Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NEW! Freshwater Planted Aquarium Section

Many reefers (myself included) got started in the aquarium hobby
by caring for freshwater tanks in their formative years.

I recall my father meticulously arranging the rockwork, driftwood and plastic plants in my parent's 40-gallon tropical fish tank when I was about 8-years-old. My dad always ha
d an eye for detail. I was fascinated how he recreated the beautiful undersea scenes I'd seen in books and on television. My imagination soared as I'd watch fish dart in and out of caves and overhangs.

Soon I had a 10-gallon of my own sitting on the bookshelf next to my parent's tank.

I started with a single goldfish. I was the highest bidder in an auction my 4th grade class had and proudly brought my bagged friend home to put into the new tank. He lived for 3-4 years. I remember being both impressed by his growth and frustrated he wouldn't just die so I could stick something else in there.

After Goldie ascended to fish heaven I put a couple of crayfish into the tank. My dad used crawd
ads as bait on a weekend fishing trip and this duo were leftover in his 5-gallon bucket. My two 'dads lived a long time and changed colors with each molt. They were a reddish-brown color when I got them and later turned a brilliant blue. That's when I loved them most.

In junior high my dad let me keep a pair of oscars in the 10-gallon. In retrospect the tank was too small and I was not the responsible fishkeeper I used to be. Talking to girls on the phone became more important than keeping my fish tank clean. The increased bioload from all the feeders I tossed in there didn't help much. One eventually croaked and the other become so enormous he couldn't turn around. He leaned
hopelessly on a rock until the bitter end.

All my successes and failures helped me become a pretty darn good reefkeeper when I entered the saltwater hobby three years ago. Granted I still made mistakes but poor maintenance was not one of them. Yet with all my saltwater success, I couldn't help but notice all the beautiful freshwater aquascapes showing up on the web. I hadn't really noticed them before working at—probably because I wasn't looking.

What most of these awesome aquariums had in common were plants. The best of them were veritable underwater gardens with lush plantlife ever-so-carefully groomed around rocks and driftwood. Animals were not the focus. They were only there to compliment the aquascape. Some were designed to replicate nature; my favorites mixed the aesthetics of Chinese feng shui with the serentity of a Japanese garden.

Freshwater planted aquariums are quickly becoming a phenomena and, like reef tanks, demand specialized equipment and dedication from the hobbyist. While has always sold freshwater aquarium supplies, we only recently launched a special planted tank section to make it easier for folks interested in this niche of the hobby to find the gear they need.

I'm getting married in May and the wife-to-be knows my Troy McClure-like fish fetish isn't going anywhere. I've talked to her about getting a tank for our new place and she's on board.

The only problem I have now is deciding whether I should setup another reef or try my hand at a planted tank.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Deal of the Week, 1/25/10

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals RENA FilStar xP1 Canister Filter

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Veggie-Mag Feeding Clip

New products are showcased on our website all the time. Every week we're highlighting something. Fancy new lighting and exotic additives tend to get the most accolades but sometimes it's the littlest products that make the biggest difference.

Enter the Veggie-Mag clip from Two Little Fishies. Forget social networking all of you tang keepers out there. Here is the friend you need to add.

Week after week, the Reef Squad receives requests from customers looking for a reliable feeding clip with a sturdy magnet mo
unt. Suction cups fail all on their own without the help of vigorous herbivores grabbing at salad. This new clip is sturdy enough to handle 5/8" glass, which should cover most aquarists' systems.

All I can say is: it's about time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New this Week, 1/19/10

Two Little Fishies Veggie-Mag Feeding Clip
Now you can put the food where your fish are with this innovative magnetic seaweed clip. Using the magnetic clip and extension bar you can now move your seaweed feeding clip to any spot you desire in your aquarium. And unlike its suction cup counter parts the powerful magnet will not allow your feeding clip to fall off, be pulled off by your fish or move around undesirably. Magnet is powerful enough to be used on tanks up to 5/8" thick.

Seachem Flourite Dark 7kg / 15.4lbs
Flourite Dark is a specially fracted, stable porous clay gravel for the natural planted aquarium. Its appearance is best suited to planted aquaria, but may be used in any aquarium environment. Flourite Dark is most effective when used alone as an integral substrate bed, but it may be mixed with other gravels. Gravel modifiers such as laterite are not necessary. Flourite Dark is not chemically coated or treated and will not alter the pH of the water.

Aqueon Quietflow Aquarium Power Filter
Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filters feature four stages of filtration–mechanical, chemical, biological and wet/dry–for the cleanest, clearest, healthiest water. Higher flow rates ensure higher dissolved oxygen content for healthier, more active fish. The internal pump design helps dampen noise, eliminates leaks and starts up automatically after cleaning or power interruptions.

Red Sea Max Silver 130D 34-Gallon Reef Aquarium w/ Stand & Starter Kit
The Red Sea Max features a complete 4-stage reef filtration systems, designed to provide perfect water conditions for all reef inhabitants. The Max 130D has a redesigned cabinet, reflecting a modern look and incorporating improved air flow through the cabinet to aid chiller efficiency. The starter kit includes 15 lbs Coral Pro Salt, Hydrometer, Nitro Bac bio starter, upgraded Marine Lab master test kit with Alkalinity Pro test, Calcium Pro test lab, Magensium test lab, Coral Buff, Calcium & Magnesium Supplements.

Mr. Aqua Cube Frameless Glass Aquarium Tank
Mr. Aqua aquariums are made using high clarity glass with thicknesses ranging between 5-10mm. By eliminating the plastic frame surrounding typical aquarium systems, Mr. Aqua aquariums provide a clean and clear view of your aquatic life. Normally the plastic frame is used to support and keep the glass from bending under pressure in standard quality aquariums. Mr. Aqua utilizes a thicker glass for increased rigidity with a specially formulated silicone manufactured in Germany that bonds the glass together with extreme strength while being safe for your fish and aquatic life.

Marineland Double Bright LED Light Fixture
Three mode on/off switch allows you to set daytime, lunar and off positions. Single low-voltage power source. Flexible moutning system fits tanks 18" to 24". Features energy-efficient LEDs (daylight and lunar) and polycarbonate lens shimmer effect to mimic the underwater effect of sunlight.

AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 w/ FREE Ammonite Hydrometer
AquaticLife's best-selling mini protein skimmer is now being packaged with a free ammonite hydrometer for a limited time. The compact skimmer is rated for aquariums up to 30 gallons and will effectively remove organic waste from your tank water. The Ammonite shaped hydrometer integrates a scale for accurate measurement of salinity in a reef or marine aquarium. This design produces an accurate salinity reading in a very functional and aesthetic package.

Reef Octopus Protein Skimmers
We just received a shipment of 11 different Reef Octopus protein skimmers ranging in price from $169.99 to $649.99 apiece. Choose from internal, external and in-sump models for aquariums from 100-600 gallons.

Monday, January 18, 2010

14 Marine and Reef Aquarium Articles

If you're new to the community, perhaps you've missed some of the great articles written by our in-house staff of aquarium experts, the Reef Squad.

Fear not! We've compiled all of 2009's articles into one handy-dandy list for your reading pleasure (use the "Bookmark" button below to save for future reference).

  1. Comparing Reef Aquarium Test Kits
  2. Aquarium Automation
  3. Time for a Change: Replacing Your Reef Tank Bulbs
  4. A Beginner's Guide to Fragging Coral
  5. Keeping Your Aquarium Cool
  6. Large Carnivores in the Home Aquarium
  7. Reactors and the Reef Aquarium
  8. The Science of Protein Skimmers
  9. Reef Aquarium Maintenance Checklist
  10. Emergency Preparedness
  11. Water Movement in Aquariums
  12. Aquatic Feast
  13. Top 7 Reasons to Join an Aquarium Club
  14. How to Get Rid of Aquarium Pests
We're writing 20 more articles in 2010 (read the first, "Marine and Reef Aquarium Substrate," here). If you'd like to be among the first to know when we publish a new article, just sign-up for our free e-newsletter.

Deal of the Week, 1/18/10

48 Inch 4x54 Watt AquaticLife T5 HO Light Fixture W/ 4 Lunar LEDs

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AquaticLife Internal Mini Protein Skimmer 115 w/ FREE Ammonite Hydrometer

$59.99 + Free Hydrometer (a $9.99 value!)

Learn More...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New this Week, 1/12/10

View ALL new items >>

Digital Aquatics RKM SL-1 Module
The RKM-SL1's five input ports provide a broad range of monitoring options for all the most common probes. Connections include a temperature port, pH port, two switch ports, an ORP port plus two bus connections and an LED status indicator. The module's compact design and convenient mounting tabs makes installationa a breeze. The SL1 also has upgradeable firmware so you
can take advantage of Digital Aquatics developing feature set (firmware updates are and always will be free).

Seachem Reef Fusion Two Part System 1 & 2 Calcium and Carbonate Supplement
Reef Fusion 1 and Reef Fusion 2 are the foundation of a system formulated to provide the essentials for the reef aquarium. Reef Fusion 1 provides calcium and Reef Fusion 2 provides alkali
nity. When used together, the Reef Fusion system will maintain calcium and alkalinity levels.

Reef Fusion 1 provides not only 100,000 mg/L of ionic calcium, but also includes biologically appropriate levels of magnesium, strontium, boron, iron, manganese, and molybdenum.

Reef Fusion 2 contains a mixture of carbonates and bicarbonates at an alkalinity of 4400 meq/L. It is designed to restore and maintain alkalinity in the reef aquarium and provide calcareous species with the essential carbonate needed for growth.

When used as directed, Reef Fusion 1 and Reef Fusion 2 will maintain the critical levels of calcium and alkalinity necessary for healthy coral growth, while providing biologically appropriate levels of other elements and trace minerals.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Deal of the Week, 1/11/10

View all weekly specials >>

Coralife Calcium Reactor (up to 500 gallons)

Regularly $179.99
Now Only $107.99

YOU SAVE $72/40%!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Enter the HUGE Giveaway just announced a huge giveaway and we couldn't help but get in on the action.

If you haven't clicked through our blogroll to visit yet, you're missing out on nano news, reviews, stunning mini reef profiles and interviews with professionals and hobbyists from around the world.

For a relatively new website, is certainly beautifully crafted, well organized and already producing great content.

enter the giveaway, all you'll have to do is sign up for their email mailing list. We've been on the list for awhile and haven't received anything yet but anticipate their emails will focus on the latest haps on their site.

It's quite amazing how many aquarium-oriented blogs have sprung up in the last two years. Check out our blogroll in the right column for some of our favorites. If we're missing any, leave us a comment so we can add 'em to the list.

Oh, and best of luck in the contest. As of now, we'd say your odds of winning are pretty good!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New this Week, 1/5/10

View ALL new items >>

R2 Solutions Signature Aquarium Moonlight
These lightweight durable compact strips utilize ultra blue LEDs spaced at intervals of 2 inches to ensure complete coverage resulting in a beautiful shimmering moonlight effect. These compacts are designed to be installed in the same manner as regular aquarium lights, above the acrylic or glass cover. The compact size allows for the R2 Signature Series lights to easily sit beside conventional daylight lighting systems.

IceCap T5 Reef Crest 10,000K Lamp
IceCap Color Accurate T5 lamps are designed to perfectly compliment the electronic fluorescent ballast technology of the famous 660 and 430 ballasts, creating a new gold standard for aquarium lighting. These lamps utilize very popular phosphor blends with a he
avy-duty filament specifically designed to be overdriven by the IceCap ballast. More new items from IceCap.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Deal of the Week, 1/4/10

96- and 65-watt 8800K White Power Compact Square Pin Bulbs

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Q&A with Keith, 1/1/10


Which protein skimmer would you recommend for a 70 gallon reef aquarium?

Since you didn't mention if you have a sump, I will suggest both hang on back (HOB) and in-sump models so you'll be covered.

For hang on models, you can't go wrong with the
AquaC Remora Series. They are reliable, efficient and affordable. CPR BakPak skimmers are another option popular among MD customers. If you're looking for something a little more high-end, try Deltec.

For an in-sump protein skimmer you should consider the
AquaC EV Series, Vertex or ASM. Each of these brands offers superb skimmers that don't break the bank. Although if you have the money to spend, I'd again recommend Deltec along with Hydor.

We carry more than 100 different
protein skimmers so there are plenty more to consider if you don't find the few I've mentioned appealing. We'd be happy to offer you a more personalized recommendation if you contact us and provide more information about your tank and goals.

For more information about protein skimmers, check out these articles in our

You might also consider posting your question in our forum to see what other hobbyists are running and can recommend based on their experiences.


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