Review: Hydor Smartwave Controller

As well as enhancing the aesthetic realism of a reef aquarium, the randomized currents generated by wavemaking devices have the added benefit of being able to keep detritus in suspension. They may therefore directly assist in the maintenance of improved water quality and, beyond this, will also stimulate the living organisms in your aquarium and improve gaseous exchange.

Although not exactly a brand new product, we were keen to test the Smartwave controller from Hydor as this piece of kit is rumoured to make the production of such water movement really easy. We’d already read positive reviews of it, and seen it in action briefly at Aqua2011.

Continue reading Review: Hydor Smartwave Controller

TMC Go Royal Blue With Latest LED

Recently released, TMCs 12 watt AquaRay 600 ‘Ultra Fiji Blue’ LED unit shines in a part of the blue spectrum that their existing fixtures can’t reach, featuring Cree Royal Blue XP-E LEDs with an emissions peak of 445nm.

Although potentially less useful to growth and health than exisiting fixtures, this unit is sure to appeal to those who are looking to stimulate the fluorescent pigments in their corals particularly if it is used with exisiting cyan-blue strips.

Actually, as well as being available singly for £102.11 RRP, the Fiji is also on offer as part of a combo pack with the Reef blue for a cracking £194.04 RRP. Of course, it is fully compatible with the existing mounting and controllers, benefits from low running costs and long-life, and comes in at 19.5 inches in length.

Unusual Trigger On Offer At TAC

We were really interested to see this lovely Xanthichthys caeruleolineatus (commonly known as a Goldenback or Outrigger Trigger) turn up at Taunton Aquarium Centre recently.

Normally occurring in deep water this species is a very unusual import and has commanded a high price on the few occasions where it has been offered (to the US market).

Growing to around 14″ total length this species requires a large tank (TAC recommend 200 UK gallon minimum) and, although regarded as one of the more passive Trigger species, tankmates should be chosen with care. In nature it is known primarily from isolated oceanic islands in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific.

UltraMarine Article Preview Now Available

We’ve recently added a condensed version of a two-part series of articles entitled ‘Digital-Reefs – A Fresh Approach To Reef Aquaria Set-up, Management And Observation’, the first part of which is due to appear in UltraMarine magazine issue 33 (due out week commencing 16/4).

You can gain access to this preview by completing a quick, free registration on the site and visiting our articles section.

In this abridged piece we present the basic concept of a Digital-Reef and go on to explore aspects of this methodology in detail covering system design, set-up, maintenance, monitoring and control and even system imaging techniques. We hope that you’ll find it an interesting and possibly even inspirational read and of course we thoroughly recommend that you get hold of a copy of UltraMarine for yourself when it comes out and take the time to read the extended first part of the piece.

As with all our items we are keen to hear your views so, love it or hate it, feel free to comment!

Review: Hydor Koralia Evolution 5200 Stream Pump

Hydor were kind enough to send us one of their Koralia Evolution range pumps recently and we wasted no time in incorporating this unit into our test system to see how it performed.

Coming in 3 different powers, we plumped for the most powerful unit in this range for the test which outputs around 5200 litres per hour and produces a wide and gentle) but powerful) flow pattern. The other two models in the range, the 2800 and 4000 output 2800 and 4000 litres respectively.

With the 5200 consuming just 5 watts of electricity, this is a very efficient pump and suited to tanks ranging up to around 300 litres. The unit incorporates Hydors ‘shaft-less impeller technology’ which enables up to 20% more water flow with up to 50% less power consumption. It’s proven to be quiet, easy to clean and, being an instant start pump, can be connected to a wavemaking device such as the Hydor WaveController (review due shortly). Dismantling the unit, and reassembly, is very simple and of course the item comes with instruction.

Attaching via magnet-suction cup, it’s also really easy to secure this unit into position and its ‘sphere joint’ connection allows adjustment over a limited range. The fitting mechanism also acts as a vibration-absorbing device  and as such, the pump runs very quietly. It’s a small pump too, so its not too obtrusive in the tank.

Costing far less than it’s competitors, and using less power in most instances, this pump really impressed us. If you are setting-up a new system, or looking to upgrade your existing set-up, these units certainly give you plenty of ‘bang for your buck’. Hydor are also offering a useful 2 year warranty on this product.

Digital-Reefs Is More Than Just a Blog

In case you didn’t know, Digital-Reefs offers a lot more than regular blog entries!

Using the menu bar just under the site’s header image, you can gain access to a vast collection of ornamental marine species images and profiles, just by taking the time to complete a quick and free registration.

Still a work in progress, new species and profiles are being added all the time.

What’s more, you can also access these galleries on your smart phone by visiting the website and logging-in. We hope this will help you to check identifications and confirm care requirements as you browse for new livestock at your local store.

REVIEW: The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm

Following our recent visits to Liverpool Reef Centre and Oasis Aquarium, we remain in the North (home of some of the highest ranked marine retailers in the UK) for this feature, but this time travel slightly further afield, to the East of Manchester.

Located in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Cockfields Farm is a business that has grown from humble beginnings. Originally selling potatoes at the front gate in 1966, it has developed into a large complex with custom-built facilities. It still offers top quality farm produce but now also houses a large cafeteria, extensive aquatics/exotics supplies and even a children’s petting zoo! Within easy reach of a major motorway network this site is easy to reach and, with the facilities on offer, it’s ideal for those reefers that can’t escape the family for the day! On-site facilities really are top notch… for a start, parking is excellent. Also, it’s clean and tidy inside with lots of space to move around, and toilets are also available.

Continue reading REVIEW: The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm

HOBBYIST SHOWCASE: Gary Wilkinson, Marple Bridge, UK

In what we hope will become the first of many such features, we recently paid a visit to a private UK reefkeeper to take a look at a tank which is maturing nicely, despite apparently ‘bending the rules’ in a number of areas. An upgrade to a 7 year old system, now running for just over two years, let us introduce you to this Ecosystem/DSB Reef created by Gary Wilkinson (who also goes by the name ‘Clearwater’ on Saltybox forums)

Continue reading HOBBYIST SHOWCASE: Gary Wilkinson, Marple Bridge, UK

New Species: Oblique-lined Dottyback

image: Digital-Reefs

A new species image and profile has been added to the Digital-Reefs galleries.

The Oblique-lined Dottyback Cypho purpurascens is a fairly unusual import however we spotted this stunning  specimen at The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm recently. This species can be quite aggressive so is best housed in a fairly large tank with tankmates that can look after themselves.

For a full sized image and access to this species’ information profile, click HERE (free registration required)