Saltwater Smarts in 2015: Looking Forward to an Exciting New Year

Since Chris and I launched Saltwater Smarts back in April of 2013, we’ve been immensely gratified to welcome a steadily increasing number of visitors to our site, to have the opportunity to share our personal insights on a wide variety of topics related to marine aquarium keeping, as well as to bring you authoritative perspectives … [Read More]

Live Rock Hitchhikers: Tunicates (Sea Squirts)

Among the more fascinating creatures that commonly make their way into marine aquariums as stowaways on good-quality live rock are tunicates, or sea squirts. In terms of visual interest, these animals can be quite dazzling, with some exhibiting spectacular coloration or resembling small, delicate, translucent pitchers or urns. What are they? Tunicates are filter-feeding marine … [Read More]

Ecsenius bicolor: a Beginner-Friendly Blenny with Real Character

Included in the Indo-Pacific genus Ecsenius are several interesting, beginner-friendly, generally aquarium-worthy blennies, among them the popular bicolor blenny (E. bicolor). This species’ modest size and bottom-dwelling habit also make it a great choice for smaller aquarium systems. Physical traits Though by no means brightly colored, E. bicolor is attractive nonetheless. Actually, there are several … [Read More]

What Scuba Diving Has Taught Me About Keeping Marine Aquariums

While sitting here contemplating how long it’s been since I’ve gone scuba diving (answer: way too long), it occurred to me that one can draw many parallels between the avocations of scuba diving and marine aquarium keeping. I’m not referring to the observation of marine life here—though that’s unquestionably a major element of both activities—but … [Read More]

5 Signs of Inadequate Water Movement in Reef Aquariums

Proper water circulation is one of many elements that are key to maintaining a healthy reef system. While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all water-flow scheme (you really have to tailor the flow to the unique needs of the invertebrates you keep), there are certain signs that will tip you off to inadequate circulation. … [Read More]

6 Comments Non-Hobbyists Make When Viewing Marine Aquariums

The other day, two installers were in my home laying a new vinyl floor in my kitchen when they took note of my aquariums. One of them was especially enthralled by my reef tank (which is ironic—more on this later) and asked about a dozen questions. He even took out his phone and snapped a … [Read More]

Go Ahead and Buy a (Captive-Bred) Banggai Cardinalfish!

Being fascinating to behold, very hardy and adaptable to aquarium fare, an exceptional choice for reef systems, suitable for modest-sized aquariums, and even easy to breed in captivity, the Banggai, or Kaudern’s, cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is a lot like Mary Poppins—practically perfect in every way. Physical traits P. kauderni is silver overall with tiny white … [Read More]

Tridacna Clams in Reef Aquariums

Giant clams of the genus Tridacna are popular mollusks for reef aquariums. Oftentimes, people unfamiliar with the ocean are familiar only with the shells of clams. Their true beauty, however, can only be realized when they are living and healthy, as they have a thin mantle that is stunning to behold. Tridacna clam mantles have … [Read More]

When Should Squabbling Marine Fish Be Separated?

I recently introduced a Kole tang to my tank, and it keeps getting in fights with the resident yellow tang. So far, neither one has been seriously hurt, but I’m worried about where this is heading. Do I need to separate these two, or will they eventually chill out and coexist peacefully?” Over the years, … [Read More]

5 Common Causes of Marine Aquarium Ammonia Spikes

You come home from a long, vexing day at work only to notice that the fish in your marine aquarium are all gasping at the surface of the water or cowering in a corner of the tank and behaving lethargically. Panicked, you promptly test your water parameters and discover that ammonia is present. The tank … [Read More]