Reef Aquariums have become so sophisticated and can be so complex that ‘hardcore reefers’ treat the design and build of a new reef tank almost like a sport. One look at the numerous build threads is evidence enough to demonstrate how full-contact we’ve gotten with the building of a reef tank, but simple reefing on the other, more basic end of the spectrum can be just as rewarding.
Reef aquarium husbandry pioneer Jean Jaubert has been tinkering with the most simple, balanced and functional side of reef keeping for some time now. The epitome of this balanced reef keeping is realized in Jean Jaubert’s latest reef bowl, a 5 liter vessel of aquarium water which is completely naturally filtered, and has no mechanical moving parts.
The lighting of this very basic 5 liter (1 gallon) fish bowl is provided by a simple LED light, and there is no pump or filter. A sand bed provides for the necessary biological filtration and the ‘water motion’ is provided only by the pulsing of the Xenia soft coral.
The Jaubert reef bowl is populated only by Xenia, Capnella and one bicolor dottyback, and it enjoys only a small 10% water change each month. We are enamored with the reef bowl for its extremely low tech approach to keeping marine animals alive in a small balanced ecosystem. So many reefers go off the deep end with the highest tech equipment, and overdoing with excessive lighting, water flow, overfiltration, yet achieve results that are no better than having a well-balanced aquarium. This reef bowl is not breaking any records, but it does show that sometimes a smart approach to reef aquarium design is better than taking the ‘kicthen sink’ approach.
“The 5 liters nano below I have set up almost 6 months ago and functions very well. It contains soft corals (Xenia macrospiculata and Capnella spp.) and 1 fish (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) and is completely ecologically balanced. Indeed, it functions without anything but the light of a simple bedside lamp. Water changes are limited to 10% a month and the pumping xenias produce the stirring, nothing else.”