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]

Sometimes Fish Eat the Funniest Things!

Carnivorous fish eat meat, herbivorous fish eat algae/plants, and omnivorous fish eat both. That’s the order of things, and any fish we buy for our aquariums should fit nicely into one of these categories so we know exactly what to feed it, right? Well, if that’s the case, why on earth do my blue-chin triggers … [Read More]

Astraea Snails Make Short Work of Algae

This past year, I rediscovered how great an army of snails can be. At Tidal Gardens, we go pretty light on cleanup crews in general. For example, there really aren’t any hermit crabs to speak of in our systems. In 5,000 gallons of reef tanks, there may be only one or two hermit crabs. Most … [Read More]

Inappropriate Feeding—Not Just Overfeeding—Kills Marine Fish

“We lose a lot more fish to overfeeding than we do to underfeeding.” I’ve read or written that sentence—or some variation upon it—more times than I can recollect. While I still consider this statement to be true on balance, I think placing undue emphasis on overfeeding versus other forms of inappropriate feeding can lead to … [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]

Salt Speak – Episode 4: Blended Frozen Aquarium Foods

Here we go…the fourth installment of Salt Speak coming at you in 3, 2, 1! The topic of this episode is blended frozen aquarium foods – a product most aquarists use (or have used) in their aquarium. To gain some industry insights and pass them along to you, our loyal readers and viewers, I gave … [Read More]

Naso lituratus: a Sleek, Striking, Outstanding Fish for Spacious Marine Aquariums

Certain marine fish really make me wish I could afford to set up and maintain a much larger aquarium. Among these is Naso lituratus, the lipstick tang, aka the naso tang, tricolor tang, or orangespine unicornfish. Alas, this hardy, attractive Pacific species (according to Fishbase, the very similar Indian Ocean and Red Sea populations once … [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]