Monday, December 30, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
I had freshwater tanks growing up until I went to college, where I got my first reef tank. It was a custom acrylic 10 gallon tank with a built in overflow/sump section. I had a 2-bulb T5 fixture above it with mostly LPS and soft corals. It didn't take long for me to want to upgrade. I knew I wanted another all-in-one system, but it needed to be a lot bigger and able to grow a mixed reef (specifically SPS).
I wanted the best of the best so, the next thing I know, I'm selling my 10 gallon tank and ordering an Innovative Marine 38 Gallon Nuvo, EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w G2 LED Light and an MP10 powerhead.
heater. I intended to be very picky about each piece of rock in my tank, so I got the aquarium up and cycling before I ever added any. I visited my LFS and picked up about 30 pounds of live rock and two Green Chromis fish to help the cycle along. I went through a pretty bad green hair algae phase the first month my tank was in operation, After lowering the intensity of my light and adding some Boyd Chemi-Pure, it all disappeared.
Innovative Marine Midsize Protein Skimmer, Tunze Nano Osmolator Auto Top-Off System, SpectraPure CSP RO/DI System, Marine Depot Refractometer, and two Innovative Marine CustomCaddy Media Baskets.
I am beyond excited about my tank right now! It is running like a charm with minimal effort. I now have the mixed reef tank I've always wanted.
Next I'll add an Innovative Marine MagnaFuge LED Refugium Light to my new media baskets. The EcoTech Marine Reef Link is a must-have for me, too, since I am running the Radion and MP10. I would like to add a controller some day to simplify everything even further, possibly the Neptune Systems Apex AquaController.
I'd like to add some new corals next to the growing corals in my tank so my aquascape will eventually be covered in corals. I have always believed in getting top-of-the-line products so everything will run smoothly and efficiently. I have never been happier with my aquarium than I am today and I can't wait to see what challenges the future holds.
The standard Hydra LEDs are already awesome lights and I have been very happy with them. They feature full spectrum LEDs, seven controllable channels and tons of programming functions including sunrise, sunset, cloud simulation and thunderstorm modes. Taking that same successful formula, the new top-of-the-line Hydra FifityTwo adds more power (135W compared to 90W) and more LEDs (52 versus 20). The extra power and extra LEDs translates to wider coverage, better color blending, deeper light penetration and longer LED life as each LED is running at a lower wattage.
The extra penetrating power on the Hydra FiftyTwo is also quite noticeable when seeing it right next to the standard Hydra.
Friday, December 20, 2013
As saltwater aquarium keepers, one of the most important water parameters we measure is the salt level: salinity.
While hydrometers are quick and easy to use, they are almost never accurate and tend to worsen over time due to salt and slime build-up. Personally, I would not recommend a hydrometer unless it is calibrated or checked regularly with a refractometer.
The pro refractometer is designed specifically to read the salinity of natural seawater so it can be accurately calibrated with regular RO/DI water, distilled water or calibration solution. Additionally, the pro refractometer features a larger scale (ranging from 1.015-1.030) that makes it easier to read.
As a side note, those who have quarantine tanks and use hypo-salinity as treatment will want to use the standard refractometer as a salinity level of 1.009 is required, which is outside the range of the pro refractometer.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
How would you like to test drive the latest aquarium technology before anyone else?
We are looking for 5 savvy aquarium owners to join us for 6-month assignment as an aquarium product tester.
Each month we will send you 1-3 new aquarium innovations to test with your tank—some you'll even get to keep!
All you have to do is provide a 2-3 minute video review for each product you receive. Your insights will then be shared with other aquarium keepers around the world on our website and YouTube channel.
Here is another great piece of equipment that saves me a ton of time maintaining my aquarium: the Flipper Magnetic Algae Cleaner. This magnet cleaner allows me to clean all 3 sides of my 150-gallon peninsula tank (about 14 square feet of area) in less than 3 minutes!
The best feature of the flipper is that one side has the standard cleaning pad for cleaning film algae while the other side has a scraper blade for removing coralline algae or other hard algae. With the patented “flip” mechanism, you don’t even have to reach your hand in the water to flip the magnet from one side to the other.
|Our new Some Assembly Required T-shirt print|
There were over 30 vendors with booths displaying products and corals. There were also local stores showing off their corals and dry goods, in addition to out-of-state companies like Continuum Aquatics and Jason Fox.
RO/DI units to LED light strips, T5 bulbs, supplements, food, filters and media, corals and more.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I would like to revisit a great little product that
I use regularly called AquaMaxx UltraMaxx AIO. I like to think of this product as
activated carbon on steroids.
|Filter bag and zip tie included|
|The various resins mixed in with activated carbon|
- It helps to keep your water crystal clear, which improves light penetration so your corals get more light. Plus, you get to look at and enjoy a cleaner tank!
- It helps lower your nutrient levels which in turn reduces nuisance algae growth.
- It absorbs chemicals released by corals which helps reduce the chemical warefare between corals.
|Just pour the media into the bag & tie it up|
|Give it a quick rinse to get rid of carbon dust|
|Into the tank it goes then I'm set for another 2-3 months! |
Here you can see my clownfish hosting experiment as well.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
You know those cool, coke bottle-shaped conical diffusers on the bubble plate of the ConeS protein skimmer line?
AquaMaxx just upgraded the HOB-1 with the same style plus redesigned the hang-on bracket AND increased the size of the collection cup!
Best of all, they're now IN STOCK—while supplies last, anyway. Head over to our store to check out the new photos we just shot so you can see if the HOB-1 is right for you!
This new formulation offers two improvements that are specifically beneficial to new fish or a finicky feeder. First is the higher concentrations of attractants (such as mollusk and fish oils) to make the food more scented and entice the fish to eat. The better the food smells, the more likely they will try and take a bite. Second is the increase in nutrition density over their standard formulations, which are already highly nutritional. A finicky or new fish will usually eat less food. The higher nutrition density will help to give the fish more energy and nutrition while it recovers and acclimates to its new environment.
To train the fish to eat, I turn off the pumps then drop in 5-6 pellets 2-3 times a day. The clownfish started sampling the food after a couple of days then start to eat more and more each day. A couple of weeks later, they now feed very actively and will swim to the top of the aquarium every time I approach the aquarium with the jar of Finicky Fish Formula.
Check out the ingredients in New Life International Spectrum Finicky Fish Food on our website and, perhaps, even order a container if your fish made it onto Santa's "nice" list this holiday season!
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
We received a lot of requests from hobbyists asking to see more of our customer support supervisor's tank after posting photos of his elaborate Bubble Magus dosing system a couple of weeks back along with some photos of his tank.
Walt was gracious enough to allow us into his home to shoot footage of his 60-gallon reef tank. Check out this video to learn about Walter's dosing system, lighting and his maroon clown, Fred!
Sunday, December 08, 2013
First, I would like to thank Walter, our customer service
supervisor. Being such an awesome guy, he was nice enough to give me his AI Director.
I must admit that my initial feelings of this new AI Director was rather sour during setup. I must also admit that some of the problems were caused my failure to read and follow ALL the directions. Some of these issues included being unable to connect to my Wi-Fi network and not being able to save my customized programming. After repeating the set up process several times, installing “Bonjour for Windows” and trying a different internet browser, I was finally able to get everything up and running properly.
For programming: those that like things as uncomplicated as possible can select the “Easy Setup” under the “Control” tap. This allows you to set the Sunrise and Sunset times as well as the “Ramp Time” which is the duration of the sun rise/set. Just enter the 3 times click “Save” and you are done!
For those that want a little bit more control, clicking on the “Manual Mode” allows you to adjust the maximum intensities of each of the 7 channels. Lunar mode is also easily set by simply clicking on the on/off button and entering the start and end times.
Those wanting advanced controls, like me, are able to chart the intensity of each channel throughout the day. I love the fact that I can set the lights to gradually come on and go off in the morning while I get ready for work, then have a separate main lighting schedule. Being able to manually chart the intensities on the graph also allows me to see the exact amount of light of every channel during each time period: which was hard to determine with the handheld controller.
The preview feature is also great to let you visualize how the tank will look throughout the day.
Putting it over the top is the regional weather. This new feature allows you to simulate the weather in many locations though out the world.
Having all these great features allow me to enjoy my Hydra LED lights even more than before. As the Director is a very new product, there are some bugs that are still being worked out. Fortunately, Aqua Illumination has always offered excellent support and firmware updates will continue to fix issues as they arise.
The Android and iOS apps coming in the future will allow you to control your light through your phone or tablet. This is definitely one great option to maximize the functionality and enjoyment of your Aqua Illumination lights.
And Walter, I hope you will not be changing your mind as I am definitely not giving it back.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Before you finalize your holiday wish list this year, be sure to check out our 2013 holiday gift guide! We've got the season's most-wanted gifts sorted by price to make giving—or receiving—easy!
We're also introducing for the first time ever a special holiday gift certificate program. Sure, our standard, send-anytime gift certificates are still available! But if your intended recipient (even if that recipient is YOU yourself) is able to wait until the day after Christmas—or later—to order their aquarium supplies, you can get 10% more cash on your gift certificate for FREE. So, for example, if buy a $100 gift certificate, you will only be charged $90. The more you buy, the more you save!
We know you have a lot of friends and family to take care of this holiday season. So if you need a little more time to pay for your aquarium supplies, try Bill Me Later. You can make no payments and pay no interest on orders over $300 if pay your bill within 6 months. That should make it a whole lot easier to buy one of the 10 Items on Every Reefkeeper's Holiday Wish List.
We've also included our holiday shipping deadlines and links to our latest content so you can add the finishing touches to your holiday wish list this weekend.
If you have any questions about the Marine Depot 2013 holiday gift guide or any of the aquarium supplies available on our website, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send us a message. We'd love to hear from you!
The latest from CoralVue is the AutoAqua Smart ATO, an amazingly compact unit packed with great features that will put it at the top of many hobbyists’ holiday shopping lists.
- Attach the tubing to the pump and place the pump into your reservoir
- Use the bracket to secure the tubing outlet to your tank or sump where the top-off water will be dispensed.
- Install the sensor/controller at the desired water level
- Plug the pump and power cables into the sensor/controller
- Plug the power adapter into your wall outlet and you’re done!
For example, if the pump typically takes 1 minute to fill, the AFS will trigger if the filling takes more than three minutes (if your top-off reservoir were to run dry or something caused the sensor to not detect the water is already full).
For non-fill security, the AFS will sound an alarm and flash the blue LED if the amount of time between top-off is more than three times the previous. For example, if the system typically tops off the aquarium every 10 hours, the AFS will trigger if the top off does not initiate for more than 30 hours (if the lens were misaligned, for example, or if there were algae build-up on the lens causing a false reading).
AutoAqua SmartATO from CoralVue is sure to be a hit. With a complete package price of only $149.99, it definitely makes the competition for the “best” ATO tougher than ever!