Last month, I discussed how to protect your reef aquariums from the dangers of wintery weather and power outages. Over the past few weeks, I've read a number of threads on Reef Central as well as heard from local hobbyists how their RO/DI systems have cracked because of freezing conditions. If you have an RO/DI system in your garage, basement or other area that is subject to major temperature fluctuations, the best choice is to move it indoors where it is less likely to suffer damage. Not only will the housings crack, but the membrane itself can freeze and rupture as well. Even the quick-connect fittings may crack, which by itself could cause costly damage after it thaws. If the unit can't be moved, insulate it well. Or turn off the water source, drain the system of water, and loosen the housings for the time being. A little prevention can save you time and money.
Often, I read about a solution that will fix a problem, only to have it misapplied to other problems. Specifically, a great thread that was featured as Thread of the Month in 2007: "No Lights for 3 Days Every Couple of Months Works Wonders!" The originator of this thread recommended a natural solution to erradicating cyanobacteria blooms in our aquariums. Often I read how aquarists suggest this method for eliminating green hair algae outbreaks, which could somewhat help but is not the solution. Cyanobacteria responds to light, which is why it turns darker as the lighting period progresses and fades away during the late night hours. Starving it of light is a good chemical-free solution, provided the corals can handle the darkened period. Reefs around the world are not subjected to ten hours of light every single day of the year (like our aquariums), and it isn't unusual that those reefs experience one or more days in successsion without sunlight. Ambient light in the room is enough for the fish to see where they are swimming, and even to eat the daily food provided by their owners. Will that same method work for dinoflagellates? No, that again is a different algae. Perhaps this article will help: Problem Dinoflagellates and pH. What about Bryopsis? No, again that algae needs a different method of erradication. One thread ("Finally an easy solution to bryopsis!") recommends a specific product called Tech-M by Kent that works nicely. Let's curb the mis-information process; instead, point people to personal proven experiences or to threads with further discussion on the specific topic in question. This provides a service to every reader and reduces frustrating wasted effort.
Marc Levenson (melev)