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    by Published on 07-12-2013 02:06 AM
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    Until now, I've had at least nine different regulators in my mouth since I began SCUBA diving. Some have been incredibly uncomfortable, some were unwieldy making me reposition it or bite down harder, one was a bit cantankerous but not one left with without air. Reading a lot on this subject and keeping my eyes open to all the choices on the market, it really didn't take me long to decide upon the one that would make me happy and fit my budget. That being said, how do you know which one to buy? A friend of mine went on a dive with a brand new Mares regulator and it failed, canceling his dive. Seriously?! It was new!

    Before I took my first class, I felt every diver should own their own regulator since it is how you breathe. Can you trust rental gear? How often is it serviced? When was the last time? How was it treated previously by everybody? Regulators vary in price and in quality. It allows you to suck in a breath of air from a storage tank strapped to your back, and exhale air out the vented port off to the side. The internal diaphragm keeps the flap open or closed as you breathe in and out. It shouldn't let in any water, and the front of all the ones I've used is soft allowing me to depress it to force out any water before an inhalation if it was knocked out of my mouth. The hose that runs to this piece of gear is rigid - I had one of my instructors actually grab hold of it and tug me the direction he wanted me to head once. That hose can affect how the regulator feels in your mouth throughout the entire dive.

    Like anything you use, it needs to be maintained. After being told I'd have to give it ...
    by Published on 07-06-2013 01:48 AM
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    If you are considering getting into SCUBA diving, you may end up with a passion to own your own gear rather than relying on rentals. Last year I wrote several articles about those initial required purchases and classwork, as well as the open water skills required to get PADI certified. Now that summer is heating up, I'm itching to get back into the water to see more of the creatures we love to put in our aquariums and began researching what gear I needed next.

    It was overwhelming. There are so many brands, so many styles, prices ranging from inexpensive to insanely high; how can an underwater enthusiast know what to buy? I'd already looked at many of the options at my local dive shop, and I'd used rental gear both from there as well as during my dives in Hawaii. Through experience you can learn what you do ...
    by Published on 06-10-2013 08:19 PM
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    A year ago, I had to set up the 215g to support my livestock when the 400g tank leaked. Using plumbing I had on hand, everything was cobbled together to run the tank for a few months. I figured it would be three months until the 400g would go up again, but as you probably know that hasn't happened yet.

    I also stated back then that I would showcase how it was plumbed, as it's something others may need to emulate to some degree. The decision to continue using the sump where it was regardless of the display was a no-brainer. Everything was plumbed and wired properly in the sump, and the filtration was operating perfectly, so I needed to connect the temporary tank with plumbing to the established filtration and top-off system.

    Once the 215g was on the stand in the fishroom, it had to have the drains connected and these would drain into the sump three feet away. The return line from the Dart pump had to run the full length ...
    Published on 05-31-2013 09:48 PM
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    There are endless dive spots to visit in the world, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Galapagos is on the “bucket list” of every diver out there. I know it has always been on mine, and it absolutely did not disappoint. While the rules and regulations have changed a bit over the last few years with regard to combined land/water-based trips, you can still experience both underwater and topside locations on the same trip. Ideally, it would be perfect to book two weeks or more in Galapagos, the first ...
    by Published on 04-25-2013 10:46 AM
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    Your question isn't a simple one to answer. Granted, there are things you won't need but there are a many things you would to maintain a healthy environment for your fish, one where they can thrive.

    What can you put in there? You'll need to check their compatibility, as some fish are peaceful while others are predators. What are some that you're considering?

    How many? That comes down to the quality of the filtration, as well as the frequency of water changes. The lower the bioload, the more easy your job will be to keep them cared for. A heavy bioload is more work, just like having a dinner party for four people is easier that planning a wedding ...
    by Published on 04-23-2013 05:40 PM
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    If your tank is heading south fast, and the livestock is melting before your eyes, your precious fish gasping and your adrenalin is rushing, you need to call a friend. I'm not talking about those "emergencies" like "there's red stuff all over my sandbed and I can't stand it." I'm talking about a tank full of livestock that suddenly looks 100% different than what you see all the time.

    We turn to the forums for help with our various aquarium-related problems, and often find a few helpful tips within minutes or hours of searching. We often recommend just that, because so much of this hobby has been well-documented over the past decade, with questions answered often and repeatedly. However, even the most experienced hobbyist needs to remain humble and ask for help when something goes wrong. You may think that's unnecessary, but there's a reason why surgeons don't operate on their loved ones. Your emotions are clouding your judgement, and your compassion is impeding some synapses.
    by Published on 04-03-2013 08:12 PM
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    When I read the news article on ReefBuilders today regarding the most recent decisions made by NOAA for the Endangered Species Act, I quickly grew concerned. We are being asked, all of us, to take a few minutes to sign a petition and state your concerns if it goes through as written. http://reefbuilders.com/2013/04/03/r...coral-listing/

    Can you imagine it being illegal to share this easy to grow coral?

    My own thoughts are from a hobbyist's perspective, as I've enjoyed sharing corals with others for well over a decade. If what I read was true, this could all change. This is very concerning, thus I shared my thoughts:

    Are our corals endangered? Yes, we ...

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