YouTube & Facebook for Aquarium Keeping Information

While Youtube and Facebook along with more traditional online forums have made getting help and information much easier, and arguably more “fun”; it has also allowed for the resurrection of long discredited information/methods to suddenly become popular again.
I think part of this phenomenon is that hobby seems to want to run in ever tightening spirals of repeating poor or downright incorrect information when it comes to social media since it is so driven by popularity.
Additionally, many in these tight circles no longer respect mentors or those who existed even a few years before they got into hobby with their Facebook pages and Youtube channels.
So it seems many are more interested in just being the teacher, while they refuse to learn from others or simply take the time read good research.
I guess it is easier to watch a 10 minute video, and then produce your own and presto, you too are an expert. Actual research that takes the time to read the many good articles such as found on web sites such as Aquarium Answers or Aquarium Article Digest is simply asking too much these days.

Often correct information is interwoven with incorrect information in our social media version of the “telephone game”.
Telephone Game/Chinese Whisper; Definition

Often the term TL;DR is used [too long, didn’t read], which is a poor excuse for lack of education. This often then leads to personal attacks or bans when someone comes along with some experience they do not have with good information to back them up. In the end all these people want is to become the biggest fish keeping YouTube channel or Facebook page, so if anything other than ‘love’ is forthcoming, bans or personal attack are typical.

An example as per the sudden Youtube revival of feeding beef heart. Experience from respected fish keeping author Martin A. Moe & others seems to be, but a foreign language to these people who should know better as the use of beef heart was LONG AGO discredited as a fish food source.
Here is a Quotation from Martin A. Moe:
“Fish are cold blooded and all digestion reactions take place at 70 to 80F, the temp of aquarium water. Thus they may not be able to efficiently digest or use the types of fats present in the flesh of warm blooded animals. They are much better off with the flesh of animals that are similar to their normal prey.”
So BEWARE please do not make this mistake.

Another recent phenomenon is the reemergence of persons, especially in aquascaping circles confusing Planaria with Detritus Worms.
Often these get it half right such as correctly attributing the identification of Planaria, but then applying causes, treatments, and what they feed on to Detritus Worms. Keep in mind that these worms are not even from the same phylum with Detritus worms in the phylum “Annelida” while Planaria are from the phylum “Platyhelminthes”. The only thing in common is they are both from the kingdom “Animalia”, but hey, so are we, so beware if a human suddenly shows up growing in your aquarium pretending to be a worm!!

Planaria or person in aquarium

Ref: Aquarium Planaria; Wiggly Detritus Worms, in Tank Water, on Glass

There’s circle of people who seem to feed on each other without much outside information or any mentoring whatsoever.
These people seem to not be willing to acknowledge there is information beyond what they know and will actually personally attack people in the industry that have more experience in one year than they have had in their combined lifetimes.

The regrettable part of a few of these people is in their lack of practical aquarium keeping experience and failure to truly look beyond their circles. They instead lash out in personal attacks of those with more experience that just try & bring aquarium keeping into the 21st century with subjects, such as aquarium Redox Balance and the importance of lowering oxidative stress in fish.
Instead we suddenly see persons incorrectly being told they need a RO/DI system when all they need is a well designed RO system instead of the lower quality RO/DI systems that will cost more long term. Even then, often all that is needed is just enough RO water to “cut” the tap or well water when used for freshwater applications.
Ref: Use of RO, DI, Softwater in Aquariums

There seems to be a sort of solar system where there’s a tight inner circle of Youtubers and FB groups/forums, which operate while refusing to learn little from outside their circle.
On the outer perimeters, we have vastly more who do attempt to provide quality information and are genuinely trying to help others, while they expand their channels, but still let pride get in their way and will still unfortunately defend the more hateful Youtubers.

This is not to say these channels do not provide correct information, but it is often mixed with incorrect information along with failure to follow simple scientific information and go even a little beyond their small circles and seek input from long term experts in the field of aquarium keeping.
The hook is often many are friends with each other, posting back & forth compliments in each others Youtube videos or FB pages.

There’s examples of people with entertaining channels with excellent presentation, especially when there’s couples as in one entertaining Youtube channel out of Canada. This is an example of this “outer circle” of honest, helpful persons, but also seems to have some real issues in who he wants to associate with and procedure. As well it is obvious this Youtuber has little mechanical aptitude and he reminds me of another aquarium maintenance person that sold herself to my then employer as an experienced aquarium professional, but in reality could not solve most issues that would arise.

There’s further examples of popular Youtube channels, which provide interesting generally very thoughtful information and certainly has a lot of potential for educating others, but yet again still fails to follow scientific method.

Another example of genuine person who clearly wants to help others, but also clearly has little in depth experience, resulting in him mostly just reading off the box.
In a video forwarded to me one time, it was obvious that a stand built was not at all safe, especially here in Southern California.
There’s talk about the AquaClear filter and compares it to others such as the Whisper, not at all knowing how these work and clearly demonstrating any practical long term experience in stating the Whisper/Tetra does not provide bio filtration, which is incorrect.
They also miss that especially in a planted aquarium where bio filtration is less needed, that the Whisper/Tetra actually provides vastly superior mechanical filtration. I should note in my aquarium service, which I use many HOB filters and generally do not promote the Whisper/Tetra [I prefer the newer AAP Tidal HOB filter], I am just pointing out the flaws in these circular reasoning and obvious lack of experience.

Finally a popular Youtuber who I will name just because she has made rude comments and blocks persons that might know something she does not and that is Rachel O’leary. What is unfortunate is she has a nice educational Youtube channel in so many ways, but it is also obvious she runs in small circles, is “bought and paid for” in these circles, and has little in depth experience as to the “mechanics” of aquarium keeping and CLEARLY has no respect for those who might know something she does not by her actions.
An example is a video she made about the use of Sponge Filters where she claimed the Swiss Tropical was her favorite, but never explained it. Many aquarium professionals already know that these square sponges simply do not have the capacity and are simply not as versatile as the AAP Sponge Filter. I know a mentor told me he made a polite comment as to his vast experience with thousands of these filters over the years and she never allowed this comment among the many ankle licking comments that showed little knowledge of this subject.

Outside of Youtube and Facebook, there are still some forums and websites also putting out bad information

There’s an example of the aquascaping crowd at “The Planted Tank” that will actually recommend a cheap discount/economy Fluval LED over an AAP Aquaray Grobeam. While they seems to be a highly intelligent people that many can learn from, they struggle with some of the of most basic of information by making statements that Aquaray claims to have “magic patented emitters” when in fact TMC makes no such claims. As a user of the AAP Aquaray products, which FAR exceed any Fluval LED, I know what they claim is that the Osram Oslon NP emitters are indeed patented and that they have licensed emitters from specific Cree bins. These emitters simply produce better more usefil spectrums and are more efficient.

Then they make another simple mistake that easily proves the point of efficiency in that if you do the simple math, the AAP Aquaray Grobeam requires much less energy to produce an equal PAR.
Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 A3990 which uses 32 watts of input energy with a PAR output about 70 µMol•m²•sec at 400mm which comes out to .46 watt of input energy per point of PAR.
While the 30 Watt AquaRay GroBeam 1500 produces a PAR of about 150 µMol•m²•sec at 400mm using 30 watts input energy which comes out to .20 watt of input energy per point of PAR.

Ref: Aquarium LED Reviews; Fluval LED

The Planted Tank, Bad math for LED aquarium lighting

There are so many other factors that set these two lights “light years” apart.
In the end they might claim they has no ax to grind, but since in reading many of their posts, I have to rule out that they are this stupid, rather they clearly DO HAVE AN AX TO GRIND, which is unfortunately typical in a small circle within the aquascaping crowd that actually think planaria are detritus worms and vice versa, believe the hype/lies put forth by a popular retailer that a DI unit is needed for their water quality over just a good RO system, and many, many other myths.

Recommended Reading; Common Aquarium Keeping Myths

There are more negative examples, which out of respect of these people and my sources will not mention… with the exception of Dennis Wong [Xiaozhuang Wong] who although clearly is intelligent, instead trolls experts with very personal attacks and failure to learn from the most basic of aquarium keeping history, in particular when it comes to aquarium lighting. Besides Youtube, found in these FB groups: “High Tech Planted Tanks”, “Low Tech Planted Tanks” & “Aquascapers Collective”.
Refs: PUR or RQE, YouTube Video Fail- Guide to lighting a planted tank
PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting; LED Wavelengths

SUMMARY:

As with all my posts, I have really little gain other than knowing that people have the best aquarium with the least hassles, with as little expense as possible.
I’m certainly in no place to judge the intentions of the majority of these Youtube, Facebook, forums, etc., but at the same time when I spot information or persons not respecting others in the hobby and industry as I have, I feel it is important that I make such posts.
I also know how extremely invaluable the mentoring I have received and continue to receive, and when I see the more hateful Youtubers attack those who have given so much to this industry and hobby, I will also “cry foul”.

My goal is that some of these persons will learn to reach out and READ, not just watch others Youtube channels or Facebook forum snips.
I think the majority of those who maintain Youtube channels and FB forums have a lot to offer and can offer much more if they simply move away from the haters, read more, respect mentoring, and realize that just maybe, many have come before them that have taken the time to apply scientific method and more to ideas/concepts that were proven to not be the best.

G

Aqua Ultraviolet versus TMC UV Sterilizers, Reef Central

I was forwarded a recent thread from Reef Central where by moderators & forum members went on another of their misinformation binges.


RELATED ARTICLE:
Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Review; Vecton, Advantage


From:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2449440

In this binge, a Reef Central member made one of the more laughable misinformation statements I have ever read online.

QUOTE: “While AquaUV is not the cheapest UV on the market, like the link you provided say, they are quality units with great dwell time. What they fail to mention is their great support. Same can be said about Emperor Aquatics. Something that is non existent with Tropical Marine Centre who is over seas and depends exclusively on retailers for support.”

Sorry dude, TMC support is superior just because it is retailer based.
Let me ask readers what would rather have as a return policy using a laptop computer as an example:
You have a choice between two laptops of similar value, with one it can be brought back to the store for an exchange or parts replacement, or the other you have to send away to the manufacturer and wait several weeks to get your laptop back?
I think most would take the first quicker option; sorry dude.

Do not believe me, here’s a link to their warrant returns page:
http://www.aquaultraviolet.com/sites/default/files/instructions/Instructions%20Classic%20and%20Twist%20Series%20UV%2005-19-09.pdf

Let me address a few more comments from this terrible thread of misinformation.

  • This same character, makes more misinformation statements.
    “That said, the units mentioned in your links are cheap units meant to appeal the masses. Not necessarily quality units and they don’t have the same kind of dwell time as the higher end units from AquaUV or Emperor.”

    While admittedly the Aqua Ultraviolet and Emperor are excellent (I have used these too), the TMC is NOT a cheap unit meant to appeal to the masses, a quick peak on eBay or Amazon will find plenty of these cheap units often for under $50 such as the AquaTop, Killing Machine, and many others. These are cheap.
    The facts are the dwell time is the highest of any UV with the TMC Vecton, in fact higher than some of Emperors Smart UVs which use very short lamps and short exposure times.

    Has this guy even done a dwell time test?
    Has he even done his homework, such as reading the article he so conveniently bashes out of hand with ad hominem attacks on the author by him and others?

  • Here is another of this guys statements:
    “Here is the Tropical Marine Centre UV unit that I used to run on my tank. At the time, it was one of the only higher wattage units out there that used a crystal sleeve. These units are now relegated to Tropical Marine Centre’s commercial product line and not readily available in the states. The AquaUV’s equivalent (Classic Series) is better made, easier to service and backed by much better support. The comparable AquaUV is also much cheaper.”

    Incorrect again!!
    Does this guy do ANY HOMEWORK AT ALL? If so he gets an F.

    The TMC 110 UV is readily available in the USA for under $400 in some locations or websites.
    Since my commitment to readers of my website blog post is to not commercialize my results by posting links to resellers, I will simply state these are not difficult to find online.

    Reef Central, What should I do UV, Large TMC Sterilizer

    As for support, I have already addressed this falsehood, but will add that I have NEVER had an issue with parts or returns for ANY TMC product from lights, FSB filters, or their UV Sterilizers. This includes one rare instance of a hairline crack in the body for which I was given a brand new UV sterilizer, NO SHIPPING BACK FOR REPAIRS!!

  • This one is from a Reef Central Moderator:
    But does sell them, and is trying awfully hard to the make them out to the be best thing since sliced bread. While they can indeed be useful in some circumstances, they are not the wonder equipment with all the attributes he gives them.”

    This comment is not so bad IMO, since he is simply stating an opinion as an opinion.
    However I have read this article quoted and do not get the same thing at all out of the article or other articles published by the author.
    He clearly recommends “True” UV Sterilizers as he calls them as a useful tool, which includes other tools such as quarantine.
    As well we have another case of someone who appears to not research outside of Reef Central or even read an article in question or its cited references, otherwise he would never make such statements of “opinion”.

  • “Even so, the UV will have some impact on pods as well despite the high flow rates.”

    What are the “pods” doing in the water column?
    Has he heard of pre-filtration which is an essential ingredient for correct UV Sterilizer application?

    Sorry one again; WRONG!!

  • “Keep in mind, that article is written by a guy selling UV units.”

    A typical liberal ad hominem argument whereby you attack the person rather than the facts or cited resources.

    This has no bearing on the credibility of the article assuming the facts and references are sound.

    Using his own terminology: Keep in mind, that there is always a money trail anywhere, some are just less obvious or down right sneaky.
    Does this guy work for free, does he not expect the author to sell what he found to be a superior product?

    Back to following the money, Reef Central is supported by sponsorships; have you ever noticed that a member will get the “ban hammer” for speaking negatively against EcoTech, one of Reef Central’s major supporters?

I would say in the end, use common sense logic, actually do your homework, not give lip service like these members of Reef Central do.
Also do not depend upon Google for good search results when doing your research, since they too are beholden to deliver readers to their pals such as Amazon or others. Consider DuckDuckGo who does not spy on you and use your information to track your habits!

Further Reading/References:

#UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium

Aquarium Forums for Information such as Lighting, UV, Filters

Revised Oct. 14, 2016

This is a subject that is way overdue to be discussed, as aquarium forums often are like our mainstream news media which simply repeat information, whether accurate or not that fits their template.
Often with intentional miss-information based on broken links by moderators after members provide said links such as to this website or even taking down of legitimate questions by members such as I witnessed as the Chicago Reefs forum (based on a forwarded email for a aquarium maintenance & research professional).

The video below from the Conan Show makes this point, and aquarium forums are no different, if not far worse:

I have seen this unfortunate statement in many forums when I have been told to read in emails from friends or clients:
“I havent really been able to find any info on the TMC lights, and i assume that if they’re as good as they say they are then a lot more people would be using them.”

Similar comments have been made about Fluidized Sand Bed Filter versus wet dry filters even though the FSB filter is clearly the better technology for planted freshwater aquariums when simple science is applied. It is also noteworthy that FSB filters AND TMC AquaRay lights ARE quite well known and used if you search beyond an aquarium forum.

Why is this?
First threads such as the one on Chicago Reefs get deleted, but more importantly if all you do is use forums to get your information, even if you only “lurk” there, you are going to find the same repetitive points about the same products they all push, often due to sponsorship by certain brands or simple lack of research “outside the box”
Looking at it another way, if it does not meet the forum’s agenda, often threads will get deleted

Another common problem is since search engines often give “authority” to websites or forums posts based on age, often what comes up in forums or Yahoo is simply out of date information. Some of these outdated posts may have been correct at the time, while others have been proven incorrect as science has progressed.
Thankfully the Internet is not 100 years old or God knows what in terms of bs would be argued as fact based on someone reading an outdated forum article!

Back to sponsorships/marketing and how different marketing methods have a direct bearing on what will be seen/read on a forum or not, as some companies use a different approach to marketing that does not involve forum sponsorships.
TMC for instance placed an emphasis on getting their product in the hands of aquarium installation professionals rather than forum sponsorships with the exception of a popular UK forum.

What readers should understand, and frankly this is not difficult for those with an open mind and have not drank the Kool-Aid so many forums serve, and that is these “outside the box” products are NOT going to be featured in ANY forum, even though they ARE popular among many who are not active in forums or other social media.

My clients are very private and refuse me to publicize any of their aquariums in pictures, even for a resume, so my referrals are all by word of mouth (I currently am not taking new clients anyway).

This is not all that unusual and in fact as an example from a story my mentor in the business told me about how once he was setting up an acrylic aquarium with tubes between two tanks and he brought his then wife to this executive office waiting room. She really could not help much at the time so she quietly sat on the couch . However soon one of the executives that worked there told her she had to leave, my mentor tried to explain, but he quickly told my mentor how important the privacy of their office was and that he needed permission to bring anyone other than himself.

My point is this is typical of how many view their aquariums maintained by these professionals, so you are not going to see many of these aquariums running AquaRay LED lights, FSB filters since these have never been really pushed or made it past the Kool-Aid gate keepers at many aquarium forums.

What is also unfortunate that even with this shroud around aquariums set up by professionals using these products, there is still ample information and pictures in websites such as this, Youtube, Facebook and other locations. Part of the issue or so it appears, since I am actually relatively new to being “active” on the Internet is the point that Google is not all that good in bringing up many science based websites , rather is heavy in many social media such as forums or big box websites such as Dr. Foster or Amazon. I personally use Bing though for my searches, while I have a friend who swears by DuckDuckGo.com for internet searches.

Although the purpose of this post/article is to explain to those who only read forums or cannot get past page one of Google that there IS PLENTY of information for those willing to do even the most basic of research, I will make some brief explanation of products that often get the cold shoulder in these Kool Aid serving forums.

  1. Aquarium LED Lighting

    Some of the most basic of science is ignored in these forums, here is just some of it:

    • Wasted Heat energy; this is science 101 that any energy that is being dissipated with fans is energy that is NOT going to light energy, thus requiring more wattage for the same results.
      If you see a fan or two blowing, you know that this is extracting heat.
      As well PWM, while more complicated also plays a role in this wasted energy as well as potentially changing the spectrum and thus wasting even light energy outside of the best known PUR.
    • Utilizing green emitters and other emitters (including warm white) that are known to emit light energy outside of what is optimum for corals and other photosynthetic life forms.
      While photosynthetic life can generally use most all light within the PAR range, it is fact that certain light spectrums are much less efficient and provide different aspects of photosynthetic response.

      Reference & recommended reading:
      PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting

    • Heavy dependency on PAR meters, even though it is a fact that even a PAR meter is more accurate in the middle ranges, thus giving a green light a higher PAR value than an actinic blue, even though the blue is going to have a higher useful PAR and thus is higher in PUR.
      As well, statements by some that absurdly high PAR numbers such as 500 µMol•m²•sec are required by Acropora, when in fact a study at a Coral Farm in Bali showed no more than 200 PAR from noontime tropical sunlight at the depth the Acropora were being grown.
      These numbers may be true for some poor PUR lights that are heavy in green, yellow, etc. light energy, but not those with better PUR spectrums.

      Reference:
      PAR vs PUR in Aquarium LED Lighting

    • Warranties; while this is not a scientific argument, it is one of simple logic and that is why would a the so-called superior LED light only have a warranty of 1 year while the so-called junk LED have a warranty of 5 years?
      This is a real head scratcher, yet forums such as Reef Central or PNWMAS will actually bash the 5 year warranty lights over the 1 year warranty lights!!
      Part of the problem with these shorter warranty LED lights is fan malfunction. The fans on some LEDs will malfunction in a couple of years (or less), resulting in over heating of circuitry and total failure of the LED fixture.

      While a warranty does not necessarily make for a better LED light, as I personally really like the Aqua Illumination HD Twenty Six [with only a 1 year warranty], but it speaks volumes for fixture longevity

    • Reference:
      Aquarium LED Warranties

    Below is a reef aquarium I was given permission to share utilizing ONLY AquaRay NP 1500 & 2000 tiles.

    Acropora Reef Aquarium running AquaRay AquaBeam LED Lights, Lighting

    A couple of recommended related reads:
    ~Zoanthid Reef Aquarium Care & Lighting
    ~Acropora Coral Information and Care; Lighting, Amino Acids, more

  2. Aquarium Fluidized Sand Bed Filters

    Fluidized Sand Bed Filter in sump, planted aquariumThese really are not all that new, with many large commercial operations running these filters.
    What might be more new is the design, with better models such as the V2 Bio by TMC now available than what was the industry leader 10 years ago, the LifeGuard.

    What sets these filters apart, especially for marine or planted aquariums? With Wet/Dry filters, in particular, these will strip CO2, often resulting in the need for expensive pressurized CO2 units, that are often not required with FSB Filters.

    The planted aquarium below is running with a FSB filter with only Flourish Excel the only carbon supplement (it is also using AquaRay GroBeam LED lights):

    Planted aquarium with LED Lights, Fluidized Sand Bed Filter

    With marine aquariums, the V2 FSB Filter can be run with optional Oolitic sand which then works similar to a calcium reactor in maintaining calcium, pH, and alkalinity with less additional supplementation.
    As well these can be set up to control and remove nitrate with a tall enough filter such as the V2 #1500 and use of products such as American Aquarium NPX Bioplastics.

    References, including earlier posts from this website:
    Fluidized Sand Bed Filter or Canister Filter
    Aquarium Fluidized Bed Filter Review; TMC V2, Merlin, Lifeguard

  3. Aquarium UV Sterilizer Use

    This is too long a topic to address completely other than to state that there is good evidence that a UV Sterilizer does not just control disease by virtue of level 1 or 2 UVC sterilization, but by improving the Redox Balance than thus allowing fish to fight off diseases with their own improved immune system better.

    What many miss based on conversations with clients and others is they go and purchase some piece of junk UV clarifier that CANNOT ever perform level one UV Sterilization. Unfortunately many of these so called UV Sterilizers abound from the Green Killing machine to the many AquaTop UVs. Then they see poor or no results and make blanket statements in forums that UV sterilizers are only good for clarification.

    Another common issue is purchasing low UVC output UV replacement lamps on eBay, Amazon, etc that only produce 7-14% germicidal UVC light energy instead of a true level one low pressure UV Bulb that has 5 times the output and in the end make claims their UV sterilizer is junk.

    Reef Central:
    Misinformation also abounds when it comes to the discussion of high end UV Sterilizers and which are best and what they can and cannot do for your aquarium.
    This is where the anecdotal but unfortunately popular forum “Reef Central” is often at its worse.

    I have read many posts my customers or other service guys have sent me where this forum personally attacks those with actual experience and science based expertise rather than deal with the science. Similar to their Reef Police moderation when it comes to LED aquarium lighting.

    I have read where high level members/moderators will bash TMC UVs while promoting Aqua & Emperor UVs.
    As someone who also has used all three, I can state that they all are excellent premium UVs, but to trash the TMC, which seems to be the brand they love to trash, shows the lack of character and honesty that goes on at Reef Central.

    As an example, one argument they have used is that only Aqua & Emperor provide a good supply of parts and good customer service. However TMC does as well and my experience with obtaining parts and service since retailer based versus manufacturer based is much better with TMC.

    I could go on, but that is not the scope of this article, all I can say is to read anything at Reef Central with a grain of salt.

    References, including earlier posts from this website:

    Aqua Ultraviolet versus TMC UV Sterilizers, Reef Central; THIS ONE IS A MUST READ!!
    UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium
    Are UV Sterilizers Good for an Aquarium?
    Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond

In the end, here is an incomplete list I have compiled of aquarium forums I would NOT recommend based on reading and interviews with professionals in the industry (in no particular order):

  • Reef Central
    So MANY reasons
  • Nano Reefs
    Again, so MANY reasons
  • Fish Lore
    Ref. FishLore; Review, such as Melafix Dangers, Planaria
  • Freshwater Aquatics, Marine & Ecosystems “F.A.M.E” (Facebook)
    Contempt for industry leaders, including a mentor of mine by the founder. Very immature founder/administrator in how she relates to others she does not agree with (mostly in private messages). Nazi like treatment of good information resulting in a refusal to have any kind of discussion resulting in often incomplete information being put out in this forum
  • PNWMAS
    Basically the same as the above forum (except for the immature part)

Must Read Aquarium Information Websites

This is certainly not a complete list of aquarium help/information, but these are ones I CAN vouch for their sources.
Admittedly two websites (Aquarium Article Digest and Aquarium Supplies & Resources) have cited/interviewed me among others as their source of information.
This does not take away their credibility, as I know one website in particular (Aquarium Article Digest) uses dozens of resources and even guest authors (whom I do not know).

The other websites I recommend are based on what I view as simple yet good information.

I should also note that I started this website only recently to counter all the misinformation I find via customers who make me aware there-of.
I am far from an expert in websites (as the amateur quality of the website design shows), and in fact I am rare online. Much of my time online is ONLY after I have a client tell me about the “lasted thing they read online”, for which I investigate.
For this reason I am not always aware of all the good websites either, only the “bad” ones I am made aware of by my clients.

Since this blog over all often has a negative tone based on the reasons I get online in the first place (to explore strange advice my clients repeat to me that they found online), I felt having a positive post about websites I can recommend was long overdue.


Aquarium Article Digest

This article is especially excellent for its articles on lighting, such as “LED Aquarium Lights, Lighting Information“.

 


Aquarium Supplies & Resources

This article has a great listing itself of many top notch articles in this article: “Unique Aquarium Articles

 


Sponge Filter; Information

While not a flashy website, I found the articles simple and “spot on”

 


Aquarium Medications

Great accurate article about the use of aquarium medications and treatments, as well as where to get them.
Again I found this website spot on with the article about Furan 2 interesting since this is a product I often find useful.

 


Fish Beginner

A client stumbled upon this neat little gem and told me about it.
I especially like this article from this website:
Aquarium UV Sterilizer Use; Choosing & Maintenance– This article includes simple but accurate information about choosing a replacement UV bulb

FishLore; Review, such as Melafix Dangers, Planaria

Aquarium InformationRevised 12/20/13

In this review, I will get even more controversial by reviewing a website/forum known as “FishLore” which seems to have a big following.

Personally I do not agree with this following based on what I have read. Much of this is when I have come across clients who have pointed out that they got incorrect information from their articles or forum.

My OPINION as to why they are popular is they give people what they want to hear, not necessarily what is best or even the facts. I will also concede from reading through threads that this forum is generally polite and quick to respond.

I base this opinion on clients and their responses to me when, I asked them why they even went there for aquatic information when there are better websites (& forums) out there.

In reading their “About” page, I think their intentions were good when setting up this website in 2004.
The problem is many of the articles are of the “cut and paste” nature, with no updates or worse no corrections when confronted with better science.

As well, I know of one moderator in particular who sent an email to another aquarium professional I have known for some years.

After taking a look at the thread, this guy seemed rather clueless as to what he was critical of. He never updated or corrected the misinformation he presented, even after evidence to the contrary was presented to him.

I do need to note that the guy also signed off with some very lame Obama quote that made little sense.


Worse, recently I was forwarded by a friend a url list from FishLore forum threads.

In these threads all the links of website my friend worked to keep and were placed by good intentional members were “chopped”, making these links useless references.

Many of these contained quotes for this website, sometimes that contradicted “official” information from FishLore.

What is sickening is when I read through FishLore I see this is clearly directed at my friends website, NOT others such as Amazon.com

This is both ethically and more importantly legally WRONG since one legally must source quotes as per the DMCA law.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS ANY FORUM SUCH AS FISHLORE THAT SUPPRESSES ACCURATE INFORMATION THIS WAY IS ONE ANY HONEST FISH KEEPER MUST AVOID!!!


What this website and forum have become in my opinion is a place for circular reasoning with no fresh input and while their forum might be polite, constructive criticism is never made within these forum posts when misinformation is spread.

As to FishLore; what I will do is point out a few points my disagreements. First my opinion based on my experience, then in more factual disagreements.

OPINION DISAGREEMENTS:

  • AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer Review

    This is a product that FishLore seems to push, yet I have not found a single professional who is familiar or has used this product.

    These are hyped up by by Fish Lore.

    This is not to say it does not work, but simply not all that well.

    The consensus is from my use and other service professionals I speak to (often picking up fish at LAX) is this:

    “The Remora is much scaled down version of Downdraft style Skimmers which work well in the large industrial size environment in which they were originally designed for, however this design does not lend itself to small sizes well.

    The Remora skimmer also can clog with time, is sensitive to water levels, tends to produce a watery muck instead of foam, is often noisy, and can be temperamental when used in a sump environment.”

  • Aquarium Lighting
    Here, FishLore only gives an outdated look at LEDs, calling in essence the technology not quite there.

    The fact is, the technology is there and the price has come down with better models. Also, the only shout out are to EcoTech, which admittedly is a good LED, but doesn’t compare to some other LED that are much better. EchoTech is still not the leader when it comes to actual PUR output, which is what really matters for any aquarium light.

The above can be regarded as opinions based on use, however the next section will move on more to facts or at least the best scientific information, since facts may be a bit gray at times for any one who is open minded to learn more.

FACTUAL DISAGREEMENTS:

  • UV Sterilization
    This quote from Fishlore says it all:
    “However, most hobbyists really don’t need one if they are doing things properly. Doing things properly would mean using a quarantine fish tank for new arrivals and performing frequent fish tank maintenance.”

    Really? Most all professionals and shippers are in 100% agreement that to be without one is nearly down right dumb.

    FishLore apparently has never read anything about Redox, fish immunity, or simply understanding that cutting down on potential pathogens in the water column can lower incidence of disease.

    Keep in mind that even “good” bacteria can cause issues to fish when in the water column. Think of it this way: There are many bacteria that live in our soil, but we do not want them in the air we breath—–The same with fish.

    See:
    Fish Beginner; UV Sterilizer Use

    OR:
    UV STERILIZATION; UVC Irradiation for Pond, Aquarium

    Or from a friends website, this review:
    TMC Professional UV Sterilizer Review

  • Melafix Dangers
    This is the thread in FishLore including the newer so-called updated thread that really leaves me questioning FishLore and the accuracy of the information they put forth.

    There is so much wrong with their scientific method, that I will not address it and rather refer to another website.

    However, as someone that HAS used Melafix with Bettas and other fish cited in their forum I can state that even at double the dose I did not have the issues cited.

    No one ever questioned whether the Melafix, which should ONLY be used as First Aid as one would use Neosporin, was used for a disease. It was NOT intended for disease such as Columnaris. The end result with such incorrect use will be dead fish and with their flawed reasoning. They believe the cause must be the Melafix. This of coarse is simply INCORRECT.

    The problem is then that Melafix is used incorrectly based on input from others.

    Another question that was not addressed is pH and water mineralization as it is PROVEN that this plays a role in Melafix toxicity.

    Finally, technically the oil used in Melafix is cajeput oil, not the Tea Tree Oil FishLore refers to.

    See:
    Melafix Dangers, Betta, Labyrinth Fish, Pencil Fish

    & Melafix; Wikipedia

  • Aquarium Cycling; Raw Shrimp Method
    I personally have less of a problem here than a couple of my friends in the professional Aquarium Service business, but FishLore is still incorrect and a decade out of date as per pushing the “Raw Shrimp” cycling method as an alternative cycling method.

    I have used this method with no problems, but then I have very tightly monitored the cycling process with many water changes.

    I do know that this is a risky method for a beginner or those who do not have time to monitor, as the risk of Saprolegnia is real AND proven.

    See:
    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Basics

  • Aquarium Planaria

    Here again FishLore gets an important subject wrong.

    Planaria are a Flatworm and I know of many who have treated with harsh chemicals due to this poor article, with the result of dead fish.

    The facts are what FishLore is calling Planaria, Detritus Worms. These Detritus worms are generally harmless decomposers.

    What frustrates me is this misinformation only seemed to spring up with the Internet. This problem where others think they know more on the subject because the Internet told them and it’s simply a matter of persons re-posting the same information over and over so that the search algorithms believe the myths are the truth and the truth is a myth.

    PLEASE read these articles for more accurate information on this subject:

    *Aquarium Planaria, is this correct?
    *What are these small white worms in my aquarium?

In Closing, let me apologize to those I might have offended, but let me ask, WHY?

All I am attempting to do is put forth corrections that this website clearly refuses to do.
The Melafix thread is VERY clear evidence they are not interested in accuracy, especially in lieu of an email shared with me from a moderator.

Considering the fact there are many more accurate websites that constantly update and correct their information. Why should ANY aquarium or Pond keeper visit FishLore?

Are UV Sterilizers Good for an Aquarium?

Are UV Sterilizers Good for Aquariums Question; Are UV Sterilizers Good for Aquariums?
As a generalization, this is a question that really should not be asked anymore based on research of the benefits of Level 1 Sterilization that includes disease prevention & control, fish immunity based on redox balance, and water clarification.

However while there are few reasons not to have a UV Sterilizer on your aquarium, most of the reasons NOT to have one of these devices is based on myths that simply will not go away despite verified controlled use of these devices.
The other reason to NOT have a UV Sterilizer is the plethora of low cost quality UV Sterilizers made by companies such as AquaTop, Jebo, Green Killing Machine, and others that simply do NOT provide level 1 sterilization; ONLY clarification.

What I will then look at based on my aquarium service business observations, as well as feedback from others I know in the business as to what are the positives and the negatives. With the negatives I will also look at negatives that are caused by UV Sterilizers of poor dwell time design, poor over all construction, poor quality, and simply poor installation.

UV STERILIZER POSITIVES (based on science and professional use, not here say)

  • At flow rates of 20-25 gph, depending upon dwell time inside UV Sterilizer, a UV Sterilizer will kill or render helpless most pathogenic bacteria
  • A UV Sterilizer will NOT kill beneficial bacteria since these aerobic bacteria reside in the substrate and filter media in a healthy established aquarium
  • A UV Sterilizer will NOT kill copepods in a marine reef aquarium.
    Simple use proves this, as well, the science behind how a UV Sterilizer shows that when correctly plumbed, the UV Sterilizer would not be powerful enough nor would a copepod even get into the UV Sterilizer chamber based on how and where they live and correct pre-filtration prior to water entering the UV.
  • A UV Sterilizer WILL improve Redox Balance resulting improved fish immune response
  • A UV Sterilizer can help slow or occasionally even stop Oodinium, Ich or other single cell aquarium parasite infestation.
    Level 1 Sterilization will slow many of these parasites, if only by improving fish immune response. Level 2 can even kill some single parasites, although not always completely.
    However I should caution a prospective buyer that even the best UV should not be purchased with the belief this will put an end to future Ich, Velvet, Oodinium or related infestations. Purchase a UV as a tool to aid in control and prevention (keyword: TOOL)
  • A UV Sterilizer will clarify an aquarium with cloudy or green water

UV STERILIZER NEGATIVES

  • A UV Sterilizer is NOT a cure all to poor water chemistry as per Redox, over crowding often resulting in poor water clarity, poor disease prevention, and other poor aquarium maintenance management
  • If not correctly installed AFTER filter inline or in a sump loop, too high a flow rate, poor dwell time, poor UV Sterilization chamber design; you often will have useless piece of aquarium equipment.
    This unfortunately happens way too often.
    I have made countless “house calls” where a customer incorrectly installed the UV Sterilizer or purchased one of the countless junk UVs such as the Jebo or AquaTop and then would tell me the UV did not improve my fish’ health. This resulted in this customer stating ALL UVs are useless, when in fact they made this anecdotal opinion based on incorrect installation or use of poorly designed UVs that are NOT capable of Level 1 Sterilization.
  • A UV should not be used while planktonic foods are added to the water column. This is common in many reef aquariums.
    However the UV Sterilizer can still be used and should be placed on a timer so that it is run two hours after the introduction of these foods.
  • Many UV Sterilizer have ballasts that do not last (such as the Coralife), or gimmicks such as baffles, twists, wipers, that do little or even lower UV irradiation efficiency.
    Do not waste your money on these UVs, otherwise you may end up with a poor opinion of what a good UV can do for your aquarium.

What is also important to know is lamp/bulb maintenance.
To purchase a UV Sterilizer, including a better model such as the TMC and then to rarely if ever change the lamp will slowly result in a device that does nothing for your aquarium.
With 24/7 use, these lamps will already be at 50% in just 6 months, which is when they should be changed. After a year of continuous use the lamp is mostly useless.

The other issue in our competitive marketplace, is that many if not the majority of online and sellers, especially Amazon and Ebay, sell medium pressure and cold cathode UV lamps so as to make a better profit all the while keep the selling price lower than the wholesale cost of the better high output replacement lamps/bulbs.
To make the mistake of purchasing one of these lamps like so many do based on my home and office visits where the aquarium service client is complaining that their UV no longer works as well or that the fish are getting sick more often, is to purchase a UV lamp with 1/4 to 1/3 the useful UVC output! In my opinion this is self defeating!!!

For more on this subject, I STRONGLY suggest reading this article:
Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond

Before just taking my word and observations, I suggest reading these resources on this subject:

*Aquarium UV Sterilizer Use
*Redox in Aquariums
*UV Sterilizer Review
UV Bulbs; Problems of Quality?

Here are a few UV Sterilizer that I know from practical use work well and reliably.

*AAP/TMC Vecton, Advantage
*Aqua Ultraviolet
*Emperor Aquatics UV
*Gamma UV

Of the four above, I have had the highest longevity, least gimmicky features, and the highest dwell time with the AAP/TMC Advantage & Vecton UV Sterilizers.

Here are a few Economy UV Sterilizer that I know from practical use work reasonably well; at least level 1 sterilization and reasonable reliability:

*Via Aqua Terminator [discontinued]
*SunSun (Perfect) CUP Series (not the JUP series which do not provide level 1 sterilization)

UV Sterilizers to Avoid; either due to poor level 1 sterilization and/or poor reliability

*AquaTop
*Jebo
*Coralife Turbo Twist
*Green Killing Machine

Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Review; Vecton, Advantage

Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Review; Aqua & TMC Vecton & Advantage

(Further Information Added to this post, 12/6/14)

I’ve used many different ultraviolet Sterilizers over the years; some great, some ok, some were only clarifiers (although often sold as sterilizers), and some simply junk.

One model I used many of is the Coralife Turbo Twist compact UV Sterilizer. These worked for both clarification and more important TRUE UV sterilization reasonably well, although far from the best though when compared to other UV Sterilizers.
However, later I had would find the ballasts to fail and nearly a 100% rate with newer models. So although a popular UV Sterilizer, I cannot recommend it.
For a Compact UV, I’ve had better results from the SunSun & Via Aqua Terminator Compact UVs both in measured results and quality of build.

Also read my newer article where I call out some severe misinformation put forth by Reef Central:
Aqua Ultraviolet versus TMC UV Sterilizers, Reef Central

NOW FOR MY REVIEW:

TMC VECTON & ADVANTAGE UVs:

TMC Vecton UV Sterilizer Line
This brings me to the TMC Line of UV Sterilizers; including the Pond Advantage and Vecton Aquarium.
Further Reading: TMC Premium Vecton and Advantage Aquarium and Pond UV Sterilizer, Clarifiers; Information

I’ve not had ANY better results with other UV Sterilizer as per TRUE UV Sterilization (level 1 & 2) as well as more basic clarification.
Also parts are readily available at fair prices unlike so many other UV Sterilizer where the ballast, quartz sleeve, or UV Replacement Bulb, Lamp can cost half or more of what a new TMC UV Sterilizer will cost.

UV Bulb Reference Guide Link: UV Bulbs, Bulb Guide

 

Vecton Ultraviolet Sterilizer mounted under aquariumAnother positive of the TMC Vecton and Advantage UVs is the construction of the unit as the Vecton and Advantage PRO Pond UVs are among the most solid UVs I have ever used. The construction also lends itself to easy repair when or if this becomes necessary.
Although the way the electrical ends connect to the lamp pins, does lend itself to easy disconnect, but this is a minor issue that only happens with rough handling and is easily corrected by simply pushing the connector back into the lamp pins.

I have had almost NO leaky UVs, especially in the area of the simple but well designed hose barb O-Rings, unlike many other units.
As well parts such as ballasts, quartz sleeves, O-Rings, and much more are readily available online or elsewhere at reasonable prices as I already noted; again unlike many even otherwise quality units where the cost of a ballast or quartz sleeve is nearly as much as a new UV Sterilizer!

Again, I am not knocking the effectiveness of many other UVs such as the Aqua Ultraviolet or Emperor UV, but when price of the Sterilizer unit and parts are factored in, the TMC has been a no-brainer for me when a customer asks me to install the best UV possible and still stay within an agreed upon budget.

Pond Advantage UV Sterilizer, Clarifier Review There are other OK to good UVs such as the SunSun Terminator, Tetra and a few others, but these do NOT match the dwell time of the TMC Vecton or Advantage.
In fact I have changed out Tetra 18 Watt UVs running customer ponds that struggled to keep the pond clear and replaced this UV with a LOWER wattage TMC 15 Watt Pond Advantage and observed immediate results that we better the the Tetra UV.

The reason for the improvement in pond clarity was simple, the TMC Advantage and Vecton have the highest UVC dwell times of any UV Sterilizer, BAR NONE. Although some such as the Aqua Ultraviolet can equal the TMC Vecton and Advantage for dwell time.

Let me list the positives & negatives of the TMC Vecton and Pond Advantage True UV Sterilizers:

  • Positive; The highest UVC Dwell time of ANY UV Sterilizer sold, allowing for much higher flow rates that the vast majority of UVs sold while still maintaining true level 1 or even 2 sterilization
  • Positive; Readily available parts, at reasonable prices
  • Positive; Uses highest UVC output low pressure mercury UV Bulbs/Lamps, unlike many of the Chinese brand UVs sold.
    Further Reading: Actual UV-C Emission from a UV Bulb; Aquarium or Pond
  • Positive; Durable construction with VERY long life ballasts
  • Negative; Lamp pin connections can come loose with rough handling
  • Negative; Can be difficult to tell if on in a brightly lit room or in bright daylight for a pond application. Usually I either shield the light or more simply, remove a few screws and open the top to check for correct lamp function
  • Positive; A true UV Sterilizer in a market that is more and more flooded with UV clarifiers masquerading as UV Sterilizers

The bottom line from my use of dozens (if not 100s) of UVs in aquariums and ponds, I have found no match for effectiveness, durability, and even value/reasonable price when one considers the quality of this top notch aquarium and pond UV Sterilizer.

Of course there are the many poor UVs too such as the over-rated Coralife Turbo Twist.
Worse yet, the Pure junk AquaTop and Jebo line of UVs just to name a few.
Many of these low end internal/submersible and Hang-On UV Filters have a very short life span, sometimes only 6 months from my experience.
As well even when working these UVs are only capable of Clarfication, NOT level one UVC sterilization! In other words these low end, low cost imports are NOT true UV Sterilizers.

Further Reading:
UV Sterilizers to Avoid; Jebo, Submariner, Laguna, Sunterra, Pondmaster Submersible
AquaTop Hang On Filter, UV Review

Please reference this excellent review for more details about the hows and whys of TMCs UV Sterilizers:
TMC Vecton and Advantage UV Sterilizer Review

Aqua 15 Watt UV Sterilizer, Clarifer for Aquarium or Pond
Aqua Ultraviolet

A good but over priced model is the Aqua line of pond and aquarium ultraviolet sterilizers.
These are well constructed, with good dwell time resulting in efficient sterilization and clarification.
One complaint I do have on some models is the wiper; these really do NOT do a good job at clearing calcium buildup, sometimes getting stuck too. As well since proper maintenance is every six months, despite some websites statements to the contrary, I would skip the wiper feature and simply properly clean the Quartz Sleeve ever six months. I would also suggest a back flush your UV monthly in pond applications.

The 2nd complaint I have is simply price for the UV and parts. The parts are often proprietary too forcing me or other users to pay crazy prices for parts that can often be found for much less with other UV Sterilizers that are not proprietary with their parts.

When you compare a 15 Watt Aqua at about $175 to a 15 Watt TMC Advantage or Vecton at $135 to $155 which with their longer UVC Bulbs and higher dwell time at the same flow rate; to me the better choice is the TMC UV Sterilizers.
Worse (in price, not effectiveness) is the Aqua 120 watt pond or aquarium system UV Sterilizer priced at $800+.
While certainly an effective UV, I’ve found the similar 110 Watt TMC PRO Pond Advantage just as effective at half the price ($400-$500).

The final issue I have is the claim by Aqua UV: “longest lamp life on the market”. This is a half truth from my knowledge and use of UVs. To make a longer life UV lamp/bulb results in less output of 254nm UVC irradiation during the life of the UV lamp.
Better is a high output Hot Cathode UV germicidal bulb that should be replaced every 6 months for aquariums or 6-12 months for ponds. You will maximize your effectiveness of your UV Sterilizer.