Friday, April 26, 2013

What is the best way to encourage coralline algae growth?

Coralline algae is surprisingly easy to grow, and if taken good care of, can grow relatively fast. How? Well, let’s look at the things that really effect coralline algae growth.

In terms of water chemistry, coralline requires only a few things different than your fish do. Like corals, they require calcium, magnesium, and some source of carbonate (alkalinity). So keep your parameters stable and in line using good calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium buffers. Keep your chemical parameters as follows:

Calcium: 380-450 ppm
Alkalinity: 2.8-4.3 meq/L, or 8-12 DKH
pH: 8.1-8.3
Magnesium: 1200-1400 ppm.

Also, keep your nutrient levels relatively low. High levels of phosphate are detrimental to coralline algae growth in two ways. First, there is anecdotal evidence that low levels of phosphate are directly inhibitory to coralline algae growth. Second, phosphate contributes to the growth of competing algae, such as hair algae. That algae competes for space, light, and nutrients with the coralline, and even grows directly on top of it. Other algae, such as diatom algae and cyanobacteria, also compete for space and light, so keep your silicates, nitrates and other problem nutrients low.

Surprisingly, many species of coralline algae actually prefer low to moderate light. In many very dimly lit tanks, coralline algae completely overtakes rocks, pumps, and even the back glass. If you have moderate to low lighting, moderate to low light coralline algae species will dominate your tank.

If it’s still hard for you to grow algae, there are a couple tips and tricks that you can consider. First, try purchasing new liverock from an already established tank. Many fish stores will have older rocks that are completely covered in coralline algae, that they will not mind selling at a premium. Just buy a few pounds, since the algae will spread. Seeding your tank with a variety of coralline algae species will allow you to introduce a species of coralline to your tank that may be better suited for your lighting and water chemistry. 

Second, if you do have some coralline algae, try taking a new, washed, firm toothbrush, and gently scrape the algae until a light dusting of it come off. Supposedly, this encourages the spread and colonization of coralline algae spore. If your tank is currently running ozone or UV sterilization, turn it off for a while, as you may be hindering this spread and colonization of coralline algae spore.

If all else fails, there is anecdotal evidence that some amino acid supplements can help to encourage coralline algae growth. The effects are purely anecdotal, but the idea is promising.

Try any or all of the things above, but don’t expect to see results right away. Coralline algae grows relatively slow compared to nuisance algae. Expect to see results in 2-3 months, rather than 2-3 weeks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to Install the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer w/ Pre-Skimmer

AquaC Remora Pro-S w/ Danner Supreme 5

In today's video installment, we are going to take a look at the AquaC Remora-S Protein skimmer. Remora skimmers have been around for some time. AquaC has recently released the new "S" version of the skimmers and they have made some really great changes.

We are going to show you the new features of the skimmer, how to properly install the pump and how to install the optional surface pre-skimmer in this video clip.

AquaC is still including all the same great features found on the original Remora protein skimmer but they have made some really cool changes. The most notable change is the addition of the foam silencer, the foam silencer is great because it eliminates the spray noise you would have encountered on the older version of the skimmers. Furthermore, they have a couple different pump options. You can now get the larger Danner Mag-Drive 5 pump on the Pro version and the Cobalt MJ1200 pump on the standard Remora.

The first thing you want to do upon receiving your new Remora-S skimmer is to test fit this onto your aquarium. You want to make sure you have enough room to fit the skimmer and make any necessary adjustments.

Next,  you can go ahead and install the drain fitting or drain plug onto the skimmer. The drain fitting will allow you to attach a piece of tubing to the collection cup. You can then run the tubing into a bucket and it will act as an overflow protection for the skimmer. If you do not wish to install the drain fitting, you can utilize the included drain plug instead.  Just be sure to empty your collection cup frequently.

You can then install the hose-barb and tubing onto the pump. AquaC has everything fitted together right out of the box, you simply need to screw the fitting onto the pump. Be sure your hose clamps are tight as this will prevent the pump from falling off the skimmer.

You will then want to go ahead and attach the pump to the skimmer. The skimmer comes with a hose-barb pre-installed and you can simply connect the tubing on the pump with the hose-barb on the skimmer. Again, ensure your hose-barb is tight.

You can now fit the skimmer onto your aquarium. You will notice the pump is simply suspended in your aquarium from the skimmers inlet. This is why it is important to ensure your hose clamps are tight.

AquaC Remora Pro Pre-Skimmer
Finally you can install the pre-skimmer box. The pre-skimmer is an optional accessory for the Remora skimmers and will allow for surface skimming which results in more efficient protein removal.

You will notice the box has two chambers. The slotted chamber is for the pump and the second chamber is for the return water. You will notice a sponge in the bottom of the second chamber. This sponge will filter out micro-bubbles before the return water enters your aquarium.

In order to install the pre-skimmer, simply slip the box under the pump. It is a tight fit but once the pump is inside the box, simply adjust the box to match the water level in your aquarium and then utilize the four suction cups to hold the pre-skimmer in place.

The skimmer is now installed and ready to go. Be sure to watch the skimmer closely for the first couple of weeks as it will take time to break in. You will also want to make any necessary adjustments to the collection cup depending on the type of skim you wish to collect.

Thanks for tuning in! Remember to keep sending us your questions and if you need immediate assistance, give us a call toll-free at 1-800-566-3474. If you'd like to learn more about AquaC Remora protein skimmers, click here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q&A Video Series #3: Can I put a tang in my nano reef aquarium?

Our question this week comes from one of our Facebook fans, Mario. Mario asks, "Can a put a tang in my nano reef aquarium?"

This is a question that raises a lot of debate in the hobby. The reason is many hobbyists feel a juvenile tang will thrive just fine in a nano reef aquarium.

In reality, this is not the case.

We do not recommend that you put a tang in a nano reef aquarium. Typically, tangs can get quite large, anywhere from 10-15 or more inches long. If you purchase a juvenile tang for your nano reef aquarium, they will quickly outgrow the aquarium within a matter of months. Furthermore, a crowded, small aquarium will decrease your chances for success and increase your odds of inviting the dreaded ich parasite.

Inside our August 2012 Featured Tank from Leo Chen
Most responsible hobbyists recommend an aquarium at least 6 feet long. This will ensure the tang has plenty of room to grow and thrive. All that space will provide plenty of room for your tang to naturally graze. Since tangs are herbivores, the more natural food sources you provide, the better.

Well, that wraps it up for this week's Q&A video. Thanks for your question, Mario! If you have a question you would like to see answered in a future video, send it to us in an email or call 1-800-566-FISH (3474) to speak with an aquarium expert.

Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube videos to stay up-to-date on the latest hobby news and aquarium technology.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coral-bots: teams of robots that repair coral reefs

The Ocean Systems Laboratory is a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center that innovates, applies and teaches world class advances in autonomous systems, sensor modelling/processing, and underwater acoustic system theory/design for offshore, marine science, renewable energy and security applications.

The Oceans Systems Laboratory with their advance technology have come up with a variety of robots for specific applications to help rebuilt the coral reef.  The Coral-Bots are a team of robots that intelligently navigate across a damaged coral reef, transplanting pieces of healthy corals along the  way.   

Here is an interesting article you can read up on how the bots are helping our Mother Earth:

Thursday, April 11, 2013 Joins 3rd Annual ‘Frags 4 Food’ Event to Help the Hungry

Proceeds from donations are given to the 501(c)(3) non-profit GAP Food Bank.
The Inland Empire Marine Aquarium Society (IEMAS) is hosting their third annual “Frags 4 Food” event this Saturday, April 13 from 11 am to 6 pm at the Tropical Reef Fish store located at 11940 Foothill Blvd. Ste. 108 in Rancho Cucamonga.

The Southern California aquarium club said there are no donations too big or small—but anyone who donates five or more cans of food will receive a free coral frag. A “frag” is a small piece or colony of coral, often mounted on a small artificial plug, which aquarium owners can place inside their saltwater tank to grow and multiply. The coral frags provided to donors this year are Cherry Charm Zoanthids, which have a striking golden center surrounded by a pretty pink skirt.

“A few years ago our club decided we wanted to give back to the community,” said IEMAS President Cylix Shane. “Originally we decided on a beach cleanup day, but that idea was short-lived because the beach is a two hour drive for most of our members. One thing we all have in common is we enjoy sharing coral frags. As the economy slowed, we learned our community’s local food bank was suffering from dwindling donations. We put the two ideas together and created ‘Frags 4 Food,’ which has been a tremendous success ever since.”

Last year IEMAS ended up with 1,120 cans of food plus many generous cash donations. Proceeds from donations are given to the 501(c)(3) non-profit GAP Food Bank. The GAP Food Bank started in the early 90s to help the working poor, single mothers, recovering addicts, seniors on a fixed income and the under-privileged who struggle to make ends meet. GAP assists families by providing basic food items. By providing food, the families are better able to apply their limited financial resources to housing expenses and other necessities.

Last year IEMAS ended up with 1,120 cans of food plus many generous cash donations.
GAP began distributing food out of a garage to families in the community. Twenty years later, GAP has relocated to a 4,500 square foot warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga, equipped with a truck for large donation pickups, a forklift and walk-in freezer and refrigerator.

When Ben Ros, Director of Operations for aquarium supply store, heard about the event, he immediately issued a challenge to his staff.

“I want to donate more food than anyone else,” Ros told his team. “In addition to bragging rights, the department that donates the most food will be rewarded with a pizza luncheon from our COO.” will be joining over a dozen aquarium supply stores, aquarium makers, manufacturers, publications and clubs in support of Frags 4 Food. Below is a list of some of the participating organizations and donors for this year’s event.
“A grand prize will be awarded to the person or group that donates the most cans,” said Shane. “This year it will be the winner’s choice: an all-in-one frag tank from Advanced Acrylics or an all-in-one nano tank from CAD Lights. For participants who do not want a coral frag, there will also be raffle tickets available that count toward donated aquarium goods and equipment.”

If you are interested in participating, GAP Food Bank prefers durable plastic, paper or aluminum packaging over glass bottles and jars. Non-perishable, non-refrigerated foods with pull-top cans are ideal because they can be opened by people who may not have access to a can opener. Smaller sized items are also useful because they are easier to store and distribute. The following items are highly recommended:
  • Breads and cereals 
  • Boxes of crackers 
  • Boxes of spaghetti or pasta 
  • Boxes or rice 
  • Breakfast cereal bars 
  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Canned fruits and vegetables 
  • Fruit cups 
  • Canned soups 
  • Canned spaghetti/tomato sauce 
  • Canned stew 
  • Canned tuna or chicken 
  • Canned chili 
  • Canned pasta dishes 
  • Peanut butter 
  • Vienna sausage 
  • Bags of dried beans
“Clubs like IEMAS are enormously beneficial to the hobby,” Ros said. “Not only do they share their knowledge and experience to help others become responsible aquarium owners, but the goodwill, teamwork and organization it takes to run a successful club often manifests in activism. Seeing IEMAS mobilize its members to effect change has motivated and inspired us to do the same.”

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Meet's Customer Service Team

Friday, April 05, 2013

Weekend Sale: 20% off AlgaGen ReefPods

AlgaGen ReefPods Tisbe Live Aquacultured Copepods are 20% off until Monday!

Tisbe is an excellent all-purpose aquarium copepod that will consume uneaten food, waste as well as phytoplankton. They are capable of producing many eggs during their adult life that hatch into nauplii which enter the water column as food for your filter feeding reef inhabitants and replenish the adult population vital to tank hygiene. Tisbe adults and juveniles entering the water column can be tasty and nutritious treats for your reef fish, too! Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The All-New Reef Octopus Diablo DCS In-Sump Protein Skimmer

Reef Octopus has been busy working on ways to advance their already popular line of Diablo protein skimmers which until now has only powered by the Sicce PSK pumps. These NEW Diablo controllable Direct Current “DC” pinwheel skimmer pumps are the latest in protein skimmer technology and allows for refined control, enhanced performance and efficiency. 
Power TheDiablo controllable Direct Current “DC” pinwheel skimmer pumps are the latest in variable speed flow technology that allows for refined control, enhanced performance and efficiency. The vast majority of skimmer pumps available to hobbyist are alternating current "AC" pumps (the type of power that comes out of your wall outlet). Direct current pumps have several key advantages over traditional AC pumps. Most notably, you can control the rotational speed of the motor, thus electronically control air and water flow rates into the skimmer.
Enhanced Pump Control
This controller allows users to select between six preset speeds indicated by six green LEDs. The controller also features a feed/service button. When pressed, the skimmer pump shuts down and will automatically reactivate after 10 minutes. Press the feed/service button a second time to resume normal operation. Diablo DC pumps feature a true slow startup where the pump slowly ramps up from zero RPM to the full preset speed over a period of approximately 10 seconds.
The pump and controller are connected via a waterproof 3-conductor union. The detachable controller will allow for a simple waterproof union. 
A Benchmark in Protein Skimmer Performance & Control!!!
The Diablo DCS-250 in-sump protein skimmer offers advanced control and maximum performance filtration for aquariums up to a 500 gallons. All the latest skimmer design innovations can be found on this Diablo DCS model including:
Bubble Diffusing Chamber and Hybrid Cone Body that naturally reduces and stabilizes the foam production; This means less turbulence in the neck area and more contact time for organics to rise and collect
Oversized Air Silencer for quiet operation and airline mount
Large Collection Cup with flow directional guide, drain and unit venting
Precision Control with the easy to turn output flow valve
Performance control by a push of a button!!!
  • Solid Constructed Hybrid (half cone) Skimmer Body for Greater Foamate Stabilization
  • Over Sized 10" Collection Cup with Drain
  • Bubble Dispersant Plate
  • Precision Control Output Valve
  • 6 Controllable Speed Settings with Integrated Memory
  • High Air Intake
  • Efficient & Quiet
  • Slow Startup
  • Body Size: 10"
  • Footprint: 17.1" x 11.8"
  • Neck Size: 5.5"
  • Total Height: 24.25"
  • Output Size: 50mm - Comes with Metric to British Adapter to 1.5"pvc
  • Output Height: 5.35" Note: Recommended Sump Water Depth: 6"-6.5"
  • Pump Information:
  • Diablo DC 5500s Pinwheel Pump
  • Power Consumption: 53watts at full speed
  • Air Draw: 2400 lph / 84.5 SCFH* at full speed
*Air and water results will vary depending on aquarium setup
Manufacturer Warranty - Two(2) year warranty on DC pump, One(1) year on rotor and One(1) year on skimmer body 

Free Frags at IEMAS' 3rd Annual Frags 4 Food

The Inland Empire Marine Aquarium Society is hosting their 3rd annual "Frags 4 Food" event next Saturday, April 13th from 11 am to 6 pm at the Tropical Reef Fish store at 11940 Foothill Blvd. Ste. 108, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739.

All canned foods and proceeds from any donations will be given to the Rancho Cucuamonga GAP Food Bank ( There is no donation too big or small—but anyone who donates 5 cans of food or more will receive a free frag! Last year IEMAS ended up with 1,120 cans worth of food and cash donations.

We'll be participating. Will you?

Here are a couple of forum threads to hit up for more info:

Monday, April 01, 2013

Introducing the New Kessil A360W

Introducing the All-New Kessil A360W Tuna Blue Controllable LED Aquarium Light.

The A360 features Kessil's new proprietary Kessil Logic, a unique form of spectral intelligence developed for precise color blending and optimal coral growth. In this new design, instead of varying the light intensity of two different channels to find the desired color and intensity mix, users can select the perfect spectrum and color with one knob and then adjust the intensity with the other. Kessil Logic will not only dramatically improve the user experience, it will also boost the light output at both ends of the spectral tuning range by as much as 30%.

  • External Controllability: In addition to its enhanced manual controllability, the A360 comes with a pair of ports that allows the fixture to be governed by external devices. This new control interface operates within a 0-10Vdc 10VDC range, making it compatible with several popular aquarium external controllers. When daisy-chained in series without an external controller, the first A360 acts as the master unit propagating its settings to all other lights in the chain. Shimmer: Beautiful shimmering effect gives your tank a natural, sunlit look rivaling MH. It's like connecting with your own piece of the ocean. 
  • Tunable Spectrum: Independently adjustable color channels enables tuning a preferred color within the spectral range thousands of research and testing hours determined to be the optimal spectral points for coral growth and color. 
  • Dense Matrix LED technology blends different light wavelengths before they leave the light, providing uniform color throughout the tank. Single light source eliminates spotlight effect, spreading powerful light over a wide area.
  • UV: No matter which spectral point is chosen with the tunable spectrum, proprietary blend of precision UV light encourages coral color. 
  • Design: Different lens options let you decide between maximum penetration or maximum coverage area. Engineered for long life, quiet operation, efficient cooling and maximum performance, all in a compact, low maintenance and attractive design. 
  • LED: 90W DEX 5000 LED
  • Fixture Dimensions: 3.8" x 4" (Length x Diameter)
  • Coverage Area: A360W: 24" surface radius by 3` penetration (on average)
  • Power Supply: 100-240 VAC (Input), 48 VDC, 1.87A (Output)
  • Power Usage: 90W
Please note: Controller/Daisy Chain cables are sold separately. They are NOT included.