Polo Reef is a unique entity with the goal of helping to educate and encourage improvements in reef keeping, especially among young hobbyists. While the 17,000 reef tank is central to this process, the multiple other display tanks, holding tanks, quarantine facilities, and wet lab will all be utilized to fulfill this purpose. This entity is not a one-person show but is instead a team effort where a number of experts in the hobby and industry will be utilized. As new information, procedures, and equipment come to light, they will be shared with the hobby. All of this will be shared via videos, brief articles, and photographs and it is hoped that as questions arise these will be answered in a helpful manner that will allow for them to be shared with everyone.
Unlike many public aquaria of this size the tanks at PoloReef are planned to provide for education and not simply viewing. In addition, to the tanks themselves there are numerous quarantine and holding systems for both fish and corals as well as a full wet lab. It is planned that the information gathered from all of these facilities, such as which antibiotics or treatments work on which coral or fish and just as importantly which ones are not tolerated, will be shared on Polo Reef. In addition it is hoped that the tanks will allow for school children of all ages to visit so that they can see the beauty of what a reef looks like without ever having to leave New York. We feel this is critical, as it is our belief that only when someone sees the beauty of a reef up close will they have the desire to protect it. For this reason, we feel that over time as more children are educated about the reef will they understand how captive systems are helping to protect it.
While the 17,000 gallon display tank is obviously the main draw to Polo Reef, the numerous other aquaria stocked with unique and rare fish also provide for an opportunity to learn. Each of these tanks tries to capture a different aspect of reefkeeping as some house deepwater fish, others truly one of a kind coral while others house fish that are completely reef safe, unlike the large display.Over time, as more tanks are added and different techniques and technologies are employed and experimented with,it is hoped that which of these techniques produce the most optimal conditions will be documented and shared. Watching a tank like the 17,000 matureover time will alsoprovide a unique opportunity since very few public aquariums with tanks this size have documented their growth and maturing over time.
From the start, the goal of Polo Reef is to give back to the hobby. In this regard, all of the profits from the sale of Polo Reef merchandise has been donated to educational charities or reef restoration since its inception. In the future, the goal is to provide educational grants and possibly scholarships to deserving individuals involved in the hobby.In addition, we are seeking to work with reef restoration efforts around the globe to help reefs that are under pressure. All of this is being done with the goal of being to give back after all of the enjoyment we have derived from the hobby.
By Michael S. Paletta with images by Michael Vargas
Close your eyes for a moment or two and try to conjure up a vision of the marine aquarium of your dreams. Chances are it’s in the 500 to 1,000-gallon (1,900 to 3,800-L) range—a fantasy that doesn’t come close to the reality of a reef tank I encountered recently in the town of Old Westbury, New York.
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