Mr. Saltwater Tank

Mr. Saltwater Tank Tours Julian Sprung’s Personal Reef Tank

Julian Sprung is one of the most referenced, and is arguably the most well-known saltwater tank professionals. He’s been involved in the hobby since the days when mullets were cool and now he’s over 40 and still reefing full time. In this episode of Mr. Saltwater Tank TV, Julian gives me a personal, in-depth tour of his reef tank that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Comments for this article (58)

  • RICH says:


    RICH V.

  • Jim says:


  • david decarli says:

    not a lot of color but there’s still a lot of beauty. and that’s what makes it a winner in my book.

  • Ed says:

    Great job!!!! Do you recommend any of his books?

  • david…keep in mind the actinic supplementation wasn’t on during the filming. That’s why there isn’t a lot of color pop.

  • Mel K says:

    It is so interesting to see the different techniques used in maintaining Julian Sprung’s tanks. Great job

  • Mark H. says:

    WOW, awesome job and tank.
    Thanks Mark and Julian.

  • Richard [Rick] Allen says:

    Enjoyed the tour. so many “rules” broken! Great inspiration.

  • Bert Rutanheiser says:

    Agree with Rich, the tours are great!

  • Matt says:

    Most enjoyable … always interesting to see those in the hobby that have such little time to dedicate to their tanks do so well …

    Must admit, the ‘arm deep reach’ philosophy rings a good idea bell… Not so good with boisterous kids around mind!

    Thanks to Julian for taking the time and to you Mark for bringing another fantastic tank tour to us 🙂

  • JasPR says:

    I frist met Julian after the first MACNA show in Toronto ( seems like yesterday). Yes, we both have less hair! But top of the head aside, the stuff inside that guys head is profound. Seeing marine systems as boxes of water is entry level stuff. Seeing the ‘invisible system’ ( well naked eye anyway) is the key. Julian sees it all– the content and its inhabitants and the micro biology that makes it all work. Julian, I win, I still have hair in the front! LOls Best, JR

  • Mike says:

    Hey Mark. Hope you are doing well today. I was thinking of switching salt. I currently use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. I am looking at Red Sea Coral Pro. Which salt do you use in your tanks?

  • Matt says:

    Mike – Mark uses TMC Bio Actif salt … 😉

  • RYAN says:

    I have actually grown quite fond of the 10K look on tanks. It somehow looks more aesthetically pleasing than the actinic look we’ve gotten so used to. There’s a guy on ReefCentral with a sunlit tank using solar tubes. It is supplemented by some blue LED’s, but overall the effect is quite nice.

    I’m interested in the standing wave. How did Julian pull this off?

  • Elton says:

    what was he using to create the current. i would have loved to have seen the plumbing aspect of this oasis.

  • Jill says:

    Thanks Mark! I’m loving your tank tours. Maybe you can collect these kinds of things under “categories” on the right side of the page? Perhaps “Tours and Interviews” as a category. I love to go back and look at these kinds of things!

  • Ryan…Julian is using a Tunze wavebox to get the standing wave

  • Buddy says:

    Mark: That was fantastic, GREAT interview and of course give my personal thanks to Julian for allowing us to see his tank. That’s the first time I’ve seen a setup that used a sterilizer… No skimmer that was cool. The refugium was as amazing as the tank and I’m sure a critical part of keeping the tank, I couldn’t tell what he was using to make the great water flow he had. Can you enlighten us??

    Thanks …

  • Barbara says:

    Love it! Did he have an auto top off? I didn’t see any cords from power heads, what was that making waves?

  • wes says:

    Hi, Great tank,

    Just a bit of advice on the Mangrove in the 2nd tank/fuge tank.

    If you cut the actual green piece off of the stem of the leaf. At the base of of the stem of the leaf, in time, will sprout smaller leaves. This is a technique used by a number of bonsai growers world-wide.

  • Keith Bechtel says:

    nice modest tank from the “Obi Wan” of reefdom.

  • Wow excellet job mark one of my favorites tours it´s awesome

  • Mark Vera says:

    Great interview Mark. Another informative and entertaining video. You just gotta love Julian and I’ve seen his aquaria many times and it truly is a stunner. I also like that he has proven chemical filtration such as a PO4 reactor and proper maintenance can keep a nutrient controlled system!

  • Tron says:

    That was cool…I just ordered one of his books yesterday on Amazon.

  • Buddy et al, Julian uses a Tunze wavebox as well as the water coming out of his return lines to make the flow in the tank

  • chad says:

    very cool – thanks for sharing!

  • Richard L says:

    Thanks Mark and Julian, I loved it! Did you see any of his other tanks? Love to know what else he’s got cookin’.

  • Beetle Bailey says:

    Agh some people have all the luck! ,great video Mark ,Julian sure is a knowlegable guy thats for sure awsome tank and no skimmer ,Cool! Ive always liked the mangrove in a fuge idea ,one day when the boss decides I can have free range on the tank and spend some money and time
    great interview
    cheers Beetle

  • veeral says:

    We need a sanjay joshi tank tour and some more famous guys tank tours…. this was amazing…. hope we get other tank tours too… Mark how is your pico doing??

  • Darren says:

    was there any other reasons for having the stand in more than one section. or was it something that just happened.

  • Aaron says:

    Hi Mark, what is the size of his tank? Is it glass or acrylic ? How did he do to keep the water level so low (from the top)? I have been planning to have a tank shape and look like that as room divider, where the overflow at the center of the tank.

  • Sal says:

    I really enjoy how he wants to create a part of the ocean in his home, by having the lower tank and the wave feature. Great to see, thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Loc says:

    Hi, Mark. Thanks for a great job, but how about a tour of your new tank, please!

  • Dave says:

    It’s interesting to see that Julian uses natural filteration on his tanks. I am a firm believer in Refugia in a tank system and have personally experienced noticeable differences in my tanks that use an added biological system. It just makes sense! Let nature do the work. On my 210 gallon tank I run a lit refugium and a dark (cryptic zone) my fish and corals are noticeably healthier than the tanks that don’t use natural biology. Don’t get me wrong I still run a protein skimmer, carbon and GFO reactor but I firmly believe that you could have s successful marine system using only natural filteration. And obviously more water volume the better and more stable the system is. Now, I always account for additional room in all my builds for this reason plus, if you have the room, it makes for another Eco system to observe. Julian mentioned Sanjay in your interview who has had proven success utilizing natural filteration, high mineral mud substrate and Refugia. My next build will have equally as much display water as filteration water. Last but not least water movement! Waveboxes are the way to go! You can run a wave box and not use any ugly powerheads and it will dislodge any detritus that powerheads can’t reach. Tunze makes great waveboxes and all their equipment is well built and very reliable. In the aquaruim and automobile world the Germans make the best ***t!!!
    Tanks for all your videos and books Mark you make our lives a happier place! Now if you could just write a book titled. “Wives and Aquariums” how to keep and maintain them both:-)

  • Dave…I can hear it now, “The No-Nonsense Guide to Wife and Reef Tank Management”. I’d never hear the end of that one!

  • Matt says:

    More importantly Mark, you’d never ever get to finish writing it! No lifetime would be long enough and you’d be dusty and grey before you reached half way 😛

  • Travis T. says:

    Great video! A personal favorite so far. Can’t wait for a follow up with other tanks of his in the future!



  • paulhr says:

    How hard would it be to list out the fish mentioned with their proper spelling so I can try to find them?

  • Jason says:

    Thanks Mark I really enjoyed seeing the man The Legend and his aquariums from so many books that I’ve read and learn from. Thanks again Mark.

  • JD says:

    Kudos to you both. Have been reading Julians’ words since Don Dewey added a column in the original FAMA magazine called Reef Notes back in the 80’s. Sleep well Don, you are missed.

  • Hai says:

    The No- Nonsense Guide to Wife and Reef Tank Management I agree with

  • Mark says:

    Nice tour!! However, I don’t remember hearing what the demensions of the tank were. Would you please reply with the tank size. Thank you!

  • Bryan says:

    Great video, ranks right up there with the 225k g tank in Cali you released a few months ago!! I really like the no PS along with the external refugium display! I am one of those reef junkies who likes to look in refugium/sump as much as the DT!! Got me thinking for my next build. I thought 150g was going to be enough but I think a 210 is calling my name!

  • david says:

    i think this should be the first in a Series mark ! Reef tanks of famous aquarists !! i would love for you to go around and do this with all the famous Reefers and also maybe other famous tank builds that are worthy of your time. This was GREAT , i LOVE that he has no skimmer, and yet his tank its thriving ! just goes to show you that almost nothing is absolute, there are many paths to a healthy aquarium !

  • Franklin dattein says:

    That is what I call a tank with personality. I would love seeing Julian’s other tanks.

  • mary says:

    nice to finaly see someone who doesnt use a skimmer on every tank,of the 5 tanks i currently have running i only have a skimmer on my 75g,the 20l clown/sebae tank runs nothing but fuge,same goes for the 2 30 breeders i have running

  • colby says:

    Mark Please do a show or explain why some reef tanks have UV sterilizers on them and the pros and cons of them.. Just not enough definitive answers on forums that explain. Thanks for all you help..

  • colby…I talk about UV sterilizers inside of my quarantine guide

  • Martin says:

    WOW !! Awesome video, thanks for sharing that with us. One question, How can he have such a great water movement with a 3 side view without power head as we can see in your video ??

    Thanks again.

  • Kerric Peyton says:

    Awesome to see Julian Sprung and his tank!

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