Seeing Red: The Colorful, Cantankerous Maroon Clownfish

Many of the clownfishes have a well-deserved reputation for feistiness. But there’s one clown that makes all the others seem like milquetoasts by comparison—the maroon clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) from the Indo-West Pacific. Though it’s among the hardier and more strikingly colored clownfish species, P. biaculeatus definitely takes aggression to new heights, making tankmate compatibility the … [Read More]

Does the Emerald Crab Earn Its Algae-Eating, Reef-Safe Reputation?

Among the various and sundry marine life commonly sold to aquarium hobbyists for utilitarian purposes is the emerald crab (Mithraculus sculptus). Oft touted for its propensity to gobble up bubble algae and other irksome algal forms, M. sculptus has become a proud, card-carrying member of many a marine aquarium “cleanup crew.” But before adding this … [Read More]

Why Do We Find This Marine Aquarium Stuff So Fascinating?

I don’t know about many of you guys, but I have been watching fish for well over half a century, and today, as I was sitting close to my tank, watching every move of every tentacle, I started thinking, wow, I must really be a fish geek. My wife hates it when I come to … [Read More]

Making the T5 Changeup in Reef Aquarium Lighting

Recently, Paul Grant from Advanced Reef Aquarium decided to switch up the lighting on his 240-gallon custom reef tank. Originally, five Aquaillumination Vega Color fixtures were used to power his SPS-dominated reef. He decided to make a changeover to an ATI Powermodule. The Powermodule is a T5-dominated lighting system with LED supplementation. Here’s a video … [Read More]

Before Adding That Marine Aquarium Supplement, Ask Yourself These 5 Questions

You’re perusing the shelves of aquarium supplements at your local fish store when you come across a colorful bottle labeled “Dr. Hfuhruhurr’s Magic Reef Elixir.” Intrigued, you read on to discover the product’s intended purpose. The claims on the label read something like this: “Created in a laboratory using space-age SCIENCE, Dr. Hfuhruhurr’s Magic Reef … [Read More]

Tinker’s Butterflyfish: Beautiful, Hardy, and Way Beyond My Wages

Novice marine aquarium hobbyists—especially those making the transition from freshwater to saltwater fishkeeping—commonly experience “sticker shock” when they see the prices of many marine species offered in the trade. After all, when you’re accustomed to spending only a few dollars to a few tens of dollars for freshwater fishes, even the least expensive marine fish … [Read More]

Thoughts on Hand-Feeding Marine Aquarium Fish and Inverts

Part of the fun of keeping marine aquariums is reaching that stage where the fish come to recognize you as the supplier of victuals—the face that always peers into the tank right before food hits the water. Some hobbyists might wonder whether it’s okay to build on that familiarity by actually hand-feeding their aquatic pets. … [Read More]

Good at Gardening? Try Reefkeeping!

Having once worked in the nursery and landscaping business, it often occurs to me that there are a surprising number of similarities between terrestrial gardening/landscaping and reefkeeping. I would even suggest that, in some ways, reefkeeping has more in common with gardening than with maintaining a freshwater or marine fish-only aquarium. Many of the elements … [Read More]

Why Are Juvenile Marine Angelfish So Different From Adults?

When human parents bring a child into the world, they watch their offspring eagerly for facial features and other physical characteristics that are similar to their own. Moms and dads experience a certain pride whenever someone acknowledges that, “She has her mother’s eyes” or “He has his father’s smile.” But in the world of reef … [Read More]

Yellow Boxfish: Endearing but Perhaps Best Avoided

For hobbyists inclined to purchase livestock on impulse, a yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) paddling about in a dealer’s tank can prove almost irresistible. Typically sold as juveniles at just a few inches in length, these boxfish are as cute as can be, and their interesting shape and garish coloration really make them stand out among … [Read More]