As part of my job interview when applying at Apogee, I mentioned I knew about their PAR meters from my experience running saltwater tanks on my own. After landing the job, imagine my excitement when I learned they had been thinking of starting a tank for some time to gain experience and do research on reef-keeping, and my experience running a tank had helped me get the job. Apogee has been a respected expert in precision agricultural and renewable energy for years, but has recently taken real notice of the coral aquarium industry, as more and more customers discover the value of measuring PAR in their tanks. They asked if I could start a tank at our headquarters where we could research different lighting, refine our best practices, and simply add something cool to look at. I jumped at the chance, and I started this blog to document the process. I am, by no means, an expert in coral aquariums, but I do have a solid basic knowledge. And since I have been running the tank at Apogee for the last couple months, I have already learned a lot more. If you are following my blog and have suggestions or can offer any tips, I would love it. My goal in running the aquarium at Apogee is to help us as a company give even better support of our incredible customers in the hobby.
|Our sea anemone growing up|
First of all, I'd like to share a little background on what attracted me to reefkeeping. As I take a look at my desk at Apogee, I have a wood carving of a Great White Shark, and in its jaws are a line that bait used to be on till a real Great White bit the line. My picture frame shows pictures of me diving with Manta Rays. I've always been interested in the ocean. Listening to tales of my mom as a child about Jacques Cousteau. It opened up endless possibilities of what you could do.
|Clown fish couldn't decide over the hammer coral or the anemone|
I wanted to learn everything about the ocean. One of my favorite movies was Jaws. I even rooted for Bruce. Living in Utah, there wasn't a coast for 12 hours. Finally saw the Oregon Coast, and the ocean was everything that I dreamed of. I was hooked from then on.
|When the 55-gallon tank was starting up|
I first decided to bring the ocean to Utah. I tried freshwater tanks till I learned the basics of aquariums. I had gotten a freshwater eel, that could also go into saltwater. I found out it was better to try saltwater for him. I tried my first fish only saltwater aquarium. Started with the basics of clown fish, and damsels. Then I had to put more fish in.
|The nano tank that started it all|
I went so long, and had to try my first predator tank with trigger fish, and a lion fish. They did not disappoint. Eventually, I had to take the tank down cause one of my kids kept trying to climb in the tank. I went four years without a saltwater aquarium. It was a long, saltless four years.
|Our firefish swimming by|
Apogee is the perfect fit for me. I found out about their quantum sensors that tell you if your plants, corals, and sea anemones are getting enough PAR. When I tried corals for the first time, I used a sea anemone. Where it would go told me the light, and current was good enough. I would then put my soft corals there. It was met with mixed success. PAR sensor was a much better way.
|That tang would eventually eat the caulerpa, good thing we grow it in the other tank|
Apogee decided that we are going to start up our own saltwater aquarium. To say I was excited, would be a major understatement. It's like saying the Patriots aren't the best team in the NFL. I was new to trying out corals. We did a 28-gallon nano tank. We put in some chromis, sea anemone, and zoanthids. The sea anemone grew like a weed, and needed a new tank. I just so happened to have a 55-gallon tank sitting at home.
|We were over excited about our new Bluetooth quantum sensor|
After four long years, the 55-gallon tank would be used again. We added the live sand, and live rock. We got clown fish, banggai cardinals, tang, and a lawn mower blenny as fish. We still have our big bubble tip sea anemone. Corals we now have the original zoanthids, candy cane coral(doesn't taste how it sounds), brain corals(named one Pinky), hammer coral, and a birds nest. They have been a lot of fun.
|Picture above I had hair, no longer the case. After 4 months' time the guy above caused me to lose all the hair.|
Knowing where to put the corals has been my biggest challenge. Some need low light, and some need tons of light. I use a MQ-510. I know where my corals need to be placed for light. They are now growing. Some are popping out new heads. My sea anemone can retire, and stay in its correct spot off the go. Some corals I relocate them to where there is less light. I can't tell very well with my eyes where the best light is. PAR meter let me know where to put them.
|Hammer coral, montiporas, brain, and other corals. They grow up so fast.|
|Diving between two continents. I have to have some scuba photos in a blog.|
If you are curious, we use Kessil A360W-E Tuna Blue LED aquarium lights, Reef Octopus Classic 1000 Hang-on-Back Protein Skimmer, Koralia powerheads, and Aqueon hang on the back filters. We also use about 60 pounds of live rock and caulerpa to help filter the water. We are also thinking of using red mangrove trees. In the future, we will add our sensors throughout the aquarium.
|Me placing the corals in the right place with a MQ-510|
We are not coral or fish experts, but we love the learning process. I also wanted to say we are the light experts. When it comes to taking care of fish or corals, it's best to talk to a local pet store, online forums, or going to sites like http://animal-world.com/Aquarium-Coral-Reefs/Open-Brain-Coral .Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated. Also, what corals and fish are your favorites?
|Coraline algae is trying to take over|
|Diving a geothermal chimney where they say life originated in Iceland|