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Archive for December, 2010

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Exotic Fish, is a fantastic short film by Sean Conaty of Scion A/V. The film documents the industry, and the hobbyists “addicted” to reefkeeping and saltwater aquariums. Several people in this video “explain” why they are drawn to the hobby, and what keeps them coming for more. I’m sure you’ve been asked “what’s the big deal?” or “how can you spend so much time with your fish?”, well, you’re not alone. This video shows the creative side of having your own tank, from selection of aquascaping, to choosing livestock, and the idea of tweaking your system, to make it an “art form.”

“I think what brings a lot of people into this hobby is that it’s a whole other world. The oceans occupy more space on this planet than land, and the natural curiosity is to bring a piece of it into your home”
-Miguel Tolosa

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Martin A. Moe’s Marine Aquarium Handbook: Beginner to Breeder was named Best Science Book of 2010, reports CORAL Magazine. Recognized as a founder of the aquarium hobby as we know it, Moe was presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association, with the Ben Franklin Award. This award honors outstanding writing and design in independent publishing.

This latest edition of the Marine Aquarium Handbook, is a collaborative effort of Martin, his wife Barbara, and several other CORAL Magazine contributors. The book was edited by James Lawrence, and sports a foreword by Julian Sprung.

The book breaks down the hobby into several sections:

The Aquarium – Size, Shape, Style, and Construction
The Water – Composition, Collection, Mixing, and Preparation
Filtration – Mechanical, Chemical, Biological, and Sterilization
The Biological Filter – Live Rock, Live Sand and External Options
Physics & Chemistry – The Essential Information for Marine Aquarists
Setup & Maintenance – The First Day, The First Year
Fish Selection – What to Look for: Condition and Compatibility
Introduction & Quarantine – Purposes and Methods
Diseases & Distress – Identification and Treatment
Foods & Feeding – What, When, and How
Breeding Marine Fish – The Basic Process and Easiest Species

Each topic is covered in detail with beautiful photography to help illustrate it’s points. So what are you waiting for, get your copy now!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

We’ve already posted many videos if this amazing large reef tank. Here is a video of this large reef tank back in 2009, a quick follow up video, as well as a reef tank evolution video.

The “my fishes” update is simply captivating. Available in 1080p HD, this beautiful depiction of the unreal reef tank, left us speechless. From triggers to tangs to angles to platinum clownfish and more, a variety of fish are shown swimming around large acropora colonies, clams, scolys, chalices, anemonies (to name a few).

Please comment below with your favorite fish.

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

After months, perhaps even years of research I decided to take the plunge into clam ownership. I started preparing my tank months in advance, by implementing weekly water changes. I wanted to make sure that my clam was happy from the get go. Not to mention, I also have a huge fear of failure.

The delivery day arrives, and my new blue maxima clam opens up immediately after a long and steady drip acclimation. I was shocked at how quickly it made itself at home. After a few days, and light cycles, the mantle was fully extended. He is light and shadow reactive, which is a great sign of health. You could say that things were going swimmingly well.

I have read many pro and anti phytoplankton dosing articles and decided that with a well established tank with both T5s and Metal Halides I should be okay. Anyway, most of the research for maxima clam’s dietary needs seemed to be subjective. Months had gone by and he seemed to be, pardon my pun “happy as a clam”. This was true until a few days ago.

I was taking my nightly inventory, and noticed that the clam’s incurrent siphon was more open than usual. Several thoughts crossed my mind as to why this could be happening. One, I recently used AptasiaX near the clam. Two, the flow might be too strong. I adjusted my flow, and made sure that the appropriate amount was hitting the clam. Unfortunately, with clams once a sign of illness occurs, there is nothing that you can do to remedy it. It becomes a waiting game that usually ends in the death of a bivalve mollusk.

As the days progressed, I decided to do the final check one can do to discover if a clam is on its way out. I checked the feet of the clam and they were indeed detached, and had become a stinky brown slug-ish material. The end was near. I decided to remove the dying clam, prior to any huge releases of decomposing material were spread throughout the tank. When I removed him, I could smell my failure. Rotting clam is not a smell that is easily forgotten.

It all began with a gaping incurrent siphon, and within a matter of days it was over. I scoured the internet for answers. I researched every possible complication, and could not come up with a single connection to place the blame on. It was then that I read s great line that could benefit all of us obsessive hobbyists, “sometimes a clam just dies”.

If you have any clam related tips, please add them to the comment section below.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Here is the first video we are featuring from our good friend Jeff Macare of Reef Dynamics. Jeff, previously of Euro-Reef, founded Reef Dynamics in an effort to build on some of the fundamental protein skimmer design elements he developed at Euro-Reef.

In this particular video, Jeff talks about the design and materials used in protein skimmers. Jeff begins by examines co-current and con-current protein skimmers, and the implications of each on the bubble contact time. Next Jeff discusses the impact of sump water level and pump positioning on the efficiency of the protein skimmer.

This discussion leads into the discussion of bubble plates. This controversial section addresses whether a bubble plate is beneficial or detrimental in hobbyist sized skimmers.
After a quick history of the origins of bubble plates, Jeff explains why he decided not to use them in his skimmer design.

Next, he discusses the integral relationship between the neck diameter to body diameter to pump size. This important ratio is paramount to the production of optimal skimmate.

Please let us know what you think!

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

In the spirit of the recent shark attacks, I have become a bit preoccupied with our ocean’s most impressive hunters. While scanning the web I stumbled upon a pretty sweet shark news resource called the Shark Research Committee.

The Shark Research Committee is a pro-shark group that focuses on educating the public and keeping the sharks safe from us. For any of us ocean bound reefers, this is a great resource to keep up on the most recent bitings and sightings.

My personal favorite tales are the ones that the spotter mentions seeing Great White Sharks hunting Sea Lions weeks before, and then they went back surfing at the same location and are surprised when they see the shark swimming aggressively towards them. Gotta love the Fear-Factor lifestyle.

If you get a kick out of reading about other people’s brushes with death, definitely check out the Shark Research Committee site.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Sharm El-Shiekh, Egypt has been a news hot spot since the weeklong Jaws-style attacks have left one dead, and four others wounded. Between November 30 and December 5, 2010 there have been 5 unprovoked shark vs. human battles. The vacation destination which is settled on the Red Sea, has lost tons of tourist dollars and the public beaches have been on lock down to swimmers.

The Egyptian government has assembled teams of specialist to determine the reason for such unusual shark behavior, and the results make me wonder why this type of attack hasn’t happened before now?

  • Animal transport vessels have been illegally dropping sheep carcasses within 1.2 miles of the shoreline.
  • The underwater topography is very unique. The shore and the deep water run very close together, causing pelagic sharks and humans to share the beach.
  • Natural prey is at a low to over-fishing of the Red Sea.
  • Divers are illegally feeding the sharks – hmm, and attacks come as a shock!
  • Glass bottom boat feeding tours and swimmers are bringing the sharks close to the beach.

One diver was able to capture a photo of one of the potential suspects prior to the fishing community capturing and killing them. Gary Young was out diving two days after the first fatal attack, when he came face to face with a female oceanic white-tip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus. He used his advanced training and took advantage of the situation. First he took some great photos of her, and then he slowly moved into the reef to blend in. This technique worked and the shark did her photo-op and let him be.

The second shark to be named as a tourist trap was a shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus.

No photos were taken of this culprit, but I have a feeling that Discovery Channel will do us justice and give us full details during 2011’s Shark Week.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

It seems that after years of being a staple in the Reef lighting industry, IceCap may have hit a bump. It is going to be interesting to see what comes of this development in the new year. We wish IceCap the best of luck in this process. We continue to use and support the IceCap line of products (we currently use their LED Moonlight Tubes, 20K Metal Halide bulbs, several 660s, and a 4 bulb retrofit kit).

In a press release to its vendors, IceCap Inc made the following announcement:

Dear Valued Vendor,

First I would like to extend a Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. I know this comes somewhat bitter sweet as many of you have attempted recently to contact IceCap, Inc. with little to no success. For that I am truly sorry.

IceCap, Inc. has been around for about 20 years and many of you have supported IceCap, Inc. through the ups and downs over the years. Unfortunately, we finally hit a trough in our business cycle due to several factors that impaired this business to the point where we could not and can not recover. Therefore, by the direction of the IceCap, Inc. Board of Directors we have suspended operations.

What this means is we are aggressively and actively seeking opportunities to keep the IceCap, Inc. a viable brand in the markets and with customers we have served in the past 20 years. We expect to bring closure to this process within 60 days and plan to align the new management team, investors, and/or owners with our valued vendors/suppliers in hopes this continuation of business will mitigate the effects of recent events.

IceCap, Inc.

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Here is the next of our reef puzzles. Post your low score in the comments section.

Please let us know if you want your photo used for our next puzzle by using our contact us page.


The numbers should help you arrange the pieces. You can always click on the “original” button to see the photo.

Please make sure to share this link around the web.

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