The Digital-Reefs Black Tank – Test Fill Complete

While we endure a several-day, tortuous ‘RO fill’ period for our new system we thought it would be a good time to blog about some of the recent work we’ve been doing to get it ‘reef-ready’. In line with the Digital-Reefs ideology that we are following for this tank, we’ve put in hours of planning and design to get this far, but it always pays to build-in a little flexibility as we’ll see. Continue reading The Digital-Reefs Black Tank – Test Fill Complete

New Sponsor: Hanna Instruments

Hanna Instruments is a global company and a world leader in the manufacture and supply of scientific instrumentation and test kits.

Round the world the company is renowned for its product innovation and competitive edge.  Adapting high end technology to meet demand for advanced measurement solutions in low to mid markets Hanna has set new standards in water testing. Many of their single and multi-parameter photometers are widely-used in aquaculture.  Easy to operate and offering high levels of accuracy, they are popular with both hobbyists and professional users.

Mini Hanna Checkers join an impressive line of leading products and world firsts.  They also have their own dedicated website.  For details on the growing family of products in this range, visit

With their impressive heritage in the market, we are thrilled to have Hanna on board!

Hanna Instruments
Eden Way
Pages Industrial Park
Leighton Buzzard
T:  01525 850 855   E:  W:

Global Reef Expedition In French Polynesia

Photo: Dr. Andy Bruckner

Taking place from 2011-2016, The Global Reef Expedition: Science Without Borders® recently moved on from the Galapagos Islands and is now conducting activities in French Polynesian waters.

Specifically, the team of scientists on board the Golden Shadow are now surveying the reefs of Society Islands and the Tuamoto Archipelago.

In the latest entry Dr Andy Bruckner shares his assessment of the state of the reefs of the Tuamotos (those of Rangiroa, Aratika, and Raraka and Fakarava) and compares them to those of the Society Islands which have already been assessed. Although judged to be relatively heathy, Dr Bruckner and the team have noticed the odd occurance of bleaching affecting Pocillopora sp. corals.

The commentary on the state of the various different reef zones makes for an interesting read and we therefore suggest you take the time to visit the blog to view it in full.

Review: Vertex Triplex Cleaner Magnet

You’d think it would be pretty hard to get excited about a simple algae magnet. Well, if that’s the case just take a look at this offering from Cologne-based purveyors of reefing-excellence, Vertex Aquaristik. Offering the discerning aquarist a perfect marriage of ‘form and function’ this magnet attracts in more ways than one.

Seriously, this scrubber exudes class literally from the moment you lay your eyes on the box, indeed such is the quality of the packaging Continue reading Review: Vertex Triplex Cleaner Magnet

Paternal Pipefish Give Babies A Boost

Unique to their kind, ‘male pregnancy’ is a reproductive strategy common throughout the Syngnathidae family of the Pipefish, Seahorses and Sea Dragons. In certain species that possess a brood pouch, males not only osmoregulate the brood pouch fluid to maintain proper pH for the developing embryos but also provide their offspring with nutrients such as glucose and amino acids.

Now, a recent study by Olivia Roth at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany and colleagues has now shown that males go one step further by also providing antibodies to boost the immune system of their babies – something previously only thought to have happened with female pregnancies.

Using Syngnathus typhle (the Broadnosed Pipefish) as their subject, the scientists exposed lab-grown males and females to dead bacteria. The fish were then left to mate and the resulting offspring, incubated by the male fish, were later also exposed to the bacteria. By examining immune cell proliferation and immune gene expression, they found the young pipefish exhibited the strongest immune response if both parents had been exposed to the bacteria, suggesting that both provided antibodies.

The study concludes that ‘sex-role reversal in connection with male pregnancy opens the door for bi-parental influences on offspring immunity, and may represent one additional advantage for the evolution of male pregnancy’.

Review: Hanna Test Checker Phosphorous ULR

A critical ‘building block’ for life, Phosphorus exists in seawater in a variety of organic and inorganic forms. In elevated levels these Phosphates have the potential to fuel nuisance algae blooms and can even interrupt the growth of calcifying organisms. Typically Phosphates are introduced to aquaria through the foods we add, but they may also creep in through household water supplies (particularly if tapwater is used), from certain salt mixes and from certain low grade activated carbon brands. Continue reading Review: Hanna Test Checker Phosphorous ULR

Digital-Reefs – The Black Tank Arrives

Following on from our entry back in late October, we are pleased to report that our new test system is now in place awaiting it’s first test fill! Built by Coral Cabinets, the system was delivered around 5 weeks after ordering and only took just 30 minutes to install. Overall impressions are good – crucially the system has now formally passed the challenging ‘wife test’ despite some initial worries that the tank might dominate its surroundings.

Continue reading Digital-Reefs – The Black Tank Arrives

Unboxed: Tunze 3155 Osmolator Auto Top-Up

The relatively high rate of evaporation from uncovered reef tanks often comes as something of a surprise to new hobbyists. Given that Salinity fluctuations resulting from this effect can have a negative impact on sensitive livestock, it quickly becomes clear that a reliable system needs to be put into place. Over the years we’ve used a variety of methods, from religiously trickling in RO water by hand daily to installing a peri-pump on a timer to drip Kalkwasser slowly overnight. Neither of these methods are ideal of course, indeed we’ve always longed to add a more accurate and less labour intensive option, in other words an automatic top-up (ATO).

Continue reading Unboxed: Tunze 3155 Osmolator Auto Top-Up

Revamped SAIA Lists Make Choices Clear

Already having drawn a great deal of attention, the SAIA list of unsuitable and unsustainable species has recently been revamped to improve clarity and overall usability. In summary, the list has now been split in two with one now solely detailing unsuitable species, and the other just unsustainable species. Visual aids and colour coding have also been brought into use and the combination does indeed make the lists easier to interpret. We suggest you take a look and familiarise yourselves with the species noted and take such information on-board when selecting livestock and if you see a retailer selling species on the list consider pointing them towards the SAIA website!

Coral Whiteout To Follow Eclipse Blackout on GBR

Although the attention of the majority was firmly fixed on the heavens for North East Australia’s Total Solar Eclipse of Wednesday 14 November 2012, an army of film-makers and scientists took up prime position beneath the waves of North of Queensland to study and document the effect of the phenomenon on the stunning marine life of the area.

Coral biologist Dr Andrew Negri, of the Townsville-based Australian Institute of Marine Science explained “Coral and its spawning is tightly cued into the light of the lunar cycle. We believe the total eclipse will not influence any spawning. But I could be completely wrong.” He added that many other marine researchers were intrigued by possible temporary changes to organisms in the underwater world.

On the subject of coral reproduction, the mass annual spawn of corals on the outer reefs of the GBR is set to commence shortly, at the time of the late November full moon. With millions of corals simultaneously releasing sperm and eggs, the blizzard of activity is set to turn the seas white in certain areas.