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Newsletter For The Serious
Reef Keeping and Saltwater
This Special Issue Prepared for:
From the Desk of Eric V. Van Der Hope
Sunday, December 12th, 2004 ~ 4:57 p.m. (PST)
Re: Volume 1, Issue #4
By subscription only! Welcome to your issue of "The Reef &
Fish Keeping Cheat Sheet" - A Newsletter For The
Serious Reef Keeping
and Saltwater Fish Hobbyist.
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||1 - EDITOR'S
RECOMMENDATION - 1st Edition Coming Soon!
of you are aware of my upcoming book I've talked
about on my
website. Well - I'm excited! The book is coming
along wonderfully well
and I'm truly looking forward to presenting it
to you once complete!
I really feel this will be an excellent tool for
new and intermediate reef
hobbyists alike! Actually - I feel this will
benefit the whole reef keeping
community in general!
So keep your eyes open to its release! It's
coming soon to a website
near you! I'll keep you informed as to its
progress and its completion
==> 1 - Editor's Recommendation -
1st Edition Coming Soon!
==> 2 - In This Issue
==> 3 - Comments from the Editor
==> 4 - Feature Article - by
==> 5 - This Month's Tip -
==> 6 - Ask Us
==> 7 - Disclaimer
==> 9 - Contact Information
==> 10 - Subscribe and Unsubscribe
FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to all our new readers as well as a gracious thanks to my
al readers who have supported me from the start. We now have
tive readers! Wow!
Thanks to all of you for your continued support - I couldn't do it without
First let me apologize for not keeping up with
my newsletter! I've been
extremely busy putting together a wonderful book
that will be made
I've also been working on the 'new' layout you
see here as part of this
newsletter. I'm also seriously considering
changing the name of it - so
you'll see as time passes that continual changes
are being made to im-
prove the overall look of this newsletter!
Have some fun with this newsletter - you'll see
it has great browsing
capabilities as well as quality content - which
is most important!
Hopefully you've had a wonderful weekend!
As we are all aware Christmas season is upon us
- another great reason
for gathering our friends and relatives
In this issue I've invited a special guest to
share with us something all
of us are having trouble with or have had in the
past! Nathan Gaub is
a friend of mine who serves on the board of the Washington DC Area
Marine Aquarist Society and who also provides
articles and advice on
popular forums in this hobby. Get your cup of
coffee, pull up a chair
and enjoy the article!
I sincerely hope that you benefit from the advice given through
newsletter and website.
Remember, if you have questions or concerns or would like to
bute in one way or another - I encourage you to use the Forum to get
'the word out'.
I'll talk to all of you soon!
My warm and gracious thanks . . .
Eric V. Van Der Hope
Publisher and Author
How To Solve Algae Problems
by Nathan Gaub
Copyright © 2004
Cleaning up your tank
or Water chemistry for those of us who flunked high school
chemistry . . .
Ok, I have some algae and some kind of red junk growing everywhere.
If you are new to reef keeping and you think you think your tank is
growing stuff you don’t understand. You did a water change and the
growth got worse. What now…There is hope. You need to manage your
Ok this is not going be as hard as you might think. We are going to talk
about how to keep the bad stuff that makes bad stuff grow, out of your
All of the bad stuff (Algea and Cyno) grows on fertilizers in the water.
The major fertilizers are phosphates, ammonia and nitrate / nitrite.
So we need to keep them out and get rid of the ones that are there.
First where does your water come from?
If you are using unfiltered tap water you are playing a suicide game
with your tank. Every day the water company makes changes to the
system to adjust the chemistry of the system and they use stuff that
will kill your system. Buy A filter!
RO/DI OR TAP FILTER …The problem with tap filter is the capacity of
the filter and the cost of replacing it. A tap water filter will only pro-
duce 50-100 gallons of water before it is finished. An RO/DI will make
2000-3000 gallons before you need to replace the DI cartridge. The cost
of the replacement cartridge is about the same. In a very short time
the extra up front cost of the RO/DI is met.
A good filter takes out metals and phosphates.
Next what do you feed your tank?
Most new reefers feed too much or the wrong kind of food to there
system. If the food contains high levels of pollution in its composition,
they will end up in your water. Probably as phosphates. if there is a lot
of filler in it that will go right through your fish and end up in your
water. Even if it is all eaten.
Buy good food:
I have tried a lot of commercial food and have only found a few worth
feeding to my systems.
Boyds Vita-Diet: Boyds is the company that makes Chemi-Pure and they
have sold millions of packs of that product over the years. Vita-Diet an
aquaculture fish foods infused with their vita-chem formula (made from
real marine & fresh water organisms). I checked around and a lot of
fish breeders use the Vita-Chem product, and most had good things to
say. This is a commercial food that is worth feeding to the critters.
Freezerbar Cyclopeze: This is a micro-crustacean that adds a lot of
food value and low levels of pollution to the system. It is High in Pro-
tein, High in HUFA’s, Easily assimilable High levels of color enhancing
Astaxanthin. It also remains in suspension long enough for all filter
feeders in the tank to get some. http://www.freezerbar.com/
Two Little Fishies ZOPLAN: This is a dried plankton food that is a real
low pollution and great for feeding small zo’s and polyps.
Shut off your pumps and target feed all of your critters. This keeps all
of your waste levels low.
Another option is to make your own food. I have a great recipe on my
Clean your system:
Vacuum the tank: Every time you change water. But you can vacuum
without a water change. Just get some 3/8" flex tubing....or whatever
size you want and put a fine mesh bag or a nylon on the end of it and
rubber band/tie it on. Then stick the end w/ the bag into your sump.
Start the siphon as mentioned below and vacuum away! The bag will
filter all deitritus /flatworms/ valonia/ cyno whatever and let the
water pass right thru.
Scrub the system: Take a dog toothbrush and scrub the rock while you
Clean your skimmer, your sump anywhere there is dirt.
Clean your system at least once a month
Clean your water:
This is the easiest part of the program.
Clean out the skimmer:
So it can work right. Mix 2 tablespoon’s of white vinegar with hot RO
water and let the air intake of your skimmer suck it in. This will clean
any salt creep in the venturie. Clean the collection cup and the inside
of the skimmer.
Check your carbon:
Get a phosphate test kit. Test a small sample of fresh water. Put 10
grains of the carbon in a small sample of water. Test that water. If the
second sample has a higher phosphate level get a different carbon pro-
Switch to a better media:
I recommend using Boyds Chemi-Pure and Polyfilter.
· 1 pac of Chemi-Pure for every 40 gal of water.
· 1 Poly-filter for every 30 gal of water.
Place them in the water path
Change the Chemi-Pure every 60 days and the poly-filter when it gets
Also if you have a sponge in your overflow, take it out. Nitrates will
grow in it. Put it in during water changes or cleaning to catch junk that
gets blown around. Take it out as soon as the water settles.
Add some macro algae:
If you don’t have a refugium, add one. Macro grows on phosphates,
metals, ammonia and nitrite. As you harvest the old growth of macro
algae out off the system, you are removing those chemicals from the
system. If your system is small get a hang on system. If it’s a large
system you should have one in the sump.
Do some water changes:
If you have not been using a RO/DI, do small water changes (10%)
every 5 days for a month, then do 10% every other weekend. The
constant water changes will reduce the levels of nutrients in the sys-
tem. The every other week changes will help keep them low.
1. Put good water in the system.
2. Don’t feed with junk food
3. Don’t feed too much
4. Clean your system at least once a month
5. Switch to a better media.
6. Add a refugium, and some macro algae:
7. Get a good water change schedule going.
If you follow this kind of schedule you will see most of your problems
go away. The green, red and brown algae will die off as you deplete the
nutrients it needs to grow. Also your coral and fish will get better look-
ing as the water chemistry gets better and the pollution levels drop.
Nathan Gaub is on the board of the Washington DC Area Marine Aquar-
ist Society, argueably about the largest group in the country and grow-
ing fast. He is author of reef related articles and frequents some of
the most popular forums posting his articles as well as offering his ad-
vice on many facets of the reef hobby.
Do not walk into a LFS and buy the first thing that you see
that looks wonderfully beautiful! Whether it's
a fish, a coral, equipment for your
tank - whatever!
Simply not having a good idea of what you want
before you buy is not
a wise choose. Take the time to plan out what
you need, what may be
necessary and so forth. You will save both
money, time, and hardships
if you follow this simple approach.
If you carefully plan your goals - you will be
highly successful at main-
taining a beautiful mini-ocean environment
that many of your friends
will be simply envious of!
Do the proper research, talk to other
hobbyists, participate in forums
and get as much information as possible before
you make any decision.
Ultimately, if you have a clear picture of
what you are getting in to,
you will not be caught off balance with
unplanned surprises and end
up spending more money than you can handle!
Also - don't take LFS employees word as
'written in stone.' The are in-
stances where they can definitely give the
wrong advice - keep this
in mind and tread the water carefully!
I've written an excellent article that shows
the importance of what it
means to prepare and plan. You simply cannot underestimate the value
of planning when it comes
to starting a Saltwater Fish / Reef Setup . . .
There is simply nothing more important than that! I can
that if you follow this guidance - you will
more than likely experience a
wonderful time in this fascinating hobby!
Do you have any questions about fish keeping? Contact me and
best to help you.
Send your email to:
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Eric V. Van Der Hope
Publisher and Editor
'The Reef &
Saltwater Fish Keeping Cheat Sheet'
Corporate Website: http://www.saltwaterfishpets.com
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