Category Archives: Tanks

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Reef Threads Podcast #219


Triggers are a popular inhabitant of fish-only tanks.

It’s an unusual podcast this week in that we do what we’re supposed to do–talk about forum threads. We choose three posts in which people are having trouble/need help and actually try to help them. We talk about a fish-only tank, cycling issues, and an open-top tank. 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

Fish only
Intro and question about overloaded 100 gal., Mercm3, Reef Central

Did it cycle?
Cycling Craziness!!, ABnormalAZ, Reef Central

Aeration?
Aeration of tank, Spike1306, Ultimate Reef

Reef Aquarium Hitchhikers: The Gall of These Parasitic Crabs!

Gall crab outside its burrow in Cyphastrea serailia (Photo credit: Van der Meij)We have all heard the oft-repeated warning to “dip before you trip.” We are told by many sources online to dip any corals we receive in order to eliminate pests. Most of the time, pests come in the form of hitchhiking nudibranchs that can mow down zoas and other soft coral colonies. Then you have the flatworm family, which is so broad that it’s hard to single out a species unless you have a microscope. There are also larger hitchhiking pests we can see without the use of a scientific lab. For example, there are the beautiful Aiptasia and majano anemones that will sting your newfound friends to no end. But I’d like to talk about an interesting group of hitchhikers in the crab family, and one nasty one in particular: the gall crab.Gall crabs are largely unknown to many an untrained eye and reefer, as they are not as abundant in reef systems as other hitchhiking crabs, such as gorillas, emeralds, or decorator crabs. The problem with these crabs is they are parasitic to corals, especially hard corals like Trachyphyllia (brain coral) and members of the Faviidae family, such as Platygyra daedalea

Reef Threads Podcast #218


Cirrhilabrus laboutei

It’s podcastin’ time once again. This week we talk about our most-recent Reef Threads Plus podcast, replacing lamps and heaters, the impact of LEDs, hobby accessibility, and the Triton system and tank data. 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

Being skeptical
Skeptical Reefkeeping XII: Triton Lab ICP-OES Testing of a Certified Artificial Saltwater Standard,Rich Ross and Dr. Chris Maupin

Reef Threads Plus #2


In our second Reef Threads Plus podcast we welcome Richard Ross and Kathy Leahy to address the difficult question: Is the hobby cruel to animals? We hope you enjoy the discussion and that it gets you to think and share with your fellow hobbyists. As always, you can download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter @reefthreads. We hope you enjoy our new series, find it thought provoking, and will share it with others.—Gary and Christine

Beware Marine Aquarium Complacency!

A funny thing sometimes happens to marine aquarium hobbyists who have a few years’ experience under their briny belts—they have a tendency to become complacent in their methods and attitudes. Once they’ve mastered the basics of aquarium keeping, it can become all too tempting for some to kick back, switch to “autopilot,” and say, “Hey, I got this!”But this mentality can be detrimental on the road to long-term aquarium success. At the very least, it can lead to some unnecessary—and very avoidable—bumps in that road. Here are a few common symptoms of marine aquarium complacency to watch for: Signs of benign neglect Complacent hobbyists aren’t typically guilty of gross negligence when it comes to their tanks, but they often lapse into a somewhat lackadaisical approach that could best be described as “benign neglect.” That is, they get so comfortable and absentminded in their methods that problems sometimes arise very slowly and almost imperceptibly. For instance, they may perform water changes of the same frequency and volume for many years without accounting for the increasing bioload in the tank as fish and invertebrates grow. As a result, nitrate and phosphate levels can gradually rise, leading to “unexplained” algae outbreaks and other issues related to declining water quality.

Reef Threads Podcast #216


Image shown in the Miami Herald article, provided by Waterkeepers, of coral covered in silt.

We return, yet again, to talk about reef-aquarium-hobby stuff. Our subjects this week include our new sponsor Rod’s Food, Miami dredging, restoring Florida reefs, and Christine’s photos and her new light fixture. 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

Florida dredging
Biscayne Bay coral at risk from sloppy dredge work, Jenny Staletovich, Miami Herald

Fast coral growth?
Scientists try to regrow a dying coral reef 25 times faster than nature, PBS Newshour, Hari Sreenvisan

Christine’s Light Fixture
Maxspect Razor light fixture

I’ve Failed My Kids as a Marine Aquarium Mentor!

When my son and daughter, Aidan and Hannah, were youngsters, both seemed to share my enthusiasm for marine aquariums. Even when they were just toddlers, they loved peering into my tanks—often leaving sticky little handprints on the glass in the process—and helping ol’ Dad with his aquarium chores in any way they could.I can still recall each of them at different times standing next to a five-gallon bucket—almost as big as themselves—and helping me mix up batches of salt water with a wooden stirring stick. Hannah once even had her own little tank containing a blue devil damsel named “Blueberry.” However, as painful as it is to acknowledge, somewhere between that time and this, my kids not only transformed into cynical young adults (one in college, the other in high school), but they also lost all interest in aquariums, completely and utterly. Heck, they don’t even seem to notice my tanks are there anymore, let alone spend any time viewing the livestock. I guess I just assumed their early fascination would eventually blossom into a full-blown passion for marine aquariums, just as it had for me, and that the hobby would be something we could share for a lifetime. Boy, was I wrong! Where things went off track, I’m not exactly sure, but here are a few theories I’ve been toying around with: 1) They’re not my children This was my first assumption. After all, how could anyone who shares my DNA have no interest whatsoever in marine aquariums?

Review: Nyos Quantum 220 Skimmer

If you caught our recent unboxing review you’ll know that we installed this interesting skimmer on the test tank back in Autumn 2014. This is certainly a great looking skimmer and now that it’s been running for a good while we are in a position to give you more detail on how it stacks-up operationally (for technical details on the design of the skimmer, please read the unboxing review). OK, so installing the Quantum was a piece-of-cake. With the pump held internally there’s no need to assemble it once it’s inside the sump and it’s easy to handle (although we did take the cup off until it was in place). In operation this unit is very quiet… it’s not silent but is barely audible, especially once cabinet doors are shut. The noise produced is more a product of the water movement inside the unit rather than the pump

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