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How to Test for Stray Electricity

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Stray electricity in the aquarium is unsafe for you as well as your livestock. Usually the only time it is noticed is when a person reaches in the tank with a nick on their finger, quickly feeling a tingle or even a jolt. After that unpleasantness has passed, it's time to determine what is causing it.

There are worse scenarios, such as that acrid smell, sparks, or even fire. Let's assume that is not the case, because if it is you should be calling 911 rather than perusing my website.


Sequence Dart: Replacing the Seals

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Much to my displeasure, my Sequence Dart started gushing water out of the area where the pump's drive shaft was located. After contacting Sequence Dart for assistance, they quickly shipped out replacement seals free of charge.

Installing them wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, and thus I decided I might as well document the process for others that wish they had some pictures to go along with the instruction sheet provided.


PAR - Measuring Lighting Intensity with a Meter

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After years of running Metal Halide (MH) lighting over my tanks, I really wanted to take some measurements to find out what type of intensity (PAR) the bulbs would give off. Dr. Sanjay Joshi recommends better reflectors, stating that they will increase lighting output by 300% compared to the standard 'spider' reflectors I've been using.


Metal Halide Lighting - A brief overview

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Lighting consists of three parts: ballast, bulb, and reflector. The combination of these three makes the difference between good lighting and great lighting. The following information should give you a better grasp of the choices involved.

Some basics:
Electronic ballasts are smaller, run quietly, and reportedly save money in electricity usage (~10%).
Magnetic ballasts are larger, have an audible hum to them, and get pretty hot.


Ecotech Marine's Vortech Mp40w pumps

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To create flow in your tank with minimal visual distraction, the VorTech pump is a very nice option. The pump has a wet side that fits inside the tank and a dry side that aligns on the outside, and using magnets it drives the impeller right through the wall of the tank. I've been using the VorTech since January 2006, and liked it enough to get two more to replace my other pumps. I'm a huge fan of these pumps, and here's why:


Installing the Aquahub ATO kit

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With the new set up, I've tried to avoid holding anything back and went "all in" so to speak. So I got busy one night, wiring up this ultra safe system by Aquahub. The way it works: You have two float switches wired in series, which are powered with a 12v DC power supply. When the switches are down, a relay opens the flow to a 110v power cord to supply power a pump that can push top off water from a reservoir into the sump. As the water level rises, the float rises and cuts power to the relay, which stops power to the 110v cord shutting off the feed pump.


How to set up a Calcium Reactor

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A calcium reactor is a piece of equipment that helps maintain alkalinity and calcium in a reef tank. For years, I didn't buy one mainly because they are expensive, and dosed my tank with B-Ionic daily. That worked fine for a 29 gallon and a 55 gallon reef, but if your tank is larger than those, you may decide that a calcium reactor is the better choice long term.

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