Category Archives: Equipment

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Review: Maxspect XF150 Gyre Generator

Following on from our recent unboxing review in which we covered the basics of this unit, we’ve now had the XF150 running on our test tank for a few weeks so we thought we’d share out observations of this product in a full operational review. We’ve also been monitoring discussions on various forums with interest and we’ll aim to specifically discus some of the points raised with our own direct experience. Firstly, the XF150 is easy to install but it’s worth familiarising yourself fully with the operation of the device before sticking it straight in the tank. Although the unit comes in a single piece you will need to reassemble it if you are wanting to use it for anything other than constant one way gyre generation as the different rotors and cages will need to be fitted. It’s certainly worth running through this process anyway actually as being familiar with the principle behind the equipment’s operation will likely mean you get more out of it
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What Scuba Diving Has Taught Me About Keeping Marine Aquariums

Rules and best practices of scuba diving can teach us some lessons about keeping saltwater aquariumsWhile sitting here contemplating how long it’s been since I’ve gone scuba diving (answer: way too long), it occurred to me that one can draw many parallels between the avocations of scuba diving and marine aquarium keeping. I’m not referring to the observation of marine life here—though that’s unquestionably a major element of both activities—but to certain rules or best practices that apply to both. Okay, right now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Maybe it’s a good thing this guy hasn’t been diving in a while—he’s obviously skipped one safety stop too many or really bungled his dive tables!” But fear not, I’ll bring it back around. (In other words, humor me!) So, with no further ado: Plan your dive and dive your plan Diving is safest and presents the fewest unforeseen contingencies when you plan ahead of time who will be diving with whom, how deep you’re going to go, the path you’re going to follow, when you’re going to ascend, etc.—and then adhere strictly to that plan. To my (nitrogen-addled) mind, the marine aquarium analog to this is carefully planning and researching the animals you want to keep, as well as the order in which you’ll introduce them, and then sticking with that stock list. This doesn’t mean you can’t make sensible substitutions if necessary, but it will help you avoid making impulse purchases that can throw your whole plan into chaos. Plus, knowing which animals you’re going to keep will help you make the most appropriate equipment purchases.
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So Here It Is – Merry Christmas!

So the holidays are finally here and at last we’ve got a bit of time to spend tinkering with the test system. Hopefully the short break will allow us to get to all those jobs we’ve put on the back burner while we got on with the everyday grind! It’s also a good time to stop and reflect a little on how things are going, indeed in the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.
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The LTR Rainbow Incinerator Paly is a Knockout

Being that it is Friday and Christmas is so so close, we decided to relax a bit and enjoy the view. So, we are going to make today all about some awesome corals we recently spotted on the web. First up is the Rainbow Incinerator paly from Love The Reef. This awesome polyp symbolizes all that is awesome with these corals, sporting intense colors that would make any hobbyist stop and drool for a moment or two. They sport long skirts that have a striped pattern, along with a vibrant swathe of colors on its oral disc.
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5 Signs of Inadequate Water Movement in Reef Aquariums

Proper water circulation is one of many elements that are key to maintaining a healthy reef system. While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all water-flow scheme (you really have to tailor the flow to the unique needs of the invertebrates you keep), there are certain signs that will tip you off to inadequate circulation. Among them: 1) Detritus buildup in “dead spots” Some settling of detritus is unavoidable in a reef system, but excessive buildup tends to occur in tanks with inadequate water movement or “dead spots”—specific areas in the tank with poor to nonexistent flow. A good level of water movement will keep most particulate matter in suspension long enough to be captured by mechanical filtration media (socks, sponges, etc.), so this is a sign that you need to either boost the overall flow in the tank, by adding more or stronger sources (e.g. powerheads), or redirect existing water-flow sources to greater effect. 2) Corals fail to expand When coral specimens remain in a prolonged contracted state—with their tissues/polyps withdrawn—one possible explanation is inadequate water movement. Now, many different environmental factors can cause this behavior, so failure to expand is by no means diagnostic, but that symptom coupled with others listed here may be a good indicator that better circulation is in order. 3) Leather corals have trouble shedding Along very similar lines, if your livestock includes leather corals (e.g., Sarcophyton and Sinularia spp.), which occasionally go through a natural process of contracting their polyps, developing a waxy coating over their surface, and then eventually sloughing off this layer, inadequate water flow may make it difficult for them to shed.
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Reef Threads Podcast #211


Check out the teeth on this tang!

In our last 2014 show we talk about Mr. Clean magic erasers, aquarium-keeping difficulty, Christine’s tank, blind aquascaping, fish odor camouflage, and fish sound amplifiers. We hope you enjoy the podcast and have a great Christmas. Our first 2015 podcast will be Jan. 11. We appreciate all of you listening to our weekly offerings. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Using smell to hide
You are what you eat, if you’re a coral reef fish, Leonard Ho, Advanced Aquarist

Oyster-shell amplifiers
Oystershell amplifies pearlfish calls, Kathryn Knight, The Journal of Experimental Biology

Posted in Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

6 Comments Non-Hobbyists Make When Viewing Marine Aquariums

The other day, two installers were in my home laying a new vinyl floor in my kitchen when they took note of my aquariums. One of them was especially enthralled by my reef tank (which is ironic—more on this later) and asked about a dozen questions. He even took out his phone and snapped a picture of the tank to show his wife. It’s always interesting to hear non-hobbyists’ reactions to my aquariums because they’re surprisingly consistent and, I suspect, give a pretty good sense of how most non-salties perceive our avocation. Here are just a few of the more common questions and comments I hear. Perhaps some will sound familiar to you. 1) “Is that a freshwater or saltwater tank?” Now, I’ve been asked this question aplenty, but it still surprises me a little bit every time.
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ORA Hector’s Goby is the Latest Conquest of Captive Breeding

No sooner than we wrap up our coverage of all of ORA’s 2014 captive bred fish and aquacultured frags, the famed fish breeders announce one more entry for the year. Yesterday, they revealed tha they had bred the Hector’s Goby (Koumansetta hectori), a nifty little fish that is as strikingly beautiful as it is peaceful. This tiny fish measures just 2″ long at its maximum size, and it spends a majority of the day hovering hear the rocks while grazing on various types of algae. Thought to be the first time this fish has ever been captive-bred, ORA had some difficulty getting this fish to market, so to speak. This was due in part to the fish’s extremely tiny size, unreliable spawning amongst broodstock individuals, relatively long larval stages, and overall fragile larvae. Thankfully, ORA’s experience with the Priolepis genus translated flawlessly to the Hector’s Goby and they were eventually able to overcome those barriers.
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