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FAQs on Algae as Food 2

Related Articles: Algae as Food, Phytoplankton, Use in  Marine Aquariums by Sara Mavinkurve,  Foods/Feeding/NutritionCulturing Food Organisms, Culturing Macro-Algae; Red Algae in General, Marine Algae, Algae Can Be Your Friend

Related FAQs: Algae Foods 1, Algae Foods 3, Freshwater Algae as Food, & FAQs on Algae Food: Rationale/Use, Sources, Culture, Feeding Methods, Troubleshooting/Fixes, Products, & Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Phytoplankton, Marine Algae, Coral FeedingBrine ShrimpVitaminsNutritional DiseaseFrozen Foods, Coral Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsCulturing Food OrganismsRed AlgaeSee also the individual groups of organisms feeding FAQs files

An Acropora with Dascyllus pic by DianaF in N. Sulawesi.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16
I have always loved the look of Caribbean reefs and would like to include vegetation in my 220 gallon mixed LPS/soft coral display tank. I also love watching the antics of tangs and am planning on including a few in this build. I have read several posts noting that tangs have kept Caulerpa (C. mexicana and C. prolifera, specifically) growth in check. However, most articles don't mention biological/herbivore controls and simply say "Don't do it". Do you have any thoughts on this?
<Some species, individual Tangs will eat "some" Caulerpas; but not all of either>
Are there similarly hardy and palatable plants I should be considering instead?
<Ah yes; for looks there are MANY choices, for function, Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha species are faves. These are gone over quite a bit on WWM if you care to delve into the subject>
Thank you for your time?
<Welcome? Bob Fenner>
Re: Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16

Bob! Thank you for the quick response and my apologies for the errant question mark.
<Heee! Figured it was an error>
I have searched through the WWM faqs and articles (for which I am eternally grateful) and haven't noticed/understood the answers so I apologize if I missed the appropriate posts.
<No worries; let's see if we can get you the information you're looking for here>
I was looking into the gracilaria in the DT but I'm a bit concerned the tangs would over-graze it.
<Yes to this. Need to raise elsewhere... like an illuminated sump, refugium, and only add to the main/display tank what you want consumed>
Assuming moderately high LED lighting for corals in a 72 x 24 x 30 tank, how much established Gracilaria would be recommended to persist, assuming 3-5 tangs (Likely candidates are Hippo, Yellow, Sailfin, & Convict)...
<As stated, raise macrophytes that are palatable elsewhere. NOT in the main tank>
and am I correct in assuming live is usually preferred (by the fish) over freeze-dried?
<Generally yes; though algae consuming fishes will learn to, eat dried algae with gusto>
I've also looked at Chaeto but are there forms that wouldn't trap detritus or which grow more...leaf like?
<Not so much as "spaghetti" like>
What about rooted Sargassum or anchored Halymenia?
<These and other purposeful algaes can be grown, used for a range of ornament to food... The browns/Phaeophytes, like Sargassum are a bit harder (than reds, most greens) to culture... Need/use quite a bit of iodine (ide-ate actually)>
There seems to be too little applied information available...or I'm just not finding it.
<Useful data, intelligent anecdotal info. is about; but not easily found. There are some good books, specialty websites like Advanced Aquarist, Reefs.com, ReefBuilders... to ask at (bb's) and read archives. Do send along specific questions!>
Thank you, again, for all your input!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Seaweed question 6/6/2011
Bob,
<Rick>
I just got back from San Diego, and since that's your turf, I thought I'd ask you about this. I picked up a handful of those flat seaweed leaves at Mission beach.
<Mmm, blades or lamina... of... Macrocystis pyrifera?>
I'm wondering whether my P. wingei and my J. floridae might enjoy eating it if I pulverize it into bite-sized pieces, or is this a bad idea?
--
Rick Novy
<Likely bad... too bitter (too much I2), and too likely to introduce pests and pollution. B>

Refugium: Ok to use algae harvested to feed fish. 7/13/2010
Hello Wet Web Crew,
<Hi Wendy>
I have a refugium in the sump of my 180 reef tank which is growing macro algae.
<Good.>
I had thought that the algae grown in the sump could be used to feed my fish, but recently read something which seemed to indicate it would not be suitable for feeding since grown on 'fish waste'.
<Yes, it is grown on fish waste. but that isn't a problem.>
Is it safe to use for feeding my fish?
<Yes>
I've also seen different opinions on lighting the refugium and wonder what is best, 24 hour lighting, or reverse of main tank?
<I prefer reverse of the aquarium. It helps keep the pH up during lights out.>
Thank you for your thoughts,
<My pleasure.>
Wendy
<MikeV>

Harvesting algae from algae filter    4/9/10
Hello crew! I've been regularly visiting your site for a few months now and wanted to thank you for making so much information available all in one place.
<Welcome!>
I've recently built an algae filter to help control nitrates and phosphates, and it seems to be doing its job. My test results have gone from nitrate levels being off the charts to around 15.
<Ah, good>
I've read on several websites that you should not harvest the algae on the filter and feed it to your fish. I was curious to know why.
<Mmm, two possibilities come to mind... the concern that you might end up "re-entering" whatever nutrient was taken up by the turf algae, and secondly, that the algae might prove distasteful, perhaps toxic. But... I'd try a bit of the turf algae and see if it's accepted, and likely use part of it this way on an ongoing basis>
If I'm not mistaken the algae on the filter shouldn't be any different from the algae in the aquarium right?
<There is a huge variety in algae, but the types/species usually cultured in these filters is not toxic and is palatable to many fish species>
Don't think this pertains to my question much but my setup is as follows:
75 gallon tank
Ehime pro II canister filter
Ehime classic canister (used to return water to the tank from algae scrub.)
Both are primarily filled with ceramic media, all but 1 small sponge have been removed and I can't for the life of me remember what the other media in there is.
about 80 lbs live rock
2 inches crushed coral substrate
Water temp 82
Salt reading on meter is 1.22
<1.022... I'd be raising this Spg. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/spg_salinity.htm
and the linked files above>
Livestock:
1 Emperor angel
1 Cream angel
<Mmm, what is this?>
1 Red Sea wrasse
1 Lawn mower blenny
2 Ocellaris clowns
1 long spine urchin
1 cleaner shrimp
3 large hermit crabs
1 turbo snail
Thanks again for all your help!
Terry
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Harvesting algae from algae filter   4/13/10

Hi Bob, thank you for your prompt response. I've tried feeding some of the algae to the fish and they seem to like it.
<Ah, good>
Thank you for the link to the salinity levels. I've started raising it slowly with small partial water changes.
<Even better>
I've done some research on the cream angel I mentioned and I believe its more commonly referred to as a Singapore Angle.
<Thank you for this>
I'd send a pic but they all come out fuzzy, cause he moves around all the time.
Thanks again,
Terry
<Thank you. BobF>

Getting Your Fish To Eat Its Veggies --    9/9/09
Hi again Crew,
<<Hiya Jill>>
I have come upon a slight problem with my Foxface Rabbitfish. I can't seem to get him to eat any veggies.
<<Mmm, not all that 'strange' really. Though my Siganus doliatus along with my Tangs will go after macroalgae with gusto'¦they quickly abandon it in the presence of 'meaty' fare>>
I have bought several different brands of dried algae to feed him. Both red and green types. I never see him nibbling the algae in my tank either but then again, I don't watch him 24/7. He will eat all the meaty foods I feed the puffers and loves Mysis shrimp but I'm concerned that he isn't eating enough of the veggie stuff.
<<I see'¦ One would assume the fish would know when it needs/wants such foods, eh [grin]'¦though you might try enticing it with a soak in an food enrichment additive like Selco or Selcon'¦as well as offering the macroalgae before any other food items>>
Does anyone have any good tips on how to tempt him more?
<<Aside from the food enrichment additive mentioned, not really'¦other than trying differing brands. I (and my fishes) like the 'shredded' offerings from Two Little Fishies. You might also try (If you haven't already) some 'Nori' from an Asian market and placing a sheet in a clip in the tank and leaving it for the fish to nibble at its leisure>>
I have recently bought Bob's book and love the recipe in it, I'm going to try something like this and just incorporate more algae.
<<Ah yes'¦and this brings to mind another option'¦Hikari's 'Mega-Marine Algae' frozen food. This will look more like the meaty fare your Rabbitfish likes and should be readily accepted>>
One question I did have is if my puffer takes a bite out of the live rock now and then, do I still need to worry about giving him shelled foods?
<<Likely, yes'¦ An occasional bite of rock isn't likely to keep its teeth ground down'¦and besides'¦the shelled foods are just plain good for its long-term health/vitality>>
He wasn't interested in the hermit crabs which I am glad of now since I've decided I will not be feeding him any more live food in hopes to eliminate possible aggression at a later time.
<<A yes'¦ Clams, mussels, etc. from the local grocery store should do just fine>>
As far as Bob's book goes. I loved it, I recommend anyone thinking about getting into this hobby to look for it at Amazon.com. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I certainly wished I had it before I started purchasing my fish. I would have definitely asked a lot more questions.
<<Indeed'¦ Bob certainly does urge/inspire one to think/read/research>>
One more thing. I was thinking of adding a Flame Hawkfish to my set-up. 125 gallon FOWLR 1 dog-face puffer, 1 Porc puffer, 1 Rabbitfish. Yes....I know the Porc will outgrow the 125 and am already considering putting him in his very own 125.
<<Very good then'¦ The Hawkfish should be fine>>
I figure I have a year possibly as he is only about 5 inches right now.
Thanks again Crew. Take care!!
Jill
<<Welcome and same to ya! EricR>>

Prepared Algae for Freshwater Fish (RMF, am I quoting you right here?) 12/07/08 Hi everyone, this question is for Neale. Other than the odd nibble here and there, I've never noticed my fish eating algae. In order to up the algae intake I was wondering if Ocean Nutrition Pygmy Formula would be safe for them. The first ingredients on the package read: Tropical marine algae (Caulerpa, Ulva, Hypnea, Gracilaria), kelp. The alternative is to feed Formula Two which has spinach as a main ingredient. Would either or both of these be safe to use on a regular basis for freshwater fish such as mollies, platies and swordtails? <Both absolutely fine for freshwater fish. Unlike the situation with meaty foods, where in some cases, there are some foods best reserved as marine foods for marine fish, plant foods don't seem to work that way. While Bob would (does) argue marine algae are the ideal for marine herbivores, he doesn't say (as I understand it) blanched spinach or whatever is necessarily bad for marine fish, just not so good. <<Mmm, actually, spinach can be bad for marines... if fed too much... some metabolic consequences... and want to make my usual statements re the nutritional value of same to marines (low) and likelihood of introduction of unwanted nutrients (high) and possibility of pesticide residue... RMF>> The reverse is certainly true for freshwater herbivores, which will happily take any soft greens of whatever type. The difference between meat and vegetable foods is that while freshwater and marine prey animals have different types/amounts of various chemicals, particularly lipids (oils, fats, waxes) -- plants and algae are all much of a muchness. The only big difference is in the amount of cellulose, with terrestrial plants having the most, aquatic plants having much less, and algae the least. When you blanche lettuce leaves and other plant foods, you break down the cellulose, making it easier for the fish to digest them. This is a very long way of saying that it doesn't really matter much, and you are free to try out whatever you want!> Also, I am very curious what you use to feed your fish. <I tend to use algae-based flake and wafer foods for my herbivores. Livebearers are normally kept in tanks where algae is allowed to grow rampantly, for example my fry-rearing tank is on a windowsill than gets full sunlight for 3-4 hours per day, and consequently there's lots of algae there. The fry mostly eat that, topped off with flake food once or twice a day. I believe the flakes I use are the Nutrafin algae flakes, and the wafers are certainly the Hikari ones. I like Hikari foods generally, and find them readily accepted by the widest variety of fish. Other plant foods used include cucumber, courgette (zucchini), broccoli stem, carrots, potatoes and Sushi Nori. The "crunchier" foods are for my Panaque catfish; she also eats wood. The other catfish (Corydoras, Aspidoras, Synodontis and Rineloricaria) mostly eat Hikari algae wafers and bloodworms; I can't stress too strongly how important algae and plant foods are to catfish, with most Loricariids and Callichthyids consuming significant amounts in the wild. Cichlids are also major league algae-eaters, even things like Kribs that hobbyists mistakenly believe eat insect larvae and the like in the wild. They are in fact most sediment sifters, consuming algae and other tiny organisms. Much cichlid sickness certainly comes down to poor diet choices, lack of vitamins, fiber; cf. disease among marine herbivores such as Surgeonfishes.> Thanks! Lynne <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Prepared Algae for Freshwater Fish (RMF, am I quoting you right here?)  12/8/08
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply! I also got Bob's note. Just to reiterate, both are perfectly safe to use daily on the freshwater side? <Yes; freshwater fish seem to have much less trouble with saltwater foods than vice versa. In fact many of the foods (probably most) we give freshwater fish come from marine sources: fish scraps from saltwater fisheries, marine algae like Spirulina, krill, etc. So by all means offer whatever saltwater algae and invertebrates you want to your freshwater fish. Mine routinely eat krill, squid, mussels, prawns, etc.> This actually surprised me to read. I thought that marine protein (herring, salmon, halibut, krill, plankton, mysis, Cyclops-eeze, etc) were excellent for freshwater fish, and the concern was just how much or little to feed based on if the freshwater fish were carnivores or omnivores. Are there anyone's in particular that are good for freshwater fish and ones to avoid? <Nope; they're all good! The best rule for feeding freshwater fish is exactly the same as for feeding humans: everything in moderation. Dietary problems tend to come from a lack of fibre, or excessive thiaminase and fat, or fish becoming hooked on just one or two foods. But if you use a variety of foods, and offer each of them sparingly, you'll be fine.> Thanks to both of you for your replies! Lynne <Cheers, Neale.>

Naso Tang/Alga Supplementation/FOWLR Lighting -- 06/10/08 Hey Crew, <<Hey!>> I wish to keep a 150 FOWLR aquarium and was wondering if a Naso tang is suitable for this setup. <<Mmm, not really/is less than ideal'¦a 6ft tank would be much better as this/most any tang species needs room to roam>> I am aware of their adult size so I want to make sure before I get one, so it can last for a while in my tank. <<Indeed'¦ A small individual (3-4 inches) might be 'OK' for a couple years, but is then as it continues to mature, behavioral/health issues are likely to manifest>> I know that they need algae preferably brown macroalgae, <<Will also eat/benefit from green alga>><and Reds. RMF> but since it's a FOWLR I tend not to turn on the light as often and some days have no light, but I replicate the day/night schedule with the living room lights. <<'¦? FOWLR or not, I would use a timer(s) to establish some type of 'routine' with the tank lighting>> Is there an alternative to having constant growth of algae in the tank, as reefers certainly have an excessive growth and be willing to rid of it, but in a FOWLR aquarium, I don't have a strong lighting, which in this case I don't need. <<Algae can be easily supplemented. One of my favorites for this is Sea Veggies from Two Little Fishies>> Would Nori sheets and both brown and green algae sheets be sufficient or do I still need blooming algae in the tank and if so, how can I do so with T5 lighting? <<There is no need to 'grow' the algae in the tank'¦what you describe will work just fine. Do consider giving the algae a soak in a liquid supplement like Selcon or Vita-Chem, once or twice a week>> Again, I feel that the lighting consumes much power, in addition to the filtration, etc. and don't wish to use it unless necessary such as in a reef. <<Consider this'¦though you don't have a 'reef' tank, you are still keeping fishes associated/found on the natural reef. Many of these fishes are used to a very bright environment'¦keeping them in a darkened tank is unnatural, maybe even unhealthy for some. While a FOWLR tank may not require the PAR values a reef tank would'¦it does require illumination, in my opinion'¦even what some may consider as 'bright' illumination. If a dimly lit tank is what you prefer, then choose your livestock accordingly. Perhaps you are better suited to keeping Scorpaeniformes, which would enjoy/benefit from the subdued lighting>> Thanks in Advance! <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Sea Vegetable'¦Nori -- 02/01/08 Having been involved with marine systems for many years, I have accumulated a large selection of books on the subject. <<Me too!>> Just want to say that Bob Fenner's book 'Conscientious Marine Aquarist' is positively outstanding and my constant reference when contemplating adding another critter to my collection. <<Indeed'¦ And at the risk of sounding like a kiss-up'¦ Bob's experiences and knowledge across virtually every aspect of the hobby lends to some very valuable insights. And, after getting to know him, I can say he is truly 'in it' for the hobby's sake. Also, I think Bob is currently working on an update of the book'¦am sure it too will be well worth owning>> I recently added a dwarf lion because I learned from the book why my first one died (goldfish :< ) <<Mmm'¦>> Just one question... The book mentions marine sea vegetables and so I went to my health store and purchased Nori. My fish love it! <<And you are surprised? [grin]>> What worries me though is on the list of nutrition facts Iodine is 70%. <<Yes'¦as a 'natural' source>> Is this safe for my fish? <<It is'¦and as a whole, this 'seaweed' addition to their diet will enrich their health>> I could not find any reference to it on the FAQS. <<Got one there now! [grin]>> Thanks for a terrific web site! Carol <<Most welcome'¦is a collective effort. Regards, EricR>> <Ah, yes. RMF>

Tang ID/Tang Food...Do They Need Terrestrial Greens? -- 12/05/07 Hi Crew, <<Hello James>> Time to turn to you guys when I'm not sure. Some people are saying I should be feeding my Tangs broccoli and Brussels sprouts. <<You can feed these 'terrestrial greens' if you like...if first frozen or blanched to 'breakdown' the cellulose...something the fishes can't do. But I wouldn't consider them a necessary supplement, and definitely not a replacement, for alga matter of a 'marine' source>> I already give them plenty of Ocean Nutrition algae/seaweed plus Formula 2, etc. <<This should be sufficient in my opinion...no need for the terrestrial vegetables>> I wouldn't have thought broccoli was available in the sea. <<Ha...indeed! Though the broccoli is of some benefit to the fishes, I prefer to feed marine algae>> Any tips? <<Assuming your fishes are getting enough/are healthy...I would continue as you have been. The occasional soak of their foods in a dietary supplement just before feeding, such as Selcon or Vita-Chem, is a good idea too>> I have a Vlamingi Tang that could be a Lopezi Tang. I have searched the net but a lot of sites get them confused as well. He does have the spots and the stripes lower down and I'm sure I can see a bump forming. I have attached a small pic. <<Yes, I see... I'll ask Bob to chime-in if he wishes, but based on the depth of the body in relation to its length, the shape of the tail, and the bluntness of the head, this is not Naso lopezi but is indeed Naso vlamingi. Have a look at the pics on this page and see what you think: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm >> My tank is an under stocked 900 gallons so don't worry, I have room for him. <<Ah, very nice>> It won't look so under stocked when my fishes grow. <<Indeed...and all will be so much healthier/more socially adjusted for not 'growing-up' in an over-cramped environment>> Last question. I set up a DSB for nitrate removal in a 75 gallon tank as per your instructions in your DSB article. My Picasso trigger after 4 years together started bullying my larger clown trigger. <<Really? Would have expected it to be the other way around>> So I removed the Picasso to the DSB. My nice and flat DSB now has big sand dunes in it. He picks the sand up in his mouth and drops it somewhere else. <<Mmm, yes...though not abnormal for Triggerfishes to rearrange their surroundings to their liking, this Picasso is likely very 'bored'>> This is bad right? <<Only in the sense that it disrupts the function of the DSB...otherwise, it will have no deleterious effect on your system>> Should I take out the sand, wash it and reuse it in the main tank? <<Not necessary to remove it...or to 'wash it' if you do decide to move it>> Thank you so much, Kind regards, James Barclay
<<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

Seaweed Dissolves... Alga Clips  9/10/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Ray, Mich here.> I searched the DB for tips, could not find an answer. I am trying to feed my Yellow Tang seaweed strips. It dissolves into fragments quickly and floats around the tank possibly becoming detritus. Anyway, I can't keep this stuff in one place long enough for my Tang to nibble and enjoy? Any tips? <Yep! Don't eat yellow snow! Heehee! There are algae clips made just for this purpose. See the Veggie clip and grid feeding clip on this link: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/NavResults.cfm?pc=1&N=2004+62741&va=1 Or you can make your own feeding station by rubber banding the alga strip to a shell. Hope that helps! Thanks, <Welcome!> Ray C. <Mich L.>

Algae... munchers...  9/5/07 <Hmm, Mich here, a bit perplexed by this query...> Saltwater aquarium, Algae growing, the kind you find near the shore. What grazes on it? <Many animals depending where the alga is located, in Hawaii for instance, you will find tangs nearly jumping out of the water to graze on various algae. Not exactly sure what you're asking perhaps this query could be resubmitted with a little more thought development? Mich>

Stocking Opinion   3/31/07 Hi Crew, <Jason> Thank you for all your effort in providing this forum.  My tank is pretty much all stocked up, but I am considering whether or not to add another fish (tang) or small school of Chromis (four) to the tank.  I apologize if this is too much information, <No such thing> but here is what I've got: This tank was up for 14 months before I tore it down and started again due to a massive green hair algae problem.  I think this was brought on by my lack of a chiller last summer and temperature spikes into the mid-eighties.  Current set up running for seven months and appears stable, but I remain paranoid about algae & bioload. 200+ gallon custom "show" configuration - 54" x 24" x 40" (tall), <Wow! Hope you've got basketball player-length arms!> maybe 240 g total volume w/ sump less rock. 2 x 250 MH lighting (10.5 hours/day/offset a bit) + 90W actinic (14 hours/day) Several hundred pounds of live rock, & 4" live DSB Sump filtration w/ sock, protein skimmer, activated carbon, UV sterilizer Four water returns w/wave-maker and 3000 gph pump - nice variable flow. Automatic water top off system and bi-weekly water changes between 10-25% A chiller.  Water temp quite stable @ 79F. Calcium reactor on order. No refugium as there is simply nowhere to put it. I can't figure out how to add macro-algae to the sump w/o fouling the pump. <Screening, partitioning likely... to have water spill over... leave the algae behind... or divert main flow around the algal culture area...> Water parameters checked weekly.  Calcium a bit high at 500ppm <Yes...> (Salifert), Alk ~ 11. pH 8.1-8.2, Nitrates/Nitrites = 0 I have numerous soft corals: Two sizable toadstools Large, growing leather coral Purple frilly (I think) gorgonian- 18" tall Five Zoanthid colonies. One frogspawn, one purple xenia Two green polyp colonies. Two other soft colonies I can't identify. 3 LPS colonies I can't identify 5 SPS (Acropora) frags.  I started these about two months ago, and they are mounted at water depths less then 12", four of them within 6" of surface.  They seem to be growing well and I've constructed a coral skeleton high in the tank to mount some more if all goes well.  For now, I am waiting on Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation before spending any more money. <A good investment> The fish: 1 yellow tang - 4" long 1 hippo tang - 2.5" 1 pair false percula clowns - 2"-3" 1 pair Longnose hawkish - 3" 1 pair (male/female) watchman gobies- 3"-4" 1 six line wrasse (2") 1 unknown wrasse - 4" long (primarily purple body, wide yellow horizontal stripe down each side, blue tail) 1 orchid Dottyback - 2" 1 pair cleaner shrimp 10 blue leg hermits 10 scarlet hermits 1 sally lightfoot crab. (The one with the yellow bands on its legs, not the one identified as sally lightfoot on WWM crab page.) 6 turbo snails, many Astrea 1 narcissus snail & two sand sifter stars.  (I think you disapprove of these but I got tired of cleaning the brown scum off my sand and these guys keep it pretty clean but not spotless, so they are hopefully not starving.) <Likely fine here> I have to admit, the fish are happy as is, so I am reticent to add.  The only problem is the male goby does not like the female, but I think there is enough room for them to avoid each other. <Okay> I feed 1 cube frozen mysis daily, sometimes 2 cubes.  Also feed a playing card worth of Nori most days, as in my experience the tangs starve without it and all the fish enjoy it except the Hawkfish.  (I should emphasize my experience with this.  I had ridiculous amounts of every kind of unwanted algae and my tangs still went skinny.  After I began feeding the Nori sheets in a clip, they remained healthier and pick more algae off the rocks.) <Thank you for this> I also use a light dose of plankton or DT oyster eggs most days with skimmer off for 3 hours, primarily for the corals. (Also a drop of Lugol's a day in the sump, although not exactly "food"). So...hopefully that is all the info you could ever want to offer an informed opinion. Would you recommend that I refrain from adding either an Atlantic Blue Tang (an Acanthurus in addition to my Paracanthurus and Zebrasoma) OR four green or blue Chromis to this party?   <Mmm, all should go fine... I would make the Chromis number odd... 3 or 5 let's say... tend to stay in a school more...> Separately, should I be concerned about too many corals as it relates to bio-load? <Mmm, no... but do want to mention that if you were going to add more, you should do so... soon, and otherwise let what you have "grow up" by itself> Thank you so much for this and all your other efforts.  For what its worth, I've bought two books by Anthony/Bob as a testament to the value of your knowledge. Jason <Well okay! Thanks for writing/sharing. Bob Fenner>

Making/Feeding Phyto  3/16/2007 Hello there, <Hi.> I have recently been culturing my own non-motile phytoplankton (Nanochloropsis). <Very cool.> My question is how often and how much should I feed to my 90 gallon reef tank? <If you can sustain it, I would DIY myself a phytoplankton reactor...the best way to feed the stuff is on a slow and continuous use. The animals will benefit more than just periodic "dumpings" most of which will just end up being liquid pollution anyhow.> Also, would I be able to keep a flame scallop or non-photosynthetic Gorgonians with these feedings? <Yes with he right attention/care it is possible...though still difficult. Many good online articles posted on WWM the net in general abut these..... and an even more reason to consider a continuous drip for the phyto!> I also intend to begin a rotifer culture soon. <Also neat but time consuming.> I also have a 50 gallon sump which I split in half to add a refugium. <Sounds good.> Thanks for any information you can provide. <Adam J.>

Watchman goby and Nori, and skimmer op.   1/16/07 For about 4 years I have maintained a 90 gallon, with 30 gallon sump, soft coral reef tank with 125 lbs of live rock. The residents are one Maroon Clown (Premnas biaculeatus), one Orange line Cardinal (Apogon cyanosoma), one Pink Damsel (Chrysiptera rex), one Half Black Pygmy Angel (Centropyge vroliki), a recent addition one Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum), that is healing slowly but surely from HLLE that had overrun him in the pet store, <Good way to put this> one Blue Spotted Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus leptocephalus), one Coral Banded Shrimp, two feather dusters, various micro-verts and worms. My question is three part.   1. Since I have introduced the Purple tang, I have kept him with an almost constant supply of Nori to help combat the HLLE. <Do soak this... Selcon, Microvit or such...> Recently the watchman goby has been tearing and making off with LARGE pieces then greedily and aggressively defending and eating the Nori until he is packed solid. I know he is eating other foods because I see him sift sand, grab small 'pods, and even take the occasional flake that floats by. Is this typical? <Mmm, no> Is he just trying to eat the micropods that take up residence in the seaweed that is left unattended for a few hours? <Don't know... is this fish coming to the surface... is this where the clip is? Very unusual> I assume this isn't too dangerous as almost all creatures of the sea eat greens some way or another. <Yes>   2. My nitrates are less than 5ppm (another assumption since my test starts at ten and there appears to be some very minor nitrate discoloration in the test but for the most part is almost unnoticeable) which I believe is due to the 125lbs of very seeded live rock and the hair algae and macroalgae I grow and harvest freely. I do not run a protein skimmer as the impeller broke two years ago and I never replaced it. My fish never seemed to suffer. <Not likely an issue in a well-balanced, established, maintained system as yours> All other parameters are always well within limits. I am interested in adding a Foxface Lo (Siganus vulpinus) which I know may be too many fish with no skimmer (also aware of potential aggression issues with tang). Is this a worthy add or will I need to add a skimmer? <Mmm, yes, I would>   3. If I were to add a skimmer would this be a big impact on my filter feeders? <Yes, likely so...> My feather dusters, which I know are difficult to feed, have been eating naturally in the tank for quite some time and I would hate to inadvertently take their food away from them. I would prefer not to have to target feed.    <Perhaps an under-sized unit... or running the skimmer on a punctuated basis... on a timer... every few hours to days>   Thanks for the site, time, and sharing the passion.  Nashville <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

A Tale of Two Dead Naso Tangs - 09/17/06 Hello, <<Good Morning>> I am writing you and talking to anyone else I could think off. <<Wise not to limit yourself to a single source of information/advice/opinion>> This past week I lost a pair of Naso tangs. <<Sorry to hear...>> I am devastated over this for a number of reasons, but mostly because I can't find an answer to why they died.  Before I ask you to give some thoughts on what you think might of happened let me give you as many details and variables I can. <<Thank you'¦always helpful>> The tank is a 350 gallon fish/reef tank.  I keep a variety of angels and tangs, clowns and damsels.  There are also inverts like shrimp, snails and crabs.  There are not a lot of corals at this time but the idea for the tank is to keep a number of corals with larger variety of fish not usually kept in a reef. <<I see...and researching re to assure/maintain compatibility I'll assume...>> There are a few LPS and SPS corals along with a few soft leathers. <<Mmm...with "variety of angels"?>> I do have to be very careful in what corals I choose because of the types of fish. <<Ah yes!>> The larger of the tangs was a Hawaiian Naso the other was a smaller Red Sea blonde. <<Hmm...ever considered a "biotope" display?>> I know typically these species are not kept together but they have done very well often swimming side by side and staying together at night.  The tank has ample swimming room and the aquascaping is such it gives the fish room to swim in a big circle. <<Excellent>> The tank has been established for 4 years.  Only up until last year I started to get into corals having spent the money to have a dedicated electrical circuit for the lights and pumps. <<Reef setups are indeed "power hungry">> Prior, the power options didn't allow me to have the right lighting.  I now run 3 10K 250watt HQI de's with PC actinics.  The tank gets a weekly water change from RO/DI water and top-off is from the same unit.  I dose manually calcium and dKH supplement as needed, parameters are checked weekly. <<Very good>> The only issue I have which is not serious is slightly elevated nitrates. <<...!  I don't know your definition of "slightly", but even so, chronically elevated nitrate can/will have effect on your livestock (and what about ammonia/nitrite?...these were/are checked as well?).  This may be a clue to the two Naso tang's demise>> I use a refugium with grape <Caulerpa> and Chaetomorpha macro algae. <<Mmm, another issue (clue?) here in my opinion.  Grape Caulerpa is very noxious, even toxic to fish (many herbivorous fishes won't eat it for this reason).  Combining it with Chaetomorpha in a refugium means the alga are constantly waging war (alga compete just as corals do for space on the reef), releasing chemicals/toxins to inhibit and/or kill each other.  Such constant and powerful chemical warfare (Alga rates at the top of the list with some of the nastiest corals for aggression/noxiousness) can't be "good" for a system.  Not to mention the loss of usefulness/processes for having the algae in the refugium in the first place due to the "energy" expended on warfare>> The Chaeto is fed to the tank where the angels and tangs feast. <<Hmm...wonder the possibility of the Chaetomorpha being "tainted" from close exposure/battle with the grape Caulerpa...>> The nitrate levels are elevated, but don't cause any issues with nuisance algae, the Acropora and Montipora orange cup coral are growing and doing well so I use that as a measure since the nitrates don't seem to cause any other problem. <<I agree it would seem the corals you mention would show deleterious affects from elevated nitrate before the fish would...but I'm still very curious as to your actual nitrate reading(s)>> I do understand the bio load may be a little high causing the elevated nitrates, however I go to great lengths to make sure the water quality and environment stay optimal.  Of course the tank has a large skimmer on it which is cleaned 1-2 times per week. Ok, with that overview here is what happened over the last few weeks.  About three weeks ago I noticed the RO unit was not producing any RO for the top-off. <<Raw RO water for top-off?  Not recommended...>> The unit being in place a little over 6 months I thought it might just need to be cleaned and didn't need new filters or membrane replacement. <<Not likely, no..."should" get a couple to several years out of the membrane, even with this size tank...life of the filter cartridges will depend mainly on your source water/how often they are rinsed clean>> The water source is well water.  After rinsing the filters in tap water and putting the unit back together it did start to produce some RO however the TDS was > then 0 and could not produce enough for a water change. <<Again... I need specific measurements to really be of much help>> At this point I called the company to discuss my options. <<A good move>> They agreed that the membrane should not have to be replaced but agreed to send me a filter kit and new membrane anyway.  The unit is a 100gpd. <<As is mine...>> I skipped my weekly water change that week waiting for the filters. <<Um...not seasoning/maturing/buffering your water before "and" after mixing the salt?>> I received the filters and they forgot to ship the membrane. <<Mmm...>> I waited until that weekend to install the filters.  After the filters were installed, the unit still didn't make RO for my water change. <<Strange...perhaps you should remove/gently rinse the membrane...install a "flush" kit>> Bottom line, by the time I got RO back online it was almost 3 weeks without a water change. <<Shouldn't have been a problem>> I didn't think this was that critical as I checked param.s and everything seemed to be ok. <<Would agree>> I started to cut back on feeding slightly which is usually done twice a day, every other day. <<I don't agree with this, fish should be fed daily...preferably multiple small feedings.  If feeding daily causes secondary issues with your tank then reevaluate your maintenance/husbandry practices/stocking levels...but don't jeopardize the fishes long-term health by "cutting back" on proper and adequate nutrition>> I target feed the fish to make sure everybody gets enough without over feeding the tank.  They get mostly pellets soaked with Vita-Chem. <<A good product...and New Life Spectrum pellets I hope!>> That is supplemented with frozen Mysis and the macro algae. <<Ah good, variety is key...and the more the better>> During this 3 week period, I added 2 fish to the tank one of the fish was a replacement for a small saddle back puffer that jumped out the tank some time ago, <<Jumped!...?  Was this fish stressed/harassed by other fish?  Perhaps another clue here as well.  Could be the puffer was stressed to the point of releasing toxins (jumped to escape its own poison?) and the tangs are merely victims of the long-term affect...and hopefully the "only" victims>> and the other was a mandarin dragonet.  This is my first time keeping a mandarin but given the size of the tank and amount of pods I see I thought I would try to keep one. <<Sounds reasonable to me as well considering the "mature" nature of this tank>> During this time I also took a handful of the spaghetti algae about baseball size and tossed it in the main tank during the lower feeding period.  Also something I have done many times before.  Now the blur of events I have been going over and over in my mind trying to figure out what happened.  I can't say exactly when during this period but, I did notice the larger Naso hiding a little bit.  He was still feeding and there were no other signs of problems.  I kept an eye on him and noticed during the last week that he had seemed to have a sunken stomach, stopped feeding and was staying at the top of the tank in a vertical position.  Shortly after the larger Naso started to exhibit this behavior I noticed the smaller Naso also with a sunken stomach. <<Were these fish treated with a copper-based medication at any point prior to this?  Tangs treated in this manner will sometimes suffer from loss of digestive microbes in their gut, preventing them from digesting food/assimilating nutrients.  Another thought is the behavior of these two fish is similar to those afflicted with internal parasites, though many times such afflicted fish show absolutely "no interest" in food>> I began to feed the tank everyday in the morning and later in the day, both tangs showed interest and slightly picked but were not near their normally aggressive feeding behavior.  Their breathing also seemed slightly labored.  The large Naso was the first to die, the smaller died yesterday.  Neither fish showed any signs of marks, spots, no physical changes outside of the sunken stomachs.  Before disposing of the smaller tang I lifted the gill flap and used a bright light to examine the gill.  The gill was bright red and showed nothing abnormal.  Both fish had labored breathing towards the end but again didn't have any other visual indications. <<May have been secondary to the stress of/weakening by  malnutrition>> No other fish in the tank currently show any signs of abnormal behavior and continue to feed normally.  I have done 2 water changes last week once the RO produced enough water hoping to save a least one of the tangs. <<Not likely the issue...and possibly an additional stressor (bouncing water parameters), especially if the new salt mix is not allowed to mature/complete its chemical processes before adding to the tank>> The smaller did appear to be swimming around better the day before but refused to eat. <<Never good>> As of now I am suspecting the following; The RO unit; is it possible the filters contaminated the water some how, either the exhausted filters or the new filters? <<I'm doubtful of this>> Did adding the puffer or mandarin bring something in the tank? <<More of a possibility, yes>> BTW all my fish come from 2 places that I trust and know.  I never have any problems with their fish or corals. <<Fortunate>> Did the puffer release toxins in the water? <<Possibly>> The previous saddle back was there for a year and never had any issues.  Is it possible that something was in the macro algae the tangs ate? <<Another possibility I think, yes>> Again, the Nasos eat this algae all the time and can eat a baseball size amount in a day. <<Possibly a matter of toxic accumulation>> Lastly, I dose the tank weekly with only Kent dKH supplement.  The product is added to my sump which is connected to the refugium. <<If tested/added as needed this should not be a problem>> I was thinking maybe the macro algae could have contained concentrated levels of this? <<I don't think so>> Other fish ate the algae, but mostly the Nasos. <<Could be telling>> Lastly, the tank has Euro-bracing and is open.  The stand is over 4 feet high, the tank total height is around 7-8 feet. <<Cool>> This was done because of the kids and placement of the tank.  It is of perfect viewing in a standing position. <<Indeed>> I thought I'd mention this in the event something got into the tank that's unknown? <<Anyone been "cleaning" around the tank?>> I do find bugs every now and again in the sump that must be attracted to the lights. <<Yes>> The only other thing that I thought of was this past weekend my wife had some people over to clean the house.  I was not around but always give my wife strict instructions that the cleaners stay away from the tank.  They were new people, so I don't know if something was introduce through their cleaning? <<Weren't the tangs displaying symptoms before this?>> Sorry for the long email, <<No worries my friend, I appreciate the detailed explanation (hmm...wonder if I can make an article out of this some how?)>> <Likely so. RMF> but I am at my wits end on this and can't begin to explain how I feel.  I have been in the hobby a very long time and have never seen anything like this before.  Please help... <<Well Patrick, I have been in the hobby more than 30 years myself, and "have" seen this before.  Unfortunately, knowing the exact cause is usually very difficult without a necropsy of the fish.  I do have some thoughts/theories as I've stated>> Thanks and regards, Patrick Mundt <<My pleasure to assist.  Do give thought to separating/choosing a single macro-algae (my vote goes to the Chaetomorpha) for the refugium...and do take a look on our site re using RO water for top-off as well as making/mixing with salt for water changes.  Cheers, Eric Russell>>
Re: A Tale of Two Dead Naso Tangs -- 09/18/06
Eric, <<Patrick>> Thanks for the response. <<Quite welcome>> You do however raise more questions, and also cause me to ask you to further explain some of your answers :  ) <<Certainly>> To address some of your concerns, the RO water is made with salt a day before the water change.  Nothing is added to the water outside of Tropic Marin Salt. <<An excellent salt (would use it myself were it not so expensive), but, raw/newly mixed saltwater is very irritating to your livestock...I recommend you make it up far enough in advance to give it a few days to a week to 'mature'>> The nitrate levels are not 0 but range between 10 - 30 ppm. <<Too high for the fishes (should be less than 20), and WAY too high for the corals (should be less than 5)>> This is tested using only Salifert test kits. <<A good line of test kits>> I put the grape Caulerpa in the fuge about 2-3 months ago.  Both types of macro algae have grown much better since adding the grape?  Don't know why. <<Hmm...likely coincidence...feeding off the source of your high nitrates>> I only feed the fish the Chaeto.  I do remember having to remove to grape that was tangled with the Chaeto before feeding that day.  The first puffer I had was a great tank mate, very interesting and didn't bother anything.  Other fish left him alone he never appeared stressed never saw anyone bothering him.  In regards to his jumping out of the tank, I have moon lights on the tank as well, and it did appear odd to me to wake up for work and find him on the floor. <<Indeed...not a fish that comes to mind when you think 'jumper'>> I thought the combination of lights and perhaps him going after something to eat caused his death. <<Don't know...but seems unlikely to me>> Usually the puffer finds a perch and sets up for the night.  To the medicating the tank;  Last year after being begged by a fellow aquarist I agreed to take a powder blue tang from him that was harassing his fish.  Big mistake! <<Indeed...a difficult/problematic species...probably best left in the ocean>> The fish came with a gift and before it was over wiped out half my tank. <<No quarantine mate?>> As I mentioned before I have 2 very reliable LFS, I have not used a second tank in years. <<A ticking time bomb...>> Anyway, the Odin. or other parasite moved very fast and as a desperate act I medicated the tank with Malachite Green (I'm sure this is not spelled right <<corrected>>). <<Yeeikes!  Dangerous stuff...very toxic (must be measured very carefully)...tends to kill the 'good guys'>> Anyway, one of my LFS sources assured me they have medicated their show reef tank with this stuff with great success. <<(sigh)>> So to answer your question, yes the tank was medicated but this was a long time ago and the tangs in the tank died from the parasite, the medication did get rid of the parasite and didn't kill any of the corals.  The feeding of every other day was suggested to me, all the fish in the tank seem a litter over weight, (I think), even the 2 Nasos were very thick and clean.  I do think they should eat every day, but I think they have gotten used to this. << <grin> Would 'you' get used to eating every other day?>> I have had a small passer that has grown into an adult with great adult colors and has been with me since I started this tank. So what do you think the downside of this may be? <<Can only wonder how much 'better' the fishes would be with daily nutrition...>> Next, having read through your site, I must have missed the RO part, why not use RO for top off? <<Raw RO water lacks any buffers/earth elements...these are pulled/drawn from the tank water to reach equilibrium each time raw RO is added, creating instability/ a seesaw effect on your water chemistry>> I figured the weekly water changes would replace anything the RO is missing for top off no? <<Likely it does...but buffering the top-off water to reduce fluctuations in water chemistry is a better solution and will reduce the associated stress on your livestock>> TDS of the RO was approx > then 150. <<A properly functioning RO membrane should give you a reduction by a factor of 10 over the reading from your tap>> Based on what you have said, I think I will remove the grape macro algae. <<Super!>> After this email, I think I am leaning more towards the algae causing the problems as I know tangs more then other fish have to be handled with care in regard to diet. <<Important to al fishes...the more varied the better>> Please let me know what you suggest for the water change water. <<I think I have...but if not clear, just give a holler...>> I am always looking to hear other experienced advice... <<As am I my friend>>   Thanks, Patrick... <<Be chatting my friend, Eric Russell>> Feeding Nori  9/16/06   Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Quick question, I hope you can help me out.  I just bought a pack of seaweed sheets (Nori) and on the back of the pack, it says to clip the seaweed to a seaweed clip and place in tank.  Now my question is, if the seaweed is placed inside tank for a full day, wouldn't that pollute the tank just as would left over food that hasn't been eaten by the fishes?  My tank is not big (only 30 gallon) so not much water volume to work with here.  Any help would be appreciated. <As if you were feeding any other food--just enough for them to eat in 5 minutes.  ~PP>

Gassy Tang   8/31/06 Hi crew!   First let me thank you guys for the response I got last time it was a big help for a worried hobbyist.  I just had a question about my tang,  I looked in the archives and any reference that I found to gas was on gas bubble disease which doesn't seem to me to match up with the difficulty my little guy is having.  When he defecates often it is accompanied by gas.  Is this normal? <Mmm, no... but have seen>   He eats a lot of dried seaweed, I also feed him formula one but he prefers the seaweed.  I am working on getting some live rock I know that will be beneficial to his general health.  Could it be that the water has to high of a saturation level? <Not likely... I think you're right to point to the dried seaweed diet here> In this tank, which is a 110, I have two Skilters which are each rated for supplementary filtration of a hundred gallon, two powerheads one for seventy five gallons one for forty five, a UV filter for up to one hundred and twenty five gallons, and a wet-dry for one hundred and twenty five. There doesn't appear to be too many bubbles in the tank but I am relatively new to the keeping of marine systems.  Also the tang seems as though he feels good he swims around looking happy, appetite is voracious, and he relieves himself quite often.  I love him so much, I don't want anything to happen to him.  Any advice will be much appreciated.  Thanks for everything, I don't know what I would do without your site. <I would try the live rock, maybe culturing some live macro-algae... but otherwise not worry here. Bob Fenner> DIY DT's I want to make my own DT's. From what I have found, all it is saltwater in a jar that sits under light and kept warm for a week or two. The water will turn green and then you have DT's. Is this true? <Not exactly.> If so how can they sell it for $16.00? There has to be more to this. <Please take a look at the following articles: http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/r_toonen_102500.html http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-07/ds/index.htm> Thanks so much for your time! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Freeze-dried microalgae Hello Mr. Fenner <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am looking to buy spray dried/freeze-dried microalgae Nanochloropsis for the culture of zooplankton. I understand that many pet suppliers do sell these, but I am looking to buy a few kilograms of these alga, not in the small quantities offered. Do you buy any chance know of anybody who sell the spray dried/freeze dried version. <have you tried Argent Labs at http://srd.yahoo.com/goo/argent+chemical/1/T=1023952668/F=45c2029d3ff1ed2996347 aec26eb0fd8/*http://www.argent-labs.com/> Right now I am using microalgae paste but it is getting too expensive to use on a long run. <indeed> Many thanks in advance Joey <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Phytoplankton culture and culture density measurement   7/7/06 Hello, <Hi there> I would like to say thank you in advance for your time. I have a few questions with regards to culturing phytoplankton. The purpose is for a small look at invertebrate larvae nutrition requirements. My primary reference is Dr. Toonen's 1996 "Home Breeder's FAQ for Marine Invertebrates". I am not a "real scientist" I originally only wanted to set up a nano-reef, but I got sidetracked while reading. <Sounds good> In establishing my culture, I'm planning to use local natural seawater (I'm on the coast of NC) that I will pasteurize. I am also planning to use the commercial Micro-Algae Grow formula as my nutrient. The phytoplankton cultured will be fed to invertebrate larvae (species as yet undetermined) that are maturing in aerated flasks (also pasteurized NSW, but no other nutrients added). Larvae growth will be measured by optical microscopy. 1. In order to determine if the larvae are feeding, I need to know the density of algae in culture at different points in time following feeding. I can do this by making cell counts, however: A Sedgewick-Rafter counting cell seems too large (1mL volume) for the densities recommended, even a Palmer counting cell (.1mL volume) seems excessive. There are gridded Sedgewick-Rafter cells available, including one from Aquatic Eco-Systems that is reasonably priced. Can I responsibly use a gridded cell? <Yes, I have used these> Or, because I cannot ensure an even distribution of plankton across the grid is this a bad idea? <Will be able to get enough distribution that by randomly counting a number of cells, you should be able to get good approximations> 2. Even allowing for a gridded cell, a microscopic cell count will take time. I know from your site and others, that it is not possible to get an accurate density measurement solely by eying the coloration of the culture, but I got the impression that this had to do with "eyeballing" the culture. I have the opportunity to pick up a used spectrophotometer cheap... If I measure take the absorption at x nm* for different densities of algae, wouldn't I get a reasonably accurate count of algae density? <Yes... a simpler device, a colorimeter (one set wavelength of light for absorption/transmission) will/would even work here. You can/should develop your own "curve" for density (counted) versus readings with this tool> *-where x would be determined by trial and error 3. This is the worst question I guess, and if you tell me to keep searching I understand: I find it's easy to get life cycle information (when it exists) for a species when you already know it's name, etc. But I have not found a database of larval stage characteristics of ornamental invertebrates. Could you recommend a test subject? Ideally it would be: a. cheap and common, b. externally fertilizing, c. easy to induce gamete release, d. has a planktotrophic larvae phase that lasts less than 2 weeks. <There is much known re "close" invertebrate species, but this takes a bit of familiarity, practice in "searching the literature"... I strongly encourage your visiting a large college library (of a school with a Bio./Zoology dept.), and having a Reference Librarian "show you the ropes"... Computer search bibliographies are very productive here... and a lot of fun... "Time whips by"...> Part d. is the hard one to search for. <Not too difficult as you will find> Again, thank you for your time. Your site is an incredible resource. -Tony <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Phytoplankton, reactor   7/4/06 Hi folks. I have been wondering if a AquaMedic Phytoplankton reactor would be useful in my reef tank. I have a 180 gal. reef tank with a DSB ( 275gal. total system water). Two refugiums are also running on this system. <Very nice> The first is a live rock with a DSB with blue light. The second is an upstream fuge with Chaeto and no sand with light running opposite. The tank has been running for seven months and I have gone thru the predictable algae bloom sequences. But the most fascinating event is when the macro algae vanished for no apparent reason. During the fifth and the sixth month I was battling Derbesia turf in numerous location on my live rocks. Early in the set-up I put two Emeral <Bam! Emerald> crabs in hopes to control this Algae. In addition I put a Sailfin Tang and a bunch of Hermits crabs and a variety of Algae eating snails to control it. Since the snails eat only Micro-Algae and the Emeralds might eat the turf Algae I wasn't convinced that they were guilty of eliminating all of turf Algae. My own theory is that I think the loss of algae was from the maturing of the whole system and the uptake of nutrients from the two refugiums. <Very likely the principal factor> All parameters of the tank are in normal range. Phosphate were high in the first three months and then zero. Currently my fish and coral list is Purple tang, Sailfin tang, Lemon Peel Angel, Lawnmower Blenny, Mandarin Goby, Sandsifting Goby. Coral: Ricordea, Euphyllia ancora, Frogspawn, Mushroom, Feather Duster, Crocea Clam, pulsing Xenia. My questions is does the lighted refugiums/scraping of algae off the grass provides enough Phytoplanton to feed the tank on a constant basis? <Mmm, plankton... is floating not attached... but likely the reproductive events of the glass-attached algae are contributing some algal plankton> I like the Idea of the reactor feeding some of my inverts plus provide foods for the zooplankton in my refugiums. <Me too> But Is it already happening anyway? <To some extent, yes> My other question is how do Copepods travel from the refugiums to feed my fish and Corals? <Yes... get "sucked up", pumped, or overflowed (depending on make-up of your systems components...)> Does it take some human intervention like stirring of sand or shaking of the refugiums? <Mmm, nope> Thanks for taking the time to answer every e-mails that come your way including mine. Sincerely Stephan <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Growing algae  6/25/06 - I seemed to have read somewhere I could place my own rocks in the sun to grow algae so that I would have a constant source of natural food for my yellow tang.  I am obviously doing something wrong, as I have had several pieces of dead rock outside in a glass, and even tried plastic, container for over two weeks and nothing.  Most days are very sunny with 90° temperatures here.  Any advice would be appreciated. Laura <<Laura:  If I understand correctly what you are saying, you are trying to grow algae on rocks outside in the air so then you can harvest the algae off the rocks or put the rocks back in the water.  Correct?  Well, I don't know where you read that; but, any algae that would grow on the rock outside of the tank would probably pollute the tank or not be the type of algae that the Tang would want to eat.  The better way to get algae to feed your Tang would be to buy Seaweed Sheets (called Nori) that the Japanese use to make sushi.  You can find Nori in most Asian markets.  In most pet shops they sell clips with suction cups that you can attach to the inside of the tank and clip the Nori to.  If you can't find the clip, you can attach some Nori to a rock with a rubber band and place it inside the tank for the Tang to feed on.  Best of luck,  Roy>>

Re: growing algae  6/25/06 - Thank you for your response.  I actually have the clip and Nori strips, but I was trying to give them a variety of food.  I am most appreciative of your help.   Laura <<Laura:  Glad to hear you already know about Nori.  I used to feed it very regularly and then I noticed a lot of algae building up on the rocks in my tank.  I realized that the Tangs would just sit around and wait for me to feed them Nori every day.  Now, I only provide it as an occasional treat and every one of them seems fat and happy.  If you don't have enough algae growing naturally to sustain them, and you want variety, here are some other options.  You can buy Julian Sprung's Seaweed Selects.  While fairly expensive (compared to Nori), they will give you variety you can buy off the shelf.  Another option is for you to learn how to grow Gracilaria macroalgae (also known as Tang Heaven because they like it so much) in a separate tank. Tangs will also usually eat Chaetomorpha macroalgae, though I have read that some people think it is not as good as Gracilaria for their Tangs.  If you do some more research, you may find other varieties of macroalgae that Tangs will eat.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Chaetomorpha- Tang Chow?  - 06/22/2006 I have a three tangs (Naso, Hippo, and Sailfin) that are pigs and will eat anything from flake food to Nori.  I usually feed Nori two to three times a day and occasionally throw in some over-the-counter fish food for variety. <Variety is good!>    Recently I added some Chaetomorpha to my sump and it has grown very rapidly.  Rather than throw away the excess I put some in the feeding clip and sure enough the tangs ate it all up.   My question is whether the nutritional content of Chaetomorpha is anywhere on par with Nori such that I should include it in the tangs' diet, or whether I should just toss/give away the Chaeto and keep giving Nori and other prepared foods.   Thank you,  Justin <Interesting question, Justin. I have seen Tangs devour this macroalgae, so they certainly like the stuff. I'd have to assume (gulp) that the nutritional profile of this algae is rather good. While not as commonly used to feed Tangs as say, Gracilaria ("Ogo"), the fact that it is an algae of marine origin makes it, at least in my mind, every bit as good as any other macroalgae. In the end, variety is very important, so this algae in conjunction with other foods is perfectly acceptable! Regards, Scott F.>

Powder Blue Tang/Feeding...Growth  6/5/06 Hey guys and gals, <Hello Ross> Thanks for the great site, there's always something new to learn every day (whenever I'm bored at work and start browsing the FAQs!). I thought I'd share my experiences with feeding my powder blue tang. When I first got him he was painfully thin and was almost a compassion buy, I really wanted to try and bring him around. At first he wasn't eating at all, and didn't know what the heck seaweed on a clip was, so I started off with small sheets of Nori wedged in between the rocks in the tank. Eventually he seemed to get the idea that this tasted better than all the other stuff! Through time and patience he eventually realized that hey, this stuff on the clip is the same as that stuff down there, and hey presto, he started feeding from a clip. I guess all told the process of getting him to feed from a clip took around a month, there was a lot of finger crossing and hair pulling in the mean time, and it was very much trial and error. I'm a year on now, and he's grown about another two inches in length and looks downright porky, with not a hint of whitespot. <Great to hear.> Hope my experiences with leaving little bits of Nori in between rocks helps someone else wean their PB onto veggies... <Will post your experience.> My question is (he's about six inches in length now) how long can I expect him to take to grow fully? I've had him for about a year, and now he's in a 6ftx2ft2ft tank so has a bit of room to grow in. He gets an unlimited supply of seaweed from his clip as well. Just wondering what to expect in the future! <All depends on nutrition, water quality, etc.  Difficult to predict. James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks, Ross.

Veggies for porcupine puffer - 5/19/2006 Hello all, <<Hi Sean.>> Having recently purchased a porcupine puffer (and many hours of reading up) I have not found any info on which easily found veggies I could feed him. I have just ordered some dried seaweed as it's full a vitamins. <<OK.>> He loves prawns, cockles, runner beans and sweet corn and I am wondering if these are ok for him in the long run as obviously runner beans and sweet corn are hard come by in the ocean! <<I would not feed him terrestrial vegetables.>> Should I stick to green veggies? <<I would keep to vegetable matter of marine origin as much as possible.  Be sure to vary his crunchy, meaty diet.>> Or count my blessings that he loves these so much? <<I would use them as occasional treats.  Check out this article: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/food.html.>> Thanks in advance Sean p.s. he also loves fat bloodworms are these ok for a rare treat? <<Yes they are.  Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Feeding Filter Feeders - 04/23/06 Hello, <<Good Morning!>> First I would like to thank you for your help in the past and for the very helpful website. <<We're all happy to assist>> Secondly, I have a question about feeding and plankton.  I currently have a 55 gal. reef tank with 80 lbs. of LR and 1-inch of aragonite, some corals, including a pipe organ colony, one feather duster about 3 in. in diameter and numerous tiny feather dusters and sponges. <<Cool!>> I also have snails, hermits, a couple fish and a Crocea clam.  All appear to be extremely healthy and growing. <<Excellent>> My main concern is the filter feeders: feather duster, pipe organ, etc.  I know that you are supposed to feed them with plankton, preferably live. <<Mmm...more like "microscopic" organisms...bacteria, protozoa, et al>> I bought Kent's phytoplankton before finding out that it was probably a waste of money- o well. <<Yes>> I am going to buy some DTM's <<DT's>> soon but had a question first. <<This will possibly help, indirectly, by causing the microscopic organisms to briefly flourish...do mind how much you dose>> About once or twice a week the front of my glass gets a build up of kind of powdery (?) green algae which I scrape off. <<Not uncommon>> When I do this it forms a small green cloud that quickly dissipates into the water, similar in appearance to the phytoplankton I used. <<Indeed>> I was wondering is this considered "live plankton" and if so is it enough to support my filter feeding organisms? <<Is definitely more "live" than the Kent product...and likely more beneficial with fewer side affects as well.  On its own I don't think it will support your filter feeders as they require more than this algae...but that doesn't mean they aren't getting feeding on the other organisms as > Or, do I need to go buy the DT's? <<For what you will spend on these supplements you could install a vegetable refugium which would/will provide huge benefit by comparison>> I kind of or at least want to believe that there is enough food for these organisms because I often see new little feather dusters appear and I wouldn't think that this would be happening if there was lack of food in my tank. <<Agreed>> But I am not for sure.  Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. <<Try suspending your dosing of the phytoplankton and see how things progress.  It is possible your live rock/substrate/algae scraping is providing all the filter feeders require>> Thank you so much, Nick <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Re:  Algae Control ... fdg.    4/12/06 Hi James,   Thanks for getting back to me so soon. No, not one whole sheet, more like 1/3. How much should I feed them, if this is too much. <Do read Bob's article here on nutrition/feeding/foods.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm>  I don't want the puffer or eel eating any fish. What would you suggest? <In article.> The largest fish are the puffer and the eel and they are not that big at all. The puffer is about 4" and the eel about 8.  <James (Salty Dog)>

Herbivores; Surgeon Diet    4/4/06 Hi, <Hello there.>   I have a yellow tang in my 120 which I have been target feeding green Nori sheets.   <Good stuff.> I feed pellets and occasionally frozen food to the other denizens of the tank. <Variety is the key with diet.> The tang seems uninterested in the pellets and mysis, etc. <Offer some other fair such O.N. Formula Two or Spirulina.>   Currently, I don't have much other algae in the tank (except Caulerpa, which I can't seem to get rid of and I doubt the tang is eating) and some red hair algae. <Sounds like a nutrient issue.>   I am wondering if I should be adding other seaweed to the tank.  I am aware of the Julian Sprung red and purple algae sheets.  Is it necessary to provide my tang with different varieties of algae? <It would not hurt.> Are there varieties available at the local grocery store which I should be giving my tang for optimal health.   <Non flavored or cooked, PLAIN Nori sheets are fine, I like to soak them in nutritional supplements such as Selcon on Zoecon.> Is the green Nori sufficient? <Along with other fair'¦yes.>   Also, I have been considering purchasing a hippo tang sometime down the road--if I did so, would the nutritional requirements the same (i.e. does the hippo tang require more, less or the same variety of algae required by the yellow tang?) <Feeding habits should be similar'¦.but good luck finding a healthy one in the current market.>   thanks a lot <Anytime, Adam J.>

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