Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 5/26/09


QUESTION

I am having a hard time trying to figure out what kind of protein skimmer to use for my 16-gallon saltwater aquarium. Do you have any suggestions? P.S. - I'm poor.


ANSWER
I can recommend a few skimmers for your size tank.

The AquaC Nano Remora Protein Skimmer is a hang-on back (HOB) unit that is well-liked by customers but may be a little out of your price range. The AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer is fairly new, so it doesn't have as many reviews, but it is extremely affordable (although it has to be submerged in your tank). The Azoo Mignon Skimmer Hang On Back Power Filter is also affordable and is specifically designed for smaller tanks (20 gallons or less).

Positive word-of-mouth is important for any product, but especially so on inexpensive aquarium products. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Many times the "cheap" solution ends up being a waste of money since the product is inefficient, inadequate or simply not built to last. Many hobbyists buy entry-level products only to upgrade again later so you might want to consider "making an investment."

In closing I encourage you to read customer reviews and post in a message board or two (ours is a great place to start) to see what worked for your peers.

And, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.

-------------------------------------------------
If you would like to ask Keith a question, click here.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Pre-Order Special: AquaController Apex System


Making its debut at the Marine Aquarium Expo (MAX) earlier this year (see Reef Builders for more on that), the AquaController Apex System from Neptune Systems is one hot commodity.

Owning an aquarium controller certainly has its perks. But before we dive into the benefits, just a quick word on the look and feel of this device. The
AquaController Apex resembles a black iPod classic and really isn't much larger. And while we're on the iPod subject, we should also note that it interfaces with the super-cool iPod Touch/iPhone app, AquaNotes (when are you guys going to start making apps for Android?! I digress).

The screen has a graphic display--icons represent the states of controlled outlets--that offers multiple views of your monitor probes (plus it's completely customizable). The screen is easy to read, easy to navigate and easy on the eyes (in other words, it looks good). You can see graphs to identify trends and easily monitor/control multiple tanks ... without programming knowledge required (thank goodness for me).

We're offering this baby for pre-order now at a mere $499.99 with free shipping (if you need more time to pay, say, 90-days with no interest, try
Bill Me Later!). This is one item that lives up to the hype. Neptune Systems should be proud.

For your $499.99, here's what you'll get:


SYSTEM

  • 1 - Apex Base Unit
  • 1 - Apex Display
  • 1 - EnergyBar 8 Power Strip
  • 1 - Temperature Probe
  • 1 - Standard Grade pH Probe
CONNECTIVITY
  • Ethernet Interface
  • Embedded Web Server
  • Only controller with web browser Monitoring, Control & Configuration.
  • Email Alarms
EXPANDABILITY
  • Most expandable Controller (Up to 240 modules, hundreds of probes, and thousands of controlled outlets).
  • Simple menu driven Configuration: No program language knowledge required.
ROBUST TIMERS
  • Simulates sunrise/sunset
  • Simulates moon cycle
  • Wave Maker and Random timed cycles
  • Built-in Variable speed pump control
  • Still water feed mode (multiple modes)
ULTIMATE CONTROL
  • Monitor/Control Temperature, pH, and ORP
  • Digital Calibration on all probes
  • Seasonal temp & lighting control
  • Flexible Control Options

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New this Week, 5/20/09


Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Elite Controller RKE Complete System w/ Net
The ReefKeeper is the most expandable controller on the market, allowing the control of over 250 outlets. It has the capability of reading more probes and input devices than even the most demanding system will ever need. All this makes the RKE suitable for tanks from 1 to 10,000 gallons and beyond.


Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lighting Controller RKM-ALC
The serial I/O port is designed to interface with the Aqua Illumiation LED lighting array. The 2 x 0-10VDC ports allow advanced control of dimmable T5 ballasts. The 2 x pod ports give the ability to add an additional two lunar pods to your system. The ALC includes a switch adapter kit, a 6' cable that you can cut to length to get two individual cables to wire up dimmable ballasts or the Aqua Illuminations LED arrays.

Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lighting Controller RKM-MLC w/ 2 Lunar White Pods
Features LED status indicator, six pod ports and two bus ports. Measures 1.0" x 2.25" x 4.30". The package contents include one RKM-MLC module, two lunar white pods, one 4' bus cable and two mounting screws.



Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lighting Controller RKM-MLC w/ 2 Nocturnal Blue Pods
Features LED status indicator, six pod ports and two bus ports. Measures 1.0" x 2.25" x 4.30". The package contents include one RKM-MLC module, two nocturnal blue pods, one 4' bus cable and two mounting screws.



Digital Aquatics MLC Pod LED - Lunar White
The lunar white MLC pod LED requires an RKM-MLC or RKM-ALC to operate. LED features 100-degree viewing angle, 100mcd per LED output and a mixed, broad white spectrum wavelength.





Digital Aquatics MLC Pod LED - Nocturnal Blue
The nocturnal blue MLC pod LED requires a
n RKM-MLC or RKM-ALC to operate. LED features 100-degree viewing angle, 240mcd per LED output and a 465nm-470nm wavelength.





Zeovit ZEObak Nutrient Additive - 10ml
The value of bacteria in saltwater aquariums is one of the most under appreciated water quality parameters by aquarists. Planktonic bacteria provide corals with nutrients necessary for optimal growth and color. ZEObak contains various types of bacteria and when used in combination with ZEOfood, corals are able to take up the planktonic bacteria.


Zeovit ZEObak Nutrient Additive - 50ml
Experimental studies have shown that ZEObak and ZEOfood provide more intense coral colors immediately after dosing. THE essential microorganism solution for a healthy, well-balanced and efficient bacterial fauna in a tank. ZEObak contains several bacterial strains, used in combination with ZEOfood and ZEOstart building up bacteria plankton.


Zeovit ZEOfood 7 Coral Food w/Amino Acids - 50ml
ZEOfood contains amino acids and vitamins for optimal coral growth. ZEOfood increases bacterial growth that supplies corals with all necessary elements for healthy growth. If used in combination with ZEObak, levels of nitrate and nitrite are reduced.



Zeovit ZEOfood 7 Coral Food w/Amino Acids - 100ml
ZEOfood can also be in aquariums where ZEObak is not used to substantially accelerate the growth of beneficial bacteria. This forms the basis of biological recovery and promotes coral coloration in nutrient-poor aquariums. Dosing: directly into the tank 1-2 drops per 25 gallons/100 liters per day.



Zeovit ZEOstart 2 Tank & Coral Accelerator - 250ml
ZEOstart accelerates the cycling process in new tanks. Fishes, hard and soft corals can be added safely in approximately 3 weeks after adding water to a new tank. ZEOstart should also be used in tanks that are already running the ZEOvit system.




Zeovit ZEOstart 2 Tank & Coral Accelerator - 500ml
ZEOstart brings out amazing metallic colors in Acropora, Montipora, Stylophora and Pocillopora. Soft corals grow faster and show better polyp extension. Skimmers produce up to 100% more dark skimmate than before dosage of ZEOstart. Dosing: directly into the tank 1-2 drops per 250 gallons/1000 liters per day. This product is HIGHLY concentrated.


AquaticLife 420/460NM Dual Actinic 24 Inch 24W T5HO Bulb
Marine 420/460 Lamps feature an Actinic Phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm benefiting most corals. The Phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for increased blue light to enhance the fish colors.



AquaticLife 420/460NM Dual Actinic 36 Inch 39W T5HO Bulb
Marine 420/460 Lamps feature an Actinic Phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm benefiting most corals. The Phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for increased blue light to enhance the fish colors.



AquaticLife 420/460NM Dual Actinic 48 Inch 54W T5HO Bulb
Marine 420/460 Lamps feature an Actinic Phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm benefiting most corals. The Phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for increased blue light to enhance the fish colors.




AquaticLife 65 Watt 420/460NM Dual Actinic PowerCompact Bulb - Square Pin
Marine 420/460 Lamps feature an Actinic Phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm benefiting most corals. The Phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for increased blue light to enhance the fish colors.




AquaticLife 96 Watt 420/460NM Dual Actinic PowerCompact Bulb - Square Pin
Marine 420/460 Lamps feature an Actinic Phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm benefiting most corals. The Phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for increased blue light to enhance the fish colors.




AquaticLife Marine 700+ 10000K 24 Inch 24W T5HO Bulb
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 10,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.





AquaticLife Marine 700+ 10000K 36 Inch 39W T5HO Bulb
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 10,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.





AquaticLife 65 Watt 10000K Marine 700+ PowerCompact Bulb - Square Pin
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 10,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.





AquaticLife 96 Watt 10000K Marine 700+ PowerCompact Bulb - Square Pin
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 10,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.

Monday, May 18, 2009

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 5/15/09


QUESTION

I have a 16-gallon aquarium with 20 pounds of live rock, 4 small fish, an
Eheim 2213 and a 9-watt ultraviolet (UV) sterilizer. I run the UV sterilizer continuously, but ... do I need to?

ANSWER

There are two schools of thought on how frequently a UV sterilizer should run in a saltwater, and especially reef, aquarium setup. The first is to run the UV sterilizer 24/7: UV sterilizers are designed to run all day every day and doing so will certainly help control free-floating algae and parasites.

The thing is, UV sterilizers will not only kill "bad things." Populations of pods and other micro and macro organisms that
are desirable in a reef aquarium will also be killed during their planktonc (free-floating) stage when they pass through a UV sterilizer.

That's why some reefers run their UV sterilizers part time. Maybe they'll only run it during the day or have it on one week and off the next. Some run UV sterilizers during the first few weeks after adding new specimens to their aquarium.


It really is one's discretion how often to run a UV sterilizer. I suggest part-time for a reef tank and 24/7 for a fish-only (FO) system.

-------------------------------------------------
If you would like to ask Keith a question, click here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New this Week, 5/12/09


Tunze Multicontroller 7096
Tunze's Multicontroller 7096 is a control device for all Turbelle pumps fitted with an electronic motor, which can be adjusted via computer when attached by USB cable. It contains all function
s, simulates the various flow conditions of the sea in the aquarium and has an especially light LED moonlight. Includes multicontroller with photo-electric cell, moonlight, and 5 m (196.8 in.) USB cable, four connection cables, CD with Windows compatible control program. Suitable for MS-Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Deal of the Week


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Food, Fun and Facebook

Last week we had some fun, funny and insightful discussions about aquarium food and feeding with our friends on Facebook. If you haven't yet connected with us on Facebook, here's a preview of what you missed!


If you're curious how many of your fellow hobbyists have actually tried the food they put into their tank,
join us on Facebook today! :-)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 5/8/09


QUESTION

I have mushroom coral growing all over a single rock in my tank. How do I frag it?

ANSWER
There are a couple of ways you can frag a mushroom coral.


The first method does not involve fragmenting the coral at all. Instead, you simply thin out the population. I'm not sure if you'll be able to do this, but removing the "mushroom rock" from your aquarium will make your job much easier.


The only tool required is a chisel, although you may want to use a hammer, too. Find the base of the mushroom you want to remove and put the edge of the chisel on the rock just before the base of the coral. Tap the chisel gently; use a hammer if necessary. The goal is to remove a thin layer of rock with the mushroom still attached to it. Use reef glue or a two-part epoxy to attach the rock/frag elsewhere or leave as-is to sell (or trade) to another hobbyist or your local fish store.


To actually fragment the coral (make one into two), you'll need a new razor blade or scalpel. Cut the mushroom down the center, making sure to cut through the center of the coral's mouth. This does not remove the coral from the rock, so grab your chisel to complete the job.


For more information on fragging corals, try A Beginner's Guide to Fragging Corals. If you're ready to start fragging but need supplies, visit our Coral Propagation Store. And, as always, if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us ... we're here to help!

-------------------------------------------------
If you would like to ask Keith a question, click here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New this Week, 5/6/09


Brightwell Aquatics NeoZeo Zeolite Media 2.2 lbs
Unique zeolitic medium for selective removal of dissolved organic compounds through ionic and molecular adsorption, as well as passive uptake via the beneficial microbes that colonize the media; the combined result of these processes yields improved water quality and an important source of food (bacterioplankton) for corals and other suspension-feeding organisms. Provides a colonization site for the microorganisms responsible for nitrification, denitrification, and organic waste degradation in marine aquaria.


AquaticLife Marine 700+ 48 Inch 54W T5HO Bulb
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 10,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.






AquaticLife 150W HID 700+ 20000K Lamp
Marine 700+ Lamps feature a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 20,000 Kelvin light. The high PAR value increases th
e ability of corals to photosynthesize.

Monday, May 04, 2009

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 5/1/09


QUESTION

Which brand or type of PVC cement and purple PVC primer should I use for PVC
plumbing? I am running plumbing from my reverse osmosis (RO) unit in the basement to my reef tank upstairs.

ANSWER

There is not one specific brand/maker of PVC cement and purple primer I recommend. I would, however, advise you to purchase PVC products that are safe for potable (drinkable) water.


I personally use
Oatey Regular Clear PVC Cement (just look for the gold label) with their purple primer for CPVC or PVC piping.

Although for an RO unit, you do not need to use PVC; RO tubing can do the job. Just replace the filtered water feed with the appropriate length of new RO tubing and you should be able to run it all in one shot.


If you have any additional questions on this subject or any aquarium topic, please do not hesitate to let us know.


-------------------------------------------------
If you would like to ask Keith a question, click here.