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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A More In Depth Look At Captive Bred Livestock

Once upon a time, all of our saltwater fish, invertebrates, and corals were wild caught, there was no captive bred livestock anywhere. Hobbyists were still using compact fluorescent bulbs and tap water in their reef tanks, under gravel filters were still cutting edge technology, and most people had their fish for six to twenty four …

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A beautiful peppermint shrimp ready to eat some aiptasia

Peppermint Shrimp: The Aiptasia Destroyers

Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata boggessi) The Aiptasia Destroyers This time was going to be different, you said. You had just set up a new aquarium system and were going to take full advantage of every opportunity to do everything just right. Not only were you determined to include everything in the system that should be there, …

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The amazing invertebrate, the sea urchin

Pincushion Urchins (Lytechinus variegatus): The Algae Destroyers

No matter who you are, how skilled you are as an aquarist, how diligent you are at cleaning your tank, how little you feed or how advanced your filter system is, one thing is all but certain: unwanted forms of algae will appear in your reef tank from time to time. Nuisance algae can be …

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Aquacultured Fish

Is There Really a Difference Between Wild-Caught and Aquacultured Marine Aquarium Livestock?

Is There Really a Difference Between Wild-Caught and Aquacultured Marine Aquarium Livestock? These days, when it comes to aquarium livestock (aquaculture or wild captured), marine aquarists are inundated with choice. Of course, a good deal of thought typically goes into the kinds of animals we will keep. Choice of animal species is certainly important; this …

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Harlequin shrimp are incredible hunters!

A Look at the Harlequin Shrimp

It is probably safe to say that the majority of aquarists (especially marine aquarists) are initially awestruck by the visual impact that a well-maintained aquarium can create. While they are certainly attracted to the bright colors that so many reef animals bear, they may also find themselves fascinated by the unusual behaviors that these creatures …

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The intricately patterned trochus snail

Utilizing the Trochus Snail (Trochus spp.)

Algae, of course, is not an inherently bad thing; without it, the natural world could not exist as we know it. However, there are many types of algae that readily grow in plague proportions under certain environmental conditions. Imbalances of nutrient levels (whether in nature or in the home aquarium) can quickly result in blooms …

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An Overview of the Atlantic Sea Nettle (Chrysaora quinquecirrha)

It is a bit of a fortune to jellyfish enthusiasts that one of the most attractive aquarium species, the Atlantic sea nettle, is also among the easiest to take care of. The availability of captive bred specimens, as well as high-quality live and prepared jellyfish foods, will almost surely lead to an increased presence of …

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A Look at the Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

It was not so long ago that one could see jellyfish only at the public aquarium or in the ocean. There were few or no sources of healthy animals for those aquarium hobbyists that were interested in keeping them. Even more difficult to obtain were the specialized “kreisel” aquarium systems needed to successfully house most …

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Aquarium Cleaning Machines: Cerith Snails in the Reef Tank

An aquarium substrate surface can be a dirty place. Detritus, feces, uneaten fish food, film algae and other unwanted materials might pile up there. Fortunately, there are many “clean-up crew” creatures that can be used to remove various types of nuisance algae and/or settled organic wastes. There are only a few cleaners, however, that will …

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An Overview of the Sand-Sifting Nassarius Snails

We all want our reef aquaria to have a clean appearance; after all, not only does good aquarium hygiene make for a more attractive display, but the coral reef environments that we are attempting to recreate are similarly nutrient and detritus-free. This is not always an easy task for the home aquarist to accomplish, however, …

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