Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Safe Baby Handling Tips

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yellow Tangs for the bargain price of $150

I thought that headline might get your attention.

Sadly, it's not a joke.

There is a bill that the Hawaiian Legislature is considering that could raise the prices of all aquarium fish coming from that region of the world.

You can find the Bill here.

To give you the short version, the bill will limit the collection of marine ornamentals in Hawaii to 20 fish per collector with a maximum of 5 yellow tangs per day. The bill will also put a no take policy on all pufferfish, boxfish,
potter's angel, cleaner wrasse, eels and many others. This bill will essentially shut down the tropical fish industry in Hawaii which will include the items from Christmas Island and Marshall Islands.

This proposal and many like it around the world are making us face a sad truth. The fish store we call the ocean is not going to be "open" forever.

There is only one thing we as responsible aquarists can do to keep the oceans open. Marine ornamental aquaculture needs to grow to protect this valuable resource. This shouldn't be limited to large aquaculture facilities. The home aquarist can make a difference as well.

Starting today, this will be my new cause, bringing you, the reader, the latest and greatest in marine aquaculture.

For now, we as a community need to stand unified to keep our oceans open. There are many people online who are calling
Senator Clayton Hee, the creator of the bill, to voice their opinion. I'm not at liberty to give out his office number, but if you do a little searching I'm sure you can find it.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Best Aquarium Products of 2007

Red Sea Max Complete Aquarium Kit (tank, stand & starter kit) 34-Gallon

The Red Sea MAX combines all of the technology necessary to grow and
maintain a healthy reef in an elegant aquarium, allowing aquarists to focus on the joy and beauty of the hobby rather than on component selection and installation. Optimal lighting, filtration, temperature and circulation makes reefkeeping easier than ever before and ensures maximum success for aquarists at all levels.


Hydor Koralia Pumps

Koralia offers an innovative range of aquarium circulation pumps with their Koralia line. The flow a Koralia powerhead produces is powerful yet delicate enough to make it the ideal pump for marine and reef tanks. Featuring a unique patented magnet/suction cup support system, the Koralia is incredibly stable, offering a 360 degree range of motion for positioning in aquariums with glass up to 15mm thick. The spherical-shape allows you to adjust flow direction quickly and easily.


JBJ 28-Gallon Nano Cube HQI Aquarium with FREE Stand

The 2007 28g Nano-Cube HQI-Reef Series from JBJ incorporates many high-tech features not commonly found i
n "all-in-one" systems. The concept behind the 28g Nano-Cube HQI was inspired by reef hobbyists who requested higher powered lighting, protein skimming, increased water circulation, a more simplified filter, storage area in the stand for chillers and designated water level columns in the rear chambers for heaters, refugiums and protein skimmers.


Marine Depot Aquarium Refractometer

The Refractometer is a must have for all hobbyists. The proper salinity is crucial for the survival and health of your fish and corals. Our high quality refractometer is extremely accurate, easy-to-use and calibrate. To calibrate, simply apply a few drops of distilled water. The MD Refractometer also features an adjustable eyepiece, carrying case and automatic temperature compensation (ATC).


Maxi-Jet 900 and 1200 w/ Sure Flow 1600 Upgrade Kits

The Maxi-Jet Powerhead/Algae Free Sure Flow Maxi-Jet Upgrade kit provides excellent water movement for reef tanks. Compatible with Sure Grip magnet holders and the original Maxi-Jet brackets, this upgrade kit helps eliminate “dead spots” and improves water movement for your fish and corals. Create a wider, gentler flow with this cost-effective solution.


E.S.V. B-Ionic 2-Part Calcium Buffer Concentrate

By using equal volumes of each component, aquarium hobbyists can maintain calcium and alkalinity levels with no mixing powders, disruption of ionic balance or addition of organic chemicals. It also provides all other important major, minor and trace elements in the proper ratios to duplicate the composition of natural seawater. B-Ionic Calcium Buffer System will help restore inorganic ions lost from protein skimming and help maintain the ionic balance of the aquarium water.


CaribSea Purple Up Coralline Algae Accelerator

Purple Up uses a unique dual-method approach to coralline algae acceleration. First, ionic calcium immediately raises dissolved calcium levels in your aquarium water. Next, ten micron aragonite targets the live rock surface, where it dissolves in situ (in place), delivering calcium, strontium, magnesium and carbonate right where it is needed.


Prodibio Additives & Supplements

Prodibio is revolutionizing the way hobbyists use aquarium additives. Prodibio compounds are sealed in a modified at
mosphere with argon or nitrogen so the product itself is not exposed to oxygen in the air. Translation: Prodibio products will always be fresh, whenever you need them. Freshwater and saltwater formulas are available in 40 different varieties.


Two Little Fishies Phosban Phosphate Removal Media

Take care of your phosphate problem with PhosBan, Julian Sprung’s formula of ferric oxide hydroxide granules. PhosBan binds large quantities of phosphate; nearly 3x more capacity by weight than wet ferric hydroxide adsorbents. And, it is completely reef safe, unlike alumina-based adsorbents. PhosBan also adsorbs organic compounds and other pollutants, and doesn’t release anything back into the water.


Tunze Turbelle NanoStream Pump 6045

The Turbelle® Nanostream combines aesthetics and functionality. This innovative circulation pump sets new records: At a diameter of only 2.75", it enables a water flow of 1189gph at an energy consumption of only 7W. The pump includes a very large strainer for the intake which prevents premature soiling. The spherical shape permits an ingenious 3D setting of the direction of flow.


Algae Free Sure Grip 50 Magnetic Powerhead Holder

Sure Grip’s Magnetic Powerhead Holder provides an innovative new way to attach powerheads in your aquarium. Powerheads can be placed anywhere on the wall of your glass or acrylic aquarium. The Sure Grip 50 comes complete with two magnetic housings, eight sticky-backed rubber feet and four different plastic brackets. Affordable, easy-to-use and, best of all, no more failing suction cups!


Joes Juice Aiptasia Eliminator

When used as directed, JoesJuice is completely reef safe but eliminates Aiptasia & Majano Anemones in minutes and requires no injection of the pests or siphoning of residual debris. JoesJuice® Aiptasia & Majano Eliminator is a reef keeper's dream come true. It has saved thousands of professionals and hobbyists from the tedious and potentially harmful and costly task of breaking down their tank to rid it of these troublesome pests. JoesJuice is reef safe, inexpensive and it works fast! It just may be the best value in the industry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

10th Annual Midwest Marine Conference

2008 marks the 10th year the Marinelife Aquarium Society of Michigan will host the annual Midwest Marine Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

To celebrate this milestone, MASM has arranged for several aquarium hobby experts—including three members of Team Marine Depot—to speak at the event: Eric Borneman, Dr. Frank Marini and Steven Pro will each be in attendance, along with Dr. Bruce Carlson of the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world!

The conference will convene on March 15 at Weber’s Inn and host several intriguing speaking sessions. Sessions are approximately one hour followed by 15 minutes of Q&A with each distinguished speaker.

Registration will open at 8 AM and the first speaking session will kick off at 9 AM. Lunch will be served after the second speaker wraps up, followed by two more presentations. The “largest marine aquaria raffle in the state” will close out the festivities and the conference will conclude at 4 PM.

If you’re interested in attending the Midwest Marine Conference, click here to purchase your ticket(s) while supplies last. If you’re interested in joining the Marine Depot forums, click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Your Corals Will Never Go Hungry Again

I recently came across a product new to the United States. It is produced by a company in Australia called Nutra-Kol.

Nutra-Kol has been around for quite some time, but has never made its way to the States. Their line of foods have been used in bulk quantities for years in the aquaculture industry. Lucky for us hobbyists, it is now available in a smaller package called NutraPlus.

The NutraPlus line comes in 4 formulas: Micro, Reef, Boost, and Complete.

I was able to try the NutraPlus Reef. It is a microalgae and rotifers mix. It combines red microalgae
Dunaliella salina, green microalgae Nannachloropsis sp. and rotifers Brachionus plicatilis. The rotifers are super concentrated at 2000 per ml. As soon as I added the mixture to my tank, my fish and inverts went crazy. I had crabs and brittle stars come out of the rock work I hadn't seen in months. Within minutes, the polyps on all of my corals extended into the current.

I have never seen such huge a reaction from my corals.

The positive reaction from feeding my corals has led me to place this product in the "coming soon to Marine Depot" column. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SCMAS January Frag & Equipment Swap

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The Southern California Marine Aquarium Society (SCMAS) is an Orange County, CA, based aquarium club that meets the third Friday of each month at 7:00 PM in a Santa Ana IHOP.

This Friday they're having a Frag & Equipment Swap and, since a few of my colleagues are already members, I thought I'd tag along to see what these aquarium clubs are all about.

I'll report back next week and let you know how it went.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Addition: Macneill's Basslet

During the holiday season, the Marketing department picked up a few new additions to the tank: a purple nudibranch (now deceased), a cleaner shrimp and, my personal favorite, a Macneill's Basslet
aka the Blue Assessor.

The nudibranch was an impulse buy; he was beautiful, affordable and ... availa
ble. Had I done my homework, I would have known the likelihood of his survival in our aquarium was next to nil.

From the research I conducted after the fact, I learned that purple nudibranches rarely live longer than 90 days in captivity. It seems to be a consensus among hobbyists that, in a case like this, you shouldn't buy such an animal so that the pet store will learn its lesson and not stock it in the future.

Let this be a lesson to other novice reef keepers out there: don't buy livestock spontaneously!

The cleaner shrimp is turning out to be a nice addition to the tank. He's a stark contrast to our huge coral banded shrimp, Corey Feldman, who is very timid and only emerges from the rock work once or twice a
day (if that). The cleaner shrimp (name TBD) isn't the least bit shy and stays active throughout most of the day. I worry about him at night when I'm not in the office; that's why we make sure Corey Feldman always has a full belly before we leave for the day!

Everything else in the tank is doing great. We've been on a regular regimen of Prodibio's Bio Kit Reef and Purple Up since August '07 and everything is doing really, really well. The picture below doesn't really do the tank justice but it's the most updated I have.

Whataya think?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ocean Pods Aquacultured Marine Copepods

This seemed like a pretty cool product so I figured I'd throw it on the blog this morning to see if any of our readers have experience with Ocean Pods Aquacultured Marine Copepods.

The following blurb comes direct from the Ocean Pods website (with a few added links to MDL to identify livestock):

Ocean Pods is a unique product for the hobbyist. It is a combination of 3 species of copepods for starting or restocking your live rock copepod populations.

Ocean Pods are 100% aquacultured copepods that have been field-tested with multiple species of fish and invertebrates to ensure that there are not harmful interactions with your tank inhabitants.

They can be added directly to your tank and make a great live food for mandarin gobies, seahorses, pipefish, yellow tangs, clownfish, scooter blennies, corals, ornamental shrimp and many more species enjoyed by reef enthusiasts.
Is this something Marine Depot should carry?

Does anyone out there have first-hand experience using this product? I sent it over to customer service and purchasing to evaluate, but thought we'd better check the pulse of the community, too.

Lets us know what YOU think.

International Year of the Reef

Coral reefs are to get renewed attention this year, which has been declared International Year of the Reef, to highlight their beauty, fragility and the part they play in maintaining life on the planet.

Malaysia’s seas are part of the Coral Triangle, stretching from the Philippines to Indonesia and the Solomon Islands, containing the oceans with the highest marine biodiversity.

Activities will be conducted throughout the year by the Ministry of National Resources and the Environment to raise awareness of threats to coral reefs and to encourage Malaysians to take action to protect corals.

The activities include an essay-writing competition, sea fiestas, international conferences, workshops, underwater photography contests, marine awareness programs for island schoolchildren, snorkeling for kids and beach cleanups.

Besides that, technical and scientific surveys and assessments will be implemented by local academics with international participation, where possible, to gauge the current status of our reefs and recommend measures for its well-being or rehabilitation.

The ministry says there is a need to manage coral reefs in a sustainable and integrated manner while preserving the marine ecosystem.

Under its slogan “Our Reefs, Our Heritage, Our Responsibility”, its ultimate objective is to protect and conserve Malaysia’s reef heritage.

The ministry’s activities are part of the worldwide campaign to educate the public about the value and importance of the world’s coral reefs, highlight the variety of threats and move the public to take action to protect the reefs.

This is especially so because the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has placed coral reefs on its watch-list of wildlife under threat of going extinct, with climate change being named as one of the biggest threats to marine life.

Coral reefs are built up by the skeletal remains of massive colonies of tiny living organisms called polyps which secrete limestone to form an outer shell to protect their soft bodies.

Coral reefs are the largest living structures on the planet and are one of the oldest complex ecosystems on Earth, living for thousands of years.

They are intimately connected to other marine communities thriving in mangrove forests, sea grass beds, and the open seas, as water currents transport larvae, plants, animals, nutrients and organic materials. They protect coastlines from wave and storm damage and erosion.

Endless efforts have been made to save corals from destruction. Coral reefs may only cover less than one per cent of the Earth’s surface, yet they are home to 25 per cent of all marine fish species, as well as a source of livelihood and food for 500 million people worldwide.

Their medicinal components are used in the treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases, ulcers as well as human bone grafts. All in all, it is estimated that coral reefs provide US$375 billion (RM1.27 billion) a year in goods and services worldwide.

The survival, growth, reproduction and productivity of corals around the world have been adversely affected by sedimentation, bleaching and diseases. While climate change and global warming are constant pressures to corals’ survival, human activities such as destructive fishing, coral harvesting and pollution are also major threats.

Coral reefs are being degraded at an alarming rate by the accumulation of stresses arising from human activities as well as natural changes in the oceans and atmosphere. In many situations, chronic stresses are overwhelming the resilience, or the capacity for self-repair, of reef communities.

— Courtesy of The New Straits Times Online

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Acidic Ocean Hurts Reef Algae as Well as Corals

The gradual acidification of the oceans, a result of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is thought to be bad for coral reefs. The absorption of CO2 by seawater leads to lower saturation levels of carbonate ions, which reduces calcification, the process by which corals make their hard skeletons.

But it takes more than coral to make a coral reef. And a new study shows that ocean acidification may be bad for another important reef builder, crustose coralline algae.

These organisms act like a mortar to help hold reefs together and otherwise aid reef ecology. Like corals, they secrete calcium carbonate. So Ilsa B. Kuffner of the United States Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, Fla., and colleagues set out to see whether higher ocean pH would affect them. They reported their findings in Nature Geoscience.

The researchers set up experimental tanks near a reef in Hawaii and pumped water through them, modifying the pH in some of the tanks to match that forecast for 2100. After seven weeks, there was far less algae encrusted on clear plastic cylinders inside the more acidic tanks. Instead, the tanks had more filamentous and other noncalcifying algae. The researchers suggest that any shift to such “soft” algae may affect reef growth rates.

Courtesy of the The New York Times

Monday, January 07, 2008

Marine Aquarist Courses Online

Marine Aquarist Courses Online (MACO
) is proud to be offering a new series of unique courses designed with the hobbyist in mind. Take a look at the website to find more information on the following courses:

  • Reef Microbiology - The course is set up to cover the current scientific literature regarding nutrient cycling and the biology of bacteria in our marine aquaria. The course starts next week!
  • Reef Chemistry - The chemistry course starts at the beginning and covers the basics about what you need to know to maintain a healthy reef in regards to marine chemistry. It is designed to start with the basics of chemistry and highlight exactly what you need to know. This course starts the week of January 14th and lasts for 6 weeks.
  • Fish Husbandry - Set to begin on April 2, 2008. This course covers fish biology, habitat, and maintenance in the aquarium. A definite course for anyone who loves aquarium fishes and wants to know more.
MACO courses are completed entirely online. Each course consists of open access to the website and reading materials, a forum specifically to interact with the instructor and participants at any time, and a weekly chat session (each week's transcript will be posted if you can't make the chat). You will retain access to the website and materials forever once you register for the course.

Hop over and look over the website for an example course and more registration details.

See you in class!

R.I.P. Nudi Giuliani

January 4, 2008 - January 7, 2008

Nudi Giuliani was with us only a short time before he was [presumably] sucked into one of our powerheads. His lifeless body still clung helplessly to our Hydor Koralia Nano when we arrived in the office this morning.

In truth, I only got to spend a few hours with the guy but alas, he was truly beautiful. I pray that he has gone to Nudi Heaven where they serve an all-you-can-eat sponge buffet 24-7. Rest in peace, dear Nudi, rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Making the world brighter. One L.E.D. at a time

The Sixties were an important time in American history.

The social and political upheaval that occurred during that era changed our country—and the world—forever.

Arguably the biggest contribution of the decade occurred in 1967 when ├╝ber toy manufacturer Hasbro invented the Lite Brite.

Now, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with Current USA’s new PowerBrite aquarium light. Well … not much, it turns out.

Yet, whenever I turn on the PowerBrite to illuminate my tank, I find myself singing that undeniably catchy jingle, “Lite Brite, Lite Brite / Turn on the magical shining light!”
Altogether now!

Anyway, it seems like every aquarium company is competing lately, especially in providing the best lighting for your tank. Fortunately for Current USA, they hit the nail on the head with their new PowerBrite system.

Installation was a snap: I plugged in the cord, mounted the PowerBrite into my canopy using the supplied hardware and, within an hour, had beautiful new hues kaleidoscopically irradiating my 12-gallon nano.

Assuming you have adequate flow, the PowerBrite LEDs will add a vibrant shimmering
effect to your tank similar to what metal halides produce but with less heat build up.

I perched the PowerBrite atop another aquarium to illustrate how much the 50/50 LEDs can impact the appearance of your tank.

The first of the three photos shows an aquarium with normal 50/50 Power
Compact lighting. The second photograph is using only Current USA’s PowerBrite system. And finally, picture three combines both the PowerBrite system with the 50/50 Power Compacts.

As you can see, the differences in colors were dramatic.

There was a slight increase in temperature—from 79.7°F to 80.0°F—within an hour of adding the new lights. This was of no consequence in my system, yet worth noting.

I should also caution potential buyers who experience a lot of water evaporation that the PowerBrite’s LED lights could short out if they’re attached to a flip-top style canopy that doesn’t have sufficient ventilation or fans to draw out heat.

Final Thought: These lights are a great, inexpensive way of illuminating your tank. The different combinations of LED lights create an electrifying look on your rocks, coral and entire aquaria. I’ve recommended this product to three other hobbyists and, over the holidays, they agreed that the PowerBrite is an awesome addition to your aquarium.