If youâ€™re a regular reader of my ramblings here on Reef Builders, at hobby conferences and in and hobby magazines, you know Iâ€™m a HUGE fan of â€œoutside-the-boxâ€ thinking in aquascaping. No rock walls and boring layouts for me. Nope! Give me something waaay out there! My pledge to you, the reader, is to share any of these inspiring, outside-the-box systems when I stumble on them. Not long ago, I was perusing an online forum when I saw a link to an aquarium that someone referred to as his â€œvolcano tankâ€. Curious reef geek that I am, I simply had to check it out.
To my surprise, the tank was located mere minutes away from where I live â€¦ a few emails and a pleasant phone call or two later, and my girlfriend and I found ourselves at the lovely home of reefer Kyle Verry, checking out what may be one of the most unique home aquariums Iâ€™ve ever seen in person! Like me, Kyle was tired of the â€œtried and trueâ€ aquascapes we usually see, so he wanted to try something altogether different: a very shallow, wide aquarium, with rock work that extends way out of the water. Although he refers to this bad boy as his â€œnano,â€ this low-iron glass aquarium has healthy dimensions (48â€x 24 â€x 11.5â€). Kyleâ€™s particular area of interest is amphibious crabs (the â€œSally Lightfootâ€-looking ones, although the exact species escapes me at the moment), and he designed this aquascape to accommodate and highlight the habits and needs of these unique creatures.
The tankâ€™s center-mounted overflow is surrounded by a lace rock structure that, for all the world, indeed looks “volcano-like,” projecting high up out of the water and into the air. The rock structure also strategically hides the water returns, and provides a â€œwaterfall-likeâ€ return flow to the aquarium. Artistically placed mangroves and a few smaller, submerged rock structures complete the â€œhardscape.â€ Kyleâ€”like meâ€”respects the “white space!” He has a lot of open sand areas in this tank! With a pleasing variety of relatively common corals, placed in intriguing areas throughout the tank, there is an amazing view from virtually every angle! And his Tridacna clam shows beautifully from the top-down angle!
The fish stocking list, although modest by any standards, includes a few surprises, such as a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion, Dusky Jawfsh, Purple Tang and a small school of Green Chromis. Kyle has that rarest of all attributes in a reeferâ€”the ability to curb his impulses to add more-and-more fishes to his unique system, detracting from the overall aesthetic. An urchin, numerous snails, small hermit crabs and some starfish rounds out the stocking list.
And speaking of angles, the shallow height of the tank, combined with a 30â€ tall stand, provides the viewer with a wonderful top-down view. Access to the tank is ridiculously simple. Itâ€™s very easy to get your hands, algae scrapers and siphon hoses into every nook and cranny and it shows! The tank is so clean you could consider giving birth there! Oh, and like many good systems, this one is whisper quietâ€”a big point that helps the overall aesthetic, IMO.
What is so stunning about this aquarium is how well it shows off itâ€™s inhabitantsâ€¦and how well it does just about everything the owner set out to do. It encompasses all of the factors that I think go into an amazing aquascape: interesting concept, good planning, excellent viewing angles, functional simplicity, ease of access, and an altogether different look. Kyle decided very early on in his project to boldly take â€œthe road less travelled,â€ and has created an absolutely fascinating system. Perhaps most frightening of all is that he has a custom aquarium business, providing design and consultation services for a variety of customers. Imagine what the guy could come up with on someone else’s dime! Out-of-the-box thinking, coupled with great skills as an aquarist, bode well for the future of Kyleâ€™s company! And he’s a nice guy, too.
This system serves as a great example of what you can accomplish as an aquarist when you push the outer envelope and try to make your dream aquarium a reality! Hats off to you, Kyle, for raising the bar for unique aquarium design! For more of this amazing aquarium, check out Kyleâ€™s site.
Till next timeâ€¦Stay Wet.