My favorite CO2 Regulator

Here is a great regulator that is by far the best one I have ever tried. It is an Aquarium Plants CO2 Regulator that is very dependable and works.  At one point I had a mishap when my regular dumped a large amount of CO2 into the tank too quickly. This dropped the PH in the tank very fast and was very dangerous to the fish. They looked terrible and were struggling to survive.  I quickly added some alkalinity to the tank to bring up the ph and it worked thank goodness.  I only lost one Clown Fish that was not doing well to begin with.  Then I went looking for a good regulator and found one.  There are a whole series of regulators that Scott carries at Aquarium Specialty from Aquarium Plants that, I think, have a great design and have worked extremely well for me.

The first thing I noticed about these regulators was the price – they ran about $40 – $100 higher than some of the other regulators.  While this may put off some, please read on.  It costs me about $33 per small container of CO2 . However, with the efficiency of an Aquarium Plants Regulator, I figure I will save at least $100 in my first six months as the CO2 containers are lasting me much longer than when I used the cheaper regulators.

Set Up CO2 Regulator

Setting it up was easy. I just attached the regulator with a C-wrench and the directions walk you through a leak check. After I was done with the leak check (the unit was perfect the first time attaching it) I tested it out with a small piece of tubing and a water-glass. They say you can control the size of the bubbles in the direction. I did not see a great difference in bubble size, but was easily able to very accurately adjust the bubble flow – something I always had a challenge doing with the cheaper brands.  Once tested, I hooked it up to my calcium reactor and the unit was functioning perfectly within minutes.  More than two months later is has not missed a bubble and has held the timing that I had started with it.

So if you are running a calcium reactor or thinking of doing so, this is the best piece of equipment you can get to keep your bubbles regulated.

The Perfect Basement is…

A Reef Lover's Perfect Basement

What could be more wonderful than to have a huge unfinished basement mostly all to yourself to put your workings of your reef tank in? I could think of a few things, but they would not last as long, nor could you have other people look at it and enjoy your set up.  I took my second visit to Keith Berkelhamer’s reef tank a couple of weeks ago and really had time to enjoy his set up under the tank. As envious as I was of his tank, I was equally as envious of his roomy basement. There was plenty of room to work and there was no trouble getting at any piece of equipment.

Coral Propagation Tank

After his initial set up he still had plenty of room to later add a coral propagation tank. Keith tied it into the main tank with added plumbing, so it is not a quarantine tank. He  uses a 20K Metal Halide Pendant light for the coral propagation tank.


Keith Berkelhamer uses both a Calcium Reactor and a Precision Marine Kalkreactor to top off his water. Keith  does not dose anything as the two reactors take care of all the Calcium, Magnesium, Alkaline and other trace elements that his SPS corals need. He replaces the Kalk about every three weeks in the Kalkreactor. In his Calcium Reactor, Keith uses the larger size Aragonite as it is less likely to clog the reactor.  Over time, these reactors not only save money, but make the tank much easier to maintain and keep it running much more efficiently. The levels of the elements stay constant which the corals really like, thus helping their growth.

To control the top off in the sump, a Liter Meter 3 is used to regulate the top off with Kalkwasser. Fresh water is mixed in the Kalkreactor and then added to the sump to take care of evaporated water. This combined with the Calcium Reactor running with C02 is all that is need to keep Keith’s tank filled with the correct amount of minerals that his tank needs to help his corals stay healthy. A Running Success.

An SPS Tank to Envy

Keith Berkelhamer's tank

We have officially started working on the next offering from Keith Behrle Productions, Inc. : The Reef Aquarium TV!  The Reef Aquarium TV will be an endless video loop on a dvd that will have beautiful reef tanks showing off wonderful color fish and corals. 

Keith Berkelhamer in Connecticut has the most amazing SPS tank I have ever seen. Keith was nice enough to let us video his beautiful tank.  

SPS bursting with color

The following pictures are not color corrected in any way – those are the colors of the corals.  The tank is truly a magnificent work of art. Keith has used color and space to craft a staggering stunning display of different colored SPS corals. This is really a magnificent tank as Keith has literally painted his tank with these beautiful corals. One of the many things that helps to keep Keith’s corals health are his beautiful fish. The fish waste help the corals. Keith’s tank is so healthy that he is looking to increase his nitrates as they are almost undetectable! “A little dirty water helps the corals” he said.

Keith has a wonderful basement where he is able to keep all his fish toys (pumps, sumps and equipment) separate from his living room area. This not only makes his tank extremely quiet, but there is plenty of space to do maintenance.  The metal halides are left on about nine hours a day which blue, green, red… helps to stimulate tremendous growth of all corals.  With 20,000 K bulbs the tanks are very high on the blue light spectrum, which corals seem to love. Keith, thank you for letting us video your tank. The footage looks great and I sure many people are going to enjoy watching your moving work of art.

Helping fish