Reef Tools Help



Reef Id
Aquarium Supply Info

Author Archive

Friday, February 10th, 2012

I’ve talked with many of local fish store owners and other friends that have been in the hobby for a long time asking them about suggested fish that are small and stay in tight schools. The standard reply is chromis which come in a variety of color, but they tend to get a large than I am looking for. I’ve been seeking something comparable to the neon tetras of the fresh water world. I just recently read about the Luminous Cardinalfish in another blog. I was excited to see that I wasn’t the only person that has been searching for a small schooling fish.

Do any of our ReefTools readers know of other species that fit the bill? If so, please take a moment to make suggestion in the comment area below.

Here is a video of the Rhabdamia gracilis (Luminous Cardinalfish).

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

It was recently reported in SciTechDaily that sea cucumber waist is beneficial to reef growth for multiple reasons. I’ve always maintained 2 cucumbers in my reef aquarium. My reasons were more for aesthetics than actual benefits. I’ve found they turn over the surface of my sand bed in a non destructive way. They only disturb the top quarter inch of the sand bed by eating dirty sand and “discharging” clean pristine sand. The best part is they do it in a way that doesn’t create a sand storm in the aquariums flow keeping my rocks clean of sand.

It has recently been reported that the sea cucumber’s digestive process increases the pH levels of the water around the reef. Another benefit is a by-product of their digestive system is calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Calcium carbonate is a key ingredient to coral growth. Professor Byrne, the director of One Tree Island Research where the study took place, suggest “the ammonia waste produced when sea cucumbers digest sand also serves to fertilize the surrounding area, providing nutrients for coral growth.”

For more info, click here.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

There is a lot of buzz going around the reef community about the Orphek PR-156 LED Fixtures. We are very impressed with what we’ve seen so far. The Orphek PR-156 fixtures are packaged with dual timers and hanging kits. Not to mention they are very sharp looking, especially the white unit. Here are a couple of shots of these LED fixtures.

Orphek Power Reef 156 White
White acrylic/silver stainless steel grill/white power box

Orphek Power Reef 156 Black
Black acrylic/silver stainless steel grill/black power box.

Orphek released 2 versions of the PR-156 and they have opened the phone lines to allow users to customize the ratio of white to blue LEDs. Additionally, Orphek is offering UV/true violet emitters for those reefers that enjoy the more fluorescent look making the colors of their Aussie corals really pop!

The Power Reef PR-156 is designed to replace 250W to 400w Metal halides. This model was developed for deeper reef aquariums. It allows for higher mounting and increased spread with plenty of power.

The Power Reef PR-156W (wide) is designed for shallower reef aquariums 28” or less. It also has worked well for aquariums with minimal space in the canopy utilizing 120 degree lenses creating a wider spread over shallower tanks.

Built in programmable timers

Take a moment to review the factory specs including spectrographs and impressive PAR readings.


  1. Designed specifically for the needs of photosynthetic marine invertebrates.
  2. Is a very powerful LED Light Solution that can replace 250w – 400w MH lights.
  3. Optional clear 90º or HONEY COMB 120º lens (PR-156W model). PR-156W is recommended in most cases.
  4. Advanced optics technology to reduces water surface refraction and reflection.
  5. The Spectrum of our Power LED helps to control algae overgrowth, by reducing algae proliferation on the front glass.
  6. Plug in plug out technology enables replacements or removal of components very easily, with no stress or damage to the product.
  7. Comes with two high quality digital timers with 16 memory programs, to simulate sunrise and sunset.
  8. Sleek modern design offered in 02 color options.
  9. Manufactured to exceed a 10-year lifespan, with only 10-15% luminous decay over that time period. Reduces up to 50% of energy consumption.
  10. Fan works quietly at 2000prm-20dbA.
  11. It is environmentally friendly.

Total product Weight: 14.72lb (6.68kg)
Hang in kit weight: 2.31 (1.05kg)
Total package weight for shipping: approx.22lb (approx.10KG)

Length: 24.05” (611mm)
Width: 6.33” (161mm)
Height: 2.16” (51mm)
Weight: 10.14lb (4.6kg)

Length: 12.59” (320mm)
Width: 6.88” (175mm)
Height: 2.99” (76mm)
Weight: 4.58lb (2.08kg)

Cable (LB to PB) length: 118” (3m)
Cable (PB) length: 70.86” (1.8m)
*Extension cables available at additional cost.

02 steel cables length: 9.84” (250mm)
01 steel cable length: 70.86” (1.8m)
Weight: 2.31lb (1.05kg)

Input voltage AC:( 85V-120V) OR (200V-264V)
Frequency: 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 120w
Electrical outlet: region-appropriate

Quantity per unit: 60 pieces
Wattage: 2 watts
Ratio: 70% of white: 30% of blue Power LEDs OR 60% of white: 40% of blue Power LEDs.

PR-156 – Clear 90 degrees
PR-156W – Honey Comb 120degrees

White Power LED 14.000K-16.000K, 180-200lm 100lm/w
Royal Blue LED:450nm – 470nm
Lumens: ~+9000

Orphek PR-156 Spectrograph

PR-156UV Fixture Spectrograph

PAR TEST READINGS – By Sanjay Joshi, Ph.D.
“The Orphek array PR-156 is one of the newer models that include 4 UV LEDs, in addition to the blue and white LEDs. A total of 60 LEDs running at around 2W each
make up the complete array. As tested the Orphek drew 110W of power. As seen from the light distribution, there are large areas at 24″ and 36″ where the PPFD values exceed 200. This clearly shows the impact of the optics and will allow these fixtures to be well suited for deeper tanks and mounting higher to get larger spread if desired.”

full article here.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

After 6 months of research and design CAD Light has pulled the trigger on their newest bio reactor.


  • True All-In-One design, where the pump is already built inside of the Bio reactor in the bottom chamber. this feature saves ALOT more space
    and ease of use the moment you get it. the intake is in the bottom and the outtake is from the top allows for the most efficient flow of only 1 direction.
  • Advanced Conic design, makes our Unique “Rhythmic Tumbling Motion” that moves every pellet evenly and prevents clumping. every pellet
    churns and moves throughout the entire reactor (from top to bottom). Greg Carroll (SCMAS) summed it up best when he saw the demo here…”Wow
    this things moving like Magic”
  • Self-priming and designed to be ready to use right out of the box and comes with all the pump, fittings, plumbing, union etc. all comes
  • Space saving design and energy efficient. no need for an external pump that will take up more space and wasted pump pressure.
  • 100% Cell-Cast acrylic and Hand MADE IN USA.
  • Completely disassembles easily for maintenance.
  • Compatible with a large variety of Bio-pellets.

Dimensions: 6″ x 6″ x 14″ (including all plumbing)
Energy useage: 11.5W
Speed: 240 GPH
Capacity: 40G to 150G
Price: $175

Here is a video of this CAD Lights Bio Reactor in action:

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Any aquarist with live rock in their tank has had at least one aiptasia. Normally if you have one you will soon seen many. There are lots of products on the market as well as several home remedies to help combat aiptasia. Some require injecting a syringe into the aiptasia and pumping it full of some type of concoction whether it is lemon juice, pickling lime or a store bought product. This process is difficult since the little nuisance can easily draw back and become virtually impossible to see or stab not to mention barbaric. Electrodes have recently hit the market that will, with luck, shock the little critter to death. One of the oldest remedies is to introduce peppermint shrimp to your tank to eat the aiptasia. I’ve seen many forum threads debating the fact that this is an effective method. My personal experience is that it works and works well. I will admit that it doesn’t happen immediately. If you have a large system with lots of available food for a peppermint shrimp it may take him a while to find his way to aiptasia. But, in time, it will find and eat them. The upside is you have just strengthened your reef safe clean up crew at the same time.

Here is a video with undeniable evidence that peppermint shrimp will and do eat aiptasia.I have never witness peppermint shrimp this hungry and aggressive.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The Australian Institute of Marine Science recently conducted experiments on water temperatures on zooxanthellae. Historically it was believed that corals with a variety of zooxanthellae types could only with stand temperature changes. The results of these experiments leave researchers to believe that corals with a single type of zooxanthellae can handle thermal changes occurring in the ocean.

Good news. Further reading can be found here.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Fox news recently ran a story discussing the importance of pharmaceuticals drugs that are developed or under development from sources found in the sea. I was amazed at the amount of life saving drugs that have been discovered from ocean inhabitants such as Caribbean sponges, Indian Sea Hares, green algae and sea squirts just to name a few. The drugs are used for a wide variety of human conditions like anti-tumor agents, lymphoctic leukemia, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, lung cancer and many more.

For more details

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Any reefer that has been around a while has learned to never discard dead coral skeletons until you really know it’s dead. I typically stash them in a corner or in a cave out of sight to see if there is a chance for new life to grow. I was curious about how new corals come back to life and in my searching I found there is a name for this, the Phoenix Effect.

In my research I found that cryogenic methods of storing coral tissues are being developed. Scientist are now able to store living coral tissue in a deep frozen suspended animation for long periods of time. This can be beneficial for preserving corals that may be facing extinction.

I’ve witnessed the Phoenix Effect in action on corals such as acans, fungia plates, euphyllias and even chalices.

Friday, January 20th, 2012

An intriguing new publication has just been released, Ecotales from Kubulau: A Guide to he Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape. This guide was published by WCS Fiji and the Coral Reef Alliance. It is intended to raise awareness and show the importance of the plants and animals to local livelihoods, ecosystem functions and cultures, show casing the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape. It is a collection of stories from the elders of Kubulau who share their knowledge and described their associations with species for medicine, building materials, food, decorative arts and totem spirits.

Proceeds from the sale of the guide will directly support ecosystem management and community development in Kubulau. The guide is available at bookshops around Fiji and will be available online from the University of the South Pacific’s Bookcenter,

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Image courtesy of the [via BBC].

1 year after 205.8 million gallons of crude oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico test show the corals in the area are doing well. Oil was released for 3 months from the flowing well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Charles Fisher of Penn State University led a research cruise finding evidence that some of the cold water corals my have been damaged by the oil spill.

A manned submersible Alvin made trips in the area in November of 2011 then again in December of 2011. During the December trip a time lapse camera was stationed to
document how the corals repair or deteriorate in response to the oil spill. The camera ran through February in an area 20 miles from the spill site. Scientist have not observed any obvious physical damage to the resident communities and found that the corals were behaving normal with no signs of distress. It is unclear if the corals have experienced any genetic damage or other damages that are not easily observed in the under water conditions. Time will tell.

Further details of the spill and impacts can be found on Wikipedia, the BBC , NOAA Plos Biology.

© 2012 Reef Tools. All rights reserved.