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Saturday, March 27th, 2010

A new Ecoxotic LED light should be available soon. Reportedly, this new 50 watt multi-chip LED light should first appear on the market in a pendant, followed by a fixture. Both freshwater (7000k) and saltwater (undecided K at this point) versions will be available. We are starting to see the spotlight trend, widely used in Japanese reef tank, begin to infiltrate the US hobbyist base more and more these days. This new LED light from Ecoxotic can brighten up any shaded spots in your tank, and provide quite a punch with it’s high PAR ratings.

We had a chance to see this light at in action over the yet to be released Ecoxotic nano tank at ReefStock. You can see just how bight this new LED light is going to be, absolutely flooding the small tank previously lit by the Ecoxotic Panorama LED Fixture.

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

We visited Salty Critter in Vermilion OH, this week, and wanted to show you what we saw. Salty Critter opened it’s doors and began offering saltwater fish, corals and supplies back in 2000. Along with a 4000 gallons coral system, and over a 1000 gallons in fish system, the marine reef & aquarium store also offers aquarium maintenance services, custom tanks, and setup.

From ORA corals, Australian acans and chalices, to acropora colonies, zoanthinds and ricordeas, Salty Critter always has an extensive collection of corals available. The store has recently changed its layout, in anticipation of an impending upgrade (more info below). As you walk into the store, you are confronted with an entire half of the store, dedicated to a large supply of dry goods. You can find anything from Protein Skimmers, Calcium Reactors and accessories, aquarium controllers, wavemakers, powerheads, submittable and external pumps, metal halide, T5, PC and LED lighting options, aquarium maintenance tools and much more. There is even a portion of the store dedicated to used equipment, for those of us who are looking for upgrades at a bargain. Next to the register, Salty Critter stocks various salts, dry and live sand, aquarium additives, and a wide selection of dry and frozen foods.

As you make your way to the livestock section of Salty Critter, you will first see a a wide selection of nano tanks, along with the latest cubes and treads in the aquarium industry. Naturally, the store can’t stop every tank at every size, but just go ahead and ask owner Dan Leaky, or any of the Salty Critter staff members, and they will get you a quote.

The livestock section is usually stacked; the front tank has some high-end corals, including a full selection of ORA releases, and always has a wave going, thanks to a combination of the latest powerheads and wavemakers. Both sides of the center aisle are lines with rows of 40 gallon breeders, filled with choice SPS, LPS, Palys, anemones, and a selection of reef-safe fish and invertebrates. The right aisle contains large bins full of a nice variety of liverock. The end of the livestock section includes 2 separate fish-only system, which feature some excellent choices for both reef and fish only tanks.

Alright, now let’s talk a little about what’s to come. Salty critter is in the midst of a large expansion which will include additional fish systems, as well as a new propagation section which will feature several 10’x4’x16″ tanks, visible from both sides. This new system, will allow Salty to offer and stock a larger selection of corals species and colors. Check back with us to watch this transformation.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Earlier this week we reported that ORA is preparing to release their captive-bred Mandarins. Well, we had a chance to look at them this week at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando. The ORA captive-bred mandarins looked plump and happy, swimming around the ORA reef tanks. A few photos show off the ORA Pearlberry, ORA Hawkins Blue, and a few of the newer releases like the Green Wooly and the Purple Stylophora.

Again, we would like to emphasize that the advantages of buying a captive-bred Mandarin. Being that these species will be accustomed to eating frozen food, keeping a healthy well-fed fish will be much easier, and the rate of successful rearing should increase. We will report a few more details in a soon-to-come article.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

An High Output LED fixture from Marineland was on display at Global Pet Expo in Orlando. We have some confirmed information from Marineland that we wanted to share with our readers. It is important to note that the fixture seen at the Global Pet Expo was an early prototype, and there will be modifications before the final product is released. Currently, the release date is scheduled for August of 2010.

The 24″ LED fixture that was on display, featured a total of 21 1W LED’s, 18 whites and 3 blue. The white LEDs used are 5500K, but Marineland is experimenting with 10000K ones with their goal being to provide a crisp blueish-white light. This will be achieved by either altering the white LED bulbs, or using more or different blue LEDs. For example, a combination of 420nm and 460nm blue LEDs.

The shell of the new High Outpput LED fixture from Marineland will be made of aluminum. The new shell, is “beefed up”, and utilizes additional cooling vents for improved passive cooling capacity. It looks like Marineland is on the right track for developing this fixture, and we’ll keep you updated as new details are released.

Below, you will see the Marineland HO LED prototype displayed over a reef tank at the show.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Earlier this week, we told you about the upcoming Skimz Monzter II. While we wait, we wanted to show you what else Skimz has been up to. The Skimz TurboMagnum has been installed at a shrimp farm in Singapore. This giant skimmer is 600mm diameter (23.6″) and 2.5 meters (over 8′) tall!! The Skimz TurboMagnum is powered by a 2 16,000 l/h pumps made by a Spanish manufacturer, and incorporate a custom venturi that Skimz developed together with a 3rd party. Each one of these large skimmers is rated for 20,000 liters (~5283 gallons), and comes with a self cleaning head, similar to the Bubble King skimmer. In addition to the rotating neck cleaner, the Skimz TurboMagnum has 3 freshwater jets that clean the inside of the cup. The large skimmer body of the Skimz TurboMagnum utilizes a bubble plate, and the giant cup has a large drain pipe attached to it.

Skimz actually offers the TurboMagnum with diameters between 300 and 1000mm, and heights of 2-2.5 meters (made to the client’s specifications). Anyone want to try this bad boy on their system?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

A Breeding Diamond Gobies Video was sent to us by a new member. The video begins with 100’s, if not more, of Diamond goby larvae swarming around a tank. After a few moments of showing just how many of them hatched, we are taken back 24 hours. We then see the Diamond Goby couple attending to their nest and preparing it for the upcoming event. Then begins the mad rush by the mated diamond gobies to hide and protect the nest. The next few minutes cover the hard-working goby mindfully working to disguise the home of it’s impending newlyhatched.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Oceans Reef & Aquariums (ORA®) have announced they have succeeded in commercially breeding Mandarins. The advantage of these captive bred mandarins from ORA, is that they are conditioned to eat frozen food, and therefore are much less likely to suffer from starvation. We should have photos for you from the Global Pet Expo in Orlando this coming weekend.

For many years marine aquarium hobbyists have been captivated by the exquisite beauty of Mandarin Gobies (actually Dragonettes). Their popularity, however, is tempered by the fact that they are difficult to feed in captivity and are subject to questionable collection practices in the wild. Unfortunately, most Mandarins succumb to starvation in home aquariums, even with the best intentions and attempts at feeding. Thankfully, all of that is about to change.
ORA biologists have succeeded in developing the methods needed to breed and raise commercial numbers of the two species of Mandarins, the Blue Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) and the Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus). Building on the early success of breeders such as Julian Sprung, Wolfgang Mai, and more recently Matt Wittenrich, ORA is now poised to have commercially bred Mandarins available to everyone. The significance of this cannot be understated as it is a major advance in marine aquaculture and solves many of the problems associated with keeping these species.

Just as the first captive bred Seahorses were trained to eat frozen foods, ORA has already trained our baby Mandarins to eat commercially available frozen diets. This fact alone makes them easy to feed and care for, and the average aquarist will delight in not having to worry about sources of live food for their finicky eaters. Our goal is to have them soon weaned onto a pellet diet. We expect to have these fish eating pelletized foods before being released for sale.

ORA is the leader in bringing the marine aquarium industry new and exciting aquacultured species. With the addition of Mandarins to our ever-growing list, a major milestone in aquaculture has been achieved. We are sure that our retail customers and hobbyists alike will be elated that captive raised Mandarins are finally available and that a page has been turned in the tragic history of this beloved aquarium fish.

We expect to have significant numbers of Spotted Mandarins available this summer. Blue and Red Mandarins will be available in more limited quantities around the same time.

Photo by Greg Rothschild


Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

A robotic fish was on display at FC Expo 2010. A team from Osaka City University exhibited a small fish, who’s swimming is powered by a cylindrical solid polymer fuel cell called PowerTube. The 100mm-long robotic fish is driven by a magnetic actuator and can rise and dive by changing it’s syncro device center of gravity. This gives this robotic fish a swimming style that closely matches real fish.

Powered by a lithium polymer battery, this robotic fish was first designed to use a motor, an approach that proved to consume too much power. Next, the designers though of using a neodymium magnet inside of a coil, and then passing a current through it. This made the magnet move from side to side, and therefore propel the fish forward. Utilizing this method, they were able to reduce the power draw to just 10 milliwatts!! In the future, more complicated motions can be programmed to mimic different swimming styles.

Researcher think this may allow them to more closely study schools of fish in the wild, as the fish are less likely to fear a machine that resembles them, then a “clunky-looking machine”.

Alright, let’s wraps these little guys in some silicone, and toss them in our tank. Let’s make the first one a Gem Tang!

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

What are you afraid of? Spiders? Snakes? heights? Research published in Behavioral and Brain Function reports the results of a very interesting study addressing fear. The study, held at the University of Hiroshima, Japan, looked into curing fear in goldfish. The goldfish, were classically conditioned to fear a light flash by associating an electric shock with it. Fear in these goldfish was identified by measuring their decreased heart rate. The fish quickly began displaying “fear” in response to the light flash, even after an electric shock was not administered.

Masayuki Yoshida and Ruriko Hirano found that if they first inject the cerebellum of the goldfish with lidocaine, they were unable to “learn” the fear response to the light. These fish showed stable heart rates throughout the experiment. However, as soon as the lidocaine (an anesthetic) wore off, the fish resumed fearful response.

The researchers report that since goldfish and mammal brains share many characteristics, they hope this study might lead into expanded understanding of the chemical and biological processes associated with fear and phobias in humans.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

The MR16 LED Lamp will be available at Nanocustoms within the next two months. Initially, the MR16 LEDs will be offered in two colors, “12k” (2 cool white and 1 royal blue) and “20K” (1 cool white and 2 royal blue). Each lamp, will feature Cree XP Series LEDs (XP-G for the whites and XP-E for the royal blue), and will use a 40 degree triple optic. The total power of each MR16 LED Lamp will be about 3W. The new MR16 will use an extremely efficient heatsink design, very similar to Nanocustoms’ PAR38 lamps, and will run on a standard 12v DC or AC power supply. The nice thing about this, is that these lamps will work on any commercial MR16 fixture. Nanocustoms is planning on offering their own fixture in the near future, so check back often for updates.

Price has not yet been set, but will be under $50.

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