You've reached my (Jay Torborg's) Reef Tank pages. If you're interested in visiting my pages on photography, scuba diving, and audio/home theater, click on the links at the left.
After 25 years of operating fresh water aquariums, I decided to try a salt water reef tank. I had seen them for years in fish stores and was always mesmerized by them, but assumed that they'd be too much work. I was surprised to find that maintaining a reef tank is no harder (maybe even easier) than a fresh water tank. The initial setup is a little more complicated and time consuming, but once the tank is operational, it has been relatively easy to keep it healthy and looking great.
To be clear, a reef tank is not the same as a fish only marine tank. Reef tanks consist mainly of live corals, live rock, clams, shrimp, etc. and actually very few fish. My 100 gallon tank has less than a half dozen fish, and all these are relatively small. A fish only tank is much harder to maintain (in my opinion), because it does not attempt to replicate a natural system. Constant water changes are required to remove the waste products from the water. And there is little natural buffering to deal with chemical imbalances, so it's relatively easy for the whole system to get out of control.
Standard weekly maintenance of my reef tank takes 20-30 minutes. About once a month or so, I need to invest an hour or two. Plan on 4 to 8 hours or more for the initial tank setup.
I've now set up three separate reef tanks. With each reef tank setup, I've done some things differently based on my experience with the previous tank(s). I left the first tank when we sold our house - the new owners decided they wanted to keep it. The second tank was dismantled after almost two years when we did some remodeling on our home.
If you're not experienced with reef tanks and are interested in starting one, I strongly recommend you read "The Reef Aquarium" by J. Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung before you get started. There are now two volumes. Also, pick up the three volumes of "Reef Notes" by Julian Sprung.
This site has specific pages describing my new aquarium setup, lessons learned from previous tanks, aquarium maintenance, and links to other aquarium related web sites.
Contact me at jay (at) velotech.com