What you can do with a 145gal. This is from CORAL magazine

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What you can do with a 145gal. This is from CORAL magazine

Post by HSCmember on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:12 pm

Aquarium Portrait - Martin van ter Meij







Front view of the 145-gallon (550 L) aquarium.

A reef in the land of tulips – the aquarium of Martin van ter Meij

Text & photographs by Ab Ras

Excerpt from CORAL, March/April 2010
There is nothing like it in the rest of the aquarium world. The Landelijke Huiskeuring, a fiercely competitive national aquarium-hobby event in the Netherlands, where the judges are known to visit competitors' homes, scrutinizing the aquascaping aesthetics, the health of the fishes and corals, the biological balance of the aquarium, and the overall design of the system. To win is the equivalent of an Olympic feat. Martin van ter Meij has won it twice.

As with many aquarists, Martin’s fascination with the marine underwater started in childhood, and he has been involved with saltwater aquariums for more than 30 years. Frequent excursions to the aquarium fish shops of Amsterdam led him to make a profession out of his hobby and nowadays he runs his own small business called Aqua Care to help other people plan, set up, and maintain their aquaria.
At a time when the breeding of coral fishes was not nearly as widespread as it is today, he created a sensation by successfully breeding the anemone fish, Amphiprion ocellaris. Martin appears to have a lucky instinct for successful rearing and feeding techniques—one of his home-reared anemone fish lived to the Biblical age of 21 years.


The stony corals include numerous rarities, for example Micromussa amakusensis.
The aquarium
Martin’s current aquarium set-up consists of an approximately 145 gallon (550 L) main aquarium connected to a smaller tank that is used to accommodate livestock, a system that requires particularly careful monitoring. It may be used for the acclimatization of new fishes, but in reality it is more than a quarantine aquarium. The two Amphiprion and their sea anemone lived in it for a long time. In classic fashion, the equipment tank was originally housed in the cabinet beneath the main aquarium, but now it is situated in an adjoining room. This means no more noise in the living-room from the equipment and it is much easier to access without the need to crawl under the aquarium.
The reef is constructed almost exclusively from living rock, and thanks to the depth of the aquarium, it was easy for Martin to create an attractive reef; he doesn’t like random piles of rock. The current-generating pumps don’t circulate the water behind the rockwork; instead Martin from time to time stirs up any sediment from behind and among the rocks and siphons off the accumulated detritus, in order to prevent the build-up of nutrients.

Innumerable tiny fishes populate the reef – here Elacatinus puncticulatus on Favia pallida.
Livestock
Many first visitors to Martin’s aquarium, especially the uninitiated, ask, “Where are the fishes?” since it looks as if there are none. But the closer you look the more of them you discover. Large fishes are almost completely absent, but tiny gobies, pipefishes, and many other fascinating organisms populate the corals.
The corals, by contrast, attract the attention of the onlooker immediately: the variety of colors and forms of splendid stony corals – not only the typical reef-builders such as Acropora and Montipora -- but also numerous large-polyp stony corals. The largest fishes are two juvenile algae-feeders, Siganus guttatus and Zebrasoma scopas, that make themselves useful by virtue of their dietary preference. As a responsible aquarist Martin plans to move them to a larger aquarium when they outgrow their current accommodation.

Zebrasoma scopas in its splendid juvenile coloration.

Holidays and other problems
It is always a risk for the owner of an aquarium at vacation time to leave its maintenance to an inexperienced substitute. While Martin was on holiday a disaster befell his aquarium. For an unexplained reason, the carbonate hardness dropped dramatically, followed by an invasive plague of algae. While the majority of the corals survived, many died,. Home again, he wrestled the water chemistry back under control but the algae stubbornly remained, especially a particularly obstinate red thread alga. American colleagues pointed Martin in the direction of the turbo snail Turbo fluctuosa, a secret weapon in the battle against this pestilential alga. The snail wasn’t easy to obtain, but eventually he acquired 30 specimens from Germany. And lo and behold, the plague of algae was history.
Anthelia has likewise developed into a plague. As happens in the tanks of many other aquarists, it is quite simply thriving too well, and beautiful though this soft coral may be, it is now impinging on other species, stinging them and preventing them from growing.

If Martin is asked about his “recipe” for success in the marine aquarium hobby, he emphasizes the need for self-discipline, to avoid constantly tinkering with the aquarium!
I would like to thank Martin for his hospitality and wish him all the best for the future!



It may look chaotic, but it works: the equipment tank in the adjoining room.
AQUARIUM Details
SIZE, VOLUME: 51 x 27.5 x 21.5 inches (130 x 70 x 55 cm), 145 gallons (550 L); total volume with equipment section and quarantine tank around 237 gallons (900 L).
CORALS:
STONY CORALS: Acropora, Acanthastrea, Blastomussa, Caulastrea, Favia, Goniopora, Micromussa, Montipora, Pavona, Pocillopora, Stylophora, Seriatopora, Turbinaria.
SOFT CORALS AND OTHER CNIDARIANS: Anthelia, Clavularia, Discosoma, Zoanthus.
FISHES: Elacatinus puncticulatus, Doryrhamphus melanopleura, Eviota cf. bifasciata, Siganus guttatus, Trimma cana, T. necopina, T. rubromaculatus, Wetmorella nigropinnata, Zebrasoma scopas.

LIGHTING: 2 x 250-watt HQI (10,000 K) and 2 x T8 blue light (Osram 67).

WATER MOVEMENT:
two current pumps at 923 gallons (3,500 L) each per hour; return via 633 gallons (2,400 L) per hour Eheim pump.

WATER MANAGEMENT:
H & S protein skimmer, Titan 1500 cooler (Aqua Medic), H & S kalk reactor.

MINERALS, MAINTENANCE:
13-gallon (50-L) partial water change every 14 days, formerly using Reef Crystals salt, currently salt from Korallenzucht.de; once a year there is a large water change (80 %) using North Sea water; supplementary magnesium (Tropic Marin) and amino acids (Grotech).
WATER PARAMETERS: temperature: 79 °F (26 °C); calcium: 430 mg/l; magnesium: 1,380 mg/l; MB wonders if this correct or punc. typo nitrate: not detectable; phosphate: not detectable; carbonate hardness: 10 °dKH; pH: 8.3.
OWNER: Martin van ter Meij, Netherlands.
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Re: What you can do with a 145gal. This is from CORAL magazine

Post by danreefs on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:14 pm

One day my tank will look like that I hope lol
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Re: What you can do with a 145gal. This is from CORAL magazine

Post by HSCmember on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:20 pm

I liked what he said at the end of the article about not always tinkering with the tank. I can see that being a challenge.
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Re: What you can do with a 145gal. This is from CORAL magazine

Post by plnelson on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:28 pm

That is sweet.
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