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Category Archives: Aquarium Equipment

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Includes articles on new aquarium product spotlights, guides, or detailed reports on product effectiveness in aquariums.

Cleaning Equipment for Your Aquarium

One of the most frequently asked questions that customers who are considering their first aquarium ask is how hard is it to clean and maintain an aquarium, particularly if they’re thinking about a saltwater aquarium, because they may have heard that it is very difficult to maintain. If you have a few basic tools, and follow some simple guidelines, then keeping your aquarium clean is easy, and does not require a great deal of time.

If any piece of equipment is a “must” have, then a gravel siphon is it. A gravel siphon will remove water from your aquarium and clean your gravel at the same time. A gravel siphon is a simple device that uses a small diameter flexible tubing that is attached to a larger diameter plastic tube that goes into your Aqueon water changeraquarium. The large diameter plastic tube is plunged into your gravel, and removes water at a slow speed that will tumble and clean the gravel without sucking it out of the tank. When the water reaches the small diameter tubing it accelerates and removes only the dirt from the gravel and water. There are two styles of gravel siphon, a simple version like the Lee’s aquarium products Gravel Cleaner, that uses gravity to remove water through a shorter length of tubing into a bucket, or other container. There are also more advance cleaning systems, like the Aqueon Water Changer and the Lee’s Ultimate Aquarium Gravel Vac, that attaches to a sink faucet and uses the water pressure of your tap to draw water through a length of tubing up to 100’ with a venturi attachment that fits any standard faucet. The advantage to the more advanced system is that the flow can be reversed at the faucet end to actually fill your aquarium back up after all the dirt has been removed from the gravel. What could be easier than that! If you have a chlorinated water source you will need to add a water conditioner at the same time. Gravel siphons are available for just about any size aquarium.

One of the best inventions to come along in aquarium cleaning products is the magnetic algae cleaner for your aquariums glass or acrylic panels. With the use of two magnets, one inside the aquarium and one outside, you can clean all of you viewing panels without the need to put your hands in the aquarium. The inside magnet has a cleaning surface that removes algae from the inside glass, you simply stick the two magnets together with the aquarium glass in between, then move the outside magnet around until all the algae is gone. This is a simple device, that has dramatically improved the ease and speed that you can clean your glass. In recent years manufacturers have invented a magnet cleaning system that has a floating inside magnet, so you never lose the cleaner to the bottom of the aquarium, which was the downfall to initial models if you moved the outside piece too quickly. Floating magnets like the Magfloat and the Magnavore, are available for most sizes of aquariums in both glass and acrylic safe models.

Just as important as the gravel siphon and the magnet cleaner is following some basic husbandry guidelines to help keep your aquarium clean.  Replace your filter cartridges, or filter media, at least once a month, make sure that you are not overstocking and overfeeding your aquarium, and make sure that you keep to a schedule. Small water changes on a weekly or biweekly basis will ensure that your water quality stays at a high level, which will inhibit excess waste build up and algae growth. All of these things are easy to do, and take very little time. If you procrastinate in maintaining the tank, or wait until there is a problem, then correcting issues becomes more difficult and time consuming.
Algae Mag float

Aquarium keeping should be fun and easy, follow these tips and guidelines, an you should be headed for success.

Until Next Blog,


The Use of Light Rails and Moving Aquarium Lighting in Reef Aquariums

The use of light rails, or mechanical light moving devices, has been used for many years in the horticultural industry. Now this technology is available for the aquarium hobby. By moving your light source, you can maximize the potential of an individual light fixture, by covering far more area with maximum light output vs. a stationary light source. Light energy, commonly measured in lumens, dissipates with distance from the light source. The only way to increase coverage area of a fixed light source is to move it farther away from its target area. This may cover a greater area, but will reduce the light energy that reaches the target. The other solution is to use more light fixtures, with more cost, more heat, and increased operating expense. Another problem with stationary light sources are the shadows that are created in the illuminated area, which can create unnatural growth patterns. In nature, as we all know, the sun is not in a fixed position in the sky. Areas that are shaded during parts of the day, may receive light during other times. Using a light rail mimics this natural occurrence, by changing the angle at which the light reaches its target. Areas that may not get any light with a fixed position bulb, will get light when using a moving light source.
Aquariums that require high output lighting, typically metal halide lighting, pose some problems for aquarists. These lights are very expensive to purchase, create a great deal of heat, and are expensive to operate, and replace. Using a moving light source on your reef or live plant aquarium can help solve some of these problems, you can keep your light closer to the water surface, and maximize the light energy that reaches into the aquarium. Another benefit to using a moving light system is the number of light fixtures needed to cover a given area. A six foot long aquarium can be sufficiently covered by two moving metal halide light fixtures, where it would require at least three were they stationary. Less light fixtures means less heat, less operating cost, and fewer bulbs to replace annually and more natural growth patterns.
Using light rails are not going to be practical for all applications. Smaller tanks are not practical to use these systems on, and you need to have the space to install the equipment. Applications such as “in wall” aquariums that have all the equipment hidden from view, and especially large aquariums or coral propagation systems will be able to take better advantage of what the use of light rails has to offer.
Beyond the cost and functional benefits of a light rail system, they are just plain cool to watch. The moving light source over an aquarium creates an ever changing mix of shadows and colors in your aquarium as the angles of light change on the livestock and objects in the aquarium. A moving light system is definitely a gadget geeks kind of device.
Until next blog,

Red Sea Test Kits On Sale at ThatFishPlace.com

Steven Pro

Please welcome back aquarium expert Steven Pro to tell you about the Red Sea test kits now on sale at That Fish Place.
When I was originally approached to write a blog entry for test kits, I was somewhat at a loss. What do I say about test kits? A test kit is a test kit, right? You put water into a vial, follow the directions, add some drops, and read the results. Well, not all test kits are created equal. There are some important differences when one sits down and evaluates them all.

First of all, Red Sea makes a kit for almost anything a hobbyist could desire to test for. They have test for standards such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, to reef kits such as pH, alkalinity, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, to ones for more obscure parameters like silica, dissolved oxygen, and residual ozone. Red Sea also makes a full range of test kits for freshwater, as well, including important tests for freshwater planted aquariums like carbon dioxide, iron, and both general hardness and carbonate hardness. To do them all justice would take pages and pages, but I want to point out a few test kits and their particulars that might not be as well known or recognized yet.

I have written and given presentations on marine fish diseases extensively. Inevitably the use of copper comes up. One drawback to using copper is certain test kits only accurately report the values of certain formulations of copper, so one must take special care to properly match the test kit with the medication being used. Red Sea eliminates that confusion by packaging both the copper test kit and the medication in one box for ready-made use. This falls in line with Red Sea’s motto of “making it easy”. By the way, the copper medication (Paracure) is also available individually for those that require additional copper for dosing larger tanks or for repeated usage.

Most titration style test kits, such as those for calcium, usually tell the hobbyist to watch for a color change from pink to blue. But, Red Sea goes a step further by including a color chart with their titration test kits which demonstrates both the starting and ending colors so the user does not have to guess which shade of blue is the proper end point of the titration.

With the color matching style of test kits, those in which the hobbyist must match the color of the reagent in the vial to a color bar, Red Sea has gone to great lengths to make their tests have very distinct color changes. Some other brands of test kits I have used have color bars that change from yellow, to darker yellow, to still darker yellow, to yellowish-green, to green with a hint of yellow. Very much ever changing shades of grey which make accessing parameter values somewhat difficult. Red Sea’s tests have very dramatic color changes which provide easy to interpret results.

Thanks Steven,
Until next time,

New Aiptasia-X from Red Sea

Steven Pro

I’m pleased to welcome Steven Pro: Aquarium hobbyist and coral propagation expert, to That Fish Blog. Steven is here to review the new Aiptasia-X product just put out by Red Sea.

I have tried most every method of eliminating pest anemones such as Aiptasia and the so-called Anemonia majano over the years and really did not have a favorite. There are some techniques that I don’t like and won’t use, but there are several methods that work ok. Although, none of these methods really stood out over the others. That is until now. I love this stuff! I have been using Red Sea’s Aiptasia-X all over the Northeast US for about a month now leaving a trail of dead pest anemones in my wake. You can practically hear the Aiptasia shriek in horror when they see me enter their store to demo Aiptasia-X. Ok, not really, but it is a fabulous product!

Red Sea’s Aiptasia-X has a number of attributes which distinguishes it from the competition. It comes in a large 60 milliliter bottle, enough to treat even they largest, most infected displays. You also get the syringe and two stainless-steel applicators included in the package. This makes it a very good value for the price since you have a large supply of the liquid and you don’t have to buy all these items separately.

And that is not all that is different. The product itself is very different from others in that it is non-caustic. The pest anemones don’t retract into a small hole in the liverock when exposed to Aiptasia-X. In fact, in most instances the anemones actually feed upon the Aiptasia-X liquid. Ingesting the Aiptasia-X exposes any planulae (baby anemones inside the parent polyp) to the product killing them as well.

You will also notice that the Aiptasia-X liquid is very sticky. This minimizes the chances of it being blown all around the aquarium. Because it is so sticky, it tends to stay on the target animal. But, even if a little blows away, don’t worry. It is completely safe to the rest of the display inhabitants.
When applying Aiptasia-X, you don’t have to inject the pest. You merely gently squirt the liquid near the mouth of the polyp of the Aiptasia. It sticks to the mouth, the tentacles enclose the liquid, the product gets eaten, and after about fifteen seconds or so, splat, the target anemone is dead and starts to disintegrate. It is as simple as that. They do twitch for a little while in their death throws. I have found it helps to have an evil laugh as they are dying. Ok, again, not really, but it might help your mental outlook if you have suffered any coral losses to these pest anemones.

Click below to see Aiptasia-X in action!
Thanks Steven, sounds like a cool product. And for a limited time, Aiptasia-X is 20% off at That Fish Place. Now’s your chance to give it a shot.

Until next time,


Teach Your Goldfish To Do Tricks With the R2 Fish School

Ok, I thought I would blog about this new product we’re getting in at That Fish Place: as it’s popping up all over the place lately.

The R2 Fish School from the folks at R2 Solutions company dispels the myth that goldfish, and apparently any smaller sized fish, have 2-second memories by teaching them how to perform a variety of tricks. As wild as it seems, the R2 Fish School is loaded with press showing goldfish in action.

For all of you myth busters out there, the system works by simple positive reinforcement, but it’s truly hilarious to watch your fish, literally, swim through hoops. Each R2 Fish School is packed with “athletic gear” to get your fish punting a football through goal posts, scoring a soccer ball in a goal, swimming the slalom, going through tunnels or doing the limbo. The Fish School “arena” fits into tanks as small as five gallons, and parts of it can be used separately in a smaller fish bowl. An instructional DVD is included so you can get your fish into training fast.

Great for kids, or even those adults who are always looking for something else to compete at (Goldfish Fantasy League or Extreme Goldfish Tricks on ESPN2), The R2 Fish School looks like an interesting product. Let me know if anyone has any cool fish training stories to tell!

Until Next Time,