Friday, May 20, 2016

How to Get Your Family More Involved in the Aquarium Hobby

Getting your family interested and involved in the aquarium hobby is a great way to not only strengthen your relationships but also allows you to spend the necessary time on your tank and not neglect what matters most in your life. It might also make it much easier to convince your spouse that it is a good idea to spend your mortgage payment on a bounce mushroom instead.

Visiting a public aquarium is hands down one of the best activities to spark interest in keeping an aquarium.  They provide an easy way for adults and kids alike to enjoy the beauty and experience the wonder of our world’s oceans and the animals that inhabit them.  When you get to the reef exhibit, be sure to stop and take a moment to impress your family with your knowledge of coral and fish identification.  Ask your kids or spouse what animals they found most interesting and keep something similar in your tank to engage them at home.

Feeding your fish and corals is probably the most fun part of keeping an aquarium.  I have never met a child who does find it fascinating to watch my fish eat.  Teach your children or spouse how to properly feed the aquarium and allow them to feed the tank with you.  This will lead to all kinds of great opportunities to explain why you are feeding a particular food and why it is important to feed them in a particular manner.

You can take this a step further and have your family members help with maintaining the tank.  I find offering a little reward for completing the task helps get the job done; especially if it involves cleaning a skimmer cup or filter sock.

Tell your spouse that if we can get the tank cleaned before dinnertime, lobster and steak is on the menu.   Before you know it, tank maintenance becomes a fun family activity that benefits not only you and your family but also the health of your aquarium.

After some time of keeping an aquarium, it is likely you will get pretty chummy with your local fish store.  It is not uncommon for many of us to visit a fish store on a weekly basis so why not bring the family along to find out where daddy is spending his Saturday afternoons.  Tell them to check out all the fish and show you which ones they like the best.  Maybe you can even convince the store clerk to schedule a special feeding just for you and the family.

Attend a frag swap and let your spouse or children choose your new coral or fish.  Rather than argue about which coral you can afford, let your kids or spouse pick out the new addition to your tank.  Give them a budget or specific option among some animals or coral that are suitable for your tank, and let them decide.  Even better yet, let them name the animal and learn how to care for it!  Frag swaps and aquarium club meetings are also family friendly and offer a great opportunity to meet like-minded people with families just like yours.  

Volunteer your time to help maintain an aquarium in the classroom.  While this may not be so easy for all of us it is a great way to engage your kids and teach them all about the biology inside an aquarium. Engaging your kid’s peers and creating excitement for keeping aquariums is one step closer to getting your children on board.  Plus, this will benefit your community and gets you involved in your child’s education in a way that is fun for both you and your kids.

Finally, you can consider getting your child or spouse a tank to call their own; within reason of course.  Marine Depot stocks a variety of small all-in-one aquariums that are easy to maintain and would be a great addition to your home.

API makes some great small tank kits that range in size from 1 to 3 gallons and are great for Betta Fish or a couple of small freshwater fish.

The JBJ Nano Cubes and Oceanic BioCubes are reasonably priced and include just about everything you need to get a Reef Tank up and running.  These tanks easily support a mixed reef that can house a variety beginner type corals such as Zoanthids, mushrooms, and leather corals.  Being a small tank you want to stick with small fish such as clownfish, chromis, damsels and small gobies; all of which are easy to keep and perfect for first time hobbyists.  

We do realize that getting an additional tank is a commitment but it is likely you already own everything you need to maintain the tank. In addition to being fun, maintaining an aquarium will help teach your kids responsibility and all about the circle of life.  A small nano-tank can also double as a great night light and even provide some relaxing water noise to help with getting to sleep.

Books, documentaries, and even the Disney-Pixar films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory can be great tools to keep your family engaged.

All of us here at Marine Depot want the best for you and your aquarium and hope that you might consider some of these activities to help promote responsible aquarium husbandry for the generations of fish-keepers to come.

-Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Kessil AP700 LED Aquarium Light with NEW Diffusion Optical Lenses

Kessil has always been at the forefront of aquarium LED lighting technology. The A160 and A360 fixtures are some of the most popular LED lights among hobbyists. The new AP700 fixture was released last fall and has started to become more and more popular.

The A160 and W360s are great simple fixtures that offer manual adjustment options and some automated control with the Kessil Spectral Controller.

The AP700 was design to be the flagship and offer all the great features that hobbyists look for in a high-end fixture. A single AP700 can be used on a mix-reef aquarium measuring up to 48” when mounted 15”-18” above the aquarium.
For an SPS reef, you will want an AP700 for every 30”-36” and mount the lights 5”-7” above the aquariums water level.
What is unique about Kessil is that they manufacturer their own LED diodes. Through extensive research and development, they have developed a “Dense Matrix” LED that includes all the best colors and spectrums for the corals and invertebrates in your aquarium.

Unlike other fixtures that require tuning of individual LED color channels, Kessil has taken all the guesswork out of the equation. Simply select the overall color you desire and overall intensity. All the LED color channels will automatically be optimized to create full spectrum light that promotes photosynthesis for that specific color and intensity level.
The AP700 features built-in Wi-Fi so you can easily program your light through an iPad or iPhone App.  An Android App is currently undergoing BETA testing and should be available soon.
The “Hybrid Optics” included on the AP700 is also truly unique because they simulate the effects of a metal halide and T5 combo: offering the shimmer of a point-source light and the even coverage of a fluorescent light with color blending that is among the best we have seen yet. Optical Kits will be available soon to further enhance the output of your Kessil AP700.

The Slight Diffusion Optical Kit will slightly reduce shimmering which is great for aquariums with very turbulent water surfaces. The Major Diffusion Optical Kit will further diffuse the light and is a great option for hobbyists that prefer the look of a T5 lighting system.
The optional lens kits easily attach to the AP700 with built-in magnets.
for mounting, Kessil has recently released these beefy mounting arms. Two arms are required for the AP700, while only one arm is needed for the A160 or A360. The standard bracket works well for rimless and rimed aquariums. For those with Euro-braced aquariums, an Extension Mount is available to allow you to mount the arms to the back of your aquarium stand.
Hanging kits as well as a Canopy Mount kits are also available so this powerful light can be adapted to fit just about any aquarium.
If you are looking for new lights for your aquarium or are interested in upgrading existing lights.

-Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping. 

Friday, May 06, 2016

AquaMaxx 12-Gallon Long Rimless Aquarium and NemoLight AquaMarine - REVIEW, Part 1


I had been searching for a tank to use as a downsize from my CADLights 34G Mini II and ran across the new line of AquaMaxx rimless aquariums. I wanted to downsize into something that was simple and low maintenance, while still having the sleek lines of a low iron, rimless aquarium.

When I first saw a picture of the 12L version, I knew I just had to give one a try!

To compliment it, I also decided to try out the new LED light that AquaMaxx had released that they are calling the NemoLight.  I’m glad I did as they are a beautiful combo for someone who wants something that is simple and sleek.

Marine Depot did an amazing job with packaging. Both the light and aquarium arrived professionally packaged and flawless.

The individual packaging of the NemoLight from AquaMaxx was also quite pleasing. 

The new AquaMaxx line of rimless aquariums are simply breath taking. They utilize low iron glass for superb clarity to enhance the viewing of your livestock. This coupled with silicone lines are comparable to some of the best that I have seen from much more expensive brands on the market, provide a superb quality aquarium that can be used to create a blissful environment for you livestock.

AquaMaxx has also done a great job of adding a nice little touch of branding that is classy, but unobtrusive at the same time.

The NemoLight compliments the aquarium very well by providing very sleek lines for an aquarium light that do not take away from the appeal of the rimless aquarium.

It has very simple controls and delivers with a professional looking light spectrum that I cannot wait to get some coral under.

White 100%, Blues 0%

White 0%, Blues 100%

White 100%, Blues 100%

Final Thoughts

AquaMaxx’s new rimless aquariums and NemoLight products both add a new layer of completion to the Nano Reefing category of aquarium keeping. The rimless aquariums truly shine as a competitively priced option that competes with the likes of ADA and Mr. Aqua.

The NemoLight is perfect for beginners or someone that wants a simple to use LED light for a shallow lagoon style aquarium. I look forward to bringing you Part 2 of this article, where I will be getting this tank wet and transferring over my livestock to see how it performs in a real world application.

Stay Tuned!

About Our Guest Blogger

I have been in the reefing hobby since 2014 and it has become quite a passion for me. Coming from a technical background as an engineer, I really enjoy the technological aspect of the hobby, as well as the technicality that it requires to keep such a fragile ecosystem thriving. I also enjoy involving both of my son's in the hobby. While my youngest at 1 year may be a little too young to understand everything, he very much loves gazing into the tank while sitting on my lap. My 6 year old, however, has become quite the fish and coral enthusiast! I look forward to many, many more enjoyable years in the hobby, with both my tanks and my kids.

Setting Up an Aquarium Dosing Pump: It's Easier Than You Think!

Daily dosing can be a lot of work and many hobbyists tend to quickly get off track. A dosing pump is a great way to relieve yourself of this mundane task of daily dosing and can automate the process for you. Using a dosing pump will also help to maintain more consistent water parameters for a thriving reef tank.

As reef aquarium enthusiasts, we all know the importance of maintaining proper and stable water parameters. Most hobbyists start by adding supplements manually, often daily, to ensure the corals and invertebrates have what they need.

The most popular way to use a dosing pump is to automate the addition of trace elements along with calcium and alkalinity supplements to keep your parameters in check.  But this only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what a dosing pump can do for you; you can also automatically feed liquid foods, dose kalkwasser, and scheduled top-off. The Neptune Systems DOS along with the Apex Controller can even be programmed to perform automatic water changes.

When shopping for a dosing pump, it is best to choose a pump that has a built in controller with multiple channels or pump heads.  This allows you to dose multiple fluids and custom program the delivery of fluids to suit your needs.  The Aqua Medic EVO 4 is great for this reason; it includes a robust controller that allows you to individually program the on/off cycle of the pumps over a broad time span from seconds to days.

If you have a large tank or find the need for more than four channels, Aqua Medic also offers a handy extension unit that allows you to individually program up to 8 channels of fluid delivery with a single controller.

For our application, we want to automate the dosing of two-part Calcium-Alkalinity solution along with a magnesium supplement and a comprehensive trace element additive.     
We have a couple of these handy AquaMaxx dosing containers here which will be used to house our AquaMaxx Synergy-Plus two-part solution.  The AquaMaxx Dosing Containers allow you to easily see the amount of solution left and can be replenished by simply removing the lid. They are also stackable for those with tight-fitting stands. For the magnesium and trace elements, we will dose directly from the bottles as they will be depleted much slower. 
Tube holders are great for securing the dosing tubes to ensure they don’t fall in to the water and keeps tubes separated and organized.  As alkalinity and calcium solutions will precipitate when mixed, these 2 tubes should be kept far apart and their dosing times separated.
From our water testing, we find that our 70 gallon mix-reef uses about 50 mL per day of Calcium/Alkalinity and 3 mL per day of Brightwell Magnesion. The SeaChem Reef Trace will be dosed per manufacturer’s directions: which works out to about 3 mL per day. All the amounts can be easily programmed right on the built-in controller. 
Now that it is all set up and all the channels programmed, we can finally sit back and enjoy our reef tank. The days of mundane daily dosing is history. 
We will continue to test water parameters weekly and adjust the dosing amounts as needed. The dosing pump heads and tubing will be inspected monthly for proper operation. Replacement heads are offered by most companies and they can be easily swapped out should they ever fail or get worn out.

It is important to check all of the tubing and connections for leaks or clogs on a regular basis.  A leak or a clog can really set you back as it will result in the incorrect dosage of the desired fluid.
If you’re sick and tired of daily dosing and looking to automate your tank, a dosing pump is a great option.

-Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping.