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180 Gallon In-Wall Gallery

January 2008 - Overview Pictures
January 2008 - Overview Pictures
December 2006 - Overview Pictures

150 Pounds of Live Rock still in boxes, April 8th, 2005

Aquascaping in the reef aquarium is primarily the design of the live rock formations the hobbyist creates. The goal is to create something natural looking in the limited space of the aquarium. It is a trade off of having the proper amount of live rock, proper water flow and spacing between the rocks and trying to avoid a brick wall look or a grocery store shelf look of neatly stacked and racked corals. The goal is to create caves, perches, crests, open sandy areas, etc. while not having rocks "look" out of place. If you look at a stack of rocks and wonder how could such a formation happen in nature then you likely did not do a good job of aquascaping.

I picked up 150 pounds of live rock from Reef & Fin in Stamford, CT. The rock is excellent, very light and porous. This volume of rock would easily be close to 250 pounds of Fiji rock.

I was lucky to be able to hand pick every rock from the vats, packed and transported myself.

The rocks are not loaded with critters which is perfect for myself as I like empty rocks that I can populate. It would be nicer if they had more coralline coverage but that will come in time.

Live Rock Placed in tank for curing, April 8th, 2005

This shows the live rock added to the display tank. The rocks are not aquascaped they are simply placed to maximize flow between rocks to aid in the curing process.

As you can see most of the rocks are pretty big. I'd guess the average size rock is about 12 inches across with a few smaller rocks here and there.

Live Rock images taken from above, April 8th, 2005

Here is the live rock laid out in the display tank as viewed from above. You can see the spacing between rocks to help maximize flow between rocks to aid in the curing process.

(The line across the image is the glass edge of the center brace support.)

Sand bed added, April 23rd, 2005

Eighty pounds of Caribsea Aragonite Special Grade Reef Sand has been added.

Adding the sand created a massive dust storm in the tank tuning it a milky white. The water column still has fine particles suspended and the rocks have a coating of fine sand as well.

Each time the tank clears up I push the sand around a bit trying to level it off and get enough sand towards the back in caves.

First time three HQI 250w halides light up the tank, April 28th, 2005

After several attempts to get the metal halide lighting working this picture shows the first time the bulbs were fired up.

The tank in this image was lit by three 250w double-ended XM 20,000K bulbs. At this stage of setup the bulbs are pretty high up, just under 12 inches from the water surface.

The lights bring out the aquascaping nicely.