Incredible 8000L (2000+ gallon) Portugal Coral Farm

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


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 of the Portugal Coral Farm

The Maternity Tank
The Maternity Tank

The Sump System
The Sump System


Added:  Here is a video by Machado de Sousa (primarily of the Maternity Tank).

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