Halichoeres chrysus: A Hardy Little “Banana with Fins” That’s Just Right for Beginners

Known by a variety of common names—banana wrasse, canary wrasse, golden wrasse, yellow coris, et al—Halichoeres chrysus is hardy, readily available, reasonably affordable, well suited to modest-sized systems, and among the better choices for beginners. Of course, owing to all these positive attributes, this wrasse is justifiably popular among many seasoned salties, as well. Physical … [Read More]

Acropora for Beginners

With the introduction of more aquaculture and mariculture facilities, there has been a boom in specimens available at the local fish stores these days. But I will say for certain that if you can get a frag from a successful hobbyist, those tend to be even more robust and better able to tolerate the variations … [Read More]

The Iconic Raccoon Butterflyfish

Some of the marine fish we like to keep are surprisingly recognizable to both hobbyists and non-hobbyists alike—probably because they’re frequently depicted in photographs and artwork. Among these iconic fishes is the raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula) of the Indo-Pacific and southeast Atlantic, a very hardy species that’s better than your average butterfly in terms of … [Read More]

The Best Beginner Large-Polyp Stony Corals

Throughout my years as an aquarium enthusiast, I have followed all the advice from all the books I could get my hands on since there were no other hobbyists with the same interest as I in my circle of friends growing up. My aquatic progression took the following path: 5-gallon slate & stainless-steel-framed fancy guppy … [Read More]

The Best Beginner Small-Polyp Stony Corals

Upon entering the world of small polyp stony corals (or SPS), many people ask the magic question, “Which types are best for beginners?” In my opinion the most beginner-friendly choices are found in the genera Montipora, Pocillopora, Seriatopora, and Stylophora. Most of the corals I’ll discuss here are commonly available, so there should be a … [Read More]

5 Traits of a “Beginner” Marine Fish

What exactly does it mean when we say that a marine fish is “good for beginners”? After all, it’s not like certain fish species come with training wheels or have a set of care instructions tattooed on their dorsal fins (though I may just have to patent that idea). So what sets a “beginner fish” … [Read More]

So Much to Dig about Montipora digitata!

As I grew to love SPS corals, one in particular stood out and caught my eye: Montipora digitata. I have found M. digitata to be a fast-growing, hardy SPS coral that, once established in a well-balanced reef tank, can really take off in growth. This coral also has very unique growth patterns and comes in … [Read More]

Discosoma Mushrooms: Beautiful, Adaptable, Beginner-Friendly Corals

Some of the most beautiful creatures in this hobby are neither rare nor difficult to keep but get glossed over by experienced reef aquarists because they are not the “latest and greatest” coral specimens that landed on our shores. So today, I want to talk about Discosoma mushroom corallimorphs because they are both excellent for … [Read More]