How Can You Create Your Own Reef Tank

Ever since the year 2003, people who love Disney animations have been enjoying the adventurous journey of Marlin (Nemo’s Dad) on the way to “Finding Nemo”. We met Dory, Mr. Ray, Nigel, Gill, Bloat, and many other characters who throughout the movie helped or made it difficult to find Nemo. With a lot of crying, danger, and suspense, the movies, at last, ended with a sweet reunion between Nemo and his father. 

“Finding Nemo” is such a movie that makes us want to meet each of the characters. Perhaps, many of you have bought a pair of clownfish and named them Nemo & Marlin! But how would you feel to meet all of them at a place? That’s possible! There’s an aquarium and attached dark ride placed in the Future World of the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida called “The Seas with Nemo & Friends”! 

Now, meeting Nemo and his friends can be an exciting thing to do. But imagine having them in your own house! If you can build your own reef tank, you can certainly decorate it like the sea where Nemo and his friends have been residing. 

It might sound complicated but creating your own customized themed reef tank is not only a fun thing to do but also relatively easy. However, this is a step-by-step process and requires patience. 

Things You Will Need

  • Bowfront Stand
  • Protein Skimmer
  • Pacific Black Sand
  • Gallon Bowfront System 
  • Aquarium heater
  • A comparable light fixture
  • Coralife Power Center
  • a mix of Tropic Marin salt

Step 1: Setting Up The Tank & Mixing Saltwater

  • Firstly, pour the sand in the aquarium and prepare saltwater of approximately 1.025 gravity measures in a mixing container. After that, fill your aquarium with the saltwater carefully. 
  • Rinse the live rocks gently in saltwater while removing any unwanted debris or hitchhikers. Then arrange the live rock just like the set of Nemo’s homeplace. 
  • Now, install all the aquarium equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure constant water movement by running the filtration system and the protein skimmer. You are recommended to keep the lighting off to avoid algae growth.   
  • You will need to change 50% of the water every week for a month and take out any loose organic. Also, make sure the ammonia and nitrite levels are zero. 

Step 2: Completing Tank Cycling & Introducing Hermit Crabs

After 4 weeks, it’s time to place some of Nemo’s friends in the tank. Remember the crabs from the movie that helped Martin to find Nemo and one of them was named Bill? You can place them in your aquarium too if you love them. 

After you have bought your crab, put it into the aquarium by following the acclimation guide. Wait for 2 weeks. 

Step 3: Add Corals To Your Tank

Now, you should make the place look like Nemo’s home. For that, you will have to insert some corals in your tank. 

Firstly, change 25% of the water. Acclimate the corals in the aquarium and place them on the live rock. Wait for another 2 weeks. 

You can also add  Aquacultured Corals if you want. In that case, wait for 2 weeks more. 

Step 4: Introduce Livestock To The Tank

At last, it’s time to get Nemo in there! It’s the part where you place your favorite fish and invertebrates from the movie.

You will need:

  • Ocellaris clownfish (Two – Nemo and Martin)
  • Paracanthurus hepatus (One – Dory)
  • Moorish idol (One – Gill)
  • Baby turtle (One – squirt) 
  • Start fish (One – Peach)

Do a 25% water change before that. Acclimate your friends according to the guide and place them in the aquarium.

And YAY! You just made your own The Seas with Nemo & Friends at your home!

Cycling Process

The cycling process is the process of making your livestock, microbes, and small organism suitable for the tank. You need to do that while setting up the tank for the first time. 

First of all, your tank needs to be open and running for a few weeks without any fish in it. This allows others to adjust without fish in the environment. It also balances the nitrate level in your water. You can place as many fish you like after you are done with cycling. You will get to know about the end of the process by the diatom bottom (algae) that occurs in your tank. 

Cycling requires a different time for different tanks. No matter what size the tank is, you need to be patient during the process and complete it. 

Water Quality and Salinity Level

Keeping perfect consistency is quite important for a reef tank. If you think of the seawater, it has a specific gravity of 1.026. So, in this case, you can maintain a salinity level of 1.024 – 1.025.

You should always monitor the water level and salinity level closely. Any change in the water level might cause an imbalance in your aquarium. Make sure to change at least 10% of the water every week to maintain better consistency.  

If you think this as trouble, you can always use Premixed saltwater found at most pet stores. Also, keep an extra set of salt mixes in case any unseen water parameter changes.

Maintaining A Reef Tank

  • The first thing is to monitor the water level and other parameters regularly to maintain a healthy aquarium. 
  • Change 25% of the water at least once in a month and maintain a regular filter inspection.
  • Give your fish a small amount of frozen food two times a day. Too much food can cause imbalance and dirt in the tank.

So, there goes the steps of making a small version of “The seas with Nemo and Friends” at your home! Undoubtedly, this tank is a dream of every Disney fan. 

While fish are generally amazing pets, having Nemo and your other favorite characters in the house is another level of joy. Now, you can watch Nemo and Martin having adventures with Dory all day by sitting beside the tank!

You are recommended to follow the article step by step to set up the perfect home for Nemo and Martin including a school with Dory and squirt!