The Deep Dive on Reef Aquarium Lighting, Part 1: Zooxanthellae, Color Temperature, and Light Intensity

Lighting is important because it directly affects how we visually enjoy the hobby and, more importantly, the vast majority of the corals in our tanks are photosynthetic. In this two-part article, we will first cover some of the basics of the light itself and then discuss the various lighting technologies people use to light their … [Read More]

Specialized Care is Key to Success with Sun Corals

When ascribed to the various species of the genus Tubastraea, the common name “sun coral” is both fitting and ironic. It’s fitting when you consider that the spectacular polyps of many Tubastraea species can quite justifiably be described as sun-like in both color and shape. On the other hand, it’s ironic in that these species, … [Read More]

Ricordea florida: an Underappreciated Caribbean Beauty

As an American reefkeeper, it’s all too easy for me to forget that some truly gorgeous invertebrate livestock originates relatively close to home in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. I was reminded of this recently when CC entrusted several of his Caribbean specimens to my care in advance of his pending move to the … [Read More]

Tridacna derasa: A Good Excuse to Clam Up!

Of all the Tridacna spp. clams available to hobbyists, perhaps the hardiest and easiest to maintain of them all is Tridacna derasa, the so-called smooth giant clam. This species is so smooth, in fact, that amorous, gold-chain-wearing male specimens have been overhead in bars making comments like, “Say, did it hurt when you fell from … [Read More]

The Hammer Coral: A Sizeable Stinger with Showpiece Potential

Several of the so-called large-polyp stony (LPS) corals offer the advantages of being very hardy, adaptable, and beautiful and, thus, make excellent reef aquarium candidates, even for relatively new reefkeepers. The hammer coral (Euphyllia ancora), however, I would characterize slightly differently. There’s no question this coral is gorgeous, but I would rate it as rather … [Read More]

Anemone Lookalike: The Long-Tentacled Plate Coral

Easily mistaken for an anemone at first glance, Heliofungia actiniformis is a large-polyp stony (LPS) coral that can be an excellent option for reefkeepers with modest-sized systems. Even relative newcomers to the reefkeeping hobby can succeed with this species, provided they make the effort to satisfy its few special care requirements. Physical traits Commonly known … [Read More]

Tridacna Clams in Reef Aquariums

Giant clams of the genus Tridacna are popular mollusks for reef aquariums. Oftentimes, people unfamiliar with the ocean are familiar only with the shells of clams. Their true beauty, however, can only be realized when they are living and healthy, as they have a thin mantle that is stunning to behold. Tridacna clam mantles have … [Read More]

6 Ways to Prevent Photoshock in Aquarium Corals

Many of the corals and other sessile invertebrates we keep in reef aquariums are considered “photosynthetic,” meaning much of their nutrition is produced by photosynthetic algae (zooxanthellae) residing in their tissues. Thus, there is a direct link between the type and intensity of a reef aquarium’s lighting and the health—or even survival—of the corals and … [Read More]

An Introduction to Reef Aquarium Lighting

Saltwater aquarists who choose to take the plunge into reef keeping quickly come to an interesting realization: The lighting used in such systems is of paramount importance. Whereas lighting in fish-only systems is primarily an aesthetic concern (for the most part, as long as the lights show off the fish to their best advantage, you’re … [Read More]