About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.

Marine Aquarium Projects for Home-Bound Hobbyists

Here in Ohio, we just received the official order to stay at home in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, and similar orders are being given all over the US and around the world. That means a whole lot of people are suddenly looking for ways to stay productively occupied in their homes … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Can I Kickstart My Cycle with Aquarium Water?

Q: I’m a newbie aquarium hobbyist and just starting to set up my first tank, which will be a 40-gallon soft-coral reef system with a few small fish. A friend of mine, who is also fairly new to the hobby but already has an operating tank, has explained the importance of cycling to me. I’m … [Read More]

The Flower Anemone: A Hardy Caribbean Beauty

Anemones are iconic marine organisms that have long captured the imagination of saltwater aquarium hobbyists. Unfortunately, many of these iconic critters are poorly suited to life in the average home aquarium. Even those that are generally considered good aquarium candidates, such as the popular bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor), are still demanding in terms of their … [Read More]

The Most Important Takeaway for Novice Marine Aquarists

I was recently perusing a popular saltwater aquarium forum and came across a post from a novice hobbyist who is considering making the switch from freshwater to saltwater aquarium keeping. He had heard that the saltwater side of the hobby can be exorbitantly expensive and wanted to know which of a list of devices other … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Need Advice on GFO Use

Q: I’m thinking about using GFO in my reef tank, but this product is new to me, so I have a few questions before I go ahead and buy it: Does GFO really do a good job of lowering nitrate and phosphate? Can I just put this product in a media bag and place it … [Read More]

Plan for an Accessible Saltwater Aquarium

There’s a lot to consider when planning a new saltwater aquarium system—where to site the tank in your home, what sort of livestock you’d like to keep, what equipment will serve your needs best, how to gaslight your significant other into believing the system isn’t new at all but, in fact, has been there all … [Read More]

Marine Aquarium Issue? Give the Fix Time to Take Effect

There’s an oft-repeated adage in this hobby that you can take to the bank: “Only bad things happen quickly in marine aquariums” (or some variation upon that general theme). In other words, while problems in marine aquariums seem to crop up overnight, effectively solving said problems tends to be a frustratingly long, drawn-out affair. Getting … [Read More]

Salty Q&A: Water-Change-Induced Algal Bloom

Question: I recently did a 25-percent water change in my reef aquarium, and later that same day a film of green algae appeared on the glass. I cleaned it off with an algae magnet only to have it reappear just a few hours later. That was about a week ago. The algae film seems to … [Read More]

Don’t Underestimate the Individuality of Marine Fish

On numerous prior posts here at Saltwater Smarts, I’ve pointed out that a certain degree of behavioral variability is often seen among individual specimens of the same fish species. But what exactly do I mean by this and why does it matter to marine aquarium hobbyists? The type of “behavioral variability” I’m referring to here … [Read More]

Why I’m Second-Guessing Strictly Observational Quarantine

For most of my years as a saltwater aquarium hobbyist, I’ve made a point of quarantining all new fish before introducing them to my main system. By and large, my approach to the quarantine process has been observational—that is, watching specimens closely for signs of disease and treating them only if symptoms appear in order … [Read More]