We’ve looked into a crystal ball, and this is what our future holds. A thriving mini-ecosystem contained in the most mystical crystalline orb.
We were spellbound by this “show de bola” saltwater crystal ball and reached out to Flávio Akira of Mini Ecossistemas to learn more. Flávio has various freshwater aquarium balls and one saltwater ball. Lucky for us he also documents and shares his methods online.
The saltwater reef ball is one year old and 37L / 10gallons in size.
In this video “Tudo Sobre o Aquário Marinho Bola” (Everything About the Saltwater Reef Ball) we see the reef ball evolution from day one. The video is in Portuguese, however, Flávio also posts content in English on his Instagram account if you want to ask more questions.
One of the tips was to make sure you leave room between the rockwork and the ball to facilitate cleaning. Part of the allure of a reef back is having a crystal clean shiny bowl!
The life support system is a SunSun HOB style canister filter placed on the desk behind the tank. Attached to filter is a swing arm spray bar for increased circulation of freshly filtered aquarium water.
With the rise in popularity of nano and pico aquariums, we see more nano three-stage filters being offered by aquarium manufacturers. The canister filter used in this video is rated 130gallons per hour for tanks between 40G / 150 Liters. A similar filter is the Nano 30 from ZooMed.
To keep the tank clean Flávio uses a turkey baster to blast any detritus stuck between the rocks to be sucked up in the filter. For lighting, he uses the Aqua Knight V2 LED light.
For temperature control, he has a 50w heater set at 26 celsius with a bright digital display below. It would be easy to overheat such a small aquarium so it’s important to invest in a high-quality heater and thermometer display.
To maintain the healthy ecosystem he uses a digital scale to mix saltwater and performs at 15% water change once a week.
As livestock outgrows the tank Flávio has a bigger aquarium where he can relocate his pets. Currently, the reef ball has one Wyoming white clownfish and a banded coral shrimp.
Brightly colored anemones are mixed with flowing LPS corals like Duncanopsammia, and Euphyllia. Also, some soft corals like toadstool leather coral, Zoanthids, and pulsing Xenia, are neatly packed into this reef.
But what we really love about this tank is the hypnotic flowing tentacles of the sea anemones. We can imagine they would easily lull anyone into a trance while gazing at this crystal ball.