Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Felicia's 40 Gallon Breeder Mixed Reef Predator Tank





We are back with another amazing Marine Depot Featured Tank Profile. This 40 gallon breeder is quite unique in that it houses a myriad of corals along alongside some deadly predator fish that most of us are not used to seeing in such a beautiful and thriving reef tank.

The tank is proudly owned by Felicia from Berkely, CA who has kept aquariums her entire life.




Dive deeper into Felicia's aquarium and learn more about her equipment, livestock and husbandry practices by clicking here.



Starting with freshwater tanks, Felicia eventually stepped in the reef aquarium world because she is an avid scuba diver and finds inspiration in the natural beauty that can be found in wild reefs.

The tank houses 3 small lionfish species; a Fu Manchu, a Dwarf Zebra and an Antennata Lionfish. She also has a juvenile snowflake eel and this is what really makes her aquarium unique; having these gorgeous predator fish alongside a thriving captive reef is truly impressive.

The way these predator fish naturally behave and swim around the corals really adds some extra character to the tank.

Of course, these aggressive predator fish do limit the size and type of other fish she can house in the tank but, as you can see, her corals and various invertebrates do not seem to mind a bit.

Something I found fascinating with her tank is the way she aquascaped her collection of Gorgonians and soft corals.

For lighting and flow, she uses the Maxspect Razor LED light along with a couple of EcoTech Marine VorTech MP10 pumps.

Her tank is filtered by a 20 gallon DIY sump. The sump houses a Reef Octopus Protein Skimmer along with a Two Little Fishies Phosban Reactor that contains NPX Bioplastics. She also has a refugium with Chaetomorpha that is lit by a Maxspect Razor Nano LED light. All of which help to keep the nitrate levels under control which can be quite a problem for aquariums housing predator fish.

Nitrates are always present in her tank which has led to some hair algae growth but Felicia says her cleaner crew does a pretty good job keeping it under control. The diverse cleaner crew includes a couple of fighting Conchs, a serpent Starfish, a Tuxedo Urchin, a Red Mithrax Crab as well as some hermit crabs and snails.

She performs a weekly 25% water change using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals along with daily automated dosing of ESV B-ionic Two-Part Solution and Magnesium to maintain the water parameters.

Felicia’s 40 gallon predator tank you see in the video has also be chosen as Tank of the Month on the very popular Nano-Reef forum and based on what we have seen the tank is well deserving of this honor.

Be sure to check out her full tank profile by visiting the Featured Tank section of our website. You can see a full list of animals and get a detailed outline of all the equipment in order to see just how Felicia maintains this beautiful tank.

If you found Felicia’s tank inspirational, please like and share this post as well as subscribe to our YouTube channel to spread the word and show your support! Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Aquarium Algae Control: Bubble Algae, Dinoflagellates, Bryopsis and Turf Algae - Part 2





Welcome to Part 2 (miss Part 1? click here) in our Aquarium Algae Control video series where we help you identify and tackle some of the peskiest algae that can grow in your aquarium.

Now we went over this in the first video but I think it is important to say it again. The first part of battling any nuisance algae is to make sure your water parameters are in check. Using pure RO/DI water, performing regular water changes, not overfeeding and using an efficient protein skimmer will help minimize all algae problems.

Bubble Algae is actually kind of cool looking if you ask me but is one of the hardest algae to deal with in your tank. Bubble Algae grows quickly and it is important to remove it right away before it has time to spread. When removing this algae do not pop the bubbles as this will release spores that will then spread throughout your tank. Careful removal with a turkey baster or outside of the tank, then rising with saltwater is best.

Thankfully this algae can easily be kept out of your tank with proper quarantine practice and inspection of any new frags or corals because it is easy to see and identify. Emerald crabs, Foxface and other Rabbitfishes are widely known to eat bubble algae and might be a good addition if you find bubble algae growing in your tank.

Turf Algae is somewhat similar to Green Hair Algae as it is a generic term that refers to wide variety of species that look alike. The coarse, wiry mats of algae seem to sprout right out of your rocks and can really be difficult to remove. Even a heavy scrubbing outside of the tank can prove ineffective against this algae.

Controlling nutrients along with a clean-up crew helps to prevent this alga from getting out of control. Urchins and Emerald Crabs are your best choice. If you find it growing heavily in your tank, it is probably best to remove the rocks or frags and clean them outside of the tank. This is the one of the instances where an algaecide or peroxide can help but is best treated outside of the tank and be sure to do your research first.

Macroalgae can really help out in reef tanks in terms of nutrient control. The trick here is getting it to grow in the right place, such as your refugium, and keep it out of your display. Bryopsis is a pesky macroalgae that if left to grow in your display, can be unsightly and out-compete corals for real estate.

Cleaner crew animals are not all that effective at controlling Bryopsis so manual removal at the first signs of this algae is important. Nutrient control via water changes and filter media is also important to slow down the spread of this algae.

Unfortunately, just like turf algae, if this stuff is left to grow wild in your tank it is likely you will need to remove and clean the infected rocks outside of your tank.

One remedy that has proven to work for Byopsis is elevating your magnesium level to 1700-1800ppm with Kent Marine Tech M. It is recommended to raise your magnesium level by no more than 100ppm daily and keep the level elevated until the broypsis is gone but just be sure to be careful and research first. Elevated magnesium levels can harm other corals and animals in your tank if not done properly.

Dinoflagellites are unique and can easily be confused with Diatoms or even cyanobacteria. It is brown, stringy, and produces air bubbles that get trapped up in the filaments. Dinoflagellates can be a real pain if they get out of control. A cleaner crew will not consume these and manual removal is your best choice.

Many hobbyists remove and treat infected rocks outside of the tank; usually to the point of killing and cleaning the rock completely. Nutrient control helps prevent an outbreak so be sure to maintain water parameters accordingly. Because they are photosynthetic, blacking out your tank for a few days has also been reported as an effective means of control.

Have you ever seen a tank with a slight green haze or cloudiness in the water? This is probably because of a Green Film Algae bloom. I have seen this algae in just about every marine aquarium I have kept and the key to preventing this algae is nutrient control. It is easily removed from tank surfaces but without starving it of nutrients, the algae will quickly grow back.

Blacking out your tank and controlling your phosphates and nitrates will help reduce the growth of this algae. Microfauna such as copepods feed on this type of algae and a refugium can also help for this reason in addition to help controlling nutrients.

For the most part, nuisance algae is one of those things were an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By maintaining proper water parameters, keeping nutrients under control, practicing proper quarantine and observing your tank closely you can easily prevent any one of these algae from becoming a problem in your tank.

Continuum Aquatics offers a natural solution to combat and prevent algae problems. The Bacter Clean-M helps to naturally reduce and eliminate algae by using microbial cultures and enzymes to break down waste and dislodge algae for easy removal.

Remember, Algae is a natural part of the ecosystem in your tank and will surely exist but maintaining a proper balance is the key to success.

If you are experiencing a frustrating battle with nuisance algae, our trained team of aquarium experts is here to help. I want to send a special thank you to the online reefing community who provided a majority of the tank footage and photos you have seen in the video that accompanies this post. For all those who contributed, Marine Depot appreciates your help and support!

Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Aquarium Algae Control: Diatoms, Cyano and Green Hair Algae - Part 1





Welcome to part one of our two-part video series about aquarium algae. Our goal with this series is to help you identify the most common types of algae that can plague an aquarium and provide you with a solid game plan to rid your tank of these pesky nuisance.

The first part of battling nuisance algae is to make sure your water parameters are in check. Using pure RO/DI water, performing regular water changes, not overfeeding as well as using an efficient protein skimmer will help minimize algae problems.

When cycling a saltwater aquarium, it is pretty normal to experience a diatom bloom which is first on our list of nuisances. Diatoms are always present in your aquarium and are a crucial to the health of your tank but when allowed to grow in excess, they appear as brown haze and will coat surfaces inside your tank.

Ideally the diatom bloom subsides after a healthy population of bacteria is established and a cleaner crew is added to the tank. Diatoms feed off of silicates and will appear when new rock, sand, and even plastic is introduced into your tank. Thankfully it is easy to remove with a turkey baster or algae magnet but will grow back impressively quick. GFO and Aluminum based phosphate removal media will remove silicates. Therefore, we recommend the use of phosphate removal media in order to help combat the problem in addition to a cleaner crew.

For aquariums with persistent diatom problems, check to make sure your T5 or metal halide bulbs are not more than 9 months old and that you are using RO/DI water to limit amount of impurities added to your aquarium.

Some hobbyist have success doing a “black-out” (turning off all lights and covering the tank) for 2-3 days to get rid of diatoms: however, water quality and/or lighting issues should be correct first. In general, this is one of the easiest nuisances to overcome.

Cyanobacteria is one the biggest nuisances in marine aquariums and can show up in your tank in a few different forms.  The most common Red Slime is deep red, almost purple, you can also experience bright green colored cyanobacteria as well as a dark colored almost black or blue-green cyanobacteria.

Cyano is actually bacteria, not an algae, and commonly occurs in tanks with elevated waste levels, specifically phosphates. Cyanobacteria tends to grow in areas of low flow and also grows faster in tanks with warmer water temperatures.

Adding a powerhead or adjusting your water flow along with maintaining a stable temperature around 75 degrees will help. Manual removal during water changes is the key to getting rid of cyano along with controlling phosphates with the use of GFO or some other method of nutrient control such as a refugium.

Red slime medications, such as the Boyd Chemiclean and various others, are very effective in killing off cyanobacteria in your tank, however, the cause of the problem must also be corrected or else the cyanobacteria will return.

Don’t get discouraged when battling cyano; it is extremely fast growing but with repeated removal and proper maintenance you should easily be able to rid your tank of this nuisance bacteria.

The green filamentous algae commonly called Green Hair Algae refers to a wide variety of different algae species.  It can be easily removed from your rocks or sand with tweezers or a toothbrush and will quickly break apart and disperse into your tank. It does not form any sort of roots or rigid branches.

GHA or Green Hair Algae occurs for the same reason most nuisance algae do: because of elevated waste levels, specifically nitrates and phosphates. Controlling nutrients with media and frequent water changes along with manual removal will reduce the growth of green hair algae in your tank.

Because it will break apart and spread easily throughout your tank when removed, it is best to clean your rocks outside of the tank to avoid spreading it around. Clean up crew animals, such as Mexican Turbo Snails and Sally Light-Foot Crabs, are also effective at helping to control green hair algae.

Diatoms, Cyanobacteria, and Green Hair Algae are all very common occurrences in marine aquariums and now that you are armed with the knowledge on how to prevent them, don’t let algae take the fun out of your aquarium game.

This wraps up episode 1 of our two-part video series and be sure to check in with us next week to learn about some of the trickier nuisance algae species in part 2 of our Aquarium Algae Control video series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Marine Depot is Hiring: Join our fintastic Customer Support Team and help other hobbyists succeed!


ORDER TAKER/CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

We are looking for customer service representatives to join our support team in MarineDepot.com’s Garden Grove, CA headquarters. You will be the frontline of our company and engage with customers on a daily basis via phone, email and live chat. Your job is to make customers happy by resolving problems and providing accurate information in a professional and timely manner. You will provide shoppers with accurate information about our products and how to properly use them. You will also answer questions about order status, order tracking, returns and site navigation in a prompt and courteous manner. MarineDepot.com offers paid training, flexible scheduling (great for colleague students!) and an excellent healthcare package.



YOUR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES WILL INCLUDE:
  • Responding to and resolving customer issues with urgency
  • Assuming responsibility for projects and tasks as they occur
  • Assisting customers to ensure they have a positive shopping experience
  • Ensuring the implementation and development of the Family Friendly Concept
  • Working with the Customer Satisfaction Index to benchmark and improve our service execution


QUALIFIED CANDIDATES SHOULD POSSESS:
  • Computer literacy (Windows PC, web browsers)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • The ability to multi-task in a high call/email volume environment
  • Proven problem solving skills with attention to detail and follow-up
  • An outgoing, positive attitude about providing superior customer service
  • The desire to share your knowledge and experience to help others succeed
  • Saltwater/reef aquarium and fishkeeping experience (Not required, but a huge plus!)
  • Willingness to learn more about the hobby


The starting wage for this position is $12-$15 per hour depending on experience. If you're interested in joining our team, please email your resume to hr-csr@marinedepot.com for consideration.

ABOUT MARINEDEPOT.COM

MarineDepot.com is a fast growing online aquarium supply company located in Garden Grove, CA. We're looking for smart, creative people who will give 100 percent. Ideal candidates must be dedicated, detail-oriented team players that will thrive in a fast-paced, high-volume ecommerce work environment. The office atmosphere here is low-key, casual and collaborative. We have ugly sweater parties, company pot lucks, celebrate Take Your Dog To Work Day® and have a great healthcare and benefits package that includes discounts on aquarium and pet products. Although it is not a prerequisite to working with us, most of our employees are pet/aquarium owners. We love what we do!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Benefits of Using T5/LED Hybrid Lighting for Your Reef Tank





T5 has long been a popular choice for reef tank lighting. Great results combined with the ability to customize color with different bulb combinations are what led high output T5 fluorescent lighting to reach the forefront of reef aquarium lighting options. However, having to replace bulbs every 9 months and the heat produced by these lights can be difficult and expensive to deal with.

Enter LED lighting which has come a long way in recent years. The gorgeous shimmer they produce combined with energy efficiency and advanced controllability is really hard to beat. However, dialing in the right spectrum and proper intensity for corals can be difficult and shadowing can be an issue in densely packed reef tanks.

As of late, more and more hobbyists are finding that it is possible to have the best of both worlds with a hybrid LED and T5 Fluorescent combination.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to retrofit both LED and T5 fluorescent lighting into a canopy, hood, or custom light rack.

This is exactly what one of our reef obsessed members on staff, Joseph, did over his home aquarium.

With a fully stocked 150-gallon mixed reef tank, a 10 bulb T5 fixture would be required to sufficiently light up his aquarium. 540W of lighting running 10 hours per day can translate to a lot of heat and an expensive electricity bill.

By utilizing two EcoTech Marine Radion fixtures that never run above 60% output along with four T5 bulbs running just 4 hours a day, his average power consumption is only around 220 Watts over the same 10-hour period.

A wooden hood was constructed to hold the Radion LED lights down the center and the pre-wired AquaticLife T5 Retrofit Kit was used and easily attached to the wooden frame to hold his T5 fluorescent tubes. The result is a beautiful light spectrum that illuminates every corner of his tank and achieves excellent color all while using far less electricity.

For those of you already running a T5 fixture, the ReefBrite XHO or TECH LED strips can easily be retrofitted to your existing fixture.

Some manufacturers already offer hybrid T5 and LED fixtures, but their high costs are quite prohibitive and have not quite gotten the attention we suspect and we definitely anticipate more and more companies to offer hybrid fixtures in the upcoming years.

Because more components are needed, a hybrid system does cost more than a LED or T5 fixture alone. However, the long-term benefits and cost savings can really make sense for a lot of hobbyists. What’s better than having your cake and eating it too!

Cutting costs yet still achieving brilliant shimmer, amazing color, and full coverage in your tank without shadows or darkspots is why this hybrid type lighting is becoming so popular.

If you would like help creating your perfect hybrid lighting system, our trained team of aquarium experts is here to help. Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.

Friday, March 04, 2016

How to Care for a Flame Wrasse in Your Saltwater Aquarium





Wrasses have always been a family of fish that reefers have been fascinated by. With its huge diversity of about 600 species, it is easy to find a perfect wrasse for any reef tank. Unlike clownfish and many tangs or angelfish, multiple wrasse species or harems of a species can often be kept together in the same aquarium.

The Hawaiian Flame Wrasse is among the most desirable of wrasses. They are strikingly colorful, are also reef safe and hardy animals that do well in aquariums.

A male flame wrasse is larger and more colorful compared to females which is typical of the wrasse family of fishes. Males are golden yellow with a bright red upper body and fins. A mature male flame wrasse is quite a sight to behold. The females are mostly red with some yellow coloration around the mouth and anal fin.

In an aquarium, you can keep a Flame wrasse by itself, in pairs or in a harem with one male and multiple females. A minimum tank size is 30 gallons for a single wrasse or 50+ gallons if you are keeping a pair or a harem of wrasses. They are also prolific jumpers so a tight fitting lid or screen top is ideal.

As with other fairy wrasses, all flame wrasses begin their life as females. Once they mature, one in the group will turn into a male. It is possible to purchase multiple females, which are less expensive, then wait for one to eventually turn into a male.

Once you have brought home your flame wrasses, the most ideal scenario is to first keep them in a quarantine tank for 30 to 60 days to make sure they are disease free and actively eating. We have a great video all about quarantine tanks embedded below for reference.



We do understand that a quarantine tank is not always feasible. In these cases, we recommend isolating the fish in the display aquarium to help acclimate the fish into your display. This will help reduce the initial stress from other tank inhabitants, ensure they are eating properly and allows you to closely observe the new fish for any signs of disease or infection.

CPR offers a line of in-tank refugiums that work great for isolating new fish directly in your display aquarium.

As flame wrasses require meaty foods. You will want keep plenty of frozen mysis shrimp on hand.
Piscine Energetics and Cobalt Aquatics offers some of the best mysis available and are both harvested from pristine glacial lakes in Canada.

The best way to feed frozen mysis is to first thaw the mysis and soak them in a food soak like Selcon. The Selcon helps to enrich the food with additional Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.

After about 15 minutes of soaking, strain the mixture with a net or a frozen food strainer and feed your fish. They will also accept flakes and pellet foods, a good trick is slowly introducing flakes or pellets into your frozen food mixture to help the fish get accustomed to these types of food.

For those lazy days, Innovative Marine makes a nifty gadget called the Gourmet Defroster. It allows you to simply toss the frozen food into your aquarium and prevents the food from being sucked into your overflow box or your filters. The twisting mechanism even allows you to regulate how quickly the food is released into your aquarium.

Proper acclimation and great nutrition will help to ensure your flame wrasses thrive in your aquarium.

If you have any questions or looking to get some wrasses for your reef tank, our trained team of aquarium experts is here to help. Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.