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Archive for March, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

If you haven’t experienced a reef emergency, just wait, you will. The real question here is not will something like “that” happen to me, but rather when will it happen to me, and will I be ready. Now, this emergency could be a toxin, overdose of an additive, power outage, equipment failure, etc. Can you really be ready for anything? probably not, but you can limit the chances that you will lose a majority of your livestock by stocking some basic items, and having a plan in place.

Ok, let’s get this list going (I’m sure I’ll be adding to this article).

Water and salt
You need to be able to do a %50 water change, and then be able to make water and do several more large water changes over a period of about a week.


A backup return pump
The flow rate here can be a little lower than the one you use, and you may choose to have a less expensive pump on hand (since it will only be used temporarily). Remember that if you’re using a sump, and lose your return pump, your skimmer, reactor/s, etc will be of no use. In some cases, you may be able to re-mount reactors in the tank, but it is best to have this figured out in advance. Make sure your pluming allows you to turn a few valves, remove the existing pump, and add a new one. (this will also help with pump maintenance).


Carbon, carbon and some more carbon.
Basically, you can’t have enough. Assuming you already have a reactor that runs carbon, you want to be able to change the carbon as often as needed.


Buckets and towels.
I don’t think I need to explain this.

A backup generator or power source.
This can be a standby generator (very expensive, but turns on automatically) or a fuel-powered one that can last a few hours at a time. If neither are available, you might want to think about “friending” someone who doesn’t live too close 😉 and has one. I once had to run my tank by getting a cigarette lighter car adapter, and then running an extension cord through my second hand window, following a terrible wind storm. The next day I borrowed a generator which had to be filled every 3-4 hours. We didn’t have electricity for 7 days, and I made daily trips to the gas station, but my tank survived. I would go to sleep at 2 a.m. with a full generator which would last until about 6 a.m. The tank would then go without power for a few hours until I awoke, and then I would fill it back up and turn it on.

The tank will make it without filtration or lights, but it will very quickly run out of oxygen. A battery-powered pump or air pump can help, but as a last resort you can manually fill a clean pitcher with tank water, raise it above the water level and pour the water back in. Do this as often and for as long as possible.


This will help absorb many toxins that may have inadvertently been introduced to your tank.


Aquarium-safe Silicone, acetone, and a razor for small leak repair.
Basically, you will lower the water level to below the leak, move down at many corals and live rock as possible to keep them alive. Use the silicone to scrape the existing silicone, clean the area with acetone applied to a paper towel (DO NOT LET ANY ACETONE DRIP INTO THE WATER). Apply the silicone, let it cure for the required period of time, then fill the tank.


Ammonia Neutralizer.
If for some reason there is a spike in ammonia, a product such as AmQuel+ can be a lifesaver, literally.


An extra heater
Whether you need to replace a failed one on your tank, or use it to heat newly mixed saltwater for a large water change, having extra heaters on hand is always a good idea.


Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate can be used to quickly raise pH in a tank. Mix about a teaspoon of baking soda for each 20 gallons of tank water and slowly add it to a high flow area in your tank. Allow a sufficient amount of time before re-testing (or just watch your pH monitor).


The opposite of Baking Soda, distilled white-wine vinegar will lower your pH.


Test kits
You should have these anyways, but they may help you identify the source of the problem in emergency situations by indicating symptoms.


Empty 2 liter bottles
In cases where you need to either raise or lower your tank’s temperature, and are unable to do so using electricity, you can use frozen 2 liter bottles or ones full of boiling water. Simply add these to your tank and you will see it having the needed impact. It’s good to have several, so that you can freeze a new one while you’re using the other.

A note about back items. NO ONE wants to spend money on equipment that just sits around collecting dust. We all would rather get a frag of whatever the hottest coral may be at the time. However, you may want to think about buying one backup item every so often, instead of that coveted frag. This way, over time, you will have the items you need, and be much better prepared for a long and successful reefkeeping adventure.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

A Lightning Maroon Clownfish was posted on Blue Zoo Aquatics’ website, and then quickly sold for $2500. Originating from Paupa New Guinea, the Lightning Maroon clownfish is simply stunning, with a brilliant maroon body, and marked with extremely unique “artistic” patterns. This particular fish was sent to BZA viw SEASMART, a New Guinea program designed to benefit the fisherman who collect the fish. We will post more photos of this beautiful clownfish species shortly.

Here is some info about the SEASMART program

Sustainability, Equitability and Profitability are the three core goals of the SEASMART program for the development of a marine aquarium trade in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Building on local tradition and customs, supported by international market demand, and utilising cutting edge technology and traceability mechanisms, the EcoEZ SEASMART Program is helping to create a new natural resource trade in PNG that is changing the way natural resource exploitation is carried out, ensuring local management control, resource extraction sustainability, product traceability and industry profitability.

The PNG SEASMART Program is a joint effort by the PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and EcoEZ Inc. The SEASMART Program is working with PNG’s National, Provincial and local governments, educational and development institutions, the donor and investment communities, and international and local businesses to efficiently develop the marine aquarium trade throughout the country.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Reef Nutrition, the California-based company offering a line of feeds designed to provide a complete and balanced diet for your reef, was in danger of burning down to the ground. Reef Nutrition shares office space in a building that was burned down by a suspected arson. The fire could have cause much more damage, but luckily, the portion of the building where the fire originated was built of masonry and contained no windows or doors. This prevented the fire from getting the oxygen it would need to continue to grow. Firefighters had the fire under control within an hour and a half, at which point the investigation began. It is possible that someone with prior knowledge of the space, entered the building through a hole they created in the fence. The hole was made in such a way that the alarm would not be triggered, and the investigation is ongoing at this time.

Reef Nutrition’s offices are on the second floor, right next to the burned down portion of the building. Although the offices did not burn down, they did sustain damage to a wall of glass-brick windows.”I’m amazed that my office is here at all, I’m so thankful,” said Randy Reed of Reef Nutrition on a KTVU news segment, “every one of these (glass-blocks) is broken this entire wall is shattered from end to end”. It seems that Reef Nutrition will be able to continue working out of their offices, so get your orders in!

Click here to watch the video.

[via KTVU]

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The Lynx Nudibranch, Phidiana lynceus, is captured here in High Def by Morphologic Studios. This nudibranch, which feeds on hydroids, uses the utmost care in minimizing the amount of stinging it absorbs as it attempts to feed. Impressively, the lynx Nudibranch is able to separate both the stinging nematocysts and photosynthetic zooxanthellae from the ingested hydroids before consuming it. The Lynx Nudibranch goes on to use the zooxanthellae for energy, and the stinging nematocysts for protection from any predators it may encounter. Talk about using EVERYTHING you eat. This is another fantastic and informative video brought to you by Morphologic Studios.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Deterioration of coral reefs around the world could lead to the demise of many nations. Reefs around the world are an integral part of the oceans’ ecosystems and food chains. Much of the fish consumed around the world, depends at least in part, on the existence and stability of the earth’s coral reefs. it is estimated that over a billion people depend on these fish for both food and livelihood.

Several studies have shown that reefs around the world are headed for extinction due to low oxygen levels, global warming, and damage caused by fishing boats. “You could argue that a complete collapse of the marine ecosystem would be one of the consequences of losing corals,” said Old Dominion University professor Kent Carpenter, director of a Worldwide Census of Marine Species. “You’re going to have a tremendous cascade effect for all life in the oceans.”

So what impact could this have? Well, as the reefs disintegrate, the impact travels up the food chain, and commonly consumed species lose their food source and become scarce. This will also impact other invertebrates that play a large part in the marine food industry. The economic implications should not be overlooked as the fishing industry employs over 160 million people worldwide. In addition to effecting the availability of a food source, the income provided by snorkeling, scuba diving, and other resort activities which rely on the existence of such reefs is in danger. Hawaii, Florida, many Caribbean and Southeast Asia countries rely on tourism as a major source of income. Some regularly comprise almost half of their national gross product from tourist activity based in reef and coral related experiences.

Marine biologist Jane Lubchenco says “Reefs are precious sources of food, medicine and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands around the world. They are also special places of renewal and recreation for thousands more. Their exotic beauty and diverse bounty are global treasures.”

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 by AquaticLife is a compact skimmer, ideal for nano reef tanks up to 30 gallons. Sporting a streamlined design, the Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 uses a needle wheel impeller to increase air-to-water contact, and therefore eliminate more organic waste. Designed for internal placement, this protein skimmer has an adjustable mounting bracket that fits standard aquarium frames, as well as suction cups that can be used when needed.

Some nice features of the Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 are a water flow control knob, tubeless housing design for easy installation, tinted ABS housing for durability, an CE certified high-efficiency pump, and a large reaction chamber.


  • Power Cord Length: 1.4 M / 4.5 ft
  • Pump Wattage: 8W
  • Dimensions: 27 x 8 x 8 cm / 10.5 x 3 x 3 in
  • Collection Cup Volume: 100 ml / 3.4 fl.oz.
  • Collection Cup Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 8 cm / 2 x 2 x 3 in
  • Min. Clearance Above Water Line: 9.5 cm / 3.75 in
Monday, March 29th, 2010

The Voyager 1 Stream Pump by Sicce USA is a new, patented stream pump for marine aquariums, nano reefs, and fresh water aquariums. With it’s 360 degree pump rotation, the Voyager 1 Stream Pump can deliver flow rates ranging between 265 and 607 gallons per hour. Using only 8 watts, this powerhead utilizes a rotating head to created variable flow, ideal for reef tanks. This innovative approach offers variability on multiple levels: rate of flow, direction of flow, speed of the rotating deflection, and 360 degrees of pump rotation. The Voyager 1 Stream Pump helps prevent dead spots, leading to cleaner water and improved water parameters. The pump can be mounted using suction cups and magnets.

The Voyager 1 Stream Pump retails for about $42.

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Crinoid Squat Lobsters, Allogalathea elegans, are tiny crustaceans that make their homes on Crinoid Feather Sea Stars. It is thought that Crinoid Squat Lobsters host on Crinoids for protection, since Crinoids may have an unpleasant taste or toxin and are rarely eaten by predators. Crinoid Squat Lobsters also obtain food from their hosts; these kleptoparasites use their chelipeds to comb food from the Crinoids’ feathery arms. Crinoids Feather Sea Stars are nearly impossible to keep in captivity, but Crinoid Squat Lobsters do not require a Crinoid host to thrive in a home aquarium.

Crinoid Squat Lobsters are not actually lobsters, but are small, peaceful crabs of the family Galatheidae, closely related to Porcelain Crabs. Their coloration is variable; individuals adopt the color of their host for camouflage. The most common colors are black, white, and yellow. Most Crinoid Squat Lobsters are smooth, but some can be rather spiny, further helping to blend in with their host. Allogalathea elegans can be distinguished from the nearly identical Galathea inflata, also a Crinoid Squat Lobster, by having a longer rostrum that extends far past the eyes.

Crinoid Squat Lobsters are very peaceful and will not harm small fish, corals, or invertebrates. They are territorial, solitary creatures, but more than one may be successfully housed in a large aquarium. Disputes can be avoided if at least 10 gallons of territory is allotted per each Crinoid Squat Lobster. A single Crinoid Squat Lobster makes a perfect addition to a small nano aquarium. Crinoid Squat Lobsters are easy to feed and should be target fed pieces of frozen mysis and other meaty foods. They are hardy and adapt well to life in aquariums, but like other crustaceans, they are sensitive to copper, nitrates, and changes in salinity and water quality. Avoid aggressive tank mates or those large enough to consume the Crinoid Squat Lobster.

Photo by Felicia McCaulley

Monday, March 29th, 2010

The CPR In-Tank Refugium is a great idea for those of us who want a refugium but are not running a sump. The CPR In-Tank Refugium can serve as temporary housing for appropriately sized fish and invertebrate additions, or a safe house for injured fish. This can help injured livestock regenerate damaged tissue without being harassed by aggressive tank members.

Another popular use for a refugium, is as a culturing area for small pods that can be used a an excellent source of food for any carnivorous tankmates (free food!). The CPR In-Tank Refugium is supplied with a Rio pump that constantly circulates water through the refugium. The refugium is also supplied with suction cups for easy mounting.

Dimensions available:
CITRS 7 3/4″ x 4″ x 7 1/2″
CITRL 12″ x 6″ x 8″

This product is on sale at Marine Depot for the rest of the day for Only: $47.99


Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The coralSky SL LED lighting system is the latest release from CSI Energy. CSI Energy, formed in the summer of 2008, was introduced to the reef community when it launched it’s coralSky Versa LED lighting system back in March of 2009.

The coralSky SL (for Supplemental Lighting) was designed specifically to supplement (of course) existing lighting setups. The coralSky SL can add some blue to Metal Halides lighting systems, as well as be used as a dawn/dusk light. In T5 applications, the SL is said to provide an element of shimmer that is always missing. This system, powered by a stand-alone AC/DC driver relies on passive cooling and requires no fans. The coralSky SL is reported to product 160 PAR at 12″ distance, and is available from either with ($269.00) or without optics ($249.00).

Here are photos of the coralSkly SL at the ReefStock.

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