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Reef Destruction – Molasses Spill Causes Near Total Destruction in Honolulu Harbor

September was a bad month for Honolulu Harbor and all of the fantastic fish, corals and wildlife that called it home. On September 09, 2013 over 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled into the harbor, sinking to the sea floor and suffocating everything in it’s wake. The cracked pipe that allowed the mess to flow into the harbor was repaired within days, but the damage caused by the viscous mess has been rapid and devastating.

You think of molasses and you don’t think of widespread death, but flood a pristine marine environment with sugary syrup and that’s the result. The heavy fluid ends up being lethal in several ways.  The goop clogs gills, suffocating fish quickly. It coats corals and inverts, robbing them of light, oxygen and water flow vital to their ability to thrive. The sugars are also a rich food source for marine bacteria which reproduce in massive numbers, depleting dissolved oxygen as their numbers grow.  The dissolved sugar alters the pH of the water and also creates what’s called an osmotic effect, basically dehydrating marine organisms whose living cells expel water in an attempt to equalize with their external environment. Within hours the death toll began to rise, and to date thousands upon thousands of fish, inverts, corals and even other animals like sea turtles have perished. 

Unlike oil spills that may be wicked off of the surface of the water, the nature of this spill means that cleanup of the molasses itself is not an option. The syrup will dissolve and nature will slowly eat it up and wash it out of the harbor and into the sea. Clean-up in this case means fix the leak, monitor the progress of the damage, and collect the carnage of dead sea creatures that wash up on shores and pile up in shallow areas so that predators like sharks and barracuda aren’t attracted to area. While some creatures may bounce back and return to the harbor pretty quickly, it may be years until the coral reefs, vital to the economy and ecology, in the harbor recover.

What a sad situation. Unfortunately, the only real course of action is to allow nature to clean up another man made mess. On the bright side, nature knows how to take care of herself, and despite the scope of the problem, this particular spill is in many ways still better than oil or some other chemical deluge. Now all anyone can really do is wait and see…

 

 

Product Review – Bubble Magus Curve 7 Protein Skimmer

Bubble Magus 7Marilyn 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 »

Aquarium Salt Mixes – Choosing the Right Salt for Your Tank

Juvenile Queen AngelChoosing the right aquarium salt mix to add to your tank can be can be a confusing process, especially if you’re new to the hobby. But, it isn’t as complicated as it may seem, you just need a little background info to get you on the right path to choosing the salt that is appropriate for your set-up.  

Salt in Freshwater Aquariums

Adding salt to a freshwater aquarium is not a necessity, but it is used by many aquarists as a treatment to add electrolytes to the aquarium water, and as both a stress reducer and a parasite deterrent. Basic Aquarium Salt is not the same as the formulated mixes used to make a brackish or saltwater aquarium. Aquarium Salt is simply Sodium Chloride, and does not contain minerals and trace elements like calcium and iodine like sea water mixes. Adding small portions of this salt can help to treat osmoregulatory stress, an imbalance or disruption in the exchange of salts and minerals between the fish itself and its environment. Stressful situations such as transport, disease, or injury can cause osmoregulatory stress, but if used properly, aquarium salt can increase blood and oxygen flow through the gills, helping the fish relax and heal. When used in higher concentrations for short time periods as a dip or bath, salt can help to build a the protective slime coat on the body, preventing parasites from attaching and even killing one-celled parasites like Protozoa, that may already be on the fish. While aquarium salt does have some benefits, it is not a necessary additive. Once introduced to the tank, salt does not evaporate out of the tank. It can only be removed with water changes and plants, inverts and other sensitive species may be negatively impacted if the concentration is allowed to rise. Read More »

2012 TFP NCPARS Fall Frag Swap and Customer Appreciation Sale

2012 TFP/NCPARS Fall Frag SwapI can’t believe it is mid-September already, and we are just a few weeks away from our Fall TFP/NCPARS frag swap. The Swap is on Saturday October 6th, during our weekend long Customer Appreciation Sale here at TFP.  The Fall Frag Swap, one of the biannual swaps we host with NCPARS, is shaping up to be a great event.  Our joint swaps have been growing and growing with each coming event, and have become one of the largest swap events on the east coast.  Our Winter Frag Swap this past January had over 400 attendees.  With the additional crowd that comes for our Customer Appreciation Sale event, this swap should be a very busy.

The Customer Appreciation Sale weekend includes all the deals we offer in October throughout the store, Plus some great deals that are for the Frag Swap and Sale weekend.  Weekend deals include 25% off all TFP livestock, Buy three get one free select salt bucket deals.  There will also be some sweet coupon deals on our October sale flyer for the sale weekend.  If you are not already on our retail flyer mailing list, you can still sign up for our email notifications from our TFP home page (just make sure you select notifications for our retail store in your preferences)fragsfrags for sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the frag swappers, there will be eye candy galore, from some of the best coral hobbyist on the east coast, including NCPARS own Dan Rigle who was recently featured in Coral Magazine.  Jason Fox, will be on hand, showing off some of his rare beauties.  TFP will have a nice stock of our own frags on hand, including a nice selection of ORA and ACI aquaculture coral.  For more information visit NCPARS Website to register for the event, or visit Fragswapper to see or list items for trade or sale.

 

 

salt bucketsOur Vendors have donated some nice items for the NCPARS raffle, including a 60 gallon reef ready cube tank, stand and Reef Capable LED light from Marineland and many other great items.

Aquatic Manufacturer Representatives will be on hand from; United Pet Group (Tetra, Marineland, Instant Ocean, Perfecto…….), Two Little Fishies, Seachem, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Reed Mariculture, Hagen, Ruby Reef

Pet Product Manufacturer Representatives will be on hand from; Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Blue Buffalo, Nutro, Nutrisource, Answers, Earthborn, Dogswell, Zukes, Marchioro, Pawganics, Multipet, A&E Cages.

There will be a little something for everyone, so bring the family, and join the fun.

Hope to see you here!

Dave

Introducing the Bubble Magus Protein Skimmers and Dosing Pump

Bubble Magus NAC3We are happy to announce the introduction of the Bubble Magus line to our extensive selection of reef-keeping supplies. Bubble Magus is a rapidly growing international business, and if you are not familiar with them, read on as I’ll be explaining more about the Bubble Magus products that are now available here at That Fish Place.

Before I get to the protein skimmer line, I’d like to touch on the Bubble Magus dosing pump. Not a week goes by when I’m not asked by customers if there’s an “easier” way to dose the supplements many corals need. Admittedly, doing capfuls of this and that, A and B, or 1 or 2 can become a tedious task that sometimes gets forgotten or overlooked in our busy everyday lives. That was even the case for our own Doug Fries, whose Red Sea Max 250 (65 gallon reef display tank) developed a very high alkalinity demand due to its abundance of stoney corals. If the tank was not dosed daily, the alkalinity would drop dramatically- a very stressful situation for these more-sensitive corals.

There were several solutions for Doug’s problem. First, he could have installed a install a calcium reactor, but, if you’ve ever seen Doug’s tank you know there is little room for such equipment.  Another option was to drip kalkwasser into the tank, but because the Red Sea Max tank does not use a sump filter under the tank, a drip would require us to have an unsightly medical IV-like rack next to the beautiful display. He decided to utilize the Bubble Magus multiple-channel titration pump which allows him to dose his normal additives multiple times through the day, everyday. The dosing pump is much smaller than a calcium reactor or drip apparatus, and less unsightly in our opinion. The Bubble Magus BMT01 titration pump allows you to dose three separate liquids, in our case Red Sea’s Reef Foundation A, B, and C, at any quantity between 1 and 1999ml, up to 24 times a day. This means you can achieve gradual daily dosing for more stable parameters and consumption of these elements. The digital interface is simple enough to figure out with some help from the instruction manual (again this is an international company, so one should expect some broken English in the directions), and the built-in computer allows for all sorts of customization.

Bubble Magus Dosing PumpSince the installation, the titration pump has been working accurately and consistently. The corals have responded wonderfully to the schedule we were able to program into the digital interface, and the tank’s parameters (specifically the “big three”: calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium) have all remained stable as they are slowly dosed throughout the day. Now Doug doesn’t have to worry about attending the tank several times each day. The corals are growing stronger and more colorful–exactly what we as hobbyists are looking for.

The name Bubble Magus is better associated with its line of protein skimmers, and this blogger for one is looking forward to becoming better acquainted with these products. Out of the many varieties of skimmers built by this company, we have chosen a select few of the Bubble Magus models for our shelves in hopes that they have the qualities that our reef enthusiasts are looking for:

  • Affordability without sacrificing quality
  • Small footprints to keep “sump-hogging” low, keeping more space free for other equipment
  • Up-to-date features expected from quality skimmer brands

The Bubble Magus skimmers have all of these attributes. Powered by Atman brand pumps (aside from the Hero model which uses a Sicce PSK pump), their skimmers feature a compact design, ease of use, bubble diffusion plates in most models, and solid acrylic bodies. The models customers can expect to find on our website or in our retail store include:

 

Model # Tank Size Item # Description
NAC 3.5 25-80 Gallons 259148 Cone skimmer body with tiny footprint of only 4.5″x 6.6″ and 17.1″ height
NAC3+ 25-80 Gallons 259147 Strong, affordable skimmer with pump housed under the skimmer, footprint: 6.8″x 4.3″ height: 17.5″
NAC 5.5 80-135 Gallons 259149 Cone skimmer with pump housed under skimmer, footprint: 8.66″x 5.7″ height: 20.2″
NAC5E 80-135 Gallons 259152 Hang-on-back skimmer with large 5” cylinder, footprint:11.8”x .3″ height: 20.5″
NAC 6 100-160 Gallons 259150 Big power in small footprint: 6.7″x 10.4″ height: 19.6″; pump inside skimmer
NAC7 130-185 Gallons 259151 Big cone with small footprint: 9.4″x7.8″ height 20″; pump inside skimmer
HERO 180-S 185-240 Gallons 259153 Strong, energy efficient Syncra Sicce Psk1000 pump housed in a cone skimmer. Footprint: 9.8″x7.2″ height: 20.6″

 

Bubble Magus NAC6We were given 2 Bubble Magus skimmers to try out in our tanks.  We installed the NAC 3 on a lightly stocked 25 gallon cube, and a larger NAC 6 went into one of our coral tray. They’ve been working for a few weeks now and they’re going strong. We’ve been very impressed by the dark skimmate they’ve been pulling out, especially the NAC 6 on the tray (which also has a Hydor Performance Skimmer 505 maintaining it).

We couldn’t be happier that Bubble Magus products are now being featured at That Fish Place, and we are more than sure that our customers will enjoy them as well. We can’t wait to hear your feedback!

 

Until next time, Happy Reefing

Jeff Berdel