Gianluca Favatà’s Fabulous Marine Aquarium
A couple of weeks ago I was hosted at the home of a really amazing aquarist, Gianluca Favatà, who lives in Ravenna, Italy, to admire its 750 liters magnificent aquarium.
Gianluca Favatà’s Marine Acquarium
I met Gianluca during one of our MagnaRomagna Pizza & Aquariums dinners and immediately Gianluca had shown me some pictures taken with his smartphone. What I saw was a great tank, filled with beautiful corals and fish, a thing not so easy to see around, and so the desire to see it, has definitely grown, because, as you can see, the aquarium is truly amazing.
The aquarium is in fact truly magnificent and imposing with its 150 cm wide and 750 liters total gross (aquarium and filtration systems).
Let’s see what Gianluca has to share with us.
Let’s start this interview by asking Gianluca tell us how this great passion, that we share, was born and how it has developed:
“This magnificent passion comes from my brother in law Andreone, who had a small 100 liter marine aquarium with two clownfish and some other marine fish. Every time I went to him I remained enchanted by watching that small marine ecosystem and especially the pair of clowns and the harmony with which they were caressed by anemone during symbiosis.”
When do this passion started? And which aquarium did you have at the beginning?
“I decided almost immediately to embark on this wonderful hobby and my first aquarium was installed as far back as 2000-2001, a small Askoll Tenerife from 180 liters, closed, with a small backpack internal filter, and now, when I remember how it was, I can really smile …”
In practice you began your adventure into the marine aquarium like me, because I also started my first marine aquarium in 2001, and today I have evolved myself, passing under several different aquariums. I assume that you’ve done a lot of changes, like I did:
“Yes, the years have passed, and equipments have improved, so now I can finally show you my last aquarium, my record for what concerns the volume, quite 750 liters total gross”
Let’s begin to talk about your aquarium, from who did built it, what are its size and its features.
“The aquarium was handmade by a dear friend of mine, Luis Carlo Gomez, under my precise instructions, in order to have an aquarium just like I had always dreamed of.”
“I chose immediately an extra clear glass for the three most important sides, the two sides and the front, while the bottom of the tank and the rear are simple normal glass. The thickness is 15 mm and the measurements are 150x73x55 (h) cm with internal overflow. Inside the overflow there are two discharges from the diameter of 40 mm and the two charge of 25 mm diameter.”
“The sump is 80x50x40 cm because I wanted a lot of space in order to have the opportunity to tinker heavily with the equipment, because even if I spend so much time standing in front of my aquarium, I spend as much time under it, to clean it, to move something, to try everything; I’m never still, I’m working always to some processing.”
“Until today I really tried everything: skimmers, fluidized bed reactors, bed algae, and continue to do so with so much satisfaction”
And now, what are you using at the moment? What technique do you use for such a magnificent aquarium?
“Currently I have a calcium reactor by LGMAquari, the 1401, of which I am very proud to stable values it produces, even though I have already set my sights on another reactor that I would love to try”
In fact, we are also very happy with our calcium reactor LGMAquari LGR 701 SP (review) so we find easy to understand your satisfaction.
And the skimmer is?
“I’m using right now a Royal Exclusiv Bubble King 250 Supermarin internal, and here probably someone could think I overdid it a bit ‘, but it is a war machine, it never stops, stable and secure, it oxygenates aquarium and it cleans everything quickly. Let us always remember that the aquarium has a capacity of 600 liters and an additional 150 are in the sump for a total of 750 liters total gross.”
And which return pump do you use?
“I’m using a really powerful Newa pump, the New-Jet 6000 with which I do pretty much everything. With it in fact I charge the two charges, the calcium reactor, the chiller in the summer, a fluidized bed with activated carbon and zeolite reactor”.
Very impressive, although the use of a single return pump in a system like yours with two distinct discharges is a bit ‘a shame given that you could use two pumps and have greater security in case of failure or breakage.
We talked about the skimmer and calcium reactor, but what do you say about the lighting you use on your marine aquarium?
“The lighting comes from LEDs as you can see. And to this day I have entrusted to Atlantic Orphek, three ceiling lights with 180 watt each. I’ve set one hour of sunrise, two of sunset and ten daylight hours with full power, giving in total 13 hours of light.”
And for movement?
“As you can imagine I really like the movement of the water in aquarium, so I’m using today one Jebao WP60 with 60.000 liters per hour and one Ecotech Marine Vortech Mp40w (review), both located at the opposite sides of the aquarium, and both held at maximum power.”
Your equipment is great, but which type of conduction do you prefer to follow?
“As you can see, the answer is very simple, the system is a pure Berlin Method with the addition of the zeolite that helps me a bit ‘with ammonia and my big fat fish that I like to maintain in aquarium.”
I have to say good choice, and how many live rocks?
“In the tank there are a total of 80 kg of live rock, taken from various shops, because I took a little from everywhere.”
80 kg in 750 liters gross, it means a ratio of about 1 kg every 9 liters of water. If then we reason, as I usually tend to do, namely to consider kilograms of rock compared to the gross capacity of the only marine aquarium excluding the sump, here we come to a number that I consider most credible of 1 kg each 7.5 liters of water. In any case remarkable, and absolutely perfect.
Corals and fish
Which corals do you prefer to breed? Although from the photos your choice seems to be quite obvious.
“I prefer without any doubt the short polyp corals, SPS corals, because, as you said, you can see the dominance of Acropora, Pocillopora, Acropora millepora, Montipora and Seriatopora, but I always have to deal with Raffaella, my girlfriend, which really likes the long polyp corals, the LPS.”
“And, as you know, I have to work hard just to please her, to keep them alive, as I tend to have nutrients values really low and they suffer from it.”
In any case, I see you love fish so much, probably due to the aquarium you’ve seen from your brother in law, but you really have quite a number of fish… not like me… but I like the aquarium full of fish.
“The fish. Raffaella and I are literally fallen in love for fish, just as much as corals, and I honestly think that in a marine aquarium you have to have a lots of fish other than corals, we currently have around thirty, more than 40 snails turbo, 10 shrimp, 2 starfish and one sea urchin.”
Tell us about maintenance now, since you’ve already told us you spend a lot of time under the aquarium, we would like to know what you do.
“I’m really very very finicky about maintenance, and moreover I try to be as regular as possible in order to maintain the balance achieved over time.”
“I believe very much in the water changes, so I do water change with little water but often, in fact I change 40 liters of water per week coming from the osmosis system where I measure always TDS (total dissolved solids), attempting to keep within the limit of 3. Once this limit is reached i begin to change the filters to bring it back to zero.”
So changing 40 liters from 750, is about 5%, which I consider to be the perfect amount for the change of water, even if I do it every 15 days.
I try to keep the sump as clean as possible, when, in fact, I see it full of sediment, I decide to aspire them when I do the exchange of water, or at most every week.
I clean the skimmer glass often so it’s always as efficient as possible, the return pump every 6 months or as necessary when I see that loses a bit of his flow.
Every month I change the activated carbon with another 500 grams, and shake the zeolite 2 times a day”
In practice, your maintenance is a very complex job. I see a lot of work and a lot of care, which in fact is reflected in the viewing of your aquarium.
What about your water values?
“I measure often the value of phosphates in the aquarium which I use as reference to feed the corals, and since I like to feed my fish, I have seen in my experience that I have to keep an eye on phosphates more than other parameters.”
“When I administer the frozen food, I do with a syringe above the LPS corals in order not to starve them as indeed happened to me when I did not. Then I realized that if I did not give something targeted to them, sooner or later they die, what then remains around is eating from fish, that eat only this, for that day, and I do it at least 2 times a week.”
“Twice a week I do the test, by measuring calcium, magnesium and dKh, and once a week I measure also potassium. In truth now I’m slowing down a little bit because I see that the aquarium remains quite stable on its own, but I’m always very careful and vigilant in looking at the health state of my corals.”
And so which values do you keep in your tank?
“The values that I keep in my aquarium are, on average:”
|Salinity||34-35 fro thousand|
Is there anyone you want to thank or remember?
“Yes, of course. First of all I would like to thank Raffaella, my partner, because it helps me in every possible way, a perfect ally in this strange marine aquarium world, with her I did comments really everything I could, I have touched her with my passion and I am very proud, also because she proves to be extremely useful in my absence.”
I would like to thank Luis Carlo Gomez from Pesaro for all the valuable advice he gave me during these years, for giving me glued to the aquarium, and the beautiful and profound friendship that has been created thanks to this wonderful hobby that brought us together.
In fact, I’ve known a lot of people since I have the aquarium, special people I contact almost every day to share every secret, every idea, every achievement. The boys of Milan: Cone, Marco and Francesco and a very dear friend of Naples, Antonio (Tonyraf), with whom I shared everything. Precious boys, also and above all, to help each other in emergencies that sometimes arise when you have such a complex system like the marine aquarium .
Finally, I thank the MagnaRomagna club and its founder Danilo Ronchi who made all this possible.
Thank you all”
One last question … this year you have already booked with us MagnaRomagna’s crazy boys to come to visit the Interzoo fair in Nuremberg, the world’s largest trade show for everything that revolves around the aquarium… what do you think ?
“I’m sure I’ll enjoy a lot and I will know many interesting people. Can’t I wait to go!”