General Saltwater Aquarium

  1. Water changes, a thing of the past or necessity of the present?

    Turning your aquarium system into a fully automated, self-maintaining machine is beneficial in many ways. It greatly reduces micro-management and intervention on behalf of the aquarist. However, it’s not without cost and concern. It also encourages a “hand’s off” approach to husbandry.
  2. New film to expose aquarium fisheries' dark side

    Snorkel Bob has ridden the anti-aquarium wave for quite some time, blaming the aquarium industry for much of what ails Hawaiian reefs, whether or not the evidence supported those conclusions. He has backed and aided in writing numerous bills to shut-down or severely limit Hawaii’s live fish collection protocol. As of yet, none have been overly successful and many of Witner’s theories have been debunked by marine biologists and researchers. I’m not surprised he’s decided to switch formats and...
  3. When disaster strikes, be ready ...

    I recommend having a back-up power solution that is reliable, maintained and easy to use. For this, I’ve yet to find anything that beats Generac’s generator line and transfer switch. With this system, your generator can be kept outside the house, either covered (Generac makes an exterior generator cover) or housed in a specially built enclosure. With the transfer switch an outlet is installed on the home’s exterior where the generator’s power line can be connected. In the event of a power...
  4. Tank Parameters Of Some Masters

    To this day one of the most frequently asked questions I get, and actually that many “old time hobbyists” get is “How do I get rid of the algae in my tank. My first question then is “what are the parameters of your tank’s water? Invariably the answer is my tank’s parameters are “perfect”. I would love to say that this is not the case, but actually a lot of the time their parameters really are close to “perfect”. So this got me to thinking: “What really are perfect water conditions? And more...
  5. 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.
  6. The intricate process of feeding

    This is a robust feeding regimen in and of itself, but is by no means complete. Feeding in this manner has to be controlled, meaning that one of the main points is to reduce waste. There shouldn’t be that much lying around and certainly not enough to sustain a diverse reef tank full of cleaner organisms. Most of these animals are primarily active at night, feeding on everything from uneaten food to fish waste, on down to biological sludge.
  7. Diving back into the reef

    A "new" reef keeper takes a light-hearted look at the many changes she's noticed since she last kept a reef tank (13 years ago).
  8. The current state of nano-aquaria

    It’s been a number of years since JBJ released the original nano-cube. When first released, many aquarists scoffed at the idea of a small, all-in-one marine aquarium. Yet, the idea surged in popularity and now nearly every major aquarium producer has their own version of JBJ’s original design. Now, they are even marketed and sold to beginners and many aquarists become addicted to the hobby via a 12-gallon box of water.
  9. The Supreme Guide To Setting Up A Saltwater Reef Aquarium

    The marine environment is one of the most complex systems on the planet. The aquarium you are about to set up is only a tiny sliver of the vast ocean, but it is no where near simple. This task is going to take patience, a ton of reading, and a ton of patience...
  10. Following the Masters Part Two

    When I decided to write the first article looking at the tank parameters for people who I consider masters in the hobby I did so thinking that their tanks would be pretty similar and that their success was at least partially due to their following some common recipe. I chose them somewhat randomly with the only criteria being that their tanks were successful and had been so over time, that they were willing to share what they were doing and that I thought most hobbyists would admire their...
  11. 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.
  12. Joe Yaiullo awarded MASNA's Aquarist of the Year 2016

    While Joe is most certainly a celebrity in the world of reef aquaria, he remains humble and approachable, consistently offering advice to fellow hobbyists and sharing his aquatic discoveries with the reefing community.
  13. The Best Test Kit - A Different Philosophy

    So what is the best test kit to check your water parameters? A question often asked and even more often debated. Most have their favorites, are not bashful about sharing, and will argue and stomp their collective keyboards in defense of their choices. The fact is we all have our opinions and reasons for using the test kits we use; and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
  14. Old Tank Syndrome

    Is this a myth? Something we heard about in the deep abbesses of when the hobby started (I think it was on a Tuesday) Is this something we need to worry about. Like we don't have enough to worry about with the heartbreak of psoriasis and wondering if we will be accepted into the "Hair club for men".
  15. 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:
  16. Preparing Frozen Foods for My Fish and Corals

    I have been involved in a few discussions about how much and how to handle feeding frozen food to the tank, and how I prepare my weekly food for feeding. So here I've decided to lay out my process of frozen food preparation (which includes "slacking" for maintaining the food's freshness).
  17. Stability and Consistency of a Reef Tank

    One of the most important things I learned from these individuals is that all of them believe that stability is one of the keys to their success. Most of them not only keep the parameters of their tanks very stable, but they also are not constantly adding or changing the fish and corals in their tanks either. Something I really need to do a better job of doing. While it is clear that some of the parameters of their systems vary markedly from one another, there seems to be little variance in...
  18. 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...
  19. 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.
  20. The Pros and Cons of Aquacultured vs Maricultured vs Wild Coral Colonies

    Visiting MACNA or any of the large frag swaps or shows 10 years ago the vendors present for the most part displayed large wild colonies of coral under metal halide lamps. IN the last five years this has changed dramatically as now almost all of the vendors show frags of corals under blue LEDs. So this begs the question: why have things changed so dramatically in such a relatively short time? Have hobbyists become more conscientious in terms of not wanting to take colonies from the ocean and...
  21. Tips and Tricks (No Secrets)

    One of the most frequently asked questions I get are what are the secrets of the people who are really good at doing this. I would love to tell you that there are a bunch of secrets and I am writing a book that you have to buy to get them, but that is not the case. There really are no secrets nor should there be. When I did the articles on the Master’s tanks I tried to show that there were none, by revealing exactly what they were doing. Despite that I have still been asked about what are...
  22. 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.
  23. 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...
  24. The Past and Future of the Hobby

    At this time of year, we often look back on what has transpired in the past year both good and bad and think about it. For me, it was for the most part a good year in aquarium terms, as I wrote a fair amount, most of my tanks did well and I traveled more than I had in along time and as a result learned a lot and made more friends all over the world. But in thinking about this article I did not want to just write about where things are or were, but also how things may be in the future. In...
  25. 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.
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