Bubble-Tip Anemone Safety Tips

The bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor), or BTA, is justifiably popular in the marine aquarium hobby, being relatively hardy and easy to keep as anemones go as well as being a suitable host anemone for many clownfish species. But to horribly misquote legendary singer Dion DiMucci, “it’s the type of nem that likes to roam around”—particularly … [Read More]

Reef Aquarium Carbon Dosing Clarified

Carbon dosing is a relatively new phenomenon in the reef aquarium hobby. The first I heard about it was around two years ago, and I hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought until recently. The goal of carbon dosing is to improve water quality by lowering nitrates and phosphates. Nitrates and phosphates can lead … [Read More]

5 Reasons to Understock Your Marine Aquarium

Over the many years I’ve kept marine aquariums, guests in my home have more than occasionally noted the relatively low number of specimens, particularly fish, in my tanks. You could say it’s been a hallmark of my fishkeeping career to understock my aquariums, sometimes to the point that they look rather sparse. But there’s a … [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]

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]

When is it Okay to Leave a Dead Fish in a Marine Aquarium?

A fellow hobbyist once told that when a fish dies in his tank, he just leaves it there to rot because “that’s what happens in nature.” While he was right about the decomposition of a dead fish being natural, allowing it to happen within the confines of a closed aquarium system can be perilous depending … [Read More]

The Role of Activated Carbon in the Reef Aquarium

Of the three types of filtration used in the reef aquarium hobby today, biological, mechanical, and chemical, it is chemical filtration that is possibly the least understood. This post is all about activated carbon, the most popular type of chemical filtration used in aquariums. What is activated carbon? Activated carbon is a chemical filtration media … [Read More]

6 Reasons for Poor Protein Skimmer Foam Production

A properly sized protein skimmer is key to the success of any marine aquarium system—provided it’s actually doing the job it’s intended to do, that is. Sometimes protein skimmers just keep right on skimming with little or no foam and subsequent liquid skimmate to show for their effort. Why does this happen? Here are six … [Read More]

How to Handle a Hunger-Striking Saltwater Fish

Having a fish that refuses to eat anything offered—or having a specimen that had been eating suddenly lose all interest in food—is a problem virtually every marine aquarium hobbyist can expect to encounter at one time or another. While such “hunger strikes” can be extremely frustrating and disconcerting, they can usually be overcome with patience, … [Read More]

Marine Aquarium Acronyms: RO/DI Defined

As most marine aquarists will tell you—and as we point out frequently here at Saltwater Smarts—using purified source water for initial aquarium fill-ups, partial water changes, and freshwater top-offs is essential to maintaining the best possible water quality in a saltwater system. One of the more common methods hobbyists use to achieve this “purified source … [Read More]