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This month we are featuring the beautiful 400-gallon mixed reef aquarium of Greg Timms. Learn how he has created this beautiful system. Read more...

 


If you'd like to nominate a tank for Tank of the Month, click here or use the button to the right.
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Check out the lastest edition of CORAL Magazine online:

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Ever wonder how to propagate nice LPS frags without waste? Kraylen shows how to in his YouTube video, where he frags 25 LPS using a wet tile saw.

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This month capn_hylinur shares his "log book" of information. The thread covers everything from deep sand beds to fish disease and treatment. If you're looking for an answer to something reef related, there is a good chance that you’ll find it in this month’s Thread of the Month. Read more...

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Thread of the Month is here! Here’s your chance to vote. Each month TeamRC selects three of the best threads for all Reef Central members to vote on. There will be three threads to choose from, and you are only allowed to vote once. We encourage you to follow the links provided below, to read and enjoy these threads. All three are full of information and are each equally worthy.
 

Thread of the Month Poll

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This month we are featuring the beautiful 120-gallon mixed reef aquarium of Mark Hallett from Little Britain, Ontario, Canada. Learn how he has created this beautiful system. Read more...

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LEDs

Light is one of the most important tools at the disposal of the reef aquarium hobbyist. Our corals and other photosynthetic livestock require intense light of the correct spectrum to grow and thrive. The methods commonly used today - high output fluorescent or metal halide lamps - are well established and viable sources of light. Their use has become well accepted as a standard approach, despite their shortcomings. LED lighting offers an alternative for people who are interested in a different approach that can address some of those shortcomings, while providing some exciting new advantages. As with many new technologies in the reefkeeping hobby, the DIY community has begun embracing LED lighting. This has created a flurry of questions from people interested in building their own LED fixtures:

  • What is LED lighting? What advantages does it have? Can I make my own?
  • Which LEDs should I use, and how many do I need?
  • How do I power LEDs?
  • How do I assemble an LED fixture?
  • What creative things can I do with LEDs that might not be possible with other types of lighting?


Coming soon, Reefkeeping Magazine will feature a series of articles to address those questions, and provide a basic point of reference for people interested in building their own LED fixtures. Even if you have no desire to assemble your own LED rig, this series will provide information useful when evaluating commercial LED rigs, or comparing LED lighting to other types of lighting technologies. This series will cover the following topics:

  • The first article will cover basic theory of LED lighting: how LEDs work, how they are powered, what the light they produce “looks” like, and how they are fundamentally different from other forms of lighting.
  • The second article will present the case for LED lighting - efficiency, spectrum, expected lifetime, comparing LEDs to other lighting technologies, and other concerns specific to applying LEDs to reef aquariums.
  • The third article will cover practical application of LED lighting to reef tanks, covering subjects such as selecting LEDs, drivers, optics, and other components that meet your needs and budget.
  • The fourth article will provide step by step instructions on assembling a typical DIY LED fixture, including presentation of several DIY fixtures assembled by Reef Central forum members.
  • Finally, a fifth article will cover several DIY LED fixtures built and in use by your fellow hobbyists, summing their findings and showing LEDs in action on their reef aquariums.

So, if DIY LEDs have caught your interest, stay tuned to Reefkeeping Magazine!

Written by Nate Enders

Photo courtesy Reef Central member Santoki

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Check out the lastest edition of Coral Magazine online:

Cover1

January/February 2010

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We all setup our tanks and get them just how we want them. We spend money, time, effort, sweat and tears getting them there. On occasion we find out we have to move, sometimes across the street, sometimes across town, and sometimes across the country.

Below I will outline how I made a successful 1000 mile move from Chicago to Denver.

Back in June of 2004, right after finding out I was going to be moving to Colorado, one of the first things I thought of was, “How the heck am I going to move my tank?” In between all of the other packing and getting ready to move projects, all I kept going back to is, “How the heck am I going to move my tank?”

In preparation for the move, I hit up my LFS and some other buddies for some extra 5-gallon buckets. I picked up a couple of extra 50-watt heaters and a big air pump. I also picked up a good power inverter that would plug into the cigarette lighter and would allow for my heaters and air pump to simply be plugged in to the car's electrical system.

We woke up at 6am the morning of the move, loaded up the enclosed moving trailer we had rented to pull behind the truck with everything else from the house, and all we had left to load was the fish tank. The tank was a 55-gallon with about 20 corals and about 8 fish in it. The first thing we did was drain out about 15 gallons of water into 5 different buckets. We took the rock and corals out and added them to the buckets. Displacement from the rocks pretty much filled up those buckets. If not, we topped them off with water. “Here, fishy fishy!” Yep, the fish came next. They were pretty easy to catch as the tank had nothing else in it now. I put most of the fish in the buckets that had rock in them, so they had some security with the rocks. Others had to go into buckets with nothing in them. We finished draining the water from the tank, filling up buckets as we went. I made 20 gallons (four, 5-gallon buckets worth), of fresh water, with the idea that it would mix along the way and I could essentially do a good size water change once arriving at our new home. The trailer was loaded with everything from the house, the tank and stand, and all the other equipment. Any buckets that didn’t have any type of livestock in them went in the trailer. All the buckets that had fish and/or corals in them went in the back of our SUV we were driving. I plugged in the power inverter into the cigarette lighter and plugged in all of the heaters and the air pump into the inverter. I drilled holes in the top of the buckets so I could get the plugs and airlines through and still was able to close the lids tightly on the buckets.

So, with everything tied down and all the buckets with livestock in the truck, we were off. When we left it was 86 degrees. I was so worried about the fish boiling that we unplugged the heaters and cranked up the air conditioning in the truck. A few hours in, somewhere in Iowa, the temperature started to drop, and within an hour it was at 42 degrees. We plugged in all the heaters and cranked the heat up in the truck. The rest of the trip it stayed in the lower 40’s. I was so worried about all the livestock. With the truck, and having to pull a loaded trailer, the gas was getting sucked up like crazy. We were having to stop every couple/few hours to fill up with fuel, that and not being able to drive very fast as I was worried about the things in the trailer falling over, and the fish in the truck, the trip took 19 hours, and that’s with driving straight through. The wife was able to sleep for quite a while, but I didn’t. I just kept driving. I just wanted this to be over. So, around 1pm we rolled into Denver. The first thing to get unloaded was the fish tank and stand. We set those up in the living room where we wanted them. I had left the sand in the tank as I only had a shallow sand bed of about 1”. I hooked up all the equipment, and started to fill the tank back up. The buckets that were up front with us and had the heaters in them, were not too bad, temperature wise. They were in the mid 70’s. The ones that were in the trailer were in the upper 50’s. I put all the colder water in the tank first and put 4 heaters in the water to try and bring the temperature up quickly. While we were waiting for the temp to rise in the tank, we unloaded the rest of the truck. I had to also go and drop off my tool box at the shop I was going to be working at, and at the same time I dropped off the rental trailer.

I raced back home so I could get those poor fish out of the buckets. The water in the tank was up to temp now so I started by adding the rock back to the tank, and placing the corals. We added all the fish back to the tank, and finished filling the tank all of the way up. Everything looked stressed and a little ticked off, but nothing really unexpected for what they had just gone through. I arranged a few more things, pulled the extra heaters and set things up pretty much how I had them before the move.

Being that I have been up for over 36 straight hours, I needed to go to sleep, and sleep I did, until the next morning!! When I woke up, all I could think about was the tank and its inhabitants. I went out to the living room and counted all the fish. They were all in there and swam to the front of the tank like they always had when I walked up to it, as they thought they might get fed. I turned the lights on a little early that day so I could see how things were and to make sure everyone was doing well. I fed the tank, and throughout the day I closely observed the tank, the temperature, the inhabitants and all the corals. Everything had survived this traumatic ordeal. I could not have been happier! I didn’t mess with the tank for a few days, other than keeping a close eye on everything, so things could settle down, and I didn’t think the fish and corals needed any extra stress. After a couple of days, I did some final arranging of the rocks and did another water change.

In conclusion, whether you are moving near or far, the same procedures can pretty much be followed. Your move may be different, and you may have more obstacles, or you may have fewer obstacles to overcome, but just know it can be done.

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With all of the resources and threads on Reef Central, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to find what you want. Well our very own resident saltwater guru, capn hylinur, has created another great thread showcasing some of the more informative sites, threads and resources all in one spot!

The New Capn's Log Book-sites of interest on RC

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So, you dream of the day that you can collect for your own tank? I know many of us do and some of us are luckily enough to do so. You may be asking yourself "How rare is this"? February's Thread of the Month by Lewy will show you how rare this can be. Read more....

 

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We tend to see a lot of threads asking about Aiptasia - the dreaded, fast spreading, invasive anemone. It’s one of those animals that tend to do well in everyones' tank, no matter what their water parameters are.

Aiptasia are definitely considered a pest by most, and are not something we want in our reef, or fish only tanks. They look bad, are invasive and tend to spread quite rapidly. When kept in a reef tank they can and will sting corals. In my opinion, they are something we want to rid our tanks of.

I will try and outline a few of the more popular ways of eradicating these pests in our reef tanks. I am sure there are more ways than the ones I will explain, but this is a good starting point.

One of the ways I have seemed to have the best luck at eradicating them is with vinegar. Take a small amount of vinegar and put it into a microwave safe bowl, and pop it into the microwave for one minute. Take a syringe with a needle on it and draw up the vinegar. Reach in the tank and sneak up on the Aiptasia and inject some vinegar, anywhere from .25ml-.50ml, depending on the size of the Aiptasia. They will dissolve almost instantly. Try and keep this to a half dozen or so at a time to prevent any drastic pH swings.

Lime or lemon juice has been used by many with success, the needle and syringe method seems to work the best, but I have also heard some folks having success with only using a syringe and simply spraying the Aiptasia at close range.

Plain boiling water works also, in the same methods of dosing as above.

Kalkwasser or pickling lime are very common methods. Some make it into a thick paste and use a popsicle stick to smother the Aiptasia with the paste. Others will make it into a thick “slurry” and use a broad opening syringe and draw it up and spray it on the Aiptasia.

There are also various animals that will naturally eradicate Aiptasia. Many different types of butterfly fish are known to eat them. Some types of butterflies are not always reef safe, so be sure to do your research before purchasing one of these fish. One of the more common butterflies that a lot of aquarists have had very good success with is the Copper Banded Butterfly. These fish, however, can be quite difficult to keep and are very picky in what they eat. So once again, please do your research on these fish prior to purchasing one.

Berghia nudibranchs are also known to devour Aiptasia, but again will be very tricky to keep alive after their job is done. So this too, is another animal that should be looked at very closely before addition to a tank. They are also very small, and don’t always do well in reef tanks that have a lot of flow, as they may get blown around.

Probably one of the most popular, and most questioned natural predators of the Aiptasia anemone, is the Peppermint shrimp. There are definitely imposters out there that make their way into our tanks, and are sold as Peppermints. The “true” Peppermint shrimp that are generally known to eat Aiptasia are Lysmata wurdemanni. I have had great success with these animals, and I've also noticed that the greatest success comes when larger numbers of these are kept, rather than just one or two.

If you only have a few Aiptasia, or if you have certain restrictions not allowing you to add certain animals to your tank, I would recommend using one of the injections or pastes.

As mentioned already, and always suggested, before adding any animal to your tank for any reason, do your research and make sure it is compatible with the other inhabitants in your tank and that your tank is suitable for that particular animal.

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