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6 Comments Non-Hobbyists Make When Viewing Marine Aquariums

The other day, two installers were in my home laying a new vinyl floor in my kitchen when they took note of my aquariums. One of them was especially enthralled by my reef tank (which is ironic—more on this later) and asked about a dozen questions. He even took out his phone and snapped a picture of the tank to show his wife. It’s always interesting to hear non-hobbyists’ reactions to my aquariums because they’re surprisingly consistent and, I suspect, give a pretty good sense of how most non-salties perceive our avocation. Here are just a few of the more common questions and comments I hear. Perhaps some will sound familiar to you. 1) “Is that a freshwater or saltwater tank?” Now, I’ve been asked this question aplenty, but it still surprises me a little bit every time.
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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 acclimating new specimens. As every experienced hobbyist knows, dealers often keep the SG of their fish display tanks well below that of natural sea water—often in the vicinity of 1.020 or lower. While being kept at a lower SG is in no way harmful to the fish, it can present certain challenges if the tank in which they will ultimately reside is, say, a reef system with an SG closer to 1.025. Fish should never be subjected to such a precipitous increase in SG during a single acclimation session (Saltwater Smarts contributor Jay Hemdal recommends avoiding any increase in SG over .004), so you have to choose a way to safely bridge this gap. There are numerous approaches you can take to achieve this objective, but the method I prefer is to take advantage of evaporation during the four-week quarantine period. Here’s how: Before purchasing a specimen, contact your LFS or online retailer to ask where they maintain the SG in their tanks. Don’t leave this to chance.
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Mame Nano Protein Skimmer III Review – Saltwater Conversion

http://saltwater-conversion.com/collections/mame/products/mame-skimmer http://reefertees.com https://www.facebook.com/coralfish12g In this coralfish12g video, I am going to be reviewing the Mame Nano Protein Skimmer III. I was searching for a smaller and quieter protein skimmer for my 30 gallon reef tank when I found it on Saltwater Conversion.com. The Mame Nano Skimmer III is a very small, practical protein skimmer that is specially designed to skim the smallest nano tanks.
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Chalk Bass: A Caribbean Jewel Custom Made for Marine Aquariums

Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum) are a hardy species that can be kept in groupsAnyone who has visited Saltwater Smarts on a regular basis knows that Chris has a bizarre fixation on Caribbean species. No livestock—fish or invertebrate—originating outside the Caribbean/tropical Western Atlantic is allowed in his tank. If he could, he’d probably go so far as to encase his entire fish room in a plastic bubble and pump Caribbean air into it to prevent non-Caribbean airborne microbes from settling in his tank. It’s a disease, really, and he should probably seek treatment for it. Nonetheless, in some cases, Chris’s compulsion is well justified. Take, for example, the chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum) that grace his tank. These little Caribbean jewels are gorgeous, peaceful, hardy, easy to feed, beginner friendly, and well-suited to modest-sized marine systems. Oh, and did I mention they can be kept in groups? What more could you ask for in a marine fish? Physical traits S
Posted in Fish, Invertebrates, Science | 2 Comments

Blackworms Mean Better Health for Marine Fish

Paul’s 43 year old aquariumLive worms are about the best thing we can feed to our fish. How do I know this? Am I just making it up so I have something to write? Actually, no. Live California blackworms have been used for ornamental fish food since a few years after World War II, as that is when I started feeding them to my freshwater fish. Blackworms will get freshwater fish into spawning condition in no time, and I can attest that the same applies to saltwater fish. Back in 1971, when I started in the saltwater aquarium hobby (I think it was on a Tuesday), I bought some of the first blue devils imported into the US.
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Cool-Water Marine Species Sometimes Sold as Tropicals

As we often discuss here at Saltwater Smarts, one of the frustrating aspects of the marine aquarium hobby is the fact that some of the species commonly or occasionally available in the trade have no business in the average hobbyist’s aquarium. Some of these species grow way too large for virtually any home aquarium, some have a highly specialized diet that is impractical or impossible to replicate in captivity, and some are just too sensitive to endure the rigors of capture, prolonged shipping, and repeated acclimation to different systems. But we also need to add to that list the various cool-water species that are misrepresented (whether intentionally or unwittingly) as tropical species and sold to unwary hobbyists. Here’s a sampling of the species you might come across that can be maintained in cool-water marine systems but won’t last long in the average tropical aquarium: The Catalina goby Catalina goby (Lythrypnus dalli)With its stunning reddish-orange coloration and electric-blue stripes, the Catalina, or bluebanded, goby (Lythrypnus dalli) is a real eyecatcher. Couple its good looks with its diminutive size and peaceful disposition, and you’ve got an ideal reef tank resident, right? Not so much, unfortunately. L. dalli hails from the Eastern Pacific (from the Gulf of California to Equador and north to Peru according to FishBase) and thrives in waters ranging in temperature from the mid 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit
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5 Ways to Counteract Coral Combat in the Marine Aquarium

Hammer coral (Euphyllia ancora) use long, stinging “sweeper” tentacles to attack neighboring coralsAt a casual glance, corals would appear to be an inoffensive lot, generally espousing a “live-and-let-live” philosophy. After all, when you’re firmly affixed to the substrate, how much trouble can you really cause for your neighbors? Plenty, as it turns out! Corals and other sessile invertebrates may seem harmless, but they actually take aggression to such a diabolical level that they make even the most pugnacious fish look like Ghandi with fins. They’re just much more sneaky and insidious about it. Depending on the species and particular circumstances, corals may employ one or more of the following aggressive mechanisms: Rapidly overgrowing neighboring invertebrates—i.e., actually growing directly onto the neighboring colony or extending over it and preventing it from receiving life-sustaining light Stinging neighbors with nematocyst-laden tentacles Extruding digestive organs (called mesenterial filaments) and essentially digesting the tissues of adjacent corals Exuding toxic chemicals (e.g., terpenoids) into the water to kill neighboring corals or impede their growth What can reefkeepers do to counteract these hostile tactics? #1 Research before you buy We’ve advised this time and time again here at Saltwater Smarts, but it bears repeating. A little modest research on the characteristics of different corals will reveal all kinds of vital information regarding their relative aggressiveness/noxiousness, for example the fact that Sarcophyton leather corals are notoriously toxic and that various Euphyllia spp. corals are known to produce long, stinging “sweeper” tentacles.
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Simple Tips for Effective Marine Aquarium Aquascaping

Peaks, valleys, channels, and multiple outcroppings are aspects of a great aquascapeSince we launched Saltwater Smarts, we’ve been sprinkling the term “aquascaping” into our posts with reckless abandon. While many of you seasoned salties out there might be well acquainted with this term, others may find themselves scratching their heads each time they come across it. Aquascaping simply refers to the manner in which the rockwork, substrate, and any décor items are arranged in the tank—like landscaping, only under water. While there’s certainly an aesthetic component to aquascaping, its true significance goes well beyond visual impact. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind as you plan and implement your own marine aquarium aquascape: Design with livestock in mind The first thing to consider as you develop your aquascape is the type of livestock you plan to keep. Fish, for instance, can have very different aquascaping needs depending on the species. Some, including many tangs, need ample open swimming space, whereas others, such as the various clownfishes, are more site-attached and therefore demand more structure than swimming space.
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