In October 2014, we visited one of the most beautiful reef tanks we have ever seen, at Seabox Aquarium in Viareggio Italy. These images and video have been ensconced since then but now the time is right for this incredible reef tank to take a turn in the spotlight.
This reef tank is a shining example of what a reef aquarium should be. Large mature colonies of stony corals are practically tripping over each other. The color and size of each coral colony is large enough to demonstrate what each coral species can do when it’s given proper placement, time to grow, and especially room to grow to its full potential – this is the ‘anti frag tank’.
When we first saw this tank, the colors were so bright that we thought there was a Photoshop screen right on the glass of the aquarium. But one quick video walkaround of this display and it was clear that this reef tank was simply approaching perfection by any measure you can throw at it.
There is not one single dead or dying coral in the entire display, and every single coral species is the epitome of thriving. The color, tissue, polyp extension and the growth rate of everything from Acropora to Montipora and Seriatopora are so healthy we wouldn’t hesitate to describe them as ‘supernatural’.
The dimensions of this supernatural reef tank by Seabox Aquarium is approximately 3 meters by 1.2 meters wide and 1 meter high (10 x 4 x 3 feet high) and not one square inch of this reef tank is wasted space. In fact, what makes this reef tank so striking is the expert use of open space in the approximately 700 gallons of water volume, and there is virtually no visible equipment in the entire aquarium.
There is so much coral growth that you are hard pressed to find any bare rock, but despite this running out of room only a very few select corals have been placed on the sand bed. The use of this open, negative space only highlights and enhances the huge mounds and bommies of living corals which serve as a playground for the aquarium’s numerous fishy inhabitants.
Interestingly, there’s very little that is high technology about the Seabox Aquarium supernatural reef tank. Besides the use of a HydroWizard Medium water pump, every other piece of reefkeeping equipment and technique is pretty standard issue.
The tank is lighted by a sea of T5 fluorescent lamps housed in ATI fixtures that nearly cover the entire aquarium. The water chemistry is managed based on the principles of Zeovit system, so very low nutrients and very careful management and addition of trace elements, amino acids, and bacterial inoculations.
Exquisite aquascaping, immaculate coral colonies, and a lively fish population all come together to make this one of the nicest reef aquarium displays we’ve ever seen, period. When reef tanks are a solid “10”, they can’t get any better, they can only maintain this certain level of excellence. This is the kind of aquarium that takes a fairly basic, no nonsense approach to reef aquarium husbandry.
It just goes to show that despite all the latest questionable tricks that people try to employ to get a nice looking reef tank, there is simply no substitute for great and consistent attention to detail, and mastering the fundamentals of keeping a reef aquarium. And to Seabox Aquarium, we just want to say, BELLISSIMO!