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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Why Nano Brine is the Ultimate Live Artemia Product

Aside from the assorted little bugs early aquarists may have scooped out of nearby ponds, the first widely used live aquarium food was brine shrimp (Artemia spp.). For sure, the first widely distributed live food was brine shrimp. Even today, despite the growing commercial importance of copepods and rotifers (especially for aquaculture use), one could …

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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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A remarkable long tentacled jellyfsh

Are You Ready to Keep Jellyfish?

There have been a few times that I’ve been asked how to care for jellyfish. And, long story short, it’s complicated! In this short article, I describe the complications of keeping these fascinating creatures in captivity. Some creatures should just stay in the wild, and the jellyfish usually is one of them. Jellyfish tanks Meticulously …

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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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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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Daphnia are incredible little freshwater critters!

Daphnia as a Live Marine Aquarium Food

Daphnia sp., widely known as water fleas, are hardly new to the aquarium scene. Freshwater aquarists (and perhaps quite a few saltwater aquarists too) have scooped them from ponds, ditches, etc. to use as aquarium feed for at least a century. Some particularly assiduous hobbyists have even found success culturing these tiny crustaceans for long …

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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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Ultimate EcoPack

A Saltwater Smorgasbord: Using The Ultimate EcoPack

Though they are nowhere near as ecologically complex as actual, wild coral reefs, reef aquaria can be incredibly complicated and downright tricky to maintain in a “natural” manner. To be fair, reef aquarists have to sustain a precarious balance between underfeeding to the point of deprivation and overfeeding to the point of feculent nastiness. Waste …

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A Falkland Island Phytoplankton Bloom

Phytoplankton

The first link in a food chain is always a primary producer, like phytoplankton (i.e. algae, plants, various types of bacteria). This is because all other living things—consumers—are incapable of synthesizing organic substances from inorganic ones. Primary producers rely on inorganic sources of energy (sometimes chemical, but usually from light). Using this energy, they take …

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