In a Gibraltarian home, a reef takes pride of place
Michael Recagno has been an avid aquarist for 35 years but his latest aquarium, a saltwater nano reef, has taken pride of place in his home.
The tank recreates a small section of reef complete with artificial currents that make plants and corals sway back and forth, as if out in the ocean.
Mr Recagno has come a long way since buying his first fish, a female guppy purchased from the Golden Eagle pet shop for 20p.
He kept the guppy in an ice bucket and woke up one morning to find it full of baby fish. From that day on, he was hooked.
These days though, his aquariums are somewhat more sophisticated.
His latest one is home to two Clown Fish, Nemo and Marlin, a snail and a number of reef corals.
The plants growing on the reefs include Pulsing Xenia, Green Clowns and Heather Corals.
The secret to a successful aquarium, Mr Recagno explained, is water quality.
“You don’t take care of fish, because they take care of themselves,” he said.
“You take care of the water.”
Everything in the nano reef is natural and even the rocks help filter the water, assisted by an electric filter installed to ensure the water remains clean at all times.
Also included in the tank is a circulation pump and lights.
The wave maker brings a lot of motion to the plants living inside, mimicking ocean currents and making for a beautiful sight.
The rocks Mr Recagno uses inside the aquarium are called wet rocks and cost around £20 a kilo. He bought the majority of these from friends who also have an interest in aquariums.
He has to change at least 25% of the water within the tank once a week and buys special demineralised water from the supermarket to do this. He also tops up the evaporated water daily.
Ideally the fish are kept at a temperature between 25 to 27 degrees Celsius.
On hot days like those that we are currently experiencing he has a fan blowing on the tank 24 hours a day. If the temperature goes over 30 degrees Celsius, it would endanger the fish.
Mr Recagno also adds probiotic reef salt to the tank to raise the PH levels of the water.
A tank like Mr Recagno’s would normally take just over a month to set up, from putting the various components together to introducing fish.
The long process is needed to make sure all negative bacteria are eradicated from the water and the environment is safe for the fish.
As he already had a tank with the fish, he was able to transfer them over to his new tank a lot faster using the water from the old tank.
Mr Recagno plans to grow his fish family in the future by a maximum of two more due to the size of the tank.
He also aims to introduce more members of the “clean-up crew” including snails and hermit crabs.