Nitrate Management in Your Saltwater Aquarium

When setting up new aquariums, most people worry about and focus on ammonia and nitrites. Everyone knows that cycling a tank with fish is dangerous because of these two compounds, as they burn the gills and body of the fish as the tank matures. But, once these get to zero, most people are satisfied and …

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Eliminating Detritus in the Refugium

Ever feel like no matter how much time you spend cleaning your tank, it can never really ever get clean? Detritus build-ups can be especially frustrating as they seem to come from nowhere and seriously compromise the healthy and natural appearance of an otherwise beautiful exhibit. One solution is to construct the system in such …

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Manipulating Nutrient Levels to Control Algal Growth

Ahhhh… A freshly set up and (just now) fully cycled marine aquarium. No algae. No slime. Clean, shiny, beautiful. Two weeks later? Maybe three? Algae. Slime. All over. You want your “old” tank back. Particularly in newer set ups, these issues are pretty typical. Some aquarists believe something is wrong if they don’t encounter a …

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A Sump AND a Refugium?

Our aquarium systems grow over time. It’s almost inevitable. It’s well-nigh organic. And we surely all hope that as they grow, they get better. One proven way to dramatically improve the functionality of an existing system is with the addition of a sump or refugium. The conventional overflow-with-sump/refugium plumbing design (we can call it a …

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A Clean Start: The Benefits of Using Dry Base Rock

Considering that it serves as both aquascape material and biofilter medium, it’s safe to say that live rock is pretty important. We want it to look and “behave” as naturally as possible. Really, truly “live” rock can only be as good as the base you build it on. For reef aquaria, the best substructure is …

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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 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 through the …

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Cultivating Ogo and Sea Lettuce for Your Tangs

These days, it seems that most marine aquarists are reef aquarists. And reef aquaria almost always house one or more tangs. This should seem reasonable enough, as representatives of this sizeable fish family (Acanthuridae) are found in abundance in pretty much every shallow water coral reef ecosystem on Earth. But their strong presence in the …

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Phytoplankton

The first link in a food chain is always a primary producer (i.e. algae, plants, various types of bacteria). This is because all other living things—consumers—are incapable of synthesizing organic substances from inorganic ones. Primary producers rely on inorganic sources of energy (sometimes chemical, but usually from light). Using this energy, they take substances such …

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Phytoplankton, Macroalgae, or BOTH?

As marine aquarists, we might think of algae as being divided into three (maybe four) distinct categories: the benthic (i.e. bottom-dwelling) microalgae, the open-water microalgae and the macroalgae. The first group consists of the film/turf-formers, the second group consists of the phytoplankton and the third group consists of the larger, plant-like seaweeds. The first group …

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Feeding the Mandarinfish with a Mix of Live and Prepared Foods

For so many aquarists, the green mandarin fish (Synchiropus splendidus) is a must-have species. Its endearing personality, exquisite finnage and intense coloration rarely fail to impress. Given these highly desirable traits, it has for long been among the most popular marine aquarium fishes. Thus, many thousands of specimens of this species are sold in the …

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Copepods

Imagine for a second how food energy from grass, a primary producer, is transferred to a bluebird. The bluebirds don’t eat grass. Rather, they consume grasshoppers—which certainly do eat grass. In this way every secondary consumer obtains life-giving energy and biomass from primary producers through an intermediate, primary consumer. So it is across the ocean, …

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Brine Shrimp: Live Food Fast

Prepared foods have their merits. Aside from the obvious (their convenience), they are consistent in quality, easily available and relatively inexpensive. Some prepared diets may be as palatable and digestible as an animal’s favored item in the wild. They can also help considerably to vary most aquarium animals’ day-to-day diets. That being said, it’s hard …

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A Beginner’s Guide to Setting up a Refugium

By Nathan Peel There are many benefits to building or creating a refugium in your saltwater aquarium. It allows for additional surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow, which filters out nitrates and nutrients in an efficient and natural way. They also provide a habitat for small beneficial organisms so they can reproduce without getting …

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