Using the Aquarium Cycle Kit

One of the more fundamental tasks one must undertake when maintaining a saltwater aquarium is controlling the nitrogenous waste cycle. Most critical is the elimination of ammonia and nitrite, which are both highly toxic and can “crash” a tank in very short time. Fortunately, this job is naturally (and quite effectively) handled by various microbes. …

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Do I Need a Protein Skimmer?

There are a lot of tough calls in reef aquarium keeping. While the focus of attention should be on creating the healthiest and most natural environment possible for your animals, some thought will (understandably) go into the tank budget. For this reason, hobbyists often question whether or not a particular piece of expensive equipment is …

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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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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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4 Macroalgae for Beginners

Macroalgae are a great addition to any aquarium. They remove excess nutrients in the water column (such as phosphates and nitrates) and provide shelter for copepods which helps with successfully breeding them in your tank. There are many different types of macroalgae; in this article I will be discussing the best types for beginners. Macroalga …

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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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iodate atomic weight

Dosing Iodine in the Reef Aquarium

Reef aquarium hobbyists already have enough on their plates trying to keep levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium levels up while keeping levels of nutrients like nitrate and phosphate down. That, and obsessing over all those other parameters… And now, all the sudden, everyone is saying we should be “chasing numbers” for iodine …

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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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A brown Macroalgae

Mixed Macros in the Planted Refugium

There are plenty of reasons to install a planted refugium into your reef aquarium system. You might culture macroalgae for numerous purposes including removing excess nutrients, growing a live food for herbivores, creating pod microhabitat, or just for simple enjoyment. Some macros are better suited for some of these purposes than for others. Therefore, if …

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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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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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The machinations of Microbes

Comparing the Metabolic Modes of Aquarium Organisms

Few, if any, of us get “into” aquarium keeping to become marine ecologists, or become experts in metabolic processes. But it does happen, albeit over some time. We buy our first fish tank with the sole intention of keeping colorful animals–simple as that. We do soon learn, however, that an aquarium system is really a …

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Liquid Carbon Dosing in the Marine Aquarium

When we see the crystal-clear waters of a coral reef, some of us might think “pristine” or “pure.” A marine ecologist, however, is most likely thinking “infertile.” Like a carbon desert. Yes, there is an undeniable abundance and diversity of life there; but that is possible only because of the incredibly efficient nutrient cycling between …

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Controlling phosphate in your Reef Tank

Controlling Phosphate in Saltwater Aquaria

To take on the responsibility of maintaining a marine aquarium is to take a crash course in water chemistry. By the time you’ve successfully navigated the nitrogen cycle, you’re already faced with new, threatening chemical imbalances. Of these, one of the most persistent (though frequently unnoticed) is excessive phosphate. Perhaps the best way to start …

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