Marilyn Monroe; Tyra Banks; Kate Upton; and now, Bubble Magus. What do they all have in common? CURVES! I’m talking, of course, about the seductive Curve series of skimmers from Bubble Magus. What makes these vixens of skim different, is a dramatically curvy body that builds on the already popular cone skimmer design. This allows the skimmer to perform even better, as the microbubbles take a turbulent-free ride up its serpentine sides. The SP2000 pump is conveniently placed inside of the body, keeping the Curve 7 protein skimmerfrom taking up too much real estate in your sump. The bottom of the skimmer also features a mysterious red plug, which I later found out was to be used if you decided to upgrade or replace the current pump with a different brand, like Sicce. The plug pulls out and allows for differently configured pumps to fit nicely into the body of the Curve. Then you just plug the hole left by the former pump, making the Curve very, very versatile. Read More »
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When you and your family go out of town on vacation or for the holidays, one important consideration is who takes care of the pets? You can board your dog or cat, or have a friend take care of them while you’re away with a set of pretty basic instructions for feeding and walks. Vacation fish care may take a little more preparation and training to ensure that your tank is cared for properly and any dire issues are addressed. Generally, depending on the duration of your time away, you’ll want to have a trusted and competent friend come to your home to monitor and feed the tank. Here are some things to consider in preparing that friend to successfully care for your tanks.
Feeding is probably the first thing people think about when you think about leaving your fish for a few days. If you’re going away on a short weekend trip, chances are your tank will be fine without feedings, unless you’re keeping fry or some other “special needs” class of fish. If you’re going to be gone longer that 2 or 3 days, you’ll want to either invest in an automatic feeder or vacation food blocks, or leave detailed instructions with your tank-sitter on what, when, and how much to feed. Generally a few pinches of community food will be enough, but it may be much more complicated with a large reef aquarium or one stocked with various specialized feeders. If you have a complicated feeding regime, or if you’ll be taking an extended vacation, it’s probably a good idea to print a detailed list of instructions on feeding as a reference, and to go through the process at least once with your sitter in person to prevent overfeeding and other mishaps. Read More »
Overfeeding your aquarium is one of the most common mistakes made by aquarium hobbyists, and it isn’t one only made by beginners. It’s easy to go overboard when our fish “always seem hungry” and even appearing excited when they see you coming towards the tank with food in hand. Healthy fish pretty much always look hungry. It also doesn’t help that we’re directed by packaging instructions to feed amounts that may be inappropriate for the type and number of fish we are keeping. We want the best for our fish and we want to be successful in keeping them, but it’s easy to cross the line from feeding enough to feeding way too much.
Problems Caused by Overfeeding
Leaving uneaten food in the aquarium is never a good idea. Watching food fall to the bottom of the tank, with the thought that your fish to eat later, can lead to big problems. Many fish are kind of programmed to eat food at certain places in the tank. Surface feeders, column feeders and bottom feeders tend to feed within their comfort zones, so you won’t typically see surface feeders travelling to the gravel for a snack, and fish that feed in the water column usually ignore food bits after they settle. No matter what kind of fish food you distribute, pellets, flakes, frozen foods or even live feeders, anything not eaten is left to decay. This unprocessed food, in addition to the waste produced by the food that is actually digested, can quickly create issues with your tank’s water chemistry and/or cause a bloom in the population of naturally occuring scavengers.
Uneaten foods quickly start to decay, adding to ammonia and nitrate levels of the aquarium, and it can very easily result in more bacteria than the nitrogen cycle can handle causing cloudy water. Overfeeding is not only dangerous to the health of your fish, but it causes unnecessary demands on your filtration, often resulting in poor water quality. Fortunately, the problems that arise from overfeeding are quickly and easily reversed or eliminated once you get your feeding habits under control.
Aquarists are also often shocked or full of disbelief when we tell them that the hordes of unsightly little “bugs” or worms creeping up the glass and through the rock and substrate are a probably a result of over-feeding their aquarium. What you see are probably either scavenger nematodes or planaria. Chances are there were a few of these critters in your tank from the start. They can be introduced via fish, plants, wood or other things you add to the aquarium as their microscopic eggs can travel on any of these things. They are generally harmess, but when you overfeed the opportunity arises for their populations to boom with the abundance of decaying matter in the substrate. Reducing the frequency and amount of food will help to bring the population back down to size, but you may also choose to treat the tank with anti-parasitic medications to speed the process along. Read More »
You may have heard the term refugium if you’re in the aquarium hobby, but do you know what it is and the benefits it can bring to your set-up? A refugium is essentially a safe area for inverts and macro algae, but it also acts as a biological filter to help control nitrates and phosphates. Refugiums may be part of your sump, a separate hang on back unit, or even another tank plumbed into the display tank system. Generally, it consists of a deep sand bed (DSB), live rock, and macro algae with very slow water flow through the area and a relatively strong light source to support the live plants and inverts you choose to put inside. The light should be in the spectrum between 5,500-8,000k to allow for proper photosynthesis.
Let’s take a look at the different styles of refugiums first. One of the most common types is the in-sump refugium. This is a chamber in the sump that has a slow flow (roughly 30% of the water flow from your overflow box) moving through it. This flow rate allows the macro algae and beneficial bacteria to remove waste and nutrients. The best in sump refugium designs are set-up so you can control the flow through the unit, like Trigger Systems Ruby Elite. This style of refugium tends to be one of the most efficient. Read More »
Similar to brands like Red Sea Coral Pro, D-D H2Ocean Pro+ is harvested from sea water naturally evaporated with solar energy. What could be more natural than real salt water? After harvesting the salt, the natural product is tweaked a little to provide better results for use in our aquariums. For instance, the calcium and magnesium levels are slightly elevated above natural salt water levels. Why? Well, these two elements are quickly used up in reef aquariums, and because our reef tanks aren’t naturally replenished like the oceans, our inverts rely on us to keep these key elements in check. By slightly elevating the levels of calcium and magnesium, D-D H2Ocean Pro+ allows you to dose less, without getting too far out of sync chemically with their natural salt product. Furthermore, the chloride content is slightly reduced from what we see in natural saltwater. By slightly reducing the chloride content in the bucket, D-D H2Ocean has accounted for the extra chloride that usually comes along with dosing in reef tanks where most supplements utilize calcium and magnesium chloride. This helps make sure the chloride content doesn’t elevate too far beyond natural salt water levels in your reef tank. Just one other fine detail addressed by the chemists at D-D H2Ocean.
When this salt is mixed to a S.G: of 1.025 @ 25°C = 35.5 ppt, your aquarium water parameters should look like this:
pH level 8.3, range 8.2-8.4
dKH level 9.3, range 8.7-9.8
Calcium (Ca2+) level 440, range 430-460 mg/l
Magnesium (Mg2+) level 1340, range 1300-1380 mg/l
Chloride (Cl-) level 19550, range 19960-20130 mg/l
Potassium (K+) level 410, range 380-420 mg/l
So what makes this salt so good? Well, one thing we know about the ocean is that its parameters are pretty consistent. You’re not going to have one day on the reef where the calcium is 500ppm, and a week later be 400ppm. Its important that in our reef tanks we offer the same type of consistency. And, being that corals are from the ocean, doesn’t it make sense to stay as close to natural saltwater conditions as possible? D-D H2Ocean Pro+ mixes quickly, helping hobbyists get consistent results without having to wait 2-3 days for the salt to thoroughly dissolve. Those of us with sensitive stoney corals can attest to how finicky our corals can be over slight changes in parameters. Even hobbyists running Ultra Low Nutrient Systems have benefited from using D-D H2Ocean Pro+ because of its close-to-natural-saltwater levels. Regardless of what corals you keep, its vital to our reef systems to only deal with manufacturers with great quality control.
Beyond the parameters, this salt is usually less clumpy, less dusty (not much worse than a salt cloud going right up your nose), and mixes up rather clear. All and all, its this bloggers opinion that D-D H2Ocean Pro+ is one of the best salts offered at That Fish Place – That Pet Place. We currently offer the salt in the retail store, and it will soon be making it’s online debut.