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With the growing popularity and availability of fish like GloFish and GloTetras and decorations like our own Pure Aquatic Glow Elements line, “glow-in-the-dark” and fluorescent aquariums are becoming more and more common. Most of these animals and decorations are brightly colored in any light but under special lighting, the colors will really glow. There are two main kinds of light that are used in these aquariums: “blacklights” and actinic lights. Knowing the difference between these two can play an important role in making your tank really stand out, as well as in keeping it healthy. For this blog, we will be focusing in general terms only for community aquariums. Aquarium with invertebrates and corals will have different needs since their light requirements are much more specific and extensive.
First, the science…
The colors we see around us come from the light’s wavelength, measured in Terahertz (THz) or nanometers (nm). Most people can see light ranging from about 700nm (reds) to about 400nm (purples). Blacklights and actinic lights both produce light from the bottom of the visible light spectrum (the BIV in ROY G BIV). Most actinic lighting for aquariums has a wavelength of about 420-460nm. The higher end of this range (460nm) produces a more blue color light, while the color shifts to purple approaching the lower end (420nm). This type of lighting is still well within what we are capable of seeing. “Blacklights” emit a light below what we as humans are able to see known as ultraviolet or UV light. Yes, this is the same UV light that we wear sunscreen to protect ourselves against! UV lighting is separated into three major ranges. Blacklight bulbs are UV-A bulbs (315-400nm), the spectrum which causes our skin to tan. For comparison, the UV Sterilizers popular in aquariums for eliminating algae, diseases and parasites are UV-C bulbs (200-280 nm), a destructive spectrum that is mostly filtered out by Earth’s atmosphere and the UV-B range in between is the more damaging rays from the sun that causes sunburn and other harmful conditions. Read More »
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…
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 »
Most goldfish owners have encountered fish that suddenly become unable to submerge. Try as they might, they float, often belly-up, at the surface, and seem to be in great distress. Less often, the hapless victims may be unable to rise to the surface, or may swim in an “off balanced” or head-down position. Fantails, Orandas and other strains with rounded bodies are the most common victims, but Comets and others are not immune. The problem is also frequently seen in Bettas, or Fighting Fishes, but may afflict any species. Swim Bladder Disease almost always involved. This condition is actually a general term applied to a wide variety of ailments, rather than a specific disease per se. Today we’ll look at its causes, prevention and treatment.
The Swim Bladder
The swim bladder is a sac-like organ located in the abdomen of most bony fishes, but is absent in the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays and their relatives). The lining of the swim bladder, and the many blood vessels that transverse it, allow gasses to be passed into and out of the organ. Goldfishes and certain others are also able to exchange gasses through a duct or opening in the bladder that leads to the esophagus. In this manner, fishes control their buoyancy, or ability to float and move up and down in the water column. Read More »