The Drop-Off Reef Aquarium of Philippe Grosjean

By on Jan 04, 2012

We feature a lot of cool aquariums from around the world since so many are pushing the envelope of aquarium design and creative expression. Every once in a while, we come across an aquarium that falls into a class of its own. Enter the amazing aquarium of Belgian marine biologist/reef hobbyist Philippe Grosjean. His 660-liter  aquarium, modeled after a reef “dropoff”, is truly unique, and quite unlike any other aquarium that we’ve seen before.

Consisting essentially of two aquariums fused together, one in a more-or-less-conventional horizontal configuration (56”x28”x20”), the other in a stunning vertical format with a 36” depth. Home to an engaging diversity of  life, the system simulates a reef flat, followed by a vertical “drop off”, consisting of live rock secured to a vertical acrylic frame. The effect is dramatic and visually arresting, and creates an aesthetic that is unique in the aquarium hobby.


Almost as impressive than what you see is the large, behind-the-scenes “cryptarium”, which houses a variety of cryptic life, such as sponges, tunicates, ophiuroids, worms, etc. in darkness for physical “filtration” and nutrient export purposes.

Although the premise was remarkably simple, the aquarium presented a number of technical challenges, such as circulation and lighting. All of these were solved with typical aquarist ingenuity. Strategic placement of Tunze  Stream electronic pumps assures good circulation at all levels of the aquarium., with varying levels of current throughout the day. Lighting is a mix of 250 watt metal halide and T5 flourescent. Conventional equipment, utilized in a most unconventional aquarium.


 

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