Monthly Archives: May 2011

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Corals and Seahorses found at extreme depths

Photo: Tom Bridge

 This cool little pygmy seahorse was recently discovered living in extreme depths near the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia.  At 13.7mm, this tiny species somehow finds a way to survive at an unheard of depth of 102 meters, which is virtually devoid of light.  The researchers used remote operated vehicles to locate the seahorses and several types of corals that had never been seen before at these depths.  Great photos and description of the expedition HERE.… More:

D-D New Magazine/Catalog

Cover Shot

 Leave it to D-D The Aquarium Solution, to create a new high caliber magazine type catalog about their product line.  D-D and its partners (Deltec, Rowa, and Giesemann) have loaded this magazine/catalog with all of the products they sell in Europe and some sold here in the States. This magazine/catalog has detailed information on all of their products with a third party review of their salt, H2Ocean.  To further enhance this catalog they incorporated a series of featured articles giving the reader a wider variety of material to enjoy. Featured Articles:
  • Understanding Salinity  by Stuart Bertram
  • Chasing the Tail of pH  by Simon Garratt
  • David Saxby’s Reef Aquarium  by Chris Carlton
  • An Idiots Guide to Reef Photography  by Tony Rogers
  • Adventure at Apo Reef  by Tony Vargas

  The quality of this catalog is second to none.  The paper used to layout these magnificent photographs are thick with a semi-gloss finish.  This is a new high for our industry and I can see others trying to duplicate this new high.… More:

BoostLED Reef Lamp Clamp

 Finally a way to hold those PAR bulbs over our picos! I’ve been a fan of BoostLED’s PARs since they came out, but this one takes the cake. Check back soon for the hands on review. 

Our BoostLED™ Reef Lamp Clamps are perfect for your PAR30 Reef Lamps!   Stop hunting for random clamps at your local hardware store!  The BoostLED™ Reef Lamp Clamp is a sleek and simple solution!Designed to be used with our BoostLED™ PAR30 Reef Lamps, they are made with a solid acrylic base and a hefty neck.  The flexible neck will allow you to place the Reef Lamps at different angles and various heights, so you can find that sweet spot for your PAR30 Reef Lamps.Reef Lamp Clamp are designed to be used with both rimless and regular rimmed tank.*Specs:
  • E26/E27 Standard Socket (regular light bulb).
  • 110-240 Volts AC at 50/60Hz.
  • 24-inch Black Anodized Flexible Neck.
  • 2-Prong (US flat pins) Plug with 6 ft Cable.
  • 3 Nylon Screws with 3 Rubber Pads.
  • Maximum Tank Thickness: 1-inch


Boost LED Reef Lamp Clamp  … More:

The Pros and Cons of Frugality

 Some people get off on spending money, and reefkeeping is a great hobby for those people. There are tons of “high-end”, trendy corals, the latest and greatest gadgets, and bigger and better tanks for those with some extra cash and a hankering for retail therapy. Then, there is my brother. Doug gets a thrill out of seeing how cheaply he can set up a tank, with varying degrees of success. Need a reef tank? How about the old hex the neighbor put out in the trash? Cover? Old window screen (frame intact). Sump? Good ole Rubbermaid. Evaporation control? The storm window that came with the screen. The tank was drilled at home and plumbed with PVC and leftover Tygon tubing from who-knows-where. The light was a state-of-the-art halide, purchased for the price of “on the house” from a warehouse upgrading its lighting. And my favorite, the calcium reactor (at right): a Coke bottle, rinsed (some) and filled with calcium hydroxide and tap water. Ta-da, reef tank. This photo was taken early in its life, hence the green water as the system settled in. Now, you might assume I am being critical of my brother’s system and methods, and mostly you’d be wrong. Sure, there are things that could be done better–for example, Mountain Dew Bottles work much better as calcium reactors. And, perhaps, a bit of electrical safety would be nice (one of Doug’s funnier quotes was “wow, that didn’t shock me as much that time!”). If you think about it, though, what he did was to create a living system out of nothing but roadside scraps and fixin’s from around the house. The point wasn’t to be beautiful, the point was to be functional, and it allowed him to try out the hobby with almost zero financial input. This system doesn’t exist anymore (shocking, I know). It’s been replaced by an in-wall ~200g built with the same mentality–it’s a plywood tank, sealed watertight and strengthened with layers of epoxy and automotive fiberglass. I’ll save that tank build for another post though. So why is this blog worthy? Centainly it is not “Tank of the Month”. It demonstrates, however, that anyone can keep saltwater fish if they are willing to invest the time to build, and more importantly, the time to educate themselves. Plug-and-play, this system is not. But moving away from the rigid thinking that “reefkeeping is extraordinarily expensive!” opens the hobby up to the less financially capable–especially kids.  … More:

Bennett’s 250

Scott Bennett’s 250-Gallon Reef

  During one of my recent speaking engagement with NCPARS (North Central Pennsylvania Aquarium Reef Society) Sanjay took me to visit Scott Bennett.  Scott is a talented local reefer that resides within close proximity to Sanjay.  He is a professor at Penn State University, just like Sanjay! Scott owns a beautiful 250-gallon reef aquarium with all its filtration devices located downstairs in the basement.  This tank is illuminated with two 400-watt Ushio 14,000K bulbs and two LED moonlights. This aquarium relies on a VorTech pump, two closed-loop systems, and two Sea Swirls for much of its flow. Live rock built up on fiberglass rods give the aquascaping to this aquarium an open and spacious look.  Enjoyed by both fish and corals.  Oh, lets not forget the many visitors Scott’s aquarium attracts.

             … More:

Nano IVS Portal Update

 I talked to Tom’s wife at IVS yesterday and got an update on the Nano Portal that was unveiled at Reefstock this year. They originally planned to start shipping the little viewer during the summer, but due to price increases in magnets this year won’t be able to get them going until a little bit later. Initial reports point towards a date late in the year, but assuming prices stabilize they should be able to get them going earlier. Stocks of the bigger Portal are high, so shipping on them shouldn’t be interrupted. You truly have a unique product that every tank should have Tom, so I would like to wish you guys the best, and we are all hoping things stabilize quickly for you. For more information about the IVS Portal, visit them on the web at:  … More:

More Brains Than Brawn

 Surely everyone has an idea in their head when someone says coral, and that image for me is undoubtedly brain coral. Since diving the Caribbean as a kid, I’ve had brain coral stuck in my head as the benchmark for what a sessile invertebrate should look like, and no matter how much I see them brains still catch my eye when shopping for my next purchase. At the heart of this category for me is the wellsophyllia brain. with their huge fleshy extensions and broad range of colors, they never cease to amaze my senses and make me want to max the credit card. They truly give some of the best bang for the buck out of all corals coming mainly in large colonies that are ready to be show pieces of any aquarium. They are also one of the easiest to care for of all the corals I’ve had experience with and need almost nothing more than soft coral conditions to thrive. Wellsophyllias are easily recognized by their large fleshy lobes with short feeding tentacles in each opening. They may also extend longer sweeper tentacles into the current to feed on meaty foods. Wellsophyllias comes in a huge range of colors from greens to reds to blues, and all variations fluoresce beautifully. They are easily confused with the very similar tracaphyllia brain, but may be easily sorted by a quick look at the base skeleton. Wellsophyllias have a flat base while tracaphyllias have a pointed conical base. Under the fleshy exterior lies a sharp ridged skeleton that sometimes may be seen when the flesh retracts. Caring for wellsophyllias is relatively easy. They are very tolerant of a big range of flow patterns, light and don’t need additional feeding to survive. Wellsophyllias should always be placed on the sand away from rock-work to reduce the chance of flesh being damaged in the current. Wellsophyllias are in the large polyp stony group and must have adequate calcium levels to grow. As with most LPS corals, they also need stable alkalinity to maintain their best health. If asked what level of difficulty they are to keep, I would place them in the easy to medium category making them attainable for even the novice reef keeper. They do require a fairly large amount of space, so may not be feasable to the nano reefer. If you’re like me and love the classic look of a brain coral in your reef, the wellsophyllia brain may be the perfect place to start.… More:

Above Tank Refugiums…. Say what?

Above tank refugiums became interesting to me when I was trying to save space and a little on electricity. My first above tank refugium was used for holding seahorses and pipefish as an extension to my shark tank.I actually hung a 40 gallon long acrylic tank CAREFULLY over my 240. I had one pump feed water from the main display through a UV light into the above tank fuge. Over time, I started using the concept for other uses.  Here is one of my earlier attempts at an above tank fuge as a way to raise seahorses off of the main system. It was a failure but at least it was a building block to what became a well oiled machine.

  The main issue I had with this version was keeping the seahorse fry from getting stuck to the overflow screen. The benefits of this system was that is was placed above a mature system that was loaded with nutritional live foods that the fry could eat off of the wall of the fuge. Below is a picture of the mature system and a video of the fry in this version of my above tank fuge. As I was experimenting different ways to use the above tank fuge for seahorse fry, I actually decided to hang a small glass tank on the wall similar to what my first above tank fuge was. It contained modifications that were specific to the needs of the seahorse fry. It was still fed from the main system so live foods would be present but the over flow was modified to keep the fry from getting stuck as well as some modification were made to help keep the pelagic fry floating in the current. You can also see a video on how the fry were living in this version of my fuge. [stream provider=video flv=x:/ embed=false share=false width=600 height=360 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /] After my experiments and optimization of the fuge for seahorse fry, I started using them for a live food source for other fish. I’m a firm believer in diversity in food offerings to maintain a healthy system and animals. Unfortunately its not practical to keep many different species together. So I started using above tank fuges to house incompatible species on the same system while maintaining the benefit of a live food source. The most recent above tank fuge I’ve used holds Asian Sure crabs which release fry on a regular basis.… More: is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.