Corals in a Box of Water: Creating a Natural Reef Tank

We’ve come a long, long way in advancing natural marine aquarium keeping. Those of us who started out in the 80’s with barren “aquascapes” dead coral skeletons and crushed coral bottoms might look back with amazement at how so much has changed so fast. Just recall how many developments have taken place over the last …

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Reef Now: Financing Your New CADE Aquarium System

No one said that reef aquarium keeping is a cheap addiction (hey, at least it’s a healthy one!). The hobby is rife with stories of reefkeepers playing shell games to keep their spouses unaware of their aquarium expenditures… of reefkeepers eating raman so their fish can eat fresh seafood… of reefkeepers taking up a second …

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Copepods under high magnification

Gutloading Live Microcrustaceans

In the sense that very, very few animals specialize to eat only one thing, all animals are omnivores, and prefer live foods. For example, when herbivores graze on turf algae, they’re not just eating algae but rather the entire “epilithic algal matrix” which includes those bacteria, protists, etc. that live on the algae. Similarly, in …

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iodate atomic weight

Dosing Iodine in the Reef Aquarium

Reef aquarium hobbyists already have enough on their plates trying to keep levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium levels up while keeping levels of nutrients like nitrate and phosphate down. That, and obsessing over all those other parameters… And now, all the sudden, everyone is saying we should be “chasing numbers” for iodine …

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A Closer Look at Carotenoid Pigments

Meeting the dietary requirements of a reef aquarium–a delicate microcosm filled with diverse organisms with varied nutritional needs–can be a daunting task. One might find it hard enough just to provide the right balance of those basic components: Carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. But then there are all those other things to concern yourself with, such …

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Aquariums like this are very tuned for Coral Growth

Correcting Nutrient Instability

Oh, the paradox of algae. They have ruined many tanks–even caused some frustrated aquarists to leave the hobby forever. Yet, our tanks (especially reef tanks) cannot thrive without them–think zooxanthellae. Getting that perfect balance of nutrients, principally nitrate and phosphate, can be exceedingly difficult to ever attain, much less maintain. Part of this challenge lies …

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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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No, not this kind of cryptic zone!

Cryptic Zones in the Refugium

What are Cryptic Zones, Anyway? The planted refugium and its associated cryptic zones have gained a lot of traction among reef aquarists in recent years. This has largely been the result of a growing awareness of the need to control excess dissolved nutrients (e.g. nitrate and phosphate). As hobbyists experiment with specifics like macroalgae species …

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The machinations of Microbes

Comparing the Metabolic Modes of Aquarium Organisms

Few, if any, of us get “into” aquarium keeping to become marine ecologists, or become experts in metabolic processes. But it does happen, albeit over some time. We buy our first fish tank with the sole intention of keeping colorful animals–simple as that. We do soon learn, however, that an aquarium system is really a …

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A Closer Look at Coral Tissue Necrosis

Whether you are a dedicated, full-time coral farmer or a moderately invested hobbyist, reef aquarium keeping is risky business. This is due partly because of the inherent delicateness of corals in general, but also because coraliculture is still a relatively young (sometimes downright experimental) undertaking. Coral disease–and disease control–remains as one of the most poorly …

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Warning - Marine Aquarium Quarantine Area

Why You Need a Quarantine Tank

Most of us invest a lot into our aquarium systems. Some of us invest a whole lot. The best means of protecting your growing livestock collection (i.e. investment) is a rigorously maintained and monitored system of quarantine. But we all already know that, right? A quarantine (QT) tank is that one thing we should have. …

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Enhancing Coral Nutrition with Purple Non-Sulfur Bacteria

Most people who are familiar with corals–whether admiring them in the wild or displaying them in a glass box–understand quite well that they are incredibly complex animals. This certainly is so with the zooxanthellate corals. Virtually all corals (zooxanthellate corals included) are predators of plankton and other tiny organisms. But the zooxanthellate types undoubtedly are …

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Be Prepared for a power outage if you have a maarine aquarium!

Power Outage Preparedness

Some aspects of this hobby are often overlooked until problems actually arise. Marine aquariums require a lot of time and dedication, so it is easy to understand how small things may be missed. But, sometimes small things can snowball into a disaster. If the aquarist had been prepared sooner and had the proper equipment on …

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Culturing Vital Bacteria for Marine Aquariums

Purple Non-Sulfur Bacteria and Natural Aquarium Filtration

Bacteria are, to say the least, ubiquitous. They are in our guts. They are in just about every breath of air we take. They most certainly should (at least some types) be in our aquarium filtration systems. Yet, many aquarists remain a wee bit oblivious to the critical roles that bacteria and archaea play in …

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Advanced lab equipment for testing trace elements

Advanced Testing and Trace Elements

Starting out in the aquarium hobby, most people simply buy test strips (which I do not recommend whatsoever) or “master” liquid test kits. While these liquid tritration tests are pretty accurate, it can be extremely difficult to decipher color charts and differentiate between ever so slightly differing shades of yellow, green, and red. This leads …

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A beautiful filefish in the wild.

The Anti-Aiptasia Trifecta: Decimating Glass Anemones with Peppermint Shrimp, Molly Millers and Aiptasia-Eating Filefish

A lot of us are pretty careful to avoid introducing pests like aiptasia when building and adding to a reef aquarium or refugium. This effort indeed pays off tremendously in the long run. As in so many cases, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Still, the occasional unwelcome critter will slip …

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Tig Pods: A Food for Many

The reef aquarium hobby continues to reach new heights. This is most evident by the extraordinarily beautiful systems we see on display in public places, in images on social media, in advertisements, and even in some homes. These advancements have come about not only through improved technologies and supplements, but also through a better understanding …

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At the Top of the Bottom: Harpacticoid Copepods and Aquarium Substrates

There are quite a few options out there for marine aquarium substrate. From rubble to mud, aquarists have tried all of them. Many have even experimented with bare bottoms. It seems that the benefits of each substrate type comes with an equivalent number of disadvantages. For example, coarse types like crushed coral gravel resist being …

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