Calcium: A Critical Element in Reef Aquariums

The stony corals, crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoderms in our marine aquariums depend on it to build their skeletons/shells/tests. Soft corals use it to build supportive structures, called sclerites, in their tissues. Of course, without it, you’ll never get a nice patina of coralline algae on your rockwork. The “it” I’m referring to is calcium, and … [Read More]

Do You Need a Chiller for Your Marine Aquarium?

In a previous post titled “Turning Up the Heat on Tropical Saltwater Aquariums,” I explained that it’s important to maintain a stable water temperature somewhere in the range of 76° and 80°F in marine tanks, and that using a quality submersible heater will help prevent the temperature from dropping below that range. But what about … [Read More]

Dig Those Crazy Pajama Cardinalfish!

A hardy, peaceful, wildly patterned species, the pajama cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) makes a great choice for novice and experienced marine aquarists alike. Owing to its very manageable adult size, it’s a great candidate for modest-sized systems, and like many of the cardinalfishes, it can be kept successfully in groups. Physical traits In common with its … [Read More]

Reefkeeping is Seasonal – and You Can Reap the Rewards

It may not seem apparent, but the reef aquarium hobby is highly seasonal. Compared to the winter months, there is almost no activity in the spring and summer. The industry as a whole slows down. I think this phenomenon has to do with the amount of time hobbyists are stuck inside. During the colder months, … [Read More]

Elasmobranch Enthusiasts (Part 1): Modern Husbandry – Space

From the ferocious great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) to the graceful white-spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari), Elasmobranchii are a diverse group of boneless fishes that are circumglobal, inhabiting a diverse array of habitats, temperature ranges, salinity, and niches in the world’s oceans and rivers. It is no wonder that these unique creatures, while usually boasting … [Read More]

5 Marine Aquarium Misconceptions I No Longer Espouse

Casting my mind back on my early days as a marine aquarium keeper, it’s funny how some of my stances on various aspects of the hobby have, shall we say, evolved in the intervening years. Of course, these changing opinions have led to different ways of doing things—and different ways of dispensing advice. Here are … [Read More]

The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized Aquariums

Among the so-called bristletooths of the genus Ctenochaetus is one of my favorite tang species and one that I highly recommend to other hobbyists with well-established, medium-sized to moderately large systems—the Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus). Physical traits C. strigosus, which is also sold under the common names yellow-eye tang, gold-ring bristletooth, and several others, has … [Read More]

How to Estimate the Right Aquarium Size for Any Given Fish Species

There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding the space requirements for fish in captivity. Indeed, this value varies greatly from one species to the next. However, instead of relying on guesswork, try the following method to accurately assess the space needs of your fish as they grow: 1) Determine the maximum adult size of the fish … [Read More]

Marine Aquarium Antacid: Understanding Alkalinity

When I first made the switch from freshwater to marine fishkeeping, I was somewhat befuddled by the term “alkalinity” as it’s typically used on the saltwater side of the hobby. During all my years of keeping freshwater systems, I had always used the term “alkaline” interchangeably with “basic.” In other words, with respect to the … [Read More]

When Marine Fish Mysteriously Disappear

You’re strolling past your marine aquarium, minding your own business, when you notice that something is amiss. The [insert name of fish here] that invariably comes right up to the front of the tank whenever you enter the room is nowhere to be found. You scan every inch of the tank, lift up every chunk … [Read More]