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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Why Larval Pods are Better for Seeding (Even If You Can’t See Them)

Copepods (pods) are essentially required for any reef aquarium. They perform three important ecological tasks: (1) Graze on benthic microalgae, (2) scavenge detritus, and (3) serve as food for diverse zooplanktivores. They are so ubiquitous in nature, and even in captivity, that they commonly invade new tanks as hitchhikers on live rock, corals, etc.  While …

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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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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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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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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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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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Pod vs Sock: Do Mechanical Filters Kill Copepods?

Considering that aquarium keeping is a mere nerdy pastime, it can be surprising that there are so many contentious issues amongst hobbyists. One such big “controversy” centers around the impact of mechanical filtration (especially filter socks) on zooplankton (especially copepods). Naturally, as one of the world’s largest commercial producers of copepods, we have a couple …

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Close Up of Copepods

4 Tips for Seeding Live Copepods

We get it… Copepods aren’t always cheap. Especially if you use a clean, high-quality, high-density, expertly packaged product with as many as four copepod species at various life stages (e.g. EcoPods!). But, using top-shelf products, you do get what you pay for. That’s why making a little extra effort to get the most out of …

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A vial of phytoplankton

Phytoplankton Species and their individual Strengths

When purchasing live foods for your tank, many people simply take the shop employee’s advice when handed a jar of unidentified copepods for their reef tank. Most do not research into the different species of copepods, we just understand that they are a major element of our clean up crews and that our fish love …

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Copepods Under Microscope

How to Acclimate Your Pods

Particularly for animals that live in water, acclimating from one environment to another–even if quite similar physically and chemically–can present serious stress. Yes, “pods” (copepods, amphipods, etc.), are known to be incredibly resilient and adaptable. Indeed, the tidepool-dwelling harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus californicus is regarded as one of THE toughest of all invertebrate species. All that …

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copepods and various planktons

Oithona: A Keystone Aquarium Copepod Species

In terms of both numbers and biomass, the copepods (Subclass Copepoda) dominate the zooplankton oceanwide. These minute crustaceans are of immense value ecologically because they play a central role in the linear trophic transfer of nutrients and food energy as intermediaries between primary producers (e.g. phytoplankton) and higher animals such as fish. But it’s usually …

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Copepoda: The Ocean’s Cornucopia

In 1905, an engineering mishap caused the Colorado River to flood a shallow basin over the San Andreas Fault in California. With evaporation rates that exceeded rates of inflow, the massive lake began to increase in salinity; Salton Lake was born. Soon, this artificially (and indeed accidentally) made inland sea would develop its own rich …

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Gorgonians in the Marine Aquarium

It should go without saying that the hermatypic, stony, reef-building corals will dominate most reef aquaria. Thankfully, so long as (1) key water parameters are monitored, (2) the appropriate light conditions are provided and (3) nutritious planktonic foods are present, these beautiful plant-animal symbiotic combos easily flourish even in the care of novice hobbyists. Especially …

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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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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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Tig Pods: A Food for Many

The reef aquarium hobby continues to reach new heights. This is most evident by the extraordinarily beautiful systems we see on display in public places, in images on social media, in advertisements, and even in some homes. These advancements have come about not only through improved technologies and supplements, but also through a better understanding …

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A micro-brittle star in a refugium

Kickstarting Your New Refugium

Whether it’s just been installed as part of a bone-dry, newly set up aquarium system or as an add-on to a well-established, heavily stocked reef tank, you’ll probably want your new refugium to be operating at its peak performance from the onset. Seeding the right beneficial organisms in the right amount at the right time …

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