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Aquarium Technologies Borrowed from Other Industries

Actinic lighting was developed and used in other industries before reef aquariumsWe marine aquarists use a variety of tools to help keep our tanks healthy by either changing or removing the waste products of the animals we keep. But did you know virtually all of the devices we use were originally designed for other industries? OzoneFor instance, ozone is a naturally forming gas found in our atmosphere that helps protect us from the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It was discovered in 1839 by Christian Friedrich Schönbein. Ozone was originally used to purify drinking water and as a health-giving gas. Unfortunately, that health idea produced just the opposite result because the oxidizing effect we can use to purify certain things will also oxidize us, especially our lungs.

Top 10 Tips For Keeping a SPS Reef Tank

Top 10 Tips For Keeping a SPS Reef Tank Let’s face it.  Keeping a reef tank is not a simple chore but there are some basic tenants one can follow to optimize the chances for success.  With over 20 years in the hobby I have learned a lot from both my successes and failures.  Below are My Top 10 Tips For Keeping a Successful Reef Tank dominated by SPS.  I will dive deeper into each item on the list in future blog posts so stay tuned. The List Stability – It is critical to have stability for parameters such as salinity, nitrate, magnesium, and calcium. And perhaps most important in my book for SPS is keeping alkalinity at a consistent level. Strong Lighting – I have had a lot of

Wishing I’d Chosen a Wider Marine Aquarium

Consider using the widest aquarium your space and budget will allowI wouldn’t exactly say I have major regrets about choosing a standard 125-gallon tank for my current marine aquarium system, but if I had to do it all over again, I might go in a slightly different—rather, slightly wider—direction. For the benefit of any salties out there who are planning a new setup, I thought I’d share why I think going with a wider tank might have been a better choice. First I should specify that aquarium dimensions are typically given as length x width x height, with length representing the side-to-side measurement and width representing the front-to-back measurement. This always throws me because to my way of thinking, width should describe an object’s measurement from one side to the other. After all, when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I don’t think to myself, “Wow, my belly sure is getting long!” And there’s a reason ABC’s old sports anthology series wasn’t called The Long World of Sports.But I digress. This aquarium—which is 18½ inches wide (counting the trim)—has been operating for the better part of 10 years and functioned as a FOWLR system for most of that time. The tank serves as a room divider, separating the great room in my home into two distinct sitting areas, and is viewable from three sides. I only recently converted it to a reef tank after tearing down my 75-gallon system, which, as I’ve mentioned in prior posts, had become largely overrun with green star polyps and pulsing Xenia.

Salty Q&A: Bay Window Reef Lighting?

Sunlight passing through a window generally provides very directional, odd angle lightingQuestionI’m setting up my first reef aquarium and want to keep my approach as natural as possible. The room where I plan to place the tank has a really big bay window in it, and succulents and other sun-loving houseplants really thrive there. Is there any reason I can’t take advantage of all that natural sunlight for my corals instead of using crazy expensive artificial lights?” – Submitted by CZ Answer Though you would save a bundle if such a plan were feasible, I would discourage relying on window lighting to illuminate your reef system for several reasons. First, the amount of sunlight passing through the window is going to change throughout the year as the sun’s position shifts and the days get longer or shorter with the seasons. That won’t bode well for tropical corals, which demand 10 to 12 hours of direct sunlight per day. Second, the sunlight passing through the window will reach the tank at an odd angle and from only one direction. So even if you could get enough sunlight of sufficient intensity to pass through the window and onto your tank on a consistent, year-round basis, your light-hungry inverts would always be shaded on one side. Third, placing an aquarium too close to a window—especially one that lets in a lot of direct sunlight at certain times of year—can make it difficult to maintain a stable, appropriate water temperature, which is stressful to the inhabitants

My Reef Creations Releases New Line of Media Reactors

Xseries Media Reactors We’ve known for some time now that MRC has been working on a new product series and today My Reef Creations has made it official with the release of their new xSeries media reactors.  Below is the official Press Release from the guys at My Reef Creations. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 22, 2015 My Reef Creations Lawrenceville, Ga. – MRC® rings in 2016 with its new xSeriesTM, an affordable equipment line with exceptional quality MRC®, a brand synonymous with quality products and successful hobbyists, proudly introduces its latest line of equipment. MRC® ‘s newest member in design and manufacturing innovation, the xSeriesTM, was created by listening to customer feedback and building a line hobbyists will value for its affordability, as well as the MRC® quality

Meet the People Who are Rebuilding the Reefs

From the boat, there’s nothing remarkable about the place — just choppy water and a white mooring ball, a few miles offshore. But once we’re underwater, I can see the rows and rows of PVC trees, suspended above the sand in a grid that stretches away into the distant murk. This is a coral nursery. Each tree bears a ripening crop of a hundred or more pieces of coral. The smallest fragments are pinkie-sized, twirling on their tethers as other divers kick by; the largest hang like many-limbed chandeliers, turning slowly in the current. When I get closer, I can see the individual polyps, the anemone-like creatures that make up each fragmented colony. Nestled in the crenellated openings in their solid skeletons, they

BB Gun Dreams and Christmas Aquariums

Ralphie checking out his brand new Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morningBack in the sixth grade, I had my sights set on a BB gun for Christmas. No, it didn’t necessarily have to be the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action, Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle so famously coveted by Ralphie in A Christmas Story. Make and model were of no consequence. Besides, that popular holiday film hadn’t even gone into production yet. I just needed something to keep up with my good friend, Dan Rogers, who was already duly armed with a pump-action Daisy. Dan and I spent many of our waking hours (and more than a few of what were supposed to be sleeping hours) exploring the vast (it seemed back then) ravine behind his house, and there were definitely things lurking in the forbidden recesses of that ravine that needed shooting—like old beer cans and…older beer cans. So any time we weren’t building campfires, fighting each other with makeshift quarterstaffs on fallen logs, or detonating firecrackers, we could be found picking cans off any level horizontal surface with BBs

Reclaiming Reverse-Osmosis Waste Water

Drip, drip, drip…there are a number of options to reclaim reverse-osmosis waste waterWhile reverse-osmosis units are among the more practical, affordable means for producing purified tap water suitable for sensitive reef systems, there’s no question that they tend to generate a lot of waste water relative to the volume of purified product. In fact, they often produce upwards of four gallons of waste water for every one gallon of purified water. It’s only natural for conservation-oriented hobbyists to look for ways to reclaim this waste water and put it to meaningful use rather than send it swirling down the drain. But finding realistic ways to use all that water isn’t as simple as it seems, especially if you have a relatively large aquarium system and, therefore, need to produce a hefty amount of RO water on a fairly regular basis.The usual advice is to use the waste water to give your plants or lawn a drink. These are certainly valid options, but let’s face it, you’d have to have an awful lot of plants to keep pace with all the waste water produced. And as far as watering the lawn is concerned, I’m sure someone more inventive than I (which isn’t saying much) could find ways to do this efficiently using RO waste water, but I haven’t figured out a method that would work for my yard yet.

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