Purely my opinion on Evolution of Reef Keeping. Where it was, where it is and where I want to see it go.
by Richard Back
When you are surrounded by great reefing buddies all weekend, you are bound to reflect, learn and inspired.
Read what went through my head this weekend!
Check out the latest blog that I wrote for Reefs.com here.
by Richard Back
Hey guys, Richard here. I'm sorry that it's been awhile that I updated things here.
All is well, I have been extremely busy covering both Reef A Palooza shows and writing blogs for Reefs.com (Click here to see them) as well as balancing family with two little ones and a daytime job. Any how, video lists are updated and playlists are updated.
Reef A Palooza Orlando 2017 Videos here.
Reef A Palooza New York 2017 Videos here.
Here are some photos from the shows!
Next stop? MACNA!!
by Richard Back
Check out the latest blog from Afishionado on Reefs.com HERE.
We got together with Tom Weibel of Salty Bottom Reef Company to talk everything about live rocks!
by Richard Back
Image from NOAA.
Wrote a first official blog for the Reefs.com
Topic : Let's talk about Phytoplankton.
Click here to read more about it.
Richard at Afisionado.
by Richard Back
Reef A Palooza Orlando 2017 came and left. Afishionado Channel was very fortunate to be hired as official videographer once again. Here on this blog, I wanted to share every videos that we did and recap the show.
This year we did something special partnering up with Reef A Palooza and introduced RAP / Afishionado Awards. The categories were
Click here for the playlist that I have created for both Reefs.com and from Afishonado Channel.
There are 10 videos that I created so far for Reef A Palooza Orlando and one special one will be coming soon very shortly. Meanwhile enjoy the videos. Please like and subscribe to all the channels and have a great weekend!
Richard from Afishionado Channel.
by Richard Back
Recently there has been surge of algae reactors in the market.
Let's learn a thing or two about them!
How does it work? How well does it work? Will it be good for your aquarium?
We got our hands on Carolina Aquatics' Multi Use Reactor Pro 180 to test it out for you.
How does it work?
Algae reactors are made to give macroalgae an ideal environment to thrive. As macroalgae grow, they will use up nutrients in the water making our tank water cleaner in the process, lowering our nitrates and phosphates naturally.
It's made out of smokey white color of acrylic (still opaque enough for you to see the shadows of your algae in the reactor) which I thought it was nice touch since if the body was made out of completely transparent material, light produced by the low temperature spectrum of LEDs can cause algae bloom in the sump if there is sump near by. Setup roughly took about 15 minutes with all the hose connections, putting the algae in and doing the screws on top. It comes with easy to pull out, 3 chambers where you can put bags of carbon or any media of your choice as well as putting macroalgae(s) of your choice. LEDs are in low color spectrums like warm whites and red LED and is encased in waterproof enclosure. I have gotten my hands on their 180 model which is rated for 180 gallons (which I think is highly under rated) and the LED said it's powered at only 27W. (My Apex showed that it was taking 28w and 0.3A to power but I'm certainly not complaining about extra 1W).
I usually run very clean system and to test this unit so I raised my nitrate levels very slowly and very carefully. By turning off skimmer few hours a day, feeding more and by stop doing 40g biweekly water changes but instead went with 5g-weekly changes only to syphon detritus out of my tank. Really not enough to fluctuate any nutrient levels of my total water volume. (210g display + 30g sump) I started testing daily using salifert test kit until it reached very close to 25ppm. Once it reached my target nutrient level (0.07 P04, 25ppm N03), I went ahead put this unit to the test.
How well does it work?
I have ran this unit for 4 weeks without major water changes. I have sent my water to be professionally tested from my good friends at Aqua Medic USA's Aquarium Water Testing lab that's located in Colorado. 3 days after I sent out my sample water, I have received an email. Super fast turn around and I really liked the comparison notes such as good, high. I get my water tested periodically to see where my level is in my tank and to see how accurate my notes are using hobby grade test kits.
I then logged into their site to look at everything in details. (Only posted the nutrient section)
as you can see, nitrate level went down from 25 ppm to 14 ppm (mg/l). Phosphate level went down from 0.07 to 0.04 after the reactor. (Hanna checker) It definitely does what it advertises.
Will it be good for your aquarium?
Absolutely, there are tons of beautiful, mature tanks out there that utilizes algae reactor to keep nutrient levels in check. Sanjay Joshi, Bradley Syphus are great example of successful reefer that uses algae as one of primary weapon to combat nutrients.
"What about DOC (dissolved organic carbon) from algae?" When I spoke to Julian Sprung about this couple of months ago, I was told that you wouldn't have to worry about DOC from algae that's coming from such a small reactors. If it makes you feel better, good carbon can clean that up as well as having good, properly installed UV sterilizer.
What kind of algae and light cycle should I run on this unit?
I strongly recommend chaetomorpha as your choice of macroalgae as you don't have to worry about the algae going asexual in the aquarium causing damages to your beloved animals. If you run chaetomorpha you can run both inverted light schedule or 24 hours a day. You don't have to worry about rest period for this algae although there are reports that says that it grows faster on less than 12 hour life cycles. I purposely ran this with chaeto 24/7 light schedule and have experienced no ill effect to any of my corals or fish.
If you are thinking about ways to reduce nutrients in your system, instead of turning to chemicals to do so, do give algae reactors a thought or a try. Nature's way to reduce nutrient in your system is effective and harmless to your aquarium. Additional benefit to algae reactor is that it will also raise the pH of your tank because algae will absorb C02 in the water.
by Richard Back
We are happy to announce that we will be hosting the first ever Reef A Palooza / Afishionado Show Awards.
This took long time to make and it came out amazing! Vendors are turning up the game for this show. Be sure to come to the show and check it out for yourself!
Be sure to say hi in the show and make sure to let me know what you think and who you thinks deserves this award.
by Richard Back
During last year's Superzoo in Las Vegas (show for just stores and distributors), I was introduced to LOOP ecosystem. It was a neat concept that grabbed my attention because it showed great promise for people with smaller tanks (as well as big tanks) and people who didn't want to spend ton of money but wanted more control for their aquarium.
So, what is LOOP? LOOP is extremely simple, all-in-one ecosystem that was made by Current USA. It's a modular system that can control your light, wave makers and DC pump for return pump.
Check out the video that I shot last month in Orlando for Global Pet Expo Show with Current.
Over the few months that I haven't seen them (from MACNA to Global Pet Expo), looks like Current has been working extremely hard.
Check out the look at app here. (I believe I was the first to show the app off to the public with my live video)
For the price you pay, you would expect something that will look cheap but that's not the case here. Well thought out design that mirrors their IR remote completely, it's attractive and intuitive.
First the LED set up using their Orbit IC. Extremely easy setup and versatile.
Here are the functions for the wave makers.
Looking at all of this, I decided to outfit my wife's new kitchen tank with their system.
Orbit IC light looks very slick with their mount (bonus points from wife for good installation) and their small wave makers are surprisingly powerful. I can feel the pulsing wave setting from across the tank when I was placing corals and placing rocks in certain way. Out of curiosity I tested PAR reading at 100% intensity at all channels are reading at 130 PAR on average on the sand bed which will be perfect for what my wife wants to achieve with this tank.
(Zoanthids, Palys, Blastos, Acans, Rock Nems and Ricordias) I would not recommend them for hard core SPS lovers as I don't think PAR that you "WANT" would be there for you but if you are looking to grow SPS as part of mixed reef, it can certainly and will grow most of the SPS as well. Visually, colors looked great and the different colors were blended well with no noticeable disco ball effect.
Sorry for the dark picture but look at those shimmers! Something that I really love about LED and MH fixtures.
In conclusion, if you are in the market for affordable, simple to set up, use and complete system do give a look at Current USA's LOOP system. You will be pleasantly surprised as I was.
You can check out the complete LOOP packages from good folks at Saltwateraquarium.com here.
by Richard Back
Recently Marco Rocks has released a new type of rock fixture called Pedestal Rocks.
This one particularly grabbed my attention because it came pre-made for people who can get overwhelmed by thoughts of using various different tools and items like mortars and hydraulic cement to aquascape their tanks. (I fall into this category) I also liked the fact that it's utilizing the popular minimalist rockscape.
Rock fixtures comes in two different designs.
First one is called Natural top like the first picture on the post for that natural look. Looks great and this was my personal choice but there can have an effect on limitation on coral placing on certain corals due to the bumps of the top rock. To me, it wasn't a big deal at all.
Second one is what they call a Frag top, where they sliced the rock smooth on the top so that you can easily mount frags of all different sizes and whether they are in plugs or not.
According to their site Marcorocks.com, Sold per piece average size is 7x11" pedestal base is 3" overall height is ~5"
Priced little under $30, I decided to use these for my new custom Innovative Marine Peninsula 20g build so I contacted Marc to find out more about these rocks and to order.
Being in the same state definitely has it's perks. Everything arrived in one day and it was VERY well packaged. Perhaps overly packaged but I won't complain about that. Nothing was damaged by UPS and here is how everything looked out of the box.
Plenty of space for corals on the top and places for fish to hide in the bottom but you will be able to see them if you want to monitor where they are.
Comes pre-made with Marco Rocks' E Marco mortar, it's very strong and well set. Much better then my own work when I worked with E Marco on my custom 210 gallon tank. It withstood a knock from 2 year old toddler and a my wife who happened to kick it when I was taking this photo. ;)
Setting up the new tank. You can see the rock in there as size reference in Innovative Marine's 20 Peninsula tank.
Please disregard the little cloudy water as the sand and the rock just went in.
My impression of the rocks are very positive. I love the fact that it's extremely attractive in how it looks and the price range (you order 2 and it's free shipping. You can't beat that). It brings the simplicity to aquascaping and the amount of work or lack of to set one up for your system. If you are looking into purchasing new rocks for your new system or overhauling your old designs, be sure to check out these rocks!
Time for some Myth Busting!
One of my top frustrations is the myth that Tigriopus californicus are a "cold water species". I hear this from store owners and hobbyists ALL the time. This copepod is eurythermal. For those of you that don’t know the term, it describes an organism able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Tigriopus californicus is both euryhaline and eurythermal, withstanding and remaining active in salinities from 4ppt (Vittor 1971) to 102ppt (Egloff 1967) and temperatures from 4C (39.2F) (Vittor 1971) to over 40C (104F) (Ranade 1957). The genus Tigriopus is represented by seven species which are abundant in splash zone pools all over the world (Bradford, 1967).
This copepod can be quite successful in places where nothing else prospers. Tigriopus californicus, as an inhabitant of supralittoral rockpools, is subject to sudden and violent fluctuations in salinity and temperature; these conditions have eliminated this niche for most marine invertebrates (Ricketts and Calvin, 1973). It has effectively colonized much of the Pacific coast of North America. The marine harpacticoid copepod, Tigriopus californicus (Baker), is a successful colonizer of supralittoral splash pools from Torch Bay, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico (L. Chalker-Scott 1995).
We (Reed Mariculture) are culturing these guys in a greenhouse in the San Jose, CA area. For those of you that have been there in the summer; it's hot. One of the main reasons we are working with this copepod is because we can culture them all year, even in the hottest months when the greenhouse temps get upwards of 38C (100F). I can assure you that we don't use chillers and don't air condition; that would cost us a fortune! If we had seasonality issues, you wouldn't see Tigger-Pods in stores in June, July, August & September, right? We have been culturing this species for 8 years now without any wild stock supplementation. They are fully adapted and domesticated to our greenhouse environment and all the seasonality issues that are associated with this kind of growing area.
Now, I can see how people could misunderstand this animal when they see it in a refrigerator in a pet store. The reason you see them held this way is because it makes more sense for a retail store; they can hold them for longer periods without heavy mortalities. The colder temperatures simply slow them down metabolically, keeping them from using up the oxygen and their energy reserves; plain and simple. Colder temperatures can also be advantageous with shipping this animal. They remain inactive at the colder temps while in shipping so that they don’t use up all the oxygen in the bottle. We use their hardiness to our advantage so that when a customer buys a bottle, the animals are alive and well.
I would like for everyone that reads this to share it and help me put this myth to rest. These animals are tougher than most people think, so let’s give them credit where it’s due!
Chad M. Clayton
Bradford, J.M. (1967). Genus Tigriopus (Norman) (Copepoda-harpacticoida) in New Zealand with a description of a new species. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand-Zoology, 10(6), 51.
Egloff DA (1967) Ecological aspects of sex ratio and reproduction in experimental and field populations of the marine copepod Tigriopus californicus. Doctoral Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
Ranade (1957). Observations on the resistance of Tigriopus fulvus (Fischer) to changes in temperature and salinity.
Ricketts, E.F., Calvin, J., Hedgepeth, J.W., Phillips, D.W., (1985). Between pacific tides. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Scott, L. C. (1995). Survival and sex ratios of the intertidal copepod, Tigriopus californicus, following ultraviolet-B (290–320 nm) radiation exposure. Marine Biology, 123(4), 799-804.
Vittor, B. A. (1971). Effects of the Environment on Fitness-Related Life History Characters in Tigriopus californicus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene.
We will get a group of dedicated writers that will share ideas, product reviews and thoughts.