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Category Archives: Product Reviews

Lytro unveils radical new camera design

Via Scoop.itheartside

The startup hopes light-field cameras such as its $400 model due in early 2012 will revolutionize photography by letting people focus photos after they’re taken. Read this blog post by Stephen Shankland on Deep Tech.
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Follow-Up to DIY CO2 & Bed Bugs

For those who are skeptical about DIYCO2 rigs attracting bed bugs, we have a little vid backing our claim in the form of a Bed Bug Detector.  This product is designed to attract bed bugs in apartments, houses or rooms suspected of being infested.

Read the rest here . . .

Aqueon versus Aqua Clear filters

This is a re-written product review based on a response I posted at Badman’s Tropical Fish forums this morning.

The question was regarding densely packed bubbles collecting on the surface of the water.  First the what, why and how to get rid of this phenomena, if it is a sign of trouble in the tank.

The last, first;  Yes, it is an early warning sign.  The bubbling is a sign there is a protein build up due to one or more factors; poor water circulation from a dirty, clogging or exhausted filter media.  Additionally, over feeding and/ or a carcass decaying in the tank could be adding to the problem.  We have taken care of the what and a couple of whys.

How do we correct this problem?

Look at the surface of the water, can you detect less motion than you normally see after your regular water changes.  You are checking your filter, heater and so forth at that time, every time, right?  Of course you are.

If there are no decaying carcasses, on to the filter.

Turn the filter off.  Drain off a quart or so of tank water into a pail, bowl or some other wide and deep container.  Next remove your intake tube or hose.  Is your intake clogged by debris, slimy colonies, a dead fish, some (detested) pond snails you did not know you had?  Clear the intake.  Remove the filter media, wash in that tank water you just set aside.  Check the filter box for the same problems.

Do not ever wash the media in tap water. You just spent a dollar-two, ninety-eight on that bottle of water conditioner to remove all the chlorine and chloramide, remember? (yes, that is a real dollar amount, where is your sense of humor)

Reassemble all the parts, resolve not to let this happen again, or at least too frequently.  You can replace the quart of water with fresh, conditioned or aged water.

10g: with-a-view . . . of our first snow!

The Product Comparison

I have an Aqueon rated 20 on a 10g planted tank.

I also have two Aqua Clear filters.  One rated to 30 gallon on
a second 10g tank.  And one a rated 20 on a 5g tank.  The rated 30 is brand new.  The AquaClear 20 on the 5g was previously on the second 10g.

I am disappointed in the Aqueon because the tank it is on has many
more water problems than either Aqua Clear tank. I have the same
dense bubbling that the original person asked about and a persistent “pond scum” problem if I am not vigilant about yanking that cartridge in the Aqueon and rinsing it.

The benefit of “ease” of filter maintenance on the Aqueon is eliminated
by the need to yank the filter cartridge every 4-5 days and clean it after
a month of use in a heavily planted tank.
No way, in my opinion, will the cartridge insert system used
by Aqueon, last more than two months, tops in a moderate to heavily planted tank.
I am suspicious of carbon exhaustion in those cartridges; there is much less carbon in a cartridge than in the sachet of carbon in an Aqua Clear setup.  So too for the fiber encasement and there are no bio-media at all.

In my opinion, the Aqua Clear mechanical configuration
is superior to the Aqueon.  There are three filtration sachets therefore; true triple filtration capabilities.  Bio-sponge at the bottom, carbon sachet in the middle and I use a bio-tube media sachet instead of ammo sachet at the top before the water dumps out the outlet.  Additionally, of the smaller, less expensive filters, I find the flow adjustment on an Aqua Clear better suited to my tanks needs and livestocking purposes, than the fixed rate of the Aqueon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am raising shrimp in the AC 30 tank
and have added a puff of fiber to the intake, in the event I should ever
have shrimplets.  Shrimp need super-clean water and over-kill
filtration has eliminated Grass/ghost/glass shrimp death due to
water issues.

When I have some luxury cash,  I will be swapping my Aqueon
off the first 10g and replacing it with an Aqua Clear.

If you find this information useful or you have a question, please leave us the appropriate feedback.  We enjoy hearing from you.      We use a spam filter, your comment may be held for approval if you have never commented previously.

James’ Planted Tank – Algae Guide

James’ Planted Tank – Algae Guide.

Algae control is always a hot topic, we see the requests for help spike during season change and about a month, give or take,  after a newly cycled tank is up and running.

Our tanks are no different.  There is an algae farm in the planted tank as well as some good pond snail food on the glass of the shrimparium/grow-out.  James had added to the knowledge base by providing pics, descriptions and remedies.  So we add Jame’s Planted Tank Algae Guide to our arsenal of pesky problem remedies.

During the learning curve phase of both our 10g tanks, back when the water and glass were crystal clear, we said an algae outbreak would not be unwelcome as it would be an indicator we were on the right track as far as establishing a biologically balanced tank where our plants and therefore livestock, would thrive.  The shrimp, we can happily report, are competing with the pond snails (we do not want, more to come) for every square inch of food on the glass.

The moral of this FishTale:

Be careful what you wish for; in aquarium keeping,

you will get it, eventually . . .

Badmans Tropical Fish Tank Log Monitor

Giypsy’s tank logs @ Badmans Tropical Fish Tank Log Monitor.

The above is a link to the three tanks documented here.  Many thanks to Badmanstropicalfish.com for providing this free tank logging tool.  Whether you are new to aquariums or a seasoned aquarist, tank logging is very important.

Badmans gives you the ability to record all the relevant data associated with your tanks including; tank size, hardware type and wattage, water change schedule, livestock species and notes, as well as maintenance reminders.

For both the new, cycling tank as well as the seasoned, mature tank, one of the critical tasks is water parameter documentation.  Your water chemical makeup is crucial to the types and number of livestock you can successfully keep in a tank.  Until the release of the AqAdvisor v. 1, we relied heavily upon the tank logs for our tanks to give us both an overview of the history of the tanks as well as clues to changes that may benefit or harm each tank.  It is our opinion that the combination of tank logging and the advisor have kept us from making costly mistakes and killing livestock.

We hope you will give the tank logging practice a try.  We can pretty much guarantee your tanks will look better and your livestock will thrive by following the recommendations of seasoned aquarists and the use of these two tools.

P.S.  Our chems and stats are also kept the old fashioned way, a regular blank  journal which goes with us to the fish vendors.



Aquarium Algae ID

Aquarium Algae ID

Happy Thanksgiving!

Using the lazy man’s post option today as it is a holiday in the U.S.   Dusko Bojic of Sweden maintains an informational blog dedicated to algae.  Yes, the green, blue, brown, black, slimy, hairy, thready and mysterious oily surface stuff that can drive an aqua-gillie mad.

Mr. Bojic’s information is sub-divided into algae types and is accompanied by good pictures of each type.  The scope includes the type, cause, remedies as well as pros and cons of multiple remedy options.  The site is well written in clear language so as not to overwhelm the new aquarium keeper.  It is has enough depth to satisfy the advanced aquariest with a problem not previously experienced.  The reader should come away with a clear understanding of the causes and cures for most algae problems.

And why is this important to the tanks documented here?  Up to this point in the short history of the three tanks currently managed, no algae has grown.  Now that the new lights have had a week to impact the two 10gs, the beginnings of an algae colony has become visible in the heavier fertilized 10:view.

Ironically, this is good news.  Some plant species went through serious die-off due to transplant shock and slow, natural re-establishment.  An algae outbreak was desired in this case, to gauge how close to good growing conditions, we were at any given point.  Now we know.  We are getting close to the sweet spot between good growing conditions and nutrient exchange versus overkill.

Off we went in search of clear, concise, well written information.  Thanks to Mr. Bojic’s efforts, we have it.  Good stuff.

Aq Advisor – Great Stocking Tool

Now we come to our very first product review and it is FREE!

What could be better?

A fellow aqua-gillie and geek of programming has created a tool to help novices and advanced aquari-ests alike, make intelligent choices about stocking new and established aquariums.  Based on over forty behavioral attributes, tank size, projected growth and filtration this version 1 of AqAdvisor is just the geeky tool I was looking for.

With this tool, you will be able to make projections regarding the prospective compatibility of your livestock without costly mistakes.  Select your show-fish or dream fish, add quantity and you will see statistics about your tank’s viability at the bottom of the page.  Go back to the top and add another fish or invertebrate, the bottom informational advisor automatically recalculates your tank with the new addition.

Here is a text example of a 5g with an AquaClear mini(20) filter and one female betta splendens:

Recommended temperature range: 24 – 28 C. [Display in Farenheit]
Recommended pH range: 6 – 7.
Recommended hardness range: 5 – 19 dH.

No errors.

You have plenty of aquarium filtration capacity.

Your aquarium filtration capacity for above selected species is 814%.
Recommended water change schedule: 8% per week.
Your aquarium stocking level is 79%. [Generate Image] [What’s this?]

You get everything you need to make further choices regarding fish/invertebrate type, filtration, ph & water hardness as well as warnings when your choices are incompatible or you exceed your tank’s capabilities before you throw down hard-earned cash.

Here is a screenshot of the 10g: with-a-view after the current re-scaping, with new livestock projections:

Projected 10g:view final stock.  As you can see, I have chosen to overstock this tank just a bit; I plan to cycle the water from this tank into an aquaponic setup at some point in early 2010.  Not really wanting goldfish, I needed to see where the sweet-spot is before purchasing further hardware and livestock.  During my futzing around, I actually had this tank up to 111% without getting a filtration upgrade warning.  Cool beans.
We hope you will give this tank simulator a try and leave some feedback.  Improvements and error corrections are dependent upon fish-keepers like you letting the author know what you experienced.
A word of caution from both the author of AqAdvisor and us:
Do Not rely solely upon this tool. Do your research while utilizing this great tool, before, during and after you make purchases.
In the case of my 10g:view tank, I have overkill when it comes to filtration for a 10 gallon tank; therefore I can get away with some, judicious overstocking as long as my livestock show no signs of stress.  That is why you need to do your homework.  What are the signs of stress in every species you want in your tank?  I know them, I have watched the behavior of my current selections.  My female betta splendens is a hunter, my male is not.
Thanks for stopping by!

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