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Archive for February, 2010

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

We recently took a look at the NextReef MR1 Monster Media Reactor. Ever think to yourself, “I wish I was able to run more media at a time”. Well, NextReef has the solution for you. Their entire family of MR1 Media reactors sports a 4″ reaction chamber! Asides from the increased capacity, NextReef notes that this large media chamber will maximize media to water contact which will ultimately increase efficiency and reduce the number of dead zones in the reactor.

Immediately after taking it out of the box, we were impressed with the machining and solid feel of this reactor. NextReef has clearly done their homework and have implemented the utmost attention to details. Key-hole flanges, a machined channel for their heavy-duty O-ring, and even plastic hose clips and a roll of plumber’s tape are just a few of the highlights of this well designed media reactor.

No longer do you need to worry about leaks, every joint in the MR1 is channel-cut, which means that rather than simply “sitting” on top of the base, the tube actually fits into the base before any bonding occurs. To further insure proper functioning, the lid is held in place by 6 thumb screws which are quick to remove and easy to fasten. All it took was one turn on each screw, and the lid rotates slightly and comes off.

Now, let’s talk about the MR1 Monster model, which sports dual 21″x4″ reaction chambers, and is rated for 600 gallons (1200 gallons for freshwater applications). That’s 2 gallons of media!!! This reactor uses 1/2″ ID tubing, and can easily be used with a designated feed pump, or a tee and valve from your return pump. NextReef actually offers a complete kit, sold with the pump and tubing you need. That saves you a couple of trips (LFS, hardware store) and gets you ready to rock as soon as you receive your reactor. We believe that you’ll be very impressed with your NextReef purchase, and we look forward to adding a follow-up article once we add this reactor to our system.

A quick note. You may have seen a new product called NP-reducing BioPellets which is being used by hobbyists around the world to reduce nitrates and phosphates simultaneously. NextReef is working on a new reactor specifically designed for use with BioPellets, so keep checking back for updates. The new reactor will be available from Reef Tools sponsor Aquarium specialty.

Specs for the NextReef MR1 Monster Media Reactor
Recommended Tank Size: 600 gallons Marine / 1200 gallons Freshwater
Height: 23″ Overall Height / 21″ Reaction Chambers (585mm / 535mm)
Footprint: 12.5″ x 6″ (325mm x 150mm)
Reaction Chamber: 21″ x 4″ (Dual) (535mm x 100mm)
Total Capacity: 465 cubic inches / 2.0 gallons / 255 fluid ounces / 7.6 litre
Inlet / Outlet: 1/2″ 90 Degree Barb Fittings – fits standard 1/2″ ID tubing

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse, Paracheilinus flavianalis, is a peaceful, and colorful addition to the reef aquarium. As with many animals in nature, the brilliant colors of the male yellowfin flasher outshine the more subdued appearance of the female. Color variation in this species has been reported to be based on the locale of collection, age, and the fish’s mood. Most adult males are bright red in color, brilliant blue stripes, and of course a dorsal fin which can change in color to yellow during the courting period.

Indigenous to Indonesia, this carnivore can be found at depths ranging from shallow waters, to over a 100 ft. In the reef aquarium, please provide the Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse with sufficient rockwork, arranged in such a way as to provide ample hiding spots. Several females may be kept with one male, providing that they are introduced at the same time. Another option it to add the females to the tank first, and then the male. As with many other wrasses, this species likes to jump, and therefore a lid, or in reef tanks, a screen top is highly recommended.

Diet should consist of frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and other meaty food. It is a good idea to enrich the food with vitamins. The yellowfin flasher wrasse should be fed several times per day.

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

A study of Scaly-foot gastropod, Crysomallon squamiferum, may lead researcher on a path to developing a better designed armor for soldiers and vehicles. Christine Ortiz, an MIT Associate Professor, reports that the shell of this particular snail is unlike any other naturally occurring or synthetic armor. This unique shell, is constructed of three layers which enable it to dissipate a force that would fracture weaker shells. Mimicking select aspects of this three-layer structure could assist scientists in designing improved armor for military purposes.

The Scaly-foot gastropod employs an outermost layer which consists of strong iron sulphide particles, created in hydrothermal vents. Each vent is around 20 nanometers across, and is embedded in an organic matrix. This layer, is designed specifically in a way that would enable it to crack when hit, while absorbing the applied force. This sort of microcracking fans out around the iron sulphide particles only, and prevents larger cracks from forming.

The second of the three layers, is a thick, sponge-like substance which further absorbs the force of the blow, and shelters the more fragile inner shell. This layer, has may also dissipate thermal fluctuations and heat.

In addition to the Scaly-foot gastropod, Ortiz is also looking at chintons, urchins, beetles and armored fish for inspiration for created a more effective synthetic armor without adding weight.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

CBS News, Orlando, FL. A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in a tragic accident at the Orlando SeaWorld show. Witnesses say that the whale leaped out of the water and dragged the trainer under, then continued to thrash her body violently. Dawn Brancheau, a 40 year old trainer was one of SeaWorld’s most experienced trainers. Another witness stated that the whale “took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off.”

Tilikum, a nearly 30 year old 12,000 pound bull Orca, was the largest male at SeaWorld. You may remember that the same killer whale was involved at another death at a SeaWorld in July of 1999. This previous case consisted of a man who stayed inside the Orlando SeaWorld after hours, proceeded to jump into the whale’s tank, and was consequently killed.

Controversy is stirring about the idea of euthanasia. A longtime critic of SeaWorld, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, protested that the park should “stop confining oceangoing mammals to an area that to them is like the size of a bathtub”. The organization went on to say that “it’s not surprising when these huge, smart animals lash out.”

Our thought go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Dawn Brancheau.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Pom Pom Crab

The Pom Pom Crab, Lybia sp., has a light tan color with darker markings throughout it’s body which are used as camouflage. This Hawaii native crab, from the Xanthidae family, carries a small anemone in each of it’s claws. These anemones serve two main functions. First, they are used for defensive purposes, threatening any potential predators with the risk of a sting. Second, these anemones are used to to “mop” uneaten food from the substrate and rock.

It should be noted that when adding this generally peaceful tenant to a reef tank, one runs the risk of the anemones stinging corals. Although, any damage cause by these anemones would be minimal due to their size.

Another common name for this crab is a Boxer Crab, and will grow to a maximum length of about an inch. As with many crabs and shrimp, molting is a mechanism used for growth, and therefor proper iodine levels should be maintained.

The Pom Pom crab should have a diet consisting of meaty foods such as mysis shrimp. chopped fish and clams, with the occasional addition of Spirulina or Nori.

Photograph by Felicia McCaulley

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

A few weeks ago we wrote about EcoTech Marine launching their new part store. Check it out, the store has seamlessly been integrated with the EcoTech Marine website. Anything from wet-sides, dry sides, and any component and accessory that makes up the full line of VorTechs is now available directly from ETM, 24/7. Complete with crisp photos, a clean layout and Google Checkout, this feature flows beautifully with the EcoTech Marine website. Click here to visit the EcoTech Marine Parts Store.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Reef Doser is the first app released by Pixelwand. This handy reef tool, can help you calculate the appropriate amounts of each element needed to bring your levels up to par. Pixelwand has split their Reef Doser Iphone App into two sections; the first is “main elements” which contain Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity. The second is “Trace Elements”, and includes elements that are dosed less frequently. At this point, only two types of additives are included in the calculations, but pixelwand promises to increase this as time goes on.

Reef Tools has added a wonderful tracking system for your reef parameters which can be used along with any reef calculator.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Scientific research into the extraordinary eyes of the mantis shrimp of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia may lead to the development of the next generation of optical computers and media.

While the human eye contains only 3 types of cells that are able to perceive color, certain varieties of mantis shrimp can have 12. The mantis shrimp is able to move each eye independently of the other, and can focus on an item with three different zones in each eye. The mantis shrimp is also able to detect light waves traveling on a helical corkscrew path, known as circularly polarized light. This ability is unique to the mantis shrimp as no other animal shares this ability.

Researcher Nicholas Roberts of the University of Bristol (U.K.), has discovered that the mantis shrimp’s eyes are able to convert circularly polarized light into linearly polarized light, and vice versa, with the help of unique light-sensitive cells called rhabdoms. Essentially, Roberts notes, rhabdoms operate similarly to quarter-wave plates, which are the components inside DVD, CD and other optical equipment. The remarkable aspect of the mantis shrimp’s eyes, is that they are able to switch between polarization states across the complete light spectrum, where as synthetic wave plates are limited to one wavelength, or color of light.

Roberts is hopeful that engineers might be able to mimic this ability using liquid crystals. This will lead to improved performance with technologies such as Blu-Ray, which employs multiple wavelengths of light. Again, it seems that nature has the upper hand.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The Abyss DVR is an autonomous device from Planctonite that allows the hobbyist to record underwater activity in their aquarium. No longer do you have to deal with reflections off the glass, or shooting directly straight on so that the image is not distorted, Abyss DVR will take care of everything for you. This DVR camera will actually attach to your aquarium with a magnet. The unit offers 2 hours of internal memory recording time and is controlled by a RECORD and STOP buttons. Once you are done, a mini-USB 2.0 will connect the Abyss to your PC or Mac, and an AVI file can easily be transfered and viewed, without any compatibility issues.

Want more? Ok. With the help of the included accessories, you may also take this little gadget snorkeling or diving. Simply attach the unit to your goggles and you can capture your underwater experience up to 10 meters. Not enough? Alright…how about taking the Abyss DVR with you skiing, skydiving, skateboarding or on any other extreme sport venture you can think of. The possibilities are endless.

Earlier this week, we reported that Reef Tools sponsor Aquarium Specialty is set to distribute Planctonite products.

Video format: AVI
FPS: 30 fps
Audio: Stereo (without audio in underwater mode)
Resolution: 736*480
Battery life: 1.5-2 h.
USB: 2.0
Storage: Internal 4.0 GB flash
Protection: IP68
Weight: 22 g
Dimensions: 19x68mm.
Maximum wall thickness: 15 mm (magnet mount)

The cost is €226.25

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Need new lights? Well XM Lighting is now offering $10 off their entire line of Metal Halide bulbs. Go to XM Lighting now and buy some bulbs!! Use Coupon Code FBW10DO

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