Monday, August 31, 2009

Deal of the Week, 8/31/09

Current USA Solana XL 67 Gallon Aquarium and Stand (light not included)

Now Only


Learn More...

Coralife 48" Aqualight Plus w/ 4-96W Sq. Pin Base and 4-3/4W Blue Moon LEDs

Now Only


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Coralife 72" Aqualight w/ 6-96W Sq. Pin Base and 4-3/4W Blue Moon LEDs

Now Only


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Friday, August 28, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 8/28/09

I'm new to saltwater aquariums. This weekend I am setting up a 92 gallon corner unit. It will eventually evolve into a reef tank so I want to choose proper lighting for now and in the future . What do you suggest? I'm not sure what type of inhabitants I'll keep yet but I know I want some lunar lights to accompany the fixture.

Lighting a corner tank is no easy feat. I have a 54 gallon corner tank myself and have found it challenging to get full lighting coverage throughout the tank. I run a single 250-watt double-ended pendant called
the LumenMax 3 by Sunlight Supply. It works well but does not provide supplemental lighting (like T5s) for a dawn/dusk effect nor does it have any lunar/moonlights to speak of.

I believe you can use a 36" fixture for your aquarium. Since you didn't mention what type of animals you intend to keep, I will assume it will be a variety that includes fish, SPS corals and clams. A metal halide light fixture would be an ideal solution for this type of mixed reef.

One particular light I think would be a good fit for you is the 3' Maristar from Sunlight Supply. It is a metal halide/T5 combo and, while it does not include the lunar lights you want, you can always purchase them separately since they're inexpensive and easy to setup. Oh, and don't forget the ballast and bulbs ... they are not included with the Maristar either.

Another option is Current USA's popular SunPod fixture. You'll get the metal halide lighting you need plus the lunar (blue and white) lights you want all in one handsome unit. The only downside is that these lights have been discontinued so if you need replacement parts (aside from bulbs, of course) they may be hard to come by.

We carry plenty of other fixtures and pendants if the models I've recommended don't tickle your fancy. Take a moment when you have some free time and browse our lighting section. Consider how you'll want to mount the fixture (hanging or inside a canopy, for instance) and hit us up afterward and we can make additional recommendations.

I could ramble on and on about stocking a reef aquarium but there are a couple of books that already have that covered. The Reef Aquarium Series from DelBeek and Sprung and The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium Series are definitely resources every reefkeeper should have in their library.

I'd also like to encourage you to join our forum if you're not already a member. There is a section called Members' Tanks where hobbyists show the evolution of their aquariums. You'll get a lot of ideas here and you can ask other experienced aquarists what fish, corals and inverts they recommend.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.

If you would like to ask Keith a question,
click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Best of the Best 2009

Last week we sent an email to our members that included a short "best of the best" list.

The response has been very positive so we thought we'd follow up to share a little of the criteria that went into making the list.

The first thing we looked at were 2009 sales and demand. Not the revenue generated from sales, but the number of units sold (popularity). Because these items sell so well and word-of-mouth is so positive, sometimes we have trouble keeping them in stock. Yet even when we sell out, shoppers desire these products enough to purchase them on backorder.

Next up: variety. we wanted to make sure that the most popular, "mass appeal" product categories were covered. Additives, lighting, food, salt mix, pumps, protein skimmers and, of course, an aiptasia eliminator.

Customer ratings and reviews are the foundation of the email. It was a requirement that every item on the list average at least a 4 star (out of a possible 5) customer rating.

The last thing we looked at was pricing. We carry hundreds of outstanding products, no doubt about it, but some are a little too rich for the average reefer's budget. That's why we created three price thresholds, under $20, under $100 and under $200. Of course, since most high-ranked best sellers are under $200 anyway, this part was easy.

So there you have it. Nothing too terribly scientific about it. Just the best of the best, plain and simple. Check out the list for yourself

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reef-A-Palooza 2009

Clear your calendars ...
it's Reef-A-Palooza time!

The Southern California fall classic returns October 24 and 25 at the
The Orange County Fair & Exposition Center in Costa Mesa, CA.

The brainchild of the
Southern California Marine Aquarium Society (SCMAS), Reef-A-Palooza (RAP), now in its sixth year, is poised to draw more than 2,000 marine aquarium hobbyists to the event.

RAP, if you're unfamiliar, transforms building #12 of the OC Exposition Center into a 20,000 square foot indoor marketplace where sellers, exhibitors and hobbyists can buy, sell, trade and showcase products to the marine hobbyist community. Exhibitors range from large manufacturers like Red Sea and Current USA to retailers (hint, hint), small livestock sellers and rare-species coral farmers. The two-day event is expected to feature more than 70 exhibitors this year.

New products are unveiled and showcased each year and tons of goodies are raffled off. In the past, RAP has been a one-day event, but last year it expanded it into a two-day extravaganza and this year promises to be even better.

One of the goals of RAP and SCMAS is to educate hobbyists in marine animal husbandry skills and environmental responsibility. One of the ways that is accomplished is by inviting speakers to share their knowledge.
This year's lineup includes Bob Fenner, Scott Michael, Scott Fellman, Justin Credabel and Scott Vallembois.

For more information on Reef-A-Palooza,
visit the official RAP website and follow RAP on Twitter. We'll keep you updated here on any new developments and what you can expect from our booth this year.

New this Week, 8/25/09

Digital Aquatics Float Switch Kit
There are countless ways to use these new float switches with either your RKE or RKL system. Program an Auto Top Off (ATO) s
ystem, automate water transfers, setup safety alerts for high AND low water levels, skimmer collection cup full alerts and so much more!

Digital Aquatics Float Switch Kit w/ Mount
Each kit comes with programming instructions and an installation guide to help you get up and running quickly. Our configurable mounting brackets will work with almost any tank or su
mp application. The floats are fully submersible and made of a long lasting rugged plastic compound that is reef safe. Our mounts are made of aquarium-grade acrylic and are also reef safe, as is all provided hardware.

Digital Aquatics Float Switch Kit w/ Mounts
The new Digital Aquatics float switch kits make configuration quick and easy. Includes 2 float switches, 2 switch adapter kits and 2
mounting kits. The float and switch kits are two-wire non-polarized and the mounting is a threaded shaft with nut. Max current is 0.5A, max voltage is 100VDC and temperature range is -10C to 85C.

AquaticLife 150W HID 700+ 6000K Lamp
AquaticLife's 150W HID 700+ 6,000K Lamp for m aquariums features a mix of Phosphors to produce a bright white 6,000 Kelvin
light. The high PAR value increases the ability of corals to photosynthesize.

Vertex MOcean 2000 & 3500 Wave Simulation Module Replacement Controller
Replacement Controller Unit for MOcean 2000 and 3500 Wave Simul
ation Module

Vertex MOcean 2000 & 3500 Wave Simulation Module Replacement O-Rings
Replacement O-Rings for the MOcean 2000 and 3500 Wave Simulation Module

JBJ 8 Gallon 180 Nano Biotope Replacement Sponge - 6 Pack
Six Replacement Sponges for the JBJ 180 Nano Cube

JBJ 8 Gallon 180 Nano Biotope Replacement Carbon Basket - 3 Pack
Three Replacement Carbon Basket for the JBJ 180 Nano Cube

JBJ 8 Gallon 180 Nano Biotope Replacement Ceramic Ring Basket - 3 Pack
Three Replacement Ceramic Ring Basket for the JBJ 180 Nano Cube

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deal of the Week

Coralife Super Skimmer Needle Wheel

$119.99 to $219.99
Now Only $83.99
to $153.99

YOU SAVE $36.00 to $66.00!

Learn More...

Coralife 24" Aqualight w/ 2-65W Straight Pin & 2-3/4W Blue Lunar LEDs

Now Only

E $54.90!

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Coralife 36" Aqualight w/ 2-96W Sq. Pin & 2-3/4W Blue Lunar LEDs

Now Only

AVE $79.20!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 8/21/09


My question is about mysterious hermit crab deaths: I have been unable to keep red leg, blue leg or scarlet hermit crabs alive in my aquarium system. The first set of crabs I acquired lived for 3-4 weeks and all suddenly died within 2-3 days of each other. Most were dead inside their shells, although some crawled out and were a few inches away. What do you think the problem(s) might be?


There may be one or more reasons behind these mysterious deaths so we'll cover all the potential causes.

The first thing you'll want to consider is how you're acclimating the crabs. They are sensitive to salinity changes so, in addition to acclimating for temperature (floating the bag 20-30 minutes), you should begin acclimating them to the salinity of your aquarium.

Personally, I use the drip method to acclimate my livestock. After floating new livestock in the tank, I carefully dump the bag into a bucket and use a drip line to carry saltwater from my tank into the bucket. Drip acclimators are inexpensive and acclimation tanks, like the AccliMate, are especially handy for the drip method of acclimation.

Test the water in 20-30 minutes and, if the salinity matches your tank water, go ahead and add your new critters to the aquarium. Don't dump the bucket water into the tank. Instead, top of the tank with fresh saltwater.

The next thing to consider is water parameters. Is your nitrate level at zero? It should be. High nitrate levels can cause problems with invertebrates. Copper can also be deadly to invertebrates. I suggest using only RO or RO/DI water for top-offs and mixing saltwater.

Make sure your temperature is stable (small swings are OK, but large swings are a no-no), pH is stable (again, small swings are OK but best to keep it around 8.2 to 8.3) and salinity is stable.

And, while I don't feel this is the culprit in your situation, it is worth mentioning to make sure there is nothing feeding or picking at your hermit crabs. If predation were your problem, you probably wouldn't have found the carcasses of some of your crabs. However, if something were constantly picking at your crabs, it could cause them severe stress. Perhaps even to the point they would not be able to feed.

If you've addressed each of these issues and still feel there might be a problem, I encourage you to post the problem in
our forum so the community can dig a little deeper into the underlying cause(s). You are also welcome to contact us directly for more personal one-on-one support.


If you would like to ask Keith a question,
click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New this Week, 8/18/09

Hanna Instruments Digital Seawater Refractometer
Hanna's Digital Refractometer is a rugged, portable, water-resistant device that utilizes the measurement of the refractive i
ndex to determine the salinity of natural and artificial seawater, ocean water or brackish intermediates. The device that is quick and easy to use. After a simple user calibration with distilled or deionized water, a seawater sample can be introduced into the sample well. Within seconds, the refractive index and temperature are measured and converted into one of 3 popular measurement units: Practical Salinity Units (PSU), Salinity in parts per thousand (ppt) or Specific Gravity (S.G. [20/20]).

Elos E-Power Aquarium Lighting Pendant w/ Ballast & 14K MH HQI Bulb
Elos proves once again that aquarium light fixtures do not need to be cumbersome or lack style. The Elos E-Power Aquarium Lighting Pendant includes an IceCap Electronic Ballast,
your choice of 70, 150 or 250-watt 14,000K metal halide bulbs along with a hanging kit, glass cover and 3-year manufacturer warranty. You can also pick up this great fixture without the bulb and ballast here.

30 Inch 4x24 Watt AquaticLife T5 HO Light Fixture W/ 2 Lunar LEDs
AquaticLife's T5 HO aquarium light fixtures feature 420/460 nm, 700+ nm and 2 lunar lights in one streamlined unit. The onboard timer lets you control the T5 HO fluorescent lamps and lunar LEDs independently. The frame mounts safely support t
he fixture above your aquarium and are easily adjustable. The glossy finish on the front of the fixture looks especially sharp with the matte finish on the top and sides. A German-engineered angled reflector maximizes light by directing it right into your aquarium. The are also suspension ports that allow optional cable connection for various mounting configurations.

NextReef MR1 Complete Media Reactor Kit
The MR1 family of media/substrate reactors feature a massive 4-inch reaction chamber. The extra wide design maximizes water to media contact, increasing efficiency and minimizing dead
zones in the reactor. Because NextReef Reactors have such a large capacity, you can run large amounts of media or multiple products simultaneously. They are ozone-safe and perfect for phosphate control, de-nitrification or a fluidized sand filtration. This model stands over 14-inches tall--over a half gallon--and works great for reef systems up to 250 gallons or freshwater tanks up to 500 gallons.

NextReef MR1 XL Media Reactor
The MR1 family of media/substrate reactors feature a massive 4-inch reaction chamber. The extra wide design maximizes water to media contact, increasing efficiency and minimizing dead zones in the reactor. Because NextReef Reactors have such a
large capacity, you can run large amounts of media or multiple products simultaneously. They are ozone-safe and perfect for phosphate control, de-nitrification or a fluidized sand filtration. This model stands over 23-inches tall--over 2 gallons gallon--and works great for reef systems up to 600 gallons or freshwater tanks up to 1200 gallons.

Current USA Modern Cardiff Wood Frame Trim Kit - Espresso
A popular request by many hobbyists, every wood frame kit includes a hinged glass top. Not only will you be able to keep your critters inside the tank, the new hinged top makes it easier t
o both feed them and keep their environment clean. A modern satin nickel door handle makes lifting the hinged door a breeze. The Cardiff aquarium hinged door is located in the back.

Current USA Modern Cardiff Wood Frame Trim Kit - Black
The new Cardiff wood frame kit not only changes the look of your aquarium, it can make tank maintenance and everyday use
easier. A breeze to install, the modern wood trim matches to Current USA's wood stands and slides right over any new or existin Cardiff aquarim system. The internal wood lip is protected with a weather tight seal and the back of the frame features two power cord notches for your pump and accessory cables.

Current USA Modern Solana Wood Frame Trim Kit - Espresso
The modern Espresso Finish Solana wood frame trim kit includes a hinged glass top and is the perfect compliment for your
Current USA Cardiff Aquarium System. There are power cord cutouts in back, a professional wood finish that perfectly matches Current USA stands and your home decor plus it's easy to setup--just slide it on top of your aquarium and you're set.

Vertex IN-280 Replacement Skimmer Cup
Replacement Skimmer Cup for the IN-280 Vertex Protein Skimmer

55W 2C Solana Power Compact Bulb - Square Pin, Current USA
This 55-watt Power Compact aquarium light bulb with a square pin connection is the replacement model for the native Current USA Solan
a Aquarium System.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A closer look at the AquaController Apex Base Unit

Neptune Systems' slick new aquarium controller, the Apex, has a bevy of cool features that make aquarium upkeep a whole lot easier.

The base unit, available now, includes software capable of monitoring pH, ORP and temperature. The ORP probe input can switch modes to monitor ORP or pH. In fact, the
Apex can monitor two different pH sources simultaneously. All probes support digital calibration and data is logged into the internal memory for retrieval for up to one year. The galvanic isolation on the probes contribute to more accurate and reliable readings, all the better for parameter-obsessed reefkeepers.

The unit itself, as you can probably tell from the photograph, is pretty handsome as far as aquarium controllers go. The iPod-styled case has seven buttons designed for the speedy retrieval of information. There are mounting holes on the backside so you can attach it your aquarium stand or a nearby wall.

The large LCD display shows datalog graphs and lets you customize the status displays. For instance, you can choose the placement and name of a probe and assign it its own icon. Menus can be scrolled through manually or automatically and the backlit display can be adjusted, too. Dim the display at night or adjust the contrast for better viewing. Warnings, errors and alarms can be customized so that you'll recognize a particular tone or song depending on the situation.

There is no programming required to setup your equipment. Use the menu-driven interface or a standard web browser to configure your pumps, heater, chiller, CO2 and more. Simulate sunrise and sunset, the moon cycle; there is day of week functionality, sub-minute and second resolution control. Automate your wavemaker and set your pumps to variable speeds and random timed cycles.

There is a lot to love about the AquaController Apex. For more information, please leave us a comment,
visit our store or call 1-800-566-FISH (3474).

Deal of the Week

Marine Depot Aquarium Refractometer

Now Only

YOU SAVE $10 (
20% OFF!)

Learn More...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 8/14/09


I am a new marine aquarist. I just added live sand and rock to my aquarium. There seems to be a thin oil slick on top of the water. Is this normal during the cycling period? Should I be doing water changes while the tank is cycling?

It is not unusual to see an oily film on the surface of the water during this period. It is caused by the hydrophobic properties of dissolved organics in your water. The dissolved organics will form on the surface as they are repelled by the water in the tank.

A protein skimmer use these properties to work. By mixing tons of tiny air bubbles with the saltwater, the dissolved organics are attracted to the bubbles and move toward the surface to get away from the water. Eventually they build up enough to overflow into the collection cup of the skimmer. Here is an article on how skimmers work for more information.

If you don't currently have a protein skimmer, I suggest adding one to the tank. It will help get rid of dissolved organics in your aquarium. Sometimes adding a skimmer isn't enough though. You might also need to break the surface tension to get rid of the oily film. This can be accomplished in a couple of different ways.

One way is to use a powerhead to ripple the surface of the water. This will help break the surface tension. Another way is to use a surface skimmer on the tank. They hook up to certain filter systems to help break surface tension. Some hang on back (HOB) protein skimmers, like AquaC Remoras and CRP BakPaks, have an add-on pre-filter that will skim from the surface to help remove the oily film you mentioned.

As far as water changes go, yes you can do water changes at any time during the cycling process. They will be beneficial to the tank.

If you have any additional questions, concerns or comments, don't hesitate to let us know.

If you would like to ask Keith a question,
click here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spring Catalog Coupons

20% off AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 – Coupon Code AKS98424

Buy 1 Get 1 Free on Select Current USA Compact Fluorescent Bulbs – Coupon Code CUS98325

10% off
JBJ Mini-Arctica Chiller w/ Digital Controller 1/15HP – Coupon Code JBS98326

10% off
Hydor Koralia Magnum 5-8 Circulation Pump/Powerheads – Coupon Code HDS98227

The coupons listed here expire 8/31/09. For more deals (some of which expire Monday!), check out this post on Reef Central.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New this Week, 8/11/09

Neptune Systems AquaController Apex Base Unit w/ Standard Grade pH Probe
The only controller that offers web-based monitoring, control an
d configuration. Includes ethernet interface with embedded web server. Easy-to-use menus allow you to setup pumps, lights, heater, chiller, co2, etc. with no programming required for configuration. Simulates sunrise/sunset, moon cycle, waves, monitor/control temperature, pH, ORP and so much more.

Spectrapure Quick-Connect Faucet Coupler for RO/DI Units
Aerator and additional connecting adapters to fit nearly any faucet. Adapts kitchen/bathroom faucets to 1/4" tubing for e
asy disconnects.

Spectrapure Deluxe Piercing Saddle Valve for 1/4 Inch Tubing
uxe piercing saddle valve for 1/4" tubing.

Red Sea Coral Decorations/Reproductions
Choose from a variety of lifelike coral replicas available in various sizes and colors. Acropora, Stylophora and Seriotopora pieces range from $8.71 to $18.23 each. Created from a poly
material that replicates lifelike movement/motion. Completely non-toxic and safe for aquarium use.