UV light Sterilization Icon

Should I Use a UV Sterilizer?

The two most hated things for a saltwater aquarium keeper are fish diseases and “bad” algae. Some hobbyists make an attempt to go all out against these threats by using an ultraviolet sterilizer. At least in some cases, a properly sized and properly installed sterilizer unit can indeed help to reduce the incidence of disease …

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Why EcoPods are the Best Live Copepod Product Ever

Earth is a planet of pods. Wherever there is water, there are amphipods, isopods, branchiopods, and so on. Pods are an integral part of pretty much every freshwater, brackish and marine ecosystem. But even among all these big players, the tiny copepod is a giant; in terms of both biomass and sheer number, copepods (subclass …

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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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Someone Holding a Cerith Snail

The Cerith Snail: A “Must-Have” Cleaner

Most aquarists are already aware that snails eat algae. To be most correct, the majority of snail species are algivores. To be sure, some have extremely specialized diets that do not include algae; other snails are technically omnivores, eating all sorts of things including algae. Then, for marine aquarists in particular, there is the issue …

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Urchins are a wild animal to keep!

Sea Urchins in the Reef Aquarium

My first sight of a real, live sea urchin was in an aquarium (a friend’s) rather than in the sea. This was in my youth (i.e. quite a long time ago) in the upper Midwest–a time and place when/where marine aquarium livestock was quite difficult to get your hands on. Back then, and especially there, …

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Chaeto in the wild

Chaeto for Major Tank Cleaning

Whether from a lack of experience, or an abundance of neglect, some aquarists allow their reef tanks to reach a state of utter nastiness. Perhaps you’ve been there yourself… Where you once had a gorgeous, natural looking, sparkly clean system, there are now patches of filamentous and film algae, piles of detritus, clouds of suspended …

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Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle

We are finally starting to see a surge of interest in the nitrogen cycle &  the “aquarium microbiome.” That is a very, very good thing, not just because understanding the microbial workings of our captive ecosystems is critical to our success as aquarists, but also because we remain woefully uninformed about (even unaware of) the …

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The Whole Package: Integrating AlgaeBarn’s Kits & Combos

AlgaeBarn is hardly the only aquarium hobby-centered business to produce phytoplankton and macroalgae. But we like to think that we’re pretty darn good at it–if not the best! Consider our highly-acclaimed premium live phyto blend OceanMagik in various kits or our standard-setting CleanMacro series. If it needs to be stated, algae is kind of the …

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hair algae can be real trouble for marine aquariums.

How to Control Hair Algae

Hair Algae Happens Algae Happens. Even the types that we don’t want in our aquaria–and actively try to eradicate (like hair algae)–can gain a pretty good foothold from time to time. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen… After all, every “bad” algae species occurs naturally in the wild and serves some important …

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Don't Let your Tank Turn into this!

4 Pitfalls for the Beginning Reef Aquarist (And Some Experienced Ones, Too)

If you’re reading this, you probably love marinelife. And if you don’t already have an aquarium (or two), you’re itching to fix that problem soon. We get your enthusiasm. Like any hobby, aquarium keeping is a highly enjoyable pastime. But it’s not all fun and games. Successfully maintaining an aquarium, especially a reef tank, requires …

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Unique Algae Eaters for your Aquarium

Even though battling algae is best done by finding and solving the underlying nutrient or lighting issue, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a few algae eaters in your tank to help keep it in check. Home aquariums naturally have more nutrients than wild ecosystems, and the slightest change in maintenance can lead to short …

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Beautiful Zoanthid Polyps Growing side by side with algae

Using Phytoplankton to Control Bad Algae

Despite their lush appearance, natural coral reefs are extremely nutrient-poor environments. Not likely to be able to grow too much bad algae. Corals everywhere should be just fine with that, since it means less pressure to compete for space with benthic (that is, growing on the sea floor) microalgae. Planktonic microalgae, on the other hand, …

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The intricately patterned trochus snail

Utilizing the Trochus Snail (Trochus spp.)

Algae, of course, is not an inherently bad thing; without it, the natural world could not exist as we know it. However, there are many types of algae that readily grow in plague proportions under certain environmental conditions. Imbalances of nutrient levels (whether in nature or in the home aquarium) can quickly result in blooms …

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Dinoflagellate ceratium longpipe

Eliminating Nuisance Dinoflagellates with Ocean Magik Live Phytoplankton

Eliminating harmful and ugly dinoflagellates remains one of the most common—and challenging—tasks for the marine aquarist. Not only can marine aquarium systems be far less chemically stable than the natural reef environment, but they are also subject to disturbances that can occur following bouts of overfeeding, decay associated with animal deaths, chemical water treatments/medications, increases of …

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