This Halophila-dominated seagrass aquarium is built and designed to take care of itself. No protein skimmer, no calcium reactor, no sump, no biopellets, carbon or GFO. No automatic water changes or a super controller with email function. Heck this system even lacks a light. Just a glass box with some rocks, sand, a small filter pad, and a pump. Yet, the beauty of this saltwater planted aquascape is undeniable. Although the system is over six years old and probably has long since been broken down, it still has a prominent message. Especially now as technology is continuing to have an increasing role in a reef systems, we seem to forget that it really doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
All of us are probably guilty when asked by interested friends and coworkers if keeping reef aquariums is truly that hard and complicated, of answering “yes, very much so” at least once. Deep down however, we actually realize that this actually isn’t necessarily true. Yes, with huge amounts of calcium hungry corals, and a huge amount of waste producing fish all the complexity may very well be needed. But what about all those other options out there? Sparingly stocked soft coral systems? Macro algae and seagrass systems? Coral only systems? Systems like those of Halophila confirm that there are other ways. (as do many other systems we have covered on Reef Builders, The skimmerless reef of Marko Haaga, EcoReef one and EcoReef Zero for instance, just to mention a few)
Halophila’s Seagrass dominated aquarium measures 48x12x12 inches (120x30x30 cm) which amounts to a volume of around 30 gallons or around 110 litters. The system contains no mechanical or biological filtration beside a filter pad, instead the large amount of Halophila ovalis that dominates the aquascape is relied on for nutrient exportation. Beside Halophila ovalis the system contains a large assortment of macroalgae and a few corals. The tank is lit by natural sunlight received from the window behind the system. A 1200 Liter per hour powerhead provides water movement. Natural saltwater is used for monthly 5 gallon (20 liter) waterchanges and DI water is used for topoff.