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API is a great brand with aquarium chemical testing, they also make wipes for cleaning the glass that are unique in the market.
uhhhh... No, definitely go with a quality titration test kit like the Salifert, especially for calcium and alkalinity. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is known for the variability and lack of reliability for these kits in particular, as well as their pH and nitrate kits.

Stick with a kit that does not depend on color matching of different shades of the same color, titration is much better.

Additives I would stock salifert(ammino acids and phosphate eliminator) ...
Good for test kits, but the AA additives are unnecessary, probably not good for reef top biotopes.

Coralife lights(your not a saltwater store without them)
hmmm... totally personal experience, but XM MH bulbs would be a better brand by far, especially with electronic bllasts like the icecps newer models. URI for VHO's, I have no preference for the T-5 or PC bulbs at this time.

Instant Ocean is the most popular sea salt.
For corals and coral-based systems, IO or Reef Crystals are just about the best all-around salt mixes for ASW. If you are running a FO or FOWLR system, then one of the high borate buffer salts is better suited (Seachem), but if there are ANY corals in the system, the IO and related salts are best. Search some of my past posts on this subject for justification.

floating magnetic algae scrubber
Actually, the strongest scraper in this class with the best action seems to the the Tunze scrapers, well worth the money.

Metro+, E.M. ERYTHROMYCIN, Melafix,Primafix, Formalin Malachite Green, and gel-Tek for medicines
hmmm... look for inexpensive generics for these products, I have many concerns about use of antibiotics in fish aquaria without documented bacterial infections, but this seems to be a necessary evil of the hobby. I could type a ong post just on this subject... :squint:

Regarding the skimmers, I personally prefer the big high-efficiency skimmers, so this would eliminate the Red Sea skimmers and most of the lower priced skimmers available on the market, but again, you need something that beginning folks can use on smaller systems. For all but the smallest MRC-type skimmers, the high-eff skimmers are just about out of the question for a 50 gallon or smaller system. I am sure that Geoff or some of the other folks using these skimmers will pipe in on the topic, but for a starter skimmer, I would tend to recommend one of the higher end skimmers like the MR-2 with a powerful external pump or Euros with their long-term use in mind (upgrading at a later time to a larger tank) rather than wast money on something that would be less-than-satisfactory starting out... I have a Red Sea Berlin that I use whenever I need something to fill in temporarily (curing rock, cooking rock, etc), it is highly modified, and when it was one of the few skimmers on the market (90's), it was the bomb! It's just that now there are much better skimmers on the market that dont require so much modification or fiddling to keep efficiency up at a reasonable level.

JMO, HTH
 

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Just stumbled on the thread is all :)

There's no "exact science" to what to stock. Many people ask what I use and recommend so I move most of the stuff that I .... use and recommend.
There's a reason I will drive 3&1/2 hours to visit Jenn's store besides the fact that I just plain like her... :)

...and rather than beat a dead horse on some of the topics listed in the thread, I'll just say I've been around when much of the stuff in the last 30 years has been introduced into the hobby, and I have learned (unfortunately) from both trial and error and the experiences of many other hobbyists and professionals on what works and what does not. I will try to keep folks from spending money needlessly in this expensive hobby on items that either do not work or have better alternatives for a reasonable amount of money. For example, I would love to own a self-cleaning Deltec Skimmer, but for the marginal increase in function, I cannot support spending twice as much as what I spend for a quality high-efficiency skimmer like the MRC or Euroreef lines for larger systems here in the US. This is not to say that I think the RS skimmers are crap, but better skimmer technology is now available at about the same price. I imagine that the next manned interplanetary trip we make as a people will not be using Apollo-level technology either.

Back on topic, If I had one thing to add to Jenn's comments, it would be that it would be nice to have a lfs with a 125, 250 and 400 watt spare MH bulb in stock, I can't say how many times I wish I had in the past been able to find a bulb within 3 or 4 hours drive time. I now keep a spare bulb, and for the same reason, have the same type of bulbs through all my systems, but I am sure that if folks knew that they could get a bulb in a LFS, especialy in areas away from metropolitan areas like Atlanta, it would be a bonus for the LFS selling them.

Icebear, I congratulate you for searching for "the good stuff" to carry rather than relying on the wholesalers best seller list, and as always, I thank Jenn for opening her shop in Georgia.

JMO, HTH
 

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JennM

You said "For some unknown reason, in this area anyway, stores push "Stress Coat" like it was going out of style. It just gunks up the water....

I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME OF YOU THINK THAT IT IS NESSESARY TO "PRODUCT BASH".
Product bashing???

I only see where people that have extensive experiences with these products posting their experiences and their opinions of that use.

It is difficult to find someone selling a product to give a neutral opinion on items, especially when the product in question makes money for the individual giving the opinion. Usually we have to consider what the ultimate gain an individual has when making a product recommendation and weigh that drive against the ability to get us a response that is not colored by their motive. Unfortunately, when dealing with many retail settings it is Money vs. reality...

I deal with this on a daily basis whenever a new pharmaceutical comes out that is a "mee too" drug on the market. Imagine discussing a new antibiotic product (or lately, the Statins or the ABR's) with a salesman that is paid by a multimillion dollar Pharmaceutical Company to market their product above any of the others that do the same thing when treating a patient condition. I find that a goodly number of the newer products under these circumstances might be better than the older ones, but many ARE no better or are actually less effective or have unwanted side effects, but will cost up to 10 times what the older product that is already on the market will cost a patient. By not recommending the product or discussing patient-related disadvantages with other prescribers, I am not bashing the product, as there may be circumstances that the newer one will need to be prescribed to a patient in preference to the older one (that the patient has an allergy or unusualy side effects to the old product, for example). However, if for the majority of patients, the older product in this example may be equally effective, is readily available, and will cost the patient much less; then I owe it to them to make this known. This is not to say that the newer product is crap, but that the older product in this example under the circumstances will be the better choice.

That is what learning from the experiences of others is all about, and i a hobby that is already quite expensive, helping others to not waste money on ineffectual or unnecessary products is one small way of helping to reduce the waste of time and money.

Just my opinion, which is different from yours: not wrong, just different.
 

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5 years for a shelf life. I would use that product up before 5 years. Why pay the money for extended time if you do not need it? 0n average I probably blow through a "typical" test in about a year.
For most of the more expensive kits you're paying for the accuracy and repeatability of the test kit. I know thqat Habib (at Salifert) takes great pride in the reliability and accuracy of their products at a reasonable price.

Expiration in not an issue if in reasonable expiry when you start using it, but if short-dated, it IS an issue for how long it sits in the mnufacturer's inventory before it is ordered by a wholesaler/distributor, then sits in THEIR warehouse before it is bought by a regional distributor/chain store warehouse, and then sits in THEIR warehouse before it is bought by a LFS/Chain outlet, and then sits on the shelf in the final retail setting before Joe Reefcoralist buys that particular testkit to start the consumption process... 8 months is not an unusual amount of time for this process to transpire. I have seen items come into shops and be out of date when they arrive; items with short expiry dates (or no dates :eek: ) just create work for the retail shop that is unnecessary as OOD returns, or end up creating losses when they cannot be returned for credit to the manufacturers. These are INTENDED to be reactive substances, that is their purpose; folks are just fooling themselves if they think that no date on the box means that they do not go out of date.

Icebear: "Planet Woof" ????
 
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