Category Archives: Equipment

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Review: Elos OsmoController Digital

Dealing with evaporation from a reef tank can be a real chore if you haven’t got a robust system in place and there’s also a pretty high element of risk involved if your chosen system isn’t up to scratch. For a start, it could fail to keep-up with demand (in which case a low water level could expose equipment and lead to a system failure), or at the other end of the scale, overfilling could make your tank literally ‘runneth-over’ (causing untold damage and recrimination). In either case your Salinity is also going to be ‘all over the place’ too, stressing livestock, possibly to death…. in short this is one area where cutting-costs can come back and ‘bite you on the bum’! Having started-off with the ‘religiously-trickling-in-a-jug-of-RO-every-day’ method back in the day, we’ve since been through a few different systems, each progressing in complexity. Our second system was a simple peri-pump on a timer which delivered Kalkwasser during the night (and which worked fine but couldn’t cope with seasonal fluctuations very well) and next we experimented with float switches… briefly

Bon Appétit! Innovative Marine Introduces Line of “Gourmet Gadgets”


Innovative Marine’s “Gourmet Defroster”

 Let’s deviate a bit from the broiling topic of what you’re feeding your fish, and plop right into the deviceful world of how you’re feeding them! Innovative Marine is harmoniously melding the elements of convenience and proper feeding practices with their new line of “Gourmet Gadgets”, and the lineup thus far looks promising for saltwater and freshwater aquarists alike. … More:

Down to One Marine Aquarium—and So Far I’m Loving It!

Residents of the 125 enjoying the new lightingFor quite some time, I had at least two marine aquariums up and running—a 75-gallon reef tank and a 125-gallon FOWLR tank. As regular Saltwater Smarts visitors know, that 75-gallon tank had become something of a thorn in my side. Originally set up 15 years ago, what was once a nice mix of various soft corals and a few large-polyp stonies gradually transformed into an unsightly mess dominated by green star polyps. Well, I’ve finally begun the process of tearing that tank down. Change at the speed of molasses!What took me so long? Well, as “Caribbean Chris” can attest, when it comes to making changes to my tanks, I tend to move at the speed of molasses in January. Also, I kept going back and forth on how to handle the livestock and what I wanted to do with the 75-gallon once I could get it up and running again. Despite the mess that tank had become, it still contained a handful of specimens I was loath to part with—specifically a sizeable leather coral, an open brain coral, and a few gorgonians.

Reef Threads Podcast #226

Quality Marine is offering commercially raised clown triggerfish from Biota Marine Life Nursery in Palau.

We’re back with more marine/reef/aquarium chit chat. This week’s topics include Rod’s Food, Reefapalooza, the MBI workshop, MASNA scholarships, captive breeding, and parenting. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

MBI Workshop
MBI Workshop, July 25, Cranbrook Institute, Bloomfield Hills, MI

MASNA Scholarships
MASNA Scholarship applications due June 19

Clown triggerfish
Commercially Raised Clown Triggerfish available now, Leonard Ho, Advanced Aquarist

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Write-Up Wednesday: The Recirculating Protein Skimmer

A protein skimmer provides mechanical filtration by removing organic molecules from your saltwater aquarium’s water. And a  recirculating protein skimmer differs from other protein skimmers in 2 main areas:

– the water depth required for the skimmer to operate

– the number of pumps that run the skimmer

Water Depth

Non-recirculating protein skimmers have to be run inside of your sump or tank and they all require a specific water depth to operate. (The exception is hang-on back protein skimmers which hang on the back of your tank or sump). Usually there is an acceptable range between 7-9″ (18-22 cm). Recirculating protein skimmers, however, do not require a certain water depth to operate and can be run external to the sump if need be.

Operating Pumps

A Hydor 2005 protein skimmer

On a recirculating skimmer, one or more pumps recirculate water inside the protein skimmer body while mixing the recirculated water with air. A separate pump feeds the protein skimmer body water. Contrast this with a non-recirculating protein skimmer where one pump feeds the skimmer water, mixes the air with the water and pushes water throughout the protein skimmer body.

Since the recirculating pumps only jobs are to recirculate water throughout the skimmer body as well as mix air into this water, the idea is that a recirculating protein skimmer is better at removing waste. Having owned both recirculating and non-recirculating skimmer, my experience is that the difference is negligible. Both my recirculating and non-recirculating skimmer performed well and the performance differences between them would be hard to attribute to the fact that one was or wasn’t a recirculating skimmer.

If you go the recirculating protein skimmer route, a quality recirculating skimmer will work well for your tank.

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Synergy Reef Overflow Now Shipping

reefs.comSynergyReefOverflowBack in December, 2013 I went on a little rant regarding how unsightly and bulky most mass produced overflows can be. At the time Reef Savvy had only teased us with a few pictures of their “Ghost Overflow”. I was able to see them in person a few months prior at MACNA Miami and instantly fell in love. What I wasn’t aware of at the time is that this overflow was actually co-designed with Synergy Reef, best known for their uber bright custom sumps. Synergy Reef has just announced that these units are in stock and ready to ship for you to install on any aquarium. The price point comes in at $199.99 retail, which is more than reasonable for such an awesome overflow.… More:

Reef Threads Podcast #225

Ricordia spring colors

It’s Reef Threads time once again. This week Christine and Gary discuss Papua New Guinea, pillar coral spawning, and power outages. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
Rod’s Food website

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Gearing Up For Aquarium Market, Again, Thane Militz,

Pillar corals
Pillar corals bred in captivity for the first time, Shane Graber, Advanced Aquarist

When there is no power
Surviving Extended Power Outages, Christopher Marks,

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5 Circumstances That Test Marine Aquarists’ Willpower

Resist the urge to bring home a fish you're not able to see feed in the LFS holding tankSeveral elements/traits are key to success in the marine aquarium hobby. Among them are a fundamental understanding of aquarium-keeping principles, the proper equipment for the type of system you plan to keep, diligent attention to maintenance and detail, willingness to research the needs of each and every organism acquired, and a good dose of patience. But at least one more element that’s seldom discussed should probably be added to that list: willpower. That’s right, the same self-discipline that helps us resist harmful habits or bad choices in other areas of life (like when CC says “No thanks!” to that eighth beer during our Saltwater Smarts Planning Sessions) will help you avoid making counterproductive decisions as an aquarist. And trust me, if you haven’t already, you will be tempted to make counterproductive decisions time and time again in this hobby!Here are five circumstances that try men’s and women’s souls…err, hobbyists’ willpower: 1) Delaying stocking until cycling is complete This is the first real test of every aquarist’s resolve. Like a brand-new pair of sneakers that you just can’t wait to get on your feet and take for a test walk (Royal Crown Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Tennis Shoes, anyone?), that newly set up display tank is just begging for fish and invertebrates to be introduced. As you mark time through the seemingly endless succession of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, the urge to short-circuit the process and add “just a specimen or two” can be pretty powerful. 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.