Lateral Lines: A Reef Geek Holiday Season

This article will feature a glimpse into some of the
gadgets used in the marine aquarium hobby. The author
frequently receives emails asking for input on products,
however this article is intended to introduce readers to the
vast world of aquarium products. Several of the items
mentioned here have not been used by the author and should not
be viewed as endorsements.


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Ahh, the joy of handing out fish goodies to bright eyed young hobbyists.


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Inspired
by a Fish Geek Holiday party last year, the author awoke one morning to
find a digital thermometer wrapped up nicely by a loving wife.

It’s that time of year again. One of my favorite times of
the year is when reef people around the world celebrate a
Holiday Season. For me, this means the pleasure of attending
another Reef Geek Holiday Party. These events are typically
designed for a bunch of “Fish Geeks” to get together and enjoy
the company of other overly obsessed hobbyists. Another
enjoyable part of these events are seeing new aquarium
products, with freebies and donations as well.

For some of you in large hobbyist clubs and public aquaria
the fun and games of Reef Parties is all too familiar. For
everyone else, here is a look into what you may be seeing in
stores this Holiday Season.


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Nothing beats hanging around with fish friends.


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During
a Fish Geek Holiday party a power point presentation is shown
describing holiday gift ideas and descriptions of donated products.


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Shown here are examples of items donated and given away at a Fish Geek Holiday Party.

Low Budget Items

Can you believe all the little things you can buy
in this hobby? I believe it to be only second to the scuba
diving hobby. From digital thermometers to hand held
magnifying glasses to fish foods to hermit crabs, low budget
items are everywhere. Some hobbyists have even been known to
make Christmas Stockings that are stuffed with all aquarium
related items.


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Not
sure what will be in your stocking this year? Try wishing for one of
these stockings stuffed with fish food samples and aquarium additives.


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Some Fish Geeks have everything for their tanks, but a little bit of fish room décor is always an option.


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Tired
of trying to read that little algae covered glass thermometer which is
always turned around backward? Try using a small out of site digital
thermometer.


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Some items need to be replaced continuously. For that reason some activated carbon is always a good gift.


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For
our readers in the Southern Hemisphere we should mention that the
upcoming summer season is upon you. Now may be a good time to add a fan
or two above your tank.


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Cheap
float valves can be installed on most aquariums. They offer relief from
manually adding water and checking water levels in an aquarium.


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If
you are tired of seeing your spouses aquarium covered with that dirty
film on the glass/acrylic then this is for you. Magnet cleaners are
cheap and easy to use for removing algae from the front of an aquarium.


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Not
often used in reef aquariums, but still intriguing items, mood lights
offer a different perspective and look to the aquarium.


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Moon
light systems are designed to give your aquarium that nighttime glow.
Often cheap to buy and commonly made at home these lights are
increasingly popular.


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Time to clean the tank? Hate that coralline algae on the front? Try using a scraping tool like those shown here.


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Some test kits (Alkalinity, Calcium, etc) should be owned by all aquarists, but there are numerous other kits available as well.


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One
of the best gifts you can give is something that gives back to your
local aquarium club. Some of these gifts generate tremendous
advertising for aquarium clubs.


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By
purchasing an aquarium club gift, like the super stein shown here, you
are not only buying a gift but are also financially supporting your
local club.

Middle Budget Items

Well these are the gifts for that special friend
you might have. Say someone like your local aquarium club
president! If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider
treating yourself this holiday season with one of these
additions to your aquarium.


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The perfect gift. Books contain an abundance of information and are perfect reference tools for the every day hobbyist.


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Typically
livestock is not the best choice of a party gift. On the other hand who
can resist adding a new addition to their ecosystem.


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Dosing
pumps are used by hobbyists usually to control the input of buffering
solutions. Before purchasing or using such a device make sure you
understand how it works and know what you are doing.


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If
you are going to be home for the holidays then let this be a time where
you take care of some aquarium projects. One example is to remove all
those unsightly (and unsafe) powerstrips and cords you have, and to rig
up your own aquarium power box.


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Externally mounted powerheads are new on the market. Look for their popularity to take off in the near future.


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Even
small aquariums can benefit by adding a refugium. If don’t have a
refugium on your aquarium you may want to consider adding one. Shown
here is a simple refugium made to hang on the back of the aquarium.

High Budget Items-

High budget items are not usually the best gifts
to give, but are certainly the best gifts to receive. Honestly
purchasing a High Budget Item is often unnecessary as most of
these items are chosen by hobbyists for specific purposes. I
would like to review some of these products because some of you
may be fortunate enough to convince a significant other that
you really need one of these items. If that is the case, I
certainly recommend that you pick out the exact style and
manufacture that you are looking for.


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A Calcium Reactor set-up is a large purchase that requires proper planning.


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Automatic controlling systems are becoming more popular as the hobby expands.


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Kalkwasser Reactors are great additions to an aquarium, and also make great Do It Yourself projects.


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For the reefer who already has everything, a mesoscope can offer new perspective on aquarium inhabitants (photo of author)


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Given
away during an aquarium club holiday party, this Oceans Motions unit
creates changing water currents (unit shown on the back of the aquarium
directing water through pvc plastic piping).


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Running
Ozone in a reef aquarium has numerous benefits. However, this is
certainly a compound in need of proper care and understanding. A gift
best left for experienced hobbyists.


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Water purification systems are recommend by most hobbyists as a great addition to reef aquarium set up.


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If
you drew Dana Riddle’s name out of the holiday season hat then a trip
to the local science store may be a prudent move. In fact many
hobbyists are playing with scientific tools on a daily basis as they
delve into this hobby.


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If
you don’t already have a protein skimmer on your aquarium, then this is
the perfect time to look for one. Skimmers are considered to be one of
the most effective waste removal devices used in the hobby today.


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Shown
here is a Wave2K box that generates a repeating surge of water through
out the aquarium. You can click the links to see videos of the item in
motion.

To see the Wave2K in action click on this link
for the above tank video, and the in
tank video
.

The Important Part

Let us not forget the important things during the
Holidays. The best part of a Reef Geek Party is the
camaraderie and enjoyment of seeing friends. I hope all of you
will enjoy the Holidays with your fishy friends as much as I
know I will.


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If you are looking to buy a gift for your favorite club president, this skimmer may be a good choice.


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Embarrassingly revealed the fish party cookies are a favorite of this author.


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On
a final note the author would like to say “Happy Holidays and cheers”
to all of you. I hope you have as much fun with your fish friends this
season as I know I will.

Author Information

Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology
for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic
& Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes
research projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists.
His vision is to see this type of collaboration lead to further
advancements in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is
the president of one of the Nation’s largest hobbyist clubs,
the Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society
(www.utahreefs.com). Adam has earned a BS
in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural Resource and
Health fields. Adam can be found at
adamblundell@hotmail.com.

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About

 Adam Blundell

  (44 articles)

Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic & Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes research projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists. His vision is to see this type of collaboration lead to further advancements in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is the former president of one of the Nation's largest hobbyist clubs, the Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society (www.utahreefs.com). Adam has earned a BS in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural Resource and Health fields. Adam can be found at adamblundell@hotmail.com.

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