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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 reef 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 …

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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 …

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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. Cerith snails are small, snaily scavengers with a pointy spiral shell. They only grow to be about 1 inch long and …

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Mysis Shrimp: A Favorite Fish & Coral Food

One of my favorite frozen foods to feed my saltwater fish is frozen mysis shrimp. Almost every fish I have ever kept has instantly recognized the floating white morsels as a meal. I’ve offered them at the same time as flakes (which would otherwise be voraciously eaten if it wasn’t …

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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 …

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Starfish ID Please

Hitchhiker Starfish ID Please Do you have these starfish growing in your tank? I do. They are called Asterina Starfish. They are tiny starfish that grow up to be about a quarter of an inch to an inch across (Sprung 2001)—which I found out, through painstaking scientific examination, is approximately …

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Role of sponges in a coral reef ecosystem

What images come to mind when you think of a coral reef? I don’t think it would be much of a stretch for me to guess that one of your top three images that came to your mind was certainly not of sponges. If stony corals and clownfish are on …

Clean up crew: is it worth it?

The job of a clean up crew (CUC), in a saltwater aquarium, is to keep the tank clean by eating the leftover food, algae, and detritus in your tank. A clean up crew typically consists of a mixture of crabs, snails, and the occasional shrimp. But the use of clean …