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Category Archives: Saltwater Aquariums

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Contains articles featuring information, advice or answering questions regarding saltwater aquariums, livestock or equipment.

Understanding the Role of Magnesium in a Reef Aquarium

MagnesionOften overlooked, Magnesium plays a critical role in the chemical and biological processes in the Marine aquarium. Magnesium is a major element (as opposed to a trace element) and is the third most common element in seawater behind only Sodium and Chloride. Magnesium is an essential element to all organisms for biological functions, and is especially important to organisms that are skeleton building, as Magnesium is a key component of aragonite. Far too often, we find aquarists who are struggling to figure out what is causing issues in their reef aquarium, and Magnesium deficiencies end up being at fault. It is impossible to maintain ideal Calcium and Carbonate levels in salt water without maintaining Magnesium levels as well.  Many folks struggle with keeping their Alkalinity and Calcium to appropriate levels in their marine aquariums, yet never test their Magnesium levels. At levels below natural sea water concentrations of Magnesium (1280-1350 ppm), Calcium and Carbonates will precipitate out with each other in inorganic forms, and dosing either will not achieve the proper results in a low Magnesium environment. Read More »

Tips for Great Aquarium Photography

CameraWhile browsing at aquarium and fish-related websites, books, magazines, other media, it can be easy to take for granted how difficult the beautiful images you see were to capture on film….until you try to take a photo of your own tank. It’s not as easy as taking a snapshot at a family picnic. Aquarium photographs often turn out blurry, overexposed, underexposed, discolored and otherwise unrecognizable, a far cry from what you were trying to capture. So how do you get calendar-worthy snapshots of your tank? Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve come across: Read More »

Enticing Finicky Aquarium Fish to Eat

Aquarium fish need three basic things to keep them happy and healthy in a captive environment: clean water, consistent temperature, and proper food. The first two things are generally easy to provide with regular maintenance and reliable equipment, but it seems something as simple as feeding some fish can be rather difficult at times. What to feed, how to feed, and how much or often to feed can vary by species. Even if you know the answers to these questions, there are some species of fish out there that will not eat the food you offer. After years of working directly with this issue, I have come up with a few tricks to get stubborn fish to eat. Read More »

Tips For Keeping Your Aquarium Cool in Hot Weather

Ice CubesWhether you have a freshwater or saltwater aquarium, rising temperatures in the summer time can be a cause of concern. Aquariums shouldn’t be allowed to get hotter than 83°F, or dissolved oxygen levels in the water will start to diminish. This triggers a competition between fish and invertebrates for oxygen  leading to a very stressful situation, and possibly even death, for your aquarium inhabitants. Detailed below are some tips to help keep your aquarium cool when temperatures rise. Read More »

Interesting Environmental Adaptations Developed in Some Aquatic Animals

Pillow StarfishThe adaptations developed in the waters of our world are some of the most amazing in existence. From bioluminescence to specialized mouths built to feed on certain foods, the fish and invertebrates living in Earth’s oceans, lakes and streams have some of the most unique traits found anywhere. What is even more interesting is how two life forms that are completely different and unrelated can develop a near identical solution for a problem.

I have always been fascinated by the strange and the odd. From fish that mimic pieces of driftwood like the Chaca chaca to the lobe-finned and air-breathing Polypterus species, I have had the pleasure of keeping many unique fish species. Recently, I received an email from Frank Indiviglio that contained a link to some weird starfish.  After reading it, I immediately saw a parallel to another article that I had read a couple of days earlier about a new fish from Lake Tanganyika. Read More »