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Brine shrimp: all about cysts and hatching

What are brine shrimp? The non-scientific short answer: brine shrimp are fish food that will drive your fish crazy. The more specific answer: brine shrimp are tiny invertebrates (arthropod crustaceans really), from the genus Artemia, that naturally grow in salt lakes. When fully grown, they are about 0.4-0.5 inches in length (about 1 centimeter)–which means they are totally bite-sized for …

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Chocolate chip starfish: reef safe?

Chocolate chip starfish are quirky-cool and easy to identify, but are they reef safe? That’s the question I set out to answer with this blog post. Introduction So, what is a chocolate chip starfish, anyway? Here’s one, take a look:   As you can see in the picture above, the chocolate chip starfish is a star-shaped marine invertebrate that gets …

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Cerith Snails: MVP of the clean up crew

Looking to add another little critter to your clean-up-crew (CUC)? Maybe you could pick out a few cerith snails, the next time you head to your local fish store. Ceriths are small, snaily scavengers with a pointy spiral shell. They only grow to be about 1 inch long and are well suited for small or large tanks alike. A popular …

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The Pistol Shrimp: an awesome reef invertebrate

The pistol shrimp is an amazing reef invertebrate. It isn’t quite as popular as some of the cleaner shrimp species, like the blood red scarlet shrimp and the skunk cleaner, and for a very good reason I’ll highlight in a moment, but it certainly is just as interesting. The most fascinating thing about of the pistol shrimp is that it …

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Serpent starfish

Serpent Starfish Serpent starfish belong to the family Ophiuridae (one of the five Echinoderm families), which also includes basket and brittle sea stars. These species are very popular in the aquarium trade for their bright and exotic colors and hardiness in the tank. The serpent and brittle starfish are closely related species. The difference is that the brittle star has …

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Coral Banded Shrimp: Stenopus hispidus

Introduction to the Coral Banded Shrimp The Stenopus hispidus, commonly known as Boxer Shrimp, Banded Cleaner Shrimp or Coral Banded Shrimp, is a popular and inexpensive invertebrate to add to your tank. Like some of the other common saltwater aquarium shrimp, you may find that this little fella will be shy and stay hidden among the rocks. If you do …

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Emerald crab

Emerald crab: a fine addition to any reef clean up crew The emerald crab, Mithraculus sculptus, is a quiet, shy and fun to watch member of the reef clean up crew (CUC). As the name implies, the emerald crab is green–but unlike the name–this crab does not shine like a jewel. Rather, the crab is perfectly camoflaged to blend in with the rockwork. …