Our labs are hard at work creating the very best marine phytoplankton blend for your Aquarium

A Look at the NEW OceanMagik

It’s amazing how much has changed in the reef aquarium hobby since 2012. During that time, we’ve seen a surge of aquarium info resources on social media, a deluge of new designer strains of stony corals, soaring attendance at trade shows (at least until this year’s pandemic), revolutionary aquarium monitoring and automation devices, big advancements …

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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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A Closer Look at Carotenoid Pigments

Meeting the dietary requirements of a reef aquarium–a delicate microcosm filled with diverse organisms with varied nutritional needs–can be a daunting task. One might find it hard enough just to provide the right balance of those basic components: Carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. But then there are all those other things to concern yourself with, such …

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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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A vial of phytoplankton

Phytoplankton Species and their individual Strengths

When purchasing live foods for your tank, many people simply take the shop employee’s advice when handed a jar of unidentified copepods for their reef tank. Most do not research into the different species of copepods, we just understand that they are a major element of our clean up crews and that our fish love …

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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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Eliminating Detritus in the Refugium

Ever feel like no matter how much time you spend cleaning your tank, it can never really ever get clean? Detritus build-ups can be especially frustrating as they seem to come from nowhere and seriously compromise the healthy and natural appearance of an otherwise beautiful exhibit. One solution is to construct the system in such …

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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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Phytoplankton, Macroalgae, or BOTH?

As marine aquarists, we might think of algae as being divided into three (maybe four) distinct categories: the benthic (i.e. bottom-dwelling) microalgae, the open-water microalgae and the macroalgae. The first group consists of the film/turf-formers, the second group consists of the phytoplankton and the third group consists of the larger, plant-like seaweeds. The first group …

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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 …

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A Copepod Cornucopia: How to Maintain a Continuous Live Food Source in Your Reef Aquarium

Some of us aquarists are satisfied just to find a pod or two in our systems—just to know that they’re still there! Then again, some of us are always reaching for that endless bumper crop. Those who push for ever higher copepod yields might indeed be on to something really big. Let Them Eat Pods …

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Beautiful Zoanthid Polyps Growing side by side with algae

Using Phytoplankton to Control Bad Algae

Despite their lush appearance, natural coral reefs are extremely nutrient-poor environments. Not likely to be able to grow too much bad algae. Corals everywhere should be just fine with that, since it means less pressure to compete for space with benthic (that is, growing on the sea floor) microalgae. Planktonic microalgae, on the other hand, …

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Boosting Reef Aquarium Diversity With Live Phytoplankton

Saltwater aquarium keeping certainly come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Heck, we only started widely using live rock about a quarter century ago. Nowadays, almost any coral reef species (provided that it is not protected) can be obtained in the aquarium livestock trade. Sadly, however, not all of these can …

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Clean Sea Lettuce direct from our Algae Farm, perfect for your refugium!

Stocking a Refugium

Marine aquaria have a peculiar way of growing (in terms of both size and complexity) over time. These “add-ons,” be they filtration units, reactors, or whatever, grow from the so-called main tank in an almost organic manner. But, no matter how elaborate an aquarium set-up becomes, the sum of all the parts can always be …

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pods in your reef, here is a tigriopus copepod

Pods In Your Reef: Seeding a Marine Aquarium with Copepods

Benefits of Pods In Your Reef: Microcrustaceans (or “pods”) in general, and copepods in particular, are an integral component of aquatic food webs. This is so in virtually every marine environment including coral reef habitats. Therefore, pods in your reef are a healthful addition to any reef aquarium. Lucky, a handful of useful copepod species …

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A green mandarin on the substrate hunting for algaebarn copepods that make mandarin goby fish care easy

Mandarin Goby Fish Care | Using Copepods to keep a Mandarin Dragonet

Mandarin Fish Care 101: Foods and feeding are the foremost concern for any aquarist wishing to keep a Green Mandarin Dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus). Most critical in the diet of a mandarin is (1) constant availability of feeding opportunities and (2) food sources that are varied but primarily consist of enriched pods. If you get these …

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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 …

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