Zoanthids, more commonly referred to as zoas, are officially categorized as cnidarians and are typically referred to as colonial anemones by the scientific community. You may also be surprised to know that the zoanthid coral is not actually coral at all, even if they’re popularly referred to as such. Because of this, they are often confused with sponges, ascidians, sea anemones, and other blob-like fish species, making zoanthid identification somewhat tricky. The perfect zoanthid garden is highly converted by aquarists. In this step-by-step guide we’ll lead you through how you too can create a zoanthid garden that you will cherish.
Gather your supplies
Firstly, you will need several items to construct your zoanthid garden. We have provided web links to our recommended products at the bottom of this page. You will need the following items:
Colorful zoanthid corals
Cutters to remove zoanthid from plug or cut off stem of plug
Super glue gel or a coral glue
Well structured piece of rock
Protective eye covering
Prepare the corals for placement on your rock
Important note: Anytime you are working with zoanthids we strongly recommend you wear safety protective eyewear. Zoanthids carry a neurotoxin, that can be very painful if it gets into your eye.
Once you have your safety glasses on, you can remove the zoanthids from their bags, cutting the fishing line that attaches them to the bag, and place them into tank water. Next you need to remove the zoanthid from the plug. Using your cutters, remove the coral from the plug at the base and lift it off. Generally, the coral will come off easily. If not, you can instead cut off the plug stem with the flat edge of your cutters against the plug base.
Construct your zoanthid garden!
Taking your piece of rock, lay your small pieces of coral onto the rock where you want them. Once you’ve got your arrangement, take off all the pieces and start one by one gluing them into position with super glue or coral glue. Once you have glued the bottom of a piece to the rock, soak it in tank water for approx 30 seconds so the glue hardens between each glue application. Place your completed rock in your tank and give the corals approximately 2-4 hours to recover from the process. Now just wait patiently for your garden to grow!
Our top tips:
Carefully ensure you are gluing the base of the zoanthid, as gluing the top will kill the coral.
You can also use palythoa, star polyps, or mushrooms to make your coral garden as colorful and unique as you like!
The process is easy! But if you’re not feeling confident about the process you can easily start by ordering 6-10 zoanthids to have a go with initially.
Have fun with it!
Don’t forget to send us your masterpieces! You can tag us on Instagram (@aquariumdepotcom), Twitter (@MyAquariumDepot) or Facebook! We’d love to see what you create!
Links for items needed to create your own zoa garden:
Today we will take a deeper look at emerald crabs, a fantastic crustacean to have for many reasons, not just because they love to keep your tank clean! This post will highlight some of the Emerald crab’s best features and what makes it such a great addition to saltwater aquariums.
Emerald Crabs Are Scavengers
If you are a veteran aquarium hobbyist, you will know all about bubble algae. More aggressive than other forms of algae, it seems to never go away. I am sure we have all had our own issues with this relentless slime.
Enter, the emerald crab! These crabs are scavengers and will camp on your reef bed and pick off bubble algae.
Crabs are famous for being algae lovers, with the blue leg hermit crab another one who just wants to munch on the green stuff. But, when it comes to bubble algae look no further than the emerald crab!
Not only does it like to eat the bubble algae, but this crustation is an omnivore and so will do more than just keep your tank clean of the slime. It will clean the aquarium of any uneaten bits of organic matter, and debris. One less job for you!
It must be said that even though these crabs will keep the majority of your aquarium clean, you might still have to roll up your sleeves occasionally and help out. If you have a huge outbreak of bubble algae you should really clean most of it out first before leaving the leftovers for the emerald crabs.
Then, hopefully, the emerald crab will keep on top of the algae and chomp down on any growth, making sure another outbreak won’t occur.
Emerald Crabs are Easy to Care For
The emerald crab is extremely hardy and a great thing is that they are easy to look after. When the tank is low on algae they will just need a bit of dry seaweed or frozen shrimp to keep them going. If they get too hungry they might try and go for other animals in your tank, such as snails or smaller fish. So make sure they have a decent amount of food to eat and keep your aquarium at peace!
They are nocturnal and love to chill out in a dark quiet area during the day, so make sure you have enough places for them to hide out in. Plenty of rocks is a must when it comes to these crabs. When they get comfortable in the tank and used to their surroundings they will start to come out during the day, exploring the tank looking for scarps to scavenge on.
They will molt from time to time, and this can be a bit weird the first time you see it, but don’t worry, it is completely normal and a sign of good health.
When the emerald crabs molt they leave behind their exoskeleton. It might look like a dead crab but don’t panic too much when you see this, it is only their exoskeleton that they are leaving behind as they grow bigger. Just remove it from the tank and make sure your crab is doing well and is happy in his new shell.
They are Docile and Tolerant
These crustaceans are peaceful and don’t really mind who they share a tank with. If the crabs have enough food to eat, they will not bother the other fish and inverts that you might have in your aquarium.
However, you must make sure that there aren’t any big predators in the tank. Triggerfish and hawkfish are two fish that shouldn’t be put in the same aquarium as your emerald crabs as they are known to prey on them.
Other types of crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp., are fine to have in the same aquarium as emerald crabs. They live in harmony together, and as long as the emerald crab is cleaning, everybody is happy!
Emerald Crabs are Beautiful Too!
Of course, a main reason why we have aquariums is because they are really nice to look at. There are so many interesting and beautiful creatures that we keep, and the emerald crab is one of these.
Their green exoskeleton is very eye-catching and adds a brilliant pop of color to the mix of any aquarium. Helpful, peaceful, and beautiful?! These crustaceans are a must for your tank.
They Don’t Grow Too Big
These crabs are also great because they don’t grow too big, and this means you won’t have to worry about the size of the tank.
Emerald crabs grow to about two inches and do well in medium to large tanks where they have a lot of room to explore and feed. You will just need one or two for your tank to keep on top of the cleaning. Don’t put too many of them in the same tank as even though they are pretty chill, nobody likes to not have any personal space! Overpopulation of emerald crabs in the same tank might lead to aggression.
These crabs are amazing for keeping your aquarium clean. Once you get a pair of emerald crabs, you will wonder why you didn’t get them sooner! They can be picked up pretty cheaply, around $12.99 per crab. A small price for such a big boost to the health and wellbeing of your aquarium!
Some of the most exciting animals you can keep in a saltwater aquarium are shrimp! If they are put in the correct aquarium, most of the shrimps available to aquarists are reasonably easy to keep too. When given the suitable shelter and food, they thrive and help add beauty and diversity to the tank. Most reef-dwelling species, for instance, simply need crevices or overhangs to hide in. The key thing to remember with adding shrimp to your aquarium is ensuring there are no predators that might feast on your latest additions!
This article looks at the top 5 shrimps for your saltwater aquarium, and why they are the best choices. As always, before buying additional animals, please do sufficient research to ensure your aquarium is appropriate.
The sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) is undoubtedly the cutest shrimp you can add to your saltwater aquarium! This tiny shrimp (~2.8cm) is one of the smallest shrimp species, with vibrant amber to orange colored bodies with white spots. These little shrimp spend their time wiggling their tails and vibrating their abdomen in order to clean their host anemone. They have also been known to take up residence on nearby corals if their chosen anemone is not available.
Do be aware that clownfish are very protective of their host anemone and will likely not want to share. Otherwise, the sexy shrimp is considered as a great reef-safe option for your aquarium.
Randall’s pistol shrimp
Randall’s pistol shrimp (Alpheus randalli) is a small yet powerful little shrimp! These shrimp come with their very own built-in stun gun! They have a large claw-like appendage that works like a pistol, the hammer-like part of the joint allows for quick-release of their pincer. This action creates a rather interesting snapping sound too. Scientists have uncovered this sound comes from the bubbles created by the pincer snapping back into the socket. This lightning-fast, high-energy movement causes the surrounding water to boil to up to 18’000 F, which releases the bubbles! Not bad for a tiny shrimp. But don’t worry, this will not damage your aquarium.
If possible, Randall’s pistol shrimp prefers to team up with the goby fish and share a burrow, excavated by the pistol shrimp. Randall’s pistol shrimp is nearly blind, so the goby acts as its lookout. These two animals make a great pair!
Coral banded shrimp
Next, another great option for your saltwater aquarium is the coral banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus). This shrimp comes in an array of brightly colored forms! From red and white banded individuals as well as yellow, blue, and purple. This is a hardy nocturnal shrimp species that prefers to hide in caves or under ledges. This species can be territorial and fight off other coral banded shrimp to guard its territory. It is not uncommon for legs or pincers to be lost during these fights, but these will grow back when the shrimp next molts.
Coral banded shrimps are generally found in crevices or caves, or even hanging from ceilings. Interestingly, they enjoy sharing their hiding places with moray eels, as the shrimps feed on the eel’s body slime and any parasites. The shrimp also encourages other fish to take advantage of its cleaning surface and uses its long antennae to encourage posing.
The cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) makes a great addition to your aquarium for a number of reasons. Not only are they colourful and active, they also enjoy living in groups. The key benefit is the free cleaning service they provide to their other tank mates. The cleaner shrimp will happily remove parasites and dead scales from your fish’s bodies, gills, and mouths. This shrimp likes to live on rock and coral outcroppings so that it can easily wait for fish to swim past and perform its cleaning duties.
The cleaner shrimp is no bother to other corals or fish, making it another excellent reef safe option.
Finally, we have the peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni). It is also known as the candy cane shrimp due to its transparent body with bright red stripes. This shrimp is nocturnal, so can seem shy, but it is easy to care for whilst adding a bright flash of color to your aquarium. Again, this shrimp is happy to be kept as part of a larger group.
Your only consideration is to be wary of placing these little shrimps in with anemones, as occasionally they have been known to snack on them. This is often solved by keeping their shrimp pellet topped up so that they don’t feel the need to feast on your anemones.
Starting a hobby is a tough endeavor, especially when it involves other living beings. We all have different passions and like different activities. But something that ties us all together is the desire to care for animals. Something about sharing a bond with another species makes us happy and content.
The hobby of maintaining an aquarium is comparatively (to the thousands of years of domesticating mammals and dogs) new but growing in popularity because of how fascinating and different it is. Humans are fascinated by the vast diversity in appearance and behavior of aquatic life. For marine life enthusiasts, creating a saltwater aquarium ecosystem from scratch is a very rewarding experience.
We understand that venturing into something new can be daunting. But as experts in the field, we will try and guide you towards the best beginner saltwater aquarium fish to buy to make your introduction to the world of fish and corals the best experience it can be!
Here is a list of our top 10 saltwater aquarium fish for beginners:
The wide-eyed Green Chromis is a species of damselfish that get their name from their almost reflective green coloration. A staple addition to saltwater aquariums, they add a unique dimension to the ecosystem. Being schooling fish, they tend to stick together in groups of 4-10 individuals and roam the tank throughout the day. They create a striking contrast to the more docile and slow-moving reef dwellers like crabs and shrimp.
Their dorsal sides shimmer under aquarium flights and offer a glittering show of blue-green shimmer as they weave in and out of the currents in synchronized, tightly-knit groups. They are extremely calm fish that generally get along with common aquarium species. They are omnivores and spend their day clustering and searching for food. They do well with a mixture of frozen feed and dried seaweed diet.
Lawn Mover Blenny
Aquarium enthusiasts adore this camouflaged bottom feeder for its many uses in the tank. With a quizzical and almost scrutinizing gaze, this cute fish from the Blenniidae family spend their time pursuing rock crevices in search of their favorite snack – algae.
With their long and slender body and striking dorsal and pectoral fins, they can be flashy but their black, white, and grey coloring also allows them to blend in well with most rock beds and reefs.
They do well when raised in pairs in a large tank with plenty of grazing areas. They are generally docile and do not bother other bottom grazers. They are known to be a little nippy when they spot other blenny species in the tank but this can be avoided if raised together from spawn.
If your tank is low on algae after a fluconazole flush, supplement their diet with dried seaweed or other plant-based fish food.
Yellow Clown Goby
The Yellow Clown Goby is one of the best saltwater aquarium fish for beginners. Found in the waters around Japan and Australia, they have become popular worldwide for being cute and easy to handle.
Wide eyes and an unimpressed expression gives the fish an almost royal swagger. They swim around the tank exuding an air of superiority. Juxtaposed with their small size, they are comical to watch. They also sometimes sport white patches on their cheeks, which gives them their name.
They are carnivorous fish and will thrive with a simple frozen shrimp feed. But they are voracious eaters. If you have a few Clown Goby, increase your feed bit to keep them happy. They are also usually shy and don’t bother the other tank dwellers.
Another Goby on our list. They have become a staple saltwater aquarium fish sfor beginners and experienced hobbyists alike because of their extremely unique appearance and striking color pattern.
They sport a magnificent elongated silver dorsal fin and beautifully shaped and colored anal and caudal fins which sport black highlights. They are stunning to look at with their silver/ grey anterior section and a pink/red posterior with orange and black highlights. They accelerate fast, giving them the appearance of a flaming streak of red and silver.
They are very shy and tend to hide in rock crevices when they feel threatened. They are generally paired together from a young age and are hyper-aware of new firefish that enters the tank. Despite this, they rarely cause problems and are possibly the best-looking fish on this list.
Who said that beginner saltwater aquarium fish need to be plain and boring looking? The Banggai Cardinalfish is an extremely unique and attractive species and a delight to have in the aquarium.
With a brilliant brown, white and black coloring spotted tail, and lionfish like appearance, they have quickly become some of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. They are calm and tranquil and move slowly. They tend to stick to their own group.
Most tank enthusiasts start with a male and a female. They are extremely hardy fish and reproduce in numbers and soon, you will have your very own colony of Banggai Cardinalfish. The beauty of this is, you can observe a clear hierarchy in their group with the adults leading the school and kids following. It is very fun to watch!
Yellow Watchman Goby
Sporting a perpetual frown and bright yellow coloring with white spots, these unique fish look like a sad face emoji in fish form! Their general appearance and behavior oozes personality and are extremely entertaining to watch.
Usually found in-tandem with Pistol Shrimp, these reef dwellers spend their lives nestled between crevices. They also tend to burrow when they feel threatened. This is an extremely unique behavior to observe and requires a thick substrate or sand and stones at the bottom of the tank.
They are carnivorous and do well with a frozen shrimp feed. They are docile but defend their territory. They get the name ‘Watchman’ goby because they choose a burrow or rock crevice to live in and are often seen sitting at the entrance guardian the area. When raised together, they bond with pistol shrimp and their friendship is unique and great to watch. For beginner Saltwater Aquarium enthusiasts, the watchman Goby will be a great teaching tool.
This active fish species from the Labridae family are beautiful and fill the tank with a lively spirit. Curious and graceful, they are often seen picking at rocks and reefs looking for algae and bristle worms.
Because of their diet, they rid the tank of pesky pests while also adding a splash of color. They generally have a beautiful Navy Blue body with orange highlights near the face. They also sport six horizontal stripes that run across the length of the dorsal side of their body. A beautiful green tail and brightly colored dorsal and pectoral fins give them a look similar to a peacock feather.
Most aquarium enthusiasts use them as an offset to the other brightly colored reef dwellers like the Goby’s and Clownfish as they sport a completely different appearance and persona. They are hardy fish and survive on a range of diets (they love frozen shrimp feed) and look great under most aquarium lights. They are also generally calm and a non-aggressive species and are a delightful addition to beginner saltwater aquarium setups.
Ocellaris Clownfish (Common Clownfish)
Everyone loves Nemo! This extremely popular (probably the most popular) species of saltwater fish in the world (thank you Disney!) is a great aquarium addition for beginners. They introduce newcomers to this hobby to bonding two species together. Since they live amongst Sea Anemones, it teaches newbie aquarium hobbyists about the close bond marine animals share with each other.
They form cute mating pairs and tend to stick to each other. They exhibit a wide range of behavior and hardly ever get into scuffles with other species. Plus, they are an instant hit with the kids for those looking to pass this great hobby on to the next generation. There is no greater incentive for kids that feeding Nemo from their hands (clownfish get very comfortable can often be fed by hand when they are comfortable with humans).
Yellow Eyed Kole Tang
For newcomers to the saltwater aquarium hobby looking for a solution to pesky algae problems, look no further than the Yellow-Eyed Kole Tang. With a bright bluish-purple color and majestic stripes and spots running across the length of their oval body, this fish looks spectacular when fully mature.
Plus, they love seaweed and algae. This forms a majority of their diet and they are the vacuum cleaners of the saltwater aquarium world. For beginners, they will serve as an excellent way to prevent any growth of algae as they are voracious eaters, even compared to the other cleaning fish on our list.
They are not the most docile fish and this is all because of their omnivore diet and insatiable appetite. They are known to go for the smaller crustaceans like pistol shrimps in a tank environment when they run out of algae and frozen feed. So make sure you keep them well-fed.
This saltwater aquarium fish is rather rare amongst hobbyists in America. But, it is an extremely pliable fish for beginners. They are a large species growing up to 20+ inches in a large tank with plenty of food.
Docile and regal, they adjust to tank environments quickly and are very clever. They will quickly learn to eat treats from your hand and love a good side rub! They will grow to become the central attraction of any tank they are a part of.
They love to munch on algae and dried seaweed and thrive in larger setups. If you are a beginner with a large saltwater aquarium with a tight lid, we cannot suggest the Lopezi tang enough. They are adorable and hearty fish with a calm demeanor and beautiful silver body. You will love them instantly.
These are our picks for the top 10 saltwater aquarium fish for beginners. They will be easy to handle, help you clean your tank, and easy on the eye giving you the best first experience in this wonderful hobby.
Have a nagging algae problem in your tank? Thinking about adding a dash of color to your set-up? The Blue Leg Hermit Crab might be the solution to both your needs. Also known as Clibanarius tricolor, these beautiful crustaceans are quickly becoming synonymous with algae control in modern-day saltwater tanks.
These tiny crustaceans have become crucial reef additions in recent years, with growing popularity amongst saltwater aquarium hobbyists. As people search for more energy-efficient and economical ways to clean the tank, blue leg Hermit Crabs emerge as a natural choice.
They are omnivorous scavengers that will graze the bottom of the tank, gulping down any left-over plant and animal matter that your fish missed during a feed. Plus they live in their own shell which is extremely cute and unique behavior to observe in an aquarium setting.
They are small, which allows them to reach the spaces between rocks and corals in the tank and siphon off the algae that grow in the smallest crevices. This makes them extremely useful as they feed on both algae and the organic matter that algae grow on. This unique combination stemming from their omnivorous diet makes them an extremely powerful algae deterrent.
After a fluconazole treatment in your aquarium, adding a few blue leg hermit crabs is a wise choice as they can prevent algae from reappearing and creating further nuisances. A major complaint with fluconazole treatment is the reoccurrence of algae. Blue Hermit crabs might be the answer to this problem.
They also rid your tank of pesky cyanobacteria. These Blue Green algae can cover your aquatic plants and cause mass wilting. Just a few blue hermit crabs can help solve this problem. By keeping the plant life in the tank healthy and aerating san substrates at the bottom of the tank, they help promote good circulation and healthy bacterial growth.
How to Feed and Care for Blue Leg Hermit Crabs
Blue Leg Hermit Crabs are very low maintenance creatures. They are very shy and docile creatures that do not show aggression towards other inhabitants of the tank. Their evenly sized pincers are used as a tool for feeding and not for self-defense.
The crab uses snail shells or other medium-sized conches as their home. Without suitable shells, they scrounge the tank for a place to live and sleep. Hermit crabs often switch shells, So make sure that there are a few suitably sized ones lying around the tank for them to find. Without the protection of a hard shell, these soft-bodied crabs tend to hide behind reefs and remain elusive, which some tank owners might not want.
They are omnivores and can feed on a range of algae, seaweed, and also tiny bits of shrimp and fish. They are very easy to feed as a little extra frozen shrimp feed for your fish can be used to feed them as well. Monitor the algae levels in your tank. Based on this, you might want to carefully choose the number of blue leg hermit crabs you want. This is because once they run out of algae to feed on, they could face malnutrition problems easily. Just a diet of frozen shrimp or other organic matter does not suffice as algae and other plant material makes up a large portion of their daily nourishment.
Also, they love being a part of a group to exchange shells and also gain comfort from each other when feeding as a part of a group. Even in the oceans, they are often found living near other blue hermit crabs as this helps in protection and also finding a mate.
If you are looking for a way t prevent algae and adding a splash of color and some diversity to your tank, the extremely adorable and efficient Blue Leg Hermit Crabs are the way to go. They give your reef a dash of life and personality and are undeniably adorable additions to any saltwater aquarium setup.
Ordering live creatures online can be stressful. As aquarium enthusiasts and lovers of marine life, we understand the importance of quality shipping. But success or failure in rehoming them into their new aquarium environment lies in keeping a few rules in mind.
It is easy when you are dealing with resilient copepod and amphipods. But, a lot of new hobbyists tend to throw them into the deep end too soon, quite literally. When you receive your shipment of copepods and amphipods, follow these simple steps for a 100 percent success rate in transferring them into their new tank.
What are Copepods and Amphipods?
Copepods and Amphipods are small crustaceans that come in a range of sizes. They are one of the smallest creatures in the marine food chain but are no slouches when it comes to positive contributions to the marine and aquarium ecosystems.
In an aquarium setting, they perform two extremely crucial functions. They are the best clean-up crew in the business and also are the richest and most natural source of nutrition for the larger, more eye-catching fish in your tank.
They primarily feed on waste and algae that gets deposited in the impossible-to-reach crevices in your corals and tank bed. It is essential to maintain a clean, waste-free tank to avoid an outbreak of algae (algae are hard to get rid of). But, this is not their primary function.
They are the best source of food for marine fish. Copepod and Amphipods are the first links in the marine food chain. They are a delicious source of protein for fish. They are almost 40 – 45 percent protein, which is excellent to maintain fish health and shiny scales that add beauty to the tank.
How to Acclimatize a Copepod or Amphipod Shipment?
We ship these tiny crustaceans in filters drenched in water. We do not put them in a water-filled bag because they are highly active and can quickly burn out the oxygen in the water during transit. This could lead to unnecessary loss in numbers.
To avoid this, we here at Aquarium Depot, always ship our copepods and amphipods with minimal water, embedded in a series of filters. The filters themselves are damp, enabling the amphipods to stay alive until they reach you. We guarantee an almost 100 percent survival rate for our amphipod shipments.
To acclimatize your new batch of amphipods and copepods, firstly, keep a tub of water handy (the same water you use for your tank). Measure the temperature of this and use a small wave generator or pump to mimic the lazy currents of the ocean. Once you are sure that the tub of water mimics your tank perfectly, open up your shipment.
Extract the filters and slowly pry apart the many layers one by one and drench each extracted layer into the tub. As the filter enters the water, the copepods magically gain energy and start swimming into their new environment. Do this until you have all the filter layers free of tiny copepod. Sometimes a few might be left behind. The best thing to do here is to drop the filter momentarily in the water and swish it around gently, providing a means of escape for the copepods.
Now, wash the cover they came in because there will always be copepods stuck to the sides. This ensures that you extract every last member and get the most out of your shipment.
Let the copepod sit in this incubator for a few hours and watch their activity levels occasionally. Once you see them settle down and look natural in their new environment, it is a simple case of transfer to the marine tank. A simple catch and release using an aquarium net is enough to rehome them. Once they enter their new habitat, they immediately feel at home because of the brief incubation period in which they gained energy after an arduous shipping process.
These tiny but robust creatures will make the tank their new home and immediately relish the algae and start feeding. Another pro tip is to feed the fish in the tank before you introduce the copepods. This is because hungry fish might immediately start eating the new population of copepods. But, allowing the copepods to settle make new homes amongst the coral reefs will mimic the natural environment perfectly, allowing the fish to catch their juicy pods.
Algae problems are a common aquarium concern. No one likes a green, murky, and swamp-like tank with poor visibility. Algae gets everywhere. It is slimy and sticks to the glass, corals, and clogs up filters in a tank. It is a hindrance that aquarium hobbyists have been trying to solve for decades now.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this nagging problem. Some methods are more effective and organic than the others and we will detail a few steps you can undertake as preventive measures and also the most effective ways to get rid of algae from beautiful marine aquariums.
Algae Infestations, What Causes it?
Algae is an integral part of marine ecosystems which extends to saltwater tanks as well. It serves several functions within the aquarium environment like helping to neutralize acidic water, removing floating impurities, and organic material. But, when it’s growth is left unchecked, it takes over the environment and reduces the quality and visibility of the water in the tank.
Algae are basically plants that grow underwater and much like terrestrial plants, they require light, oxygen, nitrogen, and nutrients to grow and thrive. The main reason for a sudden spike in growth is due to a high concentration of nutrients in the tank in the form of nitrates and phosphates. This means that the water you use in the tank contains these minerals in high quantities, serving as food for the green slime to thrive.
It could also be due to an excess of fish. Lots of fish = lots of fish feces. And fish feces is a rich source of nutrients that forms the organic material for algae to grow on, in a watery environment.
Natural Ways to Control Algae
Using Algae Eaters
Additions to the tank that consume algae are the perfect solution for this issue. They add variety to the tank and also help perform a crucial function that improves tank cleanliness and health. So, what tank dwellers live off these invaders?
These slimy, bottom dwellers are highly underrated tank additions. An integral part of most high moisture ecosystems, snails are nature’s clean up crew. They stick to the tank and move along munching on delicious algae. They are easy to care for and are mostly non-fussy creatures that require minimal day-to-day care.
Several species of snails like Rabbit, Nerite, and Margarita snails are suitable for this task. But make sure you do not overcrowd your tank with snails as they reproduce quickly and can overwhelm you with high numbers. Usually, a few males or few female snails are great additions to the tank as their population can be kept in check.
We have used Emerald Crabs for years in our coral systems to combat bubble algae. The internet is full of horror stories regarding emerald crabs, however all of the wholesalers that we frequent also utilize them in their coral aquaculture facilities.
Several species of fish are algae lovers. They stick to the bottom and clean out crevices and rocks of the green slime. Fish like most Blenny species, Tangs and Surgeonfish are excellent choices in tanks prone to slime.
Being herbivore fish, they do not target your precious coral and will eat only the green stuff. This is an extremely handy quality for aquarium hobbyists who build their tanks around exotic corals (used as centerpieces).
Surgeonfish and tangs are extremely colorful and attractive too, serving the dual purpose of making the tank more attractive and cleaning it out as well. Perfect for low-maintenance tank builds with new and armature hobbyists.
Fluconazole treatment acts as an algaecide that completely kills the excess algae in the tank. But, it is cumbersome to use and not a permanent solution. Relying on regular fluconazole treatments is an ineffective strategy as a complete fix to this problem. But, in certain scenarios, it can be very useful.
When your tank is plagued with a lot of bubble algae (or one of the other aggressive forms), you could try a fluconazole blast. It takes some time to work but kills the excess algae caked-on rocks, corals, and filters. After a fluconazole treatment, you should consider a full tank clean (within 8-10 weeks of the treatment) After this, introduce a few above-mentioned tank cleaner to help curtail the eventual re-emergence of algae in you beautiful tank setup.
These are the best ways to curtail the spread of excessive algae without much of a financial hindrance or a drastic change in the environment for your fish. We suggest you try out different methods and see which one works best for your tank.
Today I was watching our Banggai Cardinalfish which are a fabulous reef safe fish. I suddenly realized – everyone with a reef aquarium should have 3-5 of these fish. If you want an elegant reef safe schooling fish that looks super cool, this is the fish for you. You may have heard this fish called by a few other names. They are often referred to as a Banner Cardinal, Kaudems Cardinal or a Longfin Cardinal Fish. Banggai Cardinals are typically around 2 inches at max size. The coloration of the Banggai Cardinalfish is quite impressive. The silver tan body is punctuated with black stripes, containing white polka dots like markings. My group of Banggai Cardinalfish are extremely docile, making this one of my favorite schooling fish.
Banggai Cardinalfish are limited to the Banggai Islands of Indonesia. With such a small geographic habitat, it is critical that aquacultured specimens be your first consideration. Without a concerted effort by the aquarium industry to demand sustainable options, over-harvesting & ultimate extinction is a real threat. Fortunately, these beauties breed easily in captivity, and multiple aquafarm facilities have started breed programs for Banggai Cardinals for the aquarium trade in large, consistent quantities.
One of the most amazing sites to see is a group of young Banggai Cardinals hiding within the spines of long spine urchins. These fish are commonly found in shallow pool of 500+ animals grouped together hiding from predators among the long spikes of the urchins.
At a recent trip to one of our wholesalers, I noticed several very small Banggai Cardinals which had recently been born swimming among the selection of leather toadstools. They were as small as a standard pencil eraser on the end of a yellow #2 pencil. Grabbing my Nikon fitted with a 105 Macro Lens & Underwater housing, I quickly began shooting their pictures but to no avail. I will attempt another photo shoot shoot so you can experience this wonderful birthing event.
Here are 6 tips to getting your new saltwater aquarium off to the right start:
1. Choose your poison very carefully. What I mean is – with your saltwater aquarium do you want a friendly nice communal tank or do you want an aggressive tank.
Beautiful Saltwater Aquarium Fish
No matter what size saltwater aquarium you have – you can do either if planned well. So think about the main fish & animals you like then make a list. Classify each animal by the following characteristics: Mature size potential, Food Choice, Schooling or Solitary, territorial or friendly, Cold water species or warm water species, etc.
Many people simply combine the items in such a way that the animals are doomed right from the start – this is heartbreaking for everyone and unfair for the animals. So think ahead when planning your saltwater aquarium.
2. Choose your substrate – deep fine sand bed or shallow crushed coral. Either works fine – but a combo of both or a variation of either can cause problems. Here is a quick explanation: Deep fine sand bed houses Anaerobic bacteria (meaning in the presence of oxygen the bacteria will die). Therefore a deep sand bed (3-4″ deep) consisting of fine sand will allow the bacteria a large surface area to grow and thrive yet also keeping water from flowing around the particles of sand located under the first inch of sand bed. Shallow crushed coral beds house AErobic bacteria – these bacteria must have water to live as they are like fish in need of oxygen. The importance in this bacteria is that they eat nitrates – so by simply setting up the aquarium with this bacteria in mind at the beginning of the journey can automatically eliminate the issue with nitrates. ** remember – unlike a freshwater tank – if you have a deep sand bed – please do not siphon the sand – remember ANaerobic bacteria will die in the presence of water so siphoning the sand is a big NO-NO!!
3. Many people claim that a saltwater aquarium is harder than a freshwater aquarium. This is completely untrue. The main difference between saltwater and freshwater is the set up and equipment. If a saltwater tank is set up correctly from the start, it is far easier to care for long term. Getting the substrate correct, having live rock which also houses many different types of good bacteria and investing in a good protein skimmer are the 3 easiest things to do to be on the right path for a successful saltwater tank.
4. Once you start adding animals – plan you approach carefully. Since you have a list of animals you want to add to your saltwater aquarium – classify them as territorial or friendly. A great resource I use frequently is WetWebMedia.com – add the territorial fish LAST.
5. When thinking about saltwater corals – making your choices in the beginning can help avoid problems in the future. For example, acropora prefer pristine water and mushrooms prefer water with more nutrients. You can successfully keep both in the saltwater aquarium however it will require more attention to water changes, feeding and excess algae growth. When adding corals – think about your tank as real-estate. If your tank is 4′ long then you basically have 12′ of space to work with if we divide the space in sections from top to bottom as follows – high light, medium light and low light. By making a list of the corals you want and then classifying them as follows- you can determine before you make the first purchase a plan to follow and avoid the heartache of a new piece of coral failing to thrive. Here are some suggestions: Lighting: low, medium, high. Flow requirements: low, medium, high. Food choices, stinging – aggressive coral. Photosynthetic or non-photosynthetic.
6. Be aware: Some corals can overtake a tank. This may not be a problem if you never want to keep hard sensitive, slow growing corals. It may be a blessing to get a soft coral that you can encourage to grow on the back of the glass like a shag carpet – this makes everything easier if you never plan to add high dollar, slow growing corals. Remember, just like in real estate, location, location, location. So if you have a slow growing coral that needs high light in your saltwater aquarium and you add a fast growing coral that likes high light – guess who wins. You can keep both in the same saltwater tank – but this will require committed approach to harvesting the fast growing coral weekly to avoid it growing over the slow growing corals.
Below is a helpful guide to make this a bit easier!