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

Holiday Gift Ideas for Aquarium Hobbyists

254062Sometimes shopping for that special someone can be rough, especially if your special someone’s favorite past time is aquarium keeping. You may not know what they already have or what they need, or what they use on a regular basis. Here are a few suggestions sure to please the budding fish lovers or seasoned aquarium keepers of the family.

Let’s get the obvious choice out of the way. You could play it safe with a TFP gift card. Purchase the card for any amount and allow the recipient to spend at his or her leisure.

Maybe you have a child that has expressed an interest in keeping fish, or you have a friend who may not have the time for a real tank, but would enjoy a low maintenance pet. A betta set-up may be the perfect gift solution! With several new and attractive bowl habitats available, setup is quick, easy, and fun.  The Tetra Waterfall Globe is an excellent option, and it includes simple filtration and LED lighting. Elive Betta Bowl Planters are unique setups that combine betta enclosures with live plants!  Top off the gift by taking the recipient out to pick out a beautiful, easy to care for betta and maybe some decor to adorn their new bowl.

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Ecoxotic Cannon LED Pendant Fixture Put to Work At That Fish Place – That Pet Place

Cannon fixtureWe recently upgraded the lighting on our large cylinder display tank in our Lancaster, PA retail store.  Out with the old technology and in with the new.  We said good-bye to the power hungry,  ceiling mounted, heat producing 400W Metal Halide fixture, and installed a sleek, energy efficient, high output 50W LED Cannon LED pendant light — WOW what a difference!  The compact size of the Ecoxotic Cannon does not distract from the display and it provides incredible brightness and shimmering light into the aquarium.

The Ecoxotic 50 Watt Cannon Pendant uses state of the art Multi-Chip LED technology, which allows incredible lumen output in a small package.  Even though the light is only 50 Watts, the Cannon pendant easily illuminates this four foot deep, four foot diameter acrylic cylinder . These fixtures are also incredibly energy efficient, which can lead to big savings over time.

Cannon fixtureWith the help of our friend Ike at Ecoxotic, we chose the 12,000K 50 Watt Cannon for this aquarium, but Ecoxotic has several other options to choose from.  Also available in the 50 Watt model is a 453nm actinic blue pendant. The 50 Watt versions have built in drivers, and are ready to be wired out of the box.  For those of you who need more light output for a serious display or coral farm, Ecoxotic also makes an even more powerful 100W version of the cannon, also available in 12000K and 453nm blue. The 100 Watt cannons use a remote driver (sold separately), swivel bracket mount and standard and dimmable versions are available.  Don’t let the 50 and 100 Watt ratings fool you, these are really powerful lights not intended for nano tanks and other smaller set-ups.

If you visit the store, check the new fixture out for yourself to see the amazing effect it has on the display.

Thanks,

Dave

Aquariums in Classrooms as Educational Tools

Crayfish in aquariumSchool isn’t always the most stimulating place for kids to be all day, but as I remember, there were some things that made long days much more interesting and bearable. Visual aids and interactive tools, to me anyway, could reinvigorate my zest for learning. The most interesting and anticipated place in my school was the science wing. Those rooms were always full of the most interesting things to look at–specimen jars filled with preserved animals, reassembled skeletons, and of course, live displays. Having tools like these in the classroom for hands-on experience and to break the monotony of repetitive days is something that, for some students, may instill more passion, curiosity and interest to increase their scholastic performance.

With a little money, know-how and effort, simple aquarium set-ups in a school or classroom can become invaluable tools as well as enhancing the sometimes sterile aesthetic.

Benefits of Institutional Displays

The most obvious benefit of having live displays in classrooms is the offering of “hands-on” education.  It can be any kind of set-up…freshwater, saltwater or reef, or even a reptile, amphibian habitat. Each unique set-up can provide relevant topics and visual aids for biology, anatomy, chemistry, ecology and physics courses. Not every kid in the class may have the opportunity or means to see aquariums up close. You can provide a platform for such students to “see” the nitrogen cycle in action, witness the process and stages of fish reproduction an development, or maybe chronicle predator/prey, symbiotic, or other co-habitation relationships between the organisms in the display.  And that’s only the beginning!

These live and variable habitats can be great for developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. What caused a fish to spawn? Why do fish school together? Why did a fish get sick or die when the others seem healthy?

Aquariums can be beneficial in non-educational ways to students and faculty as well. Peering into the serene aquatic environment can ease stress and calm spectators. Tests, deadlines and other pressure points can influence a child’s ability to focus…an aquarium can help to alleviate this tension for some.  This is one reason why you often find aquariums in dental and medical offices. too.

Aesthetically, a well-maintained aquarium can enhance any environment. Whether in an individual classroom or a lobby or hallway, any live habitat is sure to draw attention and smiles. Worried about the responsibility of keeping the tank maintained?  Why not consider an extra-curricular club or group to help with the work?  Interested students or other faculty members can gain even more experience for an hour or so a week. Water changes, filter maintenance and other duties don’t have to be work, they can be continuing education!  

More Than Just Science

Colostethus panamensis in AquariumAquariums and other live displays are of value to more than biology and chemistry. These set-ups can be inspiring! Think of applications other educators can use–reading/research and writing topics on aquariums can be endless, encouraging good writing, grammar, and research skills. Factual reports and journals aside, a nice aquarium set-up and some colorful fish can inspire kids of any age to create art and creative writing stories, too. They can even be tools for math, applying formulas to find out volume, dosing amounts of supplements or medications, and much more. Imagine the classroom discussions and problem solving skills that can be developed using such a tool…the possibilities are endless.

Getting Started

A classroom set-up may seem intimidating or overwhelming to a teacher who has never had experience with aquariums or animals before, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ll just need some basic essentials and a basic knowledge of what to expect to get started. There are even kits available that are almost out-of-the-box ready. Pet store staffers and hobbyist forums can help you with any questions or problems you may run into. Habitat kits are also available for reptiles and small animals which can also be great additions to a teaching curriculum.

Continuing Education at Home

Freshwater AquariumRemember when it was your turn to bring the class pet home for the weekend?  Whether or not you personally had that opportunity or you know a child who has, you can recall the excitement of the experience. It may have been one of the things that got you into the aquarium hobby to begin with. Maintaining aquariums and other live animal habitats provide kids of any age not only with practical education, but it also helps them to develop a sense of responsibility and pride. Parents may find that an aquarium is a great way to keep kids motivated and interested in learning while also increasing emotional bonds, and maybe even life experience to some degree, over a common activity or project.

Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be complicated.  A betta bowl, a hamster…something small and easy to care for. Plant the seed early, nurture it, and chances are the interest will grow as the child does, along with the thirst to know more.  If you can’t do it at home, encourage your child’s teachers or contribute funds and materials towards live displays in your local school for this year and generations to come.

 

 

Frog in Aquarium image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Brian Gratwicke

LED Aquarium Lighting – Energy Efficient and Cost Effective

Ecoxotic Cannon LEDWhile LED lighting is still relatively new to aquariums, practical applications of new LED fixtures have shown the effectiveness of this technology for growing plants and corals. But what about cost? It’s common knowledge that LED’s use much less energy than metal halides or compact fluorescents, but did you ever consider their overall longevity and cost advantages they also offer? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers to see how popular lighting types stack up.

Consider this: Read More »