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Unboxed: EcoTech Radion XR15w Pro

Widely regarded as market leaders in LED lighting technology for reef aquaria, EcoTech’s products are some of the most advanced and desirable available to today’s hobbyist. With a line-up that is constantly evolving to incorporate the very latest technology, we use this review to take a preliminary look at their latest and most compact LED light to date – the Radion XR15w Pro. So, getting hands-on with this unit, we are immediately impressed with the quality of presentation. The slick packaging presents the tile with beautiful simplicity and the supporting materials included reflect this. To be honest we feel like we are excitedly unpacking the latest tablet or computer peripheral rather than an aquarium item! Anyway, the light is literally ready-to-go as soon as it is lifted from its from its moulded receptacle and out of the box. Build quality appears to be excellent and we love the look of the honey-comb fan aperture. With the ducted cooling system of its larger brethren, the operating temperature of the LED array should be managed quietly and effectively. Refined in gloss black this unit looks every inch the ‘bleeding-edge’ option you craved. Measuring just 7”x7”x1.5″, the XR15 certainly is remarkably compact. Despite its diminutive size though, and thanks to the 120 degree TIR lenses fitted as standard, it is rated to illuminate a 24”x24” footprint from 8” or more above the water line. Clearly this makes it copesetic for a range of aquaria, from nano tanks up to fairly large systems (in the latter case, when used as part of an array of multiple units). Emitting a claimed maximum PAR of 825, and with a full spectrum (and UV) output optimised for coral growth full, it should be possible to maintain a range of species under this light, including light hungry species like SPS corals. Consuming just 75watts though, this is also one efficient light unit. In terms of bulbs, the XR15 is a single-cluster unit featuring 21 high-output, energy-efficient LEDs covering the full light spectrum. Specifically we have: 4 Cree XP-G2 (20W) Cool White, 4 Osram Oslon Square (20W) Deep Blue, 4 Cree XP-E (12W) Blue, 2 Cree XP-E (7W) Green,2 Osram Oslon SSL (6W) Hyper Red,1 Osram Oslon SSL (3W) Yellow, 2 SemiLEDs (5W) Indigo, 2 SemiLEDs (5W) UV. All-in-all, superb quality and more than enough colours to provide a spectrum for both coral health, good colour rendition and to replicate a diverse range of aquatic scenarios. The XR15 continues to impress when we look at its functionality, and with a variety of presets (including acclimatisation mode, weather simulation and lunar cycles) built-in, this is already one versatile unit. Take into consideration the fact the tile has a built-in RF Module that can communicate wirelessly with other Radion lights and VorTech pumps (through EcoSMART Live) and we enter a new dimension of control. Finally this unit is also ReefLink compatible and can therefore be controlled wirelessly using an ios or Android device. When you come to mount this light take note that it can easily be connected to EcoTech’s new modular RMS (Radion Mounting System – which we’ll be looking at shortly), hanging kit, or the multi-light mounting rail. Retailing here in the UK for around £360 (at time of this feature), the XR15w Pro comes backed-up with EcoTech’s 1yr warranty for the fixture/2yrs for the LEDs. To show exactly what the unit can do in the real world, we’ll be producing a full operational review of this unit when we’ve got it installed on the test tank in the near future. While you wait, take a look at EcoTech’s official run down on their website by clicking the banner below.
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Mame Nano Protein Skimmer III Review – Saltwater Conversion

http://saltwater-conversion.com/collections/mame/products/mame-skimmer http://reefertees.com https://www.facebook.com/coralfish12g In this coralfish12g video, I am going to be reviewing the Mame Nano Protein Skimmer III. I was searching for a smaller and quieter protein skimmer for my 30 gallon reef tank when I found it on Saltwater Conversion.com. The Mame Nano Skimmer III is a very small, practical protein skimmer that is specially designed to skim the smallest nano tanks.
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Reef Threads Podcast #203

Gary’s maintenance tools drying in the sun.We return for the 203rd time, this week to talk about Gary’s maintenance toolbox, listener Don Davis visiting Snorkel Bob, group buys, saving filtration wastewater, and milk and honey and PB&J as carbon sources. We hope you enjoy the podcast and urge you to not use PB&J as a carbon source. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine Milk and honey
Posted in Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 Myths About Marine Quarantine Tanks

A standard quarantine aquarium setupQuarantine tanks are often discussed/written about as though they require very little effort, planning, or expense. Just dust off that 10-gallon plastic “critter keeper” sitting on the shelf, fill it with salt water, drop in a heater and sponge filter, and you’re good to go, right? Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. One could argue that in their justifiable zeal to encourage marine aquarium hobbyists to quarantine all their livestock, some aquarium authors (myself included, admittedly) and others with a voice in the hobby have created some false impressions about the practice. Here are a few of the quarantine tank myths I’ve noted over the years—and probably even perpetuated to some degree: 1. A 10-gallon tank will do ya!
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The Digital Reefs Black Tank – Passing 18 Months

As an update to the feature on our test tank in issue 43 of UltraMarine magazine way back in December 2013, we thought it was high time we put together another of our ‘black tank updates’ as the system has also recently passed the minor milestone of 18 months old. Plenty has happened since we wrote that update for UltraMarine, let alone over the last 12 months since our last update on here, so let’s dive right in before anything else happens! OK, so in terms of equipment, without doubt the biggest change has been the installation of a new acrylic sump. We made this change because we wanted to try out a new skimmer and unfortunately the water level in the original sump was too high to allow for headroom of this new model, given the water depth required. So, after having used the Hydor Performer recirculating skimmer for a few months, we’ve now got a Vertex Omega 150 running on the system. Running smoothly for several months, this skimmer sits in a much shallower and larger first section of a custom-built acrylic sump (made by Neptune’s Acrylic Tank Manufacturers). Although a fair amount of work, swapping the sumps was a fairly straightforward operation but it did necessitate removing the central wooden brace from the front of the cabinet. Despite being pretty nerve-wracking, we had no issue with this switch and we also took the opportunity to replace the central wooden support with a custom-cut acrylic column (also from NATM). This new arrangement gives us an enhanced view of the sump area. A couple of useful tips here…. a coated metal frame would allow for much easier access to the sump, and we’d also leave space to allow for door hinges to be replaced as they corrode quickly. Other than the sump and skimmer change, equipment remains quite similar to that which we had installed at our 6 month update – that is, we’ve got the Hydor Calcium reactor running off a TMC Regulator Pro and V2 pH Monitor/Controller, also we are still using kalkwasser for top-up via the Tunze Osmolator 3155. All these bits of kit have run flawlessly since their addition and ‘touch-wood’ let’s hope it remains this way! Our return pump has been upgraded from the original Eheim compact 5000+ to a Vertex V6 return pump which we reviewed recently. For nutrient control, we are still using Chaetomorpha in the centre section of the sump, now lit by a TMC GroBeam 1500 Ultima ND tile, and a Biophos80 reactor is being used to fluidise BioPhos80 to good effect. All told this technology has kept minerals and nutrients at acceptable levels for several months. Lighting-wise, the Arcadia OT2 LED is still performing admirably and we’ve recently added some of Arcadia’s extended range of T5 tubes which we will be reviewing sperately in the near future. For flow, we are currently running 2x Hydor Mag 7s and a Tunze 6105 on pulse mode. We tried it with less flow but almost immediately experienced some basal STN on some of our colonies which is now recovering but only slowly. Heavy flow really is critical! Biologically, the system has continued to evolve and the tank is starting to look filled-out! We’ve now got plenty of SPS in the system and generally they seem to be growing gradually. Take a look at the gallery at the end of the article for some growth pics. We’ve even set-up a frag rack for some bits and pieces. As well as the additional SPS, we’ve also got a few LPS but we haven’t added much new there other than some tasy Acan frags from whitecorals and a stunning large Acanothophyllia from a local tank breakdown. We do have a total of 3 large clams in the system now though, 2 direct from Amblard, and these seem happy, although we do have to lay them on their sides occasionally to allow the wrasses to pick-off any rice snails (they love this ‘treat’ actually). Hopefully one day these snails will be totally erradicated. Talking about fish, we still have our sole ‘true’ Percula Clown and Yellow Tang (these were from the last tank and we’ve now had them for around 5 years), next, added about 15 months ago we still have our Scarlet Hawkfish. The Flame Angel we added around the same time has fairly recently been sold as it started on the clams after we had been away for a week (we think it must have got hungry and picked up a bad habit). Interestingly as soon as this fish was removed we noticed significant polyp extension and accelerated growth in our SPS stock too. Goes to show that even an apparently well-behaved individual of such species may be having an unseen effect on corals of this kind. Added at around the 6 month old mark (a year ago) we also have our greedy Hoeven’s Wrasse and 2 watchman gobies, one white and one yellow. These gobies originally fought and we had to sump the yellow one but now we’ve tried them again and they seem to be coexisiting… just! Next we have a juvenile Regal Tang which we bought off a fellow hobbyist about 6 months ago, and since then we’ve also added 1 midas blenny and 3 lovely juvenile Pomacentrus alleni Neon Damsels which look fantastic swimming together in the mid water. We’ve had these for a few months now and they are very well behaved… not the rarest or most expensive fish, but stunning! Finally, one of our most recent additions was a stunning Halichoeres biocellatus Redlined/Twinspot Wrasse (we got this at ReefFest 2014). Settling in immediately, this fish is now slightly more dominant but also shier than the ‘older’ Hoevens Wrasse but is very sociable. Both fish seem fine with a relatively shallow substrate of 1-2″. So that’s it for now… hopefully we’ll find the funds to add more stock in the near future, particularly corals, as we seek to develop the aquascape further. We’ll also continue to trial new equipment and methods on the system of course. Modernising lighting and flow, reducing running costs, and introducing some automation, is top of the agenda.
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Reef Threads Podcast #202

Reef animals thrive when the nutrient levels are properly managed.This week Craig Bingman joins us to discuss nutrients, one of the most important facets of reef-aquarium keeping. Don’t miss this one. It will help you better understand what goes on in your water and why you may or may not be having problems. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine Craig’s aquarium survey
Posted in Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fish Health Through Slime

Copperband Butterflyfish (C. rostratus) and Yellow Multibanded Pipefish (D. pessuliferus)Fish diseases—they are the meat of fish forums and the subject that takes up the most ink (or whatever causes words to form on a computer screen), so for today’s post, I am going to discuss fish immunity in relation to fish slime. Fish, like every organism, have an immune system that is specifically designed to function in the environment they live in, using as its source of energy the food that the creature is able to acquire through its intake devices, or mouth parts. The immune system is one of three parts of a fish that needs to be fueled to keep the fish operating at peak efficiency. The other two parts are growth and reproduction. If fish don’t take in enough food or get the wrong types of food, there will be less energy to fuel those systems properly and one or all will suffer.
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Shaq’s Awesome Big Rig Tank

shaq Shaqs Awesome Big Rig Tank This is one cool tank. We all know Shaquille O’Neal is a big guy, at over 7 feet tall, he was bound to have an equally large and in charge fish tank. The guys from ‘Tanked’ hooked him up with this spectacular tank for the living room of his 10 bedroom Orlando, Florida home.  The tank incorporates use of O’Neals two nicknames: Diesel and Superman. The 250 gallon tank is incorporated into the front end of a real big rig truck. Talk about a show piece. MOREMore:

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