Branching Green Star Polyps: Trash or Treasure?

The aquarium hobby in general, and certainly the reef aquarium hobby in particular, has changed a whole lot over the years and decades. As aquarists master the husbandry of new species, some “classic” species might lose their luster. For example, where Xenia was once a beloved coral for its ease of care and pulsing behavior, …

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Keeping Toadstool Leather Corals

These days, soft corals don’t get quite the attention they once did. One reason for this simply is the abundance of wildly colorful stony corals that have fairly recently become available. Another reason is the concern that soft corals can release allelopathic substances into the water that may harm other (especially stony) corals. Even so, …

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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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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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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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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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Zoas are a beautiful addition to any reef

Knowing the Zoanthid

The zoanthid is one of the most stunning yet simplistic coral-like animals in this hobby. It can come in any color combination that you can imagine–along with any price point. This is why this particular anthozoan deserves an article of its own. There are over 100 species of zoanthids alone and the identification process can …

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Aiptasia Anemones can be a horrible pest

How to Get Rid of Aiptasia

When you’re first starting out your aquarium, you usually will spend all day checking on everything in your tank ensuring everything is still intact. Then, one day you look and you see this translucent looking pink flower… I receive one of two reactions from customers when they first come across Aiptasia anemones. One is panic. …

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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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Three Great Hacks for AlgaeBarn Simple Brine

For about a century, brine shrimp (Artemia spp.) have been among the most important of all aquarium foods. Not only are they extremely nutritious, and fish love them, but they are also incredibly convenient to use. This is because it is relatively simple to store and hatch their cysts. Cysts are unlike eggs in that …

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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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Keeping Zoanthids

Reef aquaria wouldn’t be reef aquaria without corals–plain and simple. But those extra little goodies (sea anemones, corallimorpharians, etc.) undoubtedly make reefkeeping a lot more interesting. This could certainly be said of the zoantharia. Indeed, as novel color morphs of popular species continue to be imported, aquacultured and distributed within the trade, zoanthids are increasingly …

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Keeping Mushroom Anemones

No one starts a saltwater aquarium because they hate challenges. Indeed, it is the difficulty (or at least perceived difficulty) of maintaining these systems that is so alluring to many first-time marine aquarists. That being said, it’s always good to take the stroll towards full-blown reefkeeping in baby steps. Veteran hobbyists have seen it so …

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What’s the Difference Between PNS ProBio and PNS YelloSno?

Reef aquarium keeping has gotten a lot more sophisticated over the years. Fortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has gotten more complicated or more time-consuming. To the contrary, we now have the knowledge to create convincingly realistic representations of coral reef habitats with surprisingly minimal effort. While it’s true that we’ve now got some …

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A Closer Look at Coral Tissue Necrosis

Whether you are a dedicated, full-time coral farmer or a moderately invested hobbyist, reef aquarium keeping is risky business. This is due partly because of the inherent delicateness of corals in general, but also because coraliculture is still a relatively young (sometimes downright experimental) undertaking. Coral disease–and disease control–remains as one of the most poorly …

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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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Enhancing Coral Nutrition with Purple Non-Sulfur Bacteria

Most people who are familiar with corals–whether admiring them in the wild or displaying them in a glass box–understand quite well that they are incredibly complex animals. This certainly is so with the zooxanthellate corals. Virtually all corals (zooxanthellate corals included) are predators of plankton and other tiny organisms. But the zooxanthellate types undoubtedly are …

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