Category Archives: Ocean

Aquarium downsizing an automation

NewAquariumStand900I started this aquarium downsizing and automation project a couple months ago, and it’s going to take at least another four to five months to complete–maybe longer. Even if all the equipment is ready, there’s no hurrying the life behind the glass–you never want to rush the beginning of a new habitat.  You have to let it come to life first, let it settle down, find its balance–and that can take anywhere from a couple months to a year. This may actually be the most difficult part of this hobby–the waiting, the patience required to just let things calm down on their own. You provide the stability, the nutrients for coral growth and the spread of that beautiful red and purple coralline algae (Lithothamnion sp. and the like).  But you can’t rush the process and be successful. You can buy all the frags you want, but it’s going to be hell without a mature system.

Okay, back to what I’m working on: You might laugh at the idea of downsizing a 30g/113l tank, which is on the small side in this hobby. (I consider it a “Nano reef” aquarium, as would many of my fellow aquarists). I have had 40, 60, 160, 200 gallon reef systems in the past, but for the foreseeable future I’m going to stick to a nano-sized system, anywhere from 12 – 18 gallons of total water volume, and I’m starting with the foundation, building out a better, higher-tech moveable base for the aquarium, lighting, dosing system, electronics (battery backup), and the automation infrastructure (timers, temperature control, pH, ORP, monitoring). I have all of this running smoothly right now on the 30g, and transitioning it at some point will be a fairly big task.  But back to basics: this weekend I have completed most of what I wanted for the base, the tank stand, with the lighting structure. (I run four Kessil LEDs, an A160EW Tuna Blue (all-day blue, color: 20,000K), A160WE Tuna Sun (Daylight, color: 9,000k), A150W Tuna Blue (Mid-day intensity, color: 15,000K), and an H150 Red (2 hours per day at dusk and dawn, wavelength: 620 – 710nm). I know, a lot for light for a smallish aquarium, but they’re not all on at the same time, and they’re on for varying lengths of time.

Concept art for Salvage Issue2

I have been painting panels for the next issue of Salvage (Issue #2), and I am leaning toward a more painterly style, no hard lines, no pencils visible. Issue #1 on Comixology: https://www.comixology.com/Salvage-1/digital-comic/175314 –Based on the book Salvage (Masque Books, 2013) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ED0081O

http://SaltwaterWitch.com

Salvage_ChrisHoward_13_DISP

Around the Gulf of Mexico

I finally got around to putting together some interesting industrial shots I took around the Gulf of Mexico–mostly shipping and oil industry stuff.
AroundTheGulf_20015_01

AroundTheGulf_20015_02

AroundTheGulf_20015_03

AroundTheGulf_20015_04

Category: Ocean, photo, ships

cover260-TearApartWorlds-ChrisHoward
Want to read a story about oceans, colonizing other worlds, friendship, and how time and memory are part of the fabric of the universe? Oh, good. Here’s my short story “Tear Apart Worlds”, first published in Pen-Ultimate: A Speculative Fiction Anthology, Edited by LJ Cohen  and Talib S. Hussain.

Tear Apart Worlds – PDF
http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com/files/TearApartWorlds-ChrisHoward.pdf
Tear Apart Worlds – EPUB
http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com/files/TearApartWorlds_ChrisHoward_oI9UtLHTXv.epub
Tear Apart Worlds – MOBI
http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com/files/TearApartWorlds_ChrisHoward_oI9UtLHTXv_amazon.mobi

.

Live rock from Tampa Bay Aquaculture

ChrisHowardReefTankI want to show off some beautiful aquacultured (not taken from natural reef formations) live rock I purchased from Tampa Bay Aquaculture. They picked out the perfect pieces for my tank, and sent them via Southwest Airlines cargo to Manchester–air cargo is the only way to go when you’re getting live rock. It’s in the warm Gulf waters one moment (on the farm so to speak) and several hours later it’s in your home. Live = fresh = intact bacteriological system. Take a look at the pics–five days after placing the rock in my tank. This rock came with some nice tube coral colonies (Cladocora arbuscula), several different kinds of Ascidean sp. (Sea squirts), and various other clusters of mollusks, sponge, coralline algae.

I’ve had a nanoreef tank going for a while–let’s just say a minimalist setup (after being away from the hobby for a decade). Over the last several months I’ve been building out a nice compact (12g total water volume) system for my home office (where I write) and my son’s work space–with everything I want in a reef tank–nice lighting, not too big, self-contained, battery backup for all pumps, skimmer, reactor. It will be a mixed tank–aquacultured coral species from both the Caribbean and Pacific, refugium for macro-algae, sea-plants, and a couple groves of mangrove trees.

Except for live sand for the bed, some coralline algae rubble, and six Mangrove trees, everything you see behind the glass came in the big box from Tampa Bay Aquaculture.

I’m loving this new tank, and I haven’t even moved in any of my corals yet!

Reeftank10g-TampaBayAquacultureLiveRock

.

Salvage characters

Here’s some character sketching I did for Salvage, which will be out in July. Top right is the main character.

SalvageCharacterSketches-ChrisHoward2

Category: art, Art Rage, Ocean, Seaborn

Mermaid sketching

More sketching for the current book, Mermaid.  More here: http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com

Mermaid_ChrisHoward

Category: art, mermaid, Ocean, Writing

Listen to the sea…

It has some important things to say.  Painted this tonight, about four and a half hours.  I've had this idea planned out for a while, with sketching and different ways of communicating with the oceans. In one I had her using a long strand of seaweed, but I didn't like the way it was turning out, and went back to my original, listening in a seashell. Click the image for a slightly larger version.

SWitchChapter13IntroChrisHoward

Just a little wavy sketching

I'm goofing with wave patterns. Here are a few:

Waves8b_ChrisHoward

Surf's up!

 

Category: art, Ocean, Poseidon, Sketching