5 Common Reasons Leather Corals Refuse to Expand

The soft coral species commonly known as leather corals (various and sundry Sarcophyton, Lobophytum, Sinularia, and Alcyonium species among others) are often among the first invertebrates budding reef hobbyists select for their systems—and with good reason. The leather corals, so named for their tough, leather-like texture, tend to be extremely hardy, adaptable, and easy to … [Read More]

The Great Cleaner Wrasse and Cleaner Goby Throwdown!

Imagine you have your heart set on getting a cleaner fish for your marine aquarium so you can observe this iconic form of symbiosis right in your own home. Now imagine you’re in your local fish store looking at two tanks positioned side by side. In the left tank, wearing light blue and black horizontal … [Read More]

Coral Eye Candy, Vol. 1

For the first installment of Coral Eye Candy, we bring to you some absolutely stunning macro and extreme macro photos. In addition, you’ll find brief care requirements if you’re interested in keeping anything shown below in your reef aquarium. Enjoy! Event Horizon Acanthophyllia Lighting: Medium (50-150 PAR) Flow: Low Feeding: Benefits from direct feeding. Blue … [Read More]

End the Toil and Trouble of Bubble Algae

“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble” could be the lament of any marine aquarium hobbyist battling a stubborn outbreak of green bubble algae. (Okay, “Double, double toil and trouble,” is the actual incantation from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but I digress.) Green bubble algae appear as rounded or tubular green bladders ranging from about the size of a … [Read More]

How to Handle a Hunger-Striking Saltwater Fish

Having a fish that refuses to eat anything offered—or having a specimen that had been eating suddenly lose all interest in food—is a problem virtually every marine aquarium hobbyist can expect to encounter at one time or another. While such “hunger strikes” can be extremely frustrating and disconcerting, they can usually be overcome with patience, … [Read More]

Why Did My Pulse Corals Stop Pulsing?

Pulse corals (e.g., Xenia and Heteroxenia spp.) are among the more enigmatic sessile invertebrates. Many hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike find their rhythmic, hypnotic pulsing behavior fascinating and relaxing to observe, but precisely why they pulse the way they do has long been a source of befuddlement. We know the pulsing isn’t related to prey capture … [Read More]

Keeping the Aptly Named Coral Beauty Angelfish

If you have a real yen for marine angelfishes but lack the tank space to accommodate one of the large iconic species, such as the queen angel (Holacanthus ciliaris) or French angel (Pomacanthus paru), you’ll be pleased to know that some really beautiful angelfishes actually come in fairly small packages. Of course, I’m referring to … [Read More]

How to: Take Extreme Macro Coral Photos

Here at Tidal Gardens, much of what we do revolves around our ability to take nice looking photos and videos. Every now and again, we are lucky enough to pick up a new piece of equipment that allows us to shoot from a truly different perspective. The latest gizmo is a new macro lens for … [Read More]

Corals Gone Wild: Don’t Let Encrusting Polyps Take Over Your Tank!

I have a confession to make. When I mention my 75-gallon “reef tank” in my posts here at Saltwater Smarts, I’m not being entirely truthful in my terminology. When I first set up the tank almost 14 years ago and over many of the ensuing years, it could accurately be described as a reef system. … [Read More]

Don’t Contaminate Your Saltwater Aquarium!

When we think about toxins in a marine aquarium, the first thing that usually comes to mind is ammonia or a toxic allelopathic chemical released by a coral—in other words, a biologically produced toxin originating in the tank itself. But sometimes hobbyists are unwitting sources of harmful compounds or pathogens from outside the aquarium. As … [Read More]