I am a Brit living in the Czech Republic. My wife and I have been diving for years and we decided a couple of years ago to get a salt water aquarium. We have a lot of hobbies already, so when selecting our 'expert' he needed to be local and prepared to do all the work setting up and maintenance etc over time. Basically he took our money, built us a tank, put some fish in it and ran away!
We had a long large tank with a Moray eel who lived in an amphora, some cleaner shrimp and a couple of starfish. I must say we trusted the guy completely from the start and the whole set up was absolutely wonderful.
Then we started having problems, at first we had a brown residue on everything, which he said would go away, then I had to clean the tank very regularly. The chamber which holds the filtration system and the pumps started overflowing and we had a couple of powercuts, which didn't help matters.
We got in another expert, of course he poured water (figuratively) all over his predecessors work and told us we would have to pay another 1/2x (x being the original cost of everything) to get things back. Then our moray died.
We lost hope and today I decided to take out all the water, sand, coral, stones and everything we had in there, it was filthy.
Now we are left with an empty (but remarkably clean!) tank with nothing in it. The tank is a large rectangular one, in one corner a piece of glass separates off a triangular smaller tank and water flows slightly over the glass into a chamber filled with porous rocky coral. There is a pipe in the middle, perhaps 6-8 inches high and the water flows over that and into a chamber below the tank, firstly into a separate section filled with more coral and then over the surface of the glass partition in there and into a chamber which contains a Wave Skimmer 1200P and an adequate 2000 litre per minute pump, which sends the (clean?) water back up to the triangular chamber and just over the glass partition back into the tank.
I hope some of this makes sense. I am on a steep learning curve, which is to say I know nothing and need to learn quite a lot to get this working.
I have been told the filtration system is totally inadequate by people who have a vested interest in selling me another one and I have totally lost faith in the honesty of the trade over here. I would live to get a nice salt water aquarium back up and running, with minimum maintenance and would like to incorporate the existing equipment, if is up to the job.
I assume most aquaria are custom, but I would just like to point out that the main tank is 10mm toughened glass and the lower section which houses the pumps and skimmer is thin custom glass, fitted into the cupboard on which the tank sits. There were also some 'tights' filled with bits of carbon and lumps of blue foam of varying grades all around, in a poor state (I had been told this contained micro bacteria which cleaned my tank) and I removed this also, as it seems ineffectual and at best is filthy, as everything else.
If anyone is minded to give me a hand with this, I would be extremely grateful. I moderate on a DVD burning website, so know how difficult it is to get started for some people in a new topic and find forums can be very helpful places. I also am a vintage RC expert, so if you need advice on either DVD or RC I can trade that for advice here
Sometimes it is easy to say, do a search on the forums, but I don't even really know what to search for! Any advice would be extremely gratefully received, even if it is just to tell me where to go, so to speak!
PS : Just remembered a link to show you what it used to look like! In the door underneath on the right is the chamber with the pumps and 'filtration'
YouTube - Mohammed Eel Fayed