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Sunday, 20 April 2014

My java jungle from above!

Just a quick shot of my Java fern. The whole thing has spawned and sprouted from one small rhizome clipping I purchased around 18months ago. 

It's not the most exciting of aquarium plants, but it's healthy, hardy and creates an aqua scape that the fish seem to enjoy immensely. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Apex Fusion - Open BETA

Neptune Systems’ Apex Fusion has now entered Open BETA!

Neptune Systems Community Forum Announcement

What does this mean? It now means you don’t need an invite to the previously closed event, anyone can sign up and connect their Apex to the Fusion cloud control system, just be aware the system is still being developed and not everything is currently supported from the Fusion interface.

You can of course continue to use the Web login full full control over your system.

Ive been in the closed BETA from the early days and Fusion has been very impressive so far, and i do intend to make a quick review of the currently available system when i get a moment.

Up to now its unrivalled, and very exciting to see where it goes in future.

Check it out at > Apex Fusion

Friday, 7 March 2014

JBL Floaty Blade - A quick review

I’ve been in the market for a glass cleaner for my reef tank so recently got my hands on a JBL Floaty Blade. Now i have used many magnetic glass cleaners over the years, but not had a chance to have a look at JBL’s offering.

The JBL glass cleaners tend to come in two different flavours and various sizes, but only the Floaty Blade has the included algae scraper included.

So heres a few pictures and a first look review.

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Of course one of the main points of the ‘Floaty Blade’ is the blade itself, which is angled in at around 45degrees, and thankfully has no sharp edged corners.

I for one am terrified of the prospect of a magnetic glass cleaner causing scratches on the glass, so I’m always a little cautious!

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The blade can be detached if you so wish by squeezing a pair of clips in on the sides...

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The internal glass side has this rough, almost velcro feel to it, like most other mag glass cleaners out there to provide a bit of scrubbing power against any tough stuff bonded to the glass...

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The outer part for the external glass surface has a soft felt like fabric attached to it, which will simultaneously buff the outer glass surface as you work against whatever is on the insides.

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A small white piece of plastic is provided should you need to clamp the two halves together when not in use. I accidentally allowed them to come together without this piece in place and they are VERY difficult to separate after! I don’t recommend doing that! With the little plastic piece they twist apart very easily.

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I was intrigued at first as to what this curved edge was for on one side of the internal half...

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So i gave it a test run on my Juwel Lido...

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On glass this thin, the magnets are far too powerful and the whole thing vibrates and judders as you pull the outer magnet along the surface.

However i did note the neat trick of the curved edge mentioned a couple of pictures back… its purpose seems to be to run up the edge of your silicone joints and keep the blade edge away from snagging the silicone itself… a nice touch!

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Next i put it onto the substantially thicker glass on my larger reef aquarium (15mm) and the increased distance on the magnets allowed it to move much more freely, in fact it glided along seamlessly. All the time i was apprehensive about that blade catching the glass, but the steep angle gives very little chance of it putting any gouges into the surface.

There wasn’t much to clear/scrape at the time, just some dust and weak filamentous algae until the bio side becomes established, but it cleared all that away with absolute ease! I will have to make a future review regarding its outright cleaning powers.

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Another neat thing i discovered is the extended edge on the ‘wet side’ of the glass cleaner, it seems a little odd at first until you discover its purpose...

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The extended edge, literally extends up beyond the boundary of any hood/pelmet that you may have installed your aquarium and essentially allows you to clean beyond that point and not leave an unsightly line of algae around the very limits. Or have to go in manually afterwards to finish off the job. A very neat design addition.

As you can image, the ‘float’ bit of the Floaty Blade’s name means exactly that, the wet side will float to the surface should it become completely detached, instead of sinking to the depths, a minor ask of the design of any magnetic glass cleaner i suppose, its also semi buoyant enough to do a quick exchange to another pane of glass if you are quick enough, i found parking it up against the silicone, then hold the dry side close to the corner and move it round, would bring the wet side along with it, so you can continue cleaning elsewhere without having to go in through the the top. If you have a high or deep tank, this small trick is generally very helpful!

The JBL Floaty Blade so far has proven to be a good little tool out of the box with some interesting extra design features, time will tell in the near future when i get to test it out on some more stubborn stains.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Neptune Systems Magnetic Probe Rack

Cool looking probe rack announced on Neptune Systems Facebook page today!

I love the colour scheme and embossed NS logo on the back of the magnet, and the fact that its been made to hold the larger Apex temperature probes.

Hopefully ill get my hands on one soon enough as it’ll work wonders for holding my temp, pH, ORP and Conductivity probes neatly rather than them being messily lodged down one of the bubble traps!

US retail is around $40 with stock coming over the next few months, UK no arrival date as of yet, or price plans.

Neptune systems magentic probe rack MPR 1
Neptune systems magentic probe rack MPR 2

Monday, 24 February 2014

EcoTech Marine and Aqua Illumination join forces!

Well i did not see that one coming, but the formidable EcoTech Marine have patterned up with the impressive Aqua Illumination.

Im an EcoTech fan as it is, having used Radions and Vortechs for the last couple of years, but almost went with an AI setup when the released the original Sol fixture around the same time as the Radion. They have always remained as my potential second choice as a result, I’ve never really come across anything that beats these two in separate situations, so the new combination of shared mines and technology we should hopefully see some very special and amazing products on the way!

As long as my Apex can interface with them ill be as happy as pie!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Getting back into it!

Well its been a while! I last posted on here back in October 2013, sadly I’ve had issues with the big three in the past 6 months, health, work and relationships! So spending quality time on a hobby i love has been sadly put on the back burner, hence my total lack of updates.

Things we’re touch and go at one point where all my aquariums, including my half finished reef tank, were on the verge of being shut down… thankfully this has not been the case, and life has taken a turn for the better and I’m finally starting to make progress again!

My planted tank has been ticking over nicely if anything. It has been effectively renamed as the Java Jungle due to the fact that it is now pretty much completely grown out with a Java fern i added into the tank several months ago!

The steps i took to cure the Cyano problem documented back in this post turned out to be a great success and the slime has completely died back as a result. After this i ensured that i maintained my water changes and EI Dosing to keep the parameters stable. In fact… thats pretty much all i have done since posting, I’ve not changed or meddled with anything and just kept to a strict but simple enough regime and the fauna is growing like wildfire, the water is always crystal clear, and everything that lives in there thrives happily.

Ive effectively lived by the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given when it comes to aquariums...

“We are water keepers, not fish keepers” - Get your chemistry correct and everything will fall into place.

Juwel Lido

Ok so my planted tank is never going to win any competitions, but it still remains as an experiment and learning curve for me, and i have learnt A LOT when it comes to this sort of thing! The plan is to upgrade this tank in the near future and take what i have learned and apply it to the new setup where i will spend more effort in terms of aquascaping and adding different plant species.

My reef tank, of course, continues to tick over. It has now spent around 6 months just full of RO, the original intention of this being to do a soak of the ceramics to sap out any silicates and phosphates. Not having the enthusiasm for the tank over the recent months has actually paid dividends to this process! Silicates came and hung around for a while and i had a batch of strange silicate based algae, this has since trailed off to a completely untraceable amount, or at least the Salifert test kit i used cannot detect anything, and its never shown any phosphates at all from the start, so i am suitably happy about this, that i will be salting up and cycling a tank that is free (or should be) of any of these nuisance impurities from the start.

Reef Tank

Some significant equipment changes have taken place, i will detail and document them in a another post very soon, but for now i am looking forward at finalising many of the unfinished parts of the project and finally getting some life into this aquarium.

Other than that, i have been part of the Fusion BETA testing for the Neptune Systems APEX controller, again, i will post my thoughts in more detail on that very soon, but its already taken a brilliant system to the next level and beyond, really looking forward to the functionality that the Neptune Systems guys will add in future.