Goldline Rabbitfish: Most Underrated Reef Fish Ever?

Oddly, rabbitfishes (Family Siganidae) have never really been hugely popular in the marine aquarium hobby–not with reef aquarists nor with fish enthusiasts. For sure, there has never really been a “holy grail” siganid. This could definitely strike some longtime fishkeepers as downright surprising, as rabbitfish are hardy, reasonably social, active and attractive. For sure, the …

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Using the Aquarium Cycle Kit

One of the more fundamental tasks one must undertake when maintaining a saltwater aquarium is controlling the nitrogenous waste cycle. Most critical is the elimination of ammonia and nitrite, which are both highly toxic and can “crash” a tank in very short time. Fortunately, this job is naturally (and quite effectively) handled by various microbes. …

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Tuxedo Urchins for Hair Algae Control

Hair algae is not just one of the common forms of nuisance algae, it is also among the most difficult to eradicate. Indeed, despite the numerous options for biological algae control (i.e. herbivores), few “go after” hair algae. Thankfully, the select group of reliable hair algae eaters includes the beautiful and fascinating tuxedo urchins. The …

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Mesozooplankton and Multivorous Food Webs

Mesozooplankton (e.g. copepods) are characterized as planktonic animals in the size range of 0.2-20 mm. They may be divided into distinct functional groups by their feeding strategies (grazers, predators or detritivores/suspension feeders). Mesozooplankton are an important food source for reef fish and benthic planktivores (including corals). Research suggests that bacteria and detritus–rather than phytoplankton–are the …

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Keeping the Pinnatus Batfish

The pinnatus, or pinnate, batfish (Platax pinnatus) is instantly recognizable (at least as a juvenile), not just for its attractive appearance but also for its graceful form and movement. The species is coveted for its distinctive coloration as a juvenile; however, it is nevertheless widely avoided due to a couple of decidedly undesirable traits. These …

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Do I Need a Protein Skimmer?

There are a lot of tough calls in reef aquarium keeping. While the focus of attention should be on creating the healthiest and most natural environment possible for your animals, some thought will (understandably) go into the tank budget. For this reason, hobbyists often question whether or not a particular piece of expensive equipment is …

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Feeding Your NPS Aquarium

Photosynthetic corals dominate natural, shallow tropical coral reefs. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they are so prevalent in the reef aquarium hobby. But as some aquarists master the husbandry of more delicate/demanding stony corals types, and successfully keep them for long periods of time, they start to look to other …

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5 Tips for Increasing Aquarium Fish Compatibility

You purchased only the very best aquarium filtration equipment. You tested the water every other day. You feed top-shelf foods. You did everything right… only to experience livestock loss because your fishes have killed each other! Fish compatibility can be pretty frustrating, right? Just understand that this isn’t happening because your fish are “mean.” In …

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There are all kinds of incredible brackish fish!

3 Brackish Fish for the Marine Aquarium

Sandwiched between the freshwater and marine realms, and often capable of venturing into both, brackish water fishes are extraordinarily interesting from both a behavioral and ecological perspective. While a relative few brackish species are available in the aquarium fish trade, even fewer are commonly kept. This may be because relatively few aquarists maintain dedicated brackish …

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Sea Lettuce grows in ribbons

Using Ulva to Remove Excess Nutrients

Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) is an extremely versatile refugium macroalgae. It’s big, verdant fronds can add a little “greenery” to a reefscape. Highly palatable and nutritious, it serves as an excellent live food for larger herbivorous fish and invertebrates. Its broad “leaves” can grow in dense clumps, providing an enormous amount of microhabitat for small, …

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A green spot Mandarin

Quarantining Your Mandarin Fish

If you have even worked at the retail or wholesale end of the aquarium fish industry–even for just a week–you are probably keenly aware of the threats posed by viral, bacterial, and especially parasitic diseases. Between fish collectors, breeders, distributors, stores, etc., your new fish may have crossed paths with hundreds or even thousands of …

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A Look at the CADE Frag Series Tanks

There are more than a few All-In-One aquarium manufacturers out there. Some of them make pretty decent tanks. A much smaller handful of companies make decent large tanks. Of these, none truly measure up to CADE. Particularly when you look closely at their design, the top-quality materials with which they are fabricated and their reasonable …

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Branching Green Star Polyps: Trash or Treasure?

The aquarium hobby in general, and certainly the reef aquarium hobby in particular, has changed a whole lot over the years and decades. As aquarists master the husbandry of new species, some “classic” species might lose their luster. For example, where Xenia was once a beloved coral for its ease of care and pulsing behavior, …

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Building and Maintaining a Peninsula Tank

Unlike other types of animal enclosures (bird cages, rabbit hutches, etc. ), an aquarium is a piece of exhibitry. Often, the keeper will go through a considerable amount of work and expense to build an attractive aquarium system that showcases not just the aquascape but also the cabinetry. In recent days, any home aquarist can …

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The Pavo Damsel: Perfect Nano Tank Fish?

When searching for fishes to stock a nano tank, especially for a beginning aquarist, it is quite reasonable to place an emphasis on two characteristics: A small adult size and a high degree of adaptability to captive conditions. A peaceful disposition is definitely a good trait, too–in any kind of tank, but especially in a …

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Keeping the Purple Tang

Some fish require little introduction. Instantly recognized even by newbie fishkeepers and regarded as a high-value species by aquarists for decades, the purple tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) could easily be designated as an all-time hobby fave. This popularity is largely, though not entirely, due to the rich purple body coloration for which it is so aptly …

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Keeping Toadstool Leather Corals

These days, soft corals don’t get quite the attention they once did. One reason for this simply is the abundance of wildly colorful stony corals that have fairly recently become available. Another reason is the concern that soft corals can release allelopathic substances into the water that may harm other (especially stony) corals. Even so, …

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You can create an intricate aquascape

7 Newbie Aquascaping Mistakes

Undoubtedly, aquascaping is an art form. Designing and building the rock structure in a reef tank can be as satisfying as keeping the reef creatures themselves. But we should always remember that aquascaping entails a whole hell of a lot more than mere “decorating.” The hardscape in a reef tank must be built not just …

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A Look at the Goatfishes

On account of their huge adult sizes, there are a few fish families that should be pretty much restricted to public aquaria (we’ll just kill the goatfish buzz right away). Some of these behemoths (to nearly two feet in length) are in fact better known as game fish. Yup, that would be the goatfish, typically …

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