Discosoma Mushrooms: Beautiful, Adaptable, Beginner-Friendly Corals

Some of the most beautiful creatures in this hobby are neither rare nor difficult to keep but get glossed over by experienced reef aquarists because they are not the “latest and greatest” coral specimens that landed on our shores. So today, I want to talk about Discosoma mushroom corallimorphs because they are both excellent for … [Read More]

What to Consider When Keeping Toxic Marine Fish

Toxic marine fishes kept in aquariums present certain husbandry challenges that hobbyists should be aware of if they plan to purchase one. I’m not referring to fishes that possess venomous spines or deliver a venomous bite, such as lionfishes, rabbitfishes, and fang blennies, but to those capable of exuding toxins into the water with potentially … [Read More]

The Magnificent Magenta Dottyback

Despite their diminutive size, many of the dottybacks have a well-deserved reputation for aggression. In fact, some species, such as the royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellae), are so belligerent that it can be difficult to match them with suitable tankmates, as even much larger fish may be targets of their hostility. Yet there are certain species … [Read More]

Tips for Childproofing Your Saltwater Aquarium

Kids do the darndest things—especially the little ones. From the moment they learn to crawl, they seem to have the uncanny knack to zero in on the one circumstance in their environment that presents a hazard to life and limb—even if they have to pass, undistracted, through dozens of shiny new toys to reach it. … [Read More]

4 Easy Ways to Avoid Marine Aquarium Malaise

A well-functioning and properly stocked marine aquarium can be a wonderful source of interest and inspiration. However, after many months or years of looking at the same setup and livestock, even the most colorful, compelling aquarium can begin to lose its luster and become a bit, well, boring. When faced with this dilemma—which, for my … [Read More]

4 Reasons Not to Knock Nano Aquariums

One of our earliest posts here at Saltwater Smarts was titled “4 Reasons to Start with a Bigger Saltwater Tank.” In it, we outlined the various benefits of starting with a larger aquarium and the potential drawbacks to downsized systems—instability of water parameters, fewer stocking options, etc. We still think it’s best for beginners to … [Read More]

Beware These 5 Pitfalls When Buying Used Equipment for Your Marine Aquarium

There’s no question that setting up a saltwater aquarium can be a costly proposition. One way to help defray those initial expenses is to buy used equipment and materials when possible. There’s always someone upgrading to a new system, moving to another town, or taking a hiatus from the hobby who has gear to part … [Read More]

Toledo Zoo Aquarium Renovation – Update 9: Jewels of the Sea

With the Toledo Zoo’s Aquarium currently undergoing a $25.5 million renovation and the new Aquarium slated to open in 2015, curious Zoo visitors frequently ask what exhibits the new Aquarium will feature. In this installment, let’s continue our exploration of these new exhibits with a look at some of the smaller planned exhibits that will … [Read More]

Gomphosus varius: This Wrasse is for the Birds!

It always seems that the more exotic looking a saltwater fish is, the more challenging it is for hobbyists to keep. Fortunately, such is not the case with Gomphosus varius, the aptly named bird wrasse. This hardy, intelligent, attractive species has much to recommend it to fishkeepers who have sufficient aquarium capacity to accommodate its … [Read More]

Consider These 6 Points Before Buying a Marine Aquarium Cleanup Crew

Marine aquarium cleanup crews (CUC)—those combo packs of various snails, crabs, and echinoderms sold for the purpose of algae control and detritus elimination—can serve an excellent utilitarian function in a saltwater system. What’s more, in addition to the janitorial duties they perform, many of these invertebrates are fascinating to observe in their own right and … [Read More]