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    by Published on 12-24-2010 01:10 PM
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    Bulkheads are a necessary part of a drilled tank to drain water down to the sump. They also are used on sumps running external pumps. A bulkhead is a plastic fitting with a flange, rubber gasket and retaining nut. They come in many sizes, both in Schedule 40 (standard) and Schedule 80 (beefy/sturdy). These are purchased at your local fish store (LFS) or online from various e-tailers. You won't find them at Home Depot or Lowes, but some smaller chains like Elliott's Hardware have some in inventory. Plumbing supplies won't have them usually.
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    by Published on 12-22-2010 01:59 PM
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    For many years, I have received hundreds if not thousands of requests for help with plumbing. An article is what was needed, and at last you will get your wish. The first thing you need to know is that there are many ways of accomplishing the same thing, and the most often reason for this is a lack of available parts. Even with a clear plan in mind, sometimes it requires buying alternate pieces to get the same results. The trick is knowing what is available to use, ...
    by Published on 10-29-2010 02:15 AM
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    There is always someone who is just starting in this hobby and may not know some of the things we take for granted. I'm all about documenting step-by-step instructions for just about anything and everything I do so that one day, someone can google it, and find a reassuring article on what they are about to venture forth and do. Having said that, I had to rinse out and reuse my old sand from my 150-gallon tank. This sand had sat in a large 50 gallon trash can on the side of my parents house for over 18 months. Open to the elements and rain. But, hey why not make use of it for the next tank!?
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    by Published on 08-03-2010 01:00 AM
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    To maintain crystal clear water quality, I find that it is essential to use granulated activated carbon (GAC) in my system. GAC is sold everywhere, and brand names are often compared. The key to picking out a good carbon is one that doesn't release a lot of dust into the tank and doesn't contain any trapped phosphates. I've seen many sumps that contain a mesh bag (or a nylon stocking) packed full of carbon, which the hobbyist believed would help water quality. This is called passive filtration, and it is an inefficient way to utilize carbon. Over time, a film or skin develops over the mesh material and water simply passes over and around it instead of flowing through it. Instead, I opt to put GAC in a Phosban Reactor (made by Two Little Fishies), where water is pumped through the media. This is called active filtration, and what I recommend to everyone.
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    by Published on 07-19-2010 04:45 PM
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    This article contains multiple pages and over 200 images.

    Its the sound no one wants to hear. Its the visual we pray will remain only a dream. Its the fear weve often considered, all the while hoping to outwit this worst case scenario with every ploy conceivable.

    Even with the most careful planning, time marches forward. Hour by hour, pressure stresses and tugs at the very seams that hold your reef tank together. Gravity is relentless, and age tears at the surfaces above and below the water, weakening the aquarium. Warranty or not, eventually something is going to give. What you do next dictates how this dance plays out.

    I cant help but wax poetically about the recent shift that my reef tank took. I put a lot of time, pride and money into making it the beautiful piece of the ocean it was, only to discover a seam failing. With the carpet gradually absorbing more and more water, my reef slowly began to bleed to death. The fish swam about unawares, just thinking about their next meal. The corals were growing quietly, swaying in the current, blissfully ignorant of the enormity of what was to come. And all the while, their caregiver was trying to determine the best option under the circumstances.



    This is the story of the end of my 280g reef. It was going to turn six years old in 50 days, still well in its prime. Corals were thriving, intertwined and yet tolerating one another for the most part. Some were losing ground as their closest neighbor gained another inch or so. The water was sparkling, the parameters perfectly suited for their needs. Yet their home, the 37.5 cubic feet they shared, was letting go. Below, a bunny was cleaning himself, without knowledge of the impending rush of water that was likely to pour his way had I not noticed the wet area spreading nearby. Perhaps I should be grateful for the 2141 days that those seams held, instead of feeling the loss so strongly. Fortunately I was home when this happened. After all, I was scheduled to be in Austin that weekend.

    On July 2nd, as I was heading out the front door of my home, I heard my shoe squeak slightly on the tile. Wed had a great deal of rain and I dismissed it, thinking my carpet was a little moist from recent foot traffic. On July 3rd, the squeak was far more pronounced, causing me to pause. Fighting back my dismay, I quickly studied the angled-front 20-gallon tank in the entry, but all was dry as was the tile beneath. I checked inside the adjacent closet to see if the plumbing was leaking, but it too was as it should be. Walking backwards slowly as I felt the carpet with my fingertips, I tracked the wetness back to the left column of the woodwork that wraps my 280-gallon ...
    by Published on 06-05-2010 11:44 PM
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    Many years ago on a forum far away, I came across an opportunity to purchase a cleaning magnet for my glass tank at a great price. The magnet was expensive, retailing at $59 plus shipping. However, a single individual decided to pool many orders into one, get a great price from the vendor and in turn we each saved money. He too got his magnet at the discounted price, but he had to do a lot more work than the rest of us. It was called a Group Buy. Many people jumped at the chance to purchase said magnets, which all went to a single location. He distributed them to each participant. It was amazing to me at that time.
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    by Published on 05-27-2010 01:12 AM



    Shortly after I began taking interest in reef tank photography and posting information on the various forums, I began receiving emails and private messages from people who wanted help improving their pictures. Some people blamed their cameras, others their lack of experience... but when I spent some time looking at their photos, I found that quite a few of them were really good. One of the most common problems, though, was poor post-processing. Photos that could have been spectacular were just OK, photos that could have been salvaged were almost beyond recognition.
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