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Danger Muriatic Acid Sign S 7190 LIVE ROCK ACID BATH Sometimes you get to the point where your rock is not working out for you. Maybe you had a stagnant tank and everything died? Maybe you have an insane algae problem? Maybe you just got the rock for free from some fishy character on Craigslist and just don’t trust it? Even aiptasia, hydroids, or dinoflagellates can make every other option impossible. Either way you are at your wits end and need a fresh start. Time to bust out the heavy artillery More: LIVE ROCK ACID BATH

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Cool-Water Marine Species Sometimes Sold as Tropicals

catalina goby2 300x169 Cool Water Marine Species Sometimes Sold as TropicalsAs we often discuss here at Saltwater Smarts, one of the frustrating aspects of the marine aquarium hobby is the fact that some of the species commonly or occasionally available in the trade have no business in the average hobbyist’s aquarium. Some of these species grow way too large for virtually any home aquarium, some have a highly specialized diet that is impractical or impossible to replicate in captivity, and some are just too sensitive to endure the rigors of capture, prolonged shipping, and repeated acclimation to different systems. But we also need to add to that list the various cool-water species that are misrepresented (whether intentionally or unwittingly) as tropical species and sold to unwary hobbyists. Here’s a sampling of the species you might come across that can be maintained in cool-water marine systems but won’t last long in the average tropical aquarium: The Catalina goby Catalina goby (Lythrypnus dalli)With its stunning reddish-orange coloration and electric-blue stripes, the Catalina, or bluebanded, goby (Lythrypnus dalli) is a real eyecatcher. Couple its good looks with its diminutive size and peaceful disposition, and you’ve got an ideal reef tank resident, right? Not so much, unfortunately. L. dalli hails from the Eastern Pacific (from the Gulf of California to Equador and north to Peru according to FishBase) and thrives in waters ranging in temperature from the mid 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit More: Cool-Water Marine Species Sometimes Sold as Tropicals

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Overflows: The Big Ugly Box

 Overflows: The Big Ugly Box

Photo: Glass-Holes

 For years mainstream aquarium manufacturers have been using the same large obnoxious overflow boxes that detract from the look of our aquariums. Many times these overflow boxes are made of a textured ABS plastic, and if you have ever had one, you know they can be quite a pain to keep clear of algae. If you’re like me, and prefer the background of your aquarium sparkling clean, then this is just not a viable option. When left alone for long enough, coralline algae will take foot which is even more difficult to remove from the textured ABS. We are finally seeing some more great options compared to the big ugly box. MORE

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Hands on with the Cubic Aquarium Systems Jellyfish Aquarium

Screen Shot 2013 12 06 at 3.53.37 PM 1024x580 Hands on with the Cubic Aquarium Systems Jellyfish Aquarium
As some of you undoubtedly know, my many and varied marine aquariums are on public display in my office on the Pratt Institute Brooklyn campus.  As such, I am regularly questioned by students and staff about the animals we keep, and about those we don’t.  Second to only Seahorses, Jellyfish are without question the most inquired about marine animal we don’t display.  I’ve gotten quite good at quickly describing the special husbandry requirements and kreisel tank design and explaining that unfortunately, most hobbyists are not capable of providing for their needs. About a year ago, I started seeing advertisements and articles about a simplified, hobbyist level, plug and play system designed specifically for Jellyfish.  From afar, it seemed UK based Cubic Aquarium Systems had hit upon a game changing product that could put Jellyfish on the map for moderately experienced aquarists.   The problem was that the Cubic Jellyfish Aquarium was not available in North America. Thankfully, this situation has changed. At MACNA this past September I was thrilled to see the Cubic Jelly Aquarium on full display and even more thrilled to find out that by partnering with Canadian-based Polyp Lab, the systems were in fact available in the US.   I knew we needed one back in Brooklyn, and so, the arrangements were made. A few weeks later, a very well packed crate arrived and our Jellyfish adventure began. MORE

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Blue Light Corals Before and After, Fluorescent Corals

3d64Blue Light Corals 5 457x305 Blue Light Corals Before and After, Fluorescent CoralsGood morning friends, so finally I have a before and after photo of a small coral under blue light and the same coral under normal white light for your viewing pleasure today. Almost a week ago Aimee and I hit the reef late at night with our blue-lights and shot a bunch of photos which I did post and you can still see by scrolling down the page. On that night or any blue-light night dive I am unable to shoot a regular photo with normal light because of the yellow filter that is screwed onto the front of my lens which is sealed under the port. So what we are doing now is marking the best corals we find with a floating buoy (plastic bottle on a string) and going back in the evenings with just our normal white flashes so you can see what they look like before and after, it’s pretty cool huh?? We have actually really started getting into this and will be doing this more and more, it’s not only a thrill a second, it’s a major challenge!! Besides the corals we are starting to find animals that fluoresce as well like the fireworms, lizardfish, and the eyes of many fish like the flounders so stay tuned for more. MORE: MORE

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New Neptune Systems Euro-friendly Controller Gear Officially Hits the Market

f01aNeptune Systems Energy Bar 6 European Schuko New Neptune Systems Euro friendly Controller Gear Officially Hits the Market
Here’s some great news for our fellow hobbyists across the pond. Neptune Systems announced late last week that they were officially launching their new European 220/240V Schucko-style Energy Bar 6. In addition to that news, Neptune Systems also made it known that they have a new European master distributor, Nordic Reef. This year has been a busy one for the popular controller manufacturer, especially in Europe. Earlier this year they announced the availability of their Apex controller in a 240V format, and the new distributors and gear will only help push their invasion. The new Schuko-style EB6 was first debuted at MACNA 2013, along with tons of other sweet gear, and because this type of plug is standard in most European countries, it means nothing but growth into a new market for Neptune Systems. Of course, there are other well-known controllers for the Apex to compete with over there, but given its popularity and functionality in the states, we are sure it will make a big hit and shake up the EU controller market. According to the press release from Neptune Systems, with the release of the new Schuko plugged Energy Bar, the recently announced Automatic Feeding Systems and all of the other Apex accessories will be available to purchase in Europe prior to the close of this year. MORE: New Neptune Systems Euro-friendly Controller Gear Officially Hits the Market

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Corals Create “The Smell” Of The Ocean And Regulate Climate

Marine biologists in Australia have found the first evidence that the coral animal itself, not just its algal symbiont, may play an important role in regulating local climate. The researchers have shown that the coral animal makes untitled3 Corals Create The Smell Of The Ocean And Regulate Climatedimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). This compound creates “the characteristic ‘smell of the ocean”. Since this tell tale smell  is actually derived from the DMSP compound, it indicates how abundant the molecule is in the marine environment. In fact we could smell it in a single baby coral,” says AIMS chemist Cherie Motti, and co-author on the paper published in the journal Nature. 


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Taking the Orphek Helix Protein Skimmer for a Spin

2310Orphek Helix with Skimmate Taking the Orphek Helix Protein Skimmer for a SpinAt the last Reef-a-Palooza show in Costa Mesa, California, I had the absolute pleasure of bringing home the recently debuted Orphek Helix 3000 cone skimmer. If you’re anything like me, you get excited when it comes to brand new equipment, and needless to say, I was excited for this one. When you first lay eyes on the Helix, it looks like your typical cone skimmer but with a few subtle yet significant differences. Everything about it is sleek, from the white DC pump to the collection cup cover and everything in between. Rated at around 400 gallons, this skimmer has the potential of skimming a wide variety of tanks due to the controllable pump. One of first things you see notice on this skimmer is the high RPM controllable DC pump. This 3000 l/h (792gph) needle-wheel pump, at full power, draws 25 watts and has a pause mode with an automatic timer for 10 minutes. The pump basically forces bubble-enriched water through what is called the helix disk, Orphek’s take on the bubble plate. This disk directs the movement of the water in a 360 degree spiral motion up the cone to increase contact time and produce a more efficient skim MORE: Taking the Orphek Helix Protein Skimmer for a Spin

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