Over the past few weeks, the aquarium hobby has seen a rather nice influx of rare wrasses, most notably the Pintail (Cirrhilabrus cf. lanceolatus) and Lunate (C. cf. lunatus) fairy wrasses, pictured above. These two unconfirmed fish species are trickling out of the Philippines thanks to the efforts of the fish collecting company, RVS Fishworld, and they are garnishing a lot of attention from wrasse lovers looking to add some relatively affordable rarities to their collection (we stress the phrase “relatively affordable”). To no surprise, LiveAquaria got their hands on two of each species, three of which sold just minutes after being listed in the extremely popular Diver’s Den.
Overflow systems are basically a standard requirement for marine aquariums in this day and age, but that doesn’t mean a non-reef ready aquarium will make for a poor saltwater tank. There are tons of hang-on style overflows that are available, and many that are designed to minimize the major drawbacks to using them. But if you still don’t trust the HOB overflows, which we understand, you can easily turn a standard aquarium into a reef ready one. What you will need to do is install an overflow box, usually made of black acrylic, and drill a couple of holes into the tank. The latter of those two steps is the most nerve racking, obviously, as you could easily crack an aquarium during the hole drilling process. Because of this, you must know if the glass is tempered (the bottom usually is and the front/back/sides usually aren’t), and you have to make the holes very carefully with the proper equipment (diamond tipped hole bit to start). We don’t recommend doing this yourself, and would rather you trust the professionals that do this for a living. That said, it is easy to do and allows you to turn an inexpensive tank into a fully-functional reef tank.
At the end of November, EcoTech Marine officially launched their much touted and highly anticipated ReefLink wireless hub to the mass of aquarium keepers who have been yearning for a way to control their Radion LED fixtures via a real-time wireless connection to the EcoSmart Live platform. In conjunction with this release, EcoTech Marine also gave their EcoSmart Live a much needed mobile-friendly app that would allow smartphone and tablet users to be able to access and control their ReefLink from anywhere in the world. Available to download for free from the iTunes, the EcoSmart Live app has multiple menus that allow the light from the Radion fixtures to be finely tuned with a simple swipe of a finger. An Android app is also in the works, and EcoTech Marine has announced that internal beta testing will start this week and that they will be accepting external beta testers for that platform in the weeks ahead.
The use of cell phones is nothing new in this hobby, as they’ve been a vital tool with applications that help us calculate how much calcium to dose in our tank and give us the ability to monitor and control our aquariums from afar. While these apps haven’t been around for too long, comparatively, something that has been in use for what seem like an eternity is cell phone cameras, and hobbyists are always improving aquarium photography with their phones. With the constant competition of who is the best and top dog of the smartphone industry, it is the camera in our phones that is always upgraded. For example, the iPhone 5 has an 8 megapixel camera. This year the iPhone 5s was released, and while it stayed with its 8 megapixel camera, it increased its aperture to f/2.4, allowing up to %33 more light into the camera. It also got really neat features like the burst mode allowing you to capture things in action with more success. It also got the slow-mo feature slowing videos down making for really neat shots of fish eating or swimming.
Bubble Magus is really stepping up their game as the end of the year draws closer. In addition to the DC powered Wave Pumps, which we spoke about yesterday, they also have a set of brand new DC controllable skimmer pumps and return pumps for those hobbyists in need of a bit more control. Info and images on the return pumps have yet to surface, they promise them shortly, so for now we’ll just focus on the new DC skimmers.
Anytime a hobbyist gets their hands on a new piece of equipment, they get that feeling of excitement and can’t wait to see how vastly improved their aquarium will be after using it. Oftentimes, this excitement is also greeted with a need for instant gratification. After all, you want that expensive piece of hardware to perform as intended as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some aquarium equipment goes through a significant break-in phase, particularly protein skimmers. Protein skimmers are surprisingly sensitive pieces of equipment. They can be affected by water temperature, salinity, and various oils present in the water. Unfortunately, for those seeking that instant gratification, there are many oils and other substances present on a protein skimmer from the production process. Because of this, most manufacturers recommend that you run the skimmer to the point of overflowing the collection cup for a few days. Then, after some time has passed, you can dial it back down to the desired water level and let it skim away. You can perform this break-in period in the sump, or put it in a bucket or tub with some water and vinegar. Either way, you’ll likely have to wait a few days for the skimmer to function normally.
Back in October, we were shocked to hear that ATB USA had lost distributorship of the Aquarium Technik BURIAN brand, and since it was the only brand they carried, we feared that they had gone out of business altogether. Speculation ran rampant, as we and the rest of the aquarium forum hopping community didn’t know what to make of the situation. Existing customers were concerned primarily with the potential loss of service and an increased difficulty in trying to buy replacement parts, and potential customers were worried that they may no longer be able to get the legendary ATB products in the US. We would eventually find that Tenji took over where ATB USA left off, which didn’t do much to quell fears since nobody really knew who Kenji was, including us. To make matters worse, their website was completely devoid of all ATB gear. After just a couple of months away from their distributorship, however, we’re happy to report that ATB USA is back in business and have re-assumed sole distributorship of their namesake brand.
After what seems like an eternity since their last new product, Bubble Magus is making their presence felt once again as they dive into the world of DC pump powered gear. Besides a nifty new DC powered protein skimmer line, which we’ll touch on later, the budget friendly aquarium equipment manufacturer is releasing a set of DC Wave Pumps complete with their very own controller. The pumps will come in two models, a mid range W20 that cranks out 6000 liters per hour (around 1578 gph) at 20 watts of juice and a much more powerful W70, with a max flow of 16000 lph (4210 gallons per hour) at 70W. Each pump will be controlled by the new Bubble Magus C1 controller, which has outlets for up to four total pumps spread across two different channels.
December is finally here and that means there will be plenty of presents for all of you good little aquarium keepers. But Christmas isn’t quite here yet, and we’ve still got plenty of days to go before we get to tear into those new lights and controllers that Santa will be bringing us (hopefully). Standing right in our path to presents is today, a Monday of all days. Thankfully, it’s full of aquarium related stuff, so it’s not totally bad. Kicking off our week is our normal recap of last week’s top articles. From the week of December 1st through the 7th, or most popular reads include a look at Tridacnid clams, a public aquarium founder getting arrested for animal trafficking, the oceans losing a friend, a new aquarium game for mobile devices, and the first ever appearance of a rare wrasse species on US soil. We hope you enjoyed the articles, and as always, we’ll have another week full of aquarium hobby coverage ahead of us, so stay tuned.
- Tridacnid Clams, the Perfect Transitional Animal for Aspiring Reefkeepers?
- Portland Aquarium Co-founder Sent to Prison for Illegal Harvesting
- Paul Walker, a Friend of the Ocean
- Tanked Aquarium Game Available Now on Mobile Devices
- Cirrhilabrus squirei Lands in the US for the First Time
We don’t often focus our attention on the creatures such as the Condy anemone (Condylactis sp.), but in this case we’ll make an exception. Condy anemones have been in the trade forever. They are cheap, readily available, and not too difficult to care for. Unfortunately, they are also quite loathed by hobbyists. Being a Caribbean native, these anemones aren’t natural hosts to clownfish, so oftentimes clowns won’t go anywhere near them. However, because they are cheap, the Condy anemone is often an aquarists first stab at keeping anemones in their tanks. That aside, we can get to the real reason we are focusing on this anemone, and it actually has very little to do with the anemone itself. Instead, we share this picture because it was taken with an iPhone. That’s right, a mobile phone took this picture…and it’s a good one. Of course, being blown up on this screen does the image no justice.