Marine Aquarium Acronyms: PE Defined

The marine aquarium hobby is second only to the US military when it comes to the number of acronyms its members throw around. (Quite fittingly, this past Monday was the 27th anniversary of my DOE. Shortly after that date, I entered BMT as an A1C and did lots of PC under the direction of a … [Read More]

For Reefkeepers, It’s Always Something!

Caribbean Chris, who is currently in the process of moving his family down to Florida (apparently Ohio in mid-winter isn’t sufficiently tropical for his taste!), recently tore down his 127-gallon Caribbean reef biotope aquarium and bequeathed to me a variety of different invertebrates, including several species of gorgonian, rock flower anemones, Ricordea, lettuce corals, and … [Read More]

The Lawnmower Blenny: a Funny, Fascinating Fish of Unpredictable Utility

The lawnmower blenny, aka the jeweled blenny, jeweled rockskipper, or sailfin blenny (Salarias fasciatus), is commonly purchased not just for its comical behavior and only-a-mother-could-love looks, but also for the utilitarian purpose of controlling algae in marine tanks. While you can pretty much count on this droll little fish to provide interest and entertainment, its … [Read More]

5 Maddening Things Marine Fish Do

I love marine fish. I really do. They’ve been part of my life for decades, and observing their beauty and behavior both in the wild and in aquaria seems to fulfill some primal need in me that’s, frankly, impossible to characterize. But then again, sometimes those scaly little creatures do things that absolutely drive me … [Read More]

The French Angelfish: Pretty, Curious, and Well Worth the Tank Space!

One of my more enduring memories of diving in the Florida Keys was coming across a pair of French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) gliding in unison above the reef. Unlike so many other fishes that dashed into hiding as I approached, the angels actually swam right into touching distance and seemed to take an interest in … [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]

5 Types of Marine Fish that are Reef Safe with Caveats

When we say a marine fish is “reef safe,” we usually mean that it won’t eat the corals or other sessile invertebrates that we keep in reef systems. Using that definition, we can easily determine that, for example, the peaceful, planktivorous purple dartfish (Nemateleotris decora) is completely reef safe but the exquisite butterflyfish (Chaetodon austriacus), … [Read More]

Keeping the Aptly Named Coral Beauty Angelfish

If you have a real yen for marine angelfishes but lack the tank space to accommodate one of the large iconic species, such as the queen angel (Holacanthus ciliaris) or French angel (Pomacanthus paru), you’ll be pleased to know that some really beautiful angelfishes actually come in fairly small packages. Of course, I’m referring to … [Read More]