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    The Alluring Reef of Anagonbe

    Before breaking into this article, I must thank Taka for not only bringing this aquarium to my attention, but also reaching out to Anagonbe for me. Thank you Taka! If you have not guessed by now, Anagonbe is from Japan. (I know, big surprise for me to feature a Japanese reef.) The word “Anagonbe” is […]

    Before breaking into this article, I must thank Taka for not only bringing this aquarium to my attention, but also reaching out to Anagonbe for me. Thank you Taka!

    If you have not guessed by now, Anagonbe is from Japan. (I know, big surprise for me to feature a Japanese reef.) The word “Anagonbe” is nothing more then the owner’s online handle. It combines two Japanese words to make one. The first part “Ana” comes from Anago which in Japanese means marine eel. The second part comes from Gonbe, which in Japanese references the Cirrhitichthys genus of hawkfish.

    This display tank measures 48″ W x 24″D x 24″ H, for a volume of 120 gallons. Waterflow is provided by a wavebox, two seaswirl returns and a few Maxi Jet 1000 powerheads. An H&S skimmer is used to reduce nutrients and a UV filter to keep water looking clear.

    To keep the temperature in range for the numerous deepwater corals as well as the Paracentropyge multifasciatus and Prognathodes marcellae, a KD-500 chiller is used. As you can see above, nearly all of the fish are small juveniles. The Regal Angel (Pygoplites diacanthus) is less than 2″! Anagonbe also has many small gobies. If you look closely in the photos you can spot a few of them perched on on the corals.

    Coming from Japan the lighting does not dissapoint. Anagonbe ustilizes 3x150w Superkaru fixtures using two Deep Blue and one Aquablue lamp. (We use a similar combination, except for one to one DB to AB. The effect is very nice) In addition to this he uses mutliple MT-250w DE Metal Halides (10K & 14K) and 2 other Mogul Based 250w Halides with blue filters. In the image below I have done my best to point out most of the lamps used.

    The NZ bulbs, RB37 & BB450, are compact flourescents spotlights. The BB is a high kelvin blue lamp, while the RB is a warmer pink-purple lamp. These are what light the aquarium of the only known living Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei).

    The left side is noticeably more intense and warmer than the right. This is not for just aesthetic. The 10K lamps on the left are to emulate the shallower water that these staghorns live in. The deep blue light on the right is to mimic the deepwater environment of these “deepwater Acroporas“, like the beautiful Acropora caroliniana below. Having used the deepblue lamps, I would estimate their color temperature to be near 40K as compared to other 20K lamps on the market e.g. Radium, Helios, and XM. Anagonbe uses two of these on the right in addition to the 250w Halides with blue filters to achieve that deep color.

    What sets the tank apart from others is the coral & aqua scape. The coral placement is extremely well done. It’s almost whimsical in the way the tables overlap! The shape and color choices on the two table dominated pinnacles make your eyes skip back and forth, from the top of the middle pinnacle down to the bottom and to the right. This is not easy to achieve and makes the viewer feel as though they are going into deeper water down the slope. 

    I know many are questioning the age of this aquarium. Yes the most of the corals were purchased as colonies, however, I must say Anagonbe has had good success so far with impressive growth. It is too early to declare this a success in terms of sustainability, but it is undeniably a success visually. When viewing this reef, those of us not from Japan must be cognizant of the cultural differences. I do not condone the purchasing of wild colonies, but I do understand the differences of the US and Japan. Please be aware and respectful of this.

    Last but not least here is a video of this work of living art:


    Thank you to Anagonbe for giving us permission to share his reef with you all. I encourage you to take a look at his blog and follow his updates.


    1. January 15, 2009 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

      I really like your analysis!

    2. January 17, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      Really amazing tank, would love to know the age of the corals etc…just BB any other supplements other than the norm?

    3. Nick
      January 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

      That’s an insane coralscape. I love it, what an awesome tank and concept.

    4. Nick
      January 17, 2009 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

      those angels sure were nipping in the video… Any ideas if the corals can take that much abuse?

    5. January 18, 2009 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

      Hi Nick,

      Corals can take quite a bit of abuse, the nipping shown there wont cause any visible damage. They are juveniles and have a very fast metabolism (food every 30min), they are just taking a little snack.

      It looks worse than it is, the only side effect is reduced PE during the day. They will still grow and be colorful.

    6. Matt
      January 20, 2009 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

      OMG! One of the many things that I find very interesting about this system is that the flow doesn’t appear to be insane, despite having such large colonies?!? Contrast this with my 120 (same dimensions), 2 x Vortech MP40W, 4 x Tunze 6100s, and probably 500gph return. After seeing this, I’m seriously considering downgrading my flow….


    7. jeffry r. johnston
      January 20, 2009 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

      Terrific write-up. Very thorough. Thanks for sharing this tank with us.

    8. January 22, 2009 at 7:26 PM | Permalink


      Don’t go changing your flow just yet. Flow is very important and often overlooked. As you know it can and does effect photosynthesis & growth. It’s worth noting that he’s using some decent sized external returns going through 2 seaswirls.

      Stream style pumps are very new to Japan. Vortechs are just becoming very popular there. Some tanks using these are running 4+ MP40w pump on sub 180g tanks in addition to returns and closed loops!

    9. Mike
      December 9, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

      Very nice, I saw the link on http://www.worldwidereefers.com and I was shock ! Very beautiful.

    6 Trackbacks

    1. […] For more information on this truly incredible aquarium, check out our previous write up: Anagonbe’s Alluring Reef. […]

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