The Tyson Reef tank is an old school 110 gallon reef tank that is going on 15 years old. Upscale marine aquarium service company Premier Fish & Reef took over the maintenance of this aquarium about three years ago and it couldn’t look any better than it does today.
What we find truly inspirational about this reef tank is that it is an exemplary reef with thriving colonies of hard and soft corals, two impeccable bubble tip anemones, and no-nonsense reef aquarium equipment. A disciplined approach to reef aquarium design and maintenance has allowed Premier Fish & Reef to turn this coral reef display into the absolute centerpiece of the room in which it resides.
The Tyson Reef tank is like a breath of fresh air in contrast to the cluttered fruit stand of coral frag collections that many “reef tanks”are becoming these days. There’s very few loose pieces of coral with the primary reefscape dominated instead by large and mature corals and anemones in the prime of health.
Of particular note in this tank are two large bubble tip anemones, Entacmea quadricolor, one is a classic red rose BTA and the other is the highly coveted Colorado Sunburst BTA. In this setting you can really see the difference between the two strains of bubble tip anemone, and especially the wide gap in color between the fluorescent red rose anemone and the neon orange sunburst anemone. Naturally the old pair of clownfish have good taste and they prefer to take shelter in the Sunburst ‘nem.
Another animal to note that has been a part of the Tyson Reef for most of its 15 years in operation is a show size colony of exquisite cabbage leather coral, the very same specimen that we featured in our tribute to Sinularia dura about a month back. Other near-original inhabitants of this excellent reef include a 13 year old Pajama cardinalfish and the large colony of green Sinularia leather coral.
Despite being 15 years old, this tank is not run like it’s 2001 or anything. Instead, when Premier Fish & Reef took over the tank they overhauled nearly all aspects of the reef aquarium equipment. Two Radion XR30w Pro are more than enough power for this four foot reef tank, and they are exclusively responsible for the tangible color rendition of all the corals and fish.
Another really nice choice of aquarium equipment is the use of two Vortech MP10 propeller pumps for this tank. Most aquarist would probably recommend MP40 Vortechs but the MP10s provide more than enough flow for a tank of this size. Vortech MP40s are already the lowest profile pump on the market for their flowrate, and the teeny coralline-encrusted MP10s practically disappear in this aquascape.
Another pragmatic design choice has been the use of basic BRS Dosing pumps coupled with mechanical timers to administer two-part solutions, and vinegar as a source of carbon dosing. However with so many new multi channel dosers getting better and easier to use, this system is likely to be significantly improved in the near future.
What we love about the Tyson Reef tank is that it is a ‘typical’ reef tank, in terms of size, equipment, and livestock choices. But the result of the care and patience put into this tank is anything but typical. The aquascape is created mostly by coral growth and the kinds of corals, fish and equipment is an assemblage that anyone can reasonably obtain.