Techniques for Maintaining Calcium and Alkalinity in Reef Tanks

Calcium and alkalinity are vitally important chemical parameters in reef aquariums. They are used by stony corals to build their calcium carbonate skeletons. A lack of calcium and alkalinity in the water will inhibit the growth of reef-building corals and invertebrates, which will eventually lead to health problems. What is calcium? Calcium is one of … [Read More]

The Pros and Cons of a Bare-Bottomed Marine Tank

If you’re in the process of planning and setting up a new saltwater aquarium, you’ll need to give some thought to the type of substrate you’d like to use. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of your options in this area is to dispense with any sort of substrate altogether and go bare-bottomed (BB). To … [Read More]

Orchid Dottyback: Hardy, Peaceful, and Just Right for Reef Tanks

Captive breeding of marine fishes has been a boon to our hobby in any number of ways, one of which is democratizing access to formerly really pricy species such as the orchid dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani). While I wouldn’t characterize the current market price of this Red Sea species as “cheap,” it’s definitely in the realm … [Read More]

Fish or Fishes? Shoal or School? A Few Fishy Terms Defined

In my nearly two decades as an aquarium writer and editor, I’ve noticed that certain terms routinely used in hobby literature when discussing our fine, finny friends are often a source of confusion to readers. So for today’s post, I thought it might be nice to clarify a few of these terms for those who … [Read More]

A Recap of the MBI Workshop 2014

Hosted by the Marinelife Aquarium Society of Michigan (MASM) and the Marine Breeding Initiative (MBI), and held July 19, 2014 at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, this was the fifth workshop they have offered dealing solely with the captive breeding of marine species. This approach supports the sustainability of the aquarium hobby … [Read More]

Clearing the Air on Ozone: Part 2

In the first installment of this series, we examined the confirmable uses of ozone gas in the home aquarium. We saw ozone having a positive effect on the nitrogen cycle and doing a great job creating ultra-clear water conditions by breaking up suspended particles. We also examined the biggest myth of using ozone—that it will … [Read More]

It Pays to Put Marine Fish on Hold

Marine aquarists are always hearing that it’s unwise to purchase fish or other marine livestock on impulse—that they should thoroughly research any stocking decision to make sure the animal in question is appropriate for their system, compatible with their existing livestock, and a good match for their level of expertise. All good advice to take … [Read More]

Clearing the Air on Ozone: Part 1

The use of ozone in home aquaria is far from a new idea. In fact, 20+ years ago, ozone was commonly used by both public aquaria and hobbyists alike. I experimented with the use of ozone on my classroom system a little over a decade ago. However, the system I invested in was of very … [Read More]

Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef-Safe Angelfish

Owing to the natural tendency of many species to nip at or outright consume sessile invertebrates, angelfishes are often of dubious suitability when it comes to their inclusion in reef aquariums. However, at least one angelfish—Lamarck’s angel (Genicanthus lamarck)—is generally very well behaved in reef systems and quite attractive to boot. Physical traits G. lamarck … [Read More]

The Role of Magnesium in Marine Aquarium Chemistry

One of the big differences in moving from freshwater systems to saltwater systems is a greater emphasis on water chemistry. There is a pretty steep learning curve to get a handle on all the different chemical parameters, and it can be a source of frustration for many aspiring reef hobbyists. In aquariums with an abundance … [Read More]