During our recent trip to MACNA 2013, we spent a great deal of time at the Aqua Medic booth combing over their latest and greatest products. Despite several new additions to their line this past year, it wasn’t necessarily their hardware that the sales reps were so chatty about. Instead, they spoke at great length about their newest project, the Aqua Medic Live wholesale livestock facility. Always intrigued by new things, we took note of every detail thrown our way, especially since the Aqua Medic guys were just so excited about it. After seeing just what this new high end operation has to offer, we can certainly share in their enthusiasm. So, come join us for a virtual tour of this neat facility and read all about the details below. Located in Loveland, Colorado, Aqua Medic Live officially opened on August 17th of this year and its conception was driven purely by a fish store demand of a wholesale distributor in the mid-west. Aqua Medic Live currently only services local stores and companies willing to pick up their corals, though they plan to start shipping orders within the next couple of months pending logistical planning. The operation is small, but rapidly expanding as demand increases. Currently, the facility houses six coral tables measuring 6′x3′, alongside three 220-gallon show tanks that corals can also be purchased from.
Late last week, we shared an article about the Aqua Medic Coral Holder, an ingenious device that keeps large LPS corals sitting upright for fish stores and frag happy hobbyists alike. Unfortunately, our photos, which we took at MACNA, didn’t do the Coral Holder any justice. They showed the product accurately, but in a sterile trade show setting. Thankfully, the guys at Aqua Medic sent us some photos of their holders in action. These relatively inexpensive coral holding devices function by placing a coral between two sliding halves of a plastic hexagon, with an oval shaped opening in the middle. The two halves can be pulled apart several inches while still remaining in contact with each other, which allows for some big, beefy corals to be held upright. These Coral Holders are not exactly ideal for the hobbyist looking to keep up with the aesthetics of a reef aquarium, but serve a great function for aquarium stores or hobbyists who have a frag tank.
One of the coolest, simplest, and most inexpensive products we saw at MACNA was the Coral Holder from Aqua Medic. This straightforward device does exactly as its namesake suggests, holds corals, but it’s not your typical frag rack or ugly piece of PVC. Instead, it is a clean looking holder that can be adjusted to accomodate corals of various shapes and sizes. The Coral Holder isn’t new to the industry by any means, it isn’t exactly a device that you would find in the typical home aquarium. This is mostly due to the fact that hobbyists don’t display corals like retail and wholesale facilities do. That said, the holder could be a great tool for those hobbyists looking to keep bulky Euphylids or top-heavy Caulastrea colonies from toppling over, espeically in a frag tank. The Coral Holder opens and closes along a pair of long pegs on one side that fit into a slots on the opposite side. The two halves can be pulled completely apart from each other if need be, and pushed together to tighten around a particular coral.
When it comes to new protein skimmers, we can appreciate it when companies stick to the tried and true, but we get even more excited when a someone does something a bit bold in order to stand out. Aqua Medic did just that with their aCone line of skimmers, which we got the privilege of getting up close to at MACNA. The cone shape isn’t anything new, but the bubble plate and skimmer pump are quite unique. On top of that, the designers incorporated one very hand drain that should help when it comes cleaning time. The bubble plate is one of the most unusual features of the aCone. It ditches the usual horizontal plate with upward facing holes in favor of a stack of plates that create horizontally opposed bubble channels, which really slow the flow of water and bubbles through the skimmer body. This increases dwell time, and therefore the amount of time the bubbles are in contact with the water. The second big selling point of the aCone is the skimmer pump volute, which isn’t completely unique in its design, but definitely out of the norm. ATI Aquaristik first introduced this sort of design, where water is drawn from the outer edge of the volute with air being injected directly in the middle. Other protein skimmers do this the other way around, drawing in air around the periphery of the volute.
Aqua Medic is taking a fairly unique approach to the world of calcium reactors with the introduction of their Calciumreactor KR Blue. Recently shown off on their Facebook page, this reactor is built off the same hardware as their Nitratereductor reactors, and looks much like a canister filter in that its media is divided up among three different trays. Additionally, instead of using a tall, cylindrical body, this calcium reactor uses a much shorter body that is designed to fit into most aquarium stands, making its use a bit more universal. While the Calciumreactor KR Blue looks a bit different than your typical reactor, the differences appear to be mainly aesthetic. Aqua Medic has yet to come out with a full parts list or detailed imagery, but from the looks of it, the reactor still has the basic components needed to deliver calcium to your reef aquarium. That said, some of the ammenities found in other reactor models don’t appear to be present on the Calciumreactor KR Blue. The recirculation pump is built right into the lid, pushing the CO2 laden water to the bottom of the reactor and allowing it to flow upward through the media. This bottom-up flow provides the best dissolution of the calcium media, and it’s the same method found in most other reactors. Also located in the lid of the Calciumreactor KR Blue is a port for a pH probe, which is vital to communicate with your aquarium controller or pH controller to let it know when to turn the CO2 off and on. Flow into and out of the calcium reactor are controlled by a dosing pump, which is sold separately, though we’re sure those inexpensive low speed powerheads would also suffice. The typical bubble counter is not included in this reactor, which is unfortunate because most of the reactors on the market today use them, and it’s certainly a good feature to have. That said, many of the CO2 regulators are sold with them already attached. We did not see a CO2 port on the renderings of this calcium reactor, so we’re not sure where the gas will be injected. Since the reactor is based off of a sulfur denitrator, where the dissolution of sulfur lowers the pH, there may not be a CO2 inlet. But again, this is just going off of the renderings mainly. We hope these missing features will be included in the reactor and that the images are just copied renderings. The Calciumreactor KR Blue is rated for aquariums in the 65-270 gallon range, according to its description. No dimensions or price points were given, though I’m sure they’ll surface in no time.