1000 litre Marine – Aquarium of the Month

This is the aquarium submitted to the Aquarium of the Month by Mike Lemmon.


The tank is a 1,000 litre that was built for me over 20 years ago. It has no sump, as the glass would be too brittle to cut for an internal overflow, but I successfully use a large Fluval F6 canister and a large Eheim canister as filters at either end of the tank. It’s a myth that sump
s are essential for tropical marine tanks, but the canisters do need cleaning once a month….not much of a chore really. I also have an Eheim U.V unit, a couple of wave-makers, and a 30 year old Red Sea  hang-on skimmer that just keeps on going and is amazing!

The tank is full of L.P.S. corals, most of them have flourished from frags…I’m a particular fan of the Kenya Tree softies which look beautiful swaying in the current…they can take over a tank, which makes them a little unpopular with a lot of enthusiasts, especially if you have lots of S.P.S. in the tank. There are 5 Bubble-Tip anemones, also from an original frag…they sub-divide every now and then and find their own spot in the tank. I never try to move them, and with a large tank they’re free to go wherever, even if they find awkward spots at times. The softies are so hardy and non-aggressive that the anemones don’t seem to bother, or be bothered by them.

Mike Lemmon coral


There’s quite a few Ricordea Yuma, Leather Corals (one a gorgeous and large specimen with fluorescent green polyps), green and purple mushrooms, and a few large Finger Leathers.

The Fish stock are well established with some having grown-up in the tank and are now over 10 years old.. Lipstick Tang, Foxface, Copperband Butterfly….also breeding clowns, pyjama cardinals, gobies, yellow tail blue damsels, chromis.

I collect live Copepods from the seagrass beds in Otago Harbour to feed the tank daily, also common crabs that the Copperband loves. All the corals feed on the copepods, as do the fish, so I put the success of the tank largely down to the ability to feed live natural food. I also feed a dry mix concoction of several foods each morning.

I put the success of the tank down to it’s size really….lots of swimming space for the fish, lots of caves to hide in and elbow room for the corals. I’m very lucky to have the space and strong floor support to house such a large tank, (custom built steel base and full tank weigh around 2 tonne!)

If you’d like to be our lucky winner for next month, which includes a voucher to spend in our online store please send us a picture and tell us a little bit about your aquarium email info@aquarays.co.nz.