Basic Advice

Madison Wisconsin aquarium rehab project

I took a call recently from a woman who was standing in front of one of our aquariums in a Nordstrom Department Store. When I answered the phone she abruptly said “You have to help me!”
I immediately thought, “Call 911, poison control, SWAT…..”, then she started telling my how beautiful this aquarium was and the one she had at home was a complete disaster.

This is an emergency more up my alley to deal with. As it turns out, she and her husband had a rather large aquarium in their home and it was installed by someone the home builder recommended but they quickly started questioning his know how and craftsmanship. They had replaced him with several different service companies and the aquarium had begun slipping from bad to much, much worse, to complete disaster.

I told her we would be happy to come out, review the tank with her and make a plan to getting things back on track. Being she was in Madison Wisconsin and us in Chicago, we decided to give her some immediate relief; we would send a crew out to perform a maintenance service as well as a consultation on improving the aquarium.

When our crew arrived they found the aquarium was literally the focal point of the house viewable from two levels and four different rooms. The aquarium had built in “insert” coral which was not removable, which was covered in algae. The water had a brown tint and smelled horribly. The plumbing which ran through the house into the basement where the filter was kept was all drippy, leaking and hazardous vinyl tubing.

The only animals left in the aquarium was a couple snails and a starfish. The tank was completely under filtered for its size and upgrades were going to be essential. The coral, which at one time was gorgeous and colorful, was now stained with algae and colorless and had also been cut into several pieces and glued back in place. Visible white epoxy lines ran horizontally and vertically through the piece which looked out of place, to say the least. Our work was cut out for us to literally gut the tank and start over again as well as removing the algae and repairing the coral.
The filtration and re-plumbing was simple. We added a chiller to control temperature, cartridge filter and protein skimmer to collect debris and an ultraviolet sterilizer to kill free floating pathogens from the water. A reverse osmosis filter was added to remove the numerous metals and minerals in the Wisconsin well water for use on the aquarium.Also, we changed to a 24 hour lighting system to recreat sunrise, mid day sunlight, sunset, twilight and midnight.

The coral was going to be more of a challenge. The first challenge was removing all the stained algae. We used a product called Algae Eraser from Harbor Labs which almost immediately killed layers of the algae and showed some color back on the coral. After the Algae Eraser circulated for a couple days, it virtually destroyed all remaining algae in the tank. We affixed individual decorative corals to the coral head and covered the lines from where the coral had been cut into pieces by the previous service company.

The finished project was unbelievable. Personally I felt it looked even better than the original aquarium our new client saw which caused her to call us. We now come out to Madison on a quarterly basis to perform service on their aquarium and send our client monthly maintenance items and fish whenever they chooses to add more.

From new installations to rehabs, another Blue Planet success story.

-Jon Wolf

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.