Aquarium Fish

Natural Reef Aquariums

Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms
By John Tullock, T.F.H. Publications (2001)

Natural Reef Aquariums

Natural Reef Aquariums is geared towards those interested in starting their own saltwater reef tank. Starting a reef tank can be a very expensive ordeal and even more expensive if you don't know what you're doing. I really liked how Mr. Tullock stresses the simplified approaches to keeping a reef tank and how he explains that you don't always need the latest and greatest technology to successfully run one of these tanks.

The author does a great job of making some possibly very dry topics into extremely interesting reads. Sprinkled throughout the text are little anecdotes of his coming up in the marine retail trade that you'll find interesting. It provides some insight into the thought process behind some of his recommendations and advice.

Natural Reef Aquariums is not a quick read and for a topic of this nature, you don't want it to be. There are just too many topics to cover in the reef hobby. This book provides plenty of details on nearly every topic that a reef keeper needs to know about.

The main topics covered:

  • Part 1: The Natural Reef Aquarium -

    Talks about how "less technology and more biology" is better in your reef tank. Various setup choices are discussed including; the traditional aquarium, the dutch style, the berlin style, the smithsonian style, the monaco style and the natural style a Euro-American hybrid.

    The author will explain all the necessary equipment you'll need and how to properly assemble your tank with all its components. A few different setups are provided with details. These include the simple starter reef, the 50 gallon clam lagoon, the 60 gallon Gulf of Mexico Patch Reef setup, the 120 gallon stony coral reef setup and the 230 gallon Red Sea shallow fore reef setup.

    The nitrogen cycle is covered at length in Natural Reef Aquariums as well as the background and importance of live rock. How to cure live rock, the different types of live rock, organisms commonly found on the rock, it's all in there. Live sand is also discussed.

    Everything you need to know about reef aquarium lighting is in Chapter 4 including recommended photo periods. The last chapter in part 1 is about aquarium maintenance and troubleshooting. It gives tips and advice on testing your water, what you should be testing for and how to control algae.

  • Part 2: Reflecting the Wild Reef

    if you are interested in learning about the wild reef habitat you're going to really enjoy this part of Natural Reef Aquariums. Marine habitats such as the Florida Keys, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Indo-Pacific Reefs, Indo-Pacific Deep Reefs and others will give you tons of great ideas to use on your reef setup.

    Several species specific setups are detailed such as the Clownfish Anemone Tank. Proper soft and stony coral care and coral placement tips are included.

    The most commonly encountered diseases and the proper treatments are in chapter 11 and the proper feeding of you reef tank inhabitants is found in chapter 12.

  • Part 3: Ecology and the Aquarist

    Captive propagated marine species is introduced with the hope that it will become the future of this hobby. Chapter 14 touches on the fishes and inverts that we should avoid and they are broken down into several categories.
    Category 1 - the animal or fish species is protected,
    Category 2 - the removal of the species could be detrimental to the reef,
    Category 3 - the species grows too large,
    Category 4 - the behavior of the species is not conducive to the home reef tank,
    Category 5 - the species is venomous, and a few more categories. I think you get the idea.

    As hobbyists, we have to do our part to shape this into the hobby we want it to become in the future and this chapter should arm you with the necessary knowledge you need to help out.

As you can probably tell, Natural Reef Aquariums is packed with tons of great information and is loaded with great pictures of the natural reefs and its inhabitants. The book is sort of reminiscent of a college biology book with the amount of information that is included. But it's stuff that all reef hobbyists would be interested in. We give Natural Reef Aquariums 4.5 stars

Natural Reef Aquariums Reader Reviews

From: Stan
This book came highly recommended from friends and I couldn't wait to read it. After getting it I finished it in about a week and I was not disappointed. The author took a different take on the saltwater hobby that was refreshing in that he helped get his point across that we need to look to nature instead of technology in order to run a successful setup long term. It is full of great information and occasional anecdotes from the author's past. Very interesting and informative.

Author : Mike FishLore

Rating Information
Review Title: Natural Reef Aquariums
Reviewed by: Mike FishLore
Summary: Simplified Approaches to Creating Living Saltwater Microcosms
Description: Natural Reef Aquariums is geared towards those interested in starting their own saltwater reef tank. Starting a reef tank can be a very expensive ordeal and even more expensive if you don't know what you're doing.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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