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Welcome to Bayou Reefkeeping!

We are a Louisiana based reef club dedicated to the marine and reef hobbyist in the Gulf Coast region and surrounding areas. Like you, we are a group of hobbyists that share in your enthusiasm and desire to learn how to better care for our tank inhabitants. Bayou Reefkeeping is open to anyone interested in learning more about the hobby, whether you are a novice or expert in reefkeeping. It is your questions, advice, and participation that help define Bayou Reefkeeping and build an informational community. All we ask is that members actively participate in discussions, respect one another, and have fun!


August 24th Frag Swap Meet at Aqua Hut!

22 Jul 2014

Posted by TheGrimmReefer in News and Announcements

:dreads: :dreads: Get Ready for the August Frag Swap! :dreads: :dreads:




John and Bryan, of Aqua Hut Aquariums, have graciously offered to host our August Frag Swap event and will be having a livestock sale. There will be food and drinks, music, frags, and fun!

We have all sorts of fun things planned for this event, including a great raffle (with items to be listed soon), fragging demonstrations, and more!

We hope to see you all there!


When: August 24, 2014


Where: Aqua Hut Aquariums

17424 Airline Hwy

Prairieville, LA 70769


Time: 2pm - 6pm!



Be on the lookout for the list of items that will be raffled off at the event. You will not want to miss this one!


This is indeed a frag swap! Frag swapping/trading/selling WILL BE permitted at the event, we will have an ice chest with water to float bags while the event takes place.
*hobbyists bags brought into the store will be marked with a colored rubber band, to distinguish from Aqua Hut purchases*



These are just a few of the items secured for the raffle, you are not going to want to miss this event! 




Saltcritters.com - $25 gift certificate!






Crabby Ron's -(2) $20 gift certificates!






Coral Fever Frag Pack!!

An amazing zoa pack for all you polyp lovers!







Air Water & Ice - RO/DI Unit Filter replacement pack!







Acrylic Frag Tray Donated by Melev's Reef!






(4) Passes to The Audubon Aquarium, Zoo, or Insectarium!






393 views · 24 replies ( Last reply by TheGrimmReefer )


Aquarium Photography Guide

22 Jul 2014

Posted by Lalani in Photography

Aquarium Photography Guide

  Keeping a healthy aquarium can be both a challenge and a pleasure and most who do so enjoy showing it to others. But sharing your tank with other enthusiasts provides another problem altogether. Photographing an aquarium can be difficult because of the varying degrees of lighting, movement, and distortions. However, with practice most aquarium keepers can achieve those clear and accurate photos to share with others. Hopefully this guide will help most of you with improving the quality of your photos! The tips here will be mainly directed towards DSLR and advanced P&S users, but much of the information can be applied to basic P&S and camera phones.
  Choice of equipment can play a part in the quality of the photos taken, but most types of cameras now are capable of taking more than adequate aquarium photos. While a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera allows for interchangeable lenses, many of the Advanced P&S cameras also allow for manual controls of exposure and even focusing, despite having a built-in lens. Much of the information here can be applied to these cameras just the same. I won’t go into detail regarding basic P&S cameras or camera phones, because I don’t have much experience with them, but I welcome and encourage anyone to post their tips for using them!
The Basics
  Several modes are available on DSLR and Advanced P&S cameras and I’ll give a quick description of the main ones you’ll want to use. 
  P: Program Auto mode. This mode is very similar to full auto mode but you can set options like the ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation (these options are also available in the next modes). 
  Tv: Shutter Priority mode. This mode allows you to set the desired shutter speed and the camera will calculate the aperture for you. 
  Av: Aperture Priority Mode. Similarly, this mode lets you set the aperture and the camera calculates the shutter speed automatically. 
  M: Manual mode. Just as it sounds, this mode allows for full control over both shutter speed and aperture.


  Aperture is a very important element to consider when photographing an aquarium, or anything for that matter. It goes hand-in-hand with Depth of Field (DOF). The pictures below demonstrate the differences between 3 different f-stops, from left to right they are f2.8, f11, and f32. 

lalani2p8_zps7b8c6f15.jpg lalani11_zpsd5c7aa9d.jpg lalani32_zpsfd9cec09.jpg

1/90s f/2.8 ISO 400          1/6s f/11 ISO 400          1.5s f/32 ISO 400

  F-stops are the values of aperture. The smaller the f-stop number is (ex: f2.8 ): the larger the aperture of the lens diaphragm and the more light it lets through to the sensor.. This in turn gives you faster shutter speeds BUT shallower DOF, which is the distance in the frame in which things are in focus. The larger a f-stop number is (ex: f32): the smaller the aperture and less light gets through giving you slower shutter speeds but you gain a broader depth of field. 
  Shutter Speed, in digital photography, simply means the speed of which the digital sensor is exposed to light. This speed varies upon the subject as you will need a faster speed to catch those quick fish and a slower speed if you wish to obtain very clean macro shots with a smaller aperture.
  White Balance is something that most aquarium keepers will understand well because it is the color temperature of the photo. Each type of lighting has a different color temp to it and the camera’s auto-white balance can sometimes have trouble balancing it, making the photo more or less blue than reality. By adjusting this setting manually, you can ensure the photo looks true-to-life, or you can correct the color in post processing.
  ISO is the value for the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. A lower ISO (ISO 100) is not very sensitive to light and therefore yields slower shutter speeds or smaller f-stops, but it also produces much less noise (grain). Higher ISOs (ISO 3200 or 6400) make the sensor more sensitive, allowing for faster speeds, but increase noise in the image.
  Learning how to compose an image is much like learning to scape a tank, it takes time and practice. When photographing something that contains symmetry, placing it directly in the middle of the frame works just fine, but most photos benefit from having the subject placed slightly off-center and towards one of the corners.. this is called the golden rule of photography or the rule of thirds.


1/125s f/2.8 ISO 400

-Before you do anything, read your camera manual! This is a treasure trove of information and usually explains in depth how to use/set the options that have been mentioned. 
-It is important to clean the glass earlier so that the muck has time to settle! 
-Turning off all pumps and powerheads to reduce movement can help with clarity, especially with macros. 
-Remember to keep the lens of the camera straight on with the glass of the tank. Shooting through the glass at an angle greatly distorts the image. 
-Use the highest image quality setting your camera allows for so you have room to crop if need be. 
-I discourage the use of a flash, on-camera or external, because it can leave a flat yellow cast to the images. However, you can correct for the yellow in post processing or use a blue gel on the flash while shooting.
  One of the most important shots a tank keeper wants to capture is the Full Tank Shot to show the tank in its entirety. A wide-angle lens like the 10-20mm is great in that it is able to capture the depth of the tank quite easily, but most people own lenses in the 28mm-200mm range and they work perfectly well. Remember to turn off all external lights to avoid reflections on the glass!
  A good method of taking a FTS is to set the ISO to about 400 (unless your camera has a lot of noise, go with a lower ISO) and set the mode to P. Snap a shot. It will probably be bright and overexposed so you can use the Exposure Compensation (refer to manual) to stop the exposure down towards the negative end. This will tell the camera to underexpose a bit and you should get a more accurate exposure.
  Another method, and one I use, is to once again take a test shot in P mode. Playback the image and check to see what shutter speed and aperture it used, then switch over to M mode. Set the shutter speed and aperture to what P mode gave, then either set the shutter speed faster or the f-stop to a larger number. It might take a couple of tries to dial in the correct exposure, but once it is set you can snap off closer shots of the tank without having to make many more changes. (Make sure your ISO remains constant)
  If you feel that using Manual mode is too daunting (which you shouldn’t!) you can try using the Tv mode to set the shutter speed and correct with exposure compensation.


1/125s f/4.0 ISO 400

  While gobies, blennies, and other perching fish are relatively easy to photograph, the more active fish can be a whole other story. It is important to try and focus on the eyes of the fish to create a nice focal point. Manual mode works great in this situation, but Tv mode may actually be easier as the fish moves around the tank into different lighting situations. Set the shutter speed to 1/125sec. or faster in order to avoid motion blurring and increase the ISO if need be. Setting your camera to continuous shooting mode and firing off a volley of shots will increase the chances of getting that right focus point!


1/125s f/2.8 ISO 500

Close-ups and Macros
  Corals and inverts provide many opportunities for close-up and macro photography, and there are a few key things to remember. Aperture is very important in this section. The f-stop will determine how much of the subject will be in focus, so Av mode will be most useful here. For maximum sharpness remember to turn pumps off and use a tripod or other sturdy surface. Also, keep the lens pointed straight at the glass, not at an angle.. distortions are increased with magnification! Manual focusing is usually the most accurate way of ensuring the camera focuses on what you want it to. If you don’t know what aperture you want to use or how they will look, just snap off several shots at different f-stops. Thanks to digital, you can’t take too many pictures! The exposure compensation option can be used to over or under expose if need be. For those who want even more control, switch over to Manual mode, choose the f-stop you want, then adjust the shutter speed accordingly. For those of you with P&S cameras, try switching to the macro mode of your camera, its usually shown as a little flower.


1/200s f/11 ISO 400 using a DIY ringflash

Post Processing
  Now that you have your shots, its time to resize and make any corrections. You can use photo editing software like Photoshop (Gimp is a free one), one that comes with your computer/printer/camera, Picasa, or even the photo hosting sites like photobucket and imageshack to edit your photos.
  Each editing software will have its own processing options, so its really up to the user to learn what is available. With certain programs, RAW files can be corrected for white balance before being converted to JPEG. For the sake of bandwidth, it is always best to resize the picture to under 1000 pixels on the longest side and this can be done with any of the software. While you’re at it, sharpen and increase the contrast if you feel it is needed, then upload to your favorite image hosting site (Flickr, Photobucket, Imagshack, etc.) and post to the forum!
Hopefully this has been helpful and please post your own tips and tricks!

89 views · 12 replies ( Last reply by stoned )


Welcome, Adam (TheGrimmReefer), to BRK staff!

21 Jul 2014

Posted by Lalani in News and Announcements

We are pleased to announce that Adam (TheGrimmReefer) has joined the Bayou Reefkeeping staff!
He has become a very active member, attended many of the recent events, and even makes a yummy pork dish for potlucks. Adam's passion for the hobby is plain to see when you look at his gorgeous reef tank full of thriving SPS colonies and a variety of livestock. He is enthusiastic about all things reefing and is always willing to help. His experience with organizing fun events will undoubtedly spice up future fragswaps!
Welcome, Adam!  :)

Now, if I can just get you to bring your camera to the fragswaps!

248 views · 24 replies ( Last reply by Reef_Tank_Greg )


Coral Farmers Market - Saturday, October 4 in Nola

21 Jul 2014

Posted by Reef_Tank_Greg in News and Announcements

We are proud to inform all of you our area is having a great fall frag swap! Steve Tyree's Coral Farmers Market is doing a new "Pro Tour". The vendors involved select the cities on the tour and one of the cities chosen for 2014 is New Orleans! Everyone made a great impression upon them with Fragniappe!
Bayou Reefkeeping will be participating as the region's primary hobbyist organization with a booth at the CFM along with exclusive rights for conducting a raffle! There will be around fifteen total booths, most of which are coral vendors.
 Bayou Reefkeeping is also happy to be able to offer a great service to the Coral Farmers Market attendees! Make sure you stop by the Bayou Reefkeeping booth to experience the BRK Coral Coat Check Service!

BRK Staff members will be ready with insulated boxes of different sizes, to check and hold your purchases for you, while you are free to roam the event floor. Once you're ready to go, come back by and exchange your ticket for your insulated box of corals, ready to go!

That's not all, more information to come! Stay tuned!

Here are some further details!


Double Tree by Hilton New Orleans Airport
2150 Veterans Memorial Boulevard
Kenner, Louisiana 70062


Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Retail Shop



Hobbyist Organization



Retail Shop



Hobbyist Organization


534 views · 27 replies ( Last reply by halfmoon61 )


Announcing Fragniappe 2015 - Saturday, March 7!

11 Jul 2014

Posted by Reef_Tank_Greg in News and Announcements

Bayou Reefkeeping is thrilled to announce Fragniappe 2015, the Frag Swap with a little something extra! Once again the event will be benefiting a local charity and it will return to the Northshore Harbor Center.






Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015

Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm

Location: NorthShore Harbor Center





Based on vendor surveys, we expect almost all of last year's vendors to return for Fragniappe 2015! We are also expanding the exhibition space to allow for better traffic flow and to allow for around five more vendors.



Further details will be provided in the upcoming months!!!




Save the Date!!!!



As if that's not enough, stay tuned for information on a great Fall Frag Swap involving national vendors coming to New Orleans in early October!

289 views · 16 replies ( Last reply by TheGrimmReefer )


TOTQ 2014 Q1: TheGrimmReefer

23 May 2014

Posted by Lalani in Photography





285 views · 16 replies ( Last reply by TheGrimmReefer )


Guide to Creating an Animated GIF

02 Apr 2014

Posted by Lalani in Photography

Guide to Creating an Animated GIF

  The internet if full of Animated GIFs; from memes to the more artistic “cinemagraphs”, and we all love to view them. What many people don’t know is that they are actually pretty simple to make! They are basically a few frames of a video or, more commonly, several photos placed into a sequence and saved as a .gif file. Over the last few years, many tools have been developed to make animated gif creation easy, such as mobile phone apps, website-based generators, and photo editing programs. We’ll go through the easier options first, then work our way to the more advanced tricks for those who like to have more control.


  Tip: You’ll want to try to keep the phone or camera as still as possible, either by bracing against a wall or chair or by using a tripod (or having really great muscle control!). This will help prevent the image from “waggling” when the loop jumps back to the first image. For those who want to go the advanced route, the waggling can be corrected in post-processing, which we’ll get to later.
   Mobile phone apps
  There are several apps available on both IOS and Android, and thankfully most of them are free. For the most part, they are pretty simple to use! I tested a few of them out and they all required a simple push or hold of the button. Some even allow the addition of filters and effects, which is pretty nifty for general use. 
  Pros: Easy to upload gif to tapatalk, google drive, email with the “Share Gif” option. You can also copy the URL from the app. Great image quality.
  Cons: Only takes a few seconds of video.
  Pros: This one takes photos instead of video, so you can determine how long you want the loop to last. You can also adjust the speed.
  Cons: No way to share other than uploading to social media sites or copying the URL from the app.
  Gif Camera:
  Pros: Give you the ability to trim the gif. Fairly easy to share it.
  Cons: Quality isn’t that great and ads appear at the bottom of the screen.
  Those are just three of the many gif creator apps out there, so find one that works best for you!
  Now for the next sections, you’ll have an easier time if you have a camera and a computer. A regular point and shoot camera will do, no need for a fancy DSLR. You can use a phone as well, and may even be able to create the gifs using the web-based generators directly on your phone’s browser, but I haven’t tried it. Otherwise you’ll need to transfer the pics from your phone to a computer.
   How to take the photos
  You’ll need to take a sequence of photos back-to-back, and this is easiest when you set your camera to continuous shooting mode. knowledge12_1_2_zps7f9dd6b6.jpg What this setting does is allow you to hold down the shutter button and the camera will snap a bunch of photos in rapid succession. Some cameras have a button to access the shooting mode options, but others will have to be found in the menus. Please refer to your camera manual to find out how. You can take the pics in normal shooting mode as well, but continuous shooting yields smoother gifs.
  Make sure your image format is set to JPEG, and not a RAW format, as RAW files are large and greatly reduce the number and speed in which the pics are taken in a burst. Most cameras have a certain number of pics it can take in this way before it starts to slow down (in order to record the files to the memory card). On average, I use between 20 and 25 shots to make my gifs, but more or less can be used. And again, keeping the camera steady is important!
  Once you download the photos to your computer, its time to turn them into an animated gif!

   Website-based generators
  Website-based generators are easy to use and most allow you to adjust the size of the gif, as well as the speed. Keep in mind that these animated gif files will be larger than individual photos, so the size of the image is important to limit. Both of the sites I’ve listed below allow you to adjust the size and I suggest keeping the gif smaller than 600 pixels on the longest side. This can be adjusted easily with the sliders named ‘canvas size’ or ‘width’ or ‘height’.
  For the speed: I’ve found the best results when the time between frames is set around 0.15 seconds (150 milliseconds) but this may differ depending on the subject.
  Pros: Simple and straightforward.
  Cons: File/images sizes are limited. You’ll need to resize the photos before uploading them.
  Pros: Simple as well, and large file/image sizes are accepted and will be resized automatically. You can also use a video to create the animated gif.
  Cons: The gif size is limited to 360 pixels on the longest side, but that’s still a nice size.
  I recently came across this free program called PhotoScape, and was impressed with its simplicity! You can easily make animated gifs with it, as well as resize and edit photos. To create the gifs, download the install file from the link below and install the program. During installation, on the third screen, they’ll ask if you want to install something called “PureLeads”, check off “I do not accept” and finish installing.
  The install file is 20.3mb and can be found here: http://www.filehippo...oad_photoscape/


  Once the program is installed, open it and you will see several options on the home screen. Click on “Animated Gif” either on the wheel or the tab at the top of the screen. Find the photos you want to use via the folders on the left hand side of the screen and drag them into the main window. This should automatically show you the preview of what the gif looks like. If not, press the play button at the top right of the screen.
  Now you can adjust the gif size and speed on the right-hand panel, then save it to your computer (Save button is in the top right corner) and upload it to photobucket to post on the forum. Its that easy!
  I’ll admit I tried making a gif in GIMP and failed. Maybe my brain is too accustomed to Photoshop.. I couldn’t even find the image resize option. I’m sure there are guides you can find via Google, but I’ll move on to Photoshop for now and might revisit GIMP if people request it.
  Photoshop is a pricey little photo editing program, but if you are internet savvy you’ll know there are workarounds for that. It really gives the user a lot of control without being overly complicated. I use this program to make animated gifs mainly because it possesses an “auto-align” function that will align all the photos to be stacked perfectly on top of one another so there is no “waggle”.

*This is what I would consider an advanced technique so you’ll need to be at least a little familiar with the program already and I’ll just list the steps here:
  1.  Open Photoshop.
  2.  File ---> Scripts ---> Load Files into Stack
  3.  Click on Browse and find the folder containing the images.
  4.  Select all the images to be used for one animated gif.
  5.  Check the box “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images”.
  6.  Click Ok. This may take a minute or two, but there is a progress bar.
  7.  Open the Timeline window by clicking on “Window” at the top and selecting “Timeline”. This will pop up at the bottom.
  8.  Click on the menu button on the right end of the timeline box.
  9.  Click “Make Frames from Layers”.
  10. Open the same menu again and click “Reverse Frames”
  11. Click on the first frame, then hold the Shift key and click on the last frame to select them all.
  12. Now, on any one of the frames, click the little downward arrow next to the 0.0 and select a speed or input your own with “Other”.
  13. Preview the animation by clicking the play button under the frames.
  14. Crop the edges with the crop tool.
  15. Resize the image.
  16. File ---> Save for Web
  17. At the top right, choose GIF from the drop down menu and Save...
  And there you should have a super steady animated gif image! Give it a try and post your result!


465 views · 21 replies ( Last reply by Lalani )

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