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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Upgrading to the ULTIMATE Ecopack

Pods. Phyto. At AlgaeBarn, these are the bread and butter of the reef aquarium diet. And for sure, these two items form the base of most freshwater and marine food chains. Just consider OceanMagik, which is a blend of four distinctly different species of phytoplankton. Or EcoPods, which is a mixed-species (four, to be exact) …

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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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Do Corals Really Eat Plankton?

It’s hard to say for sure which came first for reef aquarists–the emergence of high-quality coral foods, or the realization that corals actually, really, truly do eat them. Though aquarists are generally a skeptical bunch, the initial apprehension to feeding corals is pretty understandable; in all fairness, many such foods sold in the recent past …

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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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An Overview of the Firefishes

Marine aquarists are blessed with a gigantic selection of beautiful fish species to keep. Among these, only some are peaceful, reef-safe and relatively easy for beginners to keep. Even fewer are small enough at full size to be suited for nano aquaria. The firefishes are exceptional in that they hit all of these marks. Still, …

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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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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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