Which Filter Should I Choose for My Aquarium?

Emperor Power Filter Choosing the right filter for your aquarium can be an intimidating task. We’re asked this question every day, from people setting up their first aquarium and from those hobbyists who are upgrading to a larger or different type of aquarium. Most people are looking for a quick and easy answer, which they rarely get from me.  There is no one-size-fits-all in the world of aquarium filters, and anyone who is new to aquariums, and is trying to do some research, is probably overwhelmed with all the options.  We have assembled a lot of good basic information for all the major types of aquarium filters in the article archives on thatpetplace.com. These articles are meant to help and guide you through the process of choosing a filter for your set-up by breaking down how each type works and in which applications they really shine.

The follow up question that I am often asked, is what is my favorite filter?  Again, that is not an easy question to answer with so many options, but I thought I might highlight a some of those I would recommend  from a few different filter types.

If you are looking for the most bang for your buck, especially for freshwater aquariums, it is hard to beat the good old power filter.  Also known as hang-on-the-back filters, power filters are easy to use, provide proven performance, and most are inexpensive and energy efficient.  My favorite power filters are the Marineland Emperor line.  These filters have been around for many years, and have changed very little since introduction.  There are two models of Emperor Filters available for under $50, that can handle aquariums up to 80 gallons.  The Emperor filters, if properly maintained, will provide excellent mechanical, biological and chemical filtration.  The Biowheel feature of these filters is what sets them apart from simpler power filters, they maintain biological filtration at all times, something that is lost on power filters that depend on their filter cartridges, which will lose all their bacteria when filters are changed.  These filters are great for any freshwater aquarium set-up as a standalone filter, or as part of a filtration system for saltwater aquariums.

Filstar Canister FilterFor larger aquariums or aquariums that demand more powerful or customized filtration, the next step up are the canister filters.  My choice in this category is another filter that is time tested, and has been around for many years, the API Filstar XP line of filters (Formerly known under the Rena brand name) The Filstar canister filters are available in several sizes, up to the XP XL model that is rated for aquariums up to 265 gallons.  Modular filter baskets allow you to customize your filter media, so you can add extra biological media for heavily stocked tanks, chemical media for low nutrient levels, peat moss for amazon tanks, the possibilities are endless.  These filters are quiet, energy efficient, and easy to set up.

ProFlex Model 1For the more advanced aquarist, especially the reef enthusiasts, the filtration system of choice is the Wet/Dry or Sump type of filtration system.  Ultimate flexibility, and high performance, are the key features of the these filters, and they are probably the most diverse of the filtration types, in terms of form and function.  My choice here is the relatively new Aqueon ProFlex filter system, mostly because of its 3 in 1, modular design.  With the ability to be used as a traditional Wet/Dry or Refugium, or Berlin style Sump, the filter has the ability to perform many functions as your needs change. If you want to convert your freshwater system to saltwater, your fish tank to a reef tank, or anywhere in between.  The Aqueon ProFlex can be whatever you need!

I hope that this helps guide you towards the filter you are looking for,

Until next blog,

Dave

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

Current TrueLumen Pro LED Strips Now Available at That Fish Place

That Fish Place now has the latest LED strip lights from Current USA, the TrueLumen Pro Series.  The TrueLumen Pro LED lighting system is modular, easy to use, environmentally friendly, and extremely energy efficient. The strips are available in four sizes (12”, 24”, 36”, 48”) and four different color spectrums. These lights can be adapted to any aquarium setup, offering brilliant lighting for any set-up.

8,000K Sun White – Brings the color of natural sunlight into your aquarium, perfect for freshwater planted aquariums, marine refugiums, and general lighting purposes

12000K Diamond White – Crisp white light for excellent shimmer and light penetration,  coloration on freshwater and marine fishes, limits growth of nuisance algae.

Deepwater Blue – 453nm actinic blue color provides proper wavelengths for enhanced coral growth, and intensified coloration in corals and fishes.

Marine Fusion – Blend of the Diamond White and Deepwater Blue LED colors to provide an ideal single light source any marine or reef aquarium. Can also be used on freshwater aquariums to enhance fish colors.

TrueLumen Pro LEDs come with a mounting bracket, that allows them to be easily attached the inside of a canopy or solid surface for an easy retrofit.  Aluminum mounting legs are also available for a more traditional tank frame mount setup, or they can simply be set on top of a glass canopy. Available inline dimmers and splitters allow for a wide range of custom installation possibilities.

The aluminum housing of the TrueLumen Pro is also a heat sink, that allows for cool operation of the LED chips, which will give them long life, and high performance. LED chips are also sealed in crystal clear silicone protectant, keeping all the electronic connection protected from any accidental splashing or corrosive salt creep.

The DC transformer power supply is sold separately, and can power up to 6 TrueLumen Pro light strips with the use of the available three way splitters.

Whether you are looking to upgrade, or replace your old lighting, the Current USA TrueLumen pro LED strips are worth taking a look at, they may be just what you are looking for.

 

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

Barton’s Cichlid – Hericthys bartoni

Herichthys bartoniWell, hello! It has been awhile since I’ve blogged, but some current acquisitions have inspired a new post. Recently, one of our fish distributors informed me he had some Hericthys bartoni available. So for our anniversary sale I ordered 20 of them to offer for sale. A couple days later I was staring 20 fish each between 1 inch to 1.5 inches in length. We acclimated them into a 40 breeder and waited until the sale weekend to offer them, once we knew they were eating well in the store. The weekend came and went quickly, but I’ve knew this was a species I had to grab for myself. I’ve always wanted to breed them, from first time I saw a picture of one, and we carried them a long time ago and were able to get them to breed at around 3 inches. So I netted 7 of the remaining stock and placed them in holding, til I make some room for them.

Let’s talk a little about this gem from Mexico. Bartoni is restricted to the springs of Rio Verde. Water conditions may vary from place to place with pH ranging from 7.6 – 8.0 with a stable hardness (100 degrees German and a carbonate of 15 degrees). A robust male Bartoni can reach lengths up to 8 inches, while females reach a little over 4 inches. Males also develop a nice little forehead hump.

Their normal coloration is gray to light brown with a row of black blotches running from behind the eye to the base of the caudal fin. Some scales in the lower half of the body have a blue spot. But the breeding coloration is outstanding, and it’s also one of the main reasons I want to keep this fish. In both sexes, the upper half of the body turns white while the lower half becomes velvety black, including the fins.

In the wild, Bartoni mainly dine on algae, but so far they have done well on frozen cyclops and flakes while in holding. I would make sure that they get a flake high in veggie matter.

Pairs tend to either spawn in caves or beside rocks. The size of the clutch dependes on how old the female is, with an adult producing as many as a couple hundred eggs each spawn. At 84 F the eggs hatch in about two and a half days. In another five days, the fry should start to become free swimming after they consume their egg sacs. The females does most of the brood tending inside the cave while the male guards the perimeter. At any sign of danger, instead of running away like most Central American cichlids he will enter the spawning cave and wait with his mate until the danger goes away. Both parents take care of the fry when it comes to feeding time.

Bartoni generally tend to be very aggressive towards conspecifics, and sometimes their aggression may extend to other species in aquariums smaller than a 50 gallons.

It is believed in many circles that this species and others may become endangered in the near future, due to the introduction of a tilapia to their native waterways. What a shame that would be! If you have room for a 30 or a 40 gallon aquarium, this would be an awesome fish to add to your collection, and you can do your part to conserve them through captive breeding.

Until next time,

Jose