The ‘mangrove lagoon’ aquarium concept is a widespread motif that many aquarists have aimed for, even we have a large, mangrove-dedicated aquarium of our own. Besides Julian Sprung’s actual outdoor Mangrove-ariums, the large shallow reef tank at the front of the Worldwide Corals retail store is becoming one of the most impressive in the saltwater aquarium world.
This 1200 gallon pentagon shaped display was established a little more than a year before we shot this video and the development of the layout and the amount of coral growth is something truly inspiring. At present the four foot mangrove tree seems to be dwarfed by the root-shaped rock aquascapes but there’s plenty of fish and corals to enjoy in the meantime.
Despite being their flagship reef aquarium display prominently featured at the front of their store, this tank is powered by no fancy controllers, automatic testers or dosing tricks, instead relying on a balance of aquarium fundamentals. The calcium reactor is backed up by a kalkreactor, a hefty cone protein skimmer is turned on as needed, and a huge bank of ultraviolet sterilizers keeps the water clear and any potential parasites at bay.
Certainly one of the pieces of equipment that enables the dramatic presentation is the incredibly bright fifth generation Radion lights which are mounted around six feet from the bottom of the aquarium, and over four feet over the surface of the water. We know this for a fact because I physically got inside this reef tank and went on a little walkabout exploring and enjoying many of the different neighborhoods of corals.
In video as in real life the vibrance and coloration of the corals is almost unbelievable – in this environment many of the individual corals have become large and showy, especially the very colorful corallimorph strains. There’s plenty of corals that have yet to reach their full glory such as the sunburst bubble tip anemone and the Acropora colonies, and it still needs a little more time to develop some large swirling plates of Montipora.
It was a real treat to physically get inside this tank as it is the best way to get a good closeup look at the hundreds of show quality specimens in this very wide shallow aquarium. Another year or two and the mangrove tree will have grown into the space it has been afforded in this display and we’ll be there to document this tank again in the future when it’s ready for another update.