The Pacific Sailfin Tang: A Hardy, Bold Species Demanding Spacious Accommodations

The Pacific sailfin tang (Zebrasoma velifer), not to be confused with its Red Sea namesake (Zebrasoma desjardinii), is a fish with many attributes that make it desirable to marine aquarium hobbyists—it’s attractive, hardy, bold, easy to feed, etc. But don’t be deceived by that cute little specimen on display at your LFS. Z. velifer also … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: How Often Should Your Fish Fast?

Question I’ve been told that it’s a good idea to avoid feeding aquarium fish on occasion, for example once every week or once every other week. I guess this stands to reason because fish in nature can’t always get a meal. Do you agree with this, and if so, how frequently do you recommend doing … [Read More]

The Petite but Somewhat Pugnacious Atlantic Pygmy Angelfish

Having very recently departed the state of Ohio and resettled his family down in the Florida Keys, Caribbean Chris has had to part with his beloved, long-established Caribbean-biotope tank. He’s also had to come to terms with the reality that the specimens he bequeathed to me are now gracelessly intermingled with my Indo-Pacific species. So, … [Read More]

What Gives with that Marine Fish that Never Eats?

I’ve had this fish in my aquarium for months now and it’s as fat and happy as can be, yet I’ve never actually seen it consume any of the food’s I’ve offered. How on earth is it getting enough to eat?” Caribbean Chris and I often field queries like this here at Saltwater Smarts, 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]

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]

What Gives When Herbivores Won’t Graze Nuisance Algae?

The practice of adding herbivorous fish and/or invertebrate species to marine aquariums for the purpose of nuisance algae control is quite commonplace. Hence the popularity of those herbivore packages known in hobby parlance as “cleanup crews,” or CUCs. But almost as common is the experience of adding a herbivorous species or CUC to eradicate algae … [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]

The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized Aquariums

Among the so-called bristletooths of the genus Ctenochaetus is one of my favorite tang species and one that I highly recommend to other hobbyists with well-established, medium-sized to moderately large systems—the Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus). Physical traits C. strigosus, which is also sold under the common names yellow-eye tang, gold-ring bristletooth, and several others, has … [Read More]

The Lowdown on Live Rock

“Live rock”: It’s one of the first terms new saltwater aquarium hobbyists hear—and one of the first times (of many) they may find themselves scratching their heads in bewilderment. Let’s clear up the confusion! What on earth is live rock? What exactly does this seemingly oxymoronic term describe? Is it another name for a stony … [Read More]