With this June issue of AdvancedAquarist we have turned an important page in our history. As you canplainly see we have redesigned our whole web site, along with ouronline publication. I hope you approve of our efforts, and we wouldlove some feed back from you if you are so inclined.
For some of our readers who may be unfamiliar with our long term editorial goals, goals that extend back to the days of Aquarium Frontiers, I would like on this occasion of our redesign, to communicate them again. Reef Keepers from all over the world enjoy andfind it useful to communicate their husbandry experiences, as it isboth enjoyable and sometimes valuable to share anecdotal experience.However, anecdotal experience can too often be misleading, even downright incorrect, and can needlessly cause the death of some of theanimals we care about. It wasn’t too long ago that almost all reefkeepers were convinced that it was impossible to keep Acroporas alivein captivity, whereas today, Acroporas grow like weeds in many man madereefs. Therefore, it has always been our goal to offer scientificallybased experimental information to provide a factual basis for our reefkeeping advice. The first of a two part work (An ExperimentalComparison of Sandbed and Plenum-Based Systems. Part 1: Controlled lab dosing experiments) by Rob Toonen, Ph.D. in this issue is a case in point. In Rob’s own words,
There remains considerable debate about the most efficientdesign of a sediment bed for processing nutrients in a recirculatingsystem, but to date these arguments have been based almost entirely onpersonal opinion and anecdotal evidence.
This issue is perhaps the most controversial facing both professionaland amateur reef keepers today, with many questioning whether in thelong run deep sand beds with or without plenums are better than barebottomed reefs. In other words, anecdotal experience is valuable, buthardly definitive. Man made reefs are very complex biological entities,and as most aquarists are constantly tinkering with reefs it is almostimpossible to tell what caused what. It is only in experimentalconditions where variables are accounted for that factual informationcan be derived.
Hobbyists love to argue about which bulb is best, and which reflector.Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Sanjay Joshi, Ph.D. we have providedthe reef keeper with a huge body of factually based information aboutbulbs and reflectors, so that now the discussion can be based on solidinformation. If you haven’t already, check outhttp://www.reeflightinginfo.arvixe.com/.
In past issues we have seen Tim Hovanec, Ph.D. take on with solidexperimental data a lot of essentially useless anecdotal informationregarding the toxicity of trace metals in today’s salt mixes. And, in this issue Dana Riddle, a tireless researcher, provides us withuseful data regarding the accuracy of test kits. In his words,
‘Test kits’ generally deliver ‘ballpark’ numbers, and thismay be fine for the average hobbyist. However, serious hobbyists, coralfarmers, professional aquarists and those providing aquariummaintenance services might be interested in some of the newer testequipment finding its way to market. Although not inexpensive, newcolorimeters using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have lower prices thanunits available just a few years ago. Sturdy and compact, theseinstruments are easy to transport for field work, yet are right at homein a laboratory setting.
Our editorial goal is to provide our readers with as muchscientifically based information as is available. We have always triedto span the place between the science journal and hobbyist literature,and will continue to do so into the future. In concrete terms, doesthis new additive improve the health of our reefs, or is a snake oil;is a deep sand bed better than a bare bottomed tank; is artificiallymade saltwater as good as natural seawater, etc?