Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New this Week, 3/30/11

AquaticLife 18" 18-Watt T5HO Bulbs
We've got three new 18" bulbs in from AquaticLife this week. The 420/460 bulb features an actinic phosphor that produces a peaked wavelength at 420 nm that benefits most coral. The phosphor also produces a wavelength at 460 nm for an increased blue hue that enhances fish color. The 6000K variation is ideal for freshwater planted tanks and refugiums. The balanced light peaks in the blue and red spectrums to help chlorophyll adsorption in plants and enhance fish color. The roseate bulb is also a great choice for freshwater tanks with aquatic plants. These bulbs range from $17.99 to $19.99 apiece.

Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Powerheads
The Maxi-Jet Pro is a multi-use, 3-in-1 pump. It is completely adaptable to meet different needs of internal and external functions as a powerhead, circulation pump or utility pump. This submersible pump is ideal for powering undergravel filters, protein skimmers, calcium reactors and refugiums, as well as creating water movement. Features a venturi with silent, fully adustable aeration, rotational output, adjustable intake and a propeller cage to protect the propeller and aquarium livestock. Available in 4 sizes from $17.99 to $23.99 each.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New this Week, 3/22/11

Ecoxotic EcoPico 5-Gallon Desktop Aquarium w/ LED Fixture

Ecoxotic went back to basics with the EcoPico, emphasizing minimalism and simplicity. The result is an elegant glass cube that’s truly inspirational, simple to set up and maintain. The EcoPico looks great from any seat in the house, thanks to what it’s missing. No plastic frame, no bulky filter and no rain gutter shaped light. Redesigned down to the essential elements, this rimless aquarium system will turn any aquascape into a piece of art. System includes 6mm rimless glass tank, discreet internal filter with pump, beveled glass top with mounting clips, LED light/arm and step-by-step instructions. Available now for $109.99.

Ecoxotic EcoPico LED Strips
Ecoxotic EcoPico LED fixtures can accommodate a total of 3 LED strips. To upgrade your light, simply purchase a 4-way splitter and select up to two additional LED strips. The 12K white, 453nm Blue and 12K White/453nm Blue combo strips are available for only $22.99 each.

Ecoxotic PAR38 LED 21 Watt 20K Lamp (3 Royal Blue/2 White)
There’s nothing like adding cool lighting effects to your aquarium. Now you can do it without adding much to your electric bill. These powerful spotlights not only focus light energy, they bring out colors and produce ripples like you’ve never seen before. Each lamp features 5 high power Cree LEDs with focusing lenses, allowing light to penetrate deeper in depth while producing stunning color and shimmer effects. Deliver light into your aquarium only where needed, reducing wasted light and lowering your energy costs. PAR38 LED lamps are designed to fit into standard E26/E27 screw in sockets. Each lamp includes LEDs, lenses and integrated LED ballast. These LEDs last up to 50,000 hours, feature sharp angled beams, won't transfer heat, fit a variety of fixtures and are quiet with no cooling fan necessary. Available today for $119.99.

Ecoxotic Panorama 12W 8000K White LED Module w/ Transformer

It’s not the same old retrofit story. These are the same modules found in Ecoxotic's state-of-the-art Panorama Fixtures. Now, for a very small investment, you can add big impact to your existing set-up. Each module has 12 powerful LED lights, so you get unbelievable light while running about 50% of the power of your existing lamp. The best part is they produce virtually no heat. In fact, if you have an all-in-one, chances are you can turn off your fan! These LEDs will last up to 50,000 hours, feature a modular design you can use to upgrade your existing feature, are water-resistant and do not promote nuisance algae growth. Pick one up today for only $99.99.

Tunze Classic DOC Protein Skimmer 9211
The skimmers of the Classic DOC skimmer model series operate according to the horizontal rotation principle of the first generation, supplemented with the newly developed e-jet Hydrofoamer. Despite its very small structural size, this unit has an excellent skimming performance and is especially suitable for breeding tanks with living plankton. Classic DOC skimmers can be placed easily and inconspicuously in the aquarium at an immersion depth of between 2.3" and 3.5". They can also be used in aquarium cabinets and tolerate water level variations of +/- .78" without readjustment of the air output. The skimmer cup and foam reactor are one unit. It is delivered ready for mounting with holding device for vertical panes and horizontal glass tops up to .74". Rated for aquariums up to 290 gallons and available now for $332.02 with free shipping.

Hamilton Bali Sun Single Ended Mogul Base Reflector

This high output reflector from Hamilton is designed for mogul base 175W, 250W or 400W metal halide bulbs. It includes 6 actinic blue LED lights and an LED transformer for nocturnal viewing. The multi-faceted mirror-finish parabolic reflector provides maximum light output. The durable rust-proof aluminum housing and powder-coated black exterior is built for a long life. The unit is light weight at a mere 5lbs. and includes an adjustable steel cable suspension kit so you can set it at the perfect height. An easy to disconnect ballast includes a 12' lamp cord with 3-prong male plug. The bulbs are protected by the included tempered glass splash guard lens. Hang one over your tank now for only $129.95.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marine Depot Coupon Codes: March 2011

$25 off Sea Swirl Wave Makers
Enter Coupon Code SWIRL25 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

20% off Maxi-Jet 900/1200 + Algae Free Sure Flow Upgrade Kits.
Enter Coupon Code SUREFLOW20 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

50% off select Union and Ball Valve Plumbing Parts
Enter Coupon Code PLUMBING50 during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

25% off D-D EzeClean Equipment Cleaner
Enter Coupon Code EZSAVINGS during checkout to redeem
Expires 3/31/11

Elos Osmocontroller Digital: Q&A with Jesse Sira

For aquarium hobbyists who have never heard of an osmocontroller, can you explain what the benefits are?

Elos Osmocontroller Digital is designed to safely automate the topping off of your aquarium. It is most often used in systems with sumps, but can also be used in any freshwater or marine system that will need the inevitable refill throughout the day. While there are many choices of auto top off (ATO) units, the Elos Osmocontroller Digital unit features our patent-pending probe, an easy-to-read main unit, a powerful, replaceable pump along with a number of fail-safe provisions that make it a truly innovative ATO.

What improvements has Elos made to their osmocontrollers?

Even before the
Osmocontroller II, Elos had done, as many have and still are doing, using a series of mechanical switchessensors—a float switch, pressure switches, optical sensors, etc.—to provide some redundancy to prevent overfilling. With the Osmocontroller II, we went away from this concept by using only one float switch in combination with a small microprocessor that would monitor and control the top offs. By doing this we greatly improved on the weakest link in any top-off system and that is switches/sensors that are in contact with the water are the most susceptible to wear and tear and failure. This alone made the Osmocontroller II a fantastic improvement over what was and is currently available.

Now, with the Osmcontroller Digital, we have further improved upon this by implementing our new sensor that has no moving parts and is again controlled/monitored by an improved microprocessor with a greatly improved visual interface that was missing in the Osmocontroller II. In short, the new osmocontroller digital now has a sensor that does not have moving parts, has a microprocessor to control and monitor precise top-offs, as well as having a very easy interface to check the system status and a convenient manual button used for manual top-off or filling other containers, if needed.

What equipment/accessories can hobbyists expect to see when they open the box? Are instructions included?

The box includes an Elos warranty card, instructions, the main unit, pump, sensor (USB connection to the main unit), a universal power supply, power cord, a mounting bracket for the sensor along with wire ties and a double-sided adhesive to mount the main unit.

How much does the Elos Osmocontroller Digital cost?

The new unit is availble at for $195.99 with free shipping.

What is Elos working on now? Can you give us any hint of what’s to come?

There are a lot of new things. In the near future you will see the new SpectraChrome 20k and 14K bulb with more blue spectrum specifically made for the US customers. There will also be a few new LED lighting options from Elos in the coming months.

If you'd like to learn more about the Elos Osmocontroller Digital,
visit our website or the Elos USA blog.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The 60-Gallon is Finally Here!

It was a long afternoon, but my 60-gallon reef aquarium is finally here! My lovely girlfriend / assistant helped out a lot starting in the three to four days before the switch. She helped run the RO/DI unit and make water for me in advance, helped me mix the salt, and today she helped me carry the buckets inside. The job didn't take as long as we had expected, but it took some planning and strategy to pull the job off, and it didn’t hurt to have a great assistant.

The first task of the afternoon was to drain my 18-gallon aquarium. I drained the water into a rubber maid tote, and I placed the live rock, coral, and my fishes in the tote. I left the heater and a power head flowing to keep everyone happy for the next few hours. In my photo, you can see that I separated the coral into a filter basket and a fish breeder I had lying around, and I separated the live rock into a “rock with coral pile” and “general live rock pile”. I have lost coral doing projects like this before, so I had to make sure I could keep the coral safe and easy to find. (Note: No corals were lost in the making of this blog update.)

After draining the aquarium, it was time to rinse off the 60-gallon aquarium and bring it in the house. We used a level to try to get the aquarium to sit as level as possible. The floor in the room is a little higher closer to the wall, so I used some scrap pieces of wood to shim the front of the tank. This worked out okay, but it left the front just a little bit higher than the back. I will have to use some ultra thin shims to level the back out just a tiny bit more. We arranged the tank, and after three failed attempts to situate it to allow enough access for the CPR overflow box, we had it positioned properly. I hung the overflow box on the back of the aquarium, and I put the sump in the stand.

Now it was time to put the live sand from the 18 gallon and add 30 pounds of new aragonite. I added the live aragonite from the 18-gallon aquarium first, and added the new aragonite on top. After the sand was in and level to my liking, I started on the aquascape (added live rock). I don't think I have quite enough rock so far, but the shape of the rock came out pretty cool. I like to go for the look where it's off a little bit to one side, and doesn't look like it was meant to be stacked. It's probably the only artist instinct I have, and to be honest it's not a very good instinct at that. I plan to purchase some good base rock and add to the rock pile within the near future. In the picture, you can see that I utilized a bucket lid to help keep the sand in place while we added the buckets of water.

Now the worst part: adding the water, one five-gallon bucket at a time. It was a long process, but my great assistant made the project much easier; sometime she lugged buckets in or would fill the buckets up for me. We developed a labor efficient routine of me lugging and pouring, and she would fill the buckets up so they would be ready when I had finished one. The routine worked out rather well! To my surprise, the filling of the tank went faster than I had imagined. That doesn't mean it was necessarily a fun or easy project that I would enjoy doing every day, but It did go by quicker than anticipated, and for that I am very grateful. In the image, you can see the tank is full, and I have placed the light fixture on. We're almost done.

For the techies, here’s some technical specs:

Well, that is all for now! Until next time...

Coming Soon: Current USA TrueLumen Pro LED Striplights

We've had Current USA's smaller LED strips available for a while now, but today we got a sample of the Pro sizes and, boy, are they bright.

The first thing we noticed after taking them of the box is that they have a very sturdy construction. They definitely feel high quality. They don't make any noise either, which is nice. After plugging them in for an hour, we were still able to pick them up with our bare hands. We just had to pick them up because we couldn't resist swinging them around like lightsabers. Hey, like I said, they're high quality!

I shot a few photos with my smartphone a few minutes ago so you could have a looksie. My apologies in advance for the quality.

We should have them available for sale in our store within two weeks. From what I can tell, we will carry 16 models in 12", 24" 36" and 48" sizes that range from $79.99 to $223.99 each.

In the meantime, you can learn more about these unique aquarium LEDs on the Current USA website. I'll post again once we have them in stock.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New this Week, 3/16/11

Innovative Viewing Systems Portal w/ Scrubbing Pads
The Portal from Innovative Viewing Systems (IVS) is a 2-in-1 magnifying glass/algae cleaner that drew a lot of attention when it was featured in our booth at Reef-A-Palooza. The Portal allows you to enjoy the details of your fish, corals and invertebrates like never before. It magnetically attaches to your aquarium allowing you to move it any direction while it stays securely in place. The specially designed prescription lenses magnify incredible details while the scrubbing pads on the interior clean your tank. The Portal is made in the USA and is an attractive addition to any aquarium. Both glass and acrylic models are available now for $69.99 apiece.

Real Reef Aquacultured Bio Active Rock
Real Reef rock is a bioactive aquacultured reef rock designed for your marine or reef aquarium. Each handcrafted rock is unique. Just like in nature, no two rocks are identical. Real Reef is made of calcium-based materials, just like wild live rock, to help keep aquarium alkalinity and pH at desirable levels. With the look and feel of natural live rock, Real Reef rock is the perfect rock for aquarium systems. Real Reef aquarium rocks are an eco-friendly, bioactive alternative to live rock collected from wild coral reefs. Real Reef rock encourages hobbyists to save the world's reefs. The company understands that while each purchase is only a small step toward preserving the world's coral reefs, incrementally they may make a huge impact over time and reflect favorably on the marine aquarium hobby. Real Reef Aquacultured Bioactive Rock is available now for $199.99 for 25 lbs. and $419.99 for 60lbs. There are additional shipping surcharges due to the heaviness of shipments.

Mr. Aqua 25 Gallon Frameless Low-Iron Glass Aquarium (18" x 18" x 18")
Mr. Aqua aquariums are produced using high clarity glass with thicknesses ranging between 5mm to 10mm depending on the size. By eliminating the plastic frame that surrounds typical aquarium systems, the Mr. Aqua aquarium provides 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. Each glass aquarium is meticulously assembled with straight and true beveled cut glass and a fine application of high strength silicone, making the Mr Aqua aquarium not only watertight and rigid but aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Available now for only $159.99 (spend $175 and your order ships for free).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sea Swirl: Q&A with Ed Schleinkofer

We recently posted 6 Ways to Improve Aquarium Water Flow in our Knowledgebase to give you some ideas how of how you can enhance the water circulation in your current or future fish tank.

One of the tips we suggested was to maximize your return pump’s flow. The Sea Swirl, developed by Aquarium Currents, can help you do just that.

We sat down with company president Ed Schleinkofer for a short Q&A to learn more about these unique wavemaking devices.

For aquarium hobbyists who may not be familiar with the Sea Swirl, can you explain how it works and what the benefits are?
The Sea Swirl is an oscillating device that mounts externally and uses your existing return pump from a sump or closed loop water supply source. It oscillates 90 degrees from its starting position in 30 seconds and returns back 90 degrees to its original starting position in 30 seconds. Oscillating currents are better for coral growth and polyp extension than linear currents. As corals grow into high current areas of the aquarium, if the current is linear or in a straight line—pulsed or not—the coral will tend to grow around the linear or pulsed current. The worse case scenario is your coral will stop growing altogether, shed its tissue and perish. With an oscillating current, corals are hit with a blast of water, like a wave crashing on them, followed by a very calm current as the oscillating outlet moves away from the coral. This creates greater polyp extension which helps in the feeding process and benefits overall health. Another benefit, especially in today’s economy, is that the Sea Swirl consumes a mere 3 watts of electricity while in operation.

What inspired your company to create the Sea Swirl? What kinds of tests were conducted before you brought the product to market?
We started fooling around with an oscillating device back in the early 90s when we had a retail store with a 300 gallon show tank. We felt there was a serious need for a ''wave simulation'' device since, at that time, more and more SPS coral were being imported into the United States. Back then, if you wanted to try and create circular water patterns, you would put Hagen powerheads on timers that would turn them on and off. Many well-known writers and speakers in the aquarium industry were our beta testers. Dr. Sanjay Joshi was one of the first to use our product back in the mid-90s along with the show tank in our retail store. We sold the store in 1997 and, after years in development, we introduced the Sea Swirl in September 1998 at MACNA in Los Angeles.

What type and size aquariums can a Sea Swirl be used with?
Sea Swirls can be used on saltwater reef aquariums, saltwater fish only systems and even freshwater tanks to help keep detritus stirred up so your filters can pick it up more efficiently. There are presently four sizes of Sea Swirl available. The ½” model handles up to 600 gallons per hour, perfect for small tanks ranging from 20 to 50 gallons. The ¾” model accommodates a flow rate up to 900 gallons per hour for mid-range size tanks from 55 to 90 gallons. The 1” model is designed for larger aquariums, 100 to 180 gallons, with a flow rate up to 2,000 gallons per hour. Finally, we have the 1½” model, capable of handling a flow rate up to 6,000 gallons per hour for big tanks 225 gallons or larger.

What is included in the box when a hobbyist purchases a Sea Swirl? Are additional parts or equipment required to get one up and running?
The Sea Swirl comes with a complete set of instructions for easy installation. It can be installed on the incoming water line to your tank or canister filter, if you are running a freshwater tank. All inlet and outlet connection fittings are included for both hard plumbing and hose applications. Optional nozzles are available for different flow patterns. The Sea Swirl comes with a bracket to install on standard glass aquariums, like Perfecto or AGA. You can also request a bracket for perimeter/Euro bracing that also fits the cut-out area of an acrylic tank.

What sort of maintenance is required to keep a Sea Swirl operating through the years?
One of the many benefits of the Sea Swirl is that it is virtually maintenance free. Install it on your tank, plug it in and leave it alone to get 90 degree rotation 24/7/365. It will last you a very long time! There is nothing to clean, nothing to soak in vinegar and no sponges, washers or shafts to replace. If your Sea Swirl needs a tune-up after years of operation in a harsh saltwater environment, we offer a repair service this is less expensive than purchasing a new unit. We’ll update your unit so you’ll get all the benefits of a brand-new unit at about half the cost. The ½”, ¾”, and 1” models are backed by a 1-year warranty and the 1½” model has a 2-year warranty. We’ve been in business for more than 12 years providing hobbyists with high-quality products and excellent customer support. We also build Sea Swirls right here in the U.S.A.

What is your company working on now? Can you give us any hint of what’s to come?
We just released our 1½” model in December which is an all-new design. In the future, we plan to incorporate this design into a “one size fits all” model that will be manufactured to fit into our smallest ½” model Sea Swirl outer box. This new model will be ready out of the box to be ½” through 1” at the inlet and outlet with the use of reducer bushings. They will feature the improved seal now in use on our 1½” model and will come with an acrylic bracket to install on standard glass aquariums, Euro/perimeter-braced and acrylic tank cut-out areas. We’ve been asked by many hobbyists to develop a “Tunze Turner” model that will turn Tunze controllable and non-controllable models along with the popular Hydor Koralia powerheads, too. The biggest challenges in creating this model is to get the cords to go up through the middle and out the top instead of the DIY units that many people seem to build with the cord cable-tied to the solid pipe. Another feature will be adjustability up and down with threaded extensions. This model will also have the same footprint as our ½” box. We’re looking at release in late 2011.

Monday, March 07, 2011

New this Week, 3/7/11

Marineland Maxi-Jet 1200 Pro Powerhead (295/1300 GPH)
The Maxi-Jet Pro is a multi-use, 3-in-1 pump. It is completely adaptable to meet different needs of internal and external functions as a power head, circulation pump or utility pump. This submersible pump is ideal for powering undergravel filters, protein skimmers, calcium reactors and refugiums, as well as creating water movement. Venturi is silent with fully adjustable aeration. The rotational output directs water flow to needed areas of the tank. $23.99

CPR AeroFuge Protein Skimmer and Refugium
CPR Aquatic's AeroFuge combines the benefits of the popular AeroForce protein skimmer and AquaFuge refugium in one easy to set up unit. The AeroFuge is a complete filtration system utilizing an efficient recirculating skimmer as the primary device to remove harmful dissolved organics. The refugium will supplement denitrification and nutrient export to help maintain a clean and well balanced system. The refugium will also help feed the aquarium with a more diverse population of live food while also stabilizing pH. Available in small (up to 75 gallons), medium (up to 90 gallons) and large sizes (up to 110 gallons). $339.99 to $435.99 each with free shipping

CPR AeroFuge Protein Skimmer and Refugium w/ Light
CPR Aquatic's AeroFuge combines the benefits of the popular AeroForce protein skimmer and AquaFuge refugium in one easy to set up unit. The AeroFuge is a complete filtration system utilizing an efficient recirculating skimmer as the primary device to remove harmful dissolved organics. The refugium will supplement denitrification and nutrient export to help maintain a clean and well balanced system. The refugium will also help feed the aquarium with a more diverse population of live food while also stabilizing pH. Available in small (up to 75 gallons), medium (up to 90 gallons) and large sizes (up to 110 gallons). $399.99 to $504.99 each with free shipping

Friday, March 04, 2011

New this Week, 3/4/11

CoralVue 250 / 400 HQI All Aluminum Pendant
Introducing the new 250/400 HQI pendant. The pendant accepts both 250 Watt and 400 Watt HQI bulbs by simply adjusting the ceramic lamps sockets. These pendants are built to last, made from Aluminum, which is powder coated and guaranteed to never rust. The computer designed reflector system incorporates the 95% reflectivity of “Alanod Miro 4”, the best reflective material available. $149.99

CoralVue Electronic Metal Halide Ballast
These ballasts do not overdrive the bulb, so output will be at the bulb manufacturer's specifications. By using a constantly changing, very high frequency, the ballast will light any bulb without flicker. Longer bulb life and other features makes this the best ballast for all metal halide applications. Does not come with Molex connector. 4" wire leads included. The patented operating system allows you to save energy without compromising light output. By applying lower voltage across the lamp, energy consumption is reduced and lamp life is expected to increase. $129.99 to $199.99

CoralVue VHO 120VAC 60Hz 660 Ballast
Vue Ballasts are the coolest ballasts available using 40% less electricity and burning 40% brighter. Their unique circuitry prevents premature lamp burn out and fading associated with VHO lamps. You can run VHO, HO, and STD lamps in any combination. The Vue 660 is a versatile and powerful ballast perfect for your aquarium lighting system. One ballast can operate any combination, up to 4 lamps, with a total not exceeding 440 Watts. The 660 is fully dimmable (T12 VHO bulbs only), operates silently, has many available features, is fully repairable and has a 3 year conditional warranty. $159.99

Azoo 2 or 4 Row Flexible Aquarium Cooling Fans
The adjustable 2 module cooling fans are suitable for aquariums up to 30 gallons. The adjustable 4 fan model is great for fish tanks up to 100 gallons. The easy-to-use clamp-on style securely holds the fans to the rim of your aquarium. Angle each fan individually for the ultimate in customization. Perfect for cooling aquariums and lighting equipment without adding an expensive chiller. Includes on/off switch. $39.99 to $59.99

Azoo Small Aquarium Cooling Fan
This small clip on cooling fan from Azoo is ideal for aquariums up to 15 gallons. The strong and efficient motor pushes a high volume of air across the aquarium surface to cool aquarium temperature from lighting and other equipment. High quality plastic construction in a small, sturdy and compact design. $29.99

CPR First A.I.D. Deluxe Model - Isolation/Quarantine Tank
CPR Aquatic's First A.I.D. kit is designed to automate and simplify the acclimation and introduction of aquatic animals into a new environment. Properly acclimating fish and coral significantly improves the animal's ability to make a smooth transition to its new environment without trauma, which often causes stress, disease and sometimes even death. The First A.I.D. kit is not just an acclimation device. It can also be used as an isolation tank so users can socially acclimate the animals to the other aquarium inhabitants. The First A.I.D. kit can also be used to dose liquid supplements into a sump as well as be used as a dipping station where coral or fish can be dipped prior to introduction to the tank. $44.99

CPR AeroForce 2 Dual Pump Recirculating Protein Skimmer
CPR's AeroForce2 is an innovative hang-on-the-back protein skimmer designed to filter your saltwater aquarium of its excess dissolved organic carbons. These organic carbons can contribute to unsafe water conditions for your fish and coral if left untreated. The AeroForce2 utilizes some of CPR's revolutionary hang-on designs from its BakPak series while also adding several features to enhance the AeroForce's overall effectiveness. A few of these features include a recirculating design with a dual pump system, removable inner body and a de-gassing water outlet. The dedicated feed pump allows users to select the appropriate amount of water to feed through the skimmer while the separate air pump produces a consistent amount of air, ensuring maximum waste collection. $199.99 + free shipping

Seachem Liquid Marine Buffer 1 Gallon
Adjusts and maintains pH to 8.3. Works with all types of filtration and will not disrupt the natural ionic balance of your aquarium. Will not cloud water. Excellent for marine, brackish, or alkaline freshwater use. 250 gram powder treats over 800 gallons. 500 ml liquid treats 1000 gallons. $59.99