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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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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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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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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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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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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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 Refugium Starter Pack

You might be setting up a brand-new reef tank. Maybe you’re doing some upgrades to an existing aquarium. Either way, you’ll have a lot of individual concerns to address. First and foremost, “Is this system capable of managing a large(r) bioload?” And then, “How will I deal with all of the nitrate that my biofilter …

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Hard to Kill: Using Cerith Snails and Siphonaria Limpets

Nuisance algae is almost certain to emerge—at least to some extent—in all reef aquarium systems. Of course, the maintenance of good water quality is by far the best way to combat them. However, herbivores present an effective and totally natural means of algae control. Snails in particular are a great choice of algae-eating herbivore. In …

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All of the Best Aquarium Features!

Why CADE Aluminum Aquarium Stands are the Best

If you’ve been keeping aquariums for a long time, you’ve almost certainly owned a pressboard stand at some point. And if you had that stand for very long, there’s a chance you saw it lose its trustworthiness over time. Particularly if these cheaply made stands are exposed to moisture for extended periods, they gradually warp, …

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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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The Pincushion Sea Urchin: A Beginner’s Best

Seldom are sea urchins described as “difficult” or “sensitive” aquarium animals. Yet, they can be quite touchy. Seemingly small insults (such as a slightly reduced salinity following a water change) can send them plummeting fast. And, sea urchins don’t seem to recover well from sickness, shock or injury. Sometimes, it seems that just looking at …

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What Do I Need for a Saltwater Fish Tank?

Whether scouting for your first aquarium, or “graduating” from a freshwater aquarium, there is something about a saltwater aquarium that is mesmerizing. For many lifelong aquarists, that feeling of captivating awe never goes away. Thankfully, the intimidating task of learning how to actually build and maintain a saltwater aquarium system does go away. In fact, …

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