Why Are We Drawn to Marine Aquarium Keeping?

Recently, while going through the motions of an overdue water change in my 125-gallon FOWLR tank, I found myself reflecting upon this bizarre obsession of ours. I wondered why, given all the cost, effort, and frustration that go into setting up and maintaining a marine aquarium, anyone with his or her full faculties would actually … [Read More]

Sand-sifting Starfish: A Job (too) Well Done!

If you’ve ever shopped for a marine aquarium cleanup crew, you’ve probably noticed that these packages often include so-called sand-sifting starfish—rather bland-colored, burrowing stars of the genus Astropecten that can reach about a foot in diameter. As their common name implies, these stars are sold to hobbyists for the purpose of consuming detritus and uneaten … [Read More]

Why Territoriality is a Major Issue in Marine Tanks

One of the more challenging aspects of marine fishkeeping, particularly for those interested in creating a mixed community of interesting fishes, is choosing different species that will coexist peacefully in captivity. This might seem easy enough given the fact that, in the wild, so many different species can often be found sharing the same patch … [Read More]

Humbug Damsel: Prepping for the Hunt

There’s a reason I chose to spotlight Dascyllus aruanus, the humbug or three-striped damselfish, in this profile. “Caribbean” Chris and I will soon be matching wits with four representatives of this species that have laid claim to a large marine aquarium situated in one of our local coffee shops. Steve, the shop’s owner, is at … [Read More]

4 More Simple Accessories Repurposed for Marine Aquariums

Back in June of this year, we ran a post titled “My Top 6 Simple Accessories Repurposed for Marine Aquariums,” in which I discussed several inexpensive household items that can be converted to aquarium tools in various and sundry ways. Of course, that list, which included razor blades, plastic milk jugs, plastic storage bins, toothbrushes, … [Read More]

The Trouble with Coral Trade Names

The reefkeeping hobby today is full of colorful trade names for corals, and it appears that, for better or for worse, the trend is here to stay. Tidal Gardens has plenty of corals with goofy names, so we are the last folks in the world who should be judgmental about the practice. As a seller, … [Read More]

Oriental Sweetlips: So Pretty but Seldom Suitable for Marine Systems

I recently wrote a post about the options available to hobbyists who have unwittingly purchased a tankbuster fish. The subject of today’s post—the oriental sweetlips (Plectorhinchus vittatus)—could very well serve as the “poster fish” for that situation if it weren’t for its dismal survival record in captivity. This Indo-Pacific species is one of several fishes … [Read More]

4 Acclimation Stage Issues for Marine Aquarium Fish

When we consider the term “acclimation” as it relates to marine aquarium fish, we usually think of the relatively brief period during which—with the hobbyist’s help—they gradually adjust to the temperature, pH, and other water parameters in a new system. But in actuality, it takes several days to weeks after introduction for a fish to … [Read More]

Stenopus hispidus: A Look at a Popular Boxer Shrimp

Among the various ornamental crustaceans available in the marine aquarium trade, one of the most popular and easiest to obtain is Stenopus hispidus, the banded coral shrimp, also known by the common names coral banded shrimp, banded boxer shrimp, barber pole shrimp, and others. This shrimp’s widespread availability and usually very affordable price tag can … [Read More]

The Many Possible Purposes of the Saltwater Refugium

“Refugium” is a hobby term that resists easy definition. This is probably so because, unlike most aquarium accoutrements—heaters, powerheads, protein skimmers, lights, etc.—there’s no single, readily identifiable purpose for a refugium. Ask 10 different hobbyists what a refugium is for, and you’re apt to get 10 different answers. Essentially, a refugium is some sort of … [Read More]