October is here and the “Reefing Season” is back in full swing. In a quest for reefing motivation I turned to the Blue Lagoon, one of my favorite aquariums. This article was originally published on June 4, 2009–tanks this good never reach an expiration. I remember stumbling across the Blue Lagoon online. It was nearly [...]
October is here and the “Reefing Season” is back in full swing. In a quest for reefing motivation I turned to the Blue Lagoon, one of my favorite aquariums. This article was originally published on June 4, 2009–tanks this good never reach an expiration.
I remember stumbling across the Blue Lagoon online. It was nearly 10 years ago when I first laid eyes on this tank, and since then it, along with a number of other beautiful Japanese reefs, has shifted my ideas and thoughts on reefs aquariums. Mr. Yasuhiro Komatu, a Japanese aquarist, was a master at using multiple light sources to bring out the desired effect within his reef. He consciously thought about the spectrum, intensity, and UV qualities that these coral received in their natural homes and attempted to mimic that while also enhancing their natural beauty. Some call it disco lighting—I call it reef magic.
This stunning 200g reef (~60x36x26″) was illuminated by five MT-250 (250w) DE Metal Halide lamps; 3 of which were a 20-25K lamp (Coral Lamp used in the MT series), the remaining were 14K BLVs. In addition to this core lighting Yasuhiro utilized 3 Superkaru 150w metal halide spotlights, two deep blues (50K) and one pink.
Love it or hate it, the Blue Lagoon is worthy of appreciation
That’s not all. In addition to the metal halides, 50w and 75w warm Ushio Halogen spotlights and 8 CFL Spotlights (4x 20w & 4x 27w) were then used to pop highlights into the varied blue spectrum. The effect is captured beautifully in the first photograph. After learning about this tank, I remember saying to myself.. I must get a rimless aquarium and metal halides spotlights!
Yes the lighting is overkill, but Yasuhiro showed what can be created in the confines of a glassbox and opened my mind into an entire new world of lighting. Aquarium lighting has historically been extremely limited, misleading, and often times ineffective. Thankfully times have changed and new developments in spectral / PAR analysis and metal halide reflector design have created vast improvements over the once standard 400w 6.5K Iwasaki and Spider reflector.
Mr. Komatu’s Blue Lagoon emphasized to me the importance of planning in advance for the aquascape and coralscape. During this time period, I was frequenting the popular Chicago store Reef Dweller, run by RC legend Menard. While I had a beautiful collection of colorful and rare SPS filling an entire 125g tank… I realized the big picture was not where I wanted it to be. It was not a display tank, it was a coral tank. For some that’s okay, but for me I realized I needed to balance the pleasure gained of keeping these animals with the optical experience of viewing a final product.
I haven’t heard from Yasuhiro in years now, and I fear this system is no more. Hopefully these photos that I’ve kept with me will inspire you during this reefing “off-season”. If anyone has any updates on this beautiful tank, let us know.