CORAL contributing Senior Editor Matt Pedersen has been quietly working on a basement pond project. While it sat filled, but largely devoid of livestock, since 2011, Pedersen finally fully stocked it in 2013, with the goal of spawning fish most aquarists would never dream of.

Matt is keeping his plans pretty close to his chest, but it’s hard to hide a 300-gallon cattle watering tub full of reef fishes. Whatever he has going on, we find it fascinating when he shares videos of the work in progress. (According to our friend Bob Fenner, “The Japanese think it shows an elevated sense of appreciation and intelligence to enjoying looking down into water to view your fishes.”)

Pedersen shared this video of feeding time, from November 22nd, 2013, the morning before his “Moorish Idol Project” was started.

CORAL Contributing Editor Matt Pedersen's 300 gallon trough pond, chock full of breeding projects.

CORAL Contributing Editor Matt Pedersen’s 300-gallon trough pond, chock full of breeding projects.


Count the species….


“The Pond” is a 300 gallon, nearly circular, Rubbermaid livestock watering trough that took a lot of work to bring into the basement of Pedersen’s 110 year old home.

Banggai Cardinalfish meet Hawaiian Moorish Idols

Banggai Cardinalfish meet Hawaiian Moorish Idols


Not always impossible to keep, Pedersen is trying to unlock new secrets of the Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus, and hopes to document captive spawning in the future.


The Rock Beauty Angel, Holacanthus tricolor; another species with a “hard-to-keep” reputation that is thriving in Pedersen’s pond.


Foureye Butterflies, Chaetodon capistratus, from the Florida Keys are one of Pedersen’s pet projects.


“Old” live rock accumulated over the years, combined with man-made rock, provide a warren of hiding places and boltholes.


The pond contains numerous projects with no guarantees, but hoped-for surprises.


Note mussel shells held in place with rubberbands to prevent the fish from flipping them while feeding – these fishes are well fed.


The black bottom of the pond gives the illusion of looking down into great depth.


There is never a dull moment when watching this scene in a Minnesota basement in mid-winter.

We look forward to Matt sharing more stories from The Pond, including just how he finessed a 300-gallon pond through the narrow stairway of his home,  in upcoming blog installments.

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