Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Controlling Genus Chaetomorpha Marine Green Algae

Related FAQs: Green Algae Control 1, Green Algae Control 2, Green Algae Control 3, Green Algae Control 4, Green algae Control 5, Green Algae Control 6, Green Algae Control 7, & By Group: Bryopsis & Derbesia, Bubble Algae (Boergesenia, Dictyosphaeria, Valonia...), Caulerpa Compatibility/Control, Halimeda, Neomeris, Hair (Filamentous, Attached) Algae, Green Water  (Planktonic) Algae Blooms, & Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; CaulerpasControlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Related Articles: Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Algae Control, Caulerpa Algae, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae


New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Chaetomorpha Growth…Or Lack Of… - 09/22/17
The subject title will make you go noooooooo,
but I've got a question I cannot find an answer to.
Ever since I've grown Chaeto, I've been successful in keeping it. Until recently. Nothing has changed, the available nutrients are still there, the red/blue light is still there and adequate flow is still there. I had my crop die over a period of a month, just disintegrated. I replaced it with another healthy handful which has grown slightly (nowhere near as fast as before), but is also disintegrating now. The question is, in your knowledge does Chaeto require anything other than the aforementioned, which it may be lacking? I have a flourishing sps system with close to ideal parameters.
<<The alga needs pretty much everything your SPS need…including adequate water flow. Some say the Chaetomorpha needs enough water flow to make it “tumble” but I have never found that to really be necessary. I keep Chaetomorpha in a 55g RDP refugium with a flow-through rate of about 450 GPH which has proven sufficient for more than a decade. Much of the water is directed to ‘flow through’ the alga, but it certainly does not tumble. If flow is not an issue, double-check water parameters. Another possibility is something is either attacking the alga (chemical attack), or maybe it is simply being outcompeted by the system/your other filtration.>>
As the coral have grown larger year on year, is it possible they are consuming what may have been previously available for the Chaeto?
<<Indeed…you may no longer need the Chaetomorpha, though I like it not only for its filtration properties but also as a habitat and nursery for the myriad of critters it hosts.>>
Kind regards,
<<And to you…EricR>>
Re: Chaetomorpha growth    9/26/17

Thanks Eric, you've confirmed what I had suspected.
Kind regards,
<<Happy to assist...EricR>>

Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Quick question, is it OK to use macroalgae, e.g.; Chaetomorpha in a hospital tank secured by an algae clip, for example during a Cupramine treatment?
<Mmm; no... the algae... most biota will "complex" the copper, other med.s as well... And the copper will kill the algae>

I realize that it's recommended to only use inert substances in a hospital tank, and macroalgae, isn't considered inert, however, I was wondering if it might be an exception?
<No; not at all. IF you were feeding it... and removing the part the animals didn't consume; that might work out. But I would not leave algae in a treatment tank>
The only purpose of having it in the hospital tank would be to help keep the nitrates in check beyond water changes.
<Mmm; better to keep switching out pre-cycled media... like filter pads, sponge filters... along w/ dilution from the water changes>
I would never move the macroalgae out of the hospital tank to the display tanks.
Thanks, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Perfect Bob, that was my gut thought, but I wanted to check with the experts to be sure! Thanks again.
<Glad to share w/ you John. BobF>

help with Chaeto    2/3/13
Dear Web Media,
    About two months ago I set up a refugium with the hopes of increasing my success of eliminating hair algae from my display tank. I haven't noticed any difference. I believe this is partially because I do not have a large mass of macro algae growing. I purchased a small ball of Chaetomorpha. I heard it grew fast and was willing to be patient. However, it doesn't look like it is thriving. It is no longer in a tight ball and has gone from a vibrant green to more of a dull color. I have a 5000K CPF bulb on it 12 hours. My mangrove plants are satisfied.
<What re NO3, HPO4? Need measurable... as well as sufficient biomineral, alkalinity water content. Other algae et al. life may be competing chemically>
    I guess I'd like to know if my assumptions about combating hair algae are accurate, and what I am doing wrong in regards to my Chaeto?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ChaetomorphaContF.htm
I have a pair of Ocellaris, a
Longfin Sleeper Goby, and a Bartlett's Anthias. I am very careful not to overfeed them.
<Perhaps too much so>
These are in a 50 gallon reef tank lighted by Orphek PR-25pendant bulbs. I recently purchased an urchin, and he does a great job cleaning everything.
My refugium has approximately 15 gallons that I light opposite the display tank.
    Thanks in advance for your outstanding advice.
<Do measure for the needed chemical make up of your water and do the cited reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: help with Chaeto    2/3/13

Dear Bob,
    I read the link you listed (Thanks!). It sounds like other have similar issues with Chaetomorpha.
<Ah yes>
 My NO3, HPO4 are 0. That is something I had thought was a good sign, so now I'm confused.
<Mmm, don't be. Most chemo-trophs need some detectable levels of these essential nutrients... Think of terrestrial plant fertilizers... w/o them plants/algae won't/can't grow>
Am I to understand that my water is too pure to grow the Chaeto?
<Yes; one way to look at this>
 Should I not bother trying to get this to grow in the refugium, but then what about my Pods?
<I'd try to get all growing... likely by increasing the feeding to your fishes, cutting back on the use of any chemical filtrants>
If the hope of ridding myself of hair algae was based on growing macro algae, am I doomed to be picking it off the rocks?
<Not doomed>
 Sorry for all the questions. I have been reading about all of this like a crazy person and am starting to get info overload! I truly appreciate the help.
<Take your time here. A bit of understanding, application, and the filamentous will be gone. BobF>

Puzzling refugium, Chaeto. growth  11/10/12
Hey guys,
I guy at my LFS suggested I start using this forum to help decrease all the misinformation out there regarding this hobby so here's my debut question no one has been able to solve yet.
I have a 210 mixed reef with a small 10 gallon refugium.
<Is small, but of use>
I have an Ecoxotic panorama pro 8700k led on a dimmer at about half intensity running 12 hrs/ day & a 5" sand bed. I cannot grow Chaeto!!! It just dissolves over a month or so. I have changed photo periods and dimming intensities at numerous combinations with no luck.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated
<Mmm, do you have sufficient (measurable NO3, HPO4? Enough calcium and Alkalinity? Too much competition from other macroalgae in the system, elsewhere? These are the principal factors... Read here re:
and the linked files above at your leisure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puzzling refugium, Chaeto. growth     11/11/12

Hey Dave,
Thanks for the response. I have no measurable  NO3 or HPO5.
<... both necessary for photosynthates... See WWM Re>
My alkalinity is 11.5 and calcium is 450
<Both a bit too high>
consistently and no other macro algae in the display due to my Tang population. I can't seem to get magnesium above 1200 even with additives.
<Due to the Alk... lack of NO3, PO4>
 Ph is 8.3 to 8.4 consistently also. I have never been able to grow any large colonies of Coralline either. I wrote Red Sea about the magnesium issue & they were puzzled too. Some say certain types of rock (live rock) just wont grow coralline but it doesn't seem to grow much on powerheads, glass & other non natural surfaces either. For a time I was adding magnesium on a daily basis and though it would not raise the Mg levels it did kill all my snails, shrimp & stars. In fact I quit adding Mg supplements altogether to see if I can reintroduce those inverts without killing them.
Hope to hear from you again
<... no sense... You need to read. B>
Re: Puzzling refugium    11/11/12

No to be such a pest but is my refugium still useful even without macro algae?
<Yes; but not nearly as much... a RDP w/ such growth goes a long way to providing stability>
should I add some rock on top of my 5" sand bed to increase bio surface?
<I likely would>
I have over 200 pounds of live rock in the display now. Have you ever heard of or know anything about (no light) cryptic zone refugiums.
<A great deal; yes... was friends long ago of Steve Tyree who wrote/borrowed re>
I am very diligent about water changes (20% every two weeks) hence no nitrates
Thanks again for your help & patience's
<No worries. Bob Fenner>

Chaetomorpha dying off in low Magnesium environment - 8/17/12
Many thanks for the maintaining the website and answering to our troubled questions. I just wanted to share the experience with dying off Chaetomorpha in low magnesium. I quickly searched WetWebMedia FAQ pages but did not find a link between low magnesium and dying off Chaetomorpha. I hope this anecdote help fellow reefers.
<Assuredly so>
I went with Instant Ocean salt 3-4 months ago to save on cost and gradually developed inability to raise calcium and alkalinity above 375 ppm and ocellaris clownfish <?> 3.5 meq/L respectively. Chaetomorpha is loosely attached
to a glass wall in the tank with 110w LED light. However, the algae has recently stopped growing, and the most lit parts have lost green color and started to shed off. Magnesium was 1115 ppm (Seachem Magnesium test kit) vs. more than 1300 ppm 7-8 months ago. I started dosing Epsom salt and brought magnesium back to 1300 within two weeks.
Chaetomorpha started growing and returned to dark green 'curly' state in a week. I have never dosed magnesium before.
<The ratio (about 1:3) w/ calcium concentration is absolutely necessary w/ much non-vertebrate life>

Here are a few details about the aquarium setup: a 40gal shallow tank with a few soft corals (mushrooms, Zoanthids), LPS (Candy Cane coral, Frog spawn coral, Acan), two unidentified SPS frags, two Ocellaris Clownfishes, Bubble Tip Anemone,
<Mmm, misplaced w/ the other Cnidarian groups here>

 live rock, skimmer and Vortech. The system is 1.5 year old. I dose alkalinity, calcium supplements (Seachem) and iodine (Kent) and have just started Trace elements (Kent).  I might sometimes overdose either calcium or alkalinity as I move from one salt manufacturer to another one but bring parameters back though weekly Ca and Alk tests. I maintain calcium between 400ppm and 420 ppm and alkalinity between 3.0 meq/L and 3.5 meq/L (Seachem tests). I occasionally test nitrates, phosphates and iodine level but have never seen any spike. Corals and other inhabitants have been growing in the system for more than a year. I could not think of any other reason for dying off Chaetomorpha.
<Need measurable NO3 and HPO4... in this "age" of blind chemical filtrant use, this is often an issue>

 I will probably move back to either Tropic Marine or Reef Crystals once I finish Instant Ocean (+
trace + Epsom salt, etc.)
Best regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Chaetomorpha in wet-dry setup? Emersed?   10/31/11
There might be some advantages to growing Chaetomorpha in one of those old wet-dry filters with a drip plate. I think they would do fine in a moist environment rather than being fully submerged;
<Mmm, think it has to be submersed>
the exposure to CO2 might help growth, and generally prevent fouling and make it easier to harvest. This would also work kind of like a degassing tower, with improved pH stability, especially if you were using a very large mass as the primary filtration. Having the water run over the algae rather than flowing through it, probably improves contact, and prevents fouling areas as the algae grows.
On a large recirculating aquaculture system for sensitive organisms, it might work better than a bacterial system such as beads.
I'm surprised that there are no references to this idea. Do you know if anyone has tried it?.
<I do not; but you're welcome to give it a go>
Charles Matthews
<Bob Fenner>

Chaetomorpha Growth (Lighting) -- 05/07/11
In your expert opinion, does Chaetomorpha do better with reverse lighting or 24/7 lighting.
<<A 'rest period' is good, as provided by the RDP. This is more natural and thus likely 'better' for the macroalgae'¦it is also more economic (less energy costs, heat transfer, etc.). Lighting a refugium 24/7 is generally suggested when keeping Caulerpa spp. to preclude a sexual event (often brought on by the changing light cycle of day/night lighting), and the subsequent fouling of the system>>
Also, are 2 54 watt bulbs, 1-10000K, 1-6700K to much light on sump with DSB, to grow Chaeto?
<<Not at all'¦in fact, two 6700K bulbs would be my choice here. Cheers'¦ EricR>>

One More Skimmer Question To Add To Your Site, sel.. Chaetomorpha tumbling, fan CFMs -- 03/26/10
Hey guys!
<<Hiya Drew! Sorry for the delay'¦ Work has been a bear and I'm afraid I let your query linger in my box a bit too long. But hey, as I have been reminded'¦I'm just glad to have a job [grin] >>
You've helped me out before so hopefully you can again.
<<I shall try>>
I read through your info on skimmer selection and found that really helpful, but am still in need of some guidance.
<<Mmm, indeed'¦ It can be a bit confounding/intimidating considering the considerable outlay of funds involved with the purchase of a 'quality' unit>>
I have a 180 gallon drilled tank with a MegaFlow 4 sump/wet-dry. It is going to become a well stocked reef and have a moderate bioload.
<<Do research our site re reef tanks and wet/dry filters'¦most don't advocate the use of such filters in reef systems>>
I found a Coralife skimmer 220 that was used for 3 weeks for $100 which is about half the cost of a new one
<<Mmm, did you check yourself? Marine Depot sells this skimmer new for $112.00'¦and a search on the net can get you one 'new' for as little as $105.00>>
so I picked it up just to have something on the tank.
<<And that's pretty much describes it'¦am not a fan of these skimmers>>
How well will this skimmer work when the tank is dully stocked with corals and fish?
<<I do think you will find the money would have been better put toward a better skimmer>>
Following that should I look into a better skimmer down the road?
<<Absolutely'¦ AquaC, Euro-Reef (now Reef Dynamics), H&S, Tunze, Deltec'¦and maybe even the Octopus line of skimmers>>
I know you guys are fond of the AquaC and Euro-Reefs.
<<Yup'¦the ER is my current fave>>
What style and price range am I looking at if I decide to get one of these down the road?
<<I favor the needle-wheel 'style' of skimmer, but other types offered by the manufacturers I've listed will also serve. As for price range this will be variable among the differing manufacturers. I do suggest you get the 'next size up' from what is 'suggested' where possible'¦and expect to pay $300.00 and more>>
Also I took out the bioballs in the sump/wet-dry because I heard they are a nuisance in a reef tank.
<<One way to put it'¦do research our site for a full explanation>>
Should I replace them with live rock or rubble?
<<You can, yes'¦or even use/rig the chamber for chemical filtrants (carbon/Poly-Filter)>>
The previous owner of the tank threw in a refugium that he had running with some success, but it was neglected and became a rotting mess.
The dimensions are 8"wide x 7"tall x 36"long. Because of the shape of it I can't figure out how I will ever get Chaeto to "tumble" any ideas?
<<Not to worry'¦the Chaetomorpha does not have to tumble. I have kept 'non-tumbling' Chaetomorpha in a 55g refugium for nearly seven years now. Just supply adequate lighting and flow (as little as couple hundred GPH has proven sufficient in my experience), and keep it thinned periodically, and it should be fine>>
It's hooked into the main pump using a tee section and a ball-valve, but I can't adjust the flow too much higher because of the baffle system at the entrance of the refuge that causes the sand bed to float into the water which drains back into the sump.
<<As stated'¦no need for a huge amount of flow>>
I know this won't work as a true refuge,
but my main concern was added filtration from the macro by pulling out nutrients.
<<It can/will work'¦but within the confines/limitations of its size>>
Lastly I've been looking into cooling fans for the halides in the canopy to keep them from running hot, keep evaporation under control,
<<Actually mate, 'promoting' evaporation will assist with cooling of the tank water>>
and to make sure the heat doesn't warp the wooden canopy I built. I found some great prices for a variety of fans, but don't really know what CFM I should be getting?
<<Pretty much anything that moves air will help'¦just keep in mind the higher the CFM rating the LOUDER the fan is likely to be. I utilize 12v fans for this reason (generally not as powerful as 110v fans given the same size'¦but lots quieter) but if you use 12v units you will also need a suitable transformer/s>>
I also don't really know what CFM means in layman's terms.
<<CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute and references the 'volume of air' the fan is rated to move>>
Could you guide me in the right direction?
<<I hope I have'¦do look to sources 'outside' the aquarium industry for the best prices>>
Sorry for the length of this, but I know you guys are busy and I hate to bother you with multiple questions.
<<No worries mate>>
So with that being said, I'll let you get back to work. Thanks for all your help and guiding words.
Sent from my iPhone
<<Is a pleasure to share, Drew'¦ Cheers'¦ EricR Sent from my HP desktop>>

New Tank / refugium. Chaetomorpha hlth.   2/24/10
Hi guys & gals, sorry to keep harassing you but I just was viewing my refugium portion of my sump and it appears that the Chaeto is dying...the ends of it have little bulbs on them and there are a ton of empty stalks where I believe there was growing algae
I'm thinking that a cause of this is either that my tank is not fully cycled
<? This will do it>
yet so that Nitrates are quite high or the other cause could be the lighting that I have over it which is a 19 watt fluorescent working for approx 12 hours opposite to my tank lights
<If sufficient in photo-quality, this should be fine>
Could either of these be the cause and let me know any thoughts on how I should combat
Thanks again for your help
<Take a search on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
with the genus name and words like "culture", "health"... read the cached versions. Bob Fenner>

Chaetomorpha source 12/5/03 Hey guys, <whassup> I have had a refugium and have been trying to find some Chaetomorpha to stock it with for a while, but have been having trouble finding anyone who sells it.  Do you know of any reliable e-tailers who carry it? Thanks, Rem <I'd contact Morgan Lidster at Inland Aquatics... many nice refugium species available. Or, look up some local or regional aquarium societies. Many have members (like my www.PMAS.org) that have so much Chaetomorpha and other macros that they bring them to the monthly meetings or throw it away. It will not be hard to find my friend. Anthony>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: