Marine Aquarium Acclimation: Bridging the Specific Gravity Gap

In today’s post, I’d like to address a very common issue marine aquarium hobbyists encounter when purchasing livestock (particularly fish) and offer a simple method for addressing it. The issue in question is how to deal with the dramatic difference in specific gravity (SG) that often exists between dealers’ display tanks and home aquariums when … [Read More]

5 Myths About Marine Quarantine Tanks

Quarantine tanks are often discussed/written about as though they require very little effort, planning, or expense. Just dust off that 10-gallon plastic “critter keeper” sitting on the shelf, fill it with salt water, drop in a heater and sponge filter, and you’re good to go, right? Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. One could argue … [Read More]

‘Tis the Coral Frag Swap Season, Fa La La…

September may be a long way from Christmas, but for reefkeepers, it’s the next best thing. September is the unofficial kickoff of the coral fragment swap season. Soon the eyes and hearts of reefkeepers everywhere will turn to swapper pages and message boards, searching for that special piece that the keeper just can’t live without. … [Read More]

In the Marine Aquarium Hobby, “Close Enough” Just Won’t Cut It!

When it comes to achieving success with a marine aquarium, there’s a certain “X Factor” that comes into play—the hobbyist’s attention to detail. Let’s face it, some of us are pretty focused on making sure every parameter, measurement, calculation, and setting is spot on, while others tend to be a bit more, well, lackadaisical in … [Read More]

The Powder Blue Tang: An Iconic Beauty Demanding Exceptional Care

The powder blue tang (Acanthurus leucosternon) is a breathtakingly beautiful, widely recognized (even among non-hobbyists) marine fish that can be a real pain to maintain in aquaria. While it is possible to keep one successfully under ideal conditions, most specimens that enter the aquarium trade unfortunately perish within a short period after purchase. Why such … [Read More]

5 Marine Aquarium Misconceptions I No Longer Espouse

Casting my mind back on my early days as a marine aquarium keeper, it’s funny how some of my stances on various aspects of the hobby have, shall we say, evolved in the intervening years. Of course, these changing opinions have led to different ways of doing things—and different ways of dispensing advice. Here are … [Read More]

Don’t Contaminate Your Saltwater Aquarium!

When we think about toxins in a marine aquarium, the first thing that usually comes to mind is ammonia or a toxic allelopathic chemical released by a coral—in other words, a biologically produced toxin originating in the tank itself. But sometimes hobbyists are unwitting sources of harmful compounds or pathogens from outside the aquarium. As … [Read More]

7 Guidelines for Mindful Medication of Marine Aquarium Fish

Let’s face it, when a fish in our care exhibits symptoms that might suggest disease, we want to fix the problem and we want to fix it fast. What that usually means is running to the local fish store and frantically scanning the medication aisle for a product that seems to cover the condition in … [Read More]

Freshwater Dip: Help Prevent External Parasites in 4 Steps

All my fish are infected with ich! Now what do I do? This is the all-too-common lament of impatient hobbyists who habitually introduce new fish to an established aquarium without a period of quarantine and other preventive measures. They may get away with this “pour-and-pray” method for a time, but eventually their luck will run … [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]