A Closer Peek at Marine Aquarium pH

One of the many important water parameters marine aquarium hobbyists must routinely monitor is pH. But what exactly is pH, what should the level be in a saltwater aquarium, what does an incorrect pH level tell us, and what’s the point of testing for it anyway? As we mention in our post titled “Putting Aquarium … [Read More]

Salt Smart Tips for Soothing Those Hair Algae Headaches

Of all the irksome algae that can take hold in a saltwater aquarium, hair algae probably causes hobbyists more consternation than any other. So named for its hair-like, furry, or feathery appearance, this filamentous algae (for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use “algae” for both the singular and plural forms of the noun) is primarily … [Read More]

Chrysiptera parasema: a Gem of a Damsel

Ask the average marine aquarium hobbyist to identify the most aggressive coral-reef fishes, and the damselfishes of the family Pomacentridae are likely to be placed somewhere very close to the top of the list. For many damsel species, the reputation for belligerence is well deserved. However, there are some noteworthy exceptions — damsels that are … [Read More]

Marine Aquarium Problem? Don’t Panic!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously wrote, “Into each life some rain must fall.” For marine aquarium hobbyists, that “rain” often comes in the form of a troublesome algae outbreak, the appearance of an uninvited pest, out-of-whack water parameters, sick specimens, livestock compatibility or behavioral problems, or one of many other potential issues. Simply stated, if you’re … [Read More]

Toledo Zoo Aquarium Renovation – Update 11: Interactive Touchpools

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 displays with a look at some of the special marine exhibits that will … [Read More]

5 Ways to Counteract Coral Combat in the Marine Aquarium

At a casual glance, corals would appear to be an inoffensive lot, generally espousing a “live-and-let-live” philosophy. After all, when you’re firmly affixed to the substrate, how much trouble can you really cause for your neighbors? Plenty, as it turns out! Corals and other sessile invertebrates may seem harmless, but they actually take aggression to … [Read More]

The Basics of Marine Aquarium Backgrounds

When setting up a new saltwater aquarium, one of the many decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to put a background on the tank and, if so, what kind you’d prefer to use. The choice of background may seem like an insignificant concern when your mind is swirling with all sorts of … [Read More]

How to Beat Those Pacific Blue Tang Blues

Its common names include the Pacific blue tang, regal tang, hippo tang, palette surgeonfish, yellow-tail blue tang, and probably several others that presently elude me. Kids know it as the addle-brained Dory from Finding Nemo. Whatever common name you apply to it, though, Paracanthurus hepatus is one gorgeous blue fish! Morphologically speaking, P. hepatus is … [Read More]

Zoanthids vs Palythoa Identification

Over the years, we’ve seen hundreds of different Palys and Zoas at Tidal Gardens. In that same time, there were varieties we confidently called Palythoa and others Zoanthids. For example, I can easily point to a Palythoa grandis and say for sure that it is, in fact, a Paly. I would bet the farm on … [Read More]

Yellowheaded Sleeper Goby: A Fascinating but Challenging Sand-Sifter

Though not the most chromatically gifted species, the yellowheaded sleeper goby (Valenciennea strigata), is interesting to observe and can serve a utilitarian purpose in marine aquaria—regularly overturning and oxygenating the top layer of the substrate with its sand-sifting feeding behavior. However, for reasons I’ll soon elaborate upon, this same behavior can make V. strigata somewhat … [Read More]