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Unpacking the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System

If you follow along here at Aquarium Tip Tank you know that I have been going through the process of setting up a 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. A couple weeks ago, I decided that it was time to start adding a cleaner crew to the tank. At that point the aquarium had been cycling for about 5 weeks, there had been a few nice diatom blooms, and it was time to add some hardy invertebrates that like to feed on some of the algae.

As with any livestock that is going to be added to an aquarium, I needed to make sure that all of the members of the cleaner crew were acclimated to the conditions of my saltwater aquarium. I started to investigate and do some research into ways to make my own acclimation system until I did a quick search on Amazon. There, I found the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System for only $20.

Sure, I could’ve gone to the hardware store and found some small diameter tubing, a drip valve, and all of the other materials necessary for this project. However, I probably would’ve spent $20 or more at the hardware store and a whole lot more than the 2 days that Amazon takes to deliver items to my doorstep.

The Doradon Acclimation System all boxed up

The Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System allows users to equalize new aquarium livestock to both the temperature and chemical conditions of your fish tank simultaneously. It holds the bag that your local fish store sent your new fish, coral, shrimp, or invertebrate home in, allowing it to float in your aquarium water to equalize temperature while keeping the top of the bag open to equalize the chemical conditions by dripping water from your tank into the bag.

Opening the Box of the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System

The Doradon Aquarium Acclimation system includes all of the necessary parts and pieces to hang an open bag in your aquarium water and drip your aquarium water into the bag. All of the parts and pieces are also different colors! This helps make the included instructions easy to follow. The three main parts are the blue aquarium frame with the silver thumb screw, the green bag holder, and the clear dripping cup with flow control nozzle.

The parts assembled with the directions, but still in the box.

Above, you can see all of the parts assembled. The green bag holder has a hook that slides onto one of two spots of the blue aquarium frame. The clear dripping cup has two holes at the back that allow it to slide onto the pointed cup supports at the top of the blue aquarium frame.

Blue Aquarium Frame on the Tank

To start getting the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System on the tank, you should first put the blue aquarium frame on one wall of your aquarium by itself.

Thumb Screw Used to Keep the Aquarium Frame Upright and Level

The thumb screw allows the acclimation system to be used on various aquarium wall thicknesses. Adjust the thumb screw so that the blue aquarium frame stays upright and level on your fish tank with a little bit of pressure pulling the aquarium frame forward. After all, you’re eventually going to hang a bag with livestock in it from this frame. You don’t want it tipping over, and ruining your plans to acclimate your livestock.

Livestock bag attached to bag holder.

The next step is to pull the top of the livestock bag through the bottom of the green bag holder, open the bag and wrap the open end of it out and around the outside of the green bag holder. Use the pointed arrows of the green bag holder to poke holes in the top of the livestock bag so that it can be held securely by the green bag holder.

Livestock Bag floating in Aquarium water and being held by the green bag holder and blue aquarium frame.

Next, you can pick the green bag holder up with the livestock bag attached to it, and slide the hook on the back of the bag holder over one of the holder supports on the blue aquarium frame. At this point, you should have a bag of livestock floating in your aquarium water with the lights off. The temperature is equalizing, and its time to start equalizing the chemical conditions with the drip cup!

Dripping Cup with Aquarium Water hung from Aquarium Frame and dripping into livestock bag.

All you have to do is dip the dripping cup into your fish tank to collect some of your aquarium water, hang the dripping cup on the blue aquarium frame of the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System, and adjust how fast your aquarium water drips into the livestock bag using the flow control nozzle at the bottom of the dripping cup.

Acclimation to your Aquarium Conditions in Process

Now, just let the acclimation system do its work for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If there is still water in the dripping cup after 15 to 20 minutes, just leave everything alone until the dripping cup is empty. I actually like to let everything acclimate for about 30 to 45 minutes. The temperature will come to equilibrium in about 15 to 20 minutes, but it usually takes a little longer for the chemical conditions to equalize.

I hope you made it this far because I have a couple more aquarium tips about acclimating your livestock. First, use a quarantine tank. No, a quarantine tank may not be absolutely necessary for your first round of cleaner crew. However, a quarantine tank should definitely be used for every fish that you place in your display aquarium. Yes, I’ll admit that I’m guilty of not always using a quarantine tank with new fish, but you never know what kind of disease, parasites, and stress the fish store has given the fish that you just brought home. That disease will quickly spread to the rest of your fish tank and you’ll end up scrambling to set up a quarantine tank to keep your display aquarium alive and thriving. Its much easier to just use a quarantine tank first, get rid of all the fish diseases, then acclimate from your quarantine tank to your display tank.

Second, acclimate livestock that comes from different tanks and systems of your LFS separately. For example, you may stop by your LFS and pick up a cleaner crew from one tank or tank system while also picking up a fish from another tank or tank system. Or maybe you purchase a fish from one wall of your LFS and another fish from another wall of your LFS. Do not put them in the same bag and acclimate them together. Acclimate livestock from different aquarium systems separately. Sure, that one wall of tanks in your LFS is probably working off of the same filtration system with the same sump, protein skimmers, filters, etc. The other fish that you get from that other wall of tanks is probably running off of an entirely different system and the water characteristics may be different. Acclimate them separately and they will go through a much safer, and less stressful acclimation process.

Finally, acclimate between every tank. Acclimate between your LFS and your quarantine tank, and acclimate between your quarantine tank and your display tank. Your fish and your aquarium will be much happier, and much healthier if you take just a few simple steps.

Putting fish in your aquarium? How do you acclimate them to your tank? Leave comments below.


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Aquarium Tips of the Day | Be Creative and Functional with Aquascaping

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tips will help you enjoy your tank while making sure that it also fits all of the needs of your livestock. Want to make sure that your tropical fish tank looks a little different from all the rest? Want to make sure you enjoy a little personalized style in your aquarium? But what about making sure that you’re providing a cave or some hiding spots for your butterfly fish at night? What about making sure that you’ve got places to secure all of your corals so that they can get the necessary light they need? Well, go ahead and be creative with your aquascaping, but while you’re doing it just keep in mind the needs of your livestock.

We don’t only talk about reef tanks here, that just happens to be what I’m trying to set up. Therefore, you don’t have to use live rock, or any rocks for that matter. You can go out and get fake decorations that suit both the needs of your creativity and the needs of your livestock. Or, maybe you want to arrange, cut, scrape, and sculpt your rockwork into your own fun and useful decorations! My opinion is…go nuts. If people ask you how and why you aquascaped the way you did, its time for a fun lesson!

Share some pictures of your aquascaping! Fire me an email at if you have too!



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TJ’s 30 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium System Check

If you’re a regular at Aquarium Tip Tank you probably know that I am setting up a new 30 gallon saltwater tropical fish tank, and that I am sharing this process for all so that everybody can see how its done, get some home aquarium tips, and learn from my mistakes. Once you have all of the necessary aquarium equipment on hand, it is time to start setting up your tropical fish tank. All of the steps for home aquarium setup are listed in Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 | Setting up a Home Aquarium, Part 1.

The first step in this process is to get all of the equipment in place, running all of your hoses and plugs, and making sure that everything is in the location that you think you are going to want. You can listen to the story of how I cleaned and leak checked my aquarium tank prior to moving it into position on Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 003, and see how I set up and placed my API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter here.

I attached my heater in place on the back wall of my tank, attached my thermometer to the side, got my light and light stand set up, and ran all of my plugs to my surge protector. At this point, it was time for me to put some RO/DI water into my empty fish tank and run a 24 hour system check. First, here is a quick little video about how I go about filtering my tap water.

Now that I have some RO/DI purified water, its time to fill up my fish tank and perform my 24 hour system check! I have to admit, not everything worked out exactly as planned. I hope you listened to Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 prior to setting up your tank and you had an empty bucket, some towels, and some extra RO/DI purified water handy.

Yes, you’ve probably guessed by now that I had a leak. Much to my dismay, the leak was coming from the API Nexx Canister Filter. BUT WAIT! Don’t return your filters just yet. I did eventually get it to work, and I think it was just user error. That’s the only thing that can really explain the leak because as I write this, the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter is currently working perfectly, and has been for 4 days.

I did try to fix the filtration system on my own – I apologize for not having pictures or video of this, but I was frantically gathering towels, cleaning up water, and turning electrical equipment off and not thinking about grabbing my camera. Initially, the leak was a small stream of water coming from in between the base unit and the canister section. I turned off the filter, dried everything up with a towel, and took the canister section off of the base unit.

On the bottom of the canister section there are 2 male water ports that slide into 2 female water ports on the base unit. The male water ports on the bottom of the canister section both have O-rings around them to seal up the tubing and keep water from leaking. This had to be where water was getting out. I decided to try putting some plumber’s tape around these ports, put the canister section back on the base unit, and try again to see if water stopped leaking. Well, the leak actually got worse.

I turned everything off, cleaned everything up, and at this point I was baffled. This thing could’ve been leaking from anywhere. Having a degree in Mechanical Engineering, it was, of course, time to take the entire system apart for inspection. I grabbed a screwdriver and started taking the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter apart.

This is where having some empty buckets ready really came in handy. In order to take the entire system apart, the tubes feeding the base unit and canister filters with water and returning the water to the tank, had to be removed from the base unit. Well, when you turn the handle to take the canister section off of the base unit, you are also closing valves and re-routing water. It was fairly obvious that there was still water sitting in the water tubes that would need to be drained. However, what happens when you disconnect the water tube from the base unit? Water keeps draining out of that tube until the water level in the aquarium is lower than the pump for the filtration system.  I’m glad I had a few empty buckets around.

I disassembled the entire filtration system, but still couldn’t find any other place that water could be leaking from. It wasn’t until after reassembling everything that I thought to myself, “You know, those o-rings on the male ports of the canister section are there for a reason. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering them with plumber’s tape. Maybe the plumber’s tape actually made the tape worse.”

So, I removed the plumber’s tape from the male ports on the bottom of the canister section of the filtration system. I then went about reconnecting the water tubes to the base unit, and very carefully placing the canister section back onto the base unit making sure that everything is lined up properly and that the canister section was pushed snugly onto the base unit. I turn the handle at the top of the canister section to lock everything in place and open up the valves that allow water to flow through the canisters, and turn on the canister filtration system one more time.

Much to my surprise, there are NO MORE LEAKS! The API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filtration system has been working great for 4 days now! The unfortunate part of all this is that I don’t really have an answer for you about why the thing leaked in the first place. My only guess is that maybe I didn’t have the canister section properly aligned on the base unit. Like I said, maybe it was user error?

I must also say that RENA/API, the manufacturers of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter, were very quick and fantastic with customer support. I sat down and sent them an email before I took the canister filter apart. The email was sent on a Saturday evening at 6pm through their contact form on their webpage. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning I had a response to my email.

I will continue to keep you updated on the durability of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter. Do I have trouble placing the canister section back on the base unit the next time I change my filter media? Do I spend 30 minutes to an hour chasing small leaks every time I take the canister section off the base? Or, does it work perfectly every other time I go to use it?

For now, here’s a video showing how I filled my tank with RO/DI purified water for my system check and how everything is performing and looking after letting my saltwater tropical fish tank system run for 4 days. Enjoy!

Did you perform a 24 hour Aquarium System Check? How did it go? Leave comments or questions below!



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Aquarium Tips of the Day | Use a Drip Loop for the Cables of your Aquarium

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tip of the day will help you keep from frying your lights, heaters, and other electric aquarium devices. No matter how much you try to prevent water splashes and overflows, you’re never going to completely prevent them in the years that you have your aquarium. The problem is that water can help conduct electricity and there are several pieces of aquarium equipment plugged in somewhere near the tank. It is possible for that splashed, overflowed, or leaked water to travel down the cord to the plug and create a short, a surge, a fire, and possibly electrocute somebody. In order to prevent this, make sure that all of your power cords have a drip loop. We’ve included a picture of a drip loop below. This way, any water traveling down the cord sits at the bottom of the loop until it either evaporates or drips to a spot under and away from the plug and outlet.

Use a Drip Loop on all electrical cords for your Aquarium

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We Love our Tropical Fish Tanks. Do you want one? Find out if starting a home aquarium is right for you.

At Aquarium Tip Tank we love our pet fish and we enjoy setting up and taking care of our tropical fish tanks. We love them because they’re beautiful, they are tools for education about underwater ecosystems, they are tools to promote marine conservation, they are fantastic and proven stress relievers, and they are just plain fun! For more on that, listen to Aquarium Tip Tank’s First Podcast!

However, before you jump into this wonderful hobby, there are a few things to consider if you’ve never taken care of a home aquarium before. We definitely don’t want to scare you off, but please realize that the fish in your tank will be your pets. Just like any other pet there is some research that you should do prior to picking out your pet, and there are some pieces of equipment that you will need in order to bring home your new pet and keep it healthy and happy.

Before you buy a Tropical Fish Tank:

For a home aquarium, the initial stages of research, equipment purchase, and tank setup, before you actually purchase and bring home any fish, accounts for the biggest chunk of time that you will have to devote to your new hobby. The size of your aquarium tank and the type of livestock you choose to keep will determine how simple or complex the maintenance of your tank will be.

Tank Selection and Fish Research:

In the end, the environment that you create in your tank must match the healthy living environment of the livestock that you want to keep. The task is to simulate the natural environment of the fish that you choose to keep as closely as possible. So, one of the first steps is to do some research into the kind of livestock you want to keep. You may want to keep an Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator), but when you start doing your research you figure out that a minimum tank size of 220 gallons is recommended to keep an Emperor Angelfish.

Our thought is that you have to start with tank selection and livestock research simultaneously. Do you have such an undying need to keep an Emperor Angelfish that you will use whatever spot in your home is big enough for a 220 gallon tank? Or, do you have the perfect spot for a tank in your home, but you can only fit a 50 gallon tank there? If you can only fit a 50 gallon tank, then you will have to do some research and find some tropical fish to keep that will do well in the environment that you can create with that 50 gallon aquarium.

Personally, I like to find the spots in my house with esthetic quality first, figure out the maximum tank size that I can put in that space, and choose my fish based on that tank size. I like to find a spot in my house where myself and my guests will see the tank, ask questions about the fish, invertebrates, and other livestock, and where its easy to relax and enjoy the personalities of my pet fish. But that’s just me. Maybe you want that Emperor Angelfish so much that you will put a large tank in your large, unfinished basement where most people don’t regularly go. It is up to you. If you need some help selecting a tank, go ahead and sign up for our FREE Tank Selection Worksheet and our e-updates and newsletter.

You’ve selected a tank location, and a tank size. You’ve purchased the tank you’re going to use and researched and selected some fish that you are able to keep in that size tank. What’s next?

Aquarium Equipment Selection:

While doing the research on the fish that you want to keep you may have realized that there are certain environments that your livestock normally lives in. The water temperature must be kept steady, the tank has to be lit to mimic the sunlight that the inhabitants of your tank normally receive, and the water quality needs to remain pristine with the use of a filtration system.

There are several varieties and countless brands of every piece of aquarium equipment. You can do hours upon hours of research to figure out exactly which pieces of equipment you want to purchase, or you can walk in to your Local Fish Store (LFS) and purchase whatever the salesperson suggests for you. The problem with walking into your LFS and immediately walking out with an aquarium setup is that you end up with less of an understanding of how everything works together to create the underwater ecosystem that you want to keep. You won’t know why you were sold those specific pieces of equipment. Maybe it was the best for your intended aquarium, or maybe it was the pieces of equipment that cost the most. We suggest that you at least do some research into the types of equipment that you want to use.

Fish Tank Setup

Now that you’ve purchased your tank, tank stand, filtration equipment, heater, thermometer, lighting, light timers, surge protectors, water additives, substrate, rocks, and decorations its finally time to actually setup your tank so that you can put fish in it! First, you need to place everything and attach it correctly on, in, and around your aquarium. Anything that is going into the tank and is going to be submerged in the aquarium water MUST FIRST BE RINSED off before placing it in the desired location in the tank. This includes your gravel, aquarium safe decorations, rockwork, etc.

Finally, its time to put water into the tank. If you are starting a saltwater aquarium, you may have to make the saltwater first. Once the water is in your tank YOU MUST CYCLE YOUR TANK. A whole article can (and will) be written about the Nitrogen Cycle and how to go about cycling your tank, but for now, just realize that it could take anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks.

Now that everything is set up and properly cycled, fish can be added to the tank. From this point on, fish tanks require relatively little maintenance. There are many aquarium hobbyists that may laugh at that statement and completely disagree. However, we must remember that our fish are our pets. As with any pet, they need to be fed, and there are health and maintenance tasks that must be performed on a regular basis to keep our pets happy and healthy.

We have to feed our fish every day, just like any other pet, so we should also do a few quick water quality checks every day. While we’re feeding our fish, it only takes a few seconds to check the water temperature, make sure all of our pumps, lights, heaters, and timers are still in working order, and it will be obvious if some algae and grime needs to be cleaned off the inside walls of the tank. This usually takes less than 5 minutes a day. This is less time than it takes to walk, play with, feed, and take care of almost any other pet every day.

There are also bigger maintenance tasks that must be performed on a regular basis, but they are not daily tasks. It is recommended that a 20%-30% water change is performed on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. It is imperative that filter media be changed about once every 2 months. In conjunction with these, water quality testing should also be performed. The time it takes to perform these tasks depends on the size of your tank, how easy it is to change your filter media, and the demands of the livestock.

The Price of a Home Aquarium

All of these pieces of equipment that we’ve talked about so far need to be obtained for use somehow. Again, the cost of these items will depend on the size of your tank and the demands of the livestock you choose to keep. For example, a freshwater, fish only aquarium with fake, aquarium safe decorations, does not demand the specialized lighting and filtration systems that a planted tank or a saltwater reef tank does.

You also may be able to find hand-me-down equipment, equipment on Craigslist, or on aquarium websites with deals like That Fish Place. Personally, I’m in the process of starting a saltwater tank that I got from my brother-in-law. He used to use the tank and tank stand for a freshwater aquarium. With everything that you might get as a hand-me-down or from Craigslist, just make sure that everything works, nothing leaks, and you clean everything out.

Of course, the fish and other livestock for an aquarium also cost money. You also need to make sure you have food, and there are a few very low cost tools ($10 or less each) that you will use when performing routine maintenance. Once again, this is not unlike any other pet.

In conclusion, a decision should be made about if you want to do all of the necessary research, if you have the time, and if you have the money to take care of a pet. Every pet requires some initial research, some time to take care of them, and some equipment to make sure that they are in a happy, healthy, and clean environment. If it is tropical fish that you want to keep, then  join us at Aquarium Tip Tank, and ask us any questions you may have about home aquariums and the beautiful underwater ecosystems.


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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 | Turn Your Aquarium Power Back On

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tip of the day is just a little reminder that will help you keep everything in your aquarium alive and running. Ever get done doing some type of maintenance on your aquarium at night, get up, go to work the next day and think to yourself, “Hey, did I plug the lights back in?” For one day this probably wouldn’t be a detrimental mistake. But what if it was your aquarium heater in the dead of winter? You might come back to some dead aquarium fish or invertebrates. We tell you to unplug and turn just about everything off when doing partial water changes or other maintenance tasks. Well, when you’re done, just take a quick second to make sure that you’ve plugged all of your equipment back in, you’ve turned it all to the on position, and everything is working properly!

Ever mistakenly left the power off on your aquarium? Leave a comment below!


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Aquarium Tips of The Day | Measure Twice on DIY Aquarium Projects

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tip of the day will help you save a little bit of time, and possibly some frustration when performing do-it-yourself (DIY) aquarium projects. Wouldn’t it stink to come home from the hardware store with pieces of wood that were too small for the tank stand that your building? Just follow the good old saying, “measure twice, cut once” to save yourself the time of traveling back to the hardware store to buy new materials.

You should also probably write all of the dimensions and sizes that you come up with on a piece of paper somewhere. You may even want draw a diagram of your project with accurate dimensions. That way, you can bring it to the store with you when you are looking for the correct size pieces for your DIY light mounting system or your DIY aquarium plumbing.

Are you doing a DIY aquarium project? Leave your comments below. Say hello to us on Facebook!


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Unpacking Ecoray 60DX LED Aquarium Lights!

If you’re a regular to Aquarium Tip Tank you may know that I am starting a new 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. You can hear all about how I went through the process of selecting the lighting system for my new aquarium in Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 006. In the time since that podcast was released Ecoray actually came out with an upgraded versions of their LED systems that included a second dimmer for the blue LEDs so that now both the white and blue LEDs had their own separate dimmer. I decided to pay just a few more dollars for the upgraded version, and my new Ecoray 60DX lighting system arrived 5 days ago! Here are some pictures of the unpacking, and a few of my insights.

Ecoray 60DX arrival and out of the shipping box.


Ecoray 60DX Box Opened!

From the picture above you can see that the Ecoray 60DX was very well packaged. There was no damage to the box and all of the contents inside were well protected from shipping mishaps. The seller even packaged the system in a whole other box that was also well insulated.

All Ecoray 60DX Contents out of the Box!

The LEDs of the Ecoray 60DX!

The “top side” of the Ecoray 60DX

In the 3 pictures above we can see the contents of the box being removed. We can also see the dual power cords and dual dimmers. One power cord and the white dimmer powers and controls the white LEDs, and the other power cord and blue dimmer powers the blue LEDs. The 2 separate power cords makes it possible to plug the cords into separate timers so that you can have whites and blues on at separate times. I’m thinking about possibly going through a daily light cycle where I turn the blue LEDs on first for 30 minutes to an hour, then have the white LEDs turn on so that I have both white and blue light for about 10 hours, then turn just the white LEDs off again and leave the blue LEDs on for an extra hour or two to replicate dusk/moonlight until I decide that the blue LEDs can be turned off. I can just program the timers correctly to achieve that light cycle. This is a very nice feature of the Ecoray 60DX, and I can just adjust the timers to try out different light cycles whenever, and however I want!

Yes, some more expensive LED aquarium lighting systems include the electronics and software so that the timers are already in the system, or so that you can control everything from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. I just didn’t want to go overboard and spend $300 or more extra on those components when I can just spend $20 on 2 timers. For me, it also adds an element of relaxation. I’ll set the timers, and just have to forget about it and not worry about it the rest of the day. I’ll have to look at, enjoy, and tinker with my lights timer settings. It’ll be fun. I won’t have constant control of the lights from everywhere, therefore, why worry about it the rest of the day. If I had those types of controls on my smartphone, I may actually be  more worried that I’d change something without even looking at my aquarium just to come home and figure out that I had messed something up!

Hands-free or dimmers that worked on a timer of some sort might be nice though. It would kind of be cool if I could schedule and time the lights so that I could have full power blue LED lighting during the daytime hours, but then set the dimmer to automatically go to 50%, then 25%, then to off in the night hours. For this setup, I have to get up and manually turn the dimmers to create a different lighting effect. However, controls like that still cost a whole lot of money and I wasn’t ready to spend the extra cash. I also don’t know how much I really NEED something like that. After all, the nano-reef that I currently keep does just fine with a metal-halide turning on for 10 hours, then just turning off. I’m sure I’ll just tinker with the settings and timers that I use with the Ecoray 60DX, find what I’m happy with, set it, relax, and let it go!

Small package containing mounting brackets, hanging cables, and instructions opened!

If you don’t have a lighting ballast, it is probably easiest to put a hook in your ceiling and hang the Ecoray 60DX LED system. I don’t really want to do that. I don’t have a ballast to mount the lighting system in currently. My plan is to head out to a hardware store and see what kind of mounting legs, or mounting stand that I can come up with. You’ll just have to check back later for my post about that!

Ecoray 60DX Blue LEDs at 100%. White LEDs not even plugged in.

Light side of the Ecoray 60DX with Blue LEDs at 100%. White LEDs not plugged in. All Blues are working!

Ecoray 60DX with Wite LEDs at 100%. Blue LEDs turned off.

Ecoray 60DX White LEDs at 100%. Blue LEDs at 25%.

Ecoray 60DX White and Blue LEDs both at 100%. All systems go!

The last 5 pictures were taken with a flash turned off. The flash would have added light and not shown the effects of the lighting very well. I didn’t have a way to mount the light like I wanted to at this point so I just placed it on top of my aquarium tank and plugged it in to test everything for a few minutes. Everything worked great! Of course, I’m going to have to turn the system 90 degrees to get the correct light coverage for my tank, but I think everything will work brilliantly!

Grab your High PAR LED Light system now:


Check back later to see how I decide to mount the Ecoray 60DX lighting system! Got any comments? Leave them below!


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Freshwater Aquarium vs Saltwater Aquarium

Here at Aquarium Tip Tank we talk a lot about saltwater aquariums because that is what most of us keep, I have a small one that I am keeping, and I am in the process of setting up another 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. However, many of the aquarium tips, tricks, and advice that we give can be used for both freshwater and saltwater tanks. Therefore, we figured that we would list some benefits to keeping a freshwater fish tank, explain those benefits, and compare to a saltwater set-up. Here we go.

Freshwater Aquarium Benefits:

  • Not much need for specialized lighting.
  • No need to mix salt into water.
  • Hardy fish that are usually easier to care for than marine fish.
  • Majority of freshwater aquarium fish are tank bred.
  • Freshwater aquariums are generally less expensive than saltwater aquariums.
  • Freshwater aquariums are generally easier for beginners to care for.

When I look at the list above, I realize that almost all of the freshwater aquarium benefits can be grouped under the last two. Freshwater aquariums are generally less expensive and easier to care for. All aquariums require a tank, substrate, filters, lights, test kits, food, nets, scrapers, and possibly a quarantine tank. A saltwater tank requires a few more pieces of equipment such as a hydrometer, power heads, a protein skimmer, extra test kits for calcium and alkalinity, and possibly some live rock and sand instead of the cheaper gravel that is used in a freshwater tank.

Obviously, all of this extra equipment costs money, and has to be maintained in properly working order. This is also only for a fish only with live rock (FOWLR) set up. If you want to keep a reef tank with corals and other invertebrates you will need a lighting system that will deliver more light to those light hungry invertebrates. You will probably also want more live rock, a refugium, and a reverse osmosis (RO) filter unit – we recommend RO filtering all of your water for freshwater or saltwater tanks, but you will definitely need one for a reef tank.

Now lets talk a little bit about ease of care. I don’t want to scare you out of keeping a saltwater aquarium so I will first say this…I honestly don’t think that the maintenance of a saltwater tank is that much more difficult. There are a few extra maintenance tasks to take care of for a saltwater tank, but in my opinion, they don’t take a long amount of time, and they aren’t that difficult.

First, water changes for a freshwater tank are a little bit easier. This is mainly due to the fact that you don’t have to make your saltwater. You can keep a beautiful freshwater tank by using dechlorinated and filtered tap water. With saltwater aquariums you have to dechlorinate and RO filter your tap water into storage buckets to mix the salt in. This saltwater making process is usually done a few days before a water change.

Second, the livestock of a freshwater aquarium is generally a little bit easier to care for. The vast majority of freshwater aquarium fish are tank bred and tank raised. The Aquariums are their homes and where they are used to living. They are used to being fed and eating aquarium foods. They were not transported from a reef halfway around the world. Therefore, freshwater fish are much less stressed about their aquarium environment and end up being hardier fish that are a little bit easier to care for and keep happy.

You also won’t be able to keep any corals with specific demands for  lighting and water conditions. Sure, you may want to keep some live plants, but you can still keep some live freshwater plants with NO fluorescent lights and dechlorinated and filtered tap water. Some freshwater plants may require more light intensity for photosynthesis, but it is not near the light intensity necessary to keep corals and other sessile invertebrates.

Finally, please don’t let any of this dissuade you from keeping a saltwater aquarium. Once you have your tank and your equipment and it is all set up, cycled, and the proper lighting and water conditions have been established, the maintenance tasks for keeping a healthy marine aquarium are not that much more expensive or difficult than keeping a freshwater aquarium. You can always buy your saltwater from a LFS instead of making it yourself. You just have to have containers to keep it and transport it in. If you choose and care for your fish wisely, marine fish also aren’t that much more difficult to care for. Just remember, a lot of marine fish in your LFS are probably taken from the Earth’s reefs. Keep your fish happy and healthy so that you’re not the aquarium hobbyist depleting those reefs of tropical fish.

Comments? Got some cool pictures of your tanks? Leave a comment below!


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