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, …

What Do I Need for a Saltwater Fish Tank? Read More »

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 …

Why Larval Pods are Better for Seeding (Even If You Can’t See Them) Read More »

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 …

Are You Ready to Keep Jellyfish? Read More »

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 …

When to Choose Poseidon’s Feast Read More »

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 …

Three Great Hacks for AlgaeBarn Simple Brine Read More »

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 …

Corals in a Box of Water: Creating a Natural Reef Tank Read More »

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 …

Gutloading Live Microcrustaceans Read More »

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 …

Why EcoPods are the Best Live Copepod Product Ever Read More »

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 …

The Whole Package: Integrating AlgaeBarn’s Kits & Combos Read More »

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 …

Daphnia as a Live Marine Aquarium Food Read More »

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 …

What’s the Difference Between PNS ProBio and PNS YelloSno? Read More »

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 …

A Saltwater Smorgasbord: Using The Ultimate EcoPack Read More »

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 …

Phytoplankton Read More »

Brine Shrimp: Live Food Fast

Prepared foods have their merits. Aside from the obvious (their convenience), they are consistent in quality, easily available and relatively inexpensive. Some prepared diets may be as palatable and digestible as an animal’s favored item in the wild. They can also help considerably to vary most aquarium animals’ day-to-day diets. That being said, it’s hard …

Brine Shrimp: Live Food Fast Read More »

Tig Pods: A Food for Many

The reef aquarium hobby continues to reach new heights. This is most evident by the extraordinarily beautiful systems we see on display in public places, in images on social media, in advertisements, and even in some homes. These advancements have come about not only through improved technologies and supplements, but also through a better understanding …

Tig Pods: A Food for Many Read More »

A micro-brittle star in a refugium

Kickstarting Your New Refugium

Whether it’s just been installed as part of a bone-dry, newly set up aquarium system or as an add-on to a well-established, heavily stocked reef tank, you’ll probably want your new refugium to be operating at its peak performance from the onset. Seeding the right beneficial organisms in the right amount at the right time …

Kickstarting Your New Refugium Read More »

Tetraselmis: The Big and Fatty Alga

There is probably no single type of microalgae that is ideal as feed for a varied community of captive animals (such as a reef tank). Thus, the best phytoplankton-based aquarium foods are really blends, carefully formulated to meet the dietary needs of diverse creatures ranging from copepod nauplii to suspension-feeding tube worms. Sometimes candidates for …

Tetraselmis: The Big and Fatty Alga Read More »

Mixed Microalgal Feeds for a Balanced Nutrition

Primary producers—those organisms (e.g. plants such as algae) that build new biomass from inorganic sources of energy—form the very base of all food chains. They are of most obvious importance to herbivores. But, of course, without producing the material upon which herbivores feed, nothing else down the chain could exist. And the dependence of carnivores …

Mixed Microalgal Feeds for a Balanced Nutrition Read More »