Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Barrier Reef, Batman!!

I can remember when Aussie livestock was about as hard to come by as the new "hybrid ultra awesome reverse disco chalice," or whatever the current obsession happens to be.

It was not that long ago really, I remember being at my first coral farmers market in 2008 and hobbyist's searching out the next hot acanthastrea. Back then nearly any color acan was desirable and they were all flying off the few farmer's frag racks who had them.This was the same CFM where 2 inch pieces of Sunset monti were going for upwards of two or three hundred, o how times change..

It was very difficult to get a hold of any Acan Lords, even from some of the better know wholesaler/importers in Los Angeles. Even when they did begin to trickle in, they commanded steep prices, and still do, though not as much during the "Acan' Rush of 2007/2008." It was not uncommon for small 4 inch colonies to be selling for four to seven hundred dollars and up, WHOLESALE!!

Any how, Australian livestock has always been a hot commodity, with good reason. The quality and coloration of Australian corals and fish is second to none. Now is a better time than ever for Aussie livestock, with great fish, SPS, scolymias, and of course mid blowing acans showing up more frequently, through the right sources.

I've heard some hobbyists complain that acans are old news, apparently a bygone trend like your dad's leisure suit. If your into this hobby to follow the fads and trends, then we are in it for seperate reasons. I love all coral, especially colorful ones, from "common" fungias, zoas, mushrooms, acros, favias, you name it. Acans come in some of the most beautiful color patterns of any coral, but to each his own and some people truly arn't interested.

It's interesting, I talk with various suppliers of mine, and they tell me in some parts of the country theyre saying "no more acans, we cant sell them" whereas in others, people like me are saying "send me acans, acans, acans, got any rainbows?" Thus is the dilema for the livestock dealer, its not what we like, its what the customer likes. It can be hard to predict sometimes, which is why we try to collect the best variety of the best pieces every coral we find.
Here are some Acans we have at the store right now that I thought I'd share.

One of my favorites
Interesting Bicolor morph, next to a "dragon soul" type Prism favia
This Piece is stunning, all colors arn't revealed until it deflates some

Gorgeous Rainbow Frag
This two (above and below) have got to be among the
LARGEST colonies I've seen, taking up nearly an entire lg.
box between the two.

Here's a nice little frag of an aussie chalice

Well that's it for now, I should be getting another shipment Friday full of surprises, and I will do my best to keep you posted!

-Adam Mullins

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunlight Supply Announces Tek Light "Elite"!!

Hot on the heels of their recent announcement of the new 60" Tek light, Sunlight Supply has graced us all with the early annoucement of the Tek Light Elite series of self cooled lights. Sunlight has been deluged with calls concerning the new lamp and its release date, as of right now it will be a few months.
This is great news and makes a great lamp even better. Many people have understood that keeping T5 bulbs cools helps them run more efficiently, increasing lamp life. In fact, it may seem like somewhat of a surprise its taken S.S. this long to add fans in the first place. Especially considering many other T5 units come with fans, like those from current or aquatic life.
We can't to get our hands on the new units, we've got some new displays being set up and were going T5 for lighting. Cheers to Sunlight Supply

New Products at The Mystic Reef, CAD lights!

CAD lighting is probably best known on the east coast for their rimless All-in-One nano systems and customs aquariums. The Mystic Reef is proud to bring in their line of protein skimmers, all in one nanos, faux coral inserts, sumps, and lighting systems.

CAD has earned a good reputation on the east coast, and were one of the first stores to bring it over to the west coast, however they are getting their warehouse set up and you should start to see their products hitting other stores shelves in the next few months.

CAD manufactures stock rimless tanks from 12 to 50 gallons, with starphire options available. The nanos have some unique feature compared to other "all-n-one" tanks on the market, such as a built in refugium chamber. These tanks are definitely in a class of their own visually. The rimless design is very elegant, especially when the light is suspended rather than mounted on legs. The bullnosed bottom glass is also a very higher end feature. There definetly is a niceThey are available with either power compact or 4 lamp T5HO fixtures.

Their line of BubbleMagus skimmers appear to be well built, and the NAC 66 seems to be a strong competitor in the midrange skimmer game, and is rated for 250-350 gallons, depending on bioload.

Rimless 22 gallon All-in-One Nano
Back of the Nano Tank, with built in refugium chamber,

12 gallon Nanos

Typical top-down, typical green slimer?

Nope, new Faux coral insert. While we'd much rather see Living corals in fish tanks, these new inserts are perfect for fish only tanks in need of some color, and they are almost half the price of some competing fake corals. The flexible faux-gorgonian would be a great hitching post for seahorse tanks

Now for some shots of the Skimmers:

The Nano Tanks have been so popular over the last week, that we have decided to set up the Rimless 55 gallon cube with Starphire glass as an in store display. We're open to suggestions for aquascaping and livestock, e-mail us your ideas. Heres some photos
55 Gallon Cube with 150whalide/ T5/LED moonlight Combo light

Under Cabinet with sump, and skimmer

Another strong seller for us lately has been the entire line of Eco-plus submersible pumps from Sunlight Supply. These pumps are said to run cooler than competing Rios and are much cheaper. So if your looking for an inexpensive submersible pump, Eco Plus may be a good option


Just a reminder, we also stock a full assortment of hard to find plumbing parts like, bulkheads, loc-lines, unions, tru-union valves.
In other news, we have been brining in more corals than ever, with more exciting rarities on the horizon from secret locations just now beginning to ship out corals, hot new tank raised nano fish, and LEDs rumored from various manufacturers, 2010 is definitely looking BRIGHT!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

IceCap LED LunarLite Retrofit to be Released mid DecembeR

IceCap has carved out a strong niche in the aquarium lighting industry. Their ballasts are widely used by many reefers, with good reason. Long known for their ballasts and retrofits, IceCap continues to innovate with new light fixtures and some inspiring new technology. Could this new LED techology translate into a full blown LED fixture from IceCap? No word yet, but ere's what IceCap had to say about their new fixtures and exciting new products:

"Introduced at MACNA, the Reef Illuminations fixtures created quite a buzz, in part because of the unique LED supplemental lighting system. We received so many inquires on the LunarLites that we have decided to make them available as a retrofit product.

Available Mid December LunarLite Retrofit
The LunarLite LED tubes have the same look of a standard T5 tube, but they are powered by a low voltage transformer, not a fluorescent ballast. The T5 form provides better spread of the light over the entire aquarium. Encasing the LED's inside a T5-style tube protects them and their circuit boards from the harsh, salty, humid environment that is your normal saltwater aquarium. The IceCap LunarLites have an aluminum heat sink on the back side of the tube to dissipate what little heat they generate.

Wait till you see what they do for your corals!
LunarLites are highly efficient and very reliable but we know the reason you'll want them is what they will do to the appearance of the corals. They are designed to excite the green fluorescing proteins in corals. They particularly bring out yellows, oranges, and greens. If you think your corals look good under actinics, you haven't seen anything yet! Mushrooms, zoanthids, Ricordea, and most any fleshly large polyp stony corals look amazing under the LED's.

The LunarLite retrofits ship with mounting clips to secure the LED Tubes to a canopy, commercial hood or existing fixture. The weight should not be an issue because the 2-foot unit is only 4 oz. Power connection to the LunarLite is a power tail with a quick connect to a low voltage power supply, no hand wiring required."

LunarLite Blue LEDs 470nm - 4ft LunarLite has 75 individual emitters

We can't wait to try out these new LED retrofits, the colors produced by LEDs are truly amazing. The shimmer effect will be a nice addition to flourescent powered tanks, as many detractors claim normal T5 light looks like "garbage" without the shimmer of a halide, despite the insane colors many corals attain.

Here's a Photo I snapped of some Ricordea using Hydor's Blue LED Spotlight.

ORA: New Releases Could pave the Way for Future Diversity

Anyone who has happened to read my Hot Nano Fish Series in Reef Hobbyist Magazine should be able to tell that I have an obsession for the small. It seems my progression in the hobby as taken me from the Macro to the Micro. I have found in my experience that large, aggressive fish like tangs can spoil the tranquility of a reef tank, and are certainly not suitable for smaller reef systems.

However, these tiny little creatures are very hard to catch in the wild, so aquaculture is the only avenue for sustainable collection and trade in some of these species. ORA continues to lead the aquaculture industry, and they announced last month that they have been working on approximately 12-16 new species of fish would could enter the market next year, 2010. Most of the fish they are currently working on are gobies, and of course dottybacks and clownfish, including some anticipated new "Designer" morphs.

Red Head Goby

The first ones to hit the line up have been announced, and should be filtering to stores in the first weeks of December. ORA Re-released the popular Red Head Nano Goby, which doesn't get much larger than 1 -2 inches. Making them perfect for many nano and pico tanks.

ORA Elongate Dottyback
Another smaller fish perfect for nano tanks is the Elongate Dottyback. This is one of the smallest members of the dottyback family, offering a unique addition to any tank.

ORA is also offering Grade B Snowflake Clowns, with some unique markings, alongside the rest of their great lineup, including their new smaller sizes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunlight Supply Announces 60" Tek Light

Sunlight Supply, one of the largest lighting manufacturers and distributors in the Saltwater industry, sent out e-mails today to customers announcing a new sixty-inch Tek Light fixture. This is great news as there has been a lack of lights to fit this odd ball length. The Tek line of T5HO fixtures remain strong competitors in the T5 lighting game. While other companies such as Current have been faltering, Sunlight is continuing to expand product lines and give consumers what they're looking for.
Tek light fixtures are very sleek, 2 and half inch thick light fixtures that come in 2, 4,6, and 8 lamp configurations. They can be mounted on adjustable legs or suspended. Suspension seems to the most popular way to place these lightweight light fixtures over a tank, and gives a very modern look when exposed, especially on Euro style or Rimless tanks.
T5 have become very popular within the Hobby because of there uniform light distribution, cool operating temps, low energy consumption, and relatively affordable replacement bulbs. The New 60 inch fixture will accept 80 watt bulbs from a variety of manufacturers, such as popular D-D Giesseman, Korallen-Zuct, and Blue Life SPS.
The Mystic Reef is now taking preorders for this light, so let us know if your interested in one of these lights.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hydor Continues to Perfect Their Market Niche.

Hydor. If you havn't heard of them, either you live under a rock, or you've never seen the need to replace your Tunze Streams. Hydor is a well known aquarium product maunufacturer from Italy, though when most reefers think of them, they think of the egg shaped Koralia powerheads with magnet attachments, and with good reason.

The Hydor Koralia is another take on the popular Propeller-style pump, like the Vortech or Tunze streams, which deliver powerful yet broad water flow with little head pressure. This makes them very ideal for Reef tanks requiring massive turbulent water flow. Normal output pumps produce more of a thin column or jet of fast moving water that is not very efficient at creating the random flow needed for a reef tank. The flow normal pumps produce is a constant laminar flow, which is completely unnatural for most corals and can actually cause certain corals, like Euphyllia , to recede from their skeletons if placed in direct flow.

Anyway, propeller-style pumps have revolutionized the aquarium industry, and it's nice to see the innovations havn't stopped. A Hydor Sales rep came in to let me know what's been going on with the company. Besides their Aerio pumps being in CPR's new line of protein skimmers, Hydor will be coming out with their own Nano Skimmer, the "Slim Skim" designed to fit most "Nano" systems. They have also announced the release of the "Marine Performer" skimmer for larger systems.

They also will be advancing their next generation of powerheads by introducing "shaftless" impeller designs. This is said to cut out the rattle on start up of these pumps, with the benefit of being able to connect the baseline Koralia to wavemaking devices. The former pumps would fail to start, rattle, or worse, reverse flow when connected to a wave timer, causing your pump to become a fish blender unless fitted with the protective screen.

Hydor as already released a line of Controllable Koralias to be used with their dual or quad controller. Performance is very good with intuitive conrtols, however it may not have been the correct market to introduce a rather expensive controller. The world of higher-end reef equipment is highly competetive and companies like Tunze and Ecotech have carved strong market shares out with their respective products, and there must be innovation to compete.

Koralia powerheads are about as good as any other prop pump, but their incompatibility with other controllers has kept many reefers from incorporating them into their systems. Hydor has proven they can adapt with the times. Their powerheads have proven to be a best buy for water movement.

I was also given one of their blue LED spotlights, its similar to a moonlight, but also available in red or green. The spotlight produces some very dramatic effects in the corals.

O.R.A Offering Some New Size Options

ORA (Oceans, Reefs, and Aquariums) have long been the industry standard in tank reared livestock, most notably for their great variety of Tank Raised Clownfish, including the infamous Picasso Clownfish. They also have gained a cult following with their collectible corals (with websites and facebook pages devoted just to photos of the various corals.) But nevertheless, there is a rightfult reason the common clownfish graces their logo, they produce thousands of them. Not just that, their T.R. clowns come in at sizes comparable to wild clowns. Its extrordinary to consider how much longer it takes to grow fish to this size for market, compared to what the rest of the industry offers as "tank raised."

Every other dealer I've visited or bought fish from, usually will have Tank Raised clowns available. Mortality rates with wild clowns, especially Perculas, is atrocious when not handled correctly, which is why just about all of clowns we buy are captive bred, unless they are some desirable specimen I must have. I hesitantly purchased some juvenile perculas from a dealer recently. However the only reason I did was because they were gorgeous, nearly all black individuals, and I happen to trust this dealer's system and husbandry practices very much. They all did great and now I have some great near-onyx pairs.

Breeding fish on a commercial scale is a lot different than doing it on a hobby or experimental level. The bottom line is the "Bottom Line," and no matter how attractive, rare, or interesting, whatever you've bred, must be salable. Often times months to years of work go into raising these fish for market, and a lot of expenses and resources become consumed as these fish take up space growing. This fact keeps many breeders selling their fish small for a faster turnaround.

ORA has always impressed when it comes to sizing, normally we are happy we get them so large, however, there are a few customers that see these tiny clowns available at other stores and want some for themselves. So, we let ORA know we have been looking for smaller clowns to accomodate our Nano customers, and they must have gotten that request a lot, because sure enough small size clownfish are now available on their pricelist.

In another interesting tale of the tiny, we have been looking for some unique fish to display in our store, and we let our friends at ORA know. They know we have an affinity for the unique, how we keep all of the interesting color morphs and "stubby" clownfish we come across, adding to our ever growing clownfish collection.

Well we were able to get some very special clowns and give them a new home at the Mystic Reef. We received a pair of TINY (1/2 inch) clowns. Not just ordinary clownfish, one is a Platinum Percula and the other a Snowflake Ocellaris, making them quite the odd couple. Making them even more special, they are believed to be "dwarves" or runts. They were housed in the same growout tanks and are the same age as the other Platinum or Snowflakes, except they are about 1/4 the length. The fish appear to be mature, with dark edges on the fins and surrounding the bars, but their size disagrees.

ORA has produced "Stubby" clowns for a while now, but that appears to be another type of variation/ mutation which compresses the spine, which could be likened to extreme scoliosis.

There is a fine line of ethics when breeding any creatures.
I would like to see how many "designer fish" haters who claim all of these "mutants" should be culled, own other pets like dogs. After all, the great variation we find in various dog breeds stems from traits we bred into them. Isn't a yorkie nothing more than a "Mutant Canine"
-Adam Mullins

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ecotech Announces It will soon be compatible with third-party Equipment!

Vortech MP40 On a Store Display.
Well, Friday the Thirteenth is not always associated with bad vibes. Ecotech Marine Announced it would be releasing a third party development package today which would hopefully allow the Ecotech pumps to be interfaced with All-in-One controllers that manage lighting, dosing, etc... This is hot news in the industry as the Vortech has become one of the best propeller-style powerheads available. Here's what Ecotech had to say on the matter:

"November 13, 2009—Lehigh Valley, PA— EcoTech Marine, the company that revolutionized the reef aquarium propeller pump, has announced the release of a development kit for third-party aquarium controller companies for its award-winning VorTech line. Although no firm release date has been established by manufacturers, stay tuned for announcements as controller companies begin to bring this desired technology to market.
“We are extremely excited about this development,” says Tim Marks, president of EcoTech Marine. “While the VorTech wave driver already provides extensive functionality right out of the box, this enables customers to integrate our market-leading flow technology with their lighting, dosing, pH and other systems. We look forward to enabling VorTech customers to be able to fully customize and control their pump using the aquarium controller of their choice.”
In addition to offering customizable controllability of the VorTech remotely through your controller, EcoTech customers will be able to download firmware updates and be remotely updated as to the operating conditions of the VorTech. The vast benefits of the controller are emerging as companies take interest and start working with the development kit.
EcoTech's development kit is now available to the industry's leading controller companies and together we are making the necessary arrangements to bring controller interfaces to production. “We have heard our customers' request and worked diligently to bring a solution that will maintain the same level of quality and technological superiority that you have come to expect from us,” said Marks.
The patented VorTech technology produces unmatched broad yet gentle flow while placing the motor outside the tank—preserving the beauty of the aquarium and enhancing the health of the tank’s ecosystem. With all the electrical components outside the aquarium and a variety of easy-to-program modes, the VorTech is the safest, most versatile pump on the market. "

This exciting news is definitely a sign of the progress in the industry. Hopefully these advances will be able to couple the Vortech's already stellar performance with more universal controllers, but only time will tell. No news as to which companies are taking advantage of the kit, but we can expect companies like Neptune Systems and Digital Aquatics, who manufacture many aquarium controllers popular today .We will continue to keep you posted on advances in the future.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Warner Marine Releases Ultimate Snow!!

Warner Marine has recently added Ultimate Snow to their lineup of premium aquarium supplements. Similar to the Zeovit product Marine Snow, ReefPure Ultimate Snow "is a unique blend of natural organic and inorganic carbonate based micro-fine particles that have the ability to carry nutrients directly to corals. This gives the aquarist the ability to dose specific supplements directly to the corals as the particles in ReefPure Ultimate Snow are precisely sized as to be captured by corals as food. In addition, ReefPure Ultimate Snow enhances protein skimming, increases water clarity, and limits undersirable algae including cyanobacteria by capturing yellowing compounds and neutralizing organic compounds. Ultimate Snow can be used with any organic or inorganic water additive to transport the additive directly to the coral."

I know that sounds like a lot for one supplement, but it's really quite simple once you break it down. The particles just trap the dissolved organics in the water to be either consumed by corals or removed via the skimmer, hence the boosted skimmate and water clarity. It also can be used as a transport mechanism for other supplements like Vitamin HUFA's, Ultimate Aminos, Magnesium, etc. This presents the supplement in a natural size to be "eaten" by corals. The further along we come in reefkeeping, it has become readily apparrent how important it is to "feed" corals.
Warner's Last Release, Concentrated Calcium and Ultimate Aminos

It has been about two years since Warner Marine has added a new product to their supplement and additives lineup. The last ones to be introduced were the Concentrated Calcium and the tremendously popular Ultimate Aminos, with many reefers learning just how important Amino Acids are for proper growth and color. Just like Warner's other supps, Ultimate Snow is another fine addition and I'm very glad it's finally available. I have been using it on various tanks in my store for the past few weeks and I'm very satisifed with the results.

Match Made in Heaven? Ulimate Snow & Aminos

It's very concentrated with a recommended dosing rate of 5ml per 100gallons 3-5 times a week, providing excellent value. I have been dosing it along with Ultimate Aminos and immediately there was noticeably clearer water overnight and the skimmer production has increased on each of the tanks dosed. I can't comment on increased growth or color yet, but I will keep you posted in case anything interesting pops up.

So your ready to try it and wonder where to get it? We have a good amount in stock with more on the way, give us a call if you need some. (951)727-8332. Its recommended to add this product towards the end of the lighting cycle for best results, and it will cloud the water for a few minutes, but it has no ill effects on livestock.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Annual Inland Empire Coral Farmer's Market '09

Sunday, September 6th, marked the first Annual Inland Empire Coral Farmer's Market. This event added another date to the industry leading Coral Farmer's Market Events (CFM) put on by Art Petit and Steve Tyree. Special thanks go out to the Inland Empire Marine Aquarium Society (IEMAS) for set up and tear down of the exhibition hall. CFM events bring in hobbyist coral farmers, professional farmers and stores, as well as leading manufacturers.

Some Of the Crowd

This event took place in the Ontario Hilton off of the 10 Freeway and Haven, the same venue as the popular South West Coral Farmer's Market. The SW-CFM is the Original CFM event that has been operating since 2006. This event is held every spring, and has spawned other events in the Bay Area, Dallas, and once again in the Inland Empire. The CFM company thought that a second show would be a good business decision, as the South West event has been the most popular event.

Busy Busy at The Mystic Reef Booth

This event attracts the best of the best as far as tank raised livestock. The Mystic Reef was there with our usual assortment of frags, as well as some very interesting pieces. From any just about any rare or unique coral that you've heard of, to rare fish, dry goods, auctions and raffles, this is definitely a great event for every Reefer! We look forward to the South West in the Spring and the Inland Empire in the fall.

Speaking of unique fish, our friends Dan & Tina, from Wet Thumb Frags, had some very interesting tank raised clowns from C-Quest Farms along with a great variety of coral frags. These included a tank of Van Gogh Clowns, similar to ORA's Picasso Percula, however these being an extreme color morph of the Ocellaris. Another Extreme color morph of the Ocellaris is the Wyoming White Clown, similar to Snowflake Clowns.

Van Gogh Clowns

Wyoming White Clownfish

Industry leading manufacturers Warner Marine, Blue Life USA, and Reef Nutrition were also their showcasing their unique products. Reef Nutrition was there showing off their entire line of specialty feeds for reef aquariums, such as Tigger-pods, Macro Feast, Fuzzy Phytes, Arcti-Pods, and more, all available at The Mystic Reef.

Blue Life had their entire line of Precision supplements; Aiptasia, Red Slime & other Controls, and their assortment of Bulbs. The Precision line of chemicals is very comprehensive and excellent quality, most of the products are some of the most concentrated on the market. I also use many of the Blue Life T5 bulbs on my display tanks at the store.

Blue Life USA

Warner Marine's Booth
Warner Marine was also there with some of his excellent skimmers, including the new K2. He also had some canister filters, along with the full line of some of the hobby's most trusted additives, like Ultimate Aminos and Calxmax. Also a first from Warner Marine is the new Ultimate Snow. Its similar to the Zeovit product Coral Snow. Like all WM products, you can be sure of the quality of this product. I have been testing it out on my tanks and so far just as WM claims, it has given me noticeably clearer water over night. The skimmers also seem to be removing more skimmate than usual. This product can also be used in conjunction with any supplement, including Ultimate Aminos, as a transport mechanism to more efficiently deliver it to corals in an appropriate particle size. If your interested in this product, we have some available at the store with more on the way! More info on this exciting product and more in a later post.
Ultimate Snow
The Auctions and Raffles are also a very fun part of the event, unfortunately I wasn't able to participate this year because I was just too busy. Normally however, the odds are fairly good on the Raffles, especially on some of the lesser know pieces. Last year I walked away with a Ponape Birdsnest and I only put in a few tickets. This event was no different with many of my customers walking away with something in their hands.

The Auctions are also very popular for some nice coral frags. Many First Edition LE's are auctioned off to try and establish a base price. There were plenty of great pieces getting sold at very reasonable prices, it made me wish I was over there when I heard the price some things were going for.

Congrats CFM on another great event! See you at the next one.
-Adam Mullins