The Reef

I’ve been a fish freak since the early 90’s.  Every time I say enough is enough and get out of the hobby I find myself wanting another.  There’s something about it — probably the challenge — that I just can’t pull away from.  There’s a real sense of satisfaction gained from establishing and maintaining such a delicate biological time bomb.  The balance has to be maintained with such accuracy that getting lazy on husbandry duties will begin to show in no time.

The holy grail of aquarium keeping is a reef tank.  Everything under water is alive, including the rocks!  But for most it doesn’t begin there.  In aquariums, generally we all started out with freshwater fish and plastic plants.  If you were real cool maybe you had a sunken treasure chest or old school scuba diving helmet with bubbles.  Only the uber cool had the hot pink gravel.  That’s about where I began; a little freshwater 20 gallon tank with some 5 dollar fancy fish.  Well, that didn’t last long.  Shortly after I upgraded to a 50 gallon freshwater. 

With a bigger tank came bigger (and more expensive) fish.  A Jack Dempsey,  Managuense and arguably the coolest freshwater inhabitant, a Rubber Eel.  The fish were bad asses themselves but this eel could be taken out of the water and handled!  Like a purple-black snake.  Super cool.  But as cool as that was, I wasn’t done.  I wanted an acrylic tank so I bought a 75 gallon show tank with white washed oak stand and canopy. 

Finally my parents could be happy because it looked like a true piece of furniture.  Not quite out of money I decided to go salt water with this one.  I sold all of my freshwater fish (including the rubber eel) and bought the saltwater setup.  Things worked well but it wasn’t easy.  You’d think it would be similar to freshwater, and it was.  They were both based on water and that’s about where the similarities stopped.  After adjusting to the differences I got greedy.  I had a Volitans Lion, an Australian Harlequin Tusk, Niger and Undulated Triggerfish and an awesome Queen Angel.  Suddenly 75 gallons wasn’t enough.  You see the pattern right?  So I saved and bought a 210 gallon monstrosity which promptly got placed in my parents front room.

Did I mention I have the coolest parents ever?  Even if they didn’t like it they never said anything.  So there I was with a jillion pound aquarium and barely enough money to set it up.  I made it happen though.  Before too long it was up and running with every bell and whistle I could afford.  The best part was you could see the fish actually “swim” as if they were in the wide open.  For some reason I sold it and got out of the hobby for a few years.  It wasn’t until five years later that I got back into it.  But this time I was going back to my roots by getting a smaller sized tank, and one that would fit in our apartment.

But instead of making it easy I decided to do 37 gallon reef tank.  Having never kept a reef tank I knew little about the requirements and perseverance it would take to make it work.  It was really beautiful to look at but I never quite got things worked out.  I was always chasing a problem — usually an algae bloom.  When it became work I lost interest, rarely cleaning it but maybe every other month.  Strangely though I didn’t lose any livestock.  That’s when it clicked.  All of those guys I’d been talking with at local fish stores were right: reef tanks are easier to take care of.  I neglected it and yet it chugged along.  It got ugly but always seemed to right itself.  I ended up giving that tank to my cousin when we moved.  I’m happy to say it’s still doing quite well!

Brandons Tank

Brandons Tank

All of this brings us up to my latest endeavor.  When Jenny and I bought our house I made it clear that one of the only things I wanted was another crack at a reef tank.  So, less than two months in I got my wish.  Strangely though, this tank was even smaller than the last!  I now have a 24 gallon reef setup.  I love it!  It’s right on the edge of still being considered a nano reef, but just barely.  The great thing about the size is I can actually afford to stock it without pissing Jenny off.  So as it turns out, I win twice:  I got the tank and it doesn’t cost a fortune to maintain it!

Jasons Tank

Jasons Tank


Click here to check out the online photo gallery for more!

1 Comment

  1. So if you love it so much…start taking care of it… 🙂 heehee.. love ya babe…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *