A Refugium without substrate.

Getting to the Bottom of Refugium Substrates

These days, it seems as though a pretty solid majority of reef aquarium systems include a refugium. The growing popularity of refugia has been more a glorious resurgence than a successively rising trend. Indeed, they were quite commonly used in the hobby in the early 1990s. Unlike the refugia we’ve been seeing today, however, the …

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Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle

We are finally starting to see a surge of interest in the nitrogen cycle &  the “aquarium microbiome.” That is a very, very good thing, not just because understanding the microbial workings of our captive ecosystems is critical to our success as aquarists, but also because we remain woefully uninformed about (even unaware of) the …

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The Whole Package: Integrating AlgaeBarn’s Kits & Combos

AlgaeBarn is hardly the only aquarium hobby-centered business to produce phytoplankton and macroalgae. But we like to think that we’re pretty darn good at it–if not the best! Consider our highly-acclaimed premium live phyto blend OceanMagik in various kits or our standard-setting CleanMacro series. If it needs to be stated, algae is kind of the …

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Keeping Zoanthids

Reef aquaria wouldn’t be reef aquaria without corals–plain and simple. But those extra little goodies (sea anemones, corallimorpharians, etc.) undoubtedly make reefkeeping a lot more interesting. This could certainly be said of the zoantharia. Indeed, as novel color morphs of popular species continue to be imported, aquacultured and distributed within the trade, zoanthids are increasingly …

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Keeping Mushroom Anemones

No one starts a saltwater aquarium because they hate challenges. Indeed, it is the difficulty (or at least perceived difficulty) of maintaining these systems that is so alluring to many first-time marine aquarists. That being said, it’s always good to take the stroll towards full-blown reefkeeping in baby steps. Veteran hobbyists have seen it so …

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hair algae can be real trouble for marine aquariums.

How to Control Hair Algae

Hair Algae Happens Algae Happens. Even the types that we don’t want in our aquaria–and actively try to eradicate (like hair algae)–can gain a pretty good foothold from time to time. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen… After all, every “bad” algae species occurs naturally in the wild and serves some important …

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Red Macroalgae for the Moderately Illuminated Refugium

While there are many species of green, brown and red macroalgae (i.e. multicellular algae) in nature, it is the greens and reds that are most commonly used in planted refugia. Each species is attractive for its own unique set of positive characteristics. Still, one could draw generalizations about each of these latter two big groups: …

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Ocean Rock is often Coral Skeletons

How to Fully Condition Your Dry Reef Rock

We’re all subject to impatience. Particularly when we’re anticipating a highly gratifying event, such as adding the first round of corals to a newly set up reef aquarium. Thankfully, using dry rock, it only takes a few extra days to help ensure a clean and pest-free system from the start. There’s even an added bonus: …

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Keeping the Striped Blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes)

There are a lot of blennioid fishes–something to the tune of like 900 species in 151 genera. Lots and lots of these are available for–and indeed quite appropriate for–the home aquarium. In general, blennies are hardy in captivity. They are small and so can live happily in smaller tanks. They are reef-safe and peaceful (though …

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Pod vs Sock: Do Mechanical Filters Kill Copepods?

Considering that aquarium keeping is a mere nerdy pastime, it can be surprising that there are so many contentious issues amongst hobbyists. One such big “controversy” centers around the impact of mechanical filtration (especially filter socks) on zooplankton (especially copepods). Naturally, as one of the world’s largest commercial producers of copepods, we have a couple …

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The Scribbled Angelfish

The Scribbled Angelfish: King of the FOWLR Tank

In many respects, the previous generation of marine aquarists got a raw deal; they caught just a teasing glimpse of what a reef tank could be–having access to a few hardy (generally soft and LPS) coral species–while not yet having access to the knowledge and advanced equipment we take for granted today. True, it was …

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A Beautiful Maxima Clam

3 Tips for Keeping Maxima Clams

For a couple of decades now, tridacnid or “giant” clams (genera Tridacna and Hippopus) have been regarded as the cherries on top of any well-constructed and well-maintained reef aquarium. Though there have been a couple of newcomers along the way, most members of the relatively small family Tridacnidae have been available in the trade all …

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Marinepure Ceramic Biomedia

Using MarinePure in the Aquarium, Sump and Refugium

Managing dissolved nutrients–especially ammonia, nitrite and nitrate–is among the major tasks of reef aquarium husbandry. Accomplishing this can be easy or difficult, cheap or expensive, depending upon how you go about it. And there are lots of ways an aquarist can go about this job. This ranges from operating planted refugia to performing massive regular …

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Coralline Algae Encrusted Rcok

What are Coralline Algae?

There are all sorts of bad algae–hair, slime, turf–and they are widely recognized by aquarists as a manifest sign of poor water quality. On the other hand, a healthy growth of calcareous algae is regarded as desirable. Calcareous forms are slow-growing yet they compete for space with (and thereby suppress) all the ugly bad forms. …

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Don't Let your Tank Turn into this!

4 Pitfalls for the Beginning Reef Aquarist (And Some Experienced Ones, Too)

If you’re reading this, you probably love marinelife. And if you don’t already have an aquarium (or two), you’re itching to fix that problem soon. We get your enthusiasm. Like any hobby, aquarium keeping is a highly enjoyable pastime. But it’s not all fun and games. Successfully maintaining an aquarium, especially a reef tank, requires …

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Limpets are incredible aquarium cleaners

Eliminating Algae with Siphonaria Limpets

In case you haven’t noticed, marine aquarium hobbyists have really upped their standards lately with respect to algal fouling. These much cleaner, healthier, natural-looking tanks surely are the fruit of numerous advancements in water filtration/treatment techniques. But we’ve slipped a few other cards under our sleeves, too; we’ve added an important new component to the …

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Daphnia are incredible little freshwater critters!

Daphnia as a Live Marine Aquarium Food

Daphnia sp., widely known as water fleas, are hardly new to the aquarium scene. Freshwater aquarists (and perhaps quite a few saltwater aquarists too) have scooped them from ponds, ditches, etc. to use as aquarium feed for at least a century. Some particularly assiduous hobbyists have even found success culturing these tiny crustaceans for long …

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