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Cliff Babcock and Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley explain how the simple household product, vinegar, can be used to maintain or even reduce nitrate problems in the saltwater aquarium. This cheap product has been used in top-off waters for many years to help supersaturate lime (calcium hydroxide), but may have been aiding in controlling common issues unknowingly. Click the following link to learn more. Read more...

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Light is one of the most important tools at the disposal of the reef aquarium hobbyist. Our corals and other photosynthetic livestock require intense light of the correct spectrum to grow and thrive. The methods commonly used today - high output fluorescent or metal halide lamps - are well established and viable sources of light. Their use has become well accepted as a standard approach, despite their shortcomings. LED lighting offers an alternative for people who are interested in a different approach that can address some of those shortcomings, while providing some exciting new advantages. As with many new technologies in the reefkeeping hobby, the DIY community has begun embracing LED lighting. This has created a flurry of questions from people interested in building their own LED fixtures:

  • What is LED lighting? What advantages does it have? Can I make my own?
  • Which LEDs should I use, and how many do I need?
  • How do I power LEDs?
  • How do I assemble an LED fixture?
  • What creative things can I do with LEDs that might not be possible with other types of lighting?

Coming soon, Reefkeeping Magazine will feature a series of articles to address those questions, and provide a basic point of reference for people interested in building their own LED fixtures. Even if you have no desire to assemble your own LED rig, this series will provide information useful when evaluating commercial LED rigs, or comparing LED lighting to other types of lighting technologies. This series will cover the following topics:

  • The first article will cover basic theory of LED lighting: how LEDs work, how they are powered, what the light they produce “looks” like, and how they are fundamentally different from other forms of lighting.
  • The second article will present the case for LED lighting - efficiency, spectrum, expected lifetime, comparing LEDs to other lighting technologies, and other concerns specific to applying LEDs to reef aquariums.
  • The third article will cover practical application of LED lighting to reef tanks, covering subjects such as selecting LEDs, drivers, optics, and other components that meet your needs and budget.
  • The fourth article will provide step by step instructions on assembling a typical DIY LED fixture, including presentation of several DIY fixtures assembled by Reef Central forum members.
  • Finally, a fifth article will cover several DIY LED fixtures built and in use by your fellow hobbyists, summing their findings and showing LEDs in action on their reef aquariums.

So, if DIY LEDs have caught your interest, stay tuned to Reefkeeping Magazine!

Written by Nate Enders

Photo courtesy Reef Central member Santoki

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In my opinion, do-it-yourself homemade frozen foods are a great way to feed all of the picky fish in your tank, and it also offers a way to find something that all of them like. So, I thought I would write something up and show how I make mine.

I will start by suggesting you find as much fresh seafood as you can from the seafood market at better grocery stores. Some of the frozen stuff has a lot of extra additives that I just don't feel comfortable with, so I typically avoid using any of that.

Here is what is in mine:

From the seafood department at a grocery store-

  • Salmon
  • Scallops
  • Halibut
  • Shrimp
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Squid
  • Clams

Already frozen prepared food-

  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis
  • Silversides
  • Bloodworms
  • Formula 1
  • Formula 2
  • Prime Reef

Dry foods-

  • Formula 1 pellets
  • Formula 1 flakes
  • Formula 2 pellets
  • Formula 2 flakes
  • Prime reef flakes
  • Brine shrimp flakes
  • Marine complete pellets
  • Marine grow flakes
  • Jullian Sprung's algae
  • 3 different types of Spirulina: red, green & brown

I also add-

  • Phytoplankton
  • Garlic
  • Vitachem®

Throw all of this in the food processor and blend away, trying not to make it into mush. Just blend it enough to get all the pieces so that they are very small. I then take a couple of large cookie sheets, and cut a piece of eggcrate to fit into the cookie sheet, then spread out the food and press it into all of the squares on the eggcrate. Throw it all in the freezer, then take it out the next day, and press out all the new "cubes." I usually put them in bags of 20 and keep them in the freezer.

My fish seem to love it and they eat everything!

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Have you ever wanted some good random flow in your tank but your wallet tells you that you're on a budget? Check out this thread for an inexpensive way to add some good flow to your tank without busting the bank.

 DIY Swirler Stein

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Are you setting up a new tank and wondering how to aquascape your new toy? Do-it-yourself foam structures offer a way to build a unique, custom-designed reef. Check out this thread in the Do-it-Yourself forum:

My DIY Rock/Foam Reef

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Have you ever thought of modifying your VorTech? Well, Adam Blundell has done just that. In this new article in Reefkeeping Magazine, Adam explains the process...

"I’ve been working with the EcoTech Marine VorTech pump for over a year now. I’ve burned them up, broken parts, run them dry and done all sorts of things you wouldn’t normally try on a $400 pump. Thankfully, it’s my job. Overall, I’d have to say I am very pleased and certainly impressed by these pumps. For people (like me) who are fascinated with water flow patterns, the use of sync/anti-sync technology is a playground of wonder. Additionally, the shear volume and direction of the flow creates many opportunities. Read more...

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