An Introduction to Protein Skimming

A protein skimmer is a device designed to clean the water in a reef aquarium by removing dissolved organic compounds. Put even more simply, it is a controlled overflow of dirty water. Imagine a chamber that vigorously mixes air and water to create a dense foam. The cleaning action is because of the tiny bubbles … [Read More]

Marine Aquarium Terminology: Activated Carbon vs. Carbon Dosing

As if our hobby weren’t perplexing enough to the average beginner given all the oddball jargon we toss around, things can get doubly befuddling for novices when they come across two or more similar-sounding terms that actually apply to very different concepts. Such confusion could easily arise, for example, when newcomers are first confronted with … [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 Reasons to Understock Your Marine Aquarium

Over the many years I’ve kept marine aquariums, guests in my home have more than occasionally noted the relatively low number of specimens, particularly fish, in my tanks. You could say it’s been a hallmark of my fishkeeping career to understock my aquariums, sometimes to the point that they look rather sparse. But there’s a … [Read More]

The Role of Activated Carbon in the Reef Aquarium

Of the three types of filtration used in the reef aquarium hobby today, biological, mechanical, and chemical, it is chemical filtration that is possibly the least understood. This post is all about activated carbon, the most popular type of chemical filtration used in aquariums. What is activated carbon? Activated carbon is a chemical filtration media … [Read More]

BGA Battle Plan: Controlling Cyanobacteria in Saltwater Aquariums

You’re relaxing in front of your saltwater aquarium, enjoying the beautiful undersea vista you’ve created when you notice a few red, algae-like patches on your live rock that weren’t there before. You reach into the tank and give one of these growths a few taps with your finger and notice that it feels rather slimy … [Read More]

Protein Skimming: Bubble Your Way to Better Water Quality

Saltwater aquarium hobbyists today have a dizzying array of devices, doodads, and doohickeys at their disposal for improving water quality and maintaining appropriate water parameters. Some of these items are essential for aquarium success, while others might be more appropriately placed under the heading of “bells and whistles.” High on the list of what we … [Read More]