Components Of A Berlinstyle Aquarium

1. Biological filtration and denitrification is accomplished by the use of a large quantity of cured live rock.

2. Chemical filtration is accomplished through the use of a protein skimmer and activated carbon.

3. Lighting is usually accomplished with metal halide lamps, in combination with blue (actinic) fluorescent lamps.

4. Nothing in the way of organic nutrients is added to the tank, except for feedings for the fish, and inorganic nutrients are limited by using phosphate-free water and sea salt mixes.

5. Limewater, as well as strontium and iodine supplements, are regularly added, with pH, alkalinity and calcium concentration being monitored by testing. In practice, limewater or Kalkwasser is added daily to replenish all evaporated water.

new technology to our customers. We had read Smit's articles, too, and we thought that new opportunities might be opening for our business. We enjoyed meeting Smit and his corporate sales people. We bought a poorly made filter, possibly a factory prototype, and some less than satisfactory European-made fluorescent end caps, and brought them back to Tennessee. We spent about $300, as I recall. Looking back, I can admit to myself that Smit's tanks looked pretty much like the ones I had been doing for the last several years. The only difference was that mine were stocked with Florida Keys inshore species I had collected myself or purchased from collectors I met in Florida. Smit's tions for maintenance of pH, alkalinity, and calcium con-

aquariums had a variety of Indo-Pacific invertebrates. In centration. Wilkens was perhaps influenced by the work retrospect, J.R. and I were a couple of rubes, accepting the of Lee Eng in Indonesia, 20 years before, who created idea that the filter was the key to success, paying out our "miniature reef" aquariums based on live rock, with only money and refusing to accept the evidence of our own ex- an airstone for water circulation. Eng collected all of his live perience — that our aquariums were doing just fine the rock, specimens, water, and natural foods near his home, way they were.

The Berlin-Style Aquarium

His aquariums were pictured in the popular literature of the time, but the details of his methods were sketchy; he kept few notes and published little. Peter Wilkens, on the other hand, made accurate measurements, kept copious records, In the 1970s, Peter Wilkens, working in Germany, was and published his findings in the European and American approaching aquarium design from a different angle. His aquarium literature. His work has been expanded upon and systems relied on live rock for biological filtration and den- disseminated through the efforts of many people, includ-itrification; there was no undergravel or wet/dry filter at ing, most notably, Alf J. Nilsen in Norway, Charles Del-all. Organic matter was removed by protein skimming and beek in Canada, and Julian Sprung in the United States, activated carbon. Today, the Berlin method and variations on the live rock

Recognizing that calcification was a fundamental life theme are the most widely used approaches to the creation process for the stony corals that were the focus of his in- of closed-system aquariums for diverse communities of terest, Wilkens also advocated the use of limewater addi- both invertebrates and fishes.

Reef Aquarium Images
A wonderful example of a successful Berlin-style aquarium, with spreading groups of mushroom anemones and many healthy large-polyped stony corals
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