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PE Mysis is a nutritious addition to your feeding regimen


PE Mysis is a nutritious option if you are looking for a meaty food for your fish. Made from freshwater mysis shrimp, Mysis relicta, PE Mysis has high nutritional value that has been known to incluce an energetic feeding response in even finicky aquarium fish.

The way Piscine Energetics harvests PE Mysis, ensures they have a naturally have a higher fatty acid profiles and Omega-3’s than enriched brine shrimp. Piscine Energetics harvests these shrimp from inland freshwater lakes in Canada. The mysis were introduced to help provide food for game fish. However, they soon found out the mysis feed on the same phytoplankton as the fish fry, reducing the available food for fish.

Piscine Energetics helps solve this problem as they harvest the invasive shrimp at night when the Mysis shrimp surface to feed on the plentiful phytoplankton. In fact, the mysis come up gut-loaded with the phyto. The shrimp is then flash frozen on site to ensure the highest nutritional value when then come to you.

PE Mysis is available as:

  • Flat-Packs (8oz, 16oz, 40oz, 10lbs)
  • Blister Packs (4oz – 35 individually wrapped cubes)
  • PE Mysis & PE Calanus Twin Packs (4oz PE Mysis + 4oz PE Calanus – 75 individually wrapped cubes)


Cobalt Aquatics EXT aquarium canister filter


The Cobalt Aquatics EXT aquarium canister filter is another reputable option for a canister filter that has been on the market for a few years. The Cobalt EXT uses an external powerhead to drive the filter, rather than having an integrated drive pump.

One unique characteristics is the ability to disconnect the input and output tubing from the canister to allow you to clean the filter and keep circulation going. The filter itself, features an easy-to-open lid and a four-stage filtration trays.

  • 1st stage sponge filter
  • 2nd stage activated carbon
  • 3rd stage ceramic rings
  • Final 4th stage finishing floss

The Cobalt EXT has a maximum flow rate of 210gph that is rated for tanks up to 55 gallons. Some online reviews praise the simplicity and quiet operation but may feel you’re pushing it for a medium to heavy stocked 55 gallon tank. Since it is an external powerhead, you could up the size a bit, but it could impact the filter’s effectiveness by pushing water through too quickly.

Cobalt Aquatics EXT aquarium canister filter retails for under $150.


Fluval E Series electronic submersible heaters


The Fluval E Series electronic submersible aquarium heaters are a good choice if you’re looking to have more precise control over the temperature in your aquarium. If you recall our recent post “Choosing an aquarium heater: Glass, titanium or electronic?” we covered the pros and cons of the three main types of heaters.

As me discussed in that post, digital microprocessors and Fluval packed this and more into the Fluval E Series electronic submersible heaters. The Fluval ESeries heaters feature what Fluval calls VueTech technology — the microprocessor and dual temperature sensors to monitor and display the tank temp.

The precision temperature control allows you to set the temperature between 68 and 93 degrees F in 0.5-degree increments, while the high and low temperature alerts provide constant peace of mind. For added safety, the integrated fish guard prevents fish from coming into contact with the heating element.

The Fluval ESeries gives you a quick visual indication of where your tank temp is. Blue means the tank temperature is below set range and the heating function will engage and increase temperature automatically. If its green, all is well and aquarium temperature is within desired set range, so the monitoring function is engaged. If its red, you guessed it, the temp is above set range, and the monitoring function is engaged. Depending on the temperature, you may have to take action yourself to use fans or other methods to gradually lower the temperature manually.

The Fluval ESeries comes in four sizes:

  • E50 — 50W designed for tanks up to 60 L (15 US Gal)
  • E100 — 100W designed for tanks up to 120 L (30 US Gal)
  • E200 — 200W designed for tanks up to 250 L (65 US Gal)
  • E300 — 300W designed for tanks up to 375 L (100 US Gal)

Sicce Syncra Nano Circulation Pump a small, flexible pump


Sicce has been one of the top names in water circulation for over 30 years and bring that innovation to their Sicce Synchra Nano circulation pump. This pump has been on the market for a few years, but is a really good option if you’re looking for a small, flexible pump for circulation in your aquarium.

For all-in-one systems, the Sicce Synchra Nano is a nice option if you want to upgrade the pump. It’s fully submersible and is also a good option for overall circulation and since it allows you to adjust the flow between 40-110 GPH, you’ll be able to dial it in to your exact needs. It also comes with a second attachment that allows you to use it in-line and run externally.

The pump runs at just 2.8W, so its remains pretty cool if you’re running it submerged in your tank. Besides being a high-quality, Italian-made pump, it features: attachment for in-line installation, flow regulation for 40-110gph, anti-vibration suction cups holder, 180° rotation of the water outlet (only when submersed).

Aquatop Sunken Wood Branch Decor adds realistic character to your tank

Aquatop Sunken Wood Branch Decor

The Aquatop Sunken Wood Branch Decor is a good way to add realistic character to your tank without impact the water quality. Made from non-toxic, aquarium-safe polyresin, the Aquatop Sunken Wood Branch Decor looks like a real branch in shape, color and texture.

Real wood traditionally releases tannins and as well as other impurities that have absorbed into the wood. While the realism is appreciated, some people prefer a clear tank and don’t want to put their fish in harms way.

The unique shape features plenty of holes and passages, providing space for fish to hide in and explore. The Aquatop Sunken Wood Branch Decor comes in a small (12″ x 7″ x 10″), medium (6.3″ x 13″ x 8.5″) and large size (7″ x 12″ x 10″) and are priced from around $35 and up.

Test ammonia and pH continuously with Seachem One Year Combo Alert

Seachem One Year Combo Alert

Seachem One Year Combo Alert is a simple way to stay on top of ammonia and pH levels in your aquarium without using test strips or liquid test kits. The Seachem water sensor technology will continuously monitor ammonia and freshwater pH for an entire year and just stick on your tank.

There are two plastic badges to test two components of your water parameters, each measuring 1.5 x 2.5 in., with a clear background and suction cup. Each has a range of levels around the test mechanism at the center. Just look at the color of the center and compare against those around the edge for instant reading. Each are sold separately, but the Seachem One Year Combo Alert kit is a great way to monitor both ammonia and pH.

The Ammonia Alert automatically detects free ammonia at levels less than 0.05 mg/L (ppm) and alerts you to the presence of the primary killer of fish before it reaches hazardous levels and causes signs of stress. If there is no ammonia, the sensor will be yellow and move from green to blue the higher the ammonia level.

Seachem One Year Combo Alert - ammonia

Seachem notes the response time for detecting ammonia is 15 minutes, giving you time to react before it reaches toxic levels. They also state the Ammonia Alert lasts over 9 times as long as competing products, and is only about half the size. The Ammonia Alert is good for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

Although it might be a bit too much for a smaller aquarium, Ammonia Alert could be handy for cycling the aquarium and monitoring anytime you change your bioload by adding new fish. Also a great options for beginners to ensure they keep ammonia testing top of mind. You will also want to ensure you also test nitrites and nitrates as these can be just as damaging once the ammonia is converted in the nitrogen cycle.

The second badge in the Seachem One Year Combo Alert is the pH Alert. It operates just like the Ammonia Alerts where pH is constantly monitored (for freshwater only). The sensor alerts you to shifts in pH levels between 5.4 and 8.0. These are good for normal aquariums as well as planted aquariums where you are adding CO2 that may cause the pH to drop.

The Seachem One Year Combo Alert kit retails under $15 and is available from most online retailers.

Dr. Tim’s Bene-Fish-Al DIY fish food


Dr. Tim’s Bene-Fish-Al DIY fish food is a novel way to make your own fish foods. Frozen fish food is a convenient way to give your fish some nutritious treats, but some foods contain fillers and preservatives that can lead to poor water quality.

Many have solved this issue by making the fish food themselves, which can be a fun and messy process involving food processors, a variety of fish and other goodies, then slathering the mess into ice cube trays or into egg crate light diffusers. Both have downsides, the ice cube trays are easier to get the food out, but typically are bigger than what you need. The eggcrate gives you smaller potions, but can be harder to get out when frozen.

Dr. Tim’s Bene-Fish-Al is a whole system for making your own frozen fish food that comes complete with starting ingredients and a handy silicon frozen fish food tray (like ice cubes but much smaller). Bene-Fish-Al is made with all wholesome ingredients including salmon, blueberries, carrots, spinach and menhaden.

The food can also be modified to your specifications with Bene-Fish-Al Extras. These are a lot like spice grinders of things like kale, peas, garlic, grasshoppers or mealworms. You can also incorporate fish medicine into your own fish food formula.

You can get the starter kit for $19.99 that includes the tray and two 0.88 oz pouches. Each 0.88 oz (25 g) Bene-FISH-al Fish Food packet makes 70 cubes or 10 oz of fish food. Additives and other fish food recipes are available as well.

Fluval Spec aquarium kit overview


The traditional 10 gallon rectangular aquarium starter kit has definitely received some strong competition with the growth of the modern all-in-one designs. The Fluval Spec aquarium kit is a prime example that provides all you need to get started with a small-sized aquarium.

Coming in two sizes, a 2.6 gallon and 5 gallon version, these are more in the “nano” category but are still a good option for a light bioload for small spaces. The Fluval Spec would fit nicely on your desk, add a bit of pizzazz to an office or even a kid’s room.

The Fluval Spec is framed with aluminum and features etched glass in the back to hide the integrated filtration chamber. For lighting, Fluval outfitted it with a sleek looking LED light array in the 7000K temperature range. This should give you a bit more brilliance of your fish and plant coloration without being too bright or too subdued.

Like most all-in-one (AIO) aquariums, it features an integrated overflow filtration system that allows you to use the standard 3-stage filtration. This typically consists of a sponge for mechanical filtration, activated charcoal for chemical filtration and a some sort of ceramic media to allow for biological filtration. The kit comes with the necessary filter media including a foam block, activated carbon and BioMax bio rings.


The Fluval Spec comes with an adjustable 66 GPH circulation pump on the 2.6 gallon version and an 80 GPH pump on the 5 gallon version. The tank has an adjustable output nozzle to give you flexibility in your flow. The 2.6 gallon tank measures 11.8 x 10.8 x 8.7 inches and the 5-gallon tank measures 20.5 x 11.6 x 7.5 inches and is more of a peninsula style.

As we mentioned before, they aren’t that big, but you could easily do a couple of small plants and a few fish depending on their size. The Fluval Spec retails for around $70 for the small version and $90 for the larger version.

Add affordable LED goodness with Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED aquarium fixtures


Looking to add some modern LED touches to your existing aquarium without breaking the bank?  You might want to check out the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED aquarium fixtures. You get an extra bright light that is controllable and allows you to mimic real-world conditions like cloud cover and storms.

The sleek fixture isn’t too bulky and features a blend of bright 6500K white LEDs and deep, rich 445nm blue LEDs to provide unbelievably crisp light that is perfect for freshwater applications. The company says they dialed-in the light with custom color temperature settings to highlight your fish – everything from cichlids, live bearers and tetras – giving them more pop. It also has a controller that allows you to control both the white and the blue LEDs to find the perfect spectrum for your tank. This can be especially useful when a variety of factors can determine how more vibrant certain fish can appear.

There are four models that fit over 18 to 60 in. tanks and has sliding dock legs to give you some wiggle room in fitting over your tank. The LEDs have 120-degree lenses on them to disperse the light evenly across your tank. Each fixture includes a wired remote control that allows precise adjustment to suit your lighting needs, including on/off/dimming of white and blue LEDs (together or independently).

The controller also allows mode control, letting you choose between 7 different lighting schemes that replicate real-world conditions. Three fade modes mimic differing levels of cloud cover, a dusk mode lowers the light for dusk viewing, and two lunar light modes create a peaceful, moonlit glow. If you want to have fun, there are even two storm settings.

Although these have been on the market for a few years, the company continues to refine them and they are a good entry-level or budget conscious option for hobbyists of all levels. The light have an MSRP starting at $86.99 for the 18-24 in. version all the way up to $159 for the 48-60 in. version, but looking around online, you can find these for far less ($45 or so for the small one and $80 for the large one).

All new Cobalt Mini MJ pumps announced


Cobalt Aquatics announced they are looking back at a classic, but with a modern twist with the addition of two Cobal Mini MJ pumps designed for nano systems.

If you recall, Cobalt brought back the original Italian-made pumps made famous my MaxiJet a few years back, but if you can imagine the naming was a bit of an issue, hence the “MJ”. Now they took the old style, but souped it up a bit.

These pumps feature a compact design with bottom intake and top mounted cord, allowing them to fit inside even the smallest all-in-one return chambers. They also built in a thermal detection system that will disable the pump if it runs dry and begins to overheat.

As we said, the Mini MJs will come in two sizes and feature fully adjustable flow control to dial in the perfect amount of flow for nano tanks. They also make ideal pumps for reactors, filters, waterfalls, terrariums, or any other application that requires an efficient, quiet, compact pump.

We don’t know more at the moment, but heard you can find the Mini MJs starting this August.