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FAQs about Red Algae/Rhodophyte Systems, Culture

Related Articles: Red Algae in General, Coralline Marine AlgaeAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, 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 AlgaeAlgae as Food

Related FAQs: T5 Fluorescent Lighting, Red Algae 1, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae in General, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae Identification, Red Algae Behavior, Red Algae Compatibility, Red Algae Selection, Red Algae Nutrition, Red Algae Disease, Red Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Coralline Algae, Marine Macro-Algae, Use in AquariumsAlgae as FoodMarine 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

Other organism presence may help or hinder the way.  

20K HID and Actinic Blue Light, for growing Nullipora (coralline algae) -- 06/09/09
I just visited your forum and I have a question for you.
I have a 20-gallon reef tank and I am propagating Coralline algae. I am planning to change my light from 14K to 20K HID. I would like to know if actinic blue light is necessary for a 20K HID?
<<Nope'¦ I have a friend who owns an LFS with 20K MH bulbs 'only' over his show tank and it grows loads of Coralline Alga>>
Should I use actinic blue light with 20K HID?
<<Up to you'¦ But is not a necessity>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Acclimating Gracilaria 7/31/08 What would be the best way to acclimate Red Gracilaria and Botryocladia (Red Grape) into a new tank with 4 watts per gallon? <Fairly straight forward, throw it in! You can acclimate it as you would any fish or invert if you wish. As for the lighting, it should not be an issue. If it is of concern to you, place the algae as low as possible, it will grow up towards the light as needed. Scott V.>

Growing Red Macro Algae 2/7/07 Dear Bob and Crew, <Good afternoon Lisa> We're at a loss.  We purchased a beautiful rock with an anemone (who promptly left the rock and abandoned his clown) and a heavy, lush cover of deep red macro algae. By the second day, the algae was starting to change it's color from deep red to a lighter red, then over the next couple of days it turned greenish yellow.  We were told that our lighting was insufficient for macro algae, we needed at least 5 watts per gallon and our current system only provided about 2.3 watts.  We purchased a new light which took another 6 days.  The new light provides 5.7 watts per gallon both fluorescent and actinic.  The temperature is a constant 78, Ph is 8.5, SG 1.024, Calcium is 440 and we turned off the phosphate reactor two days after we brought the algae home so I assume the pH is up again. <Assume?  No pH test kit?> The macro-algae is now white with pink tips and it's disintegrating :(  We'd like to get more and try to cultivate it, but we need to know where we went wrong.  Is it possible it was already stressed by being taken from it's tank to the LFS and then resold?  The lighting in the LFS was pretty low.  Was it our delay in upgrading our lighting?  Was it the hermit crabs munching on it? <I'm thinking it is in the shipping/holding process, but, even under ideal conditions, the red macros can and mysteriously do what you are describing.  In my opinion, can be one of the more difficult to culture.  Here are two links, do read the linked files above also. http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-01/sl/index.php http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm Any help you can provide is much appreciated. Thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Lisa Hupman

Growing Red Macro Algae 2/8/07 Hi James and Crew, <Hello Lisa> I'm sorry I wasn't more specific.  I meant Phosphate was probably increased.  I do have a test kit.  pH is measured by a Pinpoint pH Meter (digital) so I always know that measurement. <Would not worry about phosphate levels, a necessary ingredient for growing macro.> Thanks for the links and information. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Lisa

Red Gracilaria - 10/18/06 Dear Sirs, <<Ladies here too...Howdy Bill!>> I have a 65g tank with a sump.  Have about 80+ pounds of LR in the tank.  Bought some aqua-cultured Red Gracilaria algae from FFExpress and wanted to know if it's beneficial to put a cup or so of the algae in the sump or overflow? <<May provide some benefit if you have a suitably lighted area in the sump for it>> I put some in the sump with a small PC light above it but there is not substrate. <<No worries, it doesn't require a substrate to flourish>> Will that be ok? <<Indeed it will if there is adequate water flow>> Will the algae grow or die due to the fact that there is no substrate to attach to? <<Doesn't need to "attach"...if it dies it won't be because of the absence of substrate.  Some authors actually advocate placing this algae where it is constantly "tumbled" by water flow...obviously it wouldn't be attached to anything in this situation>> Will this algae help with nitrates? <<Yep, and is a good "feeder" algae for herbivores as well>> I also have a 55g tank with an eel in it with 70+ lbs of LR.  Would it be beneficial to put a cup of the same algae in that tank. <<Won't hurt...>> Will the algae attach itself to a rock? <<Is possible>> If not, how should I put it in the tank? <<You could anchor it "between" a couple rocks>> Thanks a lot for your help, Bill <<Happy to share, EricR>>

Options in Saving Coralline in a T5 Lightning Upgrade (2X26) to(8X54) in a 55g   10/1/06 Hi there, First off, thanks for all your great information here and also in your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I have a recently set up tank (6-7 weeks ago) which originally was going to be a FOWLR but now I want to include a Percula Clown and a BTA in my system. <Mmm, okay> I recently added a powerhead ~ 350gph (bringing total to about 700gph in the display) and a 20g in sump refugium (with about 100gph turnover) with a 3.5" DSB put on an alternating light cycle with a few species of Caulerpa and about 9lbs of Live Rock.  Also I just purchased new lighting T5 (8X54W 4 actinic and 4 10K) <Some nice improvements> My current setup is a 55g which has 80lbs of Live Rock in the display a Coralife t5 (2x26W) assorted hermits, turbo snails, 3 emerald crabs, 2 skunk cleaners, 1 scarlet cleaner, & 1 blue damsel. Testing (8.2ph 0ppm across the board) I haven't tested for calcium etc... yet.  But I do change 5g of water a week assuming it will replace my elements. Almost all my rock is encrusted with coralline ranging from deep purple to light pink and I really want to keep as much as I can in the display during this lighting upgrade. I have read here that I can put layers of fiberglass and take them away little by little.   However I was wondering if I could simply start with 2 t5's and every 3rd day add another t5? <I'd add one every two weeks> Or would this not leave enough time to acclimation? <Correct> Is there any way to save my coralline or will I just have to wait and hope for it to grow back? <Most should make the transition... will shift in color as time goes by...> Also, out of curiosity with almost 8w per gallon what can/can't I keep as a general statement as far as corals go? <Is posted on WWM> Thanks, Manny Gainesville, FL Go Gators! <Bob Fenner, Go Reality!>

Gracilaria culture 9/28/04 Thanks for getting back to me!  My goal is to get rid of the Gracilaria and the Cyanobacteria.  There's very little Caulerpa in there now, and I may move it to my 20G nurse tank.  For the moment, I'm going to leave it for nutrient export unless you think it's a problem.  I'm going to buy new filters for my RO/DI to help with the silicates. <I would definitely leave the macros for nutrient export.  As I said in our first exchange.. I wouldn't sweat the silicates.  There are advanced aquarists who actually DOSE silicates to enhance sponge and tunicate growth.>   I'm going to do the following for the Gracilaria: -Reduce the light cycle to -->Actinic:  8:00am - 8:00pm -->Daylight:  9:30am - 6:30pm -->Moonlight:  6:00am - 6:30am, 8:00pm - 8:30pm -Remove the crushed coral -Adjust the temperature to your recommendation.  On a side note -- I recently move this tank from my basement, a constant 67 degrees, to my office, which fluctuates between 72F and 78F (Uhhh -- guess that would've been a good time to take out the crushed coral.  DOH!).  The outbreak started 6 months before the move.  My CSL lights give off a TON of heat, but are elevated about 2.5 inches from the top.  I have glass hoods that retain heat, so I try to leave them cracked open for airflow and evaporative cooling.  Should I remove them all together?  If so, would any of my existing fish be likely to jump, such that I should lower the water level a bit?  <Your wrasse have a very tiny chance of jumping, but otherwise you shouldn't have any problems.  Lowering the water level won't stop a determined jumper anyway.  Enhancing evaporation will not only allow you to better control heat, but it will also allow you to add more Kalkwasser (higher pH and alkalinity will help with algae problems).> I'd like to purchase a tang as well.  I plan on upgrading this tank to around 120G in the next year.  Would this be suitable for me to keep the tang?  Thanks again for all of your help!   Deb  <Most popular tangs will do just fine in a 120.  Best Regards.  Adam> Growing Gracilaria (Tang Heaven) 6/14/04 Hi, quick couple questions. I ordered some Gracilaria from IPSF and have a dedicated 10 gallon grow out tank. I don't think using carbon would be beneficial, is  this correct? <I probably would not use carbon.> Also do you think it would be wise to dump some of the skimmate from my display tank protein skimmer into the tank to increase nutrient levels? <I think it would be safer/more controlled to simply do regular partial water exchanges with your display tank, or even better incorporate the 10g as a refugium.> Would direct sunlight be beneficial? I can place the tank next to a window along with the florescent lighting that it currently has. Thanks for you help. AB <Sunlight would be great!  This is pretty high light stuff.  It also does best if it is constantly kept in suspension and moving, so it does require a fair amount of water movement.  This also means that regular harvesting and pruning will be necessary to keep it from overcrowding itself in your 10g.  Good luck!  Adam

Gracilaria; and the Environment Needed for it to Thrive  12/03/05 Hi I was wondering if Gracilaria had to be in heavy flow or if it could grow in the main tank anchored to the floor. <Gracilaria occurs as a floating mass (without hold fasts) it demands high light intensity and plenty of random water flow to keep it tumbling. It is best grown in a separate vesicle like a fishless refugium and not the display, see here for more detail: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgfaqs.htm .> Thanks <Welcome.> --Sbatiste <Adam J.>

Gracilaria parvispora culture  - 02/16/2006 Hi, <Hello> I would like to start growing Ogo as a food source for a few yellow tangs.  My problem is it is expensive and a screw up would be costly.   So I would like to run my plan by you before I start.  I will put the Ogo in a 10 gallon tank, lighting will be 96 watts from power compact bulbs, and water motion will be provided by power heads pumping a total of 560 gallons per hour (more if needed). <Not needed... circulation can be much less vigorous> Nutrients will be provided from water from the main tank, and possibly from frozen food juice added once a week.  I write this because after reading from your archives I am kind of discouraged from others not so successful attempts.  Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you, Aron <? Not difficult to culture... I would boost (through new water additions) the alkalinity and biomineral content... 12 dKH, 450 or so Calcium, about three times whatever calcium is in Magnesium concentration... and keep out other algal species... Bob Fenner>

- Gracilaria - <Good morning, JasonC here...> To the Best Crew There is: So, I mail-ordered some Red Gracilaria, mainly for nutrient uptake.  I get the thing, and it's a huge "portion". I only have a 10 gallon QT, and it takes up like half the tank.  My problem is how do I keep it in place? Would a mesh bag or women's hose restrict it too much? <I'd think the bag would work better than the panty-hose.> I will have a sump on my 55 gallon display by the time it is ready to come out of QT, but either way I am going to want to keep it in place. <I'd go ahead and place this stuff in the sump. If the algae is from a reputable source, then you probably don't need to be so rigid about quarantine with is.> While I am here, any other fish besides tangs (i.e.: small/peaceful/community/reef-safe) eat this stuff? <The algae-eating gobies and blennies might eat it, but I'm not certain. Same goes for pygmy angels. Best to do some reading on those fish in the various sections on WetWebMedia.> Thanks, Rich. <Cheers, J -- >

Growing Red Gracilaria... Hello folks, It's Howard in WI again starting up Refugium number 2 for the second time. The intended purpose of this refugium is to grow more pods and a great deal of macro algae which, hopefully, also replace the Caulerpa in Refugium number 1(30 gallons of racemosa with 6 inch sand bed, pods, worms,  and some peppermint shrimp.) <Cool> Number 2 is a fresh start after a huge plague of red micro algae which came in with some live sand and wiped out all of the Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, and shaving brush and then began to show up in the show tank. <Ew, fabulous.> I dumped everything and started again with a clean tank. I want to give the new Red Gracilaria every chance to grow and reproduce before adding anything else. It has a six inch sand bed and plants are placed on various levels from the surface to the bottom of the tank. About 300 GPH flows from the show tank overflow through a baffle box (removes any big chunks, the only mechanical filter) through the refugium overflows to the sump. No measurable nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia; ORP 350-370; Ca 400-500. I use no additives except bicarb and Kalk. Lighting is 250 watts of 10,000k CF 2 inches above the water surface. Water changes are 10% weekly. Fish, polyps, SPS and soft corals all beautiful. <Excellent> My problem is that the new Red Gracilaria is already turning green to white on the tips. This is happening at various depths. What does it take to grow this plant? It looked great when it arrived from the vendor. There is nothing else in this tank to compete with it or eat it. Should I give up again and try something else? Is it too much light? Water too clean? <Yep, that's the problem I've always had with Gracilaria is that it will not grow in a tank with a low nutrient load or one that is heavily skimmed. This stuff grows in high nutrient areas, I've heard little success of people getting this stuff to grow. Your best bet is Chaetomorpha, it's such a great alternative to Caulerpa. -Kevin> Howard

-Yummy, yummy Ogo- I have a Naso tang and it loves to much on "Ogo" (Gracilaria?).  I know that people use it in sumps for nutrient export, but currently, I don't have a sump (using a skimmer and LR/LS and regular water changes).  What would be the best way to keep Ogo fresh? In a bucket with SW? Should I run a filter? <It should be lit, kept at 76-82 deg, and filtered. You should be able to keep it for weeks like this in a bucket or small aquarium. Your Naso will thank you! -Kevin> Or just a powerhead?  Thanks. Yun

Growing Red Gracilaria 10/29/03 Crew, <howdy> I am following up on a question regarding the growth of Red Gracilaria.  Could someone tell me what is the optimal environment for which Red Gracilaria will grow? <very bright light and strong water flow> I have a separate 27 gallon tall Hex tank set up with a large pump inside for strong circulation. <good> I have tried to grow Gracilaria in this tank before but it did not seem to last that long (3 months) and the Tangs ate it faster than it would grow. <correct... it is very palatable... sold commercially as "Tang Heaven" by IPSF.com> What are the requirements for optimum growth? <a separate vessel like a refugium acting as a vegetable filter> Has anyone had any success with growing it? <it is very easy and commonly grown. Just not in the display proper with tangs stocked too soon/early ;)> Lighting? Are Florescent plant bulbs adequate? <sort of.. not so much here though. Fluorescents are poor for deep tanks (beyond 12"). In traditional squat aquaria, 5 watts per gallon is reasonable at minimum> Water Movement? <strong enough to keep it tumbling> Movement of Gracilaria?  Salinity?  Temperature?   <all at NSW levels> Nutrient Levels? What do I feed Gracilaria and how often? <inline to the nutrient rich display is usually good enough for food. Again, keep in a refugium> Any dosing ... Iodine, Calcium? <iodine may be quite useful here... go light though> Keep it by itself or with Live Rock and Fish? <the former> Thanks, Chris <best regards, Anthony>

Growing Gracilaria [*Note to Bob: Chris has shared with us a nice summary of his experience growing the popular macroalgae Gracilaria here. Perhaps we can place it prominently I the archives or FAQs for easy access/referral by the crew and WWM readers? Thanks, Anthony] <Will do, Bob> Growing Gracilaria 11/11/03 Hi Anthony, Thanks for your advise in response my previous email regarding the growth of Gracilaria. <always welcome my friend> I am just reporting back to you some good results on growing Gracilaria - Red Macro Algae. <much appreciated... this will be very helpful to add to the consensus for all to see/read and learn from> In the first 4 weeks I have been very successful in acclimating the seaweed as I have seen some steady growth... new fronds and full color. I feel have established a very suitable environment for this macro algae to grow effectively. Here are the specifications... 1. A separate tank - One with high nutrient levels. A tank dedicated to feeding just the Algae... but high Nutrient Levels a must. I add a silverside or formula 1 once a week.. but being careful to not overfeed the tank; over feeding may allow growth of diatoms and other competing micro algaes. <good points here: monospecific culture, as algae and plants are competitive (chemically and otherwise) with each other just like reef invertebrates. And the finesse of nutrients... not too much or too little> 2. Trace Minerals - I dose about 7-8 drops of both Chelated Iron and Magnesium daily and perform a small monthly water change to replenish calcium levels and other trace elements. <the need varies by system... but you are finding your way here. Excellent> 3. Cold water - best growth for Gracilaria in between 60 F - 70' F. <this is not necessary, although fine if it worked for you. Much Gracilaria is grown commercially in the shallows (at surface level) in the tropical seas on lines and tumbling in baskets> 4. Strong Water Movement - I have a 800 GPH pump  in the sump and it's  return to the hex tank at  a 12 " vertical spray bar which pushes & tumbles  the Gracilaria around the tank in a circular motion (like a washing machine). At no time is any of the seaweed just sitting.... it's always tumbling. <yes... excellent and often overlooked by aquarists> 5. Strong Lighting - I have a 125 Watt Fluorescent Blue Actinic bulb hanging directly above the water column. Gracilaria grows in deeper waters and does better with Actinic Lighting. <again variable here... the commercial culture of Gracilaria ("Ogo" of food fame) is done so at the surface of the water. But the genus is adaptable and wide-ranging. I would suggest more/brighter daylight here to most aquarists> Please let me know of any individuals who are interested in purchasing 7-8 ounce portions of Gracilaria at a low price. They can contact me directly at XXXX@hotmail.com. <do be sure to establish it well in your local market through the LFS and aquarium societies so that you can retrieve some if/when your colony crashes> Thanks! Chris <thank you very much for sharing this Chris. Its always good to pay it forward. Anthony>

Growing Gracilaria 12/3/03 Anthony, Thanks again. Just another follow up... I have done a bid more research and testing and found that this particular species, (Gracilaria verrucosa) like most Red Gracilaria, reproduces seasonally, in the spring and fall by dropping off thousands of fine spores which attach themselves to the substrate and then germination and growth of spores are also influenced by environmental conditions such as seawater temperature, light intensity, salinity, etc.  Experiments have shown that the highest number of spores are released at 20--25 °C (approx. 70 F shows highest spore Desiccation). Any temperatures much higher or lower would not allow Gracilaria to develop the reproductive spores for Desiccation. Also, When mature plants are kept in seawater of different specific gravities, those in seawater of lower specific gravity would release spores earlier than those kept in water of higher specific gravity. I have seen spores develop immediately when I dropped the salinity between 1.015 to 1.017. This would explain why people have been unsuccessful with keeping Gracilaria alive for any length of time in systems with the higher Specific gravities. Just some more feedback. Here's a very interesting article on the culturing of Gracilaria... http://www.fao.org/docrep/field/003/AC263E/AC263E00.htm Thanks, Chris <much thanks for sharing this Chris. Please do consider though that what happened naturally is not always the optimal way of culturing an organism, but rather simply what they have adapted to in their given niche. Commercial culture of this genus in warmer waters with brighter light and in tumbling suspension are established methods of exploiting better growth. Much like aquarium grown clams and corals that grow 4-10 X or faster than expected wild growth as we learn to finesse/manipulate species for optimal culture. Best regards, Anthony>

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