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Marcin Smok

About Marcin Smok

Marcin Smok is a reefer, amateur photographer, traveler, SCUBA diver and and avid DIY-er. He has been keeping freshwater fish tanks since he was 9 years old. Check his photography site at
Latest Posts

Product Review: Bashsea I-Sea Coral viewer

  Bashsea I-Sea Coral viewer An aquarium’s glass panel provides a window into an underwater world. Whether the tank mimics a coral reef, a tropical river overgrown with aquatic plants, or a cichilid-filled African lake, these peeks into an otherwise inaccessible environment, is by far the most enjoyable perk of the hobby. That being said, we get so accustomed to seeing our aquatic setups from the front or side panels of the tank, that when an opportunity (such as a water change) arises to look in from above, it feels like seeing entirely different aquascape. This view is normally obscured by the constant water agitation, but now there are tools that allow for top-down observation of the fish tank environment. One such device comes from the well-respected American manufacturer Bashsea and will be the subject of today’s review. … More:

Product Review: EatON 5S1000LCD UPS Device

Eaton 5S UPS Power outages. Aquarists’ worst nightmare, these unpredictable events are often responsible for catastrophic tank crashes and loss of inhabitants in our home aquariums. Power interruptions can wipe out years of carefully-nurtured reef tank ecosystems in a matter of hours. In a grim reality of changing climate, less and less places are spared from the unforgiving power of Nature. Even where I live, in the relatively safe Northeastern part of the United States, rogue weather can knock out power lines and leave households without electricity for days at a time- as we witnessed in the aftermath of 2012 Hurricane Sandy, one of the costliest natural disasters in recent history. There is nothing we can do to prevent these events, but we can protect ourselves and our tanks from temporary power disruptions with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices. Surprisingly, the aquarium industry does not offer a great choice of such equipment and the few that are designed specifically for an aquarists in mind are often overpriced and/or lacking in the amount of emergency power they can store. For those reasons, aquarists sometimes have to “cross the border” and look outside the hobby for solutions to this problem.  One such product, which falls into the computer hardware category, is the subject of today’s in-depth review- the 5S1000LCD UPS from EatON Corporation.… More:

Product Review: The New EcoTech Marine VorTech MP40 QUIETDRIVE

Vortech MP40QD pump
Once every decade or so, a product comes out that redefines and revolutionizes the industry it belongs to. Just like a smartphone for mobile communications, an electric car that goes 0-60 in under 3 seconds for automotive technology, or a remote-controlled drone for aerial surveillance and photography, EcoTech’s introduction of the VorTech Propeller Pump in 2005, revolutionized the home aquarium water-movement products industry. This innovative product transformed Ecotech from a student-run start-up project to one of the best known names in the aquarium industry. Ten years later, the “wave-maker” has been remade for the third time, complete with new features and a completely  re-engineered  controller. What’s so special about the new driver? Let’s find out… … More:

Fluval Marine & Reef LED 2.0 Review

fluval sea 2.0 Three years ago, I reviewed the Sea LED Light, Fluval’s first attempt to enter the reef-capable LED lights scene. At the time, it wasn’t a revolutionary light, nor was it a high end fixture. However, it had an attractive retail price, a large coverage area, a wide availability through chain pet stores, and it grew less-light-demanding corals just fine. The light became popular, and proved that low-power SMD (surface mounted diodes), when packed together tightly, can support growth of photosynthetic animals in a saltwater setup. The blog donated the light in 2012 to a struggling reefer who had lost his tank during Hurricane Sandy, and he still enjoys it to this day, growing zoanthids and leather corals in a 20g aquarium. A year ago, Fluval announced the second generation of its reef-oriented LED panels, consisting of the Fluval Halo Nano, the Fluval Sirius Reef (which never made it to the shelves), and the subject of my review today, a new version of the Sea LED, called the Marine & Reef Full Spectrum Performance LED 2.0.… More:

SICCE Voyager Nano Unboxing 

Sicce Voyager Nano Sicce is making a “big splash in a small package” with their line of nano pumps and propeller powerheads. I’ve recently had the opportunity to test the tiny Syncra Nano return pump (you can read the review here), and today we’re going to visit another Sicce small-sized pump and the perfect match to Syncra Nano- the Voyager Nano.  … More:

Zoanthids in their Natural Environment

Zoanthids in Maui

Zoanthids in Maui

 Every reefkeeper’s desire is to someday see the corals that we love and care for at home out in their natural environment. Sometimes, these ecosystems are drastically different from the conditions we recreate in our home aquariums. I had the opportunity to learn just that when I encountered one my favorite marine invertebrates- zoanthids, while snorkeling and diving off the beach in Maui, Hawaii. My findings were quite shocking… … More:

SICCE Syncra Nano Unboxing Review

Sicce Syncra NanoSicce Syncra Nano was introduced in Europe back in 2014, and is finally showing up in North American markets. It is a compact return pump, designed and manufactured in Italy by a company known for making high-quality, long-lasting products. There is already an excellent, in-depth review of Syncra Nano by Danilo Ronchi here on, and I would like to share my thoughts on the American version of this interesting addition to Sicce’s circulation pumps market.… More:

Sicce HyperKoral & Calanus 

Sicce HyperKoral I recently wrote about Sicce’s new HyperReef three-stage dosing system. There is a second part to this system; it consists of two products formulated to feed corals and other reef organisms directly through the water column. … 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.