Project Description

Water quality challenges and solutions for fresh and saltwater aquariums

Aquarium keepers face a wide array of water quality challenges in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. This talk highlights how experience with either type translates to the other. Also noted are significant differences between the two. We will discuss physical parameters, nutrients, toxicants, mineral demands and gas exchange. Our touchstone will be creating optimal environments where aquatic creatures can thrive through a deep understanding of their physiological requirements.

Craig has been a bit too fascinated with water chemistry since his first trials with “pH up” and “pH down” at eight years old. His fish were less enthusiastic about the wild ride. While growing up, he kept many freshwater and marine aquariums. About the time that the internet was taking off, he realized that there could be an interesting synergy between his professional understanding of biological chemistry and his aquarium hobby. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he moved to New York, where he fell in with a group of dedicated coralholics, who self-identified as the New York Reef Mafia. There he wrote a series of articles that helped lay the foundation of the modern reef aquarium hobby, covering optical effects in aquariums, autofluorescent pigments in corals, calcification, and many other subjects. His longstanding interests include predicting outcomes in aquariums through numerical simulations, and understanding the interplay between the three major physicochemical processes in reef aquariums: nutrient dynamics, gas exchange and calcification. He has presented at several national aquarium conferences. Today, Craig is back in Madison, where he works at a “major research University” where he “uses X-rays to take pictures” of molecules. He continues to think about aquariums whenever work allows and his son doesn’t need his diaper changed.