Tag Archives | fish

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 013 | Elite Reef and Marine-Engineers Interview with Michael Rice

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 013

We’ve been saying that we’re going to have some interviews here on the Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast since the start. I’m excited to say that for our first interview we were able to talk to a reef store manager and the owner of a marine aquarium hobbyist news website all in one! In this episode of Aquarium Tip Tank Michael Rice was kind enough to take some time to talk to us. He has a website at marine-engineers.org, he manages Elite Reef, a reef hobby store in the Denver, CO area, and he’s got several years of experience with home aquariums.

Michael shares the story about how he got started in the marine aquarium hobby as well as some aquarium tips about the types of tanks to purchase, stocking a tank with sustainable livestock suppliers, and making sure you do a little bit of research about the fish and aquarium equipment you want to purchase. Elite Reef and Marine-Engineers.org also hold an annual Elite Reef fest that is all about fun and helps raise some money for some great charities.

Where to find Michael Rice:

Sustainable Marine Fish and Invertebrate Suppliers mentioned in this episode:

Charities that Elite Reef Fest has raised money for:

What did you think of the interview? Leave some comments below!


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How To Make Saltwater for a Small Marine Aquarium

Yes, this one is pretty simple. However, there are a lot of people that shy away from starting a saltwater aquarium when they realize that they have to somehow make, or acquire, actual saltwater to fill their fish tanks with. In reality, mixing up some saltwater takes less time than running water through an RODI filtration system to get purified water. Some people don’t want to take the time to use an RODI filter, but we recommend an RODI filter to purify all of your water for any type of fish tank that you have, be it freshwater or saltwater.

Once you have your canisters of RODI purified water, it really only takes a few minutes to measure your salt mix, pour it into the purified water, mix, and test for specific gravity and salinity using a hydrometer or refractometer. I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt and literally just follow the directions on the back of the bag. Below, I’ve included a video about how I mix my saltwater.

In the end, it ends up that it takes almost exactly 2.5 cups of salt mix for me to make a 5 gallon bucket of saltwater. These days, I go ahead and put 2 cups straight into my RODI purified water, mix up the salt, do a quick specific gravity and salinity test, and add another 0.5 cup of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt. Obviously, I’m still starting out on the low end of specific gravity and salinity when I only have 2 cups of reef salt in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Personally,  I just like to test, and make sure that everything is mixing correctly.

So what do you do if you have a larger tank and you need to make more than 5 gallons of saltwater at a time? There are a few options here. One is to have several 5 gallon buckets of water. For example, if you have a 100 gallon home aquarium, you would need 20 gallons of saltwater to perform a 25% water change. You would need to make 4, 5 gallon buckets of saltwater and make sure that the water conditions all matched.

Maybe you have a 20 gallon container for your saltwater. Hopefully it has wheels. Just fill it up with RODI purified water and add 1o cups of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt.  You may want to start with 9 cups, do some specific gravity and salinity tests, and add more salt mix until you get to the correct water conditions. Try this the first couple of times and you may end up finding out that you’re adding that 10th cup of salt mix every time you go to make a 20 gallon container of saltwater.

Whatever way you decide to make your saltwater, and whatever type of salt mix you choose to use, it really isn’t very difficult to mix up some saltwater. Just follow the directions on the salt mix container, and remember to do a few quick checks of your water conditions while your making your saltwater.

Most salt mixes state that the saltwater you make with them can be used immediately. This is true, and some people do this without any detrimental effects to their saltwater tank. However, I like to let my saltwater sit for a little while before placing it into the tank. I like to make sure that all of the salt and all of the beneficial trace elements, and vitamins are properly dissolved in the water. This also allows the saltwater to have some time for gas exchange and oxygenation before pouring it into the tank. If you let your saltwater sit in a container for several days, make sure that you test the water conditions one more time before pouring it into your tank just to make sure that none of those water conditions changed unexpectedly.

How do you make your saltwater? What salt mix do you use? Leave comments below.


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Aquarium Tips of the Day | Use a Labeling System for your Fish Tank

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tip of the day will help you keep all of those lines, cables, plugs, and hoses in order! Ever look at the back of your tank and wonder what all of those tubes and cables were running to? Or from? There is a hose taking water from the tank and into your filtration system, then another hose bringing the filtered water back into the tank. You might have yet another hose bringing water into your display tank from a reservoir with fresh, top-up water. Then there are cables and plugs for all of the electrical components like lights, filters, pumps, heaters, and power heads. If you want to keep them all in order, grab a label maker, or some other type of labeling system and put labels on all of those hoses, cables, and plugs!


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Aquarium Tips of the Day | Make sure your Fish Tank Test Kits are NOT Expired

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tip of the day will help you make sure that you are getting the correct results when you test the water parameters of your tropical fish tank, or any aquarium tank, or any water for that matter. Ever gone to test your water and noticed that all of your liquid tester is dried up? Ever get everything to turn up with such bad results that there’s no way a fish could be alive in that water? Take a look at your expiration date on your test kit, and make sure you’re not using an expired test kit!

Hopefully your test kit has an expiration date. If your test solutions are dried up – and not from using them – its definitely time for a new kit. Some test kits say that they have a 5 year shelf life, but then go on to say something like “discard them one year after opening.” Just make sure you know that you are using a valid, non-expired test kit to test the water in your fish tank and get the most accurate results! After all, it wouldn’t be any fun, and would be very confusing, if you thought that all of your water parameters were spot on because you used an expired water test kit and then had something go wrong with your fish tank.

What kind of test kit do you use? Leave a comment below!

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