Nestled in the foothills of Genesee Colorado, there is a most excellent 500 gallon reef tank with an exquisite wall of corals and an impressive view of the Colorado Rockies. This Mountain View reef tank is maintained by Premier Fish & Reef and under their care this tank has blossomed into quite a spectacular reef aquarium.
Last week we had the chance to visit this stunning aquarium and we were really impressed by how full it is of livestock and corals, and how impressive the overall display appears to the viewer. The shape of the aquarium itself is a little odd, with a pentagonal, three-sided back pane, but the overall dimensions are 84 x 32 inches and 48 inches tall. That extra height really adds to the sense of awe of this aquarium, and despite being hard to work on since the tank is so deep, it is really worth the effort when the tank ends up looking this one.
The large dimensions of the 500 gallon Mountain View reef tank gives it a gradient of light and water flow conditions, offering up real estate for a wide range of reef animals. The large Derasa clam is the highlight of the lower level of this reef, with soft corals, polyps and leather corals scattered around it.
Moving up the aquascape a little bit, some other LPS corals start to be seen while some of the more branched soft corals also reach up into this space. With such a large viewing window to work with, it is also possible to make a section for a couple large fully grown bubble tip anemone which can expand as much as they want with minimal interaction with nearby corals.
Of course the upper levels with all the light and real estate is the main attraction and the location for all of the light loving stony corals. In any other tank the huge montipora capricornis cluster, the jumbo Pavona colony or the extra large Milka Stylo would be the crowning corals of the tank. But you cannot look at the Mountain View reef tank without being in awe of the huge formation of Montipora.
Just slightly off-center there’s a massive reef pinnacle made up entirely of orange branching Montipora digitata and bright green plating and branching Montipora spongodes. The way that these two corals are growing together is one of the nicest growth of Montipora we’ve ever seen in an aquarium and worthy of their own aquarium display.
We tend to focus on the corals and the equipment when we check out reef tanks but the Mountain View reef tank also has a great population of pet reef fish. A blonde naso tang, regal blue tang and sailfin provide lots of activity and algae grazing and a pair of ‘superfemale‘ Watanebi angelfish are also in the peak of health – one of the Watanabei angels was male but it apparently reverted to female even though there is already another female Genicanthus watanbei present.
The equipment on this reef tank is no slouch either, with a YUGE four-pump Reef Octopus protein skimmer, a 1hp chiller, a substantial UV sterilizer assembly and more. The water flow is provided by a bevy of vortech water pumps, as well as eductors on all the return lines. Lighting is provided principally by Radion LED fixtures, although there’s also three 100 watt Ecoxotic Cannon LEDs to provide that crucial bump in nutritious spectrum for a few hours each day.
There’s a lot to love about Premier Fish & Reef’s 500 gallon Mountain View reef tank, but really the best part is standing back and taking it all in. With so many reef tanks being smaller, and aquascaped for ‘lean forward’ viewing so you can simply see the tiny little corals and frags, it’s quite refreshing to see a reef tank that offers visitors a lean back view, and reminding us of the miniaturized reef ecosystems that we try to recreate in the home aquarium.