The first time I met Julian Sprung, it was my 22nd birthday and I asked him to sign my copy of ‘Corals: A Quick Reference Guide’. Instead of signing it normally, the godfather of modern reefkeeping took a very long five minutes to draw a doodle of a harlequin filefish blowing out candles on a birthday cake – really Julian?
So for Mr. Sprung’s birthday we have our own version of a filefish doodle in the form of recognizing some of his company’s best aquarium products to date. Two Little Fishies has been in business well over 20 years, I’m sure he’ll correct me later, and it all started with a video cassette.
Since then Two Little Fishies has released a cornucopia of products, many of which have had the kind of staying power that businesses can only dream of. Rather than try and ‘shatter’ the status quo or dramatically reinvent the wheel, Mr. Sprung’s approach to reef keeping and the products that make it more fun and successful has been very measured, pragmatic, and downright effective.
So in celebration of Julian Sprung’s 53rd birthday, we’d like to highlight five stand out products that many of you know, many of us love, and which we still rely on to make our reefing experience that much more enjoyable on a regular basis.
AcroPower – If you know anything about my reefing style, it’s that I am hooked on AcroPower like an addict is to crack. This nutrient free coral steroid is not just for Acropora, but in fact for all corals, and especially stony corals. I find this specific amino acid supplement to be so effective at boosting coral growth, it is the only non-mineral additive that I consider dosing automatically.
AccuraSea 1 – Julian has been in the reefing scene pretty much since it began, and you can imagine how many opportunities he’s had over the years to endorse any particular brand of salt. However, Mr. Sprung never sold out and instead secretly plotted the creation of his own salt mix, and created a completely integrated operation to make it himself. This is definitely the hardest way to go about making your own salt but if you know something about stratification and why you should use up each bag of AccuraSea 1, you’ll understand why this formulation is the ‘official’ salt of the Reef Builders Studio.
Revive – As a pioneer in the reef aquarium world, Julian was perhaps one of the first aquarists to conceive of a coral dip to cleanse and disinfect corals from pests, parasites and undesirables. Before Revive came along, I and all the reefer I know used a simple dilute solution of Lugol’s iodine to perk up corals, but Revive really changed the way we dip our corals.
Reborn – The weathered coral branches that make up Reborn is both our favorite calcium reactor media, and our favorite rubble substrate. Unlike crushed coral or mined stuff, the coral bones of Reborn don’t compact yet still have a combination of porosity, density and shape for water to flow around it so it can dissolve efficiently in a reactor, or be a productive live substrate in tanks where great water movement is prioritized over having a ‘pretty sand bed’.
VeggieMag – We would guesstimate that at least 90% of you reading this either have a TLF VeggieMag in your tank right now, or have used one at some point in your reefing career. The combination of a basic clip with a pair of magnets has made target feeding our herbivorous fish so much easier and there has to be tens of thousands of surgeonfish who are fatter (and still alive) because of this very practical aquarium accessory.
These five products are just a handful of important contributions that Mr. Sprung has made to the reefing world already. These items exemplify that you don’t have to create something ‘sensational’ or earth-shattering to have a profound impact on the success of reef aquarium keepers. If you haven’t tried any of these be sure and look out for them on your next visit to the LFS and we look forward to many more years of inventions and creations from Julian MF Sprung.