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Aqueon Forge metal aquarium stands are a step back in time

aqueon forge aquarium stand

My first memory of an aquarium was a 10 gallon tank my Dad had in our kitchen with guppies sitting on a metal stand. When I saw these Aqueon Forge aquarium stands, I immediately thought back to that memory.

Although the original stand was more simple, we’ve come accustomed to furniture style cabinets, but this simple stand is a nice look. There are reversible wood panels (either light or dark) that add another touch, and each aquarium stand is equipped with a bottom shelf that can be utilized for a second tank or to showcase home décor.

The center wood panel flips upward for easy access to the bottom shelf if you have a larger aquarium. The stand itself is powder-coated steel to help prevent rust.

There are five size options, three for 24 in. wide tanks (a 24 x 8 in., a 24 x 10 in., and 24 x 12 in.) and two for 30 in. wide tanks (30 x 8 in. and 30 x 12 in.). The stands retail for around $75 and up.

ADA launches Power Sand Basic and Power Sand Advance

ADA power sand

ADA is replacing two of its planted layout substrate additives, Power Sand and Power Sand Special,
with two new products — ADA Power Sand Basic and ADA Power Sand Advance.

Power Sand Basic takes over for Power Sand and is a combination of porous materials with organic nutrients and delayed-release inorganic nutrients. Plus its spiked with ADA’s Bacter 100, a substrate additive that has more than 100 kinds of bacteria, and Clear Super that helps the growth of microorganisms. ADA Power Sand Basic comes in a i liter bag.

The other shift is Power Sand Advance taking over for Power Sand Special. This version has way more nutrients than Power Sand Basic. On top of Bacter 100 and and Clear Super, it contains BC powder (bamboo charcoal powder), which helps encourage the growth of plants. There are three granule sizes available — small, medium or large — in 2 liter or 6 liter bags.

Pricing should be similar to the previous products and since the announcement was just made, we expect to see this shipping soon.

AquaEl LEDdy Slim Duo Sunny & Plant

aquael LEDDY slim duo

The AquaEl LEDdy Slim Duo Sunny & Plant is a small light perfect for a a planted or shrimp nano tank. The LEDdy Slim Duo is a small strip light that clips on to the tank with a matching holder.

The small light has a sleek and modern design and features two strips of LED. The 10W light is evenly split with a row of 6,500K daylight LEDs at 5W and a row of 8,000K LEDs perfect for plants also pushing out 5W.

AquaEl LEDdy Slim Duo Sunny & Plant led distribution

The light housing is aluminum measures around 23cm x 6cm and is available in white or what appears to be a graphite color. The light can be extended on the mounting bracket to center it on the tank.

The only thing that wasn’t clear from the product description and what we saw online, was whether there are two controllable channels. The lights are available in Europe and run around 65 Euro (about $80 USD).

Not a bad price but without two channel control, it would be a bit limited for automation having to settle with an all or none approach if you used a timer.

BetterBoxFilter takes on the corner filter


The SwissTropicals BetterBoxFilter is literally just that — a better corner box filter. While we have lots of cool new technology, sometimes the simple box filter is the best option for budget systems or if you’re housing slow-moving animals.

But there were drawbacks to the box filter that SwissTropicals went out to solve. First off was the ability to use specialty media such as carbon, peat, various bio media, or buffering stones. While you can use these in some filters, the flow through them is not always optimal.

The BetterBoxFilter is a simple filter with minimal parts. It is merely a molded black food-grade polypropylene box, combined with a custom-made jetlifter, and foam for a simple 3-piece filter with no moving parts. The filter is air-driven and will move around 200 lph of water with about 50 lph of air.

The BetterBoxFilter can also be filled with various filter media and can be used in tanks from 10 to 150 gallons (depending on your bio-load of course!). They recommend is can be used solo for tanks up to 30 gallons and combined with other filters, will work for specific functions in larger tanks.

The BetterBoxFilter starts at $32 and can be purchased direct from SwissTropicals.

New Tetra Goldfish Program includes aquarium kits, water care, foods and info to simplify keeping these fish


The Tetra Goldfish Program is a effort to make understanding and keeping goldfish easier for hobbyists. Don’t be fooled with thinking about goldfish as those cheap fish kids get as prizes or feeder fish for larger carnivorous species — there are some beautiful (and strange) goldfish that make keeping them interesting.

The program begins with a Goldfish portal page with background information about the fish, the types of goldfish, and of course, Tetra’s products available for your goldfish. The company has also expanded out pages for other fish that help us learn more about the different breeds, personalities, equipment and products they need.

There are also new lines of Tetra Goldfish LED aquarium kits in 10 and 20 gallon sizes that have all the things you need to get started with goldfish. They are very similar to the other kits, but has food and water conditioners designed with the goldfish in mind.

As mentioned with the kits are goldfish-specific food and water conditioners. The food is designed for the goldfish diet that can be a bit different than other fish. Also, the water quality needs for goldfish can vary, so these products have the goldfish keeper in mind. If you plan on housing other fish than goldfish, you may want to check to see what the diet and water needs are beforehand — proper planning is always essential to long-term success!

Having initial success with your fish is key to being in the hobby a long time and Tetra is doing its part to simplify getting started.

Lifegard debuts new Pro-MAX UV Sterilizer


The new Lifegard Pro-MAX UV Sterilizer is a unique design that is a little bit different from other ultraviolet sterilizers out there on the market today.

First off, a little refresher on why use UV sterilization. Water is passed through UV lighting that helps stop the spread of microorganisms in the aquarium that is passed on through the water and can also control free floating algae (those dreaded green water blooms!). These free-floating microorganisms are killed by the UV light.

The new Lifegard Pro-MAX UV Sterilizer stands out primarily in the way its plumbed. While there are inline UV sterilizers, most use a 90 degree fitting that is perpendicular to the UV tube. So water comes in after taking a sharp turn, through the UV light and then out the bottom or in and out through the top by another 90 degree bend.

The Pro-MAX UV Sterilizer uses 45 degree plumbing to ease the water down and over the UV light. This makes the design flow (no pun intended) with the line of plumbing. Theoretically will help cut down on space and installation headaches.

To make bulb maintenance a snap, the Pro Max UV Sterilizer features a countdown clock to show how many hours you’ve used the lamp so no more guessing when its time to change the lamps.

While these aren’t designed for small setups, if you have a large aquarium, commercial system or pond and need UV, then check this out. They are available with a 3 in. diameter housing in 25, 40, 55, 90 and 120 Watt models and 5 in. diameter in 55, 90 and 120 Watt sizes. Each Pro-MAX comes with a high-output UV bulb, internal protective sleeve, and UL listed ballast which counts down the number of days until you need to replace the bulb. The Pro-MAX ranges in price from around $240 to $680 USD.

Lifegard has a bunch of cool new aquascaping rocks, stones and wood


When I was a kid, it was all about multi-colored gravel, plastic plants and a bubbling treasure chest in the tank, but thankfully we’ve come a long way since then. To help fuel our need for cool and natural looking objects to spruce up our tanks, Lifegard has launched a line of aquascaping rocks, stones and wood.

The unique styles of stones and rocks look like miniature rock formations, helping to make some cool looking backdrops for your fish. Whether or not you are looking to create an Amano-style planted aquarium or just have some fun, these rocks, stones and wood can be a great option.

They note these are all-natural materials and safe for use in your tank. There is an assortment of sizes and shapes to enhance your aquascaping setup.

Seachem Cuprisorb helps eliminate heavy metals

Seachem Cuprisorb

Seachem Cuprisorb is a chemical filtration media that will remove copper and other heavy metals from your aquarium water and is safe to use while your fish are in the aquarium.

Cuprsorb is useful if you have medicated with a copper based medication, like Seachem Cuprine, and need to get the copper out of the water quickly and permanently.

Copper-based medicines are quite useful to treat external parasites like Oodinium, Cryptocaryon, Amyloodinium, Ichthyophthirius, and others, in small doses. But the downside is it can be lethal in larger doses and to invertebrates like shrimp.

With Cuprisorb, you just add it to the filtration chamber and pull out the heavy metal! You’ll know it is exhausted when it turns a dark blue or black in color.

What is a TDS meter and why does it matter?


A TDS meter is a tool that measures the total dissolved solids in a liquid. This is a very handy tool to have in the aquarium hobby especially if you are using a reverse osmosis (RO) system.

Why? Although the TDS meter doesn’t determine what kinds of solids are in the water, we know from our tap water it can include a variety of things that can cause issues in our aquariums. TDS actually measure mobile charged ions these can include: minerals, salts or metals dissolved in a given volume of water, and are directly related to the purity of water and the quality of water purification systems.

TDS meters give you readings of “parts per million” or PPM. This translates to how much of the dissolved solids there are in relation to pure water. One part solid vs. 1 million parts water. To put this in perspective, 1 PPM is roughly equivalent to 5 liters of material in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

We know the more “stuff” that is in our water, the more chances we have to bring something into the aquarium we might not want or have an impact on clarity. Depending on where you live, your tapwater may contain things like chlorine, fluoride, minerals or metals — and can be up to 500 PPM. If you have old pipes or using well water, this may be higher.

The only “pure” water is distilled water but an RO system can drastically reduce the amount of impurities in water. Adding a de-ionization (DI) stage can lower this number drastically. If you are shopping for a water purification system, you’ll see plain RO systems and the combined RO/DI systems. A TDS meter is a must have to ensure your filter is doing its job and when its time to change filtration materials or the RO membrane.

Back to TDS in the aquarium…high volumes of impurities will affect water clarity and overall health of your system. Sure you may use a water treatment supplement to remove chlorine and chloramine and many also state they detoxifies heavy metals. These can be helpful, but keeping the TDS low to begin with is a better strategy.

You may see all your parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, hardness, pH, etc.) where they should be and a clean filter, but cloudy water. This could be because of a high TDS that can not only make it cloudy looking, but photosynthesis can be decreased in a planted tank and can also keep your temperature higher from the particles absorbing heat (more of an issue in summer or hot weather. But the higher TDS levels can mean there or other toxic materials in your tank like lead, copper or other things you don’t want to see.

You can get inline TDS meters for RO/DI systems, but a simple handheld “pen” can be purchased for $10-$20. These just require dipping in water for a nearly instant reading. Some may cost higher and these can include more bells and whistles like temperature compensation, may also measure other parameters or are more water resistant for the accidental drop in a tank.

Another thing to keep in mind is measuring TDS if you are purchasing or getting filtered or treated water from another source. These can include bottled water, water from a store or kiosk, or even water from your local fish store. Even though they may say they are filtered, there are always acceptable variables.

If you’re going to be in the hobby for a while, make the investment in a TDS meter, it is money well spent.

Fluval Plant LED Nano Aquarium Light


The Fluval Plant LED Nano Aquarium Light is a 15W clip on light that is designed to be operated exclusively via the free FluvalSmart App on your smartphone. The light itself is geared to hit the right spectrum for lush plant growth and a pleasing look.

This small, powerful, light is German-engineered with a bright 7500K LED lamp offers that is a great upgrade for your nano and desktop aquariums.

The app lets you take advantage of a programmable, gradual 24-hour light cycle with your typical features — sunrise, midday, sunset/dusk, and night — for a healthier, more realistic light program.

Plus there is fully independent color control on six channels to suit your specific color needs and give you a light spectrum. Also to get you started it comes with three pre-set light configurations – Lake Malawi, Tropical, or Planted

The Fluval Plant LED Nano Aquarium Light is made of High Luminous Efficiency (HLE) LEDs that offer improved light output and spectral quality while consuming the same power as before. HLE LEDs also feature a fully encased aluminum shell that keeps them cool to the touch and safer from water intrusion and humidity (IP67 waterproof rating). Each LED on the chip has 120° of illumination for wider, deeper, more uniform coverage without dead spots.

The Fluval Plant LED Nano Aquarium Light measures 5 in. x 5 in. with 63 LEDs on the chip pushing out 1,000 lumens. The lamp retails under $90.