Category Archives: DIY

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Making Your Own Ice Packs is Cool and Easy

Summer is here and if you ship out a bunch of corals every week like I do, you’re going to need to keep them cool. Ice packs from most shipping supply companies cost anywhere from $1.00 – .50 cents each, that means I used to spend a few hundred dollars per year just on ice packs and you generally only have two size options. I have made ice packs out of gelatin in the past, but I find it to be messy, time consuming, and not vegan friendly. It had been in the back of my mind for awhile to try using water polymer crystals to make ice packs after seeing them used in floral arrangements, so I recently started doing it. 

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Water Polymer Crystals after absorbing water

 Water polymer crystals… More:

Long Island Collecting Log: The next wave has arrived

Spotfin and tangsLast week I reported on the arrival of the first tropical fishes of the year to appear in Long Island waters after a seining trip at Fire Island inlet turned up a filefish, groupers, and northern sennets. This week I am happy to announce that the next wave has arrived.… More:

Long Island Collecting Log: The tropicals are in

The northern sennet, a close relative of the great barracuda, is usually among the first warm-water species to appear on Long Island each year.

The northern sennet, a close relative of the great barracuda, is usually among the first warm-water species to appear on Long Island each year.

 After a long cold winter and amid disturbing reports that the North Atlantic may be entering a cool phase, I am very happy to report that the first tropical species of the year have made their appearance in Long Island waters.Yesterday, I was joined by an elite team of fish collectors… More:

Gyotaku: An Awesome Form of Traditional Japanese Fish Art

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Seldom does a modern fisherman land a prize catch without capturing the moment forever, digitally, with a quick selfie. But without this key piece of technology—the camera—by what method did mid-19th century Japanese anglers preserve proof of their trophy catch for posterity? They practiced a traditional style of “fish printing” known as gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓). Accordingly, most fishing boats from this period were stocked with the essential art supplies: rice paper, brushes and sumi-e ink. Over the decades, gyotaku has evolved from a rather crude means of measuring up a catch into a bona fide form of artistic expression; while it is no longer practiced in Japan by fishermen, it is appreciated woldwide as a fine art. A form of specialized art termed nature printing or “rubbing,” subjects include anything from fishes to seashells to leaves. Fish require some preparation to ensure that they do not leak seawater or body fluids during the printing process. In its simplest form, the relief surface of the subject is coated with ink. Colorful pigments may additionally be used. A sheet of paper is rubbed over the inked surface of the fish carcass, capturing as many fine details of the scales, fin rays, etc. as possible. Sometimes this first dark copy would be used as a work copy, being used to print many lighter copies which were then often elaborated upon by hand. In the West, it is typical to start with the direct method, and then finish the piece off with the brush application of colored inks.… More:

Friday Rewind

More robots! Today’s video brings us footage of some more advanced models of the CRM line of robots. Here we can see the robot going through its paces and performing various tasks, from dish washing and snow shoveling to fish netting and pet store clean up. Sadly, not everyone is polite to robots. If you see a robot today, give ’em a hug. More:

Reefing from Afar, Part 2: Automation Options

There are a wide variety of solutions for automating your reef aquarium and monitoring from afarIn Part 1 of this series, I laid down some of the expectations for success, and now we are ready to dive into the functions that we can automate. Automation can range from low-tech to high-tech and fit various budgets, though the level of refinement of the solution and its robustness can be a function of cost and knowledge. As long as the solution serves the purpose you need it to perform, then it is a viable solution. Stages of automation based on budget or needThis is a major part of the planning phase since you need to understand what is available to you and for what cost. Fortunately these can be implemented as needed or as funds become available since very few people can afford all this at once. We will focus on the practical levels of automation, but if you have the money and the knowledge, you can reach very extreme levels of automation. So below are some ideas of what to automate and their options

CMAS Frag Swap 2015

My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/coralfish12g In this CoralFish12g video I take a trip to the CMAS, Chicago Marine Aquarium Society Frag Swap. There were a lot of vendors and plenty of people to meet. Marc Levenson was the guest speaker and it was overall a very cool event.

Reefing from Afar, Part 1: The Six “Ps”

There comes a time in every reef fanatic’s life where little things like work and vacation travel get in the way of enjoying the hobby. While being away for just a week, I have gone through everything from little disasters, such as algae blooms, to the horror of losing a whole system. Rather than accept problems as inevitable every time I travel, I’ve set out to automate as much of my system as possible.Allow me to introduce myself! I am by no means a professional aquarist, nor do I make my living in this industry, but as a professional systems engineer, I have applied many of my engineering practices to my reef aquarium, which in my mind feels like a multimillion-dollar system. I have been in the saltwater aquarium hobby for over 25 years. I worked at a local pet store chain growing up and ran its first saltwater system when the base technology encompassed only undergravel filters, wet-dry systems, and air-driven skimmers with wooden air diffusers. Today, technology has advanced quite a bit with respect to filtering methods, lighting, and water chemistry

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