Tip of the Week – Learn about the fish you are getting.

The lifespan pf many of the more popular fish we commonly keep in the hobby can surprise many people.  Clownfish for example can commonly live up 15 years in captivity and many tangs can live up to 25 years.




Conscientious Marine Aquarist, 2008, Bob Fenner

Planning a FOWLR Aquarium

Just a few ideas to think about when planning a FOWLR set-up.  This is not the only way to set-up a great FOWLR aquarium, but it is my preferred way based on my experiences

  • Start with the largest aquarium size that you can reasonably get.  The reason why I make this recommendation is that some of the most colorful and active fish best suited for FOWLR set-ups (such as triggers, lionfish, and angels), can get big.  You don’t want to limit yourself  latter on and have to buy another set-up.  Although you can have a very small FOWLR tank with a lot of the smaller fish commonly available in the trade, I would still suggest a 4 foot tank at least 120 gallons would be a good starting point.  A 6 foot long 180 gallon would be best. I always like to keep my options open for the future.
  • Although your live rock will supply very effective biological filtration, you will have to watch your parameters closely and consider adding additional filtration if you are having difficulties.  Starting off with a sump filled with live rock, a skimmer, and even some macro algae would help a lot here.
  • Choose your substrate based on the need of any fish you may want to keep.
  • Pick very good quality rock to use in the set-up.  You want to get the most out of your filtration so do not cut corners on your live rock
  • Pick a very good quality skimmer.  A good quality skimmer is the key to getting a keeping a very healthy set-up without adding any extra work.  You need the top of line skimmer, but don’t want to cut corner either
  • Don’t go overboard on lighting.  As there will be no corals, pick lower lighting levels and color tone that will allow the fish to look their best.  I would suggestion to use mostly acintic and Fuji purple in a FOWLR set-up with a little light ranging in the 20,000 to 22,000K spectrum .
  • Have a plan for adding your fish.  If the fish you want are very territorial or potentially very aggressive, add them all at once and when they are all the same size (preferably very small as well).  Keep a very close eye on your parameters as this approach can be risky. If your fish are not territorial and/or aggressive, add them one fish at a time waiting about 2 weeks in between each fish. Going as slow as practical here is the key when you have that option.

This acrylic aquarium manufacturer has over 50 years of combined experience in acrylic aquarium design, manufacturing, filtration and construction of individually designed projects

The below links might also be helpful:




How to get a Loan

The maximum loan amount that you can avail is based on the persons collateral capacity and credit report

A person credit report determine the maximum loan amount you can have. If your collateral capacity is low, you can only avail a maximum of 25% of the maximum loan amount, but the lender can increase the loan amount to 30% and higher if your collateral capacity improves. Credit report means your financial status, such as your credit score.

You may not be able to avail a maximum of 30% of the maximum loan amount if you have bad credit history. Your credit score affects your credit limit but the loan amount can be adjusted up to the amount of your credit limit.

How can I avoid overpaying?

If you don’t have sufficient cash on hand, you can pay off your loan early in accordance with your repayment schedule. A loan that is paid off early is no longer a security, meaning it cannot be seized or confiscated. If you are planning to take a loan out and need additional funds, it is better to work with a lender that offers no-lending programs, and that’s why people also consider options online like a short term loan that have low interests rate

To avoid paying more than your loan can repay, you must always make sure that you understand the terms of the loan agreement. You must be sure to keep detailed records of your account with each lender you choose. If you have trouble paying back a debt, do not take it to collection. If you are still in default after six months, contact the collection agency and explain the situation and your situation. Do not give up. You can ask for a collection or credit hearing to dispute the debt.

Contacting a Collection Agency If you owe a debt, you will likely be contacted by a collection agency that can contact your employer, financial institution, or credit union to get your debts removed from your credit report. Even if you have not filed a lawsuit or had a collection filed against you, you may receive a letter from a collection agency with a copy of the suit filed. A collection letter may include statements of a debt or statement that you owe a debt or have had a collection filed against you. It is best to contact the collection agency and explain the situation. If the collection agency does not respond within 15 days, you may have a collection lawsuit filed against you. You should be aware that a court will be involved if the collection lawsuit is filed, and this can result in a lengthy period of time and large legal fees. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency and avoid a lawsuit.

If you have a debt, it is very important that you contact your creditors and resolve the debt quickly.

Do not ignore the collection calls. The collection agency has the right to call you any time it believes that you are in default and need to be notified. This could be the middle of the night, if you are home, or any time you are awake. If you don’t answer the phone, the agency can call you back later.

Be persistent, and don’t take the collectors lying down. Many debt collectors want to believe that they are getting good advice. If you continue to dispute collection accounts, you are more likely to receive a letter or an email from the collection agency asking you to settle. The collection agency might also send a bill or threaten to garnish your wages. If you do not resolve the matter by the date or time provided, the collection agency may file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court to get its money. Once you do settle the dispute, the debt may be removed from your credit report.

Network Management Solutions

Several network management applications and tools are currently in use to tackle exploits, threats, and non-compliance. In some cases the solution is a standalone exploit system that is unproprietary and offered free of charge; in others, it is an off-the-shelf threat mitigation solution, often based on open-source frameworks and an open, industry-standard infrastructure for interaction. (For example, Symantec’s Norton Security, or Microsoft’s Group Policy Preferences)

But even though these management systems provide mitigation against attacks, they are often incapable of detecting or blocking the misuse of resources by malicious actors (known as a sandbox), which can result in overall increased risk, increased privilege-escalation, and higher attack surfaces.

Security enhancements

Insecurity in networks leads to a lack of cooperation among networks and points to a breakdown in trust and visibility in all directions. Those issues can lead to a loss of trust and to siloed functionality and information. As a result, the security of the system as a whole deteriorates, which can ultimately lead to security vulnerabilities, so is important to learn about network security and how to improve it, and you can read more about this here.

“It’s imperative that systems become secure on their own, independent of individual organizations, in order to make them self-supporting and self-healing, which increases security, minimizes risk, and increases agility and success,” said Eric Jones, principal consultant, Symantec Corp., in an interview with InformationWeek.

Despite these challenges, network management solutions can still offer important capabilities that are useful for operators, such as the ability to better manage resource utilization, and they can also provide a platform for performance enhancement and industry standardization, Jones said.

A solution strategy

Jones suggested five major elements for a successful security solution strategy.

First, it is important to identify a critical business unit with a role that it plays, and then identifying the security and performance components for that group, he said. Next, once a security solution strategy is set, the focus of the company should be on security and vulnerability analysis of its technology and infrastructure. The vendor can then incorporate the insights from the analysis in the next version of the software, he said.

Finally, a comprehensive solution strategy should examine all aspects of the design of the network to include the management service model, applications, infrastructure, and client device software.

“Finally, organizations should create a fully validated product roadmap and budget, leading to a secure roadmap and more dedicated resources,” Jones said.

Here are some examples of how key security problems have already been addressed:

A multi-vendor implementation of a security solution to address exploitation issues with the Windows Operating System has been developed by a team at Deloitte IT on behalf of Microsoft. Microsoft has already begun developing secure support and documentation for its Hypervisors, and a security release of Windows 8 is scheduled for this summer.

In September 2013, IBM demonstrated a flexible approach to manage security protection for the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) services that fuel production facilities in the industrial sector. The new approach uses modern management practices to reduce risks associated with unplanned, unplanned, and undocumented events that can cause denial-of-service and other attacks that damage operations. The overall objective was to manage an intrusion that caused approximately $1 million in damages for a utility company. The event was to be extremely rarenothing like that had happened in the three years since the system had been in use.

Tip of the Week: Waterchanges

I’m the type of hobbyist that likes to keep things as simple as possible while maintaining the best possible water quality that I can.  One of the more important parts of this is completing weekly water changes.  I have found that completing a weekly water change of about 10% to 20% works well for maintaining trace element that will be consumed by corals and coralline algae while helping to prevent a buildup of nitrates and/or phosphates in the water.  Depending on the amount and type of corals combined with the bioload of your fish, you can adjust the amount of your water change to have the same effect.  I have found the less supplements you have to dose, the more stable your water will be.  Weekly water changes allow me to achieve that without having to put a lot of effort and expense into dosing and testing trace elements.


The below links can add a little more details for you






Tip of the Week: Choosing the right Substrate

Some people have asked me which substrate is best for their set-up.  Below are some random thought on the subject that always come up in these conversations

1 – Why do you even need substrate ?  You can go “bare bottom” saving yourself some money and a little extra work. Pros: less work, less expense.  Cons: waiting for coralline to grow on the bottom, doesn’t look as natural as you can have with substrate

2- What are you planning to stock?  If you are planning jaw fish or some of the sand sifting fish, then you need to have a substrate that meets the specific needs of those fish.

3 – What about Live Sand.  In my experience, it is not worth the extra expense.  As this product is placed in a sealed bag and potentially exposed to temperature extremes, you will get a very large die-off of the beneficial bacteria’s that will be there.

4 – What type of flow are you planning for your set-up.  If you are planning a high flow set-up, then stay away from finer particle sand.  The flow within the tank can move the substrate around if you are not careful

5 – Stay away from crushed coral or excessively large particle substrates.  It is very easy to have debris collect in the cracks and crevasses in these types of substrate were your cleanup crew cannot get to it.  Without a lot of extra substrate cleaning, this will lead to higher than normal nutrient levels over time.

6 – Do not use substrates meant for fresh water aquariums.  These fresh water substrates (especially sand) will contain higher amounts of silicates than what is normally found in marine substrates.  This will put higher levels of silicates in your water which in most cases will lead to a lot more diatoms and other algaes in your tank.


The below links can provide you with additional information



Tip of the Week: Get the Optimal Filtration for your Tank

Many hobbyist just entering the hobby will have “sticker shock” when they see the prices for good quality live rock.  Sometimes this will result in some people t trying to find the cheapest approach to filtration.  This is the wrong approach to take.  Cutting corners on your filtration will always result in long term difficulties.  The below links can better explain what I mean







Tip of the Week: Always Quarantine New Fish

This is one lesson I had to learn the hard way many years ago.  It can be very easy to get a fish that is carrying, or infected with, a disease in the very early stages making it very difficult (if not impossible) to visually see.  I used to lose many fish to ick before I started using a quarantine tank.  Many people skip this process and add new fish to their display tanks right away, using the agreement that quarantine new fish is too much work and expense.  In my experience,  the work and expense of dealing any type of disease in your main tank is just as costly and just as much effort as utilizing a quarantine set-up, however, it can prevent the loss of existing fish in your display tank.


The below link will provide you with some more detailed information


Some Basic Guidlines for LED Lighting in Aquariums

When looking at getting LED lighting for your aquarium, it can seam overwhelming when considering all the features and options that you will have to choose from. However, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult if you keep it simple.  I have learned that applying a few simple concepts, or rules of thumb, LED lighting become a whole lot easier to understand.  The below is what I have learned. This is not and all inclusive set of instructions, just something simple to get you started if you have no experience with LED lighting.  Most people do not pay attention to the angle of the lenses used or do not understand how different the wattage can be with a LED diode (as compared to a T5 or T8 bulb) and they end up with a fixture that really will not meet their long term needs.

I have included some simple guidelines for both fresh water and marine environments so you may also have a few other points of comparison.

  • For tanks that are 36 to 48 inches long and 12 to 24 inches tall, I would suggest a  fixture that is about 6 to 8 inches wide (or even a little wider) – For a 48 inch long fixture you should have around 30 to 40 1 watt LEDs, either Cree or Apollo manufactured LED diodes.
  • For a 36 inched tank, about 25 to 30 1 LED just as mentioned. This would give you the options for easy to keep and some of the moderately depending plants.
  • Get a fixture with about 20% more LEDs if you think (or are planning) that want more demanding plants in the future or corals for a marine set-up.
  • If you are putting this fixture on a freshwater set-up, then choose LEDs with a color temp of less than 7,000K. -If you are putting this fixture on a marine tank, then choose LEDs with a color temp of higher  than 12,000K, 18,000 to 20,000K is best.
  • For a fresh water set-up you can add a few red or Fugi pink colored LEDs if you want to help the colors in your tank “pop”
  • For a marine set-up you can add a few Fugi pink or actinic LEDs you want to help the colors in your tank “pop”.  You can also have a 50/50 mixture of 12,000 to 18,000K white and 22,000K or higher blue LEDs and still support coral growth (most corals) while helping to limit algae.
  • Add a controller to adjust the intensity of the light if you want.  Many different manufactures make the LED controllers differently with a lot of different options.  You should research this carefully so you know what you can and cannot control.
  • For lenses, I would suggest a mixture of about 50% of the lenses around 40 to 60 degrees, the rest around 60 to 80 degrees.  This will determine how much light intensity will be reaching the bottom of the tank and is just as important, if not more important, than the wattage of the LEDs themselves.  The below simple diagram (not to scale) can help you better understand what I am talking about

I hope you have found this information useful   You can also read through the below link for some additional information on reef aquarium lighting https://www.reefaquarium.com/2012/reef-lighting-2/


The below link also contains a lot very information as well




Flukes in Marine Fish

One of the growing trends that I have seen (and experienced) is that flukes are becoming more and more common in the hobby. It used to be that fluke were more common on only certain types of fish, but more and more it seems that all fish can easily get them, or at least that has been my experience.
Flukes are a type of parasite with the broad group of gyrodactylus parasites. There are two common types of flukes, the ones that infect the skin of the fish (dactylogyrus trematodes), and the second that will infect both the skin and gills of the fish (monogenenean trematodes).  Both can be very hard (if not almost impossible) to visually see on the fish until very advanced stages. While attached to the fish, they will feed on the tissues they are attached to. At some point they will start releasing eggs which will fall and lay dormant within the aquarium for about a week.  They will hatch , releasing a free floating / swimming larva. This larva will survive for two or three days without attaching to a host before dieing. Typically the larvae will attach itself to either the gills or skin of the fish. Once attached, the larva will develop into a worm and releasing eggs continuing the life cycle. This final stage can last for about a week, maybe a little longer

Common Symptoms to look for:

The below list is the most common symptoms that you will find.  You may notice one or many of the symptoms listed below:

1 Cloudy eyes
2 Rapid breathing
3 Fraid fins
4 Excessive slim coat production
5 Loss of appetite or even completely stopping to eat
6 twitching/shaking the head from side to side almost like it was trying to shake something off its head
7 discolored blotches on the fish which can even look a lot like velvet some times
8 Flashing against objects in the aquarium with periods of almost no activity
9 White to almost translucent spots on the fish that look almost like the ick virus, but are larger and not as close together.


Treatment Options:
1- Fresh water dips
While many hobbyists still successfully use freshwater dips, I do not like nor do I recommend fresh water dips. When completed incorrectly, they can cause more harm than good to an already sick fish. Additionally, with many of the new(er) medications available today that are a lot more effective and less harmful and less stressful to the fish, I feel fresh water dips are no longer required.
2- Treatment with medication in a QT set-up
This is my preferred method and is the one that I have obtained the most success with. I would recommend a treatment with Prazi-pro. This medication is safe to use in reef tanks with SPS corals and carpet anemones, and is also safe to be used in a QT set-up with copper based medications. However, they key to being able to successfully treating flukes is catching the symptoms early enough for the treatment to work. If the infection has spread to much through the gills, or the fish is no longer eating, you have a lower chance of successfully treating the fish.  You also have to keep in mind, is that by treating a infected fish in a QT step-up or in a medicated treatment dip, you are not dealing with any of the parasite’s eggs that could be in your main tank waiting to hatch and infect / re-enfect your fish.  You may have to consider treating  your whole system.
The only caution to using prazi-pro in a display tank is that it will have an effect on worms (like flat worms) as well as some of the more sensitive filter feeders like coco-worms.

Preventative Measures
I always QT any fish I get before adding them to my display tank. As fish can carry flukes without actually becoming infected, I always use a preventative treatment of prazi-pro while in QT. While there are many medications out there that work on flukes, I have found prazi-pro works the best and it has the least side effects. Copper based medications will not work on flukes.

How did flukes get into my aquarium?

In short, they will have to be brought into your set-up by you.  Typically they will get into your setup through:
1 An infected fish
2 On live rock from a infected set-up
3 On a coral form a infected set-up
4 In water added to your tank from an infected set-up
Poor water quality and / or environment stress will allow fluke to thrive and really take hold in your set-up.

Just a Word on Using Medications
1 Make sure your salinity is at least at 1.025 when using meds. All meds have a stronger than intended impact when used at lower levels of salinity
2 If treating with Praz-pro, remove your skimmer cup but leave the skimmer running. The use of praz-pro will make your skimmer go nuts. It will produce a truly amazing amount of bubbles like you have never seen before. You want to still have your skimmer running to keep the oxygen levels high in the water as some medications like praz-pro can lower the amount of oxygen in the water which is something you want to avoid.
3 Don’t forget to remove any type of carbon that you have running in your system
4 Fresh water dips will only remove the flukes from a infected fish, and not the flukes which are laying dormant within your set-up
5 Poor water quality and environmental stress will make most medications close to being useless