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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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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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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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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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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The new Kessil refugium lighting!

Advanced Refugium Lighting

Planted refugia are used to cultivate macroalgae. And that’s about the only thing that has stayed the same over the years. As time goes on and the saltwater aquarium hobby becomes more and more sophisticated, these set-ups are becoming increasingly complicated, specialized, and technologically advanced. They are designated for many different types of uses (nutrient …

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Blue Hypnea: The Next Hot Refugium Macro?

Though it sells out quickly when available, blue hypnea is out there for the grabs. And it’s well worth it for those that cater to its needs! This gorgeous plant can really spice up a refugium; it can also be displayed in the main tank (assuming no large herbivores are present) because it cannot overgrow …

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Upgrading to the ULTIMATE Ecopack

Pods. Phyto. At AlgaeBarn, these are the bread and butter of the reef aquarium diet. And for sure, these two items form the base of most freshwater and marine food chains. Just consider OceanMagik, which is a blend of four distinctly different species of phytoplankton. Or EcoPods, which is a mixed-species (four, to be exact) …

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Do Corals Really Eat Plankton?

It’s hard to say for sure which came first for reef aquarists–the emergence of high-quality coral foods, or the realization that corals actually, really, truly do eat them. Though aquarists are generally a skeptical bunch, the initial apprehension to feeding corals is pretty understandable; in all fairness, many such foods sold in the recent past …

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Natural Water Quality Management for Non-Photosynthetic Reef Aquaria

There was once a time when zooxanthellate corals (especially SPS corals) were considered impossible to keep in captivity. Then advancements in aquarium lighting technology changed all that. It’s hard to imagine that there so recently was a day when marine aquarists abandoned the possibility of ever keeping Acropora–one of the most abundant genera of stony …

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Keeping a Coldwater Marine Aquarium

Marine aquarists have always had access to temperate species. In fact, in the days before improved packaging/shipping procedures allowed for the massive import of tropical species that we enjoy today, most saltwater aquarium livestock originated from temperate waters. Catalina gobies, waratah anemones, garibaldi damsels… At least half of the seahorses… The coolest boxfishes… Anyone who …

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The top of the line CADE 1800 aquarium is nearly 200g of total water volume!

CADE Reef 1800 S2: Ultimate Aquarium System, Ultimate Value

Over the last three years, the aquarium industry has witnessed huge advancements in so-called All-In-One aquarium system design and technology. There are actually a number of manufacturers that fairly deserve credit for this development, and we applaud all of them. However, one of them in particular–CADE Aquariums of Melbourne, Australia–really caught our eye last year. …

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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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