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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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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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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a Beautiful Scopas Tang

5 Overlooked Algae-Eaters

When it comes to your clean-up crew in your saltwater aquarium, you usually will think of snails, crabs and starfish. However, there are some other cool inverts and fish you can add that can help tremendously with your aquarium algae clean-up. There are so many saltwater fish that eat algae and this is just my …

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Green Bubble Algae

Identifying Saltwater Algaes

Hundreds or even thousands of species of microalgae and photosynthetic bacteria may appear in your aquarium. Before treating any type of algae, it is crucial to properly identify exactly what type of algae you’re dealing with. Luckily, most of them can be easily eradicated if identified properly. We here discuss a few commonly encountered saltwater …

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When to Choose Poseidon’s Feast

Back in “the day,” to acquire a seed culture of copepods, aquarists would typically have to resort to scooping a couple cups of gravel from the bottom of a fellow aquarist’s tank. In these cases, you could only hope to have nabbed a few viable pods–and not any pests (like juvenile aiptasia anemones)! If you …

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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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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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