DIY

The articles are listed in the various subcategories of the drop down menu: Electrical, Food, Fragging, Plumbing or Sumps.

How to silicone baffles in a glass aquarium

A video is coming in Spring 2015, but for the time being here are the guidelines:

I sell acrylic baffles cut to fit your aquarium via my shop: http://melevsreef.com/catalog/sump-baffles-diy  Once arrived, this is how to install them.

If you mimic the layout of the Model F on my site, you will be creating three zones.  The layout is Skimmer zone on the left, Refugium zone on the right, Return zone in the middle. 

Shipping a sump

People ask if I'll build and ship a sump to their location, and I always forewarn them that is is very expensive. Here's why.

You've got this large acrylic vessel that has to get from Point A (Ft. Worth, Texas) to Point B (somewhere else in the U.S.)...

Bringing home corals via plane

Bringing home livestock on a flight can be challenging, but it sure is nice to get your newest acquisitions into your quarantine system as soon as you get home rather than having someone ship them to you a day later and worry about the transit times. Plus it costs extra to ship overnight when you are already taking a plane home!

Normally, all coral frags are packed in a styrofoam cooler and checked as luggage.  I've done this several times successfully. I've also used collapsible coolers that fit inside my suitcase,

Fragging Tools

Fragging corals is a big part of the hobby. Being able to acquire frags from others has benefits. Corals are shared rather than the constant harvesting of wild colonies in the ocean, and they are already accustomed to dwelling in a closed ecosystem. The giver prunes the colonies in their reef, allowing for better flow. They are able to 'bank' a coral with you in case theirs perishes for whatever reason. The receiver enjoys watching the little piece grow into something beautiful over time, and then will one day be a giver as well.

Over the years, commercial sales have shifted from colony-sized corals to frag-size. Getting bigger colonies is nearly unheard of. Just about anything can be fragged, which is to cut a fragment off the bigger colony.  I have a general rule: I won't frag a frag. I'm more of a hoarder, preferring to grow them into big colonies but from time to time I have to cave in and snip a few piece here and there.

Wiring outlets safely

Having electrical outlets over open water is risky, and if you can do anything to reduce that risk, I think it's worth it. Water can make contact a variety of ways: A pump squirting upward, a big splash when you drop something or when livestock decides to jump, or even during something mundane like a waterchange and the hose accidentally floods our outlets as you move it from point A to point B. On top of that, salty air occurs around the clock due to evaporation, and when the climate calls for it, condensation can occur on and in those outlets. Has any of this struck a chord with you? Think about how your electrical is currenlty set up, and if you know something needs doing, don't delay. Saltwater and electricity often equals fire, and that means loss of life and property.

Proper Feeding Methods

Feeding an aquarium seems simple enough. Buy a jar of flake food, and toss some in, right? Actually, that really isn’t a good idea for a variety of reasons. Hopefully you’ll find the following information helpful for your own specific needs. Foods come in many forms, including sheets, flakes, pellets, frozen, refrigerated, liquid, and live.

Flake food is convenient, easy to dose, and relatively inexpensive. A few things to keep in mind are that it should be kept in a cool dry place, not sitting on the canopy where the heat of your lighting can ruin it. Never pour the food into your tank, as an accident may occur which will dump excessive amounts of flake food into the water polluting the tank. It is better to take a pinch of food, and submerge your fingers in the water while releasing the food in the current. This will allow your fish to eat without gulping down air trying to eat from the surface. Keep in mind that flake foods are known to add to phosphate issues, so if your tank suffers from nuisance algae, it would be better to reduce the amount of flake food feedings.

Hatch and Harvest Baby Brine Shrimp

Growing baby brine shrimp allows me to feed the smaller fish in a reef tank containing large voracious tangs. Every day, one batch is added to the tank while the pumps are off. The tangs swim through the tiny bits of live food, while the little fish have their meal.

Hatching brine is easy, and doesn't cost much. The recipe is available on my site. Two hatching stations allow me to always have a new batch available daily. 

Hatching Brine Shrimp easily

Brine Shrimp hatching recipe:

  • 2 cups tank water
  • 1/2 cup RO/DI
  • 1 tsp brine shrimp eggs

Make your own fishfood

Buying frozen foods at the local fish store can get pretty expensive over time. Fish need varied diets, so rotating through separate foods each day of the week can be routine, but ask a person to do this for you while you are away and suddenly it seems overly complex.

I'd read of others making their own food, and one member showed me his. Man, it was great! Not only did he save money, but he had all the foods mixed together so that every fish in his tank got what they needed each day. So here is how I make my food. Feel free to modify it to your own needs, and pass along the information to others if you feel it is helpful.

10 Step Phytoplankton Culture

Susan did a great job putting together a working manual for everyone follow, including myself.  After a few years, that resource vanished from the web. This page was originally written by Susan J. Wilson; page last found online on Sept 12, 2006: http://www.sjwilson.net/reef/phytosteps.html  Contents placed on my site as reference only, and these are all her words below... 

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