Algae Fix for Hair Algae Problems








    Hair algae is a big problem for anyone who keeps a saltwater tank and one that can be quite devastating to any kind of marine aquarium.  I have been keeping saltwater fish for a bit over a year now and have had at least 2 very serious algae blooms that killed of a number of fish and corals.  I have used the advice found on various reef and saltwater forums to help combat the dreaded hair algae problem.  I have also relied heavily on my local fish store for advice and help.  Most online forums emphasize the need for frequent water changes and keeping phosphate levels at 0.  I do biweekly water changes and that usually keeps my phosphates and other perimeters where they should be.  But just in the past month or so, for some reason my phosphates began to rise to 0.25, while nitrates and ammonia were 0.  As this happened the hair algae began to slowly bloom.  I used Phosban and phosphate absorbing sponges, but nothing changed.  My local fish store, as well as some online forums  recommended API Algae Fix every 3 days to control the algae.  I manually removed the hair algae with a toothbrush and cleaned the live rock, along with water changes. I then began using API Algae Fix as directed, but the algae keeps growing. I admit that there is a good amount of dead algae along with the fresh growth. My snails and algae eating blennies don't seen to be interested in doing their job and eating the algae

    What is depressing is that two new fish have died, which before they disappeared seemed quite healthy.  Yesterday I did another water change, picked off algae from the gravel and vacuumed it, scrubbed the live rock and adjusted the protein skimmer in hopes of destroying the hair algae.  I know many reviewers swear by Algae Fix, while others say that it has no affect.  As for me I am not sure if it very slowly helping my algae situation or it is of no help at all.   At this time I will neither recommend Algae Fix nor deny that it is useless.  I will give it another month to see what happens. Stay tuned!
   

Fluval Sea P2 Mini Protein Skimmer





   

      After having no luck with the Coralife Biocube protein skimmer, which I had posted about earlier here, I purchased the Fluval Sea PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer for my Biocube 29. I had researched this skimmer online and found nothing regarding whether or not it would git into my Biocube. According to the dimensions from Amazon.com I was quite sure it would fit into my tank, so I bought it from my local fish store, Marine Oasis

    After opening the package and inspecting everything I attempted to fit it into the 3rd chamber of my Biocube. Finally after about an hour I manged to tentatively fit it in, even though it was a bit wobbly.  It seemed to work okay, but each time I opened the lid or did water changes the position of the skimmer would change.  After a number of attempts to relocate it I thought I had the perfect fit.  It began to produce a skimmate which I thought meant it was working fine.  Unfortunately I was wrong. One morning I smelled something burning and found that the skimmer had overflown and blew the collection cup lid off and was spewing water onto the wall in back of the tank. This ran down the wall and hit the electrical socket causing smoke and sparks. Luckily I was able to disconnect everything avoiding a potentially disastrous fire. Even though I had protective loops in all of the electrical cords it did no good, as the water ran down the wall and not the cords!

    After a week or so I replaced the power strip and emailed  Fluval customer support, explaining what happened and asked if they had  any suggestions. They basically told me to read the directions, which of course did not have any information regarding my situation!  Finally I  managed to fit the unit into the second chamber of my tank, where it has been for more than a week and working well.  This protein skimmer does not have a wooden airstone, but a propeller driven system to produce bubbles, which saves a bit of money. 

    So far the Fluval Sea PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer seems to be working fine, after many adjustments. I believe this product is a good buy for nano tanks under 30 gallons.  But before you buy it please do your research as I don't feel Fluval's customer support is very helpful. I bought this unit for less than $60, which is much cheaper than many protein skimmers on the market.  The reviews I have read on Amazon and other sites highly also highly recommend it.

Amazon Prime and Ebay.

Wikimedia Commons  
   
    I try to shop local for much of what I buy for the house, but often times the items I am looking for are not available locally or they are much more expensive than online. Since I have a number of pets and I have a saltwater aquarium for a hobby, the prices I find at Amazon.com are much more affordableFor these orders I use  Amazon Prime. The cost of Amazon Prime is $99 per year and  I find that reasonable since myself and other members of the family order from Amazon quite often and we really enjoy the free next day shipping. I also find that when I am looking for certain hard to find items Amazon will have them. I would highly recommend Amazon Prime for anyone who does a lot of online shopping.

Wikimedia Commons
    I quite occasionally  use Ebay, in addition, for some items that cannot be easily found online or locally. I sometimes buy live corals for my aquarium, as there is a large selection here and cheaper prices than the local fish stores. I always look for the sellers who offer free shipping. I also occasionally  buy Chaeto, which is a type of macro-algae that helps in control of  green hair algae in the tank.  Another interest  of mine is collecting Native American photos, paintings and artifacts which I can find on Ebay.  

   Other than these two sites, I do try to buy locally for household items. I enthusiastically recommend Amazon.com and Ebay, if you can't find what you want in your area.

Coralaife Biocube Protein Skimmer

   




    After having quite a bit of trouble with hair algae blooms in my reef tank I decided to shop around for a protein skimmer to help alleviate the problem. I noticed a vast array of skimmers, some of which were quite pricey. But most of them were also way too large for my Biocube 29.  I saw that Coralife had a protein skimmer that was specifically designed for the Coralife Biocube 29 and it was quite affordable at slightly over $29 from Amazon.com. and other online stores. I checked the reviews on this product and they seemed to be mixed, with some saying it was wonderful and others saying it was worthless. Since the other protein skimmers were very expensive and only a very few would fit in a nano tank, such as mine, I went with the Coralife.

    Upon receipt of the skimmer I quickly noticed that it would easily fit in any one of the back chambers of my Biocube 29. I attached the enclosed wooden air stone and installed it into the 3rd chamber of my tank. I adjusted the airflow to allow an adequate (so I thought) amount of tiny bubbles. A few hours later I noticed a small amount of clear skimmate and emptied the collection cup. Over the course of about 3 weeks, with numerous adjustments,  I obtained nothing but clear skimmate. You have to replace the wooden air stone every 30 days at a cost of about $4 or $5 each. After about 3 months of numerous adjustments to the  skimmer and obtaining nothing but clear water I surmised that it just didn't work.

   I figured that if this skimmer really worked and I was to keep it, the cost for the wooden air stones would be at least $48 a year, plus the hassle of having to change them every month.  So I decided to do more research and look around for a better and most likely more expensive propeller driven protein skimmer.  The cost was right with this skimmer, but it did not work for me.


Copper Chef 5 Piece System

After seeing the infomercial, regarding the Copper Chef, on one of the home shopping networks we were quite impressed with all this pan could do. The special offer was 3 payments of $24.99, which they said was cheaper than usually advertised.  Like I said we were impressed so we bought it. A couple of days later it arrived. Quicker than we thought!

We were surprised at how thin the metal was and that it did not seem to sturdy, but we wanted to see if it lived up to Chef Eric Theiss's claims.

Even before the pan was used for the first time I noticed that the same pan was offered on different shopping channels and Kohl's for a much cheaper price. My fault. We should have searched around!

It's been a few months since we ordered this pan and we are not impressed! Food does indeed stick to the pan as we learned when cooking some buffalo wings. Also the pan is actually copper coated aluminum, which scratches off. We still use the pan, since we paid so much money for it, and we will continue to use it for messy frying jobs where we don't want to dirty up our good pans. I would give this pan 3 stars, mainly for the quality offered at such a high price. I would say that similar pans are available for $20 to $40 and that is the most I would pay for copper coated aluminum pans.





Coralife Biocube 29 aquarium

    I had always wanted a saltwater aquarium, but I knew absolutely nothing about them. I went to my local fish store, Marine Oasis, in Spencerport, NY to browse and ask for support. I didn't have a very large budget, so I wanted something that wasn't huge and took a lot of money and time to maintain. I also didn't want something very small that would only accommodate one fish. Since I did not have a lot of room to dedicate to the tank I was recommended a nano tank. I was recommended the Coralife Biocube 29.  The Coralife Biocube 29 is all inclusive. which means that the filtration system and lighting are included in the unit. This was very attractive to me because it cut down on the expense of having to buy separate lighting and filters and pumps. The tank comes with bio-balls to assist in bacterial filtration. There are 3 separate chambers in the back to place the bio-balls or media basket, the pump, heater or a refugium.  Basically you can configure the Biocube 29 in just about any way you wish.



These are a couple of photos of my marine reef tank after having been set up for about 1 year.  This tank was very easy to start up and maintain within a low reasonable budget. I believe the lowest price would be to order this from Amazon.com   Even though it says it is a Biocube 29, the tank, after adding the gravel and live rock, probably holds 20 gallons of water. For me the Coralife Biocube 29 was an excellent choice, because I did not have to spend extra money for lighting, filtration etc. I would highly recommend this setup for beginners who want a saltwater or freshwater tank.

Black and Decker Toaster Oven



Photo courtesy of www.kohls.com        
    One of the first small appliances that we actually really had to get was a toaster oven/broiler for the counter top. After researching the different makes and prices we settled for this Black and Decker 6 Slice Toaster Oven/Broiler.  We purchased it at Kohl's for less than $50 after coupons and discounts. It's in constant use when we don't want to turn the big oven on for small portions. I particularly enjoy broiling fish fillets with this item. We use it for baking, broiling, making toast and warming up left overs. The only complaint that I have is that the lettering and temperature numbers are very small and I need to either use a magnifying glass or put my reading glasses on. I would definitely recommend this toaster oven and would buy another one if I needed to.