General Saltwater Aquarium

  1. 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).
  2. Things to consider - Nano Reef Guide

    Some of us reefers have been in this hobby for many years, and some just a few months. No matter what time-frame you have spent reefing at some point a nano-reef could possibly catch your eye, and I'm here to mitigate the intimidation factor that these bite-sized reef's put out, as well as map out a simple stable step-by-step process to maintain a stable marine life environment on a small scale. Nothing here will be high-tech and geared towards beginners but at the same time provide a good...
  3. Tigger-Pods (Tigriopus californicus): addressing the cold water myth

    top frustrations is the myth that Tigriopus californicus are a "cold water species". I hear this from store owners and hobbyists ALL the time. This copepod is eurythermal. For those of you that don’t know the term, it describes an organism able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Tigriopus californicus is both euryhaline and eurythermal, withstanding and remaining active in salinities from 4ppt (Vittor 1971) to 102ppt (Egloff 1967) and temperatures from 4C (39.2F) (Vittor 1971) to over...
  4. The Tidal 55 by Seachem- Review

    Seachem has come out with a new hang on back filter for both fresh and saltwater applications. I spent some time with the Seachem rep who took me on a tour of this filter and pretty much sold me on it. Now that I have one, I want to tell you what my thoughts are on it.
  5. You're Not Powerless: Surviving a Power Interruption

    Power interruptions are a fact of life. While some people may never experience one, most of us will, and it will pay to be prepared. Even if you’re an experienced aquarist with many years of success, my hope is that some of these ideas will be novel and provoke innovative thinking. With preparation in mind, here are some tips that could be useful.
  6. 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...
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Spouse Doesn't Get It?

    Hiding the receipt from your most recent trip to the fish store, getting home early so your spouse doesn’t catch you acclimating something new into the tank. The old stand-by “No honey, that’s always been in the tank” only works a couple times before they catch on.
  10. What to look for when buying fish at your LFS

    Ideally, when you buy a fish you want it to be perfectly healthy, eating right away and have a guarantee that it won’t die right away. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case at most local fish stores. Our policy at the LFS I work at is “no returns, no exceptions” and I find this to be the case at every LFS I have visited. You may find a few exceptions to this rule and if you do covet that LFS and bring them lots of business so they can stay open.
  11. Incrementalism in the Hobby

    There is an old Southern axiom of how to cook a bullfrog. You can’t just pop it into boiling water because as soon as it hits the hot water it will sense that the water is too hot so it will hop out. Instead you put it in cool refreshing water and then gradually increase the heat. By doing it that way before it realizes that the water is getting hot it is too late and it is cooked. As far as I know cooking bullfrogs is not a major aspect of reefkeeping, but that example is a good way of...
  12. ReefStock 2017: Denver Reefing is Going Strong, 10 Years On

    ReefStock is an annual reef conference in Denver, Colorado which is one of the most influential and longest running events of its kind in the world. But reef shows don't have to be huge to be great, and ReefStock is a great example of that. ReefStock, the official Reef Builders event, is coming up on its tenth show in a few weeks, and we hope to see you there.
  13. Yes, Reef Aquariums inspire action.

    Lauren grew up about two hours from where I did, in what is still considered Western Maryland. Both of us lived far from a seashore and made yearly family trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks is a rich seaside community with a diverse abundance of oceanic life. Much of that life is highlighted at the Outer Banks Aquarium in Kill Devil Hills. Lauren was always interested in marine life, from catching crabs on the sand as a little girl, to studying my aquarium when she...
  14. 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...
  15. 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...
  16. 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".
  17. How I Got Started in the Hobby in 1971

    How I Got Started in the Hobby in 1971
  18. 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:
  19. Video: Cooking Live Rock (not curing)

    Cooking live rock (not curing rock) is a process that rejuvenates used live rock safely and inexpensively, although it isn't actually cooked. I'm a huge proponent of using live rock in a reef tank rather than dry rock because of the beneficial biodiversity on and in the rock. If you want to re-use rock from an older system, cooking it will prepare it for the new setup. All you need is saltwater, a pump, and a suitable holding container. You may want to add a protein skimmer and a heater if...
  20. 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!
  21. 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.
  22. To jellyfish or not to jellyfish, that is the question?

    Like any pet, jellyfish keeping is an expense and responsibility. Luckily the jellyfish offered (usually moon jellyfish) with most packages are captive bred and raised, meaning that the jellyfish fad shouldn’t affect wild ecosystems. The package I purchased had adequate filtration, with an area for carbon media, live rock rubble and mechanical filtration floss. A small pump (like what is found on desktop fountains) moved water around the circular tank, creating the gyre current and pushing...
  23. 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...
  24. Do Your Own Thing!

    I've had the pleasure of helping many people grow in this hobby. I typically advocate starting off small & easy, and then work up to something bigger & better as skills get sharpened and finances allow. The way I see it, the smaller tank can always be repurposed into a QT or frag tank down the road. It delights me to see how people get such a kick out of their mushrooms spreading from one rock to another, or watching their pair of juvenile clownfish mature and begin laying eggs. Some even...
  25. 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...
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