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FAQs about Red Calcareous and Coralline Algae Systems

Related Articles: Coralline Marine Algae, Red Algae in GeneralAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Coralline Algae 1Coralline Algae 2, Coralline Algae 3, Coralline Algae 4, Coralline Algae Identification, Coralline Algae Behavior, Coralline Algae Compatibility/Control, Coralline Algae Selection, Coralline Algae Nutrition, Coralline Algae Disease, Coralline Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Red Algae in General, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae Identification, Red Algae Behavior, Red Algae Compatibility, Red Algae Selection, Red Algae Systems, Red Algae Nutrition, Red Algae Disease, Red Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Marine Macro-Algae, Use in AquariumsMarine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Hi there,
Please could you let me know if the following lighting is enough for my 4'x2'x2' reef tank: 8 x 39watt T-5 arcadia marine white 14,000'K tubes, as my corals do not seem to be thriving nor my purple coralline algae growing! 
Thanks, kind Regards
Dave Buchanan. 

Let's see if we can throw some light (I know, bad pun) on this issue. First off, know that I am a HUGE fan of advanced fluorescent lighting technology. T-5's and even newer lines generate a good amount of useful illumination, at reduced cost compared with older tech., and generate a pittance of waste heat. This being stated, MH and HQI lighting do still have their place, particularly for large, deeper systems with light-needing photosynthetic life. 
            So, the issues I have with your lighting? Well, the wattage consumed and the Kelvin rating PAR produced could support some species of 'Corals' (the quotes I place are for the discrepancy between what science and hobbyists consider such'¦ the former is much more limited'¦ just the Alcyonaceans and Scleractinians, i.e. soft and hard classes). With placing the higher light-intensity species higher up in the water column, on stacked rock, you could expand the selection of coral groups even more so'¦ But do note my statement in the first sentence of this paragraph'¦ 'could support''¦ That is, keep alive'¦ but not particularly thriving.  
            If you have not purchased the T-5 fluorescents, or don't mind trading them in, I encourage you to instead seek out metal halide or HQI fixturing here'¦ for the size, shape of your system, two 150 watt fixtures would be ideal'¦ Some might even encourage 250 watters'¦ The 'temperature' of the lamps I'd use would be a bit less 'cool' than the present proposed'¦ I would go with 10,000 K or even 6,700 K lamp; being more functional and better looking to me.  
            I do hope I am not confusing you Dave'¦ but the issue of the coralline non-growth is likely totally unrelated to your lighting here. Most cases of poor growth of encrusting Red algae are a matter of either a lack of alkalinity (check your Calcium and proportion of Magnesium here) or deficient pH (they need both), secondarily the presence of predators that scour them mostly during the night. Unfortunately you don't list what your other livestock consists of, but a good stockist will be able to ferret out if you have a coralline eater present.   
The biomineral issue may also be playing a factor in your apparently non-thriving corals'¦ Do bring a list of what supplements you employ, what tests you have to your LFS for their review. 
Sincerely, Bob Fenner

Alkalinity pH question 3/26/12
Hi there again,
<Hello Abbasali>
Small question. Background: I run a FOWLRI tank. I dose Kalk as top up once a week for Ca and drip a NaH2CO3 solution once a week to bring the Alkalinity to 9-10 degrees. However by the end of the week it's back at 8.
Calcium remains at/around 400 - 450ppm. pH runs from 8.0 in the morning to 8.3 just before lights out.
Within a week however the pH tends to be around 8.0 and Alkalinity around 8 degrees while calcium remains somewhat the same if a little lower.
<Nothing wrong with those figures.>
I would like to have my alkalinity a little high since my coralline grows better.
What could be the reason for this?
<Acids in the water, excess nutrients, overstocking.>
Note, the tank is heavily populated with shrimp (at least 8 individuals)
and has an ATS in addition to skimming/RDSB.
Tank specifications are
DT Vol. 55g (48x18x15)
sump 25g
P 0
NO3 0
Please let me know.
<I see nothing wrong here.  I keep my dKH at 8 and coralline grows just fine.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Purple Up/Coraline Algae Growth 8/1/10
Hey guys,
I hope everything is going well. I have a110 gallon system set up with some sps. My question is fairly simple. I dose C-balance in my tank and my Ca level is about 480 and the Alkalinity is 11. Mg. about 1180. I wanted to know if I can also use Purple Up in addition to the C-balance for more coraline algae growth.
<Your Ca level is a little high right now and adding Purple Up will just increase the Ca level as it does contain an ionic form of calcium which immediately raises Ca levels.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Advice on Additives, buffers, for Coralline culture 3/18/10
Dear Sirs
I have a 29 gallon bio cube, filled with 40 pounds of live rock. It was recommended that I use purple up to help with the coralline.
I was also told use one of the other reef buffer. Which buffer would you all recommend since I am new to reefing.
<Any of the name brand buffers should be fine, Kent, Seachem, API to name a few.>
Dominick Perrone Jr.

(Another) Coralline Algae Question/Growing Coralline 2/26/10
Dear Crew,
Thanks again for your passion, knowledge, and time! Without these, there would be no WWW.
<You're welcome.>
This question has been asked countless times but I thought you might be able to shed some light onto my specific situation. I cannot get coralline algae to grow in my 54 gallon corner reef tank! Here are the specs: SG 1.025, pH 8.3, temp 78 degrees F, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, dKH 8, Calcium 400 (I have not purchased a magnesium test kit yet). Tank has been up for about 2.5 years, the first two being a FO system and since 1-1-10, has been transforming into a reef. Salt used it Oceanic brand and the water is buffered RO. Lighting is provided by a single 150W HQI 14,000K bulb as well as a 20W NO actinic for an 11 hour photoperiod. I dose 2 Little Fishies brand 2 part solution for calcium/Alk. Rock is composed of 20lbs dry base rock, 10 lbs honeycomb rock from another tank (decent coralline growth), and 10 lbs live Fiji rock. I have tried scraping coralline off of the established rocks to help spread the algae (although no proof of this having an effect as far as I know).
My corals look truly amazing and the tank is a true blessing. I would just like to get some coralline on the rocks before nuisance algae has a chance to. In my previous systems, I've always had wonderful growth, sometimes without ever dosing calcium! Any help would be MUCH appreciated.
<An abundance of hermit crabs and/or a sea urchin could be your problem as they are known to eat coralline algae.
If this isn't the case, it may be the use of the liquid calcium supplement.
I've always found that dosing granular type calcium or Kalkwasser proves to be much better at increasing coralline growth than liquid products. You may want to try a product by Sea Chem or Tropic Marin, and I'm betting in a month's time you will see a difference.>
Thank you so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Coralline Algae'¦Differing Lighting Requirements? -- 02/25/10
Hi Crew,
<<Hey Gary>>
It's been a couple of years since I've written, but continually benefit from your site.
<<Happy to know>>
My problem is a lack of color on the rock in my display tank.
Yet the rock in my sump is beautiful.
When I switch some of the rock between sump/display, the colorful rock now in the display will lose its color within a couple of weeks, while the rock in the sump will start showing signs of color. I am guessing it to be a lighting issue.
<<Me too'¦ Though there may be other factors we aren't aware of due to 'subtle' differences aside from lighting, betwixt the 'fuge and the display>>
150 gal; (2) 400 watt MH burning 14K's 10 hrs/day (no other lighting); approx 150 lbs LR; return from sump powered by a Dart; closed-loop is powered by a Barracuda and (2) 1" Sea Swirls; quite a variety of sps, frogspawn, xenia (weeds, but I like them),
<<Yeah'¦got my own hate-love relationship going with an incidental introduction of orange Ricordea to my SPS dominated system that are doing 'better than I want them to'>>
mushrooms, 1 small green carpet anemone, 1 BTA,
<<Mmm, dangerous just having a motile invert among other sessile specimens...much less having two different species of motile invert in the same system>>
1 ocellaris clown (sleeps in carpet, but daytime in BTA), 2 false Perculas (no interest in either anemone), 1 bi-color angel, 1 lavender tang, 1 Foxface, 1 sail fin tang. My system is about 2 1/2 yrs old.
50 gal acrylic, divided into 3 sections. ASM G3 skimmer running 24/7; middle section (fuge) is lit using a TCP 85W 5100K CF running 24/7. It contains miracle mud, Chaeto, and LR; 3rd section is return to display. I drip Kalk+2 with my RO/DI make-up water. Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.
<<Well Gary my first impression is the difference in lighting as you suspect, though there may be more to it. I have seen tanks with high-wattage MH lighting and so much 'pink' Coralline that it was growing in layers and 'plating' off the rock. My own metal halide lighted system has an abundance of 'dark red' coralline'¦yet my fluorescent lighted refugium displays a 'bright pink' Coralline alga. It may well be that the species of coralline in your system has a preference for the 'less intense' lighting of your refugium. But I also assume the Kalk-laden make-up water is added through your sump/refugium and ponder whether this burst of concentrated bio-mineral content to this area has anything to do here. One solution to increase the coralline alga in your display might be to find a brightly lit MH display with good coralline growth and gather/scrape some of the alga to seed your system. Do also pay close attention to Alkalinity, Calcium, AND Magnesium and keep these at proper concentrations and balances. In my own heavily stocked system I utilize both a Calcium and a Kalkwasser reactor, but still find additional weekly supplementation of Bicarbonate, Calcium, and Magnesium improves the growth of my Acroporids and Coralline alga. Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Live Rock... curing, growing Coralline Alg. 1/24/10
<Hello Shawn>
I have read how Rob
<Who is Rob? Did you mean Bob?>
mentions keeping a newly set up reef tank dark and fishless for several months to promote coralline algae growth.
<Dark tanks do not promote coralline growth, light is needed.>
During this period (up to 6 months) should I be feeding the tank? If so with what? There would be no lights, corals, or fish at this time. Just the rock but I am assuming that the various critters would need some kind of nutrition to flourish.
<Your query is a little confusing as to your specific goal. Are we talking about curing live rock, growing coralline, or both?
Where did you get the six months from?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Live Rock 1/25/10
<Hello Shawn>
Yeah, I meant Bob.
<Thought so.>
<<I have always suggested "regular" lighting during curing LR... RMF>>
My goal is to try and promote as much microfauna and coralline growth as possible. You guys mention how keeping it fishless can do this (the microfauna part anyway.
<Promoting microfauna will largely depend on the quality/life forms present on your live rock.
Refugiums with a small quantity of good seeded rock is an excellent way to promote microfauna growth and
will eventually spread through out the tank.>
So I am just wondering, after it has cycled with live rock, and there are no corals or fish, should I feed it anything so that the microfauna, worms, pods, continue to develop? I was thinking perhaps minimal Cyclop-Eeze or oyster eggs.
<If your tank/live rock has cycled, add your first fish or two. There will be enough nutrients present from uneaten food to promote microfauna growth. Proper lighting and water parameters will promote coralline growth. Do read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Does Kalk dosing bleach coralline algae? Can 01/13/10
I recently started dosing Kalk wasser with the objective of raising pH, alkalinity and calcium levels as all have been low for several months. My coralline algae is now turning white.
In case you are going to post this, I will refrain from the entire equipment list, as I realize those posts can be very chewy. I'll just give the basics:
*1.5 year old system with approx 375 gallons of system water (280G MDT, 55G 7inch DSB (sugar fine) fuge and 90G sump that has approx 40G during run time).
*FOWLR with 1-2 inch medium substrate, approx 200lb live rock.
*Good turn over via 2 return pumps and power heads in MDT - turn over 15+ times an hour.
*I run carbon and D-D Rowa Phosban in TLF reactors
*Gigundo recirc skimmer which is a Warner Marine knock-off (18 inch diameter, 3 foot tall, 3 Sedra 9000 pumps).
*Fuge has Chaeto macro and a few rocks in addition to the 7 inch DSB.
*400W PC (half actinic and half 10K)
*No mechanical filtration used in the way of socks, pre-filters on pumps, etc.
*Only 10 fish totaling approx 30 inches. I haven't added any new fish in 6 months, because I wanted to get my green hair algae problem under control which has not yet happened - but that GHA issue is not the objective of this request.
parameters before Kalk dosing started approximately 2 weeks ago:
temp 79.0
Salinity 1.025
phosphate and nitrate give me 0 readings but I know false - locked up in the piles of GHA I have been battling for months now
pH 7.85
Mag 1300
Alk anywhere from 4.0 to 7.0 KH (depending on how long after last water change and how much buffer I added)
calc anywhere from 390 to 350 (goes with the Alk - I think I understand the marble analogy)
I started dosing Kalk because my pH was chronically low <Ok, but, generally, you don't use Kalk to increase pH (though it can help). Do you have a lid on this tank? It might be that you have high CO2 in your water... not enough aeration.>
and I have always used Alk buffers (Kent) to raise Alk / pH following my weekly 65-100 gallon RODI based water changes, but not only was that getting very expensive, it was not keeping my alkalinity in check and therefore pH constantly wavering and always ending up toward low acceptable end. For the first year or so the tank was established, I only use to do 35G weekly water changes (always RODI which is tested with TDS meter) but once the GHA kicked in, I stepped it up to 70G (2 Rubbermaid), and at one point used 3 (105 gallon). I think it was around the time I increased the water changes to 100G per week that my Alk (and pH) took a nose dive? I aerate the RODI fresh water for a couple days before adding salt mix (Oceanic) and then aerate salt water another few days before water change.
I do not buffer the water change water before using.
<You should. A buffer *maintains* pH.>
Every time I have tried to buffer the water change water (either before adding salt mix or after adding salt mix) the entire contents turn milk white, so I don't do that anymore.
<Ok, there's no real need to aerate the change water before adding the salt. If it were me, I'd add the salt and buffer to the RODI, then aerate for a few days. By then, the water should clear up and everything should be nice and buffered and aerated.>
BTW - the massive weekly water changes had no impact on GHA whatsoever (maybe I have a super strand), so I now do more like 40-50G water changes per week.
<Have you checked to make sure your RODI filter is working properly? Do you have a TDS meter?><<See above. RMF>>
So back to the objective of this dissertation: I wanted to find a cheaper solution to my low Alk / low pH problem, so I scoured WWM for dozens and dozens of hours to try and educate myself. I settled on dosing Kalk, because I thought I had a good handle on how / why / what it would do for me. I believe if I can ever get my pH to stabilize above 8.0, then the 7 inch DSB of aragonite sugar fine sand SHOULD help maintain decent Alk levels right?
<Unfortunately, imo, this is a bit of bad info that has managed to linger on WWM... sugar fine aragonite will not help maintain your Alk levels to any appreciable degree.>
That's why I am going down this path anyway. So now for approximately 2 weeks, I have been mixing up 2 teaspoons of the Kent Kalk mix in RODI water in a 1 gallon milk jug, shaken vigorously, and capped for at least 7 hours before slow dripping to high flow area of sump. I use 2 of these 1G mixes per day
<For 375g system, you might need more than this starting out.>
and only at night time when MDT lights off and only drip the super saturated portion. Since I have started my new parameters are:
pH 8.05 to 8.10
Alk 8.0 KH
<These parameters are probably ok.>
calcium 340-360 - going down marginally??!
Mag 1400 (I have dosed some Mag a couple times since starting the Kalk dosing with hopes calcium would increase)
I can live with these numbers although I assumed they would be higher and I don't understand why calcium levels are actually dropping a little?
<There could be lots of reasons for this... it might be settling out or being taken up by invertebrates...>
I have 2 different calcium test kits and they are both giving identical readings. I even brought water to LFS and they have confirmed.
But regardless of the new parameters, now all of my coralline is bleaching out!
<Hmm... maybe it's being out bid for nutrients by the green hair algae?>
That's the coralline on the live rocks, on the back and sides of MDT, in fuge and skimmer, etc. I have also noticed clumping of the sand in the DSB of fuge. I should note that the DSB in fuge has only been in place for 4 or 5 weeks. Previously, the fuge only had a 2-3 inch medium grade aragonite substrate.
Is this bleaching normal? Should I stop dosing the Kalk?
<I don't think you should stop dosing Kalk. It's possible the coralline didn't appreciate the "sudden" change in parameters (but if that's the case, it should come back after the system has been stable for awhile).
Regardless, something seems a bit "wrong" about your system in general.
Where are all these nutrients coming from in a 375g tank with only 10 fish?
Seems odd. What are you feeding the tank?>
Thank you very much for your invaluable resources / service you guys offer here by the way!
<Our pleasure.>
Not to mention, thank you for spending half your night reading this lengthy post, and I really hope you can further educate me as to what might be going on here.
<I'd test your RODI water with a TDS meter... and try to figure out why you have this algae problem. What are you feeding the tank? What other supplements are you using? Are you sure you have enough aeration in the system? Do you have the "right" invertebrates for clean up, etc.?
Because, despite your respectable efforts, your system is "off balance."
Something isn't quite right somewhere...>
Sara M.>

Re: does Kalk dosing bleach coralline algae?   1/14/10
Wow - that was fast. Thanks very much for the input. To answer some of your questions, here goes:
Yes I do use a TDS meter and change my RODI filters out as soon as I get to 10 ppm. The meter typically reads 0 ppm.
I do not have a lid on MDT, nor on sump, nor on fuge. I may indeed have high CO2 as this is an in-wall display (and 2 year old home) with fish room (that has no exterior windows),
<Yikes... this might be part of your problem if the air around the tank is essentially "sealed off." I would definitely think of some way to remedy this (put a vent in the wall if need be).>
but I tried keeping window open and running series of fans from it to fish room for most of the summer and although my pH did increase a bit, it was not appreciable.
<What are you calling "not appreciable?" Mind you, every 1 unit change in pH is actually a 10x change in concentration of H+. So if your pH went up from 8.0 to 8.1, that might not seem like much, but it is.>
I have a TON of aeration going on. The return pumps alone turn over entire system volume 8x an hour, and I let my 1.5 inch drains (2 of them) splash a decent distant above sump water line. I also have fuge draining into sump, and external skimmer draining into sump, each allowed to splash (drain pipe above sump water level). Not to mention a bunch of powerheads in MDT and fuge with some pointed to water surface to really agitate.
<I'd keep the door to the fish room open, or cut out a vent in the wall...>
I can try buffering water change water again, to see if this time it yields any differences from prior attempts.
<It's worth a try, imo.>
I don't know why I have such a terrible nutrients problem to be honest, and could write an even longer diatribe about my battle with GHA and all of the efforts (and thousands of dollars)
I have invested into trying to address that. I can say that I put a large clean up crew (50+ hermits, 50+ snails, etc) in MDT a few months after start up, and within a month of adding trigger and wrasse they were basically all gone. So I have always speculated that their mass die off (whether eaten by the fish, or refusal to expose themselves for fear of meeting same fate they saw their buddies meet (picture wrasse banging hermit against live rock for a snack)) introduced a huge nutrient spike?
<That's possible.>
I also had a fish die and fall into live rock structure that by the time I tore the rock mass apart to get his decaying body out (a week or so later)
it was gone! Apparently my clean up crew was working really well??
Lastly, I also had an under powered skimmer for a while. So all I can come up with is that I had this huge nutrient build up early on, and am still paying the price because I have been so diligent for the past 9 months I am 100% positive I should be pulling them out faster than I am putting them in. I do not dose anything beyond alkalinity buffers previously and now Kalk. Very infrequently, I dose magnesium (as in 3 or 4 times a year). I feed only once a day, and am very judicious about amounts (food never hits the substrate, because the amounts I add are snagged immediately by the team). I even abandoned Selcon soaks thinking that may be cause. I use high quality seafood (raw), Nori, etc. I never dump thawing water in tank.
I have read every article on WWM and other sites about controlling nutrients, and I practice every suggested method religiously. So again, I have NO idea why I have this GHA that just won't go away. I continue to assume I have the super strand that no one knows about :>)
<Hmm, not likely though. If you're up to trying (yet again), I can tell you what I'd do. This is a huge system, I know, but I'd:
1) start pulling out the GHA itself--granted, this won't be easy, but I'd start scrapping it off and sucking it up as much as possible
2) dump out 3 to 4in of this 7in DSB you've got in your fuge (imo, the added utility of a sand bed declines exponentially after 4in)
3) Use the extra space in the fuge to grow more macro algae in the fuge/sump --try a different type or two of macroalgae besides the Chaeto (maybe even use a better light on the fuge if you think you need it)
4) get some tough, competitive soft corals like xenia and Zoanthids (specifically ones from friends or LFS that you know are resilient, fast growing and bullies in the aquarium). >
But are you saying my high nutrients can somehow play havoc with coralline - but only with the introduction of Kalk?
<No, I'm saying that, maybe your GHA is out-competing your coralline.
Coralline algae needs nutrients too. If the GHA is sucking them all up, then there won't be much for the coralline. More likely though, I think it was just the sudden change in Alk and pH that upset the coralline algae. I think it will come back after your tank parameters stabilize.>
Coralline flourished until I started adding the Kalk.....??
<Yeah, exactly.>
Again, thank you very much for your time and knowledge sharing!
<I wish you luck... you know, this is often a game of hit and miss. You just have to keep trying different things until you figure out what works for your system. It's frustrating, I know. :-)>
Sara M.>
P.S. I'd also get rid of the crushed coral (or "medium substrate") in your display... this stuff is of little to no use to anything (and, imo, often just traps fish poo). Put in a layer of sand or just go BB. Again... just my opinion here. - Sara M.

Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/4/09
Good day Bob and crew,
<And to you, Blesson>
As stated in a previous mail my 30 gallon long has been up and running for about 3 months plus.
Specs are as follows:
20 kg.s of locally available live rock
15 kg.s of crushed coral gravel
Protein skimmer for that works really well
External Canister filter
Metal halide light of 150 watts and 10000k
Nitrates 5ppm
Nitrites 0ppm
Ammonia 0ppm
Phosphate 0ppm
Calcium 440ppm
Sp.gr maintained at 1.024
Temperature 77f
Alk levels normal
Trace elements dosed regularly.
All tank inhabitants except for an unknown sp of hermit crab and an unknown snail have been shifted to a qt due to a crypt and Amyloodinium outbreak mentioned in a previous mail and are being treated with CP. Other inhabitants include a few fan worms, a Favites sp. coral, some green zooanthids, and two Goniopora sp. I do not use carbon or any phosphate removers. Should I ?
<I would incorporate a couple of units of Chemipure or a Poly Filter into the canister filter.>
40 % water changed monthly using pre-conditioned water with Red Sea brand mix. My main concern this email is the Coralline growth. The live rock was full of purple, red and green Coralline growth. I' ve seen no growth of Coralline algae on my tank walls except for the pesky green algae which my Ecsenius bicolor takes care of. Even the growth on the rock seems to be fading. Is it because of the MH?
<Likely the Kelvin temperature of the lamp. Coralline grows better under bluer lighting. You may want to consider going to a 14K lamp or add a actinic lamp to the system.>
Because it seems the Coralline exposed to light is the only one fading. The ones in the shadows are not. I see occasional new growth on the rock in the shadows itself in spots or blotch forms. I want a nice growth on the glass walls. How do I achieve this?
<As above and do maintain calcium, magnesium, and dKH levels.>
On asking my fellow reefer friend, he says he is facing the same problem and suggested on using a product called Purple Up. Should I?
<Don't waste your money. You may want to read FAQ's here.
I do not have access to the Reef Builder product mentioned in many faqs.
But can try to get it, is it worth the effort?
<How are you maintaining dKH at present?>
Due to strict import regulations here in India, I do not have access to Tonga or Florida live rock. What am I to do?
The second concern is my crushed coral gravel. Its consistency is really thick. I have a two to three inch bed and the grain size is pretty big.
Around half a centimeter to more. Mainly consists of shells and crushed dead coral pieces. Is this ok or do I shift to fine sand?
<Crushed coral sand will aid in maintaining dKH levels and will be much better than the mixture you have.>
Will changing the substrate to live sand cause a cycle?
<No, not in an aged system, and don't waste your money here either, your substrate is "live", and any future substrates will soon become live. Your live rock will handle the denitrification of the system.>
Will I have to cure it as well ? If it does will the cycle be too great for the inverts ?
Thank you for your valuable time and efforts.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/5/09
Hi Bob and crew,
<Hello Blesson>
A special thanks to you James (salty dog) for the quick reply and the info.
<You're welcome.>
Sorry for not mentioning the dKH level . . . It is being maintained at eight. That's good right or should I aim for something a little bit higher?
<You're fine with that.>
The dKH is being maintained by dosing something called Aragamilk
<This product is designed for maintaining calcium levels.>
with immediate and time release buffer by CaribSea and Success Buff supplement by Red Sea.
<Why are you using two buffering products?>
Plus is it noteworthy to mention that the water I use itself is pretty hard to begin with . It's the only kind available here and is available after undergoing treatment from a nearby water hardness treatment plant. Guess they soften it a bit or something and make it fit for human consumption.
And regarding the use of Polyfilter, so the Activated carbon is not really necessary?
<I'd use one or the other.>
I dose Calcium and Trace elements regularly. Will that be enough for the Magnesium levels or will I need to get a supplement for that as well?
<You will need to supplement magnesium. Proper magnesium levels allow all the calcium present in the water to be utilized by calcium loving animals.>
And thanks a lot for the info on Purple Up and the Live sand, the nine hundred odd bucks is simply too much for the product and would have had to import the Live sand which costs a bomb if not for your info ! Regarding
the MH, I can stick with the existing bulb and just add on the actinic right?
<Yes, but with your size tank, it may be more economical to just replace the MH lamp, otherwise you will be using more electricity and adding more heat to the system.>
So from what you say the coralline prefer a higher colour temp a.k.a Kelvin rating?
<Yes, the growth rate is better than without.>
Thank you so much for the advice.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/6/09
Hi James a.k.a Salty Dog and a very good day to Bob and the rest of the gang.
<Hello Blesson>
Well I dose the CaribSea product once a month. And use the RedSea buffer when I am adding fresh water as top off. Is this alright?
<Yes, but why use two that do the same.>
The thing with the MH is that it is fixed to the hood and I am regulating the heat with a fan.
And as you guessed the evaporation rate is pretty high Electricity is not a problem as I stay in a dormitory in medical school. Getting MH tubes and Actinics is a real headache where I live and it all needs to be imported
and is a big drain on my pocket for someone who is not earning and getting everything done from his pocket money. I have however ordered for the Actinics and might upgrade the MH to 14000 k as well depending on my
budget. Will a very blue tube light serve the same purpose of the Actinics for Coralline propagation?
<If it is an actinic lamp.>
I read in the faqs that its purely for aesthetics.
<Maybe confused with moon lights?>
Will try and get the Magnesium too. Any advice on how much to add for my tank capacity?
<Follow directions on can for starters and monitor with a test kit.
Magnesium levels should be in the 1280-1300ppm range.>
And regarding the change of substrate from what I have now to crushed Coral sand, should I leave a little bit so that it seeds the new sand and makes it live or do I completely remove it?
<I'd remove portions when doing water changes. Is best to do with a siphon hose if the substrate size isn't too large. so as not to pass through. This way you will be cleaning out plenty of detritus also.>
Thanks again for the replies my friend.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/6/09
Hi James,
<Hello Blesson>
Sorry, kinda misinterpreted the previous mail. Somehow very weirdly got the idea you wanted me to get rid of the MH. So by just changing the bulb from the present one to the 14000 k, I can eliminate the need for the Actinic?
Plus the reefer friend I mentioned in a previous mail sorta mentioned something bout the live rock. Seems almost everybody using it has been having the problem. Maybe its collected from deep water, hence its tendency
for Coralline growth in the dimly lit areas. I may be wrong though. Any ways thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/7/09
Good day James,
Thanks for making me realise how dumb I have been by adding buffering solutions twice!
<Reading would have prevented this.>
The crushed coral is kinda really big in terms of particle size. Actually more like they &#39;re chunks not grains! Average grain size would be around one to half a centimeter! No way can I siphon it without getting the particles caught in the siphon tube. And guess I will change to the fine sand as you said.
<Did not tell you to change, but said "Crushed coral sand will aid in maintaining dKH levels and will be much better than the mixture you have.">
One portion at a time. And will the 14000k MH bulb produce enough in the blue spectrum for the coralline and white for the coral?
<Yes, and keep in mind that photosynthetic efficiency peaks at around 430 nanometers which is very close to the major spectral output of a standard 'actinic' bulb. This wavelength is always present in lamps designed for reefkeeping. The lower Kelvin temperature (6500-10000) lamps do not appear blue because the intensity of the other colors in the spectrum is much higher. As we go up in Kelvin temperature, the proportion of blue gets higher while the reds, yellows, etc. are proportionately lowered. The light loving invertebrates we generally keep seem to do better with Kelvin temperatures between 6500-14000. The Ushio link provided here will show spectral graphs of what I am saying. http://www.ushio.com/products/petcare/aqualite.htm >
Or I could manage to get hold of a 20000k bulb if it helps.
<I would not, 14K would be a good lamp for your needs, 20K lamps are more suited for deeper water light loving invertebrates. Clams especially, will not do well under this lighting.>
And yes I will get the magnesium solution too. Didn't know it could play such a vital role in the prop of Coralline.
<In most calcium loving invertebrates. Magnesium is one of the major elements of sea water.>
I didn't even know there is a test kit for measuring it either!
<Oh yes, several kits are available.>
Just shows how less I know in this hobby.
<That is why more reading and less writing is necessary.>
And regarding the mention of Actinics to grow coralline and other than that just for aesthetic purpose, think I read it in the Actinic lamp faqs section.
And nope not confusing it with the Lunar or L.E.D.s. The tube I spoke about is essentially a normal 20 watt fluorescent tube 2 ft long. Think it's coated blue or something. Read the cover and stuff but nothing mentioned about the wave length or it being an actinic.
<The term "actinic" was a poor choice to label these lamps. Photographers used this term in that lamps that were darkroom safe were commonly called actinic lamps because their spectral output had no detrimental effect on photo paper, it allowed them to see what they were doing in the darkroom without ruining photo papers.>
Thanks again James. Read the crew member faqs, you guys have got a great thing going on. A real wonderful service rendered to this hobby. Thanks again.
<You're welcome, and less writing, more reading. You will find most of your questions answered by Googling our site. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/7/09
Hi James,
<Hello Blesson>
Found the faq I was citing. Its called actinic vs blue pc lighting. Replied by wetwebber ScottV I think . . . Pls do clarify . . .
<If you are referring to "The actinic and blue bulb mentioned will do little or nothing towards sustaining photosynthetic organisms", then I personally do not agree with this, as this spectrum/wavelength is present in all lamps designed for reef systems. We just do not see it in lower Kelvin temperature lamps because the other colors of the spectrum are much higher in intensity and tend to mask the blue. I'm thinking Scott V. may be alluding to using just this type of lamp. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Coralline Algae Issues And Substrate/corlinepropfaqs 12/7/09
Hello James,
Yup I understand. Will definitely read more instead of sending so many mails.
<Yes, and will provide more detail than I have the time for.>
Thanks a lot for all the help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Actinics and 10000K CF vs. Coralline and Hair Algae 2/12/09 Hola WWM Crew. <Hi John> Thanks again for all you do. <You're welcome.> Now that we got the poetry out of the way, I would like to ask a variant on the old "should I take out my actinics and replace them with high K CF bulbs" question. I have a 75 gallon with good parameters (not essential here) . Some nitrogen and phosphate evidenced by a little hair algae but I am getting this under control with diligence. I have a 48" Coralife Aqualight Pro 2X150HQI 2X96CF actinic. It is getting to be time to change the actinics. I don't really like the actinic color that much, and the coral doesn't care. I was thinking about putting in 10000K CF bulbs. Two questions: Will the 192 watts of CF 10000K provide a material marginal benefit to my SPS relative to the 300 watts of HQI? <Will help some, but I wouldn't base my decision on it.> Will the move to 10000K hinder my coralline more than it hinders my GHA or do GHA and Coralline like the same spectrum? <Coralline seems to do better under actinic.> I was thinking about 6000-7000 but really don't like the color. <The lower Kelvin temps are more prone to growing hair algae than 10K and higher, but excess nutrients are going to be the main cause of nuisance algae in your tank. You didn't state what the Kelvin temperature is on your HQI lamps, but I do know the fixture comes with 10K lamps. So, if you haven't yet replaced them, I'll assume that is what you are using now. If plating coralline is desired, I'd stick with one actinic and replace the other CF lamp with a 10K. This will reduce the blue effect you are not fond of and should give you a nice overall color balance.> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> John / Fishnut

Re: Actinics and 10000K CF vs. Coralline and Hair Algae 2/12/09 Thanks James. <You're welcome.> You are correct I am running 10000K HQIs. I like some degree of coralline, if only to make it harder for hair algae. Is there any detriment to coralline other than the tennis elbow from scraping glass? <Not that I'm aware of. I use magnetic type glass cleaners every other day whether it needs it or not so I don't have tennis elbow in that regard.> My rocks are about half covered, which is an appealing level for me. I don't want to completely encrust everything. Incidentally, I have noticed some older more established tanks with lots of coral start to lose coralline. Is that because the other coral outcompete the coralline for calcium ? <I do not believe so, as long as calcium and magnesium levels are maintained at the proper levels. I test weekly for such.> Finally, in your experience do any manufacturers 10000K, 150W have a longer "effective" period before starting to go off color? <Not that I'm aware of. Much is going to depend on the photoperiod and type of ballast used along with effective cooling of the lamps. Electronic ballasts will give a little more bulb life, intensity, and reduce power consumption somewhat. I've never read anywhere how the lamp companies determine bulb life.....ballast used, photoperiod, etc.> Thanks and happy reefing. <Ditto, my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Question about coralline and other types of algae 06/02/2008 Thank you for the informative website. We've had our first tank for almost a year now and are somewhat flummoxed by our algae situation. <<Ok, lets see if we can get you on the right track>> 1) We used to have a lot of purple and red coralline algae on our live rock and coating the back of our aquarium. However, it now seems to have almost disappeared from our live rock and the splotches on the back of our aquarium have all turned white. They've been white like that for a couple of months now. <<A lack of calcium?>> 2) On our live rock, we instead now have what seems to us like an overly large amount of a few different kinds of hair algae (more of it than we see in pictures of other people's tanks anyway.) <<High nutrient levels, possibly nitrates and phosphates>> Our phosphate level was initially high, but now is consistently 0. We have a pair of snails but they don't eat either the hair algae or the coralline algae as far as we can tell. <<Agreed, they will not>> Our light array has 2 65-watt actinic blue and 2 65-watt 10,000K daylight bulbs. DKH is normally 8, calcium level is 360, temperature 79, pH 8.2, salinity 1.025, we do have a protein skimmer. <<Calcium level is low, DKH a little border line. Please do read more here, including linked articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm >> It's a 55-gallon tank home to three scissortail gobies, a sand goby, a little fairy wrasse, two peppermint shrimp and an SPS coral that's been hanging on all year but is more shaded by hair algae than I think is good for it (we keep plucking the stuff around it but it keeps on growing back.) Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite always 0. We do weekly water changes and have a canister filter with a variety of media in it which we clean twice a month. <<I would suggest your water param.s need rectifying. Read the linked article above>> Any ideas as to why our coralline algae isn't faring so well and/or why we seem to have so much more hair algae and other three-dimensional green algae than usual? Our tank looks nice but the tanks without so much algae everywhere really do look a lot better. Pulling the algae off with our fingers and scrubbing the rocks with a toothbrush doesn't seem to keep it at bay very long-- it grows right back. We bought a Rainford goby at one point because it was said to eat this kind of hair algae, but unfortunately it didn't survive. <<Would not of used a goby for this, a lawnmower blenny ( Salarias fasciatus ) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trublennies.htm >> Thanks for your help, have a good one! Laura <<Thanks foe the questions Laura, i hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Will trace amounts of copper prohibit coralline growth?  4/25/08 Hello crew, <K> I had to copper my main system <... had to?> after going ich and copper free for over 2 years. Yes I added a non QT'd fish and luckily didn't lose anything. So here I am 5 weeks later and ich free for the full 5 weeks' time. I want to clean my tank and refill it. I have about 150 lbs of clean live rock that I pulled out prior to the copper. If I take my tank apart and clean it, and all equipment gets cleaned, would the trace amounts that could leak out from silicone be enough to prevent coralline algae from growing? <Mmm, no, not likely> I mean if I really scrub the tank and get it clean, and the skimmer ect. <... no such word> Or should I just get a new tank? It is a 135 gallon. <I would not. The small amounts of copper, will be negligible. Some copper is actually an essential nutrient...> I have never had that algae grow and am hell bent on it. <Can be done...> Also, would VHOs be better than MH for coralline growth? <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlinesysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks, K.

Lighting: photoperiod vs. height  4/19/08 Dear Crew, <Russell> I have a 75 gal reef sps tank with 2X250watt MH 10K's and 2X110 VHO 20K's light bulbs about 15 inches off the surface of the tank. Tanks is 2 years old. I initially ran the VHO's 12 hours a day and the MH's about 10. I was noticing little to no coralline algae growth so I cut back the photo period for the MH to about 8 hours a day. The coralline growth has improved somewhat and my sps seem no worse. I would like more coralline growth (so as to out-compete my nuisance algae which is low to moderate (I use RO/DI water, change water 15% twice a month, skimmer strong, parameters on target, have Chaeto refugium, have great water flow)). Should I raise the lights even higher, or further decrease the metal halide photoperiod? <Mmm, what are your biomineral and alkaline readings like? Do you have some predatory hermits, et al that are perhaps nibbling the coralline a bit too much? Do you utilize supplements that may be acting against your desires here?> I feel that 720watt's of lighting is too much for my tank. I originally wanted only 150watt MH's but found a bargain on these lights from a college student moving out of town. Thanks. Russell from KY. <... Mmm, well... I would have gone with the smaller watter MHs... Some encrusting Reds do grow okay in such bright circumstances... many do not. Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked files above. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Coralline growth... sys.   2/8/08 Crew, Thanks for all your help you folks provide with this website. I would be lost without you guys. I had a quick question about my coralline growth. My setup is a main tank with a refugium that's T'd from the sump. The refugium has two sections. The first has a deep sandbed with Chaetomorpha and the other live rock. I have mini PCs for the refugium and 6 T5s for the main tank. The T5s are a 50/50 mix of blue and white. <Mmm, likely the blue are of little use functionally> My question is why does the live rock in my refugium have great purple coralline growth while the main tank does not. The rocks are the same type from the same places and the water quality should not differ much. Thanks. <Good question... very likely "it's" the difference in make-up of the smaller life in each area... the main tank has life it .. that is consuming the encrusting reds (likely Hermits, snails... but maybe some fishes) whereas the refugium lacks these. Other life forms that are competing may also be favored in the main display... over the corallines. Bob Fenner>

Lunar Lights and Coralline Algae -- 02/04/08 Hi, <<Hello>> I am trying to pick the proper light fixture to help grow coralline algae. <<Hmm'¦best to concentrate on providing proper lighting for your corals needs (assuming you have these). If your water chemistry is as it should be, the Coralline will come>> Both fixtures come with 1 daylight lamp and 1 actinic. But one fixture has a white lunar light and the other has a blue lunar light. Will the color of the lunar light make a difference? <<No, the lunar light will have no impact'¦pick the one that is more aesthetically pleasing to 'you'>> I don't want to overdo the blue. <<You may well be, though not as a result of the lunar light color you choose. But without more info re these lighting fixtures and your tank and its inhabitants, I'm unable to comment. But then, maybe your wish was to only inquire about the lunar lights [grin]>> Thanks, Danielle <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Lunar Lights and Coralline Algae -- 02/04/08 I don't have any inhabitants yet, only LR. It has just finished curing. <<Ah, I see>> I wanted to work on the coralline algae before introducing inhabitants. <<Mmm, yes'¦a good idea to let this and other 'emergent' life in/on the rock; along with the many desirable mini- and micro- food organisms, to develop/obtain self sustaining population levels before the introduction of macro-predators>> I purchased a Coralife fixture that will provide me with 2 watts per gallon b/c I have no plans to introduce corals (too much work) except maybe some mushrooms that can handle low light. <<Okay'¦ This simple/small two bulb fixture will likely be fine for this purpose>> Is this an okay approach? <<Should be fine. And based on your data here, you may even want to consider exchanging the 'Daylight' bulb for one with a color temperature of 10,000K'¦though this is not a necessity>> Your advice is greatly appreciated. <<Do let me know if I can be of further assistance as you continue forward with this tank. Regards, EricR>>

Coralline growth 01/21/2008 Crew, Thank you in advance! <<Hello Ben, Andrew here>> If my water parameters are all appropriate, will 250W 20K XM's be of the correct spectrum to grow that true deep purple coralline alone? Will I need to supplement with 03 actinics in the 420nm range or will the XM's provide the right conditions? I will have 4 of them over a 240gal. 96x24x24. Thanks!!! Ben <<Purple coloured coralline algae will grow nicely under your lighting, no need to supplement with the extra actinics as your using a nice blue in the 20k bulbs>> <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Coralline promotion in a small tank  01/07/2008 Hi Crew, <<Hello, Andrew here>> This is in response to someone who had small tanks and found that coralline grew well without high lighting and was trying to figure out why. <<Coralline algae does need "high" lighting to appear, more so, good parameters>> I do not have an answer but I have a 10 gallon over 4 years old with 65W PC. I use IO salt and do not add anything other than food for fish. I have mushrooms and candy canes. My glass is pretty much covered in coralline algae and I have to work to keep the front glass clean. But hardly any coralline on the rocks. When my lights were over 10 months old the coralline started to disappear from the glass and when I replaced the bulbs it grew back. I do not measure calcium so I have no idea what my numbers are. <<As long as you have good calcium, alkalinity and the right pH, coralline will grow fine. I would suggest these are tested for>> Sam <<Thanks for the question, A Nixon>>

Growing Coralline Algae 1/6/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Tom> I have more small saltwater tanks than I care to admit -- one of these days, I will consolidate several into one larger one. <Think we've all been through that.> But in the meantime, I have been surprised at how difficult it is to keep nice coralline algae going in these small tanks. The one thing that seems consistent, however, is that coralline does pretty well with very low light. <Does not require high intensity lighting for sure, but does need decent light, preferably with some actinic mixed in.> I'm attaching three photos of two of my tanks. The bigger tank is a 30 gallon with 96 watts of 50/50 PC lighting. The smaller one is a 20 gallon with a mere 15 watts of fluorescent lighting. Both tanks are the same depth, have the same skimmers (Remora), the same power filters (without any bio-media), light bio-loads, and receive weekly 10 percent water changes. Aside from the light, the 30 gallon has better circulation with four max-jet 1200s (295 gph each), while the 20 gallon has two AquaClear 30s (which might be about 175 gph each). As you can see from the pictures, I have decent coralline in the 20 gallon (it was actually better before I put in a hitchhiker crab that had a taste for coralline -- since removed). My absolute best coralline in the house is in a 15 gallon that held a Mantis Shrimp for a time. This tank has no skimmer, less circulation, less maintenance, and 15 watts of fluorescent lighting. So this is the conclusion I've come around to: Conditions in small tanks generally do not favor growth of coralline algae, and the coralline gets crowded out by other things - mostly by Cyanobacteria, it seems. But these other things don't tolerate very low light as well as coralline algae, so coralline survives and dominates in low light tanks. And a corollary: I can forget about trying to have Coralline Algae in any small tank that has enough light to maintain soft corals, like the 30 gallon in the picture. Is this right, or is there something I'm missing? Is it possible to have good coralline in a small tank with lots of light? <You also need to maintain calcium levels in the range of 350-400ppm, very important for coralline to prosper. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's. James (Salty Dog)> Tom

Re: Growing Coralline Algae 1/7/08 Thanks, James. <You're welcome> Ahh ... calcium. That could be the missing ingredient that prevents coralline from thriving except in my dimly lit tanks. It is hard for me to get my calcium up to 350 and keep it there -- more often it's about 300. And it is not because my alkalinity is real high -- that tends to be 3.0 to 3.5 mEq. I've avoided use of calcium chloride on the advice from this site. Calcium gluconate is not very effective in raising calcium readings, though I have used it intermittently. Regular weekly 10 percent water changes (RO/DI water and Instant Ocean) don't seem to do the trick. <IO Reef Crystals has elevated calcium levels.> Daily dosing 20 ml of B-Ionic doesn't do it either (although I sometimes neglect to do this). For a tank this size, the recommended starting dose of B-Ionic is 7.5 ml, and the maximum dose is 30 ml. <I've tried these two part additives and I've never had much luck with them either.> Sometimes I think Instant Ocean is not formulated for RO/DI water, and that puts me at a calcium/alkalinity deficit relative to someone using tap water with a higher mineral content. <Try mixing a batch of Reef Crystals and take a dKH and calcium reading before putting the water into the main display, see what you have.> I've wondered if I could put some crushed coral in my RO/DI holding container to dissolve and add calcium and alkalinity, but I've never seen that idea suggested. So what should I do to get calcium up? Is a calcium reactor the only real solution? <No, just using Kalkwasser works well. Kent Marine makes a small drip container/doser that works well for this. Lately, since my free time is limited, I've been using Sea Chem's Reef Calcium (dry formula) and it works pretty good, cannot forget to dose as directed though. Read here and related articles/FAQ's above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Tom

Re: Growing Coralline Algae 1/8/08 Thanks again, James. <Welcome.> Reef Crystals is a good idea -- one that had not occurred to me. I will try it. You mentioned SeaChem Reef Calcium -- is that gluconate calcium? Or if not, what is it? <See here. http://www.seachem.com/products/product_pages/ReefAdvCalcium.html> I've yet to get up the ambition/courage/energy to try Kalkwasser dosing. <Can be time consuming, messy, but is the best way next to a doser. James (Salty Dog)> Tom

Coralline Algae'¦ No Longer Live Rock -- 09/14/07 Hello, <Hi there, Mich here.> I have a question regarding Coralline Algae. I had my tank 55g tank setup in California for about 3 years. The LR was beautiful and covered very, very well with Coralline (I purchased the rock from a friend so it was established already). I moved to Texas and gave all the fish back to the LFS. I moved the LR and sand in plastic containers and placed the LR back in the tank in the garage with water running over the rock until I was able to setup the tank again. <OK.> Over time I discovered boating and didn't have the funds/time (got to work somewhere in there to!) to get back in to the hobby and the LR became dried out in the tank. My question is, now that I have setup the tank once again (cleaned the LR with fresh water), and added a bag of "Live Sand" to the existing sand does the Coralline need to be "re-seeded" from some other source (tank scrapings, etc) to be present in the tank or will this still be present on the rocks? <I would try to reseed a bit here. Go but a piece or two of new live rock that has some coralline growing on it or look for pieces of rubble rock with coralline. Better yet trade with someone in you local marine club.> My neighbor who has a pretty decent 125 g setup told me that that was actually a good thing for the rocks to have dried out <I would disagree with this statement.> and that all the "things" on the rocks will come back once tank conditions are settled. <It is amazing how much can survive through the harshest conditions, but this rock will likely never have the live capacity that it once did. It can still be used and reseeded, but will take time to truly become live rock again.> Is this correct? <No, not really, some will return, but not like it was before it dried out.> Thanks, <Welcome! Mich> Ray

PURPLE-UP for Coralline Growth? - Thumb's down... 02/22/07 Anyone have any info about this product by CaribSea? <<Have seen/used...don't waste your money mate>> I have a FOWLR and would like to increase the amount of coralline algae...... <<Then look to providing balance to alkalinity/calcium/magnesium.  Obtaining some "seed" material in the form of coralline scrapings from fellow hobbyists/LFS can help too>> Is this product safe and does it work.....? <<Not in my opinion>> I have some very rare fish and do not want to introduce anything that may harm them... <<I have read and seen anecdotal proof that calcium polygluconate can be helpful to "jumpstart" coralline growth.  Seachem makes such a product and if used as directed it should pose no harm to your fish>> Thanks, Craig Smith <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

Coralline algae question   5/22/07 Hello crew and thanks again for all the great information.  Before I get to my marine question I wanted to know if the donation function at the bottom of the Daily FAQs is legitimate as I pledged 50$ but the system indicated the amount was too high. <Mmm, I think this may be the upper limit or such... Am asking Miguel here (who instigated our begging bowl and manages same) if he knows> I am very happy to support this organization as I have learned so much and probably saved significant dollars in the process, but then again I have added a lot so it's a wash, but I am happy to support. <Appreciate this> Let me know the best way to donate.  My question regards coralline algae.  During the first 4 months of starting my 125G FOWLR with 100 lbs live rock using PC 50/50 10K/actinic for a total of 384 watts about 10 hrs per day.  All rock and the back tank wall were covered with coralline algae.  A couple of months later the intensity and spreading of the coralline algae has reduced. <Very typical... "something" has become rate-limiting (usually either alkaline earth materials, e.g. Calcium, Magnesium) OR alkalinity (carbonate, bicarbonate) or a balance amongst or between these two... OR conditions allow/favor other algal groups (succession), OR some specific predators are having a go with the encrusting reds... Your lighting is so new that I doubt that lumen depreciation, spectral shift are an/the issue here... but/and there are other possibilities.> Green hair algae have come up in clumps.  All water parameters look good as follows: 0 for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH 8.2, Alk 3.5 Meq/L, Specific Gravity 1.023.  I have added a small hang on refuge which has the lights on 32W for 8 hours opposite the main tank.  Chaeto will be in QT for another week before it will be placed in the refuge.  Is there anything I should be considering doing to keep the coralline expansion going or is this a normal cycle?  Thanks again <Mmm... all sorts... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Coralline algae and Cyanobacteria in the dark 4/3/07 <Hello, Mike. GrahamT here.> How long will it take for Coralline algae and Cyanobacteria to die. <Mmm... depends.> I have a Cyano problem that I need to get rid of. What I'm doing is removing live rock from my main tank and putting it in a quarantine tank with no light. <Do this myself sometimes with service accounts.> This will essentially kill the Cyano but what other effects will this have? <Any light-feeding animals on the rock will be starving, but likely will pull through.> The Nitrobacter will stay alive as long as it is submerged right? <Yup.> Is this a bad idea? <Naw. I do this myself, and find that many times, as long as the system specs are up to par for the coralline to flourish, then the rocks may actually have brighter colors than before you placed them in the sump. You can usually expect die-off of the Cyano in two to four weeks. Naturally, there are better and more permanent forms of control, but if you have a little outbreak on a few rocks, this method is excellent, IMO.> I hope you understand my process here. I tried to keep it as short as I could. <Well done.> Thanks, Mike <You are welcome, and as always: write back with your results, please. -GrahamT>

Coralline Not Growing  2/12/07   3/15/07 Hi, <Hi Carl> Carl, here in NJ. <James in MI> I've had a live reef reef tank up and running for approx. 2 years now.  Started with a 40 gal, then transferred critters to 75 gal. . 6 weeks ago I noticed that "hey where's my pretty coralline", why so much algae and red slime................so we started reading your site for some answers. <A good start.> I.e. tested well water used for make up and changes and found phos levels running .3 from tap, thus I pointed finger at reason for the algae blooms.  So we started purchasing RO water for weekly changes and added a phos reactor to battle the slime and algae. During this past 6 weeks we began to add calcium via Kalk and past 2 weeks with Purple Up.  During this time I also began adding iodine once a week along with strontium.   <No need to dose iodine when using Purple Up as it contains iodine.> I run a skimmer, 2 power heads and use a refugium with crushed rock and grape Caulerpa (no mud).  All vitals are normal, amm. nitrites and trates are o.  I have about 7 various quiet fish , Turbos, blue legs, a couple bubble tips, the original  bubble split, a couple feather dusters, mushrooms,  a thriving gorgonian, yellow polyps and a brownish polyp that seems to be splitting and flourishing.  I use Phytoplex every other day and feed fish twice a day either with flake or Mysis.  Temp running 80.  Lights are 200 watt fluorescents and 200 watt actinic with moons at night. <Are bulbs changed on a yearly basis?> I consider my rocks appearance to be dark brownish, some pink showing on some recent new rock, some spot dark purple and  lingering lime green and dark green algae but not heavy. But no noticeable increase of pink color overtaking the crappy brownish color. The ultimate question is, should I scrub the ugly rock to clean appearance and add more new rock? <You will need to add some new rock to help reseed the system.  You could lightly scrub the old rock, but if life forms are present on the rock, I'd leave be.> Can or will the rock replenish itself with coralline with my present program, I want to promote coralline growth but not sure how to attack this goal of mine???? <Need to reseed my friend, and do read here along with linked files.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm> Help please?  I want a prettier tank. <Patience and reading/learning will persist here.> Thanks for all the input at Wet Web Media. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Carl

Coralline Algae 2/9/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam> I have a 10 gallon with fish, mushrooms and candy cane with a 65w Power compact 50/50. I have some rock with very little coralline algae on but some of my glass had a thick cover that you could not see through and I had to scrape the front glass to keep it clean. Over the past month the algae on the glass has thinned out by around 60% or more. Does this mean my bulbs need replacing. I can not remember when I bought these lights but I think it was May. Should I replace it with the same bulb or would I be better off with 65w 12,000k. <Effective bulb life is usually a year with PC lamps depending on the photo period. The higher Kelvin temperature lamps are more favorable for growing coralline.  Your reduction in coralline growth may be due to a lack of calcium and/or other elements naturally found in sea water.  Also read FAQ's here on this subject.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlinepropfaqs.htm> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Best Lighting for Coralline Growth? - 02/01/07 Dear WWM Crew, <<Hello Narayan>> I've been drinking out of a firehose lately... <<A bit overwhelmed are we?>> I'm trying to set up a custom 24"X24"X 18" high tank (45 gal) to house one branching frogspawn and one candycane coral. <<Ok>> The canopy is 12" high. I can't decide between the Aquamedic Oceanlight 150W fixture or the 70W fixture. <<I would go with the higher wattage here>> Also I am not sure if I want 10,000K or 14,000K bulbs. <<The 10,000K will do nicely...as will the 14,000K...but the latter will likely be more appealing to you/provide better appearance of these specimens>> The corals will be placed directly on a 4" DSB, with about 15" of water depth and 10" of air between the light and the corals.  I am hesitant to get the 150W since that might be too much light to promote coralline algae growth - I currently have 130W of PC (25% 10,000K, 75% actinic) on a 20 long and all the coralline is bleached off the top side of the rocks. <<Differing species of coralline have differing environmental requirements, but most all I've seen in the hobby grow best under "indirect" lighting... e.g. along the "fringes" of the light-spread, along the edges/beneath the live rock>> Would the 70W provide adequate light and promote good coral color? <<Hmm...probably>> Or do I need the 150W? <<Would be my choice...but either should do with the species you have chosen...is up to you>> Thanks for your help, Narayan <<A pleasure to share.  EricR>>

Poly-filter use and coralline pullback  2/1/07 New information: My substrate was Florida Crushed Coral. I read that it was a detritus trap. <Mmm, can be...> I replaced it with Fiji Pink sand which looks a lot better. Upon doing so I rearranged the live rock. Much to my surprise, those pieces of live rock hidden-from-view and not exposed to light were rich with thick, dark purple coralline algae. <Mmm, yes... most aquarists are unaware, but the "LR" they think of is actually this turned upside down product... the real live part is for the most part "whacked off"... and what they think of as pretty, functional is just barely what was... and the bit that was "face down" in the sand... Surprised?> After rearranging the rock, the previously unexposed coralline algae started to bleach once exposed to the light... <Not atypical either... photo-adaptation... or rather, non-... these encrusting reds don't generally live in bright light> I did reduce the size of the poly-filter to 1/3. The bleaching is not as significant as before, but it is noticeable over the course of several weeks. <Takes a while...> Suspect that the lighting is the main issue with the poly-filter as a secondary, although minor contributor. <Mmm, mostly the new, bright light...> The lighting in the 24 gallon tank is (2) 36W 50/50 CF 10,000K daylight and blue actinic lamps. One lamp is 10 months old...and the other is 13 months old. Should I down-grade the lighting? Replace the bulbs? <Could... I wouldn't> If the lighting is too intense how would reef keepers with metal halide be able to grow coralline algae? <Different varieties, species, adaptation... creating conditions that favor them, excluding the usual predators...> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Creating Coralline and Preventing Overcrowding! Hi there, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> A few questions about my 168G FOWLR tank, with a 70G sump and refugium. With 250 lbs of live rock, 3 inch aragonite sand bed with varying thickness. Lighting consists on two 48 inch actinic tubes and 4-30w power compacts. The tank has a venturi skimmer with DIY filtration in sump with sponge, bio balls, carbon , ammo rock, Zeolite. Refugium has some macro algae coming up. The main tank has the following inhabitants: Queen Coris -1 (4 inch) Cleaner wrasse -1(2 inch) Fire clown -1( 1 inch) Coral Beauty -1( 2.5 inch) Double saddle butterfly -1 (1.5 inch) Lunar wrasse -1( 5 inch) Azure damsel -1 (1.5 inch) Three spot damsel -2 (3 inch) **** Planning to remove Hermit crab blue legged -1 The main issue is with live rock, the growth of coralline algae is almost nil also the whole rock looks dead by now. The parameters are all normal. The tank has been up and running for the past six months, with regular blooms of diatoms. How much should the lighting be spruced up to for better coralline and invertebrate growth in live rocks? <Well, you didn't specify all of your parameters, so I'll just make some general suggestions here. Corallines tend to grow in environments with sufficiently high calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels. You might want to get test kits to measure these parameters (if you don't already), and you'll get a better picture of what's going on with your system, relative to the lack of coralline growth. The fact that you are experiencing diatom blooms is indicative of some sort of nutrient excess in your water, usually silicates and some organics. Do consider utilizing high quality source water (if you aren't already), such as RO/DI (ideally your RO/DI unit would have a high-silicate removal stage), and aggressive use of protein skimming and chemical filtration (i.e.; activated carbon and/or Poly Filter). Consider ways to increase calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium if these are not at sufficient levels. You could use two part supplements, such as "B-Ionic", Kalkwasser dosing, or investing in a calcium reactor to increase alkalinity. Regular frequent water changes with a high grade of reef salt will replenish most of the other required elements used by corallines.> Would it be ok to add an Odonus niger with a Picasso trigger and a bird wrasse to the system? <Hmmm.. If it were me, I would not add either one to this mix at this point. You have a pretty nice mix of fishes that still have some growing to do, so the space will be at a premium in the near future. If you really want to add another fish, I'd keep it at just one more, and I'd limit my choices to smaller specimens, such as a Halichoeres species of wrasse, a Pseudochromis, Blenny, or maybe a smaller Hawkfish. Lots of cool fishes to choose from. Your fishes will thank you later for exercising restraint!> Thanks in advance! Adios Amigos <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Adding Kalkwasser.... actually, growing Corallines   12/18/06 Dear Crew, <Michael> Thanks for putting together the amazing website. It has been so helpful to me during my setting up of my reef! I have 100 lbs of live rock, and 160 lbs of sand in a 100 gallon sump/refugium/display tank setup, and I have just gotten my ammonia down to about 0 ppm...Now i have a question for you... At what stage in the cycling of my new tank should I start dripping Kalkwasser to made sure that the coralline algae that came on the rock with will stay healthy? Michael <Mmm, depends on what your water quality tests are telling you mainly... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself... and at least on to Alkalinity and Biomineral testing, supplementation. Bob Fenner> Coralline Algae/Alkaline Precipitation/Ca Reactor Tuning - 12/07/06 Hi Eric, <<Hey Ken!>> I hope all is well with you. <<Indeed it is...thank you>> Things have been going well with the tank, but I have a few questions. <<Ok>> The tank is set up 6 weeks now.  The few soft corals and star-polyps look good. <<Excellent>> I did buy a clean-up crew about 10 days ago.  I feel like I should put the snails on the payroll.  In the first two days they cleaned all of the greenish algae I had on the rocks. <<Cool!>> The tank looks good.  My nitrate is less than 1-ppm and phosphate is zero using LaMotte Colorimeter. <<Very good>> The pH is usually 8.10 to 8.20 and ORP has been about 415MV. <<More good news>> I also have gotten more and more pink coralline algae on some of the rocks.  My first question has to do with that in the last couple of days I am getting areas of a burgundy color on the rocks. <<Coralline algae comes in "many" colors>> It looks to be more on the areas that have some of the pinkish coralline. <<Conditions in those locations are likely "optimum" for both species...everything competes for space on the reef>> Also I notice the burgundy color is all of a sudden on a lot of the turbo snails. <<Very common>> Is this just another color coralline? <<Indeed it is>> I am hoping that it is not like red Cyano or something. <<Can usually tell the difference>> I don't see this on most of the rocks and none on sand, powerheads, sand etc.  I tried scraping it off with my fingernail and it does come off somewhat.  It doesn't seem as hard as the pink coralline algae. <<Differences in structure/composition>> I'm not sure if this is coralline or not. <<Likely so>> I would say that I see this burgundy color mostly on places that had pink to begin with pretty much.  My next question has to do with my AGA Mega Flow.  Their isn't really any algae on my rocks or tank, but I do have some thick greenish layers of it in the overflow box only.  Should I leave it their, or manually remove it, or can I put a couple of my turbo snails in there to eat it. <<Can remove or leave, whichever you prefer...I would not put turbo snails in the overflow box (will probably get there sooner or later anyway, but...) as they will get in to the overflow pipes and restrict/block flow>> I thought about snails and overflows but the Durso pipe and the return pipe are sealed unit and nothing could get in there.  What do you think? <<If you have some kind of "screen" on the Durso then this may be fine>> By the way, if I manually remove the algae will anything? <<...?>> I don't want to spread it around the tank?  Also is it possible that this algae is in its own "container" and it can act like a refugium in a way? <<Sure...on a very small scale.  If nothing else, it is removing nutrients...but I'll bet close observation will reveal some tiny crustaceans living there as well>> My last question and most perplexing and bothersome to me has to do with my calcium reactor.  I have an MTC Pro-Cal calcium reactor.  I don't run it all of the time as my tank is only 6 weeks old and there isn't much in the tank to take up the Alk and Ca.  When my alk gets down to 8dKH, I turn on the CO2 and run it at 1 bubble per second and the effluent at .02 ml as per the instructions.  This is their starting point. <<And as good as any>> I will shut of the CO2 once the alk hits 10 or 11 dKH.  My Ca usually is in the 410 to 425 ppm range.  The strange thing is that once I run the Ca reactor for a day or so, I see some of the rock (usually more evident where the coralline algae is) start to get a whitish tone to it.  It does not blow off.  Also, and more importantly, when I take a turkey baster, I can blow off what almost looks like ash. <<Sounds as if you may have some carbonaceous material falling out of solution>> This has happened all three times I ran it. <<You may want to consider experimenting with different reactor media>> I was wondering if it was calcium precipitate, but how could it be? <<Easy enough...the water can only "hold" so much material.  Maximizing alkalinity (11dKH) and calcium (425ppm) over saturates the water with carbonaceous material.  Try test your alkalinity AND calcium after one of these events...likely BOTH have fallen as a result>> All of the parameters are in check.  I am not using limewater or any additive and I do 20% water changes weekly with Reef Crystals. Do you have any ideas? <<The reactor is probably "too large" for the system (right now anyway) and is producing to much alkaline and calcium reserve than the tank can "use."  I would turn to one of the two-part alkalinity/calcium supplements for now.  Based on your future stocking levels/specimens, you may find you don't need the reactor>> By the way, I am using CaribSea Geo Thermal aragonite for the media. <<Mmm, I see...this product is likely soft/more soluble than others...try adjusting the reactor effluent to a pH of about 7.0 the next time you use it and see what results>> I did buy a kalk stirrer and plan on using it with my dosing pump and float switch for top off water once I have the time to set it up in a few days. <<Proceed with caution here...for now anyway>> I appreciate your help. Regards, Ken <<Always happy to assist.  EricR>>

Re: Coralline Algae/Alkaline Precipitation/Ca Reactor Tuning -- 12/07/06 Hey Eric, <<Ken>> Thanks for the reply. <<Welcome>> With regards to the calcium issue, is it possible that my magnesium could be too low? <<Testing would tell...but no, this is not the reason your alkalinity rises so fast when the reactor is operating>> If so, what supplement do you recommend? <<I prefer the Seachem product...though 'small and infrequent' adjustments can be made using simple Epsom Salts>> By the way, the person at MTC said that I should switch to Instant Ocean instead of Reef Crystals. <<tomAto-TOMaTO...made/distributed by the same company.  But the Instant Ocean will be fine (is what I use) and will save you a few bucks to boot>> He said why use salt with all of the extra ingredients in it when you are supplementing the tank anyway with a Ca reactor?  What do you think? <<The difference in the mixes is of small consequence here...in my opinion>> Also, I have been doing 20% water change per week. <<Ah...though water changes are the single best function you can perform, you might consider reducing this to every 3-4 weeks to better give this 'new' tank time to stabilize/reach a balance between these changes.  Once the tank has 'matured' for a year or so, and if stocking levels warrant, you may find you need to 'up' the frequency>> Do you think this is too much at a time? <<Too much too often at this stage, yes>> I can tell you that after the water change, the corals close up for a while and my ORP drops quite a bit. <<The salt mix is quite 'reactive' and irritates the corals/fish...best to let newly mixed salt mature for a week or two while being aerated/moved around with a powerhead>> All goes back eventually of course. <<But not without exacting a 'toll' in energy used/lost>> With regards to a two-part supplement, what do you recommend? <<E.S.V. or C-Balance>> Do I need to use both parts together to make it work? (Sorry for the dumb question). <<Yes...do follow manufacturer's instructions closely>> Lastly, wouldn't the addition of limewater as top off and no further supplementation or Ca reactor work for me at this point as long as I watch the alk and don't let it go over 11 dKH? <<You need to monitor both alkalinity AND calcium...these elements are mutually exclusive at the high end of their ranges, which is why you experience the precipitation events>> I am at 7.5 dKH right now. <<A 'tad' low>> Why did you note to proceed with caution? <<You are already having problems with high alkalinity and calcium when running the Ca reactor...utilizing Kalkwasser in conjunction will compound the issue>> By the way, I evaporate approx 4 or 5 quarts per day right now. Thanks again. Regards, Ken <<Cheers mate, EricR>>

R2: Coralline Algae/Alkaline Precipitation/Ca Reactor Tuning - 12/08/06 Hey Eric, <<Ken>> All noted. <<Cool>> You did mention that I had high alkalinity but the testing doesn't bare this out. <<...?>> It was high when I first set up the tank, but has been in the 11-12 dKH range ever since. <<And this is the "high" end of the acceptable range...couple this with calcium levels above 400ppm and you have the "potential" for precipitous events>> I waited until the alkalinity hit 7-8 dKH before turning on the CO2.  I measured morning and night.  The alk never hit 8dKH but I still got the precipitate. <<Mmm...pretty sure you stated in a previous query your alkalinity had reached 11dKH and with calcium at 425ppm>> Something is odd here I think. <<Hmm, maybe...though likely much to do with the newness/instability of the system>> Oh yea and Ca was about 415 ppm. <<Again, on the high end...>> I didn't even have the CO2 running for 24 hours? <<I'm still guessing the reactor needs more tuning/backing-off on bubble/effluent rates>> I am definitely confused.  Good thing that I can rest on the fact that this is a relaxing hobby. :) <<Ha!  Indeed...>> Regards, Ken <<Be chatting, EricR>>

R3: Coralline Algae/Alkaline Precipitation/Ca Reactor Tuning - 12/08/06 Hi Eric, <<Hey Ken>> I did have alkalinity at 11 dKH and calcium at 425 ppm, however the alkalinity was at 8 dKH when I turned on the reactor. <<Understood>> I was just confused at the precipitate in the tank. <<As previously explained...I think (?)>> I also thought that 1 bubble per second and effluent of .02 ml was not a lot. <<Is all relative...may very well be/appears to be too much for "your" system>> I guess I am wrong? <<Just new...and learning...>> Anyway, I ordered a new solenoid as the one I have now I cannot adjust under this amount of 1 bubble per second as it doesn't seem to be too fine. <<Mmm, I see...might have been able to use a simple pinch-clamp on the hose in conjunction with the current solenoid/metering valve>> Also from what the Ca reactor maker said, it should be running all of the time and not off and on. <<Bull...how can the "maker" know what your system's needs are/what's best for your tank?  Only by testing can you/anyone determine if the Ca reactor needs to be fed CO2 on a full-time basis.  To help with pH swings, I have my Ca reactor on a timer that turns off the CO2 when the lights come-on on my vegetable refugium (refugium is on a RDP)>> I will try it at maybe 30 or 40 bubbles per minute and watch the tank and test morning and night for a few days and see what happens. <<Once you reduce the bubble-rate, adjust the effluent until the effluent pH is about 7.0 with the CaribSea media>> If I still have issues, should I use something like ESV two-part or Kalkwasser (watching pH of course) until my tank has more of an alkalinity and calcium demand? <<Try the two-part over the Kalkwasser for now...but honestly...with your current stock list/stocking density, monthly 20% water changes should be quite sufficient for maintaining the tanks earth elements>> Also the Ca reactor maker recommends aragonite for his reactor, is this a good choice? <<It is, most all reactor media is a "form" of aragonite.  Do look in to the larger "European style" (10mm nominal) medias as carried by 'Premium Aquatics' and 'Aquarium Specialty' (the latter is owned by a friend of mine).  Scott at Aquarium Specialty also has a Magnesium granulate that can be added to the CA reactor and may help with maintaining this element as well>> Lastly, I will cut back on my water changes as per the last email. <<For the best I believe>> What percent and how many times a month do you recommend? <<With the tank so new and lightly stocked, I think 25% per month would be just fine>> Thanks, Ken <<Always welcome.  Eric Russell>>

R4: Coralline Algae/Alkaline Precipitation/Ca Reactor Tuning - 12/12/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> The tank looks good, but I am still trying to figure out the Ca and alk deal.  I haven't added anything to the tank in a week. <<Good>> My alk was 9 dKH and Ca was about 385 ppm last night. <<Both excellent values>> I changed about 5% water last Friday. <<...thought we agreed to cut back on this and let the tank find its "balance" *grin*>> Right now I guess there is no need to do anything. <<Agreed>> At what reading do you think I need to take action? <<As long as alkalinity stays within 8-12 dKH and Ca between 350-450 ppm; and keeping both from being at the high end of their respective range at the same time, then you need do nothing.  If any adjustments do need to be made then make "small" ones>> I don't want to get involved in that two-part addition additive. <<Ok>> I have the Ca reactor and the Kalk stirrer and I would rather go that route when the time comes. <<Indeed...both are better methodologies.  And you could probably go ahead and use the calcium reactor...with a different (harder) media and "fine tuning" of the reactor effluent>> By the way, I had checked my Mg and it was somewhere between 1230 and 1260.  So this doesn't appear to be low. <<Nope>> You mentioned about a larger media for the Ca reactor.  What would the purpose be for using this over the CaribSea aragonite that I have? <<Slower dissolution...as it appears now, the calcium reactor is overwhelming your system> By the way, I did get myself a better Co2 controller for better control over how much is added.  I will hold off on the reactor until for the present. <<I would try a different media, crank-back the output, and see what happens now>> With regards to the Kalkwasser stirrer, can I dose some amount with my top off water? <<You can...if the system will handle it...>> I have a Liter Meter and it administers is whatever you want to set it at.  It just takes that amount you want to deliver in a 24 hour period and divides it into 150 doses. <<Understood>> That looks to be a dose each 9.6 minutes.  So if I dose as per my evaporation rate of a gallon per day, this would mean it would dose .85 of an ounce every 9.6 minutes.  I could also set with a timer and only have it dose for the 12-hour lights-off period.  I would then tell the Liter Meter that it doses 2-gallons a day so that it can dose the 1-gallon in that 12-hour period that is needed. <<Mmm, better to run 24/7 for better system stability if will be your only means for top-off>> I could also use a timer and have it dose 1/2-gallon in 12-hours with limewater and then does the other 12-hours with just my ro/di water.  What do you think? <<Ah, even better to run/dose separately.  I would set the meter to add the fresh top-off water (minus whatever volume of limewater you decide to dose) throughout a 24-hour period, and then set the limewater to be added during "lights out">> Getting back to my "ash" debris on the rocks.  I had mentioned previously that I noticed this after I ran the Ca reactor. <<Maybe another indicator that the CaribSea media id being dissolved "too fast">> However I have not run it in a week and I still noticed it when I blew off the rocks the last few days. <<Likely the material will not go back in to solution and is resettling...along with detritus in the tank...this is not uncommon/unusual>> Maybe it is not from the CO2 reactor and maybe not calcium precipitate? <<Possibly detritus>> It's hard to describe what it looks like on the rock except debris.  Almost looks like blowing ashes. <<Does sound like "precipitate"...hmm or maybe...you haven't added a flocculent to your system have you?>> It is not powdery like what I get when I use the turkey baster and blow out the holes in the rocks. <<I see>> Could the rock be breaking down at all? <<Doubtful>> The tank itself looks good.  The two tangs and the few soft corals/star-polyps look good.  Phosphate is still zero and nitrate is .15ppm using LaMotte. <<All good>> Thanks and regards, Ken <<I'll wager everything will "settle in/stabilize" with time and less "fiddling" of the system.  Regards, EricR>>

Growing Coralline Algae   12/3/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Tom!  Mich here.>   My 11-year-old son wants to do an experiment to see how water depth and/or light intensity affects coralline algae growth.  <A class project or a very curious 11-year-old?> We have available a 30 inch 20-gallon tank that's been set up for 3 years or so (served as quarantine tank from time to time).  It now has a handful of live rocks with coralline algae growth and a few peppermint shrimp that are fed daily.  It gets a 10% water change every two weeks (sometimes more often if I am good).  <You already are good.> The experimental plan is to mount 2x2 inch Plexiglas squares on short lengths of PVC pipe at various depths below the water surface.  A possible additional idea is to mount a second set of squares at the same depths, but angled 45 degrees to the surface so that the amount of light hitting each of these squares is roughly half of that hitting the corresponding horizontal square at that depth.  <Variations on a theme.> So here are the questions you might have some insight about: 1. The existing tank is only 10+ inches deep, so the lowest possible square position is only 8-9 inches below the surface.  I hate to disturb this system by swapping in a new deeper tank, but should I?  <It really depends on what your goals are here.  Are you looking to satisfy the ponderings of an eleven year old or are you looking set up a reproducible scientific experiment with a well elucidated hypothesis and strict controls in order to publish your results?  I'm getting the feeling you are leaning towards the later.> 2. The light on this tank is a 15 watt, 18 inch, freshwater aquarium fluorescent, that is very old.  Coralline algae now grows under it, and a new bulb would disturb the system, but I think I should I do it anyway (partly to obtain more even lighting across the 30 inch length of the tank).  What would be the best single bulb to use?  Coralife makes a T8 or T12 50/50 bulb --- would this work best?  <How much do you want to disturb this system?  You have many good and interesting thoughts, but is this established system really where you want to be doing all this work?  By using this system you are introducing too many variable that you cannot control.  Therefore you cannot truly say C happened because of A+B.  If you are sincerely committed to setting up such an involved experiment you should not use this system.   3. Should the Plexiglas squares be roughed up with sandpaper before beginning this experiment?  <Could be another part of the experiment.> 4. Should I use a supplement like Seachem Reef Calcium?  <If you are really committed to getting lots of growth it wouldn't hurt, but it is another variable, which you would need to control.> 5. Should I use Polyfilter in the existing Bio-Wheel filter?  <Not necessary for your hypothesis and complicates the issue.> 6. Should I religiously replace activated carbon filter pads every 2 weeks? <Again, another variable.> 7. Am I right that Peppermint Shrimp do not eat coralline algae?  <Yes.> 8. A big question: How quickly can we hope to get coralline growth on these Plexiglas squares?  <Depends, I've seen growth on the walls of my tank in a matter of hours/days.  After two weeks away I returned home to find it difficult to see into the tank due to the coralline.>    Thanks for any thoughts you can provide.  <My question to you is simple: What are your motives and what do you hope to accomplish? Should my question be:  What do you want your son to take away from this experience?>   Tom

When to Add Supplements? - 10/10/06 How important is ph for coralline growth? <I mentioned ph in our previous conversation since many calcium additives raise ph when added to the tank. This is not always an issue with liquid calcium additives, but its best to test ph to make sure. As ph falls with lights off and rises with lights on it is best to add anything that raises ph when it is at its lowest.> And what trace elements are used for what? Calcium? Strontium? Iodine? Other? <A thesis could be written on this subject so I will refer you to our articles/FAQs regarding the subject :). http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm > What guidelines should I follow and what chemicals should I use? <The most important guideline is an easy one: don't add supplements unless you are testing for them. As stated in a previous reply, you may not need to add anything at all. A healthy water change regimen can keep many tanks at acceptable levels, but the only way to know is to test. Test often initially, and then you can lengthen testing intervals when you are comfortable knowing what your tank needs. Please check the url above for a wealth of info on water parameters.> Everyone seems to recommend different things so I have decided to ask the experts and stick to what you say to do as the fish store I plan on using has recommended your site. I think the two of you will be close to each other as far as recommendations. Your help is greatly appreciated!!! Thanks and have a great day, <Your interest in maintaining a healthy tank puts a smile on my face. I wish you the best. -- Emerson> Mark

Coralline Algae Growth  9/26/06 Hello crew. <Howdy> You guys are currently helping me with some bubble troubles but I have another question about my live rock. First I have 120 gallon tank with 150 pounds of totoka live rock and 40 pounds of base rock. My question is I had a good amount of purple coralline starting to show up in my 5 month old tank and then gradually it has been taken over by this dark green color I searched all of the faq pages but most were talking about there coralline turning white couldn't find an answer. I still have a few patches of purple and some patches of very bright green. I use Kent Marine liquid reactor for calcium and alkalinity but all I see is dark green. Is there some other  elements I need to be adding. <The best way I've found to grow coralline is to maintain meq levels 2.5 to 3.0, calcium at 400-420, use of one actinic bulb in your fixture, and, the use of a product called "Purple Up".  I find this product to work very well.  Believe it is distributed by CaribSea.  Do check out our articles/FAQ's re this subject.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

FOWLR Lighting/Coralline Growth - 08/09/06 Great web site. <<Thank you...a collective effort>> I wanted to get your opinion on the lighting for a 75 gallon FOWLR set-up. <<Okay>> I currently have a Finnex 47" T5 with a 54W actinic and a 54W 10,000K white bulb.  A glass cover is on top of the tank and the light is supported by legs about three inches above the glass cover.  Is this sufficient and correct lighting to promote coralline algae growth and should I be concerned about the build up of salt etc. on the glass cover and or height of the light above the tank. <<Hmm, well...there are differing species of coralline algae with differing light requirements.  This wattage/spectrum will probably suit one or more of them...as long as the required mineral elements are available as well...though I would replace the actinic bulb with another 10,000K bulb unless you are planning to keep "low light" fishes.  As for the glass cover, yes, salt build-up will be a concern as this will greatly reduce light penetration.  My preference is to remove such covers/tops to allow better gas exchange and evaporative cooling.  If jumping fish are a concern a piece of plastic "egg-crate" material laid over the top will usually prevent such occurrences...and the three-inch height of the bulbs over the water is ideal>> Thanks again for your help. <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>

Coralline algae Hi there.  <Hello Dave> I've found tons of helpful hints in this site for keeping my 50 gal FO tank. Thanks a lot.  Now I'm setting up a mini FOWLR and since I have no experience with LR I hope you can give me some light on this. I got a 20 gal tank which is 16" tall, a SeaClone 100 skimmer, an AquaClear 200, and a 2 T-5 bulbs 14 watts each (one daylight and one actinic) lighting setup for a total 28 watts. Would these stuff work out fine? I'm specially concerned about the lighting. Would that be enough light for the coralline algae to grow???  <40 to 60 watts would be better. Lower intensities usually cause more nuisance algae to grow. If it's just coralline you're interested in, then a 50/50 combo would be better. Here is a link you can read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting for Coralline Hi, I am upgrading to a larger tank. I currently have fluoro lighting which grows great coralline. I want to upgrade to either T5 or MH lighting, whichever grows the better coralline. My brother upgraded from fluoro lighting to MH and his coralline has completely bleached out, something I don't want to happen to mine. The tank will only have soft corals and an anemone which have all done fine under fluoro to date.  <Davin, my guess is your brother probably didn't acclimate the new lighting to the tank. A sudden increase in intensity over the same photoperiod can cause this. His coralline will return. My choice would be the MH since that would allow me to keep most anything if the occasion arises. James (Salty Dog)>

Calcareous Algae - 06/02/05 Great thanks so much. <<MY pleasure.>> I think I am going to switch to the 250 watt Metal Halide. <<A fine choice.>> One more question.  How do I get the purple algae in my tank to spread and grow more?  I know I need to raise the alkalinity, what is the best way to do so to get the purple algae. <<Calcareous algae (purple, red, orange, green, etc.) depend on more than alkalinity to grow and prosper.  Start by maintaining BALANCED calcium and alkalinity (you can do this with the proper application of two-part additives for such, or through the proper use of Kalkwasser, and augmenting both processes with frequent partial water changes).  You can help spread/speed the process by obtaining coralline scrapings from a friend (or a friendly LFS), pureeing these in a blender with some tank water, and pouring the solution in your tank to spread the algae spores.  We have much info on the site about calcareous/coralline algae, begin reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm>> Thanks <<Welcome, Eric R.>> Lighting For Tall FOWLR Tank (Growing Coralline) - 05/06/05 I have a 96x30x36 (tall) tank which mostly will be FO but I am going to add about 200 pounds of live rock. I have received inconsistent information from various suppliers on this question: Will my 6x96 watt PC light fixture be adequate to support coralline algae (I intend to buy the LR fully cured) assuming PH 8.2+ and the usual trace mineral additives? <Mostly FO? This statement concerns me...please decide first what, if any, inverts you plan to keep...this will determine your lighting requirements. As for just the coralline, I've grown coralline in a 22" deep tank under 6x40w NO lighting...likely the 6x96w PCs will function the same for your 36" deep system. Regards, Eric R.> Marine algae issue, growing corallines Hello, I have a quick question. I have 2 tanks, one a 110 gallon reef tank and the other is a 150 gallon salt water tank with a Picasso trigger, queen trigger, stars and stripes puffer, lion fish and snow flake eel. I have just Texas holey rock in the aggressive tank, and obviously live rock in the reef tank. I use DT's live marine phytoplankton and WM research Calxmax in the reef tank and it works great. Would it be beneficial to use this stuff in my aggressive tank to build coralline algae on the plain white rocks or would it interrupt the system in this tank....or would it just not do anything at all? Thanks for all your help. I love this site and I am so glad you guys are here to help. I would be lost without you!!!  ~N.S~ <... adding free-living algae will not increase, cause the growth of coralline algae. If you want to encourage this, you can boost alkalinity and biomineral content of your water... This is posted on WWM under Coralline Algae... Bob Fenner>

Excessive Coralline Growth And Light Spectrum - 11/12/05 Dear Bob, <<EricR here tonight>> I have a 180g FOWLR acrylic tank. I have approx 150lbs of LR since Sept. 2005. Nitrates 25 ppm, phosphates < .01 ppm, alkalinity 13 dKH, Calcium 400, pH 8.2, ORP 310- 325 w/ozone. <<Mmm, pushing the limits on the calcium and alkalinity...in my opinion.>> Lighting 160w VHO actinic 03 160w VHO actinic white URI on 5 hrs. per day 60w actinic 03 on 12 hours per day. <<Way too much actinic.>> I have had incredible coralline algae growth everywhere in the aquarium. <<Replace all those actinic bulbs with 10000K bulbs and you'll likely see a decrease.>> I have to scrape front and side every three days. After I clean the back of the tank, within days pinpoint colonies of coralline algae emerge. <<Not surprising with your current light spectrum.>> With an acrylic tank I really have to stay on top of this if I wish to keep acrylic surfaces clean. <<I understand, I too have an acrylic tank.>> Should I let the back of the tank go on to grow pink, purple, green corallines? <<I would>> Am I doing more harm than good by trying to keep the back clean? <<Doubt you're doing any harm...but if you're not viewing through the back, why go to the trouble?>> Thanks Jimmy <<Regards, EricR>>

Porites lobata?/Coralline Algae Growth - 02/20/06 Hello again and thanks for answering all the questions that keep me up at night! <<Hee!>> About 3 months ago I decided it was time to move from the land to the ocean and set up a 20 gal saltwater tank.  Yes, the tank is entirely too small although I have not had any problems with it so far, but perhaps that is just a result of caring for it like a bear protects their young... <<Indeed>> Now to the question(s) at hand.  After setting everything up in my tank and letting it run for a few days, I went to one of my LFS's and purchased 13lbs of live rock.  Upon bringing it home and examining it, I discovered a growth on the bottom half that appeared to either be a sponge or some kind of coral. <<One of the great things about live rock.>> After searching through Google as well as WWM I gave up on identifying it and forgot about it.  Now I have decided upon further review that what I am looking at is some form of Porites coral, I'm leaning towards Porites lobata as this seems to be the closest to what I have. <<Ok...quite possible.>> My question is what kind of conditions (lighting, water flow, etc.) are needed to make this coral thrive? <<'Moderately high' to 'high' light and flow.>> Currently there are a few polyps open, but it seems to be the ones slightly under the edges of the rock that are open, while the ones exposed directly are closed. <<Strange...for Porites...is a light loving coral.>> I thought about flipping the rock over so the coral was at the top nearest the light and in the heavier flow of water, but all the coralline algae would be buried, not to mention a complete remodel of the aquascaping. <<Mmm, this indicates to me the rock is indeed "upside down" at this moment.  Most coralline algae is found on the sides/underside of rocks exposed to high light levels.  If this specimen is Porites, then I suspect this to be the case here.>> Any suggestions on care would be greatly appreciated. <<Do have a read here, and follow the indices in blue at the top of the page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/porites.htm >> On the topic of coralline algae, what can I do to encourage its growth?  I've read that it can take up to six months to see new growth, however 2 months ago I added some coral skeleton rocks and am beginning to see little bright green specks pop up all over them. <<Maintain proper levels/balances of calcium/alkalinity/magnesium (all found with a search of our site).  Some folks have reported good/accelerated growth using Seachem's Reef Calcium (a polygluconate complexed calcium).>> Lastly, I am currently running a powerfilter as my means of mechanical filtration and have a question about oxygen levels. Currently, the tank is filled to about 1 inch from the top so that the water spilling from the filter produces bubbles to get air into the water.  This was fine, but now I have decided that the micro bubbles as well as splashing sound are a nuisance and was wondering if their would be enough oxygen in the tank water if I raised the level of water so it met the spill-way, thereby eliminating the splashing.  Any advice in this matter? <<As long as you have sufficient water flow (10x tank volume, can be supplemented with a small powerhead), likely so.>> I currently do not have a protein skimmer (blasphemy, I know), but I currently have no room for a sump and can't afford a good hang on back style skimmer.  Not to worry, upgrading to either a 40, 55, or dare I say a 75 gallon (if only my girl friend would allow it...) soon. <<Hmm...perhaps time to upgrade the girl friend...<G>.>> Thanks for all your help. Joel F. <<Regards, EricR>> Too much light killing live rock? Reading re corallines   2/22/06 How's it going?  Got a few questions I was hoping you could answer.  I recently (last 2 weeks) noticed that the coralline algae on my liverock is dying off.  Areas that use to be almost entirely purple are now looking yellowish/white and splotchy.  I checked water parameters, everything seemed ok, except alkalinity was a bit low ( 2.5 mg/L).   <Doh! This could be "it"... by itself> I immediately started adding carbonate supplement and did a 20% water change just to be sure.  The live rock seems to have stopped dying but I haven't noticed it growing back yet, maybe too soon.  Yesterday I went to purchase some corals out of someone else's aquarium. <...? Not while you're having this water quality...> He had lots of SPS and LPS that were doing wonderfully, but his live rock looked like crap.  It was all almost completely white.  Only  a small splotch of coralline here or there.  He claimed his bright metal halide lights bleached it.  He had a 90 gallon with 2 x 250 DIY 14K XM bulbs and has had them on for the last 4 years.  Is that possible? <Yes>    Is it common for metal halide and VHO to be too bright for live rock? <Mmm, can... that is, the Red Algae which are corallines are easily "disfavored" or outcompeted by higher-light using life if it is very intense...> I have no experience with them, I'm still using power compact. Speaking of which, when I got home I took a closer look at my liverock and realized that the parts that were shaded out by a massive colony of *Xenia* *elongata* were still covered with coralline algae and looked great. The pieces that were out in the light were the ones with all the dying coralline.  I then remembered that about a month ago I had changed my lighting.  I had a 50/50 set up on my 55 watt X 4 power compact hood.  I took the 2 actinics out and added 2 10K for a total of 4 10K.  Could this sudden increase in lighting have caused my coralline algae to start dying? <... possibly, but not likely here> If so, will it slowly recover with time? <... Corallines require both high biomineral content AND alkalinity...> Is there anything I can do to help, or just wait?  I also noticed that my green star polyps have stopped coming out like they use to.  They come out early before the lights come on and stay out for about 3/4 of the day.  Only about 1/2 as many come out as before.  Could this also be due to shock from more light too quickly?  If so, will they recover, can I help???  Sorry for the long email, thank you in advance. Jon <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the Related FAQs linked above... Bob Fenner> Coralline Growth In A FOWLR - 03/30/06 I have a 180 gallon FOWLR tank, in your opinion is it worth the expense of a calcium reactor to enhance coralline growth on the live rock (I have about 200lbs of live rock)?  If not, are there alternatives you suggest.   <<Simple water changes should be enough to maintain calcium/alkalinity/magnesium/et al in this system.  To boost coralline growth I would dose Seachem's "Reef Calcium" for a few months as per the manufacturer's recommendation.  This is a polygluconate complexed form of calcium that some have reported induces excellent coralline growth.>> D'Wayne <<Regards, EricR>>

Show me the coralline! Hi, I have been using WetWebMedia for quite some time but this is my first question. <Great, hope I can be of some help!> I have a 37 gallon tank (30.25x12.5x22.75high)that has been running for some time.  Its loaded with live rock and I started it about 6-7 months ago.  My main objective with this tank is to get some great coralline algae growth and to then put some small butterflies in it.  I read all the articles on alkalinity, calcium, pH and water chemistry so I think I have that in control.  I have been getting some coralline algae growth.  I need to upgrade my lighting which right now is 2 20 watt NO fluorescents run off of an icecap ballast.  Ok, here is my question - to get optimum coralline algae growth, would I be better off using NO, VHO, or PC , and for whichever type you recommend please give me the watts that I should use for that particular type of light on this 37 gallon tank.  I will implement your suggestions. <I'd go with either a VHO or a PC hood with at least 2 full length lamps (24" in your case) for optimum coralline algae growth. You could also install a couple more NO's instead. There are many different species of coralline algae that all grow under different lighting scenarios, so it's really just a matter of getting the right algae in there. Upgrading your lighting to PC's or VHO will help, as well as buying several small chunks of live rock that have different colored coralline algae on them to help seed the tank. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks in advance for your reply! Best Regards, Craig

Coralline Quandary I have a question about a friend's tank. First let me describe the tank. He has a 180 gal with about 40 gallons of sump space. It has a protein skimmer, Chiller (keeps tank at 80 degrees), four five foot VHOs, wave timer etc.. The water tests 450 calcium, 8.2 PH, alkalinity is 8dkh all the other standard tests are fine. His problem is he has no coralline algae growth. He doses with calcium on a regular basis and no mater what type of calcium dosing method he has tried he still has no coralline algae. He has used Kalkwasser dripped, added calcium chloride, two part types. Many types and many brands of various dosing methods. All the store locally keep selling him products That are going to get his coralline growing. I told him to add magnesium. What are your thoughts? <Well, I agree with you that magnesium is an overlooked aspect of coralline culture. However, there are a lot of other potential aspects that can be overlooked...Lighting and current come into play, too. Corallines can adapt to lots of conditions, but they tend to do better in lower light conditions. It may also be worthwhile to try calcium gluconate (found in Sea Chem's "Reef Calcium"), which has been touted as a good coralline growth stimulator. Like everything else- you need to balance it out with sound nutrient export mechanisms and good husbandry techniques...> Thanks! Best Regards David P.S. I just got the reef invertebrates book LOVE IT!! <Will pass the word on to Anthony and Bob! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- DSB and Coralline Algae - I don't exactly ever remember in the past 7 months if the nitrates were as low as 10ppm except when they first started to rise.  This tells me that my DSB has never really kicked in. <I would agree.> It has been a steady slow rise to where they are today.  Is there anything I can do to help things along? <See if you can cut back on the amount of food you put in the tank. Perhaps hold off on the large water change - need to have nitrates to kick start the sand bed.> Is time the only thing that will tell? <In the end, yes.> On another note, what else can I do to help my coralline algae grow?  My calcium at last check was at 375, alk at 4.5 and ph at a "balmy" :-) 8.4.  I add a tsp of Kalk almost every night.  Once again is this just a time thing? <Yes.> Patience? <In bulk supply. Cheers, J -- >

Coral / Algae Id and care WWM Crew, <Hi there> Could you please provide an identification of the material that is encrusting this rock (the "bumpy" purple and green stuff)?  I first thought that this was coralline algae, but after searching your id pages and others on the web, I do not know what to think. <Looks like an encrusting Red (coralline) and some sort of green algae to me as well.> I would like to also the care for this particular material.  We think that it is very attractive It came in on our LR, but as you can see on the lower left hand portion of the picture, the material is receding, and on the top of the rock, it is bleaching (turning white).  On another piece of LR that did not have as much of this material on it, it is almost gone. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs> Setup: We are setting up a Oceanic 75 gal. mini reef tank. The equipment currently in the tank are 2 MaxiJet powerheads,4-65W PC Coralife (2-10000K and 2-actinics),Prizim Pro skimmer, Oceanic w/d sump (bio balls removed - put skimmer in the "old bio area" - the output of the skimmer goes into the refugium with has LS and red Gracilaria growing - reverse photoperiod of about 12 hrs.- which then overflows into the pump area to be returned to the main tank), Eheim power canister filter (with floss and activate carbon in it) and a UV sterilizer (not on) in a separate loop. We currently have about 60 lbs. of LR (LR is Fiji (45%) and aquacultured from FL (55%)) and 45 lbs. of LS. The sand bed (mix of sand and LS) in the main tank is 3" of fine sugar sand (a little medium fine aragonite mixed in). The tank is about 8 weeks old. <This is "very young"... and has a direct bearing on the vacillation in the encrusting algae you are experiencing... You need to maintain biomineral and alkaline reserve levels... over time... to grow all> The tank was cycled with the uncured LR and LS. For the past 4 weeks our water tests have shown ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0,and a temp. of 80-82F. Within the last two weeks we have been testing alkalinity and calcium. The current results are KH 11 dKH, GH 40+dkh (got tired of dropping reagent - is this possible or do I have a bad test kit?), and CA of 255. I know that I need to increase the CA levels. <... please have a read on WetWebMedia.com re these materials> I have been adding small amounts of Kalkwasser to increase the CA, but from reading your website, I would guess that I am close to a precipitate snowstorm. Therefore I need to do water change to lower the alkalinity so that I can raise the CA -- Do I understand this correctly? <Partly> We added the PC lights about 3 weeks ago (before only ambient lighting and 1 48" NO Coralife flour.). Over the last two weeks this material (referred to above) on the LR has been receding (mainly the dark and light purple, and dark and light green algae -- the pink coralline seems to be growing well within the last week (after we started supplementing the Ca - small spots on the glass, on the dead rock, and a little on the sand). Is the receding material due to the water quality issues (low Ca and high Alk.) and/or acclimation to the new lights? <More the former> Or is this too much lighting for this tank? Or some kind of disease? <No on both counts, your system is "settling in"... you need to settle on a regimen of testing and whatever supplementation you're going to utilize. I encourage you to look into simple two part systems (Wilken's/C-Balance, Stark's ESV...) and stop the yo-yo'ing with Kalkwasser. Bob Fenner> Thank you in advance for your assistance!

- Questions about This and That - Thanks for all the info thus far, and I guess this ich outbreak has given me time to worry about other stuff. I have about 200lbs of Florida live rock and I'd say it's adjusted well. The coralline algae even started to spread the first couple months of introduction, but I haven't monitored or added any calcium since then. But now I'd like to encourage growth. About a month ago my ca levels were at 210 and alk at 12 (Salifert test kits) so I bought some Kalkwasser figuring that while my tank was fallow I'd have time to adjust and experiment with additives so I began adding the Kalk. Putting 2tbls in a gallon jug and adding half the saturated solution, pH would jump about 0.1. I'd usually try and add about half a gallon of the saturated solution twice a day. I'm not sure if I'm right for this but I would add more water to the gallon jug used previously and cap it for later use, there was more undissolved Kalk in the bottom. Well after a couple weeks of steady dosage I've only tested an increase of ca levels to about 230-240 (alk still 12) and no more. But strangely I've noticed a couple small blotches of coralline growth on my back glass.  I'm afraid to up the daily dose because of the pH increase. I've thought of using calcium chloride additives and have even went so far as to buy two bottles (LFS store recommended calcite and aragonite by NatuReef) but haven't used them yet. I know its a quick fix but needed a recommendation first. I know I could do a large water change but my instant ocean mix has only tested to have a ca level of about 300. And the water change I would have to do would take a lot of salt and money. <You think you will save money with other additives? Doesn't make sense to me - any route you choose will 'cost money'.> Another thing related to coralline and calcium. Is the fact that I have a fish only with no DSB or refugium. <Neither of these have much to with calcium or coralline.> So I typically allow algae to grow all over the back and sides of my aquarium. My ideas on this are that they remove nutrients that need to be removed. <As long as you harvest this algae out from time to time, that should work to some extent.> But coralline is much more attractive, but my question is does coralline algae have the same benefits of nutrient removal as others, and will increased coralline on the glass improve nutrient uptake the same? <No.> I do have a cs12-1 EuroReef protein skimmer, use well water, and do not have much of a clean up crew. I need to purchase more animals for this, but I have a harlequin tusk at the LFS waiting for me and I'm afraid that he will demolish anything small I use for algae removal on my rock. So I plan on purchasing the larger turbo snails and I'm assuming these snails will consume algae on my rock and glass. I apologize for all these questions but they are all kinda related because if the coralline isn't effective for nutrient removal then ill need the algae growing on my glass right? <Or do more frequent water changes - with a skimmer the size of the one you have and regular water changes, you should have much of a nutrient problem.> So I would need a cleanup crew full of hermits and crabs that would only clean the rock, or does it really matter? <Only if it matters to you - a need to see the rock clean and pristine.> Will having not much algae of any kind growing equal bad water quality? <Not necessarily.> thanks Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

Coralline Algae & Salt Quality (12/21/2003) Hi Guys or Gals, <Steve Allen tonight> Thank you so much for all you do.  You are greatly appreciated. <our pleasure> A couple of quick questions. I have a 250 gallon FOWLR that I am trying to grow coralline algae in.  A lot of the tank is purple but I would like to have more.  How long should my power compacts be on? Currently I have 2 72 inch 96 watt bulbs on about 5 hours a day. Is that long enough? <depends on what other things you want to grow in there. Corals require a lot more light. Gradually increasing the duration of your light period over a couple of weeks to 8-12 hours would probably help. Remember that coralline doesn't like too much light either.> I am using Tropic Marin Bio Calcium but cannot get a reading over 320? <Is there something else in your tank using it up. Are you using a good brand of test kit such as Salifert, LaMotte or Hatch? Make sure your alkalinity and pH are within acceptable limits. Do look at other ways of supplementing calcium. Here is a good place to start for learning how to encourage coralline growth: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs3.htm > Secondly,  I am very concerned about a conversation that I had with the local Fish Store.  They told me Tropic Marin is the worst salt on the market and I should not be using it.  Do you agree?  Is there a list of available salts with their "ratings"?  Is there a consequence to change the salt you are using when your fish are used to your current mix? <I have no idea where your LFS guy goes. Tropic Marin has an excellent reputation and most of the crew think it's the best. Instant Ocean is almost as good. I use that because no LFS around here carries Tropic Marin. There is quite a bit of controversy over salt mixes right now. Do search WWM under "salt, quality" to learn more. What did your LFS recommend? I can tell you that I had a lot of bad experiences with Red Sea before switching to IO. There should be no harm in gradually switching brands. The way I did it was to start using the replacement in the water changes.> Your help would be greatly appreciated, Matt (Hope this helps Matt.>

Coralline Gone? (4/13/04)  My lighting in VHO. I have two blue, and two white all pushing 110wtts a piece. <What is the duration of the photoperiod?> The coralline seems to be growing on the glass in little spots now. But, rock in places is a little grey still. Will the purple come back? <Dose with calcium or Kalkwasser, and keep the photoperiod at least 12 hours a day, and you should see it coming back. M. Maddox>

More coralline growth please. I need it now and I need it fast! - 3/31/04  I ordered life rock from live aquaria and it seems like it's really taking a long time to grow coralline algae or really anything at all. <Is the tank fairly new??> it is still brown, green, and white. I had the live rock for six weeks. <Hardly enough time for coralline growth, my friend. One thing that I can tell you from my experience is that it usually takes a well established tank (aged) before rapid growth occurs. Also, lots and lots of patience. Nothing happens in fast forward in reef aquaria except deterioration and destruction. Please look at our FAQs on coralline algae for more information. Also there are some things you can do to speed up the process slightly. Here is some info I have gleaned from GARF and other sources: The answer comes in four stages, lighting, supplementation, GARF'S grunge product (lots of coralline diversity) and the most important ingredient..........PATIENCE.  COOK BOOK METHOD FOR GROWING CORALLINE FASTER  Use Instant Ocean TM (most any salt mix will work but this is the one I use)  Use 2 - Triton And 1 - Blue Moon 40 watt bulb per 55 gallons (Or basically more actinic lighting)  Use a phosphate removing filter  Use carbon  Treat tank with Sea Chem - Reef Plus TM. Reef Complete TM, and Reef Calcium TM  - 2 times usual dose three times a week - These are liquids are added to the reef water.  Use Sea Chem Reef Builder in make up water every other time you add make up water. We use two teaspoons per gallon.  Use Sea Chem Reef Advantage in make up water every other time you add make up water. We use two teaspoons per gallon.  Add lots of types of coralline to start - Just like putting seeds in the garden  Calcium is one of the most important things to add to your live rock growing tanks. Calcium levels in your live rock grow out tanks should be kept above 400 mg/L at a specific gravity of 1.024. We have found that by using Seachem's products we have no trouble keeping both the calcium and alkalinity at the proper levels for rapid coralline growth. This simple method of treating our make-up water also keeps the Strontium and Magnesium level in our grow out tanks high enough for the coralline algae to thrive. We are certain other products will work fine, but these products are inexpensive and are proven to work. You must keep the Phosphate level in the live rock grow out tank very low. Protein skimming is important in the grow out tanks because it controls phosphate. Make-up water can be a source of phosphate. You may need a reverse osmosis or deionization system if your water source is high in Phosphates. Feeding is the most common source of high phosphate levels. We use a phosphate removing filter in tanks that are not producing coralline algae fast enough.>  I followed there directions that was sent with the rock.  <Instructions for what? Acclimation?> I was wondering if it's going to change and if yes how long will it take or does it sound like it's dead  My tank conditions are  1.a Coralife 96 watt light  2.my calcium is at 450ppm  4.my ph is 8.4  5.my nitrate is at .25meg  6.I have a wavemaker  7.two whisper filters  <Sounds fine. You are well on your way. Now a little patience, maybe some of the above will help. Be sure to test often and watch just in case the system becomes unstable as you will be pushing the limits of reef water chemistry. Hope this helps. ~Paul>

Spurring coralline algae 3/28/04 Hi Folks <how-D> Once again, spending a late night browsing your great site. I am in need of some quick advice.  I have a 250 FOWLR with about 280 lbs of live rock.  I would like the rock a bit more purple but cannot seem to keep the level above 300 with my Tropic Marin Salt.  I do 15% weekly water changes and supplement tropic Marin calcium.  I do not like to use powders but will if need be. Any recommendations as far as brand?  Do I even need purple rock?   <coralline covered rock is mostly a (popular) aesthetic preference... but does afford protection/convenience from nuisance algae growths> I have angels, a Naso and some wrasses. Help me out if you would, Thanks a ton, Matt <trust me... get your self a 4 month supply of SeaChem's Reef Calcium and you will see amazing improvement in that time period with natural pink/purple corallines if you use it as directed. Best regards, Anthony>

How to grow coralline algae? 7/10/04 Hi Mr. Anthony Calfo, my name is Hengky and I'm from Indonesia, <its a pleasure to hear from my friend> I have a problem. Can you help me solve my problem, I read from many BB, that their bottom glass are become cover by coralline algae in about half year or at least one year, but I can't do that, in fact my condition is much worse, my coralline algae are disappearing or tear down, and many of my LR are start to turn to dull, why this happen? <this is usually because of a deficiency in calcium and alkalinity, or from inconsistencies in supplementing them (often by high spikes and far falls)> Please help me how to boost coralline algae growth, my KH are 9-14 and my calcium are 450-500. <Yikes... these ranges are too wide and too high. You do not need to be at the high end of each range as is sometimes recommended by extremists on BBs. It is not helpful, necessary or even safe. You will get much better coralline and coral growth from moderate and steady levels.> I maintain calcium with calcium chloride and KH with sodium bicarbonate. <please do consider avoiding the use of calcium chloride as a daily supplement (use calcium hydroxide "Kalkwasser" instead). CaCl is only meant to be a quick fix or temporary calcium supplement... but if used daily in a tank without very large regular water changes, it accumulates in time (chlorides) and can skew your water chemistry badly. My advice is for you to do a large water change to dilute it and start using a different/better calcium> Phosphate 0, nitrate 10 ppm, this is a FOWLR system, the tank is about 900 lt. The lamp is 2x20 watt Philips actinic, 2x40 watt Coralife 20.000 Kelvin and 2x20 watt Hagen Power Glo. So every time I changes some of my old LR (because it already lose all the coralline), the new LR are become dull again in about month or two. I heard that I need magnesium also to growth coralline, is that true? <some truth, yes... Mg should be about 3 X your Calcium levels. So if your Calcium is 400ppm... then magnesium will be fine around 1200ppm> Thank you for your help. <best of luck, Anthony>

Quick coralline Q Greetings Crew! A thought occurred to me when I was doing my weekly water change and pondering temperature maintenance in these warm summer months.  I have no idea what the answer is so I decided to ask the oracle of all aquarium knowledge (aka WWM crew).   In a marine aquarium that has coralline algae growing like wildfire over everything (like mine), does it affect the in-tank pumps and powerheads if they get coated with coralline algae?  I am thinking more along the lines of overheating rather than impeller performance (I clean mine monthly). Once again, I thank thee for thy divine wisdom regarding the upkeep of Neptune's creatures. -Ray <As you seem to surmise, not much trouble if the coralline is only coating the outside of these devices. Water is the standard for specific heat, conduction... Bob Fenner>

What's better for calcareous algae; halides or VHO? Just a quick question/observation to any of the sharers of tried and true knowledge: It seems that at each LFS I visit, MH-lit tanks all have a massive amount of calcareous algae while some of the LFS have established NO-lit tanks with none.. I recently got rid of a popular 36" 2x96w fixture (which started some growth) and built a VHO system for my 58g that will total 285w from 3 VHOs( 1-aquasun, 1 actinic 03, 1-actinic white---all URI). Is there something special about MH that VHO/PC can't give a reef tank? << Intensity.  So in other words, no.  They are a point source of light, which most people like.  And they give off a ton of light, but that can be countered by many VHO or pc bulbs. >> Is it possible to get the same "established" calcareous algae in a newly setup tank with VHO as a MH tank? << Without a doubt.  In fact, I think your VHO will grow more calcareous algae than would a halide set up. >>I know it depends on water quality (e.g. Ca levels, etc), but back to the original, is MH just plain better? Would it be wise to abandon the idea of sole VHO lighting and use two 36" VHO actinics along with a 150 or 175w MH around the marketed color of 10KK ;)? << I debate this all the time.  I think two VHO actinics with a 10k halide are the best, but certainly not necessary. >> Pardon my ramblings, and Thanks! <<  Blundell  >>

Lights for coralline algae Hello,         I have recently been looking into hydroponics supply stores as a source of lighting for my FOWLR tank. I just want enough light to allow my coralline algae's to flourish. << Color is probably more important than quantity in this case. >> Would the bulbs used in hydroponics be suitable for marine aquarium use? << Sure, but at any LFS you can get blue moon actinic bulbs for regular light fixtures, which is what I would recommend. >> For whatever reason the fixtures and bulbs etc. are a lot cheaper than those found in the local LFS. << For coralline algae you really want to focus on higher Kelvin rating, blue light type of bulbs. >> Thank you. <<  Blundell  >>

What does live rock need? Hi Bob, LR supplement:    I have LR with sponges a lot of other goodies; I have no idea what they are all called.    I will like all these goodies including CORALLINE ALGAE to spread to the rest of my tank, on sand stone and dead rock what supplement/additive do I require to achieve this? << None.  I'd say lighting is important, but otherwise they will all grow and spread with time. >> Thanks Mohamed. <<  Blundell  >>

Coralline not growing???? Hey Anthony, <Mmm, seems to be out and about so...> I'm having a heck of a time trying to get Coralline to grow in my tank. I have read every article under the sun and have tried just about everything. My tank is a 90 gallon that has been set up for about 10 months now and doing well. 125 lbs of live rock with 3/4" of live sand, good circulation and good lighting (for coralline anyway) (2) 10K 65 watts on for 9 hours a day (2) Actinic 65 watts on for 14 hrs a day. My top off and water changes are from a Deionization unit (For about two months now) My Alk. 3.5 Calcium is 500 all others are in check. <Calcium is too high here... likely part of the problem... I'd let this drop to about 400 ppm, perhaps raise alkalinity a bit> I do two water changes a month using Tropic Marin salt. I have tried using Sea Chem's Reef Complete and Reef Calcium. After reading your book and articles) I also tried dosing with Kalkwasser. The only problem is my calcium levels went up to around 600 so I have not used anything in over a month. (My tank never really seems to need any calcium supplements. I guess with the bi weekly water changes it stays fairly high) <Sounds like it> So it makes adding supplements tough. I have also removed half of my blue leg hermit crabs to a quarantine tank. (I have about twelve remaining) after reading articles that they might be related to my coralline problem. <Yes... these do consume corallines> I have even tried GARF grunge. Thanks again for any advice you might offer. I truly believe without the help from you and this site I would have packed it up by now. <You may have other competing (algae) or predators of coralline in your system that are not obvious... at any length, all else you list is fine. I would lower the Calcium and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coralline not growing???? Thanks Bob, I have done a few water changes. It has brought my calcium levels down to around 450. But now my Alkalinity seems to be dropping also? <Maybe, by dilution...> It is down to about 2.5 I have tried adding just the part A to correct the problem but it doesn't really seem to raise the alkalinity? <Strange... are you "shaking the bottle?"... I might test the solution itself... or use another source> (I have been conservative about adding it each day in fear of over-correcting the problem) I was reading one of your articles (below). Do you think I should try baking soda (my PH is around 8.4) to bring it up or should I do a couple of more water changes to try to balance things out again? <I would try the baking soda w/o worry... it will not boost pH beyond what you're seeing> Sorry about all the questions. I might be over-thinking this. The more I read the more confused I'm getting. Thanks Again!!!!! <No worries. Bob Fenner> If alkalinity were less than 4 meq/L (11 dKH; the most common situation in zone 4; shown in Figure 5), I would advise correcting this problem by adding an alkalinity supplement until you have moved into the target zone (or zone 1).   For systems with a pH of 8.2 or above, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a good choice.  For systems with a pH below 8.2, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is a good choice (though use some baking soda too if the correction is a large one and the pH gets too high; that is, above pH 8.5 or so). In gauging how much to add, here are some rough guidelines: Baking Soda To raise 50 gallons of tank water by 1 meq/L will require about 16 grams of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate; sodium hydrogen carbonate).  Since a level teaspoon of baking soda weighs just under 6 grams, then 1 teaspoon will raise the alkalinity in that 50 gallons by ~0.4 meq/L (~1 dKH).

Coralline Algae... Hi Bob, I really like LOW lighting for my 125gal (that's why my tank IS FOWLR) and I like to keep coralline algae. I have 1 actinic blue (40 Watts). I have been reading the coralline FAQ. I want to ask, if I had good calcium and alkalinity levels would the coralline algae grow? <Yes, there are different species that occupy different niches, grow at different light levels.> I am thinking to add another 40 Watts. Your site helped me a lot. Thanks WWM crew. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Purple Algae Growth My question is that I cannot get my purple coralline algae to grow. I dose with Kalkwasser and use high output lighting (Metal Halide and 2 VHO lamps).  I use Reef Crystals and do water changes every two weeks. Any suggestions on how to boost up the purple algae or any other products that I could be  using?? Thanks. >> Hmm, well you need at least to look into alkalinity (takes both this and calcium to grow corallines), and the possibility that you have Hermit crab species that are eating your corallines faster than they can spread... Or that you have other life that is out-competing your corallines for alkaline earth minerals, and other nutrients (like some fast growing macro-algae)... Any of this "ring a bell"? Bob Fenner How do it Grow?! I have had an 80 gallon reef tank set up for almost a year now. My problem is that I can not get my coralline algae to grow. I used about forty pounds of live rock that had been dried out completely to get rid of an Aiptasia problem I had in another tank. I also used ten to fifteen pounds of good Fiji rock. The coralline growth is scarce on the previously dried rock and doing well on the Fiji rock. I dose strontium, calcium and coralline booster by Mark Weiss. What am I doing wrong? My other question is that it is getting time for me to change my lights. I have two 175 watt metal halides that have 10,000k bulbs in them. And two pairs of 55 watt power compacts with actinic bulbs.  Should I stay with this set up or switch to 20,000k metal halides and day light compacts? Any suggestions would be appreciated. >> Hmm, a mix of possibilities as to the lack of coralline on your older rock... but I would switch to a "two part" supplement system (my choice? Either SeaChem or Kent Marine) from what you're presently using. Do you have alkalinity and calcium test kits? Save yourself some money on additives and invest in these. But, from what you're listing here, you're doing "nothing wrong"... it may well be that other life forms are favored by your system configuration... The lighting I would keep as is... with switching just one of the lamps of the MH and CF out in any given month.  Bob Fenner

Bleaching?? Hi, I have a 46 gallon reef tank with a Sea Clone protein skimmer, and three Rio powerheads. My tank is filled with Fiji live rock, numerous corals including, 3 different kinds of mushrooms, 3 different leathers, hammer coral, star polyps, and button polyps, and Goniopora (flower pot). I also have 3 camel back shrimp,1 fire shrimp,1 serpent star, turbo snails, scarlet and blue crabs. My fish include a Mandarin, Six-line Wrasse, Firefish, and a Damsel. I have had the tank for about 8 months, and recently noticed that my live rock started turning WHITE. I hope you can tell me why. My skimmer cup accumulates brown-foamy liquid very quickly. I have been providing the tank with trace elements about twice a week. But that's about it. I have just recently bought a product by Seachem that is called Reef Complete. It includes calcium, strontium, and magnesium. Will this help? Will my live rock ever go back to looking nice? I have fluorescent lighting (Magtinic daylight, actinic blue) that stays on from 7:30am till about 10:30pm. Also, is there anything I can do to promote coralline algae growth? Thanx >> There are a few possible "missing something's" here... for one your lighting... though the lamps may still be "working" they're past their effective lifespans... (their intensity has lessened and they've phase-shifted...) Start replacing the lamps, one every few weeks (mark them with a permanent marker and rotate them out henceforth, every seven, eight months on your time schedule)...  The alkaline earth additive should definitely help. Start using per the manufacturers explicit instructions. There are a few other things you could do to promote coralline growth.. but do us all a favor first and get/use an alkalinity and calcium test kit and tell me what your values are. Bob Fenner

Coralline algae. Description of tank: 30 g (24" x 12" x 24"), CPR Bakpak II w/ bio-bale removed, Hamilton PowerCompact lights (2 x 55 watts, 24 "), 1 24 " 20 W actinic bulb (dusk and dawn), 2 Rio 600 powerheads, approx. 45-55 lb. of Marshall Island Live rock, aragonite reef sand, occasional use of carbon and poly-marine filter pad Problem: Tank has been up and running for 2 years. All animals doing fine (6-line wrasse, lawnmower blenny), corals (Xenia, Sinularia, bubble, hammer, tons of mushrooms, green star polyps), derasa clam, bulb anemones, scarlet hermits, brittle stars, Astrea and margarita snails but here is my problem.All of the corralling algae is dying on my live rock and it is beginning to look like base rock. When I first got it the lager grew like crazy and was completely purple. Now, the rock is white and the only thing that will grow on it is short green large (not hair) that smells like pine tree. The corralling algae is going nuts and growing everywhere else except the rock (the glass, powerheads, skimmer box, etc). My powerheads are completely purple now!! I have checked ph and nitrates and both are fine (0 nitrates).  I am using the same supplements that I have always been using (ESV b-ionic, iodine, strontium, and an occasional HBH balance block. I have experimented with light duration but nothing seems to change. Again, my corals and clam are growing great.  What do you recommend I do? Lights, supplements? And how do you think I can make that "pine tree smelling algae" go away? Thank you for your help. >> A bunch of things stated here of import... and a lot to say. Firstly, your tank has undergone a not-unpredictable evolution if you will... given its size, original assembled livestock, feeding and chemical introduction.  Re the current coralline algae die-off, mystery loss... and "pine smell"... this may have something to do with selective predation on some organisms parts)... but is much more likely due to chemical circumstances (natural and induced) in your system... But more (or only) to the point... how to reverse the trend. You're doing a great deal to forestall the loss of diversity and algae in your set-up through the gear you're using and maintenance procedures... I do have an idea of how to "re-start" your system back to where you might want to be: A big addition or supplanting of your current live rock and substrate. By (re)placing a good part of these materials (with clean, mostly cured material) over/in place of the older stuff you have, more alkalinity, alkaline earth, and other matter will be readily supplied, and along with other new organisms will jolt the make-up and dynamics of your system. I would not do anything different with your lighting, other than the routine replacement of lamps... and would mention that the adaptation that your corals and clam have exhibited will "take a hit" with this proposed change... but will re-adapt. Otherwise, if you've been happy with the results of the supplementing practice, I'd stick with your routine... but do look into a move into a calcium reactor...  Bob Fenner

Help and Thks for Conscientious Marine Aquarist Bob,  Thank you for writing The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, it has been by far the best investment in my efforts to maintain and sustain a marine fish environment. After nearly 1 1/2 years my success rate is probably lower than Shaq's free-throw percent. The last 6 months there haven't been a lost specimen, but Damselfish and Triggers are pretty indestructible. With the 100 lbs of live rock in the 110 gal tank, what products/additives will promote the growth of lavender coralline algae. Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks and best regards, Anthony >> Thanks so much for writing... and pumping me up! Do check into the "combined" alkalinity and biomineral supplement lines (your coralline algae and rock need both)... My favorite lines (currently) are made by Tropic Marine, Kent Marine and SeaChem... and if you'll be going this valuable adjunct route, do get/use alkalinity and calcium test kits. Next, the Big Reef and a calcium reactor! Bob "too short to dunk" Fenner

Sustaining the cond.s to grow Corallines I have Fiji live rock and in certain places it has gone white. After increasing the calcium it finally started to turn purple again, I use Kent Marine Expert Series Turbo Calcium. However, every time I do a water change I notice that it starts to die off again. What's going on and what can I do to increase the growth of the purple algae? Steve Kolobaric <<A few things might/may account for the apparent die-back of your corallines... the more likely have to do with chemical reactions that have to do with a loss of alkalinity... a necessary aspect along with biomineral availability... I would get/use an alkalinity test kit.... and strive to keep this concentration above 5 milliequivalents per liter... Additionally, I would pre-mix and store my new/make-up seawater in another container for a week or more before use.

Calcareous Algae Bob, I am currently curing live rock with various beautiful shades of calcareous algae. I want to know what I need to do to provide an environment for it not only to excel, but more importantly spread. Can you give me 1) the specific additives I should use with the recommended dosages and 2) the lighting requirements (appears this type algae prefers less light). I currently have no corals or any other invertebrates in the tank. Second question, is the treatment of the purple, white, green and orange algae (calcareous) all the same? Is one color more dominant that will in time will overtake the others? Thanks, Mark >> What good/careful writing here! To culture encrusting Red (Rhodophytes), and other Divisions of algae is sometimes an easy, other times a seemingly impossible task.  The essence of this proposal is providing the necessary elements (lighting, biominerals, alkalinity mainly) in the absences or balance of competing and predatory life... Per the first question, there is no "A,B,C" of just "what to pour in" that can be prescribed... but something along these lines that includes a suggested use of test kits... principally calcium and alkalinity... Now, please follow along with me here, because there is a very simple relationship that many folks seem wont to understand... to their detriment, and the makers of supplements glee... between many of the "additives" like Kalkwasser and other simple (mainly CaOH, CaCl2) compound purveyors and alkalinity... for the most part, these aspects of manipulation are mutually exclusive: when you add carbonates/bicarbonates and the former, one of them "loses", i.e. precipitates out as non-useable material... So, if your plan includes (and this is the worst way I would actually go about this), using Kalkwasser or one of the products that just contains ostensibly the same single compound method of introducing calcium... you will have to strike a balance between biomineral (let's say 350 ppm of calcium) and alkalinity (let's say 3-4 milliequivalents per liter). Now, that being stated (and a real source of frustration for many reef keepers, and bandwidth on my part), I would not go this route, unless you have the time, patience for it... Instead, to have the second-most chance for success in the arena of supplying necessary alkalinity AND biomineral, do look into the "two part" products that yield both... OR (drum rolls please), skip right ahead to the very best technology, a calcium reactor... utilizing CO2 gas...  Articles and questions re the culture of corallines can be found archived at my www.wetwebmedia.com site if this input is too slight. The lack of predators and competitors is probably straight-forward so we'll leave off with more explanation here. The amount of light is important in the competition arena... as intense lighting will favor other photosynthetic life as you point out, with the encrusting, low-light forms living mainly "under" the rock, rather in full view (BTW, from the wild, to aquarists' use, they do generally "flip the rock over" from how it is found!)... so lower full-spectrum lighting (20k lumens) as a rule (at the site, you might want to borrow a lumen or PAR meter...) is the route to go... with other light-using organisms either kept nearer the surface, or if high-intensity types, excluded from the system.  And yes, to your query re the apparent color of coralline and other encrusting forms... They do have different light et al. requirements and do change by the species depending on the same, the types of pigments that predominate depending on your system circumstances, and the storage foods they are employing... By providing different micro-environments and making the system variable (more, less light month to month, changing lamps... foods to your other livestock...) you can influence one group over others... Bob Fenner, who wishes you had been his lab partner in his Phycology classes

Live Rock Read your daily Q & A and use your book as the marine bible, thanks for some great information. Several questions: I have a FOWLR set-up, do I need to add supplements to support/promote coralline algae growth? If so, do you recommend Seachem-Reef Complete? What is your recommended calcium value 420, 450? In all my research I have been unable to determine if I need to provide an alternative food/supplement for my cleaner shrimp? Please advise. >> Hmm, well, if you'd like to "boost" or optimize your coralline growth... you can provide some "extra" calcium/and other biominerals... in whatever format/brand product... And do be aware that alkalinity is also absolutely necessary... If it were me, I'd be satisfied with anything around 350-400 ppm of calcium... but not at the expense of alkaline reserve... keep this in the 4 + milliequivalents per liter range and you will be the "tops" in coralline growth contests! An inexpensive way to boost alkalinity, BTW is simple baking soda, sodium bicarbonate (the principal ingredient in those "for aquarium" bottles...). The Cleaner Shrimp feeding question... if yours is interested/hungry, it will become "first to the dinner table" when you offer anything meaty to your fishes. Not to worry otherwise. Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Re: Lighting Bob, In your book you state that reef systems can take some pretty intense lighting. However, I also notice that one of your responses on coralline algae states that corallines grow best under low light conditions. I currently use two 48 inch fluorescent marine lights in my 72 gallon aquarium. How do I encourage coralline algae growth and maintain an adequate level of lighting for viewing the aquarium? >> Ah, the ever-present question of balance. Yes, boosting your system by intense lighting generally favors other forms of algal life, in particular various species of greens (division Chlorophyta), over the reds including corallines (division Rhodophyta). In your stated circumstances I wouldn't be concerned about over-intense lighting. Your system is not that bright. What you can do to increase your coralline growth is assure sufficient levels of alkaline reserve (alkalinity) and biomineral concentration (in particular calcium). You want 3.5 or higher meq/l of the former and 350-450 ppm of calcium respectively.  Do you know how to measure, boost these parameters? You should look into useful test kits, develop a logging mechanism for your testing, and study the various ways of raising and stabilizing these important water quality measures. You might well benefit from reading over the materials on marine pH, alkalinity, calcium and related matters posted on the site: Home Page  Bob Fenner

75 Gallon Reef System Hello, I was wondering if you might be able to answer a few questions I have on my current system. First I will list exactly what I have and the supplements I provide. I have had this system setup for about two years now. It includes a 75 gallon tank, 4-55watt Power Compact lighting system, Berlin Red Sea Skimmer, Amiracle slim-line series sump, two little giant pumps, I use 4 small powerheads in the tank to keep water circulating. I use CaribSea substrate, I keep the Ca around 400-450, Ph 8.0-8.3, Temp fluctuates around 78 at night, and 81 thru the day with the lights on. I use SeaChem additives, currently use iodide, Powder form of reef advantage, and Marine Buffer. I also use Chemi-Pure in the sump and Seachem's product for removing phosphates from the water. I always top off the water in the evenings with distilled water, usually around a gallon per day. I currently have around 100lbs of live rock, a leather coral, fox coral, med. size clam, polyps, pagoda coral, several mushrooms, etc. I had a very large collection of corals until the tank crashed. But anyway, having said all of this; My problem is that I cannot get the coralline algaes to start growing in my tank on the glass or the live rock. I have fought with this for the past year. Every time I start to see the purple start to become visible on the live rock, in a few days it just disappears. I have had this reoccurrence for the past year. Every time the coralline algae starts to develop it seems like it crashes every time and disappears. I have no idea why this is happening, but I have had this same cycle for the past year or year and a half. I was wondering if it could possible be the alkalinity levels in the tank, or if the growth was consuming other minerals in the tank. I have thought about adding a calcium reactor and CO2 system to the tank. I hate to invest that much money though, if it will not cure the problem I am having. Also, I was going to ask for your opinions on what calcium reactors you would suggest in the event that I do invest in the system. I hope I have provided enough information for you to have some suggestions on what might be the cause of this. If I have not, please email back to me any additional information you might need. Also, I do not have any current readings for alkalinity in the tank. I do know when I kept a daily log of testing, my alkalinity was always low. But I do appreciate your time and I hope you might be able to help with this problem. Thank You Matt Smith  <Thank you for your thoughtful, complete message. You are definitely on "a/the right path" here... and indeed, would bet most all that the coralline quandary is due directly to the lack of alkaline reserve in your system (you should at least get a test kit for) and the indirect cause the supplements that are precipitating out carbonate/bicarbonate (the alkalinity) in your system's water... And further, that the simplest, most assured route to go... you list... is a calcium reactor... And very possibly (because the cost per gallon is about the same), a much larger system... Do take a read through the pH, alkalinity, supplements, calcium et al related pieces stored on our site: Home Page , and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Filters (coralline algae) Bob, I have a couple of questions for you. First, I have a 125 gallon aquarium and I am looking to upgrade my filter. I currently have two Penguin Bio Wheel filters and have been looking into going to a sump of some sort <Good idea... maybe run all...> I have been looking at the Pro-Line wet/dry filters and the Maxi Reef filters. <Seem like nice units.> I have read that these will cause the nitrate levels to rise in the tank so I started looking for something else and saw the Amiracle Berlin filters. <Better to leave the "wet-dry" media out of all wet-dry/trickle filters in fully-established live rock systems.> The bottom line is I am really confused about what to do. I would like to get something that will increase the quality of my water. My water is currently at all the good levels but I seem to be doing a water change about every two weeks. <A good practice in all systems> I currently have six fish and around sixty pounds of live rock. I'm really not sure which direction to go. I was interested in the Amiracle Berlin filters but I can't seem to find much information on them.  <Take a look over their site (Link, and articles on marine filtration, FAQs galore: www.wetwebmedia.com> Can you please help point me in the right direction? My second question is that I can't seem to get any coralline algae growing in my aquarium. I currently have three five foot VHO bulbs, two white one blue, and my Calcium and Alkalinity levels are where they should be. Am I doing something wrong? <Many possibilities here... likely either HOW you're keeping those biomineral and alkalinity readings "where they should be" (i.e. supplement poisoning), or the presence of certain predators, competitors for light, nutrients... see the articles on coralline...> My aquarium has been set up for six months now and went through the green and brown algae blooms but never seemed to get into the purple coralline algae. Thank you for any help you may offer. Gianluca <I suspect you need to elevate your alkalinity... a calcium reactor would be best all the way around for this and other benefits... and extend the daylight time... Much more I need to know re your set-up. Gear, history, livestock. Bob Fenner>

New tank setup (sump file) Hi Bob, I have the new tank setup and so far all is well. I did not lose any life in the move to the new tank. That's the first time I have done such a move. <Ah, congratulations> I also took some pictures and they can be found at: http://www.cia.com.au/winone <Very nice, like the side to side image/text layout> Please let me know if there is anything I have forgotten to do? <Hmm, do an experiment with your sump by turning off the power and checking to see what happens with the water level there... you may need a larger container down below... or at least to mark the highest level you want to have it filled to with the tank in operation (lest it overflow should the power go out...)> I was wondering what needs to be done to get the pinky-red algae growing? What water parameters favour the pinky-red algae? <Please read over the "Coralline Algae" FAQs on the www.WetWebMedia.com site here> Thank you for all the help you have given me over the last couple of weeks. Without your help I would still be struggling away trying to fix one problem after another. Many thanks :) <You are welcome my friend. Glad to be of help. Bob Fenner> Warmest regards Lucien

Getting Coralline Algae to Grow <Lorenzo Gonzalez here, doing my Bob Fenner impression...> <<And who says the copy isn't better than the original? Bob>> What is a simple way or what do you need to do in order to get purple or nice coralline algae to grow and what does it need in order to thrive and is that supplement/food available? <The best way to get started is with a bunch of nice live rock, carefully selected from your local fish store, or with some 'hand-picked' live-rock from Flying Fish, or Gerald, at Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, (www.ipsf.com) sells 'frags' for just this purpose. As for supplements/food, you could use (sparingly/half-recommended-dosage) the Kent Coral-Vite - this is a mineral rich concoction suitable for a healthy/growing tank of live rock and calcareous algaes. When it comes right down to it, most people grow their purple/pink coralline by just putting a bunch of live rock in the tank and waiting patiently...  -Lorenzo>

Cleaner shrimp parasite and coralline algae questions Dear Bob, <Lorenzo here, responding for Bob-in-Indonesia> Well we survived ick thanks to your recommendations and now we have a cleaner shrimp problem. I mentioned that our shrimp had a growth on its side and you said there was nothing we could do about it but live with it. Now the shrimp's antennae are starting to look like they are becoming brittle. Is this related? Could the parasite be depleting the nutrients the shrimp needs? I've started feeding it vitamin enriched flakes (any vitamins we need to look specifically give it?) directly and added some calcium to the water. We can test the calcium levels since we purchased a kit (rather expensive). Our tang visits his shrimp regularly so I suspect he's eating parasites. <Sounds like you're doing pretty everything you reasonably can, for this shrimp.> I've also noticed that the beautiful coralline algae on our live rock from Fiji is dying off. We have florescent lights (2 actinic 2 full spectrum) and given the heat and blackouts in California, we're reluctant to upgrade to metal halide since we'll need to get into chillers. Do you think that increasing the calcium level would help? Our LFS recommended we add some every day. <Hmm. Coralline usually does fine under fluorescents, unless your tank is particularly deep, or the bulbs are quite old (>1 year) Metal Halide is definitely not necessary for healthy coralline. Yes, increasing the calcium level may help, especially if it's quite low, and if the 'full-spectrum' bulbs are more than 10-12 months old, I'd replace those as well. My favorites for standard fluorescent fixtures are the 180 degree (internal reflector) 'Trichromatic' from Coralife, the 'full-spectrum' from the local Home Depot definitely won't do. If you really want to upgrade your lighting without moving to MH, look to Power Compacts, or compact fluorescents, as they're sometimes called. Most modern, efficient lighting currently available to the hobbyist. Not cheap. But cheaper than MH! (especially the electricity!) -Lorenzo>

Lighting for coralline algae Dear Robert, It's really great to get the reply from you in so short a period of time. Do you think that 36W compact fluorescent will have enough intensity for growing coralline algae in 22 gallon live rock only tank? i.e. 1.6 Watt/Gallon. (Along with good calcium, Strontium, alkalinity, pH, and none algae competitors). <Yes> One of my friend has got a new tank and currently undergo second stage of Nitrogen cycle, i.e. little ammonia and rising nitrite. <I see> He bought some live rocks with purple coralline algae, which I personally think isn't appropriate time. But anyway after two days, the coralline algae started to vanish and some area turned to white/bleach. <Yes... "chemical imbalances"> What do you think of the following is the main reason for vanishing or bleaching? (a) Medium Nitrite level (b) 1.6 Watt/Gallon in Compact Fluorescent Lighting (c) New water quality in new tank <As a percent? 80% (c), including 30% (a)...> Do you think the vanishing will stop eventually? <Of a certainty yes... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Alexcych

Lighting for coralline algae Dear Robert, I have searched the web and read all the article in your web site. The information provided in your site is both helpful and educational. <All! No wonder we have so much bandwidth in play!> I have some questions about lighting requirements on growing coralline algae on live rock. For growing coralline in a live rock only tank, is that the intensity (watt per gallon) need as much as possible? <No... there are many species of encrusting red (et al color) algae. Some take very little light, others more intense... None as much as what aquarists growing Acroporids, tridacnid clams provide. Other materials/inputs may be missing: biomineral content, alkalinity principally... or you may have too much in the way of chemical competition by way of other algal growth... or too much in the way of predation (many hermits, urchins eat corallines...)> If we want desired purple, do we need high intensity or low intensity? <"Medium" is fine. A couple of watts per gallon of compact fluorescent, metal halide let's say very generally> What will NITRITE be affected the growing of coralline algae? Coralline Still exist or vanish? <Nitrite presence can indirectly effect coralline growth/health... as it is an indication of incomplete cycling... Not the nitrite itself, but the conditions which are allowing, producing the nitrite... Better to make efforts at coralline enhancing after the system has cycled. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Acych

Dosing Solution Hi Bob, read in one of you articles that a person was have a little difficulty growing Coralline Algae. You stated that most people stock a lot of Live Rock in order to grow the Coralline Algae. Is there a rule of thumb of how much Live Rock a tank should have? Example: 1~2 lb. of Live Rock per gallon? <Something like this... depends on shape of tank, density of LR product, its shape... you/one can always add more later. Pls read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrfaqs.htm> In your opinion what is the best type of Synthetic Salt to buy? <This is posted on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seah2ofaqs.htm> Because I am running out of Instant Ocean and I am think of going with a different brand. I have tested Instant Ocean and it seems to have a level of Calcium of 300 PPM <Mmm, this should be higher... Bob Fenner> and it buffers the pH pretty well. I am not to sure about the Magnesium levels and Trace Elements. Thanks, David Garcia

Would like to have some pink/purple coralline algae growth I have a 47 gal hex tank. Water is as follows Cal. = 420, KH = 9, pH =8.2/ 8.4, nitrite = 0, Phosphate = .50/1.0, nitrate is a little high, but fixing with smaller more frequent water changes. I used my pool test for total alkalinity and found it to read 210 PPM, I thought alkalinity and KH went hand and hand, why the difference. <Mmm... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the articles, FAQs beyond... calcium need not be much of a part of total alkalinity...> Temp is around 76. For lighting I have 1 250 watt metal halide 5000k, 2 15 watt blue, and 1 15 watt 50/50 bulb. The 3 x 15 watt bulbs come on @ 7:30 am, the MH @ 8:30 am. The MH goes off @ 9:00 PM and the 3 X 15 watts @ 10:00 PM. I just added the MH about 2 months ago, I had to fab. a hood. I use 2 Fluval 303 canister filters, 1 power head in bottom of tank for water movement. I use the SeaClone skimmer. <Mmm, the canister would be better replaced with an "open format" filter (like a hang on) and your skimmer could use upgrading...> The additives I use are liquid gold every day in smaller dose than recommended. Iodine every day. coral Vite once a week. Strontium and molybdenum twice a week. I have half live rock that has the pink coralline, and half base rock. But it seems that the coralline doesn't spread to the base rock. the base rock gets a green/brown look to it. The glass gets a brown looking algae on it that is very hard to get off, lots of rubbing is needed. I do have some mushroom corals and a few feather dusters along with a few corals that I don't remember the name of. I have a couple of Tangs, 1 cardinal 1 long nose Butterfly, 1 Tricolor Angel, and 5 Blue leg crabs. What do I need to make the pink/purple coralline spread. Thanks for your time. Rodney <Thank you for writing... a few things will likely help here... Raising the calcium concentration to 450-500 ppm, elevating KH to 12 or so... can be done with additives... I would check, have your LFS check to see if you have sufficient magnesium (s/b about three times the concentration of calcium) as this might be holding back your encrusting reds. In the longer term, do look into something like a CPR BakPak, perhaps a refugium, maybe even a hang-on or sump type "mud" algae filter... in place of the Canister, SeaClone. Bob Fenner>

Corallines <Aloha, POG... Anthony Calfo (Oahu native born but residing in PA) at your service> Hey Robert, a quick ? on coralline algae...I am adding calcium and Kent dKH buffer daily as per directions....been doing so for over a month, pink coralline seems to start in little spots, but by evening it seems to be disappearing?. <very strange if so... test your ph swing over the same period of time. If more than .2 we may have something to talk about> I have been reading your site and was wondering about adding baking soda like it was mentioned in a few replies on the site. Or is patience just in order.... <more so patience in the 1-4 month picture... but you should definitely see some great progress by 4 months. Judicious use of sugar-based calcium has been demonstrated to quickly encourage coralline growth if nothing else (I agree that it is not very effective for scleractinians)> live rock coralline seems to have receded and stopped growing. <hmmmm...not a good sign> I have a total of 5 anemones (Caribbean and rock anemones ( not Aiptasia) and curly q.... I am working on the Latin names. All levels are fine...nitrates a bit high but reducing them with small water changes weekly. All fish are happy as well. Any suggestions would be a huge help. I am hunting up as much info on this as I can and seem to be going in circles. <what is your ph and alkalinity specifically?> Thanks, Pete <regards, Anthony>

Re: aloha Aloha Anthony, thanks for the crazy fast reply!!!! You miss the surf? <POG... at times, I miss everything about Hawaii. A truly magical place. We left when I was still a child but I can't be stopped from visiting and returning. Just magical.> ...not the best winter...yet!!!! OK I tested the ph, 8.4... as close as I could see. As for alkalinity, I do not have a test kit for that (yet!) <yes...pH is fine, but do confirm your alkalinity. Hardcore reefers suggest over 11dKH but I wouldn't blame it on your corallines if it is at least 7dKH> I forgot to mention before, This tank has been set up for over a year. I never really looked for coralline before...I was more into the cool black lava rock center piece (65 gl. hex) and the fish. no corals at that point. It has been moved once, but used half original water. Water changes weekly (8 gl.) with instant ocean salt mix.  <excellent!> wet dry filter,  <no accumulating nitrates, right?> as well as mag 350 canister. As for my second tank was set up as a reef tank just recently ( 2 months) with live rock, lots of coralline....discovered the (woven ( sea urchin) later as he gobbled most of the coralline. He is gone. <ahhh...yes.> That too seems to have stopped growing. Same filter set up and additives in both tanks. Both have 165 watts power compacts ( new bulbs) No hair algae and only light dusting of green on glass by days end. More light? stronger? I am stumped!! <no worries about the lighting...little impact in this case unless your water changes drop the water level low enough with the lights on... this is a surefire way to bleach corallines. People often notice a lack of corallines above the water change water level line and blame it on exposure to air. Air is not the problem... air without water to diffuse the bright lights is the problem. Such folks can stop the bleaching by simply turning off the bright lights during the water change. If your corallines are bleaches/nonexistent below the typical water change level as well, than this may not apply to you. Ultimately... I'd suggest you buy a little bit of fresh rock with killer corallines (even a tiny piece...collected in Hunauama Bay...no!!!) and run through a single bottle or two of Seachem liquid calcium (gluconate) for just a couple of months. If the corallines aren't strong in 8-12 weeks after that... there is something else wrong> Dude thanks again for the fast reply. POG <Quite welcome... and by the way, you wouldn't happen to have (w)vee fruit growing in your yard? One is a true Hawaiian if you crave it, I hear <smile>. Too bad they can't be exported. kindly, Anthony (Koni)>

PC and coralline algae Dear Bob, We are trying out a VHO Power compact lighting setup (full spectrum and actinic) after having 2 full spectrum and 2 actinics standard fluorescents for the past year. With a fan, we're able to keep the temp stable. Over the course of 3 hours, some beautiful purple coralline algae that was growing on the side glass is becoming patchy and is breaking up. Chemistry has not changed. Searched a few list servers and people are saying that coralline doesn't like lots of light. Is there a compromise?  <Always> Is there a range of intensities that coralline likes? <Mmm, yes> Will other species take over? Or do we have to choose? <There may be succession here... other species, groups taking the place, niches of the encrusting red algae in your system... this happens with overt changes in predisposing factors, environmental changes...> Did a search of your FAQ's and lighting topics and I don't see this specifically addressed. I quote the following from a list-serve... " The coralline algae on my live rock has been bleached by my power compacts. 288 watts on my 55gal with half of those watts being 7100k actinic, the other half 6500 or 6700k. I now have 500 watts of 12000k MH on the 55gal. I have heard that this Kelvin color temp in MH may not bleach the coralline algae like the compacts did. Is that just wishful thinking? What measures if any can be taken to avoid the bleaching and still allow the big horsepower for the lighting?" <The intensity and spectral make-up of light, among other factors involving light and not, all play into what organisms, groups are favored, disfavored. I would just "wait, see" for a few weeks at this point. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Allyson

Re: PC and coralline algae Wow! Quick response! Should we start by reducing the number of hours our lights are on and slowly increase the hours, thus adapting the system. Or should we just switch and maintain our regular light cycle? <Don't know enough about the rest of your biota... likely not a bad idea... something total lumens about what things were, grading to what they will be over a months time or so. Bob Fenner> Allyson

Protein Skimmer, Coralline Algae Will heavy protein skimming affect my Coralline Algae growth? <Yes, it should encourage it.> I need to buy a more efficient protein skimmer. The one I have the collection cup is only a quarter full after one week. So from what I understand it should be at the most a quarter full a day. <Try several attempts at adjusting it before you end up tossing in the towel. Also, try cleaning the pump and impellor of mulm. This is a frequently overlooked duty in maintenance. -Steven Pro> Thanks for the response.

Anemone and Coralline Algae Hi, you answered my last email months ago in reference to live rock, and thank you. It has been, oh, I guess 5 months now since my tank went from fish only to a starting reef tank. I have a small bio-load 3 Regal Tangs, and 2 False clowns (LFS stated they are a mating pair??). I also have one Anemone. First question is: The clowns have no interest in the Anemone.  <A. ocellaris are notoriously picky about anemones and none need them to survive. Many live without host anemones in the wild><<!? Not... All Amphiprion are ONLY found in close association with cnidarian hosts in the wild. RMF>> the LFS said they would be attracted to this Anemone. I do not have a clue what type of species it is, it's white with long tentacles, and has an orange base. Any idea on the type,  <sounds like a dying long tentacle anemone. No such thing as a healthy white tentacled anemone... just bleached dying ones that can linger for months to a year if you feed them enough. Read the following article and the other links on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm> and the compatibility for my clowns?  <there is a clownfish/anemone chart on this page above> It also has not made its mind on where to live, just wondering the tank. Sorry for the vague description I really do not have much more on this species and neither does the LFS.  <quite alright, my friend...this is a common question (weekly). Your LFS needs to know that their shipper is sending them doomed animals if they are getting white anemones. They are naturally brown or green. Some cutthroats dye the white ones yellow... jerks> What can you recommend for the mating pair of clowns? I understand the Sebae are not recommended for rookie at heart. My tank is 50 gal. 60 or so lbs of LR. What about the Carpet Anemone? <very bright lights are necessary for all host anemones... VHO or MH plus weekly feedings will be necessary whichever you choose. The carpet is a reasonable choice for a larger tank> Lastly, my LR has many different color Coralline Algae. Some of the algae are developing small white spots along with larger sections. From the postings I would suggest to myself that my water parameters are off.  <yes. most often the case> However my Ca is in the area of 380 to 420. I checked three times and did the average. My alk is in the area of 9-11 dKH.  <just a bit low if the test kit is accurate. 12dKH or higher as the tank matures and their demand/colony increases> I bought in to the mix bag of reef additives such as Strontium, Iodine, and reef elements, the moly whatever, and such. I use Kalk with RODI for top off. So I also use super-buffer from Kent every 2 weeks. All other parameters are 0. My skimmer is the only filtration used,  <overall sounds good> and really have not had to do a water change for over a month, actually 6 weeks. I have checked the levels and all seem to be correct. No Ammonia, Nitrite, or Nitrate. I don't even have bad Algae problems. I killing the good stuff it seems. What can I do?????  <sugar-based calcium is fantastic for corallines (Calcium gluconate like Seachem's Reef Calcium)... just not useful for much else <wink> keep up with the Kalkwasser too> I would like to someday move away from additives and have a very natural tank.  <consider frequent and/or automated water changes to do so> I am trying to take my time and go slowly. Thanks in advance, and have a better day. Robert. <best regards, Anthony>

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