tell you that you have one of the best(if not the best) website on the subject of reef fish keeping. You have been very instrumental in giving me the courage to finally actualize my dreams of a 120g aquarium. Although mine is fresh water ...virtually all the diy projects and info on your site have come in handy in the planning phase...Keep it up..and keep updating us!
GlassReef: Thanks you very much for the kind words. It's always nice to learn that the site has helped a fellow aquarist!
23rd November 2011 10:20am
Juan Siekavizza says...
Tom,
Any updates? How's the tank doing? Smile
GlassReef: Sorry for the late reply Juan. I haven't been working on the site (or the tank) for a while. I had some medical problems, but they are just about straightened out, now. Smile
18th August 2011 10:32am

Add Comment

11.03.2010

 UV In The Reef Aquarium



Whether or not ultraviolet light, in the form of so called sterilizer units, are advantageous or detrimental to reef aquariums has always been a point of contention. Some aquarists maintain an opinion that UV sterilizers are....

More

10.30.2010

 Metal Halide Lighting



The advent of metal halide lighting used within the reefing community, during the eighties, played a large part in making successful reef aquariums possible. Until then, it just wasn't possible to deliver light with the intensity and spectrum required to maintain SPS and LPS corals...

More

10.16.2010

 Reef Aquarium Lighting

Light Rack

Just posted a new article on the role of lighting in the reef aquarium. From light intensity and photoperiod through color spectrum and aesthetics, its all covered.

Most of us learned in school that all  life relies on the existence of sunlight. Although it's true that... 

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10.06.2010

 Hanna Alkalinity Checker

Hanna Alkalinity Checker

Hanna Instruments has announced that the newest addition to it's  line of compact colorimeters will be shipping...

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10.03.2010

 Comment function added!

For the last couple of days I've been working feverishly installing a visitor comment system. I'm glad to say, the installation's  completed and already fully functional on a number of pages. I hope you will take the time to comment on some of the things you like (or not) about the site. I'm constantly trying to make the site better.

Please also take the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. I'm always glad to go into more detail about anything related to my favorite subject.

Here's a link to a page that has had the comment system installed. Go to the bottom of the page - that's where you'll always find the comment section. And please, give it a try:

Link

09.12.2010

 New Tank Status Page



I have configured a new Tank Status Page. It displays information about the current state of the Glass Reef. The tank's parameters - temperature, pH, ORP, etc. - are shown in graphical form. The OFF/ON state of most electrical devices are also displayed. The page can be accessed from the main menu under "Tank Status".

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09.11.2010

 D-D Refractometer Review



While browsing the D-D/Deltec booth, last weekend at MACNA, I noticed a refractometer that looked to be a little out of the ordinary. Most of us are aware that...

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09.06.2010

  News from MACNA 2010!

This year's MACNA was held at the Marriott Orlando World Center, in Florida - by far, the largest hotel complex I've ever experienced. Very nice, very comfortable, and MACNA was very well organized.

EcoBak Pellets

There were over 100 vendor exhibits...

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08.30.2010

 DIY - An RO/DI install

One of the most basic problems that arise in our hobby is the difficulty in assuring a source of pure fresh water. We need fresh water for...

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08.27.2010

 DIY - Keyhole flanges



If you have ever wanted to make a perfect reactor or skimmer, you know that a keyhole flange is...

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08.21.2010

 Cleaning filter socks

I've noticed that there are a lot of hobbyists that have questions about the proper procedure to follow when cleaning their filter socks...

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07.07.2010

  About bio-pellets

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the "solid vodka" products emerging...

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07.01.2010

  Tropic Marin Pro problems

I've been using Tropic Marin Pro salt for quite a while. I originally used it when I lived in Germany and always found it to be an excellent product. However, since...

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06.23.2010

 Review - Skimmer cleaner

Skimmer neck cleaner

I recently ordered a new piece of equipment - an automatic skimmer neck cleaner from Avast Marine Works. We all know how much grunge collects...

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