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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: Coral Finder: Indo-Pacific Underwater Identification Guide

Keeping corals and other reef dwelling animals reaches beyond the simple passion for colorful fish and invertebrates since the ancient times of reefkeeping when people first started having success with their reef aquariums. World of science quickly followed and begun to notice the importance of hobbyists’ and diving communities knowledge of coral reefs . Few decades later, this ongoing romance with science still holds up, more scientists work closely and share knowledge with amateur reefkeepers and diving clubs around the globe than ever before. We read about successful marine fish breeding attempts, species discoveries as well as new methods of identification and remedies for problems coral reefs all around the world face in the 21st century Just recently, at last MACNA conference in Dallas, TX, a keynote speaker and well-known ocean activist Jean-Michel Cousteau pointed out our importance in efforts to save the ocean, calling aquarists advocates for the well-being of the seas that gave life to this planet. Many of us are trying to learn as much as we can about the animals we keep in captivity and their role in reef communities, making this hobby something more than passion for saltwater animals. With this lengthy introduction, I would like to present to you an interesting product and subject of this review, Coral Finder Indo Pacific written by Russell Kelley, Program Director at the Coral Identification Capacity Building Program and published by  The physical items Coral Finder includes are: an underwater coral identification guide and accompanying it DVD disc, although this package proves to be much more than that, which I will explain in the rest of this product review. Read on…… More:

Product Review: Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm aquarium heater

When it comes to fish tank equipment, countless amount of innovations have been implemented in recent years as technology changed and our understanding in keeping marine animals improved. There is however, a group of aquarium devices that hasn’t changed so much in terms of build and functionality. Belonging to such category are aquarium heaters- sure, we’ve seen some improvements in the thermostat designs, build quality and user-friendliness, but at the end of the day most heaters look and perform alike and it comes down to individual models reliability and effectiveness that really matters. After all, the last thing aquarist need is a heater that either fails to keep set temperature or, worst, overheat tank’s water and kill all inhabitants.… More:

Neptune System Apex Releases BETA Android App

600 Great news for the New Year from Neptune Systems- the highly anticipated Apex Android App has just been released (currently in BETA stage) and can be obtained via Google Play Store (link) Enjoy! 1unnamedMore:

MACNA Corals Photographs Pt.2 (and another free wallpaper, too!)

 Part II of MACNA coral and invertebrates pictures.  My choice for a wallpaper comes from a Coral Restoration Foundation tank, a beautiful display featuring fish and invertebrates that can be found in waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Florida. Enjoy this gallery of reef animals and I wish everyone  happy holidays season with unforgetable Christmas and New Year!… More:

DIY Guide:Dimming DIY LED lights with Neptune Systems Apex Controller

 High power light emitting diodes quickly became the new standard in providing an artificial light source for photosynthetic animals in our reef tanks. Most emitters output enough light to grow almost any coral in captivity, thus aquarium LED manufacturers shifted their focus to the software part of their lights in order to sell their product. Therefore, it’s all about control now…… More:

DIY Your Hobby: LED Stand&Sump Light

 Most of articles about DIY LED projects for our saltwater tanks focus on providing an adequate lighting solution for photosynthetic corals and other light-loving invertebrates. In this article, I would like to write about something different instead- how to lit-up things inside the stand that support our display tanks.… More:

Product Review: RapidLED new solderless LED kits

 Despite the falling prices of new LED lights coming out, DIY approach is still the most cost-effective solution along with the highest level of custom-ability and an unmeasurable amount of fun and pride of building something yourself. In one of my previous reviews I wrote about Rapid LED solderless kit (check it here LINK), an interesting solution for people who are eager to go the DIY route but don’t want to hassle with the soldering part of it. Recently, staff at RapidLED made few changes to their solderless kits and I received the redesigned package for review. Let’s see what’s new in this DIY kit…… More:

Product Review: Algae Mower Vac

 Every now and then aquarium industry is pleased with a device that raise eyebrows of fishkeeping enthusiasts and becomes a topic of discussion on internet forums, facebook walls as well as reefers’ get-togethers around the web. May it be for an incredible engineering, a beautiful design, a remarkable innovation or just for the simple confusion of hobbyist trying to figure out the purpose of it’s existence in the reefing world. Algae Mower Vac, the creation of one wise engineer, mister Kong Ho, surfaced in the reefing world at this year’s MACNA in Dallas and it quickly became one of the most interesting new things at the show’s floor. Is it good-looking? Well, if you are a fan of steampunk-like weapons, it surely will acquire to your taste. For the rest of us, the little aquatic tool is rather a weird looking stick than a piece of art. However, it shines in two other departments- innovation and effectiveness. How well it does that? I’ll explain in the rest of this product review, so stick around…… 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.