Marine Aquarium Aquascaping: The Rule of Thirds

Aficionados of freshwater planted aquariums have long understood that observing certain rules of composition when aquascaping with plants, rocks, driftwood, and other features can have a tremendous impact on an aquarium’s overall aesthetic impression. While we reefkeepers haven’t traditionally placed much emphasis on composition in our aquascaping approach—at least not in a formal sense—we can … [Read More]

What’s Your Aquascaping Rock of Choice?

Today’s marine aquarists have more options than ever before when it comes to the types of rock used to aquascape their tanks—from live rocks, whether aquacultured or wild-harvested, to all manner of dry rocks and even natural-looking man-made rocks. Each type has its advantages and drawbacks, and the choice that’s best for any given hobbyist … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Should You Scrub New Live Rock?

Question I’ll be receiving a shipment of live rocks in a few days, and I could use some advice on how to clean them up before putting them in my tank. Do I just need to give them a good going over with a scrub brush?” – Submitted by Chuck S. Answer I wouldn’t use … [Read More]

The Use of Negative Space in the Reef Aquarium Aquascape

One of the more interesting developments in the reefkeeping hobby, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the latest, greatest gadget or advance in water-quality-management methodology. Rather, it’s an evolving aesthetic in aquascaping. Bored with the traditional monolithic stack of rocks propped up against the back pane and consuming much of the tank’s volume, … [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]

Avoid These 5 Live Rock Aquascaping Pitfalls

Your long-anticipated live rock shipment has finally arrived at your doorstep, and you can’t wait to get it in your tank and start watching as life emerges from those gnarly chunks. Though you’re understandably eager to forge ahead putting the rocks in place, it’s critical at this stage to give more than passing thought to … [Read More]

The Many Means of Nutrient Export in Marine Aquariums

Dissolved nutrients. Sounds like a good thing, right? After all, every organism needs nutrients in one form or another in order to grow and stay in good health. So why are marine aquarium hobbyists—particularly reefkeepers—seemingly so fixated on keeping the level of dissolved nutrients in their systems as low as possible? To understand this fixation, … [Read More]

DIY Rock for the Marine Aquarium

What is the most expensive part of starting a marine aquarium? No, it’s not the tank itself or the pumps, water, or creatures. It is the rock. Live rock can cost upwards of $7.00 per pound, and a pound of rock is about the size of a small apple. A decent-sized tank can require hundreds … [Read More]

Why Many Marine Fish Benefit From Mature Tanks

Astute salties out there will likely have observed that in some of our fish species profiles, we emphasize the need to keep the fish in a “mature” aquarium—meaning one that has been set up and established for at least six months or so (not one that has progressed beyond telling horrible knock-knock jokes or taunting … [Read More]

Simple Tips for Effective Marine Aquarium Aquascaping

Since we launched Saltwater Smarts, we’ve been sprinkling the term “aquascaping” into our posts with reckless abandon. While many of you seasoned salties out there might be well acquainted with this term, others may find themselves scratching their heads each time they come across it. Aquascaping simply refers to the manner in which the rockwork, … [Read More]