General Saltwater Aquarium

  1. !!!The Curmudgeon Conundrum read all about it!!!

    I guess it just kind of hit me, I can’t really say exactly when, but my friends - it is true that I have reached a point in my life, be it as a hobbyist or vendor, where in the things I do, and the methods I employ to keep my inhabitants happy and healthy, are often the subject of discussion with friends and customers alike. These very methods are just as often requested by information seeking enthusiasts down to the finest detail, so that they may be imitated or emulated in an effort to...
  2. 2017 The Year Of The Critical Thinking Reef Keeper

    Every year, more and more products enter the reef keeping world, aimed at making aquarists believe that simply by adding the directed dose, they will achieve a measure of success. Some claim to clear up nitrate problems, while others claim to balance water quality and maintain aquatic homeostasis. Each year, my email inbox gets filled with messages from aquarists who feel cheated. They’ve spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on reef keeping products believing each one to be the...
  3. A Discussion of US and European Reefkeeping

    I do not consider reefkeeping to be a competitive activity, but during my recent trips to Europe and then travels around the states the most frequently asked questions I got were “Are the states better than us” or “how far ahead of us are the Europeans”. I would love to be able to say definitively that one group of reefers or country or even continent is ahead of another, but from what I have seen that simply is not the case. I say this for several reasons:
  4. A new generation of aquarists

    It’s these interactions that seemingly fascinate children and also show them the importance of care and consideration, when intermingling with oceanic life. You can’t just grab any reef dweller indiscriminately and even those that can be handled need compassion and restraint. For children, a clump of macro-algae is its own little world, full of unique creatures just waiting to be discovered. I leave some live rock in my sump, so that it can become engulfed in tiny brittle starfish, snails...
  5. Acclimation Made Easy: Aquarium Livestock Acclimation Tips

    Have you ever woke up from your warm, fuzzy blankets only to be frost bit by the cold air outside of your place of slumber? Have you ever taken a hot shower and opened the door to a gust of cold air? Luckily all humans do is complain, shiver, and then slowly get used to the change in temperature. With fish, corals, crabs, octopi, and anything else we normally see in aquariums, we have to be much more careful when adding a new creature to a new environment. Don’t put your animals through the...
  6. Albert J. Thiel - Fundraiser

    As many of you have probably heard, Albert Thiel lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, April 23, 2017. His family needs our help as they have been financially devastated due to his exorbitant medical expenses. Randi Horlick started a gofundme campaign about 4 months ago to help them. Sadly, the campaign has only raised a meager $2855.00 of it's $20,000.00 goal.
  7. Algal Filtration In Reef Aquariums

    With modern reefkeeping, more people are wanting to filter their tanks the same way that all natural reefs (and lakes and rivers) are filtered, which is by using algae. We are going to look at the main types of algal filtration methods you can put on your system: Algae turf scrubbers (ATS) Chaeto reactors (algae reactors) Refugiums (“fuge”) All grow macroalgae, which for our purposes is the same as “macro” or “algae” or “seaweed,” and all can be DIY’d or purchased. We at Santa Monica...
  8. Aquascaping rears its ugly head again...

    So you know, before I became known for being an owner of Unique Corals, I was better known for being an armchair aquascaping critic! I would travel all over the country talking about aquascaping to anyone who would listen: Clubs, events, MACNA, etc. I gave a talk called "Aquascaping for the aesthetically challenged" (hey, that was ME!), about the ins and outs of reef aquarium aquascapong. It proved wildly popular, and was pretty sweet...I spend a lot of time telling people to "tear down the...
  9. Are you Moving???

    Moving your reef aquarium can be a daunting task. Like that meeting or test you have tomorrow that you didn’t prepare for – but you know if you buckle down for the evening and work hard, you’ll be ready to go in the morning. Either that or you'll just call in sick! Well, calling in sick isn’t an option when you have to move and are taking your beloved box of water with you. With some well-thought-out plans and the proper supplies, your fish and corals will make it to their new home with...
  10. Arguing against the arguments against stuff!

    It’s been a lot of fun to mix it up here and chat with some many of you over the past few weeks. It’s been a great exchange of ideas, philosophy, and camaraderie,and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, this lively atmosphere has gotten the old gears spinning, as I contemplate my next step on the planning of my next reef aquarium. And what’s neat is that I think I’m going to incorporate a lot of “old school” thinking with “new school tech”, with more emphasis on diversity than any other reef tank...
  11. BANNED! But Is There Still Hope?

    The collection of ornamental fish in Hawaii: BANNED. The collection and sale of live rock and coral from Fiji: BANNED. The permits for shipping coral, anemones and live rock from Indonesia: HALTED and now going on its second month. Two major bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef leading to an estimated loss of 50% or more of the coral cover during two of the last three years. Needless to say these headlines do not produce a whole lot of optimism about the long-term prospects for the...
  12. Bayer VS The Dreaded Acropora Eating Flatworm

    For those who are unaware, there is an alternative dipping method out there using Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer for Turf and Soil Concentrate. It has been heralded as a more gentle alternative to things like Revive and Coral RX, yet just as effective. I myself have used this in combination with Coral RX at times (not in the same container but one after the other). But to date I have not had any coral come in with AEFW so I have been unable to truly test it myself. There are...
  13. Beginner Coral: Candy Cane (Trumpet)

    Candy cane corals are excellent for beginners! They are relatively fast growers and tend to be forgiving of lackluster water quality. They come in several colors and are easily fragged. Candy canes are mostly inexpensive as well so they are very attractive for new hobbyists since there is very little investment involved in this coral with potentially great rewards.
  14. Beginner Corals - Leathers

    Leathers are one of the best starter corals around. Some of them can grow quickly enough to be considered invasive (the Kenya tree comes to mind here), but most are moderate growers, easily fragged, and won’t break the bank to purchase or care for.
  15. Beginners Guide to Acclimation and Quarantine

    My goal is to provide a simplified guide on how to acclimate and do a basic quarantine of fish. The quarantine method I am recommending is not comprehensive. It is designed for people who may not be willing or able to carry out a more thorough quarantine process. If carried out correctly, this will protect the hobbyists display tank from most common fish parasites.
  16. Berghia Nudibranchs for the Dreaded Aiptasia Anemone

    First off, I don't consider myself an expert reefer. I'm just one person that's been in the hobby for many years and, I'm still learning. I also like to help others to be successful too. So, I want to write this piece to help others dealing with an Aiptasia outbreak to make a decision about using berghia nudibranchs as an option for them.
  17. Black Ops Reef: How2Deal With An Aquarium Power Outage

    You are sitting in your big comfy lazy boy recliner watching “Da Bears” in one eye and your reef in the other. The window begins to shake vigorously as your team is getting creamed like usual, so you assume the booing coming from your surround sound is responsible until a massive bolt of lighting strikes the transformer right outside your window. All of the sudden your house is black, “Da Bears” are off, and you hear a bubbling sound coming from your reef tank followed by loud slurp caused...
  18. Bringing the biodiversity...and the creativity. Game on.

    We’ve talked so much about the “high-biodiversity” approach to reef keeping that I personally find so compelling (and apparently, so do you), that I thought it might be good to take a moment and give some thought to the kinds of habitats we could actually mimic in our approach to trying to replicate them.
  19. Celebrating patience. Elevating the reef hobby.

    It’s kind of funny to me how the same sorts of topics and issues keep popping up in the hobby world. Now two years removed from the business end of the reef world, I can see with a bit more clarity some of the happenings and trends in the hobby. And, talking to aquarists of all types daily, I am seeing what I find s somewhat obvious “cultural issue” we have in the hobby. And I’ll come right out and state my “thesis” here: I think that we- as a hobby, are not doing a good enough job...
  20. Chasing Coral opens eyes, by documenting coral bleaching

    As reef keepers, we know precisely what causes bleaching. Within coral tissue lives photosynthetic zooxanthella algae. To maintain coral health, a delicate balance must be maintained, ensuring the zooxanthella don’t grow too quickly, but that they can always photosynthesize and provide the coral with any additional nutrition.
  21. Child Proofing Your Aquarium

    As aquarists we all take great pride in the tanks that are in our care. Many of us also have small children who share in the enjoyment that a reef tank can bring. The aquarium can have a soothing effect on children and can spark their interest into things that may not be something they would have a chance to interact with where they live. With this in mind there are also some things with the aquarium that can be dangerous to small children like electricity, plumbing and chemicals. Even with...
  22. CYANORRA SUCKER: Getting Rid Of Cyanobacteria Algae

    Cyanobacteria is said to be responsible for the end of Oxygen intolerant life forms on the planet Earth. Before our atmosphere was extremely low on Oxygen. The Bacteria is photosynthetic, which means it turns light into energy, making Oxygen as a biproduct. After the Cyanobacterias first Earthly epidemic the composition of our atmosphere transformed into the Oxygen rich air we know today. Today’s plants are even thought to have evolved from early forms of Cyanobacteria. This photosynthetic...
  23. Cycling an Aquarium

    One of the earliest topics a new aquarium hobbyist needs to learn is how to properly cycle their aquarium. There is a ton of information on this process and many different methods on how to accomplish it. There are many different chemical and biological cycles our tank goes through as it matures but this addresses the one most commonly discussed.
  24. DEATH OF A REEF TANK...

    Sometimes it's really all about the silver linings. I mean, I'm not the worlds most emboldened optimist - trust me, but in the wake of a devastating circumstance, I think if we can find just one flake of positivity, then at least we can't consider it a 100% failure. I have often considered the “first crash” an essential rite of passage in every reefers journey. Whether by malfunction, equipment failure, direct human error, the result of pests, or some other quirk we never discover, this...
  25. Death Tank

    Thinking about buying a complete set up from a hobbyist that's already running? Be prepared beforehand to avoid problems when you get your new-to-you prize home.
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