Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t AquaLife products mass-marketed? Why don’t I see advertising?

Dollars that might be spent on advertising are instead directed toward developing and improving our products, in order to offer the best value to consumers.

Some companies claim to have higher purity ingredients. How pure are the Simple Science products?

All of our inorganic chemicals are greater than 99% pure. We also use many food grade items when organic (carbon containing) ingredients are required.

Why do I have to mix 2 different Simple Science magnesium products to make a final magnesium solution?

It is possible to use a single compound, such as magnesium sulfate at the magnesium source, but doing so will lead to an excess of sulfate. The result is aquarium water becoming less like seawater, in terms of its ionic composition. This can be corrected with partial water changes on a periodic basis. By using both magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride in the appropriate ratios, the aquarist is able to keep magnesium, chloride and sulfate in the proper ratios, with fewer partial water changes.

How do Simple Science liquids compare to ESV liquids?

Simple Science liquids are more concentrated and contain different balanced formulations.

Why is Magnesium always part 1 – added first?

Unless the magnesium concentration of the aquarium is maintained in a range approximating that of natural seawater, unwanted precipitation of the other components, calcium and carbonate ions, will occur. In this case, much more calcium and alkalinity supplement is required than would otherwise be needed.

Why do some companies have dosing instructions without testing first? Is there a safe level I can start with?

It is impossible to predict, for any given aquarium, how and at what rate chemical changes will occur. Simply put, too many variables are involved. Therefore, every company who offers “recommended” dosages is doing so upon the basis of assumptions drawn hopefully from their experience and testing, but that may or may not hold true for your personal tank. We always recommend starting with small, incremental additions any time a new product is being added to the aquarium. However, the wisest course of action is to perform the appropriate water tests before calculating additions of any product intended to alter water chemistry.

How do you determine the Simple Science concentrations? Why did you choose the concentrations you chose?

The upper range of concentrations depends upon the solubility of the chemical compounds in the product. Saturated solutions, those containing the maximum amount of chemical that will dissolve in a given volume of water, tend to be unstable over a range of temperatures, and may form heavy precipitates. On the other hand, solutions of low concentration must be added in larger quantities, inversely proportional to the concentration. Such products can be used with less attention to dosage, but must be replenished frequently. Our product concentrations were chosen to fall between these two extremes, providing a shelf-stable product that is effective when used at reasonable dosage levels. We thus provide the best possible value for the consumer, while maintaining your margin as a retailer.

Why do I need Cala-fin and Cala-fin whole?

These two forms of the same marine copepod vary considerably in particle size, as a result of dif- ferent levels of processing. Depending upon the nature of the organisms in your aquarium, you may need zooplankton sources of varying sizes to match the needs of both invertebrates and fishes. Reef compatible fishes often love whole Cala-fin, but the particles may be too large for certain corals, for example.

How does Cala-fin compare to Cyclop Eeze? Which do you prefer?

Here is a table of reported analyses for both products. The information on Cyclop Eeze is from the company web site.

Amino Acid Polyplab % Calanus % CyclopEeze %
Threonine 2.75 2.12 0.42
Serine 2.02 2 0.48
Glutamic Acid 7.93 6.44 1.03
Proline 2.07 2.18 2.1
Glycine 4.11 4.46 0.41
Alanine 3.42 3.73 0.87
Cystine 1.04 0.8 0
Valine 3.3 2.69 0.48
Methionine 2.6 1.38 0.2
Isoleucine 2.8 2.09 0.4
Aspartic Acid 6.17 4.29 0.62
Leucine 4.47 3.57 0.71
Tyrosine 2.44 6.13 0.42
Phenylalanine 2.77 1.69 0.37
Histidine 1.53 0.66 0.31
Lysine 6.37 3.7 0.87
Arginine 4.41 4.13 1.06
Tryptophan 0.78 0.3 0
Total Protein 60.59 62.6 62
Astaxanthin NA 332 3000

We cannot explain why the Cyclop Eeze numbers are so much lower on amino acid content, unless there is an error in their product information posted online.

What is the advantage of dry Cala-fin over liquid Cala-fin?

Dry Cala-fin is intended for the aquarist who wishes to rehydrate foods, using a preferred method, or perhaps a preferred food soak, like Amino-Glow. Liquid Cala-fin contains both whole and processed copepods in a range of particle sizes, supplied in a ready-to-use, convenient liquid form that needs no refrigeration.

Why are there no specific feeding levels for coral and reef foods?

With hundreds of species of invertebrates and fishes available in the reef aquarium trade, literally millions of combinations are possible for a single reef tank. This is part of the fun and attraction of the aquarium hobby: your tank can be a unique expression of your enjoyment of the reef organisms you maintain. With so many different possibilities, so many different feeding strategies, and so many different sizes and types of organisms, feeding recommendations made “in the dark” are merely a guess. We recommend what we believe to be a reasonable starting point, based on our experience and testing in real-life aquariums. Nevertheless, it is important to observe carefully the response of the organisms in your tank, to determine the appropriate feeding strategy that will keep them healthy and thriving.

I was told Spirulina is not beneficial to marine species. How does it compare nutritionally to DT’s?

Spirulina is a highly nutritious and digestible algae that is added to many marine fish diets as well as human food supplements.

There is no published nutritional information for DT’s product that we were able to locate online. Here is the nutritional profile for AquaLife Phyto-Fin:

Nutrient mg
Total Protein 1725.00
Tryptophan 27.86
Threonine 138.09
Isoleucine 135.47
Leucine 234.42
Lysine 09.72
Methionine 58.87
Cystine 31.68
Phenylalanine 134.10
Tyrosine 112.92
Valine 166.15
Arginine 187.62
Histidine 52.34
Alanine 218.23
Aspartic Acid 267.39
Glutamic Acid 369.00
Glycine 151.77
Proline 121/05
Serine 132.35
Hydroxyproline 0
Vitamin C 9.54
Vitamin E 0.22
Thiamine 0.07
Riboflavin 0.20
Niacin 1.13
Pantothenic Acid 1.14
Choline 1.98
Why do I need zoo- and phytoplankton for my tank?

Assuming you have multiple types of reef organisms, they will need a variety of foods. Soft corals, for example, tend to require phytoplankton, whereas LPS corals are capable of consuming larger,zooplankton prey. If you have a specialized aquarium devoted to one group of organisms, you may want to consider a diet designed for their specific needs. This can be accomplished with our Reef Café system, for example.

What are the advantages of Amino Glo over other amino products?

Amino-Glo is formulated only from purified L-amino acids known to be absorbed preferentially by corals, based on scientific research. It also contains micronutrients in a form available to both invertebrates and beneficial bacteria. These micronutrients promote healthy growth, while helping to eliminate nitrate and phosphate.

If I feed Amino Glo, zoo- and phytoplankton, are there any scientifically proven nutrients my corals aren’t getting?

The state of research on coral nutrition is such that this question is impossible to answer. Notnearly all coral species available to aquarium hobbyists have been evaluated in terms of their nutritional requirements. While we can deduce probable nutritional needs based on the available research, this is an area of developing science. Because of the wide range of species, combinations of species in individual situation, and a host of other factors, the best approach is to provide a wide variety of whole foods and nutrients, allowing organisms to harvest them at a rate optimal for each organism. This is exactly what we have tried to do with our reef care product line.

What are the advantages to Reef Cafe?
  • Customizable formula, purchase only the type of food your aquarium needs
  • Easy-dispensing, mess-free container
  • Needs no refrigeration
  • Refillable, reduces packaging waste, and increases value to the consumer
I thought corals only require light. Why do I need to feed them?

Corals are able to survive in the nutrient-poor waters around reefs precisely because their symbiotic algae can carry out photosynthesis while the sun shines. However, the majority of corals also consume planktonic food, often opening their tentacles only after dark to take advantage of diurnal plankton “swarms.” Depending upon the type of coral, different sizes and types of planktonic organisms are consumed. Corals also can absorb certain nutrient molecules directly from the water, despite the extremely low concentrations of these nutrients that are normally present.

Many products claim to have trace elements, but you don’t. Why?

Often these claims are based upon levels of impurities naturally present in the base chemicals used to formulate supplement products. Our products are similar in this regard, as no chemical product is 100% pure. Given that there is little evidence to support the use of trace element additions to reef aquariums,we see no reason to make such claims on our packaging.

Is there any proof that Vitamin C is good for my corals and inverts? Does it benefit my fish?

Vitamin C may be important to the health of a wide variety of animals, and for a number of reasons. The aquarium literature contains numerous reports of good results after dosing aquariums with Vitamin C, but not enough information is available on variables such as water chemistry, types of organisms, etc., to draw any conclusion from this anecdotal data.

However, research reported in 2011 demonstrated that pH balanced vitamin C at 1 mg/L improved regeneration rates in coral fragments, enhanced calcification, and mitigated zooxanthellae loss from heat- stressed corals. The mechanisms of these effects were not determined.

It has long been recognized that vitamin C deficiency may play a role in fish health. That vitamin C is an essential nutrient for both freshwater and marine fish has been well-documented.

What is the source of Vitamin C in the ocean? How do organisms get it “naturally?”

Phytoplankton contain varying amounts of vitamin C, and constitute the primary source. Various organisms obtain vitamin C either by consuming phytoplankton directly or by consuming other animals that have, in turn, obtained dietary vitamin C.Vitamin C is rapidly degraded at the pH of seawater and it is unlikely that it is absorbed in native form directly from the water by any organism.

Do I need to turn off my skimmer when feeding your products?

Our products should have little to no effect on protein skimming, and it is not necessary to turn off your skimmer while feeding.

Do your products cause algae problems? What do I do if I have algae problems?

No product is a direct cause of algae problems. Algae most often appear when an excessive amount of phosphate builds up in the aquarium water. This is almost always due to improper maintenance, the use of municipal tap water with high levels of phosphate, or another cause unrelated to the specific foods or other products being used. Most manufacturers formulate aquarium products to contain no phosphate, however all foods do contain phosphate. It is thus impossible to exclude all phosphate from an aquarium that receives food. However, proper maintenance and the use of products that stimulation the bacteriological assimilation of phosphate can keep the aquarium mostly algae-free.

If your aquarium develops an algae problem, don’t waste time letting it get worse. Take a water sample in a clean container (such as an unused plastic zipper bag) to your dealer for a phosphate test. Depending upon the outcome of the test, your dealer can advise you as to the proper steps to take. You may need to use a phosphate removing material initially if phosphate levels are especially elevated. An enormous amount of information has been published, both in print and online, regarding the control and elimination of algae in the reef aquarium. Different strategies are appropriate in different situations, and your dealer is in the best position to evaluate your situation and offer advice.

Where can I get AquaLife products?

AquaLife products are available from our nationwide network of dealers, or directly from:

AqualLifeRX
(865) 588-0108
sales@aqualifesupport.com