Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
Sections
You are here: Home Volume XIX January 2018 Editorial: January 2018

Editorial: January 2018

By admin - Posted Jan 10, 2018 09:00 AM
Few reefkeepers can claim as much experience and insight as our very own editor, Terry Siegel. In 2018, Terry will share his thoughts and knowledge in hopes helping reefkeepers avoid the mistakes he's made as well as give us all a greater scope of this hobby we love.

Despite or maybe because I turned 80 last June, with this issue of Advanced Aquarist it is my intention to begin writing editorials on a regular basis. On a personal note first, my love of and fascination with coral reef tanks is as great as ever. Some of you already know that I have been keeping aquariums for over 70 years, and during those years I have made many mistakes and have been victimized all too often by Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong will and at the worst possible time. Therefore, it is my hope that I can help reefkeepers of today avoid some of the mistakes I made in the past.

Two colorful favorites of mine whose world is threatened by global warming, or climate change if you prefer. Acanthurus leucosteron and Siganus magnificus:  both have been guests of mine for quite a number of years.

Two colorful favorites of mine whose world is threatened by global warming, or climate change if you prefer. Acanthurus leucosteron and Siganus magnificus: both have been guests of mine for quite a number of years.

Two colorful favorites of mine whose world is threatened by global warming, or climate change if you prefer. Acanthurus leucosteron and Siganus magnificus: both have been guests of mine for quite a number of years.

Unfortunately, we appear to be living in a world where it is hard to tell fact from fiction, where what is true and what is merely the smoke emanating from someone’s opinion pipe. Many of us have become far too familiar with disinformation, and misinformation. Even in the world of reef keeping, it is essential to understand the difference between useful additives that one adds to one’s reef tank and snake oil concocted by individuals who are concerned simply with their profit margin.

For me, a workable definition of science is “the dis-interested pursuit of the truth.”

Today, as I have always argued in the past, one must rely on science. For me, a workable definition of science is “the dis-interested pursuit of the truth.” The critical word in this definition is “disinterested.” To the scientist, when pursuing truth, it doesn’t matter whether that truth supports the scientist’s personal views or contradicts them. Essentially, what I am suggesting is that there is a difference between science as a method (epistemology) and practicing scientists.

Nevertheless, when I have the opportunity to base a decision regarding my reef keeping practices I will always depend on information that has been derived empirically from carefully observed data. From a biochemical point of view what takes place in a reef tank is very complex with numerous variables and sometimes it is necessary to make a decision utilizing information that is anecdotal in nature. However, when seeking out of necessity anecdotal information I will always try to use information from an experienced reef keeper. Anyway, enough philosophy, it is now time to turn to more practical matters.

After about two years what my reef tank looks like after it was newly setup.

Just about two years ago I made the decision to restart my 10-foot aquarium, which prior to that for a relatively short period of time it was set up as a Dutch style planted tank. Although the planted tank was very interesting my heart really belongs to reef keeping. This particular aquarium as a reef tank was broken down over a decade ago and during that period of time equipment, to say nothing of the availability of flora and fauna, have changed.

So, the first thing in this editorial that I want to talk about for no particular reason is lighting. In the past, I used six 250 W metal halide bulbs and fixtures, operating at 10,000 K. I found this type of lighting in terms of keeping growing corals to be quite successful; however, in terms of electrical usage and the propagation of heat it proved to be quite expensive. Today, light produced by LED fixtures has reached maturity. A decade ago LED lighting was clearly in its infancy, but today almost every manufacturer who manufactures equipment for reef keeping is showing a variety of LED fixtures.

Trying to control expenses, I initially hung eight bargain LED fixtures over the reef tank. The ones that I used for about a year and ½ were Five-part Spectra, which are programmable, draw about 165-Watts each, and cost from Amazon about $129.00. These fixtures worked very well and have a fairly good color spectrum. Like most things these days they are made in China.

However, over that period of a year and ½ two of the eight became defective and had to be replaced. After attending MACNA which took place in New Orleans this year, and visiting Ecotech’s booths where I checked out their latest LED fixtures I realized I had to bite the financial bullet and replace the bargain LED fixtures with a group of Ecotech’s Radion XR30w Pros.

For the cost of two Ecotech’s Radions one could purchase approximately eight of the bargain LED fixtures. When it comes to financial expenditure there is no comparison. For me, the difference in cost is justified when it comes to ease-of-use, intensity of light, distribution of light, and most importantly the responsiveness of my corals to the upgrade in lighting that they provide. This is of course a choice for individual reef keepers to make for themselves, especially those who have large reef tanks as I do. For me, when it comes to reefkeeping, penny wise and pound foolish will not work. I also added Ecotech’s Reeflink, which makes it wonderfully simple to control all of the company’s products via a computer or cell phone from a local or remote location.

For those of you who want to see facts and figures when it comes to reef tank lighting equipment Sanjay Joshi has over the years published that information in Advanced Aquarist.  A simple search will bring you to various lighting articles by Sanjay, who is an avid reef keeper and has been affectionately called the ‘Photon man.’

Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions asked or engage in whatever discussions other reef keepers are interested in.

Document Actions
blog comments powered by Disqus
ADVANCED AQUARIST