Behind the Scenes: 1500 Coral Reef

This aquarium was one of the more challenging systems to assemble in my business. 

It is a 1500 gallon acrylic tank with what I call an extended triangle shape.  It was built to fit an exact shape to divide two rooms in this restaurant.

The tank had to be brought in through a “garage door window” with a fork lift.  We then made a platform of pallets and rolled it on its back near the concrete stand with pallet jacks. 

Then it was flipped over onto several sticks of ½” metal conduit on top of the concrete stand. It was rolled on the conduit into place where it was propped back up to take the conduit out. 

The filtration system was placed on a platform above the tank.  It had to be accessed by a step ladder through a hidden door above the tank.  Underneath the platform and above the tank were 9 – 400 watt metal halide lights and several VHO fluorescent bulbs. (LEDs for aquariums had not yet been invented)

When adding the 1000+ lbs of live rock to the tank, we sat up several small, collapsible swimming pools in the restaurant to hold it all.  We also premixed the saltwater in these to fill the tank.

Every couple of months, I had to put on a dive skin, mask and snorkel to clean the areas that I couldn’t reach otherwise.  All the while dodging a sea urchin the size of a volleyball.  It may sound fun but it really wasn’t. 

I maintained this for a few years but grew tired of the hassle.  I handed it over to some friends who also had a maintenance company.  The restaurant has since closed.