Cold Water Reefs are something we really, can’t get, enough of, and Jacob Dixon’s Puget Sound biotope reminds us exactly why. The beauty of this reef might be subtle, with mostly brownish/beige tints dominating the majority of the aquarium, but the uniqueness of the inhabitants make up for any shortcomings in colorfulness.
The display consist of a standard 24″ x 12″ x 12″ (61 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm) 15 gallon aquarium, which was modified to contain a filter chamber similar to most All-In-One systems. Since all the anemones are non-photosynthetic lights are not required, but a FishNeedIt T5 fixture with two 24 watts are used to illuminate the tank for the fish and viewing pleasure. A single MaxiJet serves as the return and as the main flow source, and a 1/3HP AquaEuro USA Chiller keeps the system at a solid 57 Fahrenheit.
All the livestock was hand collected in Puget Sound (North of Seattle, WA), and were later trained to eat prepared foods. The fish selection consits of a Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculosus), High Cockscomb (Anoplarchus purpurescens), and a Saddleback Gunnel (Pholis ornata). While the invertebrates selection consist of Plumose Anemones (Metridium senile), Aggregating Anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima), Painted Anemones (Urticina Grebelyni), and Moonglow Anemones (Anthopleura Artemisia) along with smaller critters such as hermit crabs, limpets, chitons and porcelain crabs.
It should be mentioned that livestock collection is currently illegal in Washington State after a change of laws took in effect in 2008. If you are interested in setting up your own cold water reef system always make sure to check your local laws before collecting anything, especially since these things like this are not taken lightly by the FWS.