Eleven excellent aquarium blogs

by Owen James

Most blogs have brief lives, but aquarium blogs have a shorter life expectancy than a fairground goldfish. Luckily, a few good aquarium blogs persist.

Here are some of our favorites:

Saltwater aquarium blogs

Melev’s Reef

The managing editor of the fabulous Reefkeeping online magazine also has his own personal website, featuring great photos of his 280-gallon reef and assorted smaller tanks, stacks of expert articles, and a rallying point for US reefers to ‘group buy’ a bargain. (He even hosts a reef podcast!)

Typical quote from Melev’s Reef about his sun coral:

During 2007, I decided to relocate my deteriorated sun coral because I had stopped feeding it regularly in my huge reef tank. I moved it out of the reef and into my suncoral tank, a small 9″ x 9″ x 9″ cube that is set up over the sump. It is very easy to target feed the coral polyps each night in this small area, plus it adds something pretty to see when I’m in the fishroom.

StonyReef

The web presence of an SPS-loving reefer, this is a smart blog with a decidedly high-tech air: It even includes the status of the reef tank’s Aquacontroller III.

A typical snippet from StonyReef:

In the constant search for the perfect standalone MH bulb, I’m giving a new bulb a try – the Iwasaki 50,000K metal halide lamp. The initial color is a bit purple, maybe from the 50K’s nice little spike there in the 420nm range. First impression is pretty positive, though we know how that goes with halides. The Ushio 14K & Reeflux 12K bulbs I’ve been using for the last year or so are also great halides bulbs, in my opinion, but each lacks something (or maybe I just get bored?…)

glassbox-design

Probably the most stylish aquarium blog going, glassbox-design is particularly interested in exploring the design potential of marine aquariums, both inside and outside the tank.

Typical snippet:

BCXSY has done something I’ve always dreamed of doing, they’ve created what may be the first multi-faceted aquarium. The angular form creates a mirror effect, generating a real cubist image. The angles remind us greatly of one our our favorite artists DAIM. If you don’t know who DAIM is (pronounced “dime”) check his work out.

Isla Escondido

Featuring Edward Anzaldua’s open plan 300-gallon reef aquarium, Isla Escondido doesn’t seem to have been updated since June, so it only just sneaks into listing. Better known as invincible569 on ReefCentral, Edward is a man of few words, but his photography is great – both the pictures of his own tank, and the images of European and Japanese reef tanks he collected for inspiration earlier in 2008.

A typical snippet from Isla Escondido:

In the beginning, it was difficult deciding where I would place this behemoth 300g aquarium.  My previous 100g aquarium was just in between the wall where you see the garage and the new tank as an in wall.  I did not want to move my equipment inside of the house including the sump, so i decided to place this tank in front of the wall and patch the 100g wall.  To this day, you cant even notice that a 100g aquarium in wall was right behind the new 300g.

Jon Olav’s Aquarium

Jon keeps a wide range of coldwater creatures and an astonishing season range of seaweeds in his native marine Norwegian aquarium. And luckily for us, he has documented the entire set-up on his blog. Be warned! I lost two hours to fascinated browsing the day I discovered this site. There are some excellent DIY articles here, too, including Jon’s project to self-build a 2000-liter aquarium.

A typical entry from Jon:

When I switch off the wave system I can see swarms of tiny crustaceans and worms all over the tank. The fish hunt them, but I don’t think they have much effect on the populations off very small animals. The small fauna is most abundant on the algae. They probably feed on the food getting stuck there or on algal falloff.

WaterNotes

To be honest WaterNotes is more about ecology and conservation in Florida than aquariums. But it’s a blog written by an aquarist named Sarah, and she dips her net into the lagoons and watches the local aquatic news with the eye of a fishkeeper. She has written some articles on marine keeping, too, particularly on macro algae. (Check out her seagrass library posts if you’re interested in trying to maintain seagrass in your tank).

A typical quote from WaterNotes:

Since the lagoon is a nursery ground for several dozen fish species (perhaps hundreds in fact) there are many stages of life present in the estuary. That can make it really hard to identify your catch in some cases. I happen to love FishBase and also LarvalBase to assist me with identifications, but even those resources aren’t foolproof.

Freshwater aquarium blogs

Northern Lights Aquatics

That rarest of things – a personal aquarium weblog that’s been going for more than a year and is still being regularly updated. The owners, Jeff and Sarah, keep all kinds of fish in their seven freshwater aquariums including discus, dwarf puffers and African dwarf frogs, and they’ve also got a marine tank.

This snippet from their article about keeping discus:

Discus are pretty picky about temperature so I am picky about my heater. I use the Top Light Heaters 200W This is simple to set you just set it to the temperature you want and that’s it. I believe these are on clearance right now which reminds me I should buy a couple more. One of the other great things about this heater is I use the 200W in all different size tanks but since it is so accurate it does not matter if it is a 75 gallon or a 10 it keeps perfect temperature.

Guitarfish

No, not a relative of the banjo catfish that you’ve never heard of – Guitarfish is the online handle of the owner of this blog all focused on tropical freshwater plants and fish. Some of the plant photography is truly first class, as Guitarfish really gets in close to the subjects.

The article about algae in aquaria is one of many well worth reading. Here’s a preview:

Black brush, or BBA, algae can be one of a number of specific genera of “red” algae in the Rhodophyta family. Most of the algae in this family are actually marine, but a few freshwater species exist that particularly target our planted aquariums. This algae may be black, brown, red, or green in coloration, and can quickly coat your plants and hardscape if not kept in check.

Aquatic Eden

Another weblog full of pictures of gorgeous freshwater planted tanks that make you want to tear down your own and start again! Aquatic Eden does stray away from photosynthetic lifeforms, however, with profiles of tropical fish, articles on snails and shrimp, and some fairly technical posts on lighting of the sort you more commonly see on reef tank sites.

Here’s a snippet from an article on the benefits of plants:

A large part of keeping a fish only aquarium is trying to overcome the drawbacks of not having live plants. It also made me realize how hard it was to actually keep fish when I still had a fish only aquarium. Diseases such as Ich were commonplace, and although the medicine was available to treat the diseases, I still invariably lost a few fish along the way. This never struck me as strange until now. Instead of desperately trying to keep the fish alive, in a planted aquarium the goal shifts to keeping the plants happy. If the plants are happy, the fish thrive.

Kryptokoryne

This is one of those blogs that makes you feel your whole approach to fishkeeping has been too pedestrian. The author, Ghazanfar Ghori, is a complete Crypto nut, dedicating months to coaxing his favourite plants into flower. Truly an inspiring site for plant fans.

In one post he explores whether humidity induces flowering:

By creating a little bit of a gap in the lids, I’ve lowered the humidity levels down to near 70%. The goal was to encourage the plants to have thicker leaves and to mitigate the melting problems. The results from the last few weeks are pretty obvious. By lowering the humidity down to near 70%, some of the plants lost their leaves, albeit slowly. New leaves coming in are shorter, thicker and aren’t prone to melting.

Finally, a blog about everything (including fish!)

Gobies to Grizzlies

If something horrible should happen to me and I leave this Earth, I’d like to come back as Scott Michael. Not content with being an amazing photographer and a best-selling author whose fish guides attract a cult following among marine fishkeepers, Scott also finds time to trek across the wilds tracking grizzly bears, among many other adventures. (But possibly not to update his blog – the last entry is in October).

Here’s Scott confirming he’s found a new dottyback species:

You may remember the post a couple months ago titled DOTTYBACK DILEMMA where we examined a Pictichromis paccagnellae-like fish from Central Sulawesi. The dilemma was, is it a new species or just a variant of its more common cousin? Well the verdict is in. I sent specimens to Dr. Jack Randall, as did the ichthyophile, Kenn Hyltoft, who originally noticed the differences in this fish and P. paccagnellae. After some molecular analysis, it has been determined IT IS A NEW SPECIES! I am waiting to hear more about possible morphological differences (more prognathus lower jaw? coloration?) that hobbyists can use to separate the two species. I will pass these on to you when I hear what they are.

Please note that in compiling this list I’ve left out a few promising but rather new blogs (such as The Reef Tank and Aquarium Fish World) until they are more established. I’ll add them in an update in six months or so. I’ve also not included corporate blogs like Marine Depot’s blog. These will be rounded up in a future post.

Do you have a favourite aquarium blog I’ve not listed? Please let me know (and why you like it) in the comments below.

Check out Katy's Tropical Fish Guide for more aquarium info.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

jeffry r. johnston 01.09.09 at 6:09 pm

Nice round up. We’ve noticed several new aquarium blogs emerge since we began posting to ours in 2007 and find it utterly fantastic. We would love to post to ours more frequently but have a lot of other activities to watch over so it’s ureally great that this community of bloggers is becoming more and more active. We really appreciate what you and the other blog writers/designers/photographers on your list are doing. Much respect! :-D

Owen James 01.09.09 at 8:28 pm

Thanks… I agree, blogging is certainly more time consuming than it looks jeffry. I think I watch my fish less at the moment, which can’t be good. But I’ve big plans for this site, you watch and see… :)

As for the others, I agree — hopefully we’ll see a few more adding their sites here in the comments over time. And as I say I hope to do a company blog round up in a few weeks. Remind me if I forget!

stonyreef 01.13.09 at 5:46 pm

Happy New Year! thx for a mention & for bringing my attention to some blogs I’d not yet seen. Definitely looking forward to your next round up… there are a few good ones you missed! ;)

Owen James 01.13.09 at 10:56 pm

Thanks Stonyreef – I’ve a few other thoughts along these lines, so watch this space. :)

Kris 01.23.09 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for including Guitarfish in your round-up! I’m glad to know that others enjoy sharing my experiences in the hobby. I’m looking forward to a great 2009 for aquarium blogs!

Owen James 01.23.09 at 2:54 pm

You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by Kris, hope we see you again. :)

Eric 01.24.09 at 11:54 am

What a great review. You are really doing some wonderful work to promote the hobby. I appreciate your efforts. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the info!

marek kropielnicki 01.24.09 at 11:48 pm

Wow!!! and thank you for puting in my video clip on this site as video of the week. Im flattered!
First of all I must make one thing clear to all you aquarists. In my video you may see a lot of equipment some of which you might be familiar with and some not. Reef keeping isn’t all expensive gadgets as some of my friends have reef tanks FAR more superior to mine and run them on half the gear I have. On the other hand some may have twice as much equipment and call mine a basic set up. My words are ” DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU THE BEST” Once you have read a few books and “know what the score is”, you will be able to judge and determine what you need and what you will be happy with. Once your fish dealer gets to know you and if he/she can see you want to invest a little money into your venture, they will advise you on everything. (the newest and latest products on the market) In my experience some of the older methods of reef keeping work much better! There are soooooo many different approaches to the hobby that you soon get saturated with different advice and products resulting in a mind block on what method to addopt. My advice: Read the basics of reef keeping CHEMISTRY, Don’t rush as this can and will cause upset, Always buy quarrintined live stock, don’t be lazy and do regular water test checks (keeping records of everything) and the one piece of equipment I do advise you invest in is a GOOD protein skimmer! This will counter ballance any overfeeds you do and ensure good water quality! (bearing in mind you can be TOO thorough and skim the water too much thus resulting in mineral and goodness free water.
I am no expert or scientist just a mad lover of this hobby and will quite gladly talk to others with my passion. Once again thank you for taking notice of my tank and awarding it with distinction. Yours, Marek :-) ))

Owen James 01.25.09 at 5:26 pm

Thanks Marek!

I’ve decided to start archiving videos of the week. Future readers can see your tank at the page below:

http://aquadaily.com/2009/01/18/mareks-reef-aquarium-fish-of-the-week/

Brett 03.27.09 at 3:56 am

Theres some really nice ones there, im especially fond of Stonyreef. Anyway, Heres my Blog:

Reef Aquarium Information

Curvball 04.03.09 at 11:43 am

Was my previous comment disallowed? Was just trying to add some extra blogs to your list.

Thanks.

Owen James 04.03.09 at 3:07 pm

Hi Curvball

I haven’t got a previous comment in the moderation queue from you, just that one?

That said, all comments from first time commentators get moderated once as an anti-spam measure. After that you can comment freely (unless cookies reset or similar).

Presumably your blog is:

http://www.nanoreefblog.com

:)

Thanks for adding
Owen

InjefIncicy 04.04.09 at 7:50 pm

Great site this aquadaily.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

Curvball 04.06.09 at 9:04 am

@Owen James – damn! Guess my comment has vanished into the ether… will re-comment later this evening :)

Playeva 04.11.09 at 1:31 am

nice site this aquadaily.com nice to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

Pets Adoption >> Adopt a pet to ... 11.25.09 at 7:35 am

[... - aquadaily.com is one another interesting source of tips on this issue,[... -

saltwater aquariums San Antonio TX 02.15.11 at 2:14 am

Good job! I like it :-) And maybe while feeding our fish healthy and balanced diet we humans can also remember about our 5-a-day and can swap a burger for something healthier :-)

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