A selection of useful tidbits of information for the aquarist. Readers are encouraged to send their tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication. For submissions that are published in Advanced Aquarist, the author will receive a $25.00 gift certificate from one of our participating advertisers.
Putting Together Secure Rockwork
I have found that by using a 1/4 inch wood-boring drill bit one can drill holes into their rockwork rather easily and with out a high risk of the rock breaking (as long as sturdy areas of the rock are chosen for drilling). The holes should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Drill holes in the area of each rock where you want to secure them together. You can then use the Acrylic/Plastic rods cut to 2 inches to secure the rocks snuggly together. The clear plastic hexagonal rods sold at Home Depot and department stores, as replacement rods for changing the angle of blinds, work excellently in this regard, are easy to find, and cost only about $2. You can also drill holes in your bottom rocks and use longer pegs to support rocks above your DSB (deep sand bed) or build overhangs.
Regards, Jacob Maki
Acclimating Sea Stars
Because many sea stars are extremely sensitive to changes in specific gravity it is critically important to acclimate them very gradually. If the sea star is in water that has a lower specific gravity than the aquarist’s reef tank one way to slowly adjust the specific gravity is to put the sea star in a container with an air stone and simply allow evaporation to equalize the specific gravity. If the sea star didn’t come with enough water to allow for the evaporation technique the aquarist can make up some water at the specific gravity, temperature, and pH of the shipment water, add it to the holding container, and then wait for evaporation to gradually equalize the specific gravity.
This hot tip was told to Terry Siegel by Julian Sprung.
Aquarium Photography of Fish
Many hobbyists purchase digital cameras and start shooting right away without learning the fundamentals of photography. They then take pictures of their reef tanks and the fish are all blurry. This is because in a “dimly” lit tank (dimly compared to the sun outdoors for example) there is not enough light, so the camera needs to leave the shutter open for a long time. If your shots have shutter speeds of less than 1/60th of second, odds are that your fish will look blurry. Use an external flash – preferably mounted away from the camera with an extension cord – to “stop” those fish for tack sharp photos.