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When not to acclimate?

anthias6Acclimation procedure is ingrained in every advanced marine aquarist. While it’s of dramatic importance, it seems like no two aquarists use the exact same procedure. Fish stress is a major contributor to loss of livestock. Once removed from the ocean, these animals are literally on a whirlwind journey before reaching our tanks. I’ve written before about acclimation procedures that use a quarantine tank to match shipping bag’s water, allowing for a faster acclimation and getting your new tenant in an aquarium as soon as possible. To take it one step further, I want to talk about scenarios were acclimation should be avoided altogether, by first admitting that such scenarios do exist.  MORE

That perfect lighting schedule – what you need to know

You set up your tank, buy some shiny new lights, plug them into timers and then wait… how long should they be on? What will match your routine? What about the health of your reef? Fish and corals in nature are very aware of the daily cycle, so much so that if you purchase a wrasse from another part of the earth, it will still be on that schedule. I’ve purchased wrasses in the past that stayed in the sandbed way longer than expected, emerging hours after the lights came on because their internal clock was still calibrated to the previous time zone. After a couple of weeks, it would reset so precisely that it would circle and hover over the perfect spot mere seconds before the lights shut off. Pretty fascinating to watch, I have to tell you.If you have a simple system with T5 bulbs, your options may be limited to how many bulbs you can turn on at a time MORE: That perfect lighting schedule – what you need to know

Sicce Syncra Nano: In Depth Review

Sicce Syncra Nano
 first presented the small Sicce Syncra Nano at the end of last year, and we are here today to present our review of this interesting, tiny product.  MORE

Opinion: Selling Baby Seahorses Is Wrong

It happens every so often. Someone discovers just how easily seahorses breed, but can’t raise the babies, or discover the expense and time it takes to raise seahorses and so they decide they can sell the seahorse fry and make some money doing it. Unfortunately, it’s a mistake and it ends badly for everyone but the seller. To understand why selling seahorse fry is wrong, we need to look at what causes this situation. Seahorses breed extremely easily More: Opinion: Selling Baby Seahorses Is Wrong

Authoritative New Guide Offers Expert Insights on Marine Fish Diseases

If Chris and I were to categorize all the questions we receive here at Saltwater Smarts, it’s safe to say the vast majority would fit under the heading of “fish disease and health issues.” While we’re always happy to offer advice to our fellow salties and help them succeed in any way we can, responding to fish disease inquiries in this forum presents some very significant challenges. Among them is the fact that neither of us is a veterinarian (though Chris may play one on TV) and any diagnosis/treatment advice we might dispense is essentially a “best guess.” What’s more, it’s extremely difficult—oftentimes impossible—to determine what’s actually wrong with a fish and recommend an appropriate course of treatment based solely on a description of symptoms and, potentially, a photo of the ailing specimen. With this dilemma in mind, we asked ourselves, “How can we provide Saltwater Smarts visitors with reliable, authoritative advice on fish diseases rather than mere guesswork that might end up doing more harm than good?” In seeking an answer, we approached Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo and an avid aquarium hobbyist with over 45 years of experience under his belt. Jay is one of the first people Chris and I turn to when we have an aquarium-related question we can’t answer or problem we can’t resolve. He’s also an accomplished author, having written six books and over 150 articles on aquarium-related topics. So you can imagine that we were both beyond gratified when, upon hearing our dilemma, Jay agreed to pen an eBook on marine fish diseases to be published here at Saltwater Smarts. More: Authoritative New Guide Offers Expert Insights on Marine Fish Diseases

Beautiful Photo’s Show Minnows Once A Year Spawn In Key Largo

minowsHappy New Year!! Here’s to a 2015 filled with health, happiness and fish!! Silverside minnows spawn just once a year, in the coral reefs off the coast of Key Large, Florida. Every year the minnows gather in shoals around the aptly named ‘minnow caves’. The caves are just around 20-25 ft underwater, surrounded by beautiful coral reefs. The reefs are a very popular dive site for the abundance of coral and marine life at such accessible depths. MORE

Saltwater Smarts in 2015: Looking Forward to an Exciting New Year

Since Chris and I launched Saltwater Smarts back in April of 2013, we’ve been immensely gratified to welcome a steadily increasing number of visitors to our site, to have the opportunity to share our personal insights on a wide variety of topics related to marine aquarium keeping, as well as to bring you authoritative perspectives from a variety of aquarium industry professionals and other seasoned hobbyists. Special thanks to all who helped make 2014 such a stellar year here at Saltwater Smarts: our regular contributors, Jay Hemdal, Than Thein, Paul Baldassano (PaulB), Paul Poeschl, and Dave Bowers; our site sponsors, Doctors Foster and Smith, Tidal Gardens, Advanced Reef Aquarium, GHL, Coral Reef LLC,, and Majano Wand; and, of course, each and every salty out there who took the time to visit our site over the past year! Today, as we stand on the cusp of 2015, we’re bullish about our trajectory and looking forward to some exciting changes and new offerings ahead. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect from Saltwater Smarts over the coming year: New media You could say Chris and I both have perfect faces for radio, but I’m afraid you’ll be seeing more of our ugly mugs in 2015. We plan to step away from the keyboard from time to time and bring you more video offerings—for example a series of short how-to’s on basic marine aquarium techniques, one documenting our recent efforts to capture and remove several rogue damsels from the display tank in a local coffee shop, and much more. New resources We’re also thrilled to announce that day one of 2015 will see the release of Saltwater Smarts’ first eBook, The Salt Smart Guide to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Diseases of Marine Fishes, penned by Jay Hemdal, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at the Toledo Zoo. Be sure to tune in to Saltwater Smarts this coming Friday (January 2) for much more information on this exciting new resource. And Jay’s disease guide is just the beginning. More: Saltwater Smarts in 2015: Looking Forward to an Exciting New Year

Online livestock ordering : Guarantee Policies

live_fish_box_2Most of the livestock within my aquarium came from an online vendor. Actually, with the exception of a few fish, everything for my aquariums was ordered online and delivered to my door. The competition for online ordering of fish and corals couldn’t be higher. There are small basement vendors, which I’ve consistently criticized for offering extraordinarily high prices. For example, I saw a 6” rainbow chalice (one of many names randomly applied to coral) for sale on a Facebook post earlier today. The seller wanted $650 for the coral, saying they were very firm on that price. I have the exact same coral in my aquarium. I paid $79 for 3” of chalice years ago, and now it’s well in excess of 7”. If I were to sell the colony, I would probably ask around $200 for it, or less. Basement vendors often lead the charge when it comes to over-hyping coral; manipulating species in photo editing software and making otherwise ordinary pieces appear rare or exotic. Then you have large aquaculture outlets; usually well run facilities that are constantly sparring for the consumer dollar, with offers like free shipping or reduced cost. All this leads to the topic of guarantee policy.  MORE is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.