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If you need precision measurements, try a digital spoon

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There are times where you might need to measure something by weight in a small amount and busting out a scale just seems so blah…this is where a digital spoon comes in. We’ve seen these from AquaMedic and Seachem and they are quite handy.

The premise is simple. The spoon actually has an integrated scale system that can measure a surprisingly large amount (for a spoon). The Seachem Digital spoon can measure up to 300g in 0.1 increments.

Seachem also has a LCD display to show results in either grams or ounces. This can even be switched with the push of a button, is corrosion resistant and colored to resist stains.

The nice thing about the spoon is the ability to either measure dry or liquid supplements or chemicals pretty easily. Plus they really don’t break the bank. Seachem offers theirs for around $20 but you can also get cheaper “kitchen” spoons online. They may not last as long, but it is always an option.

New Life Spectrum food made some interesting changes recently

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Last year New Life Spectrum announced it was making some changes to its food and for those of you were wondering what was new and what exactly New Life Spectrum Naturox series was, we have an answer. In this video released recently, the company discusses the changes.

First off? Squid. They added squid along with whole antarctic krill for both the high protein content, rich omega-3 and no bones to content with.

Another positive change was to cut down on starch by using bentonite clay as a binder. Besides cutting down on starches, bentonite clay has been used in aquariums and koi ponds for its other benefits. The levels are probably too low for this type of dosing, but good to know they made this switch. Additionally, they added ginger along with garlic to boost immunity and overall health of fish.

Probably the biggest change is the switch to naturox, a natural plant-based preservative. This replaces ethoxyquin that has a controversial reputation in the pet food industry because of its use in making rubber and some pesticides. Although the company notes ethoxyquin is considered safe by the FDA, going natural just gives great peace of mind. You can even read their study on naturox if you are interested.

Ditch the batteries with Fluval ProVac handheld gravel cleaner

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The Fluval ProVac handheld gravel cleaner ditches batteries for a power cord, helping deliver more power for longer without draining batteries.

Battery operated gravel cleaners are handy for quick cleanups, especially snagging detritus from smaller tanks, but running on batteries means there usually isn’t much power or longevity — despite advertising 3-4 hours of use.

The Fluval ProVac may require plugging in, but it also ensures you have enough juice and power to get the job done. The nice thing about tools like this, is it doesn’t require much effort and eliminates having to do a water change with a traditional siphon. Hopefully the convenience means you’ll take more time to get rid of waste that causes water issues before its an issue.

Like other handhelds, the water is drawn up the filter stick and through a dual-density mesh filter chamber and back out into the aquarium. There is also an LED light to help you spot the waste, which is super handy when you either remove the light or it gets blocked while cleaning.

However, convenience isn’t cheap. The Fluval ProVac retails right around $70, about $20-$30 more than its own battery powered cleaner and other competitors.

GloFish adds long-fin Tetras in four colors

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Tetra just introduced its latest addition to the GloFish family with long-fin tetras that come in four stunning colors — Electric Green,  Sunburst Orange, Moonrise Pink and Galactic Purple.

Unlike colorful fish from the past that actually were injected, painted or dyed to provide the added flair, GloFish are genetically modified to fluoresce. The company continues to add more fish to the line including the rainbow shark.

As these fish are designed for community tanks and easy integration and care, the long-fin tetra are good options to mix with your other GloFish or other community fish.

GloFish are no different behaviorally than the other long-fin tetras. Since these fish have long fins, if you are adding this to a community tank, make sure you don’t have fish that are bad at nipping fins.

Overall feeding and care will be the same as other fish. We expect these should be available at your GloFish retailers soon.

Cobalt Aquatics Li-Ion Air Pumps Recharge Over USB

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Cobalt Aquatics is launching three lithium-ion powered air pumps including one with a battery backup. The three pumps will be charged with a USB plug, compatible with a computer USB port or any USB charging plug and are quiet and powerful enough to use everyday.

The exciting pump is the Cobalt USB Rescue Air that can operate in a constant flow mode and an alternating mode that cycles 10 second on, 10 second off. The sweet part about this is it features an rechargeable li-ion battery and a backup battery pack. With the battery pack, you’ll get up to 72 hours of operation in alternating mode.

There are also two standard Cobalt USB li-ion pumps in one line that features a single and a double port model In continuous mode, you’ll get about 16 hours of operations and in alternating mode, you’ll see somewhere between 24-28 hours.

A big selling point with this is you can use it as an everyday pump and when it detects a power outage, it will kick into battery mode. When the power comes back on, the pump reverts back to line power and recharges the battery.

This is great as you don’t have to worry about having D-cell batteries on hand or having to manually switch these on. If you’re away from home when the power goes out, this can be the difference between keeping things alive or suffering a catastrophic loss. Since they are quiet and powerful, you won’t have to compromise security for performance.

The new Rescue Air pump with USB retails for just under $50.

CaribSea Samurai Soil for planted and shrimp tanks

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CaribSea Samurai Soil is designed exclusively for tanks with shrimp and live plants. Samurai Soil hits all the right pH and mineral requirements of these sensitive critters and plants.

The company states this product won’t turn muddy, compact or crumble like some other types of substrates. CaribSea also spiked it with its Flora-Spore additive that includes mycorrhizal fungi, that is linked to enhances root development. It also includes other biological additives to help with cycling and establishing a bacterial filter.

CaribSea Samuarai Soil is a relatively new product and some early reviews do note it has a red color that may wash out red fish, shrimp or plants. For aquascaping it seems to take the plants well and stay in place. One other knock was the look of the beads, with some wanting something more natural.

Overall, if you have tried shrimp or plants and had difficulty with previous substrates, you might want to give this a try. A 9 lb. container retails around $18 or so.

Tropical Soft Line Africa Carnivore

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Tropical Soft Line Africa Carnivore is a sinking chip food for your carnivorous and omnivorous African cichlids. You can guess by the name this food is soft vs. flake or hard pellet foods.

Designed for the fish that eat meat, Tropical Soft Line Africa Carnivore uses herring and insects to deliver high quality-protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids. On top of this, it also contains invertebrates like shrimp meal, krill meal and calanus meal – also noted for protein, minerals and vitamins.

The food also contains contains garlic and wheat germ. The food also claims to increase coloration, overall health and encourages spawning.

Online review seem favorable and these foods are starting to make their way deeper into the overall US market. A 1.83 oz. container retails around $15 USD and a 4.9 oz. container retails around $25 USD.

Fluval Pressurized 95g CO2 kit has all you need to get started

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Planted aquariums can be intimidating but most of this can be alleviated by taking advantage of handy kits like the Fluval Pressurized 95g CO2 kit has all you need to get started growing a lush and vibrant planted tank.

Although CO2 isn’t a must, there are liquid supplements that can work, but many aquarists find supplementing your tank with CO2 gas an effective and simple way to get great results. But many might struggle with getting all the parts they need to piece a system together. This Fluval CO2 kit includes everything you need and doesn’t take too long to get set up.

The kit includes a regulator, 95g CO2 cartridge, support base, ceramic CO2 diffuser, bubble counter, check valve, hose and hose clips. Plus, you can purchase disposable CO2 cartridges in a 3-pack to make it easier to maintain.

The Fluval Pressurized 95g CO2 Kit is rated for aquariums up to 50 gallons and retails around $80 USD.

Aqueon Forge metal aquarium stands are a step back in time

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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

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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.