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Hydra Aquatics and Tony’s Vault Launch a More Mindful Wholesale Facility in South Florida

HydraPR0001Down in Sunny Dania Beach, Florida, something quite refreshing is rumbling within the trade – a wholesale facility brought to us by Hydra Aquatics International and Tony’s Vault that focuses on the wellbeing and health of livestock as opposed to simply turning a profit.  Many wholesalers have a tendency to do what could be considered “flipping” livestock – they get in an order of fish/corals and have it available for sale within days. This means many of the beautiful specimens you see at your local fish store were most likely halfway across the world just a few days ago, swimming (or slowly building a calcium carbonate skeleton) along, minding their own business.… More:

Saltwater Smarts in 2015: Looking Forward to an Exciting New Year

Since Chris and I launched Saltwater Smarts back in April of 2013, we’ve been immensely gratified to welcome a steadily increasing number of visitors to our site, to have the opportunity to share our personal insights on a wide variety of topics related to marine aquarium keeping, as well as to bring you authoritative perspectives from a variety of aquarium industry professionals and other seasoned hobbyists. Special thanks to all who helped make 2014 such a stellar year here at Saltwater Smarts: our regular contributors, Jay Hemdal, Than Thein, Paul Baldassano (PaulB), Paul Poeschl, and Dave Bowers; our site sponsors, Doctors Foster and Smith, Tidal Gardens, Advanced Reef Aquarium, GHL, Coral Reef LLC, Coralreefaquarist.com, and Majano Wand; and, of course, each and every salty out there who took the time to visit our site over the past year! Today, as we stand on the cusp of 2015, we’re bullish about our trajectory and looking forward to some exciting changes and new offerings ahead. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect from Saltwater Smarts over the coming year: New media You could say Chris and I both have perfect faces for radio, but I’m afraid you’ll be seeing more of our ugly mugs in 2015. We plan to step away from the keyboard from time to time and bring you more video offerings—for example a series of short how-to’s on basic marine aquarium techniques, one documenting our recent efforts to capture and remove several rogue damsels from the display tank in a local coffee shop, and much more. New resources We’re also thrilled to announce that day one of 2015 will see the release of Saltwater Smarts’ first eBook, The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes, penned by Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the Toledo Zoo. Be sure to tune in to Saltwater Smarts this coming Friday (January 2) for much more information on this exciting new resource. And Jay’s disease guide is just the beginning.

‘Coral Therapy’ by Coral Morphologic

reefs.comCoralMorphologicDesignMiamiCoral Morphologic is at it again in this time premiering their new film in a custom designed room at DesignMiami/ 2014. They’ve taken it to the next level making this film viewable on the Oculus Rift lending a 360° virtual reality experience to visitors. The room alone would be something to experience, and I have to imagine the film they created is nothing short of amazing.… More:

Two Days Left for Reef Savvy St. Jude Fundraiser

reefs.comReefSavvyStJudeSome of you may remember Caitlin sharing the wonderful fundraiser Reef Savvy is involved with for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, “We Give Tanks. To Give Thanks.” This year they raised their goal to $20,000, and we’re so pleased to say that they’ve surpassed that with flying colors already collecting a whopping $29,620! Wow, just incredible. The Reef Savvy team is currently number 7 in the entire nation, and for individuals Felix Bordon, owner of Reef Savvy, is the number 1 fundraiser in the United States! If you hadn’t heard Reef Savvy has been raising these donations through the purchase of $10 raffle tickets, for which the grand prize is an astounding aquarium system consisting of high end equipment and livestock from throughout the world. 

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Reef Savvy 100G 4 sides low iron, Red Bottom Rimless Reef Ready Aquarium.

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4 More Simple Accessories Repurposed for Marine Aquariums

Tulle can be used to make a target-feeding station for long-snouted specimensBack in June of this year, we ran a post titled “My Top 6 Simple Accessories Repurposed for Marine Aquariums,” in which I discussed several inexpensive household items that can be converted to aquarium tools in various and sundry ways. Of course, that list, which included razor blades, plastic milk jugs, plastic storage bins, toothbrushes, turkey basters, and egg crate light diffuser, was just scratching the surface. So, here are several more oddball items that can be repurposed for aquarium use in ways you might not have considered: 1) Plastic colander Thanks to Matt Bowers for making this suggestion in the comment section of that original post (I think it deserves repeating here). As Matt noted, a floating, plastic colander “can be great for giving a rambunctious specimen a ‘time out’ without having to remove it from the system.” The colander can also be used to isolate a bullied specimen or introduce a new fish to an established community. The water flowing through the colander allows the fish, both inside and outside the colander, to sense each other’s chemical presence without actually being able to reach each other to do harm/be harmed until, hopefully, any aggression subsides. 2) Plastic ice cube tray Ice cube trays are perfect for pre-apportioning frozen fish foods (e.g., mysids) in the event that you’re leaving town and someone else will be feeding your fish. Just put an appropriate-sized quantity of the frozen food in a compartment of the tray for each day you’ll be gone or each day the person will be stopping by to feed.

Your Daily Squee! Niagra Penguins Getting Ready For Halloween

5445c8cfdd9da.imageWell, Halloween has got to be one of my favorite holidays pretty much ever, it even trumps Christmas! Penguins are probably my favorite flightless bird. That’s why I’m so excited about what the Aquarium of Niagra is stirring up for the spookiest night of the year. Halloween Happenings is an annual celebration taking place every Halloween from 4 to 7pm. Admission is a measly $5, and kinder dressed in aquarium creature garb get in for free! So throw together that ‘nem costume and get ready to go! Adorable festivities such as a pumpkin treasure hunt, an All Hallow’s Eve-themed sea lion show, and trick-or-treat station shall ensue. Trophies will be awarded for Best Aquatic Costume and Best Overall Costume. Oh, and there will be penguins with pumpkins, need I say more?
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Review: Cubic Orbit 20 Jellyfish Aquarium

Frequently on show in specialist exhibits like public aquaria, it seems a common perception that keeping jellyfish is beyond the average individual, perhaps even if they are already marine hobbyists maintaining complex reef aquaria. Maybe it’s due to the delicate appearance of the organisms themselves, or maybe it’s the almost clinical appearance of their holding systems that makes people often think it just isn’t possible in a home setting. Over the last few years though, technology and understanding has improved and now it is entirely feasible to maintain these fascinating and mesmerising creatures in your own home as easily as any small aquarium. In this review we take a look at one such system, the Cubic Orbit 20 which is distributed in the UK by London-based specialist Glass Ocean. Having already seen positive reviews on this product we were keen to try it for ourselves and, after we contacted Glass Ocean, a few days later our system was delivered. We must commend Glass Ocean here for some superb service…. both the delivery of the systems and the packaging were top notch. The manufacturers, Cubic, are a UK-based company founded in 2010 and their personnel includes those from a public aquarium background as well as a marine biologist. The Cubic Orbit 20 itself is the smallest offering in their line-up, being  23litre system based on the Kriesel design. It is made from acrylic and measures 15” in diameter, and 8” front to back. Quality seems excellent and all parts were present and fitted well. The LED light and Pump seem of good quality but only long term use would prove this. We are certain that replacement parts won’t be hard to find and overall the unit comes with a 12 month guarantee. Out of the box, instructions are clear and this system is very simple to put together. In terms of operation, the system hinges on the circular flow pattern which keeps the jellyfish in suspension. There is an inner chamber which is used for the display, while the outer chamber serves for filtration. Supplied with some media and a filter sponge it is recommended that the media is seeded with live rock (we’d suggest that any local fish store worth their salt should be able to give you enough live rock rubble for a few pounds). Sitting in the outer chamber, the tiny pump pulls in water and then vents it through a spray bar in the display chamber. This outflow blows out across a network of holes where water leaves the display compartment. As well as generating the circular flow, this prevents jellyfish from becoming stuck to the outlet. The lighting system is also simple, consisting of 1 colour changing LED light. Supplied with an IR remote control, this offers plenty of different colours, 3 different brightness levels, and a number of modes, such as flashing or fading, the speed of which can also be adjusted. Initially we thought we’d only use the deep blue colour but we really love the slow fading mode also. All in all the unit consumes just a few watts so is very cheap to run (15 watts claimed). No heater is required as the jellyfish species suitable are not too finicky. If the tank gets hot in the summer though, this may cause issues. Generally, the tank should be put in a cool, shaded location ideally to keep temperature under control and prevent excessive algae growth. We’d suggest that it should be sited so it can’t be knocked also. All-in-all the package is well put together. In our system the hose did come off the pump or spray bar attachment a few times meaning that the flow ceased. Tightening it with a small cable-tie on each end did the trick. Other than that we’ve no comments on the design… it is certainly very clever and looks modern and attractive. The colour changing light adds a little interest and proved a big hit with the kids. The slow fade mode doesn’t look too gimmicky and of course you could always just have it on white, or the nice deep blue. The magnetic fascia ‘disks’ can also be changed to different colours to fit in with your room décor. After a test fill and quick run through to make sure it didn’t leak and that we understood the exact operation of the system, we placed it in its final location and filled it with water from our test tank. If you don’t already have a reef system this isn’t a problem… most good marine stores sell ready-made full strength sea water (just make sure it is made with good quality RO water and has a Salinity of 35ppt). The hydrometer supplied should be fine (and did give a fairly accurate reading) but we chose to use our seawater refractometer. At this stage we also added our live rock rubble and a few amphipods into the outer chamber. We did manage to get some detritus in the display compartment and had to use a rigid length of airline connected to some flexible airline to siphon this out. It would be useful for this to be included in the package actually as it would be highly useful for regular maintenance and water changes. Anyway, once the water is in, just plug in the unit (single plug) and this will start the pump running. The system is silent in operation and generates virtually no heat. Initially, it may seem that the flow is quite weak but it turned out to be fine once we added livestock. Talking of which, we received our 4 moon jellies around a week after we had set-up the system, giving it time to mature a little and for us to get used to its operation. Again well-packaged, our jellies were in fine-fettle when we unpacked them, despite their journey (they are quite resilient in terms of shipment surprisingly). Take note here that these jellyfish are cultured rather than being wild caught so they have a low environmental impact. A few different species are available but it isn’t really recommended to mix species for various reasons. Anyway, in our shipment we had 2 ‘medium’ sized jellies which were about 2” in diameter, and 2 smaller ones about half that size. After floating them for around 20 minutes as directed we released them into their new home. This was a little fiddly given the small access point of the cubic  and we did have to remove a couple of litres of water to allow for displacement. Also we had to take great care not to crush the jellies, or slice them as we finally decided to snip the corners off the two bags to allow the jellies to gently exit their bags under water. Despite this, the jellies entered their new home and we immediately noticed how, even with the pump at reduced flow, the circulation was plenty to keep them gently moving around their new home. It was fascinating to see them actively swimming around with a pulsating motion. After several hours we added a small amount of the dried food that was also supplied and again found ourselves mesmerised by the way the jellies gathered the particles and transported it to their stomachs. It’s nice to see that both glass ocean and cubic offer detailed online resources by the way. After running for around a week now, our system appears to have settled well and continues to operate without issue. Our jellies seem fine and we are feeding a couple of times a day. We will perform a small water change quite soon and we are looking forward to raising some baby brine shrimp to feed them as a special treat, and experiment with other foods. While initially we thought the system may be a little gimmicky, its proving to be much more than just ‘living décor’… infact given the interest it has generated from visitors and other family members, it has even eclipsed the reef system at least for the time being. The Cubic Orbit retails for around £249.99 and is available from Glass Ocean. For more information click the banner below.

A Brief History of EcoTech Marine Video

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