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FAQs on Algae as Food: Products, Manufacturers

Related Articles: Algae as Food, 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 2, Algae Foods 3, & FAQs on Algae Food: Rationale/Use, Sources, Culture, Feeding Methods, Troubleshooting/Fixes, & 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

All animals benefit from some useful algal presence.

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lateral Line Erosion Claim  12/14/11
ISPF claims their "tang heaven red", which looks like Gracilaria,
<Is of this genus>
can "combat, prevent and cure head and lateral line erosion disease." I have a hippo tang who is otherwise healthy despite some lateral line erosion in his youth that never healed. He's missing coloration on his face and throughout his body as well as some parts of his dorsal and caudal fins. Will feeding him this tang heaven red have any chance of curing, or should I say, reversing that level of damage?
<Don't know... but the owner of IPSF, Gerald Heslinga is "the real thing"... a bonafide scientist. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm
re probable causes, known cures. Mostly vitamins, HUFAs on the positive side (perhaps provided by this Ogo), and metabolite build-up, carbon... on the negative. Bob Fenner>
Jeff Shain

Macroalgae for Tang Food!  9/11/08 What are some good species of algae to feed marine herbivores? <I'd try the macroalgae Gracilaria. It's a wonderful red algae that is eagerly consumed by many herbivorous fishes> I have been looking at various dried ones and wondering what is good. Alaria, Dulse, Digitata, Kelp, Laver, Nori are some types I have access to. What are the most nutritious? <As above, look for fresh Gracilaria (aka "Ogo"). It's one of the best, IMO! Regards, Scott F.>

Phytoplankton feeding - Perspectives on Rob Toonen's articles <Henry... thank you kindly for you efforts and research shared. We will post this promptly (below) for  daily FAQ readers. I must add though that Dr Toonen hasn't actually been misquoted. Part of the incongruity is that Dr Toonen's work has evolved in the many(!) months (more than a year) since writing the article and presenting the work 18 months ago at MACNA Baltimore 2001. My shared opinion/advice was not only from communication with Rob, but actually more from several other researchers and biologists that have spent years culturing phytoplankton in various applications. The bottom line is that no dead, semi-live or bottled live product can come close to the useful longevity of fresh refrigerated live cultures (regarding particle size in particular)... and since fresh live cultures kept refrigerated degrade markedly on a daily basis (clumping/clotting) until around 6 months (at best), we cannot expect these older, less fresh, commercially processed products to fair much better no matter how much money in marketing the manufacturers spend. And for the sake of the argument, even if I/we admit that any real or wishful claims on viability are correct about bottled phyto... it doesn't change the fact that it has a very limited application in aquariums. Very few corals do or can eat phyto (Gorgonids and some Nephtheids... extremely limited on Alcyoniids). It honestly does more harm than good in my opinion for many tanks. Healthy tanks usually just sustain the hit on nutrients from added liquid phyto and skim it out. Most of our corals are overwhelmingly zooplankton feeders! The argument by phyto mfgs that the dissolved dead phyto is still useful is about as accurate as a dissolved hamburger is useful (both actually are in some ways... increasing microbial populations/nanoplankton... but at what cost?). And the additional proposal that supplemental phyto is needed for copepods is bunk IMO... there is more than enough epiphytic matter shed from the shear surface are of the aquarium interior (scraped and shed algae from glass and rocks, refugium with macros/plants, etc). Experienced and responsible aquarists may very well benefit from it (I suspect that you fall into that category)... but most of the folks we have are new and in need of more fundamental information. And it would be irresponsible for us to agree with anyone that tells a novice to pour liquid phyto in by the gallon when they do not even have a mature established aquarium and protocol yet. Whew! That said... I truly appreciate your input. Quite grateful and non-combative at all. I just witness so many people getting misguided by advertising claims and most liquid supplements which are mostly high-profit "pollution in a bottle". Let as all keep learning, challenging and growing. For every day, a better way... Kind regards, Anthony> >I once asked about DT's Phytoplankton and even a couple of days ago I saw another question concerning the use of live phytoplankton. The response was something about having to liquefy the solution before feeding and too large particle sizes. Anthony Calfo mentions Rob Toonen for his work in this area. >This is actually a misquote and after looking around the net for a while I finally found Rob Toonen's article where he talks about this. Finding it wasn't as easy as I thought and I actually ran across it looking for other things. It would have been helpful to me to read the actual article directly so perhaps you could add a link to it in your standard answers and FAQ's and let people know when they ask about phytoplankton. The link is: > http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/r_toonen_102500.html. >The article is very informative, and provides an overview of the various products on the market, along with their benefits and drawbacks. It also briefly discusses if phytoplankton is good or not: "But, is phytoplankton feeding right for your aquarium? If your answer to my question about your goals in keeping a reef aquarium was along the lines of maximizing diversity or recreating a particular reef habitat type, then there are volumes of research showing that phytoplankton plays an important role in supporting natural reef ecosystems. If your answer was more along the lines of minimizing potential problems with nutrient export and maximizing growth of Acropora, however, you're unlikely to see much visible benefit (and potentially cause yourself more problems) by adding phytoplankton to your aquarium." >The concern about particle sizes is NOT for all phytoplankton products. >Actually most products, in particular DT's and other live phytoplankton, are OK. To quote the article: "Live phytoplankton is obviously the best option in terms of nutritional value and low risk of over-feeding. Live cultures are the standard by which all other products are judged, and the others can be "as good as live" but no one has ever discovered a phytoplankton supplement that performs better than live." However, live phytoplankton is perhaps the most expensive option to provide phytoplankton to a tank and "Storage in the refrigerator may or may not lead to problems in the home (such as the complaining spouse syndrome, or house-guests thinking it's Wheat grass or some other nasty 'health food' concoction and guzzling some )... "  :) >Dr. Toonen only mentions the inappropriate particle size with respect to spray dried marine phytoplankton (SDMP) with ESV as the primary choice. >There he does say: "the major drawbacks with this product are that it does not generally provide particles of the size range of the majority of phytoplankton, and that it requires mixing in a blender prior to feeding in order to get any particles of the correct size range. ", even though the nutrition profile of the product is actually very good. >I recommend the article to anyone interested in feeding phytoplankton to their marine tank. I thought your readers might benefit from this information as much as I did. >Henry Muyshondt

Phytoplankton feeding - Rob Toonen's articles Thank you very much for your reply, Anthony. <a pleasure my friend> I appreciate the effort you and the whole crew put forth for the benefit of us all and the hobby. <and it is such  thanks and fellowship that fuels and inspires us in kind> I can see how putting phytoplankton into the tank could be a source of problems, particularly if done indiscriminately, in large quantities, and without careful observation of the bioload on the tank, with the phytoplankton contributing as lot to the bioload if not consumed (by causing bacteria growth as it decays). Like everything else in this hobby, it must be used wisely. It is not a miracle food that can make your tank water sparkle and all its inhabitants thrive just by pouring it in and it is definitely not a case of "a little being good and more is even better". <that is a fantastically lucid and accurate assessment! Exactly our perspective and basis for such recommendations. Our advice at times is rather like triage- serves the bulk of hobbyists in a fashion for the greater good while the rest can pursue, disseminate and discover the subtleties or flaws in the gross categorizations> I do not take your comments to be adversarial. Any progress has to be accompanied by a healthy discourse on the subject matter and you certainly have a lot of knowledge we can all learn from. <thank you... I'm quite sure you do too and am especially appreciative that you've shared. It has allowed us to publish this discussion and details for the betterment of our many fellow readers that will browse the dailies and archives later. Very productive.> I value your experience and insights about the hobby. Although I don't think phytoplankton should be summarily dismissed, it is very easy to misuse it, as you point out. <agreed when you get me to discuss it at length. In fact, I can honestly say that as an aquarist with experience and some kind of honed good habits for marine keeping, I would certainly use DTs without hesitation if the call arises. My previous advice was merely a brief and generic reply (triage again <G>) directed at the mostly novice reader> I do not observe any clumping in refrigerated DT's over the few months that a bottle lasts me, <we're talking microscopic here, yes? Nano-sized for tiny phyto feeding polyps?> but I can see that using it more than a couple of times a week does result in the same symptoms as any other type of overfeeding. <indeed... a case of too much of a good thing. You'll notice that most/much ends up in the skimmer. Easily skimmed> My previous e-mail was just intended to add another information reference to the great body of knowledge in WetWebMedia, I appreciate the time you took to balance the views expressed in the article. Henry <excellent, Henry! And thanks again for prompting this exchange which will be added to that very section in the archives and serve curious minds with a broader perspective of the merits of supplemental Phyto use. Best regards, Anthony>

DT's... not delirious tremens Dude, you are so cool!  Thank you!! <Hee hee. Now I can't get scenes from "The Big Lebowski" out of my mind!> P.S.  My buddy here at Cordis just told me your thoughts on DT's.  I always thought they were great for clams, gorgs, etc.  but I guess not huh?  Waste of $$$$$$????? Dude <Mmm, actually, am quite a "fan" of this product (the nanophytoplankton mix eh?)... Useful as a food and more. Bob Fenner>

Phyto and macro-algae Hello WWM crew, <Steve Allen again tonight>   First thanks to Steve Allen for your quick and informative response. <My pleasure.> I had another question though.  I have seen a popular trend in the hobby to use these liquid live phytoplankton solutions (like DT's) for feeding corals, clams, and other inverts. Should I start using this stuff before I start getting into inverts to try to get a population of these little guys growing? <I doubt that these products are likely to lead to a reproducing population in a display tank.> If not when would be appropriate? <These are usually used for target-feeding, as is another excellent product, frozen Cyclop-eeze. Read more in the FAQs.> I have no inverts that I have added to my tank just the huge population of critters that have grown from the live rock and sand. <These are very beneficial and make great live food.>   I feel soon that I will be ready to jump into the coral and clam realm and I am SUPER excited but want to make sure that I provide as good of a habitat as I can. <Study, plan and be patient. These are key to success.> I have set up my refugium in the manner you suggested and it is looking great. <Excellent> I am sending out for a macroalgae kit from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms to add to my refugium. <Worked great for me.>  I am hoping that will help my refugium really take off. <It should.> Thanks again for all your help. <Happy to be of service. Looking forward to hearing of your success.> You have many loyal and grateful friends out here on the web. Take care <you too> Robby Phelps

Phosphate and phytoplankton Hello Adam C: << Adam C is out right now, so I'm jumping in. >> Thank you for the help.  I have added both Rowa-Phos and a Poly Filter to the sump.  In addition, I will continue to do the 10% water changes every third day until the phosphates become undetectable again and then I will remove the Rowa-Phos and Poly Filter.  In your response, you stated one "live" phytoplankton brand has good quality control to remove phosphates and nitrates, is this DTs phytoplankton? << I don't know whom he was referring to, but I think Mountain Corals and Phycopure are both great as well as DTs. >>  DTs was the brand I was using with no elevation in phosphates.  The brand which caused my phosphates to become elevated was Instant Algae manufactured by Reed Mariculture in California. Please let me know what you think. << I also like Reed Mariculture and Florida Aqua Farms and I love Brine Shrimp Direct's Tahitian Blend Algae. >>   Thanks again for your insight. Joe <<  Blundell  >>  

PhycoPure for Dendronephthya Bob, << Blundell today >> Greetings.  I noticed a discussion on WetWeb regarding Dendros.  I am fairly new to this hobby but am not new to microalgae.  I have been culturing it  for academia to biotech to aquaculture for about 20 years now.  I have started my own company over the past years producing microalgae products and a friend (scientist) mentioned that he would like to see a quality phyto blend on the market as he was not happy with the processed products available. << Yes, I'm familiar with these ideas. >> I spent 1 year formulating blends and giving them to different aquarists to try-adding species that I have seen be very effective in aquaculture settings.  These tend to be the more finicky to culture but hi-nutritious species.  The result is a product called PhycoPure that has 7 species plus zooxanthellae clade A or clade B depending on culture status.   << I'm also familiar with your products, and am thankful Rhyne talked you into making it. >>  The particle size ranges from 2 or 3 um to 25um.  I am in the process of evaluating an even smaller size highly abundant reef spp. to be added if all looks good.  I produce it weekly in batch so it does not inventory, I get it out to stores within the week it is produced (plus or minus a few days).  I recommend stores buying what will move in a month or less and that way it is in the consumer's hands and used within a month.  This keeps things fresh and the quality higher.  The blend stays live for months in my lab but the species composition/profile changes from what I advertise over time.-truthfully conditions in a bottle or bag are well below optimal for anything living. << Indeed. >> The water used is Atlantic that has been uv'd, charcoaled, ozonated, and tested for specific pathogenic Vibriosis. The litmus test has been an effort to raise the Dendronephthya, Scleronephthya.  I have read everything by Fabricius and agree with the concept of organics being important.  I can say that one spp of Dendros I have reacts to the phytoplankton and remains open a good part of the day.  I use hi-flow, low light and feed copious amounts of the PhycoPure blend. << Definitely what we recommend for such corals. >>  It seems that orientation is not much of an issue but that still needs further scrutiny.  I have had some since May but the twin hurricanes that hit us in Florida took care of that.  I am beginning to feel that acclimation is the largest issue regarding success with these critters. << Possibly, but I think it is feeding. >>   Other observations include 1) spp coming in thick and then elongating and branching profusely...current? It is somewhere in the realm of 3-4 inches per second. << Possibly. >> 2) a commensal shrimp often accompanies many of the Dendros I have rec'd-pure white except for the eyes and gut tract 3) I feed some gorgonians Cyclop-Eeze and even though.. it appears. that the Dendros do not take the individual Cyclops in (like the Diodogorgia gorgonian) they react by opening and going erect-it could be the algae I mix the freeze dried Cyclops with or the "juice"-organics/lipids/phosphates. whatever. << Yes the "juice" has that affect, and even though the coral doesn't appear to eat Cyclops I think there is good reason to believe they are eating the "juice". >> Any comments, thoughts would be appreciated << Tell Andy that Blundell says hi. And that we appreciate him sending us your product. I think your product is great.  I think you could also sell a lot of it if you also offered each species separately and not just a mix.  I know people where I live would order them.  Also I wouldn't focus on Dendros.  While it is true they need this, not enough people have Dendros.  But everyone and their dogs have SPS corals.  So that is a better marketing area. >> regards, Erik S Stenn President AlgaGen LLC PO Box 1734 Vero Beach, FL www.algagen.com 772-978-1395 <<  Blundell  >>

Re: PhycoPure Blundell, << Erik. >> Greetings.  I was surprised that you had  heard of PhycoPure and very pleased that you like it.  I passed the greeting on to Andy who sends same back. << A great guy indeed. >> I appreciate the marketing ideas.  I do offer individual strains but never thought to open that up to the hobby.  Typically I have aquaculture and biotech companies buying them.  I am in the process of updating the website and they will be listed. << I know I have a group of hobbyists waiting to place an order, so be sure and update me when those strains are available. >> SPS....I would love to take them on.  I am not set up for it at the moment.  I have had people tell me that they noticed better polyp extension on their Acros but I would imaging that the blend would be great for all the zooplankton feeding the SPS corals ?  What is your take? << I think so to because certain species have different preferences, and that would be the best bet to feed them all. >> Both storms hit me really hard but I am back up and am beginning to move outside of Florida with the product...if you could recommend any stores or distributors in your area I will contact them and see if they are interested in carrying it. << I'm not sure if Andy got you the contact info for Corals & Clams, but that is probably the best distributor for our local area.  I think some big etailers would be a great way to go.  Also, I can't help but plug our site and suggest you write an email to Cesnales (just email us here) about the cost of marketing on this site. >> Thanks for the feedback-much appreciated << Hope I help, let me know what else I can do. >> regards Erik <<  Blundell  >>

Feeding herbivores in a treatment tank Hey Guys, Thanks for the quick response! Just a quick follow up... I got a larger hospital tank for housing my ich-ridden fish, filled it with water from my display tank and have it up and running. My fish seem to be much happier now. The question is what should I feed my lawnmower blenny while he is in the hospital as there is certainly no algae growth for him to munch on. Thanks again for all the help and terrific work! Jason <Not likely this fish will take prepared food, but I would try greens of all sorts... algae from the "oriental food store" mostly. Bob Fenner>

Coral Feeding - DT's phytoplankton 2/3/05 Dear Bob & Staff, <howdy!> I have a 90 gallon reef tank with all soft corals. I had just recently set up a refugium. Do you think the tank would benefit from using DT's Phytoplankton to feed my animals. Thanks <in amounts as per mfg recommendation of this fine product it would be helpful indeed for many desirable reef organisms (I love that its responsibly dated, shipped refrigerated, high quality/labeling, etc. versus so many inferior like products on the market warm, undated and frankly of dubious value). Best regards, Anthony>

Phyto source? 1/30/05 Sorry to be a bother- I just sent a message but forgot to ask one more question. I have been using DT's Phytoplankton but my source has become unreliable. I can obtain other versions and I want to know if they are just as good as DT's? <DT's is the industry standard and they have a new and improved version of the mix with additional species to increases options for particle/prey size/type> Industry Standard is one brand.  Tridacna Reef Farms is a brand that has Nanochloropsis, Tetraselmis, Isochrysis, all under 10 microns. The last brand is TexasCorals Live and it is Nanochloropsis, and Tetraselmis. Are any of these good and worth a try? Thanks, Mark <I have not tried any of the others you've mentioned... and if they do not date their product or ship it refrigerated at all times, I would not likely bother to use them. Why not go to the DT's website and simply seek an alternate supplier for you? Anthony>

Rob Toonen's Article Hi, I'm interested in reading the article by Rob Toonen comparing bottled phyto plankton and have searched WWM and the web and I cannot find it. Can you please direct me to it? Thanks, Larry.  <Larry, it is on the Wet Web Media. I'll post it here. PhytoFAQs - Phytoplankton feeding - Perspectives on Rob Toonen's articles ... Dr. Rob Toonen did perform a study on bottled Phytoplankton products. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/phytofaqs.htm Enjoy the read. James (Salty Dog)> <Editor's addendum: Following link is archived discussion -  http://reefcentral.com/library/phytoplankton.php  >

Live vs. frozen phyto 07/01/05 Bob Are frozen Phytoplankton products currently in the market as effective as DT's  live Phytoplankton? Perry <Not... nutritionally, palatability wise frozen are inferior. Bob Fenner> Weaning Fish To Prepared Food- The Macroalgae Solution!  - 03/05/06 Thanks for the reply.... <You're quite welcome!> Real quick follow up. How do you feel about "roasted" Nori from the store than "Baked" Nori. Is there a difference and is it ok to use. Also, what other "greens" do you recommend for tangs (broccoli, lettuce, squash) let me know please!! Jeromy <Well, Jeromy- I actually prefer the "fresh" Nori, myself. Well, to be quite honest, I prefer live macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, to even the prepared Nori. Look for it from places like Indo Pacific Sea Farms, Florida Pets, Inland Aquatics, etc. I'm not a big fan of "terrestrial" greens for marine fish. Do try the live macroalgae as a nice alternative! Regards, Scott F.>  

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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