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BioBubble Wonder Bubble Tunnel Kit a cool, but limited, concept

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The BioBubble Wonder Bubble Tunnel Kit is an interesting concept that makes for a cool conversation piece, but might have a few small drawbacks. The concept is really cool, there is a tube with water that allows small fish to swim up and appear out of the water.

The Wonder Bubble Tunnel isn’t that big and is marketed towards casual freshwater Betta owners and other small fish. There is much debate about keeping Bettas in small enclosures, and there are practical arguments in favor of that. But this could be a cool little setup for guppies, mollies or other smaller fish.

The main part of the Bubble Tunnel is the semi-spherical bowl holding the majority of the water. The tunnel itself is a curved plastic tube with a bubble in the middle. You fill the tunnel with water, cap the ends, submerse in the main bowl, and carefully pull the caps off to connect the tunnel to the bowl.

The whole kit holds around 1.5 gallons of water and measures in around 12 x 14 x 14 in. While it looks pretty cool, there are some mixed reviews online. Some people absolutely love it and give it a full 5 stars, but others point out things like the tube and bold being made from thin plastic, the tube not being truly secured to the tank and other issues.

If you’re looking for something cool and different for under $50, this might be right up your alley. You can grab one of these online for around $40.

Buy Seachem, help save a rhino

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You might have noticed a change if you recently purchased Seachem Prime or Seachem Stability. No the product is the same, but you’ll notice a difference on the label — notably a rhinoceros. Seachem is making a donation to Support Mark of the Rhino and Mankwe Wildlife Reserve.

According to the post on the Seachem website:

Since 2008, Rhino poachers have killed at least 5,940 African rhino according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  In 2011 the Western Black rhino was declared extinct and in 2015 there were 1,338 rhino killed by poachers. These grim statistics are leaving ever dwindling populations of the five remaining species. Rhino poaching is currently at a crisis level and timing is critical for the preservation of these majestic animals. 

As part of our ongoing environmental stewardship efforts, Seachem has joined the battle to support the protection of these endangered animals. All donations will go directly to the Rhino preserve in South Africa. We ask that you join us in this battle to save the Rhino by purchasing heavily in these top selling items and helping make the most of this fund raising effort. Thank you greatly for your consideration and support!

While aquarists, we typically think about conservation efforts around the oceans, but the wildlife on the land are equally important. Plus the dichotomy between a picture of a rhino on a label for a fish product, definitely is a clearer call to action. We applaud Seachem for this as well as making some cool new labels. You can also make a direct donation via the company’s website.

Fluval Flex is a fun new all-in-one aquarium

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The new Fluval Flex aquariums is a contemporary styled all-in-one aquarium featuring a distinctive curved front, powerful multi-stage filtration and brilliant LED lighting.

This nifty 9 gallon aquarium measures in at 14 x 13 x 13 in. and has the built in three-stage filtration for keeping your water clear. The filter comes stock with an oversized foam mechanical filter to remove the big chunks, carbon for chemical filtration and Biomax biological filtration to give beneficial bacteria a place to grow.

The Flex also has a fun, 7W LED system with remote control. The light is a combination of white and RGB LEDs to give you up to a 7,500K temperature look. But with the remote, you have an almost endless option of color blends at your fingertips. You can also take advantage of fun special effects like fading cloud cover and lightning.

For water flow, there is an integrated return pump and multi-directional dual outputs for customized water flow.

The Fluval Flex retails for around $99.99.

Check out these top public aquariums in the U.S.

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Once you get bitten by the aquarium bug, its hard to turn back. Your whole world seems to want to revolve around learning more, hunting down a rare or unique fish, upgrading your equipment and more. But sometimes its hard to share this passion with your friends and family. Thankfully public aquariums are a great way to share your passion and interest with those people.

We came across this list of 12 top public aquariums in the U.S. on Tripping.com and thought it would be fun to share. There are a few smaller favorites including the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, the Scripps Aquarium in San Diego, the Denver Aquarium and others worth mentioning too. How many of these aquariums have you seen?

1. Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta,GA
Notable mostly because of its size as the largest aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium is over 550,000 square feet and holds more than 8 million gallons of water and many of thousands of fish. Its extraordinary marine life includes whale sharks, a mantaray, and even beluga whales and bottlenose dolphins. Hours of operation vary significantly, though it is open 365 days a year. Tickets are roughly $40/adult and $30/child (including tax) – though many discounts are available online through their website.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium – Monterey, CA
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is famous all over the world for its efforts in marine life education and conservation. This Northern California aquarium sets the global standard for engaging the public in fun, informative, and engaging exhibits. Honored by many as one of the best in the country – including USA Today, Parents magazine, and coastalliving.com – thisaquarium is home to more than 500 different species of marine life. Parents and kids both love the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Splash Zone. Loaded with 45 interactive exhibits, this fun section is perfect for kids under nine. Adding to its intrigue, the aquarium is perched right on the Monterey Bay itself, which acts as a field laboratory for staff scientists and conservationists. Hours are generally 10am-5pm, with tickets ranging from $25 to $40 for children and adults, respectively.

3. National Aquarium – Baltimore, MD
Another aquarium that has earned spots on several ‘best of’ lists, the National Aquarium boasts over a dozen exhibits with more than600 species to watch and admire. The aquarium houses more than marine life, as it’s home to a rooftop rainforest, where visitors can search for exotic birds and other tree-dwelling creatures. Located in close proximity to other major attractions, and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the nation’s capitol, it’s no wonder that this aquarium attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year. Hours vary, but generally approximate 10am-5pm. Tickets cost between $25-$40. As with many of the aquariums on this list, the National Aquarium is anon-profit entity that uses admission profits to fund conservation, restoration, and rehabilitation efforts.

4. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, IL
Another heavy-hitter on this list, the Shedd Aquarium is widely considered one of the best aquariums in the country and, perhaps, the world. It is a leader in conservation efforts, earning Director Ted Beattie the R. Marlins Perkins award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Built in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium is recognized for its longevity, its distinctive architecture and impressive collection of over 32,000 critters. The impressive three-level Oceanarium features dolphins, beluga whales, and more. Hours of operation generally hover around 9am-5pm, and prices vary based on availability, but are generally in line with the industry average of $25-$40.


5. Audubon Aquarium of America – New Orleans, LA
Though not comparable in size to some of the other facilities on this list, the Audubon Aquarium of America in New Orleans is still worth the visit if you find yourself in the Big Easy. The aquarium sustained substantial losses due to Hurricane Katrina, but reopened with critical acclaim shortly thereafter. Named one of the top five aquariums by USAToday, the facility features a Caribbean reef exhibit as well as a walk through tunnel. Most notably, the Audubon is a crucial stakeholder in regional environmental policy and acted as a steward for the community after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These are the kinds of unassuming roles that aquariums can play in times of need, and the Audubon Aquarium of America has clearly blazed the trail. Support this aquarium by visiting between 10am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday for a price of $15-$25.


6. Seattle Aquarium – Seattle, WA
The Seattle Aquarium earned its spot on this list by being a leader in community outreach. This is primarily evident when visitors first arrive at the aquarium and notice a distinct lack of exhibit signs. Rather than invest in signs, the Seattle Aquarium employs extra staff members that are encouraged to act as guides through the building, engaging visitors and teaching about the wonders of marine life. Going beyond that, the Seattle Aquarium also trains volunteers to act as beach ambassadors for the aquarium, patrolling the beaches of the Puget Sound region and offering educational interactions for families up and down the coast. This sort of out-of-the box programming and outreach earns the Seattle Aquarium a nod as on of the “don’t miss” aquariums in the country. Admission runs $15-$25 and is generally open from 9:30am to 5pm.

Passages of the Deep exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium; Newport, central Oregon coast.

7. Oregon Coast Aquarium – Newport, OR
Nestled in the cozy beach town of Newport, this aquarium gets the nod for being especially kid-friendly and affordable. Coming in at #9 on the parents.com list of best aquariums for kids, the site gets praise for including an outdoor component complete with trails, a butterfly garden, and an outdoor wave-crash exhibit. Most popular amongst young visitors is the Passages of the Deep exhibit, which stretches for 200ft in which the little ones are surrounded on all sides by marine life. Groups can rent out this portion of the facility for a one-of-a-kind salt-water experience. As noted, the cost of admission is just $12-$20 and the hours are 10am-5pm (closed Monday and Tuesday during the winter).


8. Aquarium of the Pacific – Long Beach, CA
This aquarium makes the list for balancing the need to provide quality community programming with the desire to contribute to global research on ocean health and marine ecology well-being. This Long Beach, California aquarium has plenty of notable exhibits (including the Shark Lagoon), exotic species, and hands-on exhibits for the kids. It also houses some leading conservation research and scholarly guest lectures. It also recently opened the Molina Animal Care Center, a LEED certified building that provides state-of-the-art rehabilitation for aquatic animals in need. Admission to this TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award-winning facility will cost you $15-$30 and the facility is open 361 days a year, 9am-6pm. While you’re in Los Angeles, you can also check out these Los Angeles kid-friendly attractions.


9. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Gatlinburg, TN
With 10,000 creatures representing 350 different species, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies holds its own against some of the larger aquariums on this list. Beloved by those in the community, this Aquarium is often voted into fan-favorite aquarium rankings, and its easy to see why. Beyond the collection of sea creatures, this aquarium provides plenty of creative programming to engage the community. For an additional fee, you can pet a penguin, paint with a penguin, go on a behind-the-scenes tour, propose to your beloved, drop the kids off for a night out, and more. Tickets range from $10-$30 and though hours vary by season, the aquarium is open 365 days a year.


10. Florida Aquarium – Tampa Bay, FL
TripAdvisor.com and Parents Magazine have recognized The Florida Aquarium as one of the top aquariums. It is home to over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals separated into nine different exhibits. The Coral Reef exhibit is a stand-out, offering breathtaking panoramic views normally exclusive to deep-sea scuba divers. In fact, certified divers have the option of paying an additional fee for the opportunity to dive with the sharks in the tank. Kids love this Tampa Bay aquarium’s two-acre outdoor water adventure zone, and everybody loves the Goliath Grouper, the aquarium’s famously massive fish. While the facility houses some exotic animals from around the world, it aims to focus on marine life native to area. Tickets can be purchased online for $15-$25, and the aquarium is regularly open 9:30am-5pm.

11. Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga,TN
Another fan-favorite, this aquarium can be found in Chattanooga on the banks of the Tennessee River. Focusing on fresh-water diversity, this aquarium has some unique superlatives, including being the home of the more turtle species than any other U.S. zoo or aquarium. It’s also home to a 3-D IMAX theater, so be sure to plan time for that feature. For an added fee, aquarium-goers can take a trip on the River Gorge Explorer – a 2-hour river cruise guided by an aquarium naturalist. Otherwise, this aquarium is fun, educational, and approachable. General admission runs $15-$30, and hours of operation are 10am-7:30pm.


12. New England Aquarium – Boston, MA
With its prominent position on the Boston harbor, this conservation-focused aquarium has been able to develop relationships within the fishing industry to have a major impact on ocean health. This focus is abundantly clear in the programming offered by the aquarium such as ‘Sustainable Seafood’ and ‘Marine Animal Rescue’. Even the slogan is aligned with this mission: “Protecting the Blue Planet”. The New England Aquarium walks the conservation walk, but maintains balance by providing fun and interactive exhibits alongside its own IMAX theater. The aquarium also leverages its unique location and partnership with Boston Harbor Cruises to offer guests the opportunity to go whale watching! Guests are guaranteed a whale sighting or offered a complimentary ticket. Both the IMAX and Whale Watching Tours cost extra, but general admission runs $15-$30 and hours are 9am-5pm.

Need a filter for a small tank? Try the Aqueon Internal E-Series Filters

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For smaller aquariums sometimes a small filter fits the bill, better than a larger external hang-on or canister filter. In those cases, a filter like the Aqueon Internal E-Series Filters provide a simple, but powerful option.

The small profile design simply attaches to the back of the aquarium and goes to work. The slim profile takes up less space than traditional internal filters (particularly the old school corner filters).

Replaceable filter cartridges make maintenance a snap and slide easily into the filter. A coarse pad and Bioholder grid also help facilitate bacteria growth to enhance biological filtration.

These types of filters are great for if you have a small tank as your main display, are looking for a simple tank for your office and need a simple filter, or even for setting up a temporary quarantine system.

You can’t beat the price either, as they start at around $8 and come in a 3 gallon Mini, a 10 gallon Small, a 20 gallon Medium and a 40 gallon Large version.

What exactly are GloFish?

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No doubt you’ve come across a tank or two in a local fish store (LFS) or box chain like PetSmart of neon fish under a black light. These bright fish are called as GloFish and are sure to capture your attention, but why exactly to they glow and are they just like other fish we see?

The short answer to this question is, yes they are similar to other fish we see in the aisles, but these unique fish are genetically modified to fluoresce. They are completely safe to own and make for a different look altogether from the typical aquarium setup.

Where did the story of the GloFish begin? In 1999 scientists in Singapore were looking for a way to detect toxins in polluted water ways. The thought was to see if these fish could be harnessed to change colors due to toxins in the water to protect the local communities.

GloFish started out when scientists took the green fluorescent protein gene found in jellyfish and were able to insert this gene into a zebrafish embryo. The end result was a fish that brightly fluorescent under both natural white light and ultraviolet light.

After this key breakthrough, the team uses a gene from coral to produce a line red fluorescent zebra fish and orange-yellow fluorescent zebra fish, by adding a variant of the jellyfish gene.

After this the scientists met Yorktown Technologies, a company from Austin, Texas. Yorktown saw the potential for this fish in the ornamental trade and bought the rights to market the fish giving birth to the “GloFish” brand.

The first fish release by Yorktown was the red variant of the zebrafish they dubbed the Starfire Red Danio in 2003. Today there are 12 lines of fish in the GloFish family, a combination of both species and colors.

Of course there was some hesitation on bringing genetically modified fish into the U.S. marketplace. After a few regulatory hurdles, we started to see the GloFish appear in stores here. A last major hurdle was cleared when California allowed the sale of GloFish in 2015.

Many were concerned that these fish could impact local populations of fish and create mutant strains. We have seen other invasive fish, like goldfish and Plecostomus, take over local environments devastating native populations of wildlife along the way.

However, these tropical strains would have a hard time surviving and if they did, the bright colors would make them hard to hide, making them a prime target for larger predators.

Today, there are six colors of GloFish including the original Starfire Red, others include Cosmic Blue, Electric Green, Galactic Purple, Sunburst Orange and Moonrise Pink. The fish species include danios, tetras and barbs.

Having a GloFish may not be for everyone, but they are quite striking under a blue or black light making them appealing to kids. Overall, the care of GloFish is just like other fish of the same species and make a great starter fish to work with.

There is also a full line of GloFish products made specifically for a bright and fun environment including aquariums (although any aquarium will do, you will just want to make sure you have a blue light to maximize the glow), lights and decor.

 

Tetra My Aquarium App handy tool for your aquariums

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Keeping an aquarium can be a bit hard, but technology is making it a bit easier with things like the Tetra My Aquarium App. There are many other apps on the market, some complex and some simple, and the Tetra My Aquarium app is a nice place to start.

The free app, available for iOS, Android or Amazon Kindle, was designed with Tetra’s huge product line in mind, but is still helpful no matter what test kits, additives and food you use. It helps take the guesswork out of maintaining and aquarium and is a handy place to track changes over time.

My Aquarium App allows you to keep track of your tanks and all the maintenance aspects of keeping an aquarium, even if you have more than one. It does basic things like keep track of your aquariums, gives you maintenance reminders, provides handy dosing calculators and helps you manage your water care product, food and equipment inventory.

It is a great place to start for people just starting out keeping an aquarium or someone that just wants a simple, straightforward app to help keep track of things. Here are a few other key features:

  • Water Quality — The app helps you determines when to do a water change, how much water to change, identifies which of the products in your inventory will be needed for dosing, and calculates how much of that product is needed for treatment.
  • Product Inventory — Keeps track of your Tetra products and recommends what products can be used for dosing or treatment. If none of your products can be recommended, the app will recommend ideal products to remedy each situation.
  • Sets Reminders — Its hard to keep track of when you did your maintenance or testing. The app also allows you to create reminders for various aquarium tasks such as water changes and filter changes, and then sends you notifications when tasks are due.

Although the product recommendations are great if you’re a fan of Tetra’s products, it might be limiting if you have other preferences. One nice aspect of this app is you can easily get routed to Tetra’s live help and problem-solving resources.

The app is free to download and more information can be found on the Tetra website.

Seachem Tidal Power Filter

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The Seachem Tidal Power Filter is the first ever filter by Seachem. The Seachem Tital filter is available in three sizes with a full set of modern features that makes this one of the first real power filters designed from the ground up in this decade.

Seachem is well-known and respected in the industry. For over 30 years, the company has brought us a variety of quality products, but these are primarily focused on water quality, management and pharmaceutical side of the hobby. We see the the Seachem Tidal filter a natural evolution of the company’s quest to make aquarium water cleaner.

 

The three sizes of the Seachem Tidal filter range from the Tidal 55, Tidal 75 and Tidal 110, each of which is rated to filter freshwater aquarium with a volume of 55, 75 and 100 gallons respectively.

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The Seachem Tidal 55 has a flowrate of 250 gallons per hour at 6W, the Tidal 75 is sitting at 350 gallons per hour at 8W, while the Tidal 100 maxes out the line at 450 gallons per hour while using just 12W. The new filters feature Sicce pumps are are whisper quiet.

What is unique is each power filter is designed from the ground up with ultra modern features including dual water intake with surface skimmer, adjustable flow, maintenance monitor, self-cleaning impeller, and a filter basket that holds any kind of filtration media. But more importantly, the feed pump is already in the intake of the Seachem Tidal filter, so there is no priming required.

The Sechem Tidal 55 retails for around $54, the Tital 75 for $68 and the Tidal 110 for around $82.

 

New Year, New Aquarium Resolutions

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The new year brings along a lot of hope and a flurry of new resolutions that most likely won’t make it past March. While we may chose resolutions to eat healthier, do more exercise, or spend more time with friends or family, we should also think about what we could do more around our favorite hobby.

For many of us, we may find our time and attention pulled in other areas and things we used to love get neglected — reading, exercising, aquariums, etc. — and we could use some motivation to not let that happen again. On the other hand, maybe there is something new or different we wanted to try, but are afraid to change what is working or the fear of something new. To help out, here are three aquarium resolutions to get you started in 2017:

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  • Better Organization — Are you the kind of person that can’t remember the last water change? Have all your fish gear just thrown in a tote in the garage? Always looking for your net or siphon or test kits? Then maybe you need better organization. Try by gathering all your gear in one place and throw out what is broken or what you don’t use. Organize the necessities in smaller containers (e.g. test kits, spare parts, food). Keep a log to track your aquarium. Some people prefer paper and there are plenty of great looking journals and logs you can use at places like Amazon. There are also many great aquarium apps that allow you to track water changes, aquarium stocking, water parameters and more. Tip: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with a good cleaning day and commit to a regular water change and testing schedule.

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  • Try Something New — Maybe you are looking for a new challenge or not happy with your current aquariums setup. Whatever the reason is, try something new! Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Grab a notebook and some alone time — maybe heading to a local coffee shop or even better yet a public aquarium, to contemplate. Ask yourself what you want to do. Take those ideas and start doing research. Spend enough time on it that you feel confident enough to succeed and then go for it! Some potential ideas are going with a biotope-themed tank (Thailand river, Central American, African Lake cichlids, etc.), going larger, starting a planted aquarium, or even just trying a more challenging type of fish. Tip: Research is key, you want to make sure you are comfortable with the challenge in order to succeed.

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  • Get More Social — Sure its great going to the fish store and chatting about what your aquarium, but every day it seems harder to find quality local fish stores with the knowledgeable staff and passionate customers like it was 10 or 20 years ago. But there are aquarium clubs that are a great resource. They typically meet once a month, have nominal dues and give you the opportunity to meet fellow hobbyists and make great friends. Clubs are known to bring in guest speakers, organize field trips like visits to public aquariums or tank tours of hobbyists in the area, hold raffles for cool prizes and more. There are broad-focused clubs and niche clubs (discus, planted tanks, reefs, etc.) to fit your interest. If you can’t find one in your area, look for an active message board, its a great way to learn and share while making new friends. Tip: If you don’t know where to start, check out organizing bodies like the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS), Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA) or the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA), they can help steer you in the right direction to a local club.

Whatever your plans are around your aquarium in 2017, make sure you put yourself in a better position to succeed this year. Think about little ways you can improve your experience and set up reminders to make sure you follow through! This is an incredibly rewarding hobby, but it can also be quite frustrating too. But the good news is with proper planning and regular maintenance, we can eliminate 80-90% of the headaches in advance. Happy New Year and good luck in 2017!

Triple your fun with Aqueon Betta Falls

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The Aqueon Betta Falls is an interesting aquarium setup to house three bettas, that features a sweeping cascade of three chambers and an integrated filter and pump hidden in the base to continually move filtered water through each chamber.

People who collect male bettas, also known as Siamese Fighting fish due to the fact their extremely aggressive behavior toward each other (they will actually fight to the death to protect their domains), are typically kept in separate containers. The Betta Falls gives you a fun way to display your bettas that includes a water pump, integrated filter, and a sump to hold a thermometer.

The Aqueon Betta Falls is a nice size — big enough to house three bettas in an eye-catching display, but small enough to easily fit anywhere in your house (or even your office). The aquarium will hold about two gallons of water that is filtered with an Aqueon QuietFlow power filtration unit tucked away in the sump area.

There is also an adjustable internal pump that allows you to dial it down to a low trickle for the bettas or if you want to keep freshwater shrimp or other tropical fish, you can dial it up accordingly.

Since bettas are known to even get aggressive with each other when the see another betta in a separate tank or chamber, Aqueon used frosted panels between each chamber to prevent them from seeing one another.

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The kit also includes betta care items like food and water care samples, to get you started. You’ll also probably want to consider a small thermometer and decoration for the bettas. The unit is sleek enough that adding some live plants and maybe some gravel will really make an impact. The Aqueon Betta Falls comes in black or white options and retails for around $50.

Although betta can survive in as little as 1 liter of water, this is still a bit on the small side. One thing to consider, betta are beautiful fish that make a great addition for a low-flow community tank or larger aquarium.