Earlier this year we were invited to be a part of Goccia Blu‘s PetsFestival event in Picenza and before the talk, we toured a handful of different stores and private reef tanks in Tuscany. On one particular day we toured a ton of really beautiful reef aquarims and finished the reef tank crawl at Mart Spano’s house for an incredible Italian dinner. The food was amazing but the very fact that we dined right next to a veritable reef aquarium masterpiece was truly an awesome experience.
We don’t know what’s most impressive about Marta’s reef tank, that it simply looks perfect, like an exquisite slice of the reef chock full of corals, or that it is aquascaped like a pro. Seriously, the dynamic reef structure of Marta’s reef tank is truly something to behold with hardly no live rock visible under a living carpet of stony corals. Even when we tried to look ‘inside’ the reefscape the foundation rocks beneath it are very few and they form an incredibly complex matrix to this reef.
Having this living forest of a reef dominated by huge thriving SPS corals in a rimless display makes it all that much more inviting to look at. Sure she knew we were coming over to dinner and would be spending plenty of time scrutinizing this private reef tank but this level of excellence doesn’t come overnight, or in a week, or in a few months.
If we had to guess we would have estimated this 450 liter, 120 gallon reef tank at three years old, or maybe at least two. But we were simply floored when we learned that this incarnation of the reef tank was just a touch over a year old at the time of our visit.
Marta has no real secrets to the exuberant coral growth of her reef tank, but she also doesn’t skimp when it comes to supplying her corals with the nutritious lighting and supplements that they need. The reef tank is lit with a basic full length T5 fixture with 10 x T5 tubes evenly mixed between blue & white colors.
The filtration underneath the tank is also excellently presentable with an aluminum frame housing a perfect little reef tank factory, completely with lots of bells and whistles. A royal Exclusiv protein skimmer does the heavy lifting of nutrient export, a Deltec fluidized calcium reactor provides the main source of mineral replenishment while a whole suite of Zeovit additives and Zeolite reactor are employed to fill in every major and minor trace elements.
Before we even had a chance to examine the reef tank in its entirety it was clear that we were visiting one of the nicest private reef tanks we have ever seen, in all of our reefing lives. While the title of best reef tank is a highly subjective one, by any single metric the appearance of Marta’s reef tank, with its huge diversity of colorful corals, plenty of reef fish everywhere and the dynamic presentation of her aquascaping is the epitome of what people strive for when they first set up a reef tank.
So Marta, from the depths of our reefing heart we want to say thank you. We know a lot about reefing, we even have a lot of experience with keeping and growing corals and can identify the most obscure rare fish and coral species from across an aquarium store. However, what you have accomplished with your reef aquarium display is the zenith of reef aquarium keeping, and reefers around the world will be envious of what you have created.
Marta Spano, you are a TRUE reef aquarium master and we are not worthy!