Salty Q&A: Can We Do Better for Beginners than Caveat Emptor?

Question I recently had a frustrating experience at a major chain pet store in my area. I watched as the aquarium department salesperson sold a type of butterflyfish that has a very specialized diet to a self-identified newbie, and he didn’t bother to tell this customer anything about it. The fish probably isn’t going to … [Read More]

Top 10 Traits of a Successful Reefkeeper

As marine aquarium hobbyists, we can buy a lot of things to make our experience better and easier, but when it comes to long-term reefkeeping success, the “right stuff” doesn’t come from a store. In addition to a genuine love for marine life, the following 10 traits will serve you well on your journey to … [Read More]

Ask Yourself These Questions Before Starting Your First Saltwater Aquarium

One of our primary goals here at Saltwater Smarts is to give budding marine aquarists all the insights and information they need to embark upon this challenging hobby with their eyes wide open. Encouraging prior research on techniques, equipment, and livestock is, of course, a major aspect of this, but even before the research stage, … [Read More]

Is the Internet a Viable Resource for Marine Aquarium Research?

Virtually since the advent of the internet, there’s been a tendency in our hobby to rate the reliability and trustworthiness of online content beneath that of print-format materials—books, magazines, and so forth. But is this assessment really fair? The general premises behind this viewpoint are: Anyone with a computer and internet connection can post anything … [Read More]

Failure to Launch: 5 Reasons New Marine Aquarium Hobbyists “Crash and Burn”

It’s a tale as old as the hobby itself: A novice marine aquarist sets up his or her first system, runs headlong into every conceivable obstacle and pitfall, responds with a series of misguided decisions, loses a whole tank’s worth of fish and corals, and finally chucks the entire hobby in frustration and despair, all … [Read More]

What Scuba Diving Has Taught Me About Keeping Marine Aquariums

While sitting here contemplating how long it’s been since I’ve gone scuba diving (answer: way too long), it occurred to me that one can draw many parallels between the avocations of scuba diving and marine aquarium keeping. I’m not referring to the observation of marine life here—though that’s unquestionably a major element of both activities—but … [Read More]

How to Estimate the Right Aquarium Size for Any Given Fish Species

There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding the space requirements for fish in captivity. Indeed, this value varies greatly from one species to the next. However, instead of relying on guesswork, try the following method to accurately assess the space needs of your fish as they grow: 1) Determine the maximum adult size of the fish … [Read More]

9 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Marine Fish Aquarium

There’s no better teacher than experience, and with nearly a half century of saltwater aquarium keeping under his belt, Richard “Dick” Hilgers certainly has plenty of experiences to share! Currently the owner of The Cultured Reef, a coral-aquaculture facility located in Fort Pierce, Florida, Dick first took the plunge into the saltwater hobby back in … [Read More]

Research Your New Saltwater Aquarium. Don’t Gamble with Success!

You’ve, no doubt, heard the old saying, “Nothing succeeds like success.” Nowhere is this adage more true than in the saltwater aquarium hobby. Trust us when we say that learning the fundamentals of saltwater aquarium keeping before heading to your local fish store with cash in hand will pay huge dividends down the road. Don’t … [Read More]