5 Practical Uses for Rock Rubble in Marine Aquaria

When working with rocks, live or otherwise, in marine aquaria, we often end up with little chunks of rubble that break off the larger pieces. While this rubble may not be particularly useful for large aquascaping projects, it can come in quite handy in a variety of different ways, so don’t be too quick to … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Is a Sump the Same as a Refugium?

Question What exactly is the difference between a “sump” and a “refugium” (assuming there is a difference)? These are terms I didn’t hear in my 30-plus years as a freshwater aquarist, but I’ve heard them numerous times since starting my first saltwater tank.” – Submitted by Moira B Answer There is a distinction between a … [Read More]

How Much Live Rock Do You Really Need?

Once hobby newcomers learn what live rock is and all the benefits it can provide in marine aquariums, the next big question they invariably ask is, “How much of it do I need for my tank?” More experienced fellow hobbyists, eager to be of help, typically respond with a pat answer along the lines of … [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]

5 Myths About Marine Quarantine Tanks

Quarantine tanks are often discussed/written about as though they require very little effort, planning, or expense. Just dust off that 10-gallon plastic “critter keeper” sitting on the shelf, fill it with salt water, drop in a heater and sponge filter, and you’re good to go, right? Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. One could argue … [Read More]

When is it Okay to Leave a Dead Fish in a Marine Aquarium?

A fellow hobbyist once told that when a fish dies in his tank, he just leaves it there to rot because “that’s what happens in nature.” While he was right about the decomposition of a dead fish being natural, allowing it to happen within the confines of a closed aquarium system can be perilous depending … [Read More]

The Minimal Role of Mechanical Filtration in Marine Aquariums

Mechanical filtration—the physical straining out of suspended particulates from aquarium water—has something of a mixed reputation among marine aquarium hobbyists. This may seem odd to those with experience in the freshwater side of the hobby, where the use of hang-on-back and canister power filters is quite commonplace. But then, freshwater fishkeepers tend to think of … [Read More]

How to Cycle Your Saltwater Tank

Before any aquarium can support livestock, whether fish or invertebrates, it must be completely “cycled”—another way of saying that biofiltration must be fully established in the system. Sounds good, but what on earth does that mean? A system is considered cycled when it has been colonized by beneficial bacteria that convert deadly ammonia—produced through the … [Read More]

Getting to the Bottom of Aquarium Sand and other Substrates

The choice of substrate—the material placed on the bottom of the tank—for a saltwater aquarium is one of many areas in our hobby that generate confusion and disagreement. Ask 10 hobbyists which type and depth of substrate they would recommend, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. The truth is, there’s no single substrate particle … [Read More]