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Flashback Friday: Incredible 8000L (2000+ gallon) Portugal Coral Farm

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 20, 2012 08:00 AM
Originally published April 18, 2011: Nothing excites me more than seeing successful breeding and propagation systems, which is why I am extremely pleased to share the "selected reef tank" showcased at Machado de Sousa's 8000L Coral Farm.
Flashback Friday: Incredible 8000L (2000+ gallon) Portugal Coral Farm

One of six grow-out tanks, stocked full of beautiful coral frags

About Flashback Fridays: Every Friday, Advanced Aquarist will repost a blog article from this week one year ago.  With all the content we publish, we want to share the timeless and interesting articles for our new readers as well as regulars who may have missed the original blog article.

First and foremost, Advanced Aquarist thanks Ricardo Pinto of for sharing his blog with us.

A bank of grow-out tanks

Machado de Sousa's system was started in 2007. Here is a brief summary of his impressive coral farm:

  • A 650L (~170g) Maternity Tank where the parent colonies are housed.
  • A 450L (~120g) Nursery Tank where new polyps and tiny frags are kept until they are moved to ...
  • Daycare Tanks (what USA hobbyist would refer to as "grow-out" tanks). Machado de Sousa uses a total of six 780L (~200g each) Daycare Tanks! (see photo to the right)
  • A 100L (~25g) aquarium to temporarily house freshly glued frags
  • A 200L (~50g) quarantine aquarium used for treatment and observation.
  • A 2000L (~500g) sump system consisting of "live rock, DSB, mangrove, skimmers, calcium reactor, degassing calcium reactor, reactors for bio-pellets and zeolites, heaters, etc."


I was surprised to find this coral farm is a non-commercial project. Machado de Sousa is a civil engineer by day. This is what you call passion and dedication!

Please head over to's outstanding blog post for a lot more information (including detailed equipment lists) and pictures on this amazing system.

As Richardo Pinto describes it to us: "This is a non-commercial project and it has inspired many reefers in Portugal and Spain." Correction, my friend: It has inspired many reefers around the world!


Photos and video of the Portugal Coral Farm

The Maternity Tank

The Sump System

The Sump System


Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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