About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.

Halichoeres chrysus: A Hardy Little “Banana with Fins” That’s Just Right for Beginners

Known by a variety of common names—banana wrasse, canary wrasse, golden wrasse, yellow coris, et al—Halichoeres chrysus is hardy, readily available, reasonably affordable, well suited to modest-sized systems, and among the better choices for beginners. Of course, owing to all these positive attributes, this wrasse is justifiably popular among many seasoned salties, as well. Physical … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Why so Much Emphasis on Evaporation in Saltwater Systems?

Question I’m a long-time freshwater aquarium hobbyist but considering branching out to a saltwater reef system. In talking with some of my reefkeeper friends, I’ve noticed that they’re rather fixated on evaporation from their tanks and doing daily top-offs. Why so much emphasis on evaporation on the saltwater side of the hobby? This isn’t really … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Okay to Add LPS to Established Softy Tank?

Question Hi guys! My husband and I really enjoy your site and the commonsense advice you always give. My question for you is about the feasibility of adding an LPS coral to an established 60-gallon soft-coral tank. We’ve been keeping soft corals successfully for a long time, and now we’d like to give stony corals … [Read More]

Paul B’s Unique Perspective on Keeping Mandarins

Hobby pioneer Paul “Paul B” Baldassano is not your grandfather’s reefkeeper (though he is old enough to be your grandfather!). Nor is his book, The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist: A 60-Year History of Fishkeeping, anything like your grandfather’s hobby literature. In fact, Paul B’s perspective on just about any aspect of the marine aquarium hobby is … [Read More]

Salty Confessions: Procrastination Never Pays in Reefkeeping!

Regular SWS readers know that CC and I always emphasize the importance of staying on top of routine maintenance chores so small problems don’t develop into big ones. Great advice for a hobby in which only bad things happen quickly, right? Unfortunately, my recent failure to follow my own “sage” advice nearly led to disaster. … [Read More]

Facing a Saltwater System Downsize? Try One of These 5 Setups

Next year, our daughter will be heading off to college and our son will already be well on the way through his senior year at OSU. With two kids almost down and none to go, my wife, Melissa, and I will soon (more or less) be empty-nesters. It also means we’ll soon be selling our … [Read More]

Saltwater Smarts Headed To C-SEA Frag Swap!

The folks at the Cleveland Saltwater Enthusiasts Association (C-SEA) may be situated near Lake Erie—one of our freshwater Great Lakes—but on Saturday, October 22, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., they’ll be steeped in salt water as they host the 2016 C-SEA Frag Swap at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, Ohio. This exciting event … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Can We Do Better for Beginners than Caveat Emptor?

Question I recently had a frustrating experience at a major chain pet store in my area. I watched as the aquarium department salesperson sold a type of butterflyfish that has a very specialized diet to a self-identified newbie, and he didn’t bother to tell this customer anything about it. The fish probably isn’t going to … [Read More]

The Pacific Sailfin Tang: A Hardy, Bold Species Demanding Spacious Accommodations

The Pacific sailfin tang (Zebrasoma velifer), not to be confused with its Red Sea namesake (Zebrasoma desjardinii), is a fish with many attributes that make it desirable to marine aquarium hobbyists—it’s attractive, hardy, bold, easy to feed, etc. But don’t be deceived by that cute little specimen on display at your LFS. Z. velifer also … [Read More]

Is It Possible to Overdo Marine Aquarium Water Changes?

In a recent meandering conversation I had with my freshwater-pond-keeping brother-in-law, the question of water change volume and frequency was raised—specifically whether it’s stressful to the livestock if you perform them too frequently or change out too much water at once. My take on the question is that when it comes to water changes, the … [Read More]