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FAQs on Algae as Food 1

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

Related FAQs: Algae Foods 2, Algae Foods 3, & FAQs on Algae Food: Rationale/Use, Sources, Culture, Feeding Methods, Troubleshooting/Fixes, Products, & Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Phytoplankton, Marine Algae, Coral FeedingBrine ShrimpVitaminsNutritional DiseaseFrozen Foods, Coral Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsCulturing Food OrganismsRed Algae

See also the individual groups of organisms feeding FAQs files

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Harvesting Chaetomorpha   03/07/06 Hello Crew, Once again I would like to thank you for the fantastic site. Your hard work is greatly appreciated and I advertise you to all at the LFS and friends in the hobby. Most think with good reason I am a WetWebMedia junkie. <I look forward to your joining us in responding> It has been suggested that  several of us at work join A.A. ( Aquarist Anonymous). I am always referring them to do queries on your site when they ask a question of me. You previously helped me out with plumbing my upstream 30 gallon acrylic sump/refugium. The refugium has been up and running for about one month and all is going well. I had a very mild case of BGA after the first week it was running but increased the flow and vacuuming out the BGA reduced it to nothing quickly (thanks to reading your suggestions to others.) <Very good> Many copepods, amphipods, and worms thriving and are gravity fed to the main 55 gallon display tank.  My original double softball size Chaetomorpha macroalgae has grown into what is now basketball size or better. <Keep trimming, feeding, trading...> The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are now undetectable with my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Master liquid test kit. Ph is holding steady as a rock at 8.4 with the reverse lighting cycle. <Simple, eh?> I continue to do 5 gallon water changes twice a week and Aqua C Remora attached to the refugium is still producing skimmate but I might add not as much since the refugium stabilized. Now for my question about harvesting the Chaeto. I looked thru the many pages of refugium and macroalgae area questions and answers but did not see a definitive description of pulling out the Chaeto properly. I know I need to do this on a regular basis. I am unsure what is and when is the proper time and procedure for doing this? Do I just grab a handful and pull it out? <Yep> I have attached a couple of pictures of the refugium and Chaeto. The dimensions on the refugium area of where the Chaeto is are 15" x 12" x 17" (height x width x length). Do I need to start harvesting now or wait until it has covered the entire refugium area? <I wouldn't wait... keep pulling...> Thanks you so much for your educating this want to be aquarist. Ernie from Kansas <Weekly is a good interval, while you're "fooling with" other maintenance. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Ogo and quarantine   03/07/06 Hi, <Aloha> I ordered some Ogo from Indigo <Hee! Will send to Gerald, Heslinga... Indo-> Pacific Sea Farms about a week ago. It is currently in a 15 gallon qt tank. It is under 96 watts of PC light, and it is being tumbled around by a powerhead which might be too powerful.  Salinity is 1.025, temp is 80 degrees, PH 8.3, no ammonia nitrite or nitrate, calcium 400, and the water is RO/DI. My problem is I don't know if it is doing all that well. The plants <Algae> are still red, but the tips might be turning slightly white. <Not atypical> Is this from two much light? <Likely "just" shipping, stress> I would hate to lose the Ogo before I had a chance to use it, so is it safe to add some to the tank for food for my tangs, <Yes> or should I wait the two week quarantine period. <Are you concerned re Aiptasia, or? I would search through it, feed a bit off, move some to other quarters for culture (if you have them)...> I contacted IPSF and they said quarantine was not necessary, but I am still a little leery about putting it in the tank. So do you think this okay, or should I wait? Thank you, Aron <I wouldn't likely wait. Bob Fenner, who will eating Gracilaria in po'kes on the Big Island in another day or so>

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

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>

Algae Sheet Feeding - 01/01/2006 Hi again. <Hello Jon.> I have a somewhat silly question. I am feeding my Dwarf Angel Seaweed Selects (and other clip on veggie foods) and overnight, the sheet came off the clip and is now sort of strewn all over the tank in small pieces. <They become "mush" over time. Best to offer throughout the day, remove uneaten frequently.> I tried to pick and net out what I can but is it detrimental if there's some small pieces that sink to the bottom. <Algae blooms and poor water quality.> I have a shrimp and snails, I don't know if they eat that though. <They will but if this happens often I doubt they'll be able to keep up.> Thanks! Jon <Sure. - Josh> PS- This morning my angel seemed to have developed a small white streak under her lower jaw. Its not Ich but it looks like a   discoloration, I think called fear spots maybe. Also, It looks kind of like she never closes her mouth all the way. Is that bad. Nothing looks to out of place. She is not acting any different than usual and nothing looks swollen or out of place on her. <Just keep an eye out. Likely nothing wrong at all.>

Feeding Nori  12/24/05 Hello again, Crew! <Hi Brent.> Just a quick question here:  I have added a small Regal Tang to my tank.   Little guy (perhaps girl) is only about 1 inch big, and eats pretty well <Sounds like you are getting lucky, in general specimens of this size do not adapt well to captivity at all.> anything I put in there (brine shrimp, Marine cuisine, etc.)  I would like to supplement with some Nori or green, leafy lettuce. <Go with the Nori skip the terrestrial lettuce.>   How long can you leave Nori or lettuce in the tank, and will it foul the water if left too long? <I would remove what in uneaten after 2 or 3 hours.> Thanks Brent in Calgary <Welcome, Adam J.> Pyrocystis fusiformis - 12/11/05 Greetings from snowy Pittsburgh! <<Hello from a bit more temperate SC!>> I just wanted to thank you all for your efforts. <<Very welcome>> I'm new to the aquarist lifestyle and I'm happy to report that my 90gal FOWLR has been quite successful in the past 4 mos. largely due to the wealth of information you guys <<and gals>> provide (the site frequently keeps me up till the wee hours of the am). <<Hee!>> I have one quick question (for now): I came upon an interesting suggestion in the Phyto FAQs, where a man suggested growing Pyrocystis fusiformis in a FOWLR tank.  I was wondering if there has been any update on his activities or if you have encountered any new information regarding its toxicity to fish, LR or even SPS/LPS corals (before I try my own culture/controlled experiment). <<If you didn't find any on the site, then likely no new info/updates.>> The web info I usually find references the plankton as a "neato" school experiment. <<Let me suggest you try contacting some of the commercial fish/seahorse breeders ('Ocean Rider' comes to mind).  These folks culture their own phytoplankton from necessity, and if willing to share info, may be able to help.>> Many thanks, I'll be writing again soon. Regards Brandon <<Regards, EricR>>

Marine greens for food  9/22/05 Hi Bob! <Kris> Thank you so much for such a fast reply. Your answers were very helpful and I will look into the subject more. I have a couple of other questions for you. I was reading on your website about feeding marine herbivores and I saw that you recommended feeding Nori soaked in vitamins. I was also reading an aquarium book by Moe and he suggested feeding lettuce such as romaine. What do you think about that? <Bunk... not nutritious, often laced with molecules to avoid> Is that a good alternative to Nori? If not, why is it not good? Is it harmful to the fish? <Can add nitrate, pesticides> Thank you for letting me pick your brain a bit! I think your website is fantastic! Thanks again!   Kristina <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algfoodfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Live vs. frozen phyto 07/01/05 Bob Are frozen Phytoplankton products currently in the market as effective as DT's  live Phytoplankton? Perry <Not... nutritionally, palatability wise frozen are inferior. Bob Fenner>

Roasted Nori? Hi, <<Hello.>> Thanks for your lightening response on my previous enquiry, much appreciated. <<Hey, 'twasn't me!>> I have a Regal tang, just purchased, and I've been reading a lot of FAQs/articles on the use of 'Nori' seaweed as an excellent sources of vege. <<Yes, as it's already the seaweed (though maybe not species) they like/need.>> I went to the local Chinese grocery today, but all I could see were sheets of "roasted Nori". <<Oh.. my. Hm.>> How can I tell which type is safe to feed my fish, and also if it contains harmful additives such as spices and flavour enhancers? Most of the packets have information in Chinese/Japanese, which I can't read at all! <<At that point I'd ask the grocer what's been added (assuming s/he is of such extraction/education as to be able to read what's on the package). Other than that, I might look elsewhere, as the Nori I'm familiar with is dried, not roasted. Cooking does change on a molecular/chemical level. You can also (though there are those who'll argue with me) Romaine lettuce, as is done at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. They have (pardon me) "buttloads" of tangs. These fishes are offered romaine lettuce, krill, and some other meaty seafoods as a matter of course/regular diet. Nori was added for some special, difficult to feed fishes, but not on a regular basis while I was there.>> Please advise me on this matter, as I'm highly suspicious of feeding my fish products from supermarkets, and do not want to risk killing my fish. <<Actually, foods meant for human consumption are generally going to be of higher quality, while not geared for fishes, but will have been processed in cleaner, more regulated manner. It's fine to use such for your fishes.>> How does Spirulina flake fare as a substitute for Vegi matter? Thanks for your time, Alex <<It's good to add, but the tang will likely make a real mess of it. Not as a substitute, but in addition to other vegetable matter. However, know that this tang, and others, DO appreciate meaty foods in their diets. Krill seems to really be a favorite in my experience. Add Selcon a few times a week to round things out. Marina>>

Chaetomorpha Buffet Hello, <Hi there> I just started a sump last month and put some Chaetomorpha in it and it has already overgrown the sump. So last night I pulled some out and put it in the main display so that all the little amphipods living it it could crawl into the live rock. This morning I woke up and my Foxface was eating and shredding it to pieces while my hippo tang was on clean up crew eating what he would leave behind. <Yep> I have noticed that he just keeps on eating it, only occasionally taking a break. He is definitely eating more than I normally feed him. Is it bad to let him eat as much as he wants or should I limit his feeding by taking it out? <Mmm, up to you... not likely to over-eat> I got the algae to combat nutrients in the first place, so maybe I should I just throw away the excess that grows definitely getting the nutrients out of the tank? <Mmm, I would feed it out, or trade it in to shops, other aquarists> Finally, if it is healthy for him to eat, should I stop feeding flake foot and just keep up with frozen, or can fish live off Chaetomorpha alone? <I'd augment this> Thanks, Justin <Bob Fenner> 

Re: Naso Tang Post, 2.25.05 Greetings Crew! <Greetings! Ryan with you today.> I was reading the daily questions and came across this 'Naso tang' question. He states that all his water param.s are fine but the Naso just won't eat and looks stressed, and has some seaweed on a clip for the fish. I also have a tang (yellow, Hawaiian) that will exhibit the same similarities as this IF I use the blue seaweed clip.. Red clip, no problems at all.. Its almost as if they have been watching the Matrix too many times! I would have him maybe just tie some seaweed onto a smallish rock and see what that does for the tangs stress levels. <We'll post this for him to read, enjoy. Thank you for sharing. Certainly entertaining! Personally, I would recommend a grounding probe and a skimmer cleaning if you notice your tang isn't quite himself. The oxygen saturation level of your water should remain high with this type of fish. Good luck! Ryan> 

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

Tang food/algae? 2/11/05 I have recently purchased a Sailfin tang as soon as he was in his new home he proceed to eat a green plant that had came on the live rock which I think is Caulerpa. Could I grow this in a small tank 12 by 10 by 10, using the old water from weekly water changes and lighting with a full range Fluorescent light, <it could... but there are much easier and less noxious algae to grow. Gracilaria would be ideal tang food... sold as "tang heaven" from IPSF.com> would I need a heater or a filter maybe a little live rock? <yes... bright light too. At least 5 watts per gallon> I would like to do this as the Sailfin seemed to like it but there's not that much of it and I thought it would be a nice supplement to its diet, <a nice idea, but not necessary. Do look for "Nori" seaweed at an Asian grocery store or sushi supplier> assuming it's ok for it to eat it. If it's not is there any thing else I could grow with a similar method that would be ok? <it is somewhat to very toxic over time (Caulerpa) in large portions. Do avoid IMO> Thanks, Andy <best regards, Anthony>

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

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

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

Nori, get thee to a sushi bar, doh! One quick question. I looked all over the forms first to see if I could find the answer to my stupid question but I could not. I got the sheets of Nori for my Yellow Tang, but I am not sure how to feed it to him. <Crimp it along a line, like folding paper, and tear... place in an all-plastic clip and stick to the side of the tank, near the surface. Voila!> Because it is seaweed with nothing else added does this mean you can just leave it in the tank until it's gone even if it takes days, or should I be leaving smaller pieces so that it gets eaten up by the end of the night. I read that Nori does not add anything harmful to the tank, but does it not break down over time and become waste? <All does> So what is your suggested method for feeding with Nori. The Tang does like it but he picks at it very gradually. A bite every minute or so, but he continued to do this for two hours, then I took the Nori out for the night thinking it might become harmful. Thanks for your help again, this should be the last of my questions for a while. Sean <Just leave it in... a small enough strip to be consumed in a day or so... As your animal/s become more familiar it will "disappear" quickly as food. Bob Fenner>

Fauchea for Tangs? 1/8/04 Hi, Will Tangs eat Fauchea and if so, does it supply nutrition similar to Tang Heaven?   <it is not so readily accepted as Gracilaria. I am not sure about nutritional value though. I've seen the specs on Gracilaria (Tang Heaven), but nothing on Fauchea. My advice is to stick with Gracilaria... Fauchea can be a miserable nuisance over time. Somewhat noxious too> Red Fauchea looks like a species that grows really well in a tank or refugium <yes... because it is a nuisance <G>> (we've tried several times to get Gracilaria to grow out for the tangs - no luck). Thanks! <do try to find a copy of our "Reef Invertebrates" which has extensive coverage of refugiums, plants and algae species (the most comprehensive in the industry to date). But the crash course on Gracilaria is most people do not give it enough light (5 watts per gallon minimum... 2-3X even better), or enough water flow (very strong is needed to keep the colony tumbling in suspension in the aquarium). This algae is line or basket grown in shallow tropical waters under very bright light and strong wave action. Anthony>

Is Nori really nutritious? Hi all, I have a Paracanthurus hepatus in quarantine and he is doing well but I noticed that when he eats red Nori his excrement seems to look just like when it went in. So common sense tells me that this red seaweed that is supposed to be so nutritious for tangs in just going right thru him with no nutritional absorption, << Think of it as corn for humans.  Okay not a pretty picture, but you get the idea. >> if you will. Can some one please help shed some light on this, I am also feeding Mysis shrimp and my own mix (muscles, crab, squid, oyster, shrimp, octopus, and flake food - blended then frozen) so the diet is varied. << This sounds absolutely wonderful.  Yes I do believe Nori (including red) has nutritional benefits. >> I was just wondering if there is any point to feeding the Nori because seriously it looks the same coming as it does going. << So does corn, but it's good for you. Difficult to see sometimes, but as long as you are providing a varied diet you should be fine. >> Thanks for any input you might have. Also, I would like to thank all of you at WWM whom I directly attribute my success in reef keeping to. It's just nice to have a resource that encourages education so much. Cheers, keep up the good work! << Thanks Ryan good luck with your fish. >> -Ryan <<  Blundell  >>

PhycoPure for Dendronephthya Bob, << Blundell today >> Greetings.  I noticed a discussion on WetWeb regarding Dendros.  I am fairly new to this hobby but am not new to microalgae.  I have been culturing it  for academia to biotech to aquaculture for about 20 years now.  I have started my own company over the past years producing microalgae products and a friend (scientist) mentioned that he would like to see a quality phyto blend on the market as he was not happy with the processed products available. << Yes, I'm familiar with these ideas. >> I spent 1 year formulating blends and giving them to different aquarists to try-adding species that I have seen be very effective in aquaculture settings.  These tend to be the more finicky to culture but hi-nutritious species.  The result is a product called PhycoPure that has 7 species plus zooxanthellae clade A or clade B depending on culture status.   << I'm also familiar with your products, and am thankful Rhyne talked you into making it. >>  The particle size ranges from 2 or 3 um to 25um.  I am in the process of evaluating an even smaller size highly abundant reef spp. to be added if all looks good.  I produce it weekly in batch so it does not inventory, I get it out to stores within the week it is produced (plus or minus a few days).  I recommend stores buying what will move in a month or less and that way it is in the consumer's hands and used within a month.  This keeps things fresh and the quality higher.  The blend stays live for months in my lab but the species composition/profile changes from what I advertise over time.-truthfully conditions in a bottle or bag are well below optimal for anything living. << Indeed. >> The water used is Atlantic that has been uv'd, charcoaled, ozonated, and tested for specific pathogenic Vibriosis. The litmus test has been an effort to raise the Dendronephthya, Scleronephthya.  I have read everything by Fabricius and agree with the concept of organics being important.  I can say that one spp of Dendros I have reacts to the phytoplankton and remains open a good part of the day.  I use hi-flow, low light and feed copious amounts of the PhycoPure blend. << Definitely what we recommend for such corals. >>  It seems that orientation is not much of an issue but that still needs further scrutiny.  I have had some since May but the twin hurricanes that hit us in Florida took care of that.  I am beginning to feel that acclimation is the largest issue regarding success with these critters. << Possibly, but I think it is feeding. >>   Other observations include 1) spp coming in thick and then elongating and branching profusely...current? It is somewhere in the realm of 3-4 inches per second. << Possibly. >> 2) a commensal shrimp often accompanies many of the Dendros I have rec'd-pure white except for the eyes and gut tract 3) I feed some gorgonians Cyclop-Eeze and even though.. it appears. that the Dendros do not take the individual Cyclops in (like the Diodogorgia gorgonian) they react by opening and going erect-it could be the algae I mix the freeze dried Cyclops with or the "juice"-organics/lipids/phosphates. whatever. << Yes the "juice" has that affect, and even though the coral doesn't appear to eat Cyclops I think there is good reason to believe they are eating the "juice". >> Any comments, thoughts would be appreciated << Tell Andy that Blundell says hi. And that we appreciate him sending us your product. I think your product is great.  I think you could also sell a lot of it if you also offered each species separately and not just a mix.  I know people where I live would order them.  Also I wouldn't focus on Dendros.  While it is true they need this, not enough people have Dendros.  But everyone and their dogs have SPS corals.  So that is a better marketing area. >> regards, Erik S Stenn President AlgaGen LLC PO Box 1734 Vero Beach, FL www.algagen.com 772-978-1395 <<  Blundell  >>
Re: PhycoPure
Blundell, << Erik. >> Greetings.  I was surprised that you had  heard of PhycoPure and very pleased that you like it.  I passed the greeting on to Andy who sends same back. << A great guy indeed. >> I appreciate the marketing ideas.  I do offer individual strains but never thought to open that up to the hobby.  Typically I have aquaculture and biotech companies buying them.  I am in the process of updating the website and they will be listed. << I know I have a group of hobbyists waiting to place an order, so be sure and update me when those strains are available. >> SPS....I would love to take them on.  I am not set up for it at the moment.  I have had people tell me that they noticed better polyp extension on their Acros but I would imaging that the blend would be great for all the zooplankton feeding the SPS corals ?  What is your take? << I think so to because certain species have different preferences, and that would be the best bet to feed them all. >> Both storms hit me really hard but I am back up and am beginning to move outside of Florida with the product...if you could recommend any stores or distributors in your area I will contact them and see if they are interested in carrying it. << I'm not sure if Andy got you the contact info for Corals & Clams, but that is probably the best distributor for our local area.  I think some big etailers would be a great way to go.  Also, I can't help but plug our site and suggest you write an email to Cesnales (just email us here) about the cost of marketing on this site. >> Thanks for the feedback-much appreciated << Hope I help, let me know what else I can do. >> regards Erik <<  Blundell  >>

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

Feeding A Finicky Tang I just purchased an Achilles Tang, because I could not resist. <Can't blame you- they are gorgeous fish and great to have if you can meet their needs> It is about 4 inches, beautiful color, and in my quarantine tank for 4 days (will stay there for 4 weeks). <Excellent! A key to success with this fish!> It gobbles up Nori, but nothing else.  I have tried frozen brine, Mysis, and Cyclop-eeze all soaked in garlic or Selcon.  But he still only eats the Nori, should I be concerned?  Is there anything else I can do? Thanks for your help! <Well, the fact that he is eating is a great sign! Nori is marine-based, so it does provide valuable nutrition. However, you do want to get him eating as many different foods as possible, of course. I would look for a source of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria, which is an excellent supplemental food. You can get a starter supply from e-tailers like Indo-Pacific Sea Farms or Inland Aquatics. You can easily cultivate it yourself with a little effort. In the meantime, just keep trying a variety of frozen foods. Hopefully, he'll come around at some point. Keep it up! Regards, Scott F>

Phytoplankton reactors 9/18/04 I was able to meet Bob Fenner recently in Raleigh and really enjoyed this.   <he is larger than life... blessed to know him> I also now have Anthony's propagation book and it is outstanding.  I was hoping to get feedback about a phytoplankton reactor. <all good... but do realize that in aquaria, the overwhelming demand is for zooplankton. Very little phyto is needed to support this. It is commonly abused as a supplemental staple IMO> My interest is in diversity and nutrition, especially nonphotosynthetic animals.  I'm trying to replicate cryptic environments.  The Dendro thing fascinates me (as it does everybody).   <do consider other/better aposymbiotic cnidarians like Scleronepth.s and Chile corals> My background is clinical neurology. The experimental system I have consists of a 120 connected to an Ecowheel with a wave 2K, a 120 with Turbelle stream 6200 on controller set up for laminar flow around a  central divider, two twenty five gallons for experiments with refugia, and a 75 sunlit and compact fluorescent tank DSB currently culturing Chaetomorpha.  I am underwhelmed by the Ecowheel.  The system has a 75 gallon sump with a large Reef Concepts skimmer;  automatic top off and water changes via LiterMeter, SG 1.026.  I have tried feeding Corals and Clams cryopaste and am still working with it.  I have plans to construct a small greenhouse to continue this type of research.   <fantastic to hear... do let me/us know if we can be of help with shared opinions> I do think that stirring the sand bed is the best thing going for nutrition.   <very helpful... agreed> The detritus is recycled not added, and interestingly I have noticed that the sand bed diversity is clearly greater in areas that are gently blown off twice daily compared to nonstirred areas.  I really think a little storm activity is good for the sand bed.  I drain off the turbidity slowly over the overflow into the sump, and then to the tanks. <the reef is quite dynamic even in the calmest parts... much more than our tanks> My question is about a phytoreactor that I have going in one of the 25s. I have grown green water for years- sometimes unintentionally!- and this is my first attempt at a phyto reactor.  I used DT's to start;  I currently add no nutrients.  I am not stirring- this setup reminds me of the saltwater tubs Joyce Wilkerson described that she keeps outside for rotifer cultures, and that emboldened me to try not stirring, no airstone.  The pH gets high and slows down the growth.  I think the pH is more steady when the lights are turned off at night allowing some digestion and co2 release.  Perhaps the lack of stirring will help phyto diversity. I am concerned about toxins generated from this reactor.   <weak issue... no worries> I'm not sure of the benefit compared to Reed Mariculture cryopaste.   <live is better than any processed product IMO on one glaring point - particle size. Most always smaller with live (no clotting or coagulating in time)> The green water probably contains lots of things- ciliates, bacteria- and it does seem (Bob Stark) that there is already plenty of bacteria in our tanks. The reactor does seem to pull out nutrients well- discarding the stuff seems to be an effective microalgae scrubber.  I think we know a lot about many of the filter feeders- and the ones of most interest to me, the "Dendros", seem to only take SOME of their nutrition from phyto.   <true... some take none at all... bacteria, floc, other nanoplankton>      So, the questions- 1)  Do you know anyone who has long term success with a phyto reactor like mine?  Any suggested improvements based on this experience (stirring/air, UV, getting rid of it and using cryopaste)? <phyto culture is a science... many people have refined techniques to learn from. Have you chatted with the folks at Florida Aqua farms? Pioneers and suppliers> 2)  Any news about successful experience with Dendros from somebody knowledgeable? <none I am aware of recently... rather that not all aposymbiotic Nephtheids in the trade are Dendros... which is a good thing. Seek Scleros instead when you can find them> 3)  I am going to visit GARF, inland seafarm, and Tropicorium in February for my 50th birthday.  Do you know of any really professional greenhouse outfits I might also need to visit? <I like Tropicorium and Inland Aquatics very much. medium sized scale but quality personnel. Most of the outfits farming reef inverts in the US are cottage industry sized. But you may want to see about a visit to ORA in Florida some time... after they recover from hurricane damage> Thanks so much for your advice Charles Matthews MD <best of luck, Anthony>

- Feeding & Salt Mixes - Hi, Hope all is going well for you there.  Just finished weathering the storm here.  I have several questions, please.  I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank with F/O NLR.  I have been using a brand of salt called marine environment, but am tired of paying so much for it.  I wanted to get your opinion on Instant Ocean salt mix.  I have read good and bad (like any product) and wanted to know if it is a decent mix. <Instant Ocean is probably the most widely used salt mix in the world, including commercial enterprises and public aquariums... it is a fine and consistent aquarium salt.> Also, I currently have a pair of false Perculas, a flame Hawkfish, and a royal Gramma.  I was thinking of adding a canary deepwater damsel.  I have read that they are not as aggressive as other damsels, but also read that as they get bigger they get more aggressive. <Is typical for most damsels.> What is your opinion about my adding one to my current inhabitants? <Given the number of fish you already have, this one will likely do just fine.> I had also thought of a yellow tang, but didn't like the idea of feeding him food like algae on a clip due to the mess I have seen it make in my neighbor's tank as the algae breaks off and floats around uneaten.  Is there any way around feeding like this, like maybe feeding regular food that has algae in it? <Would be best to do both... perhaps limit the amount of food you put in the clip.> Thanks for your time, James <Cheers, J -- >

Phytoplankton, Live or Dead? (4/7/04) Hi <Steve Allen tonight.> I'm in Australia and I haven't been able to track down a supplier of real phytoplankton for my marine tank. I am going to order some from overseas and there is a choice between a kit to grow the stuff myself and "centrifuged" dead phytoplankton in a bottle. Do you have an opinion on whether the growing and feeding live stuff is much better than using the dead stuff? <It is more probable that your phytoplankton-eaters will consume live phyto than dead. Also, if you buy dead, you will have to keep ordering from overseas. I'd suggest building or buying a plankton reactor and cultivating your own on an ongoing basis from live starter. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdcultfaqmar.htm> Thanks <You're welcome. Hope this helps.>

NORI or etail algae on demand Thanks for the advice guys, but you 'all go nuts over Nori. <I think its that we find it can be pretty inexpensive.> Listen, I live in Greenville, SC and I don't know where you live, but it is going to be a lot more trouble for me to go find a Chinese Grocery Store (we ain't got no Chinese in SC) than it does to pay 5 bucks on my next Dr. Foster's order for enough seaweed to last several months!<I understand!> Now, if you say this Nori stuff is better, well that is something different, but I am too busy than to have to get in my Benz and pile a bunch of miles on it goin outta my way to find a Chinese Grocery Store to save 2 bucks when I can just order the same stuff from Dr. Fosters and have it delivered right to my door! <I would suggest you order some type of food that has sponge in it for the angels. You just need to add a type of food that includes a bit more of what angelfish need. Hope this helps, MacL>

Kole Yellow Eye, feeding stones I read your article on wetwebmedia.com and I was particularly interested in the section on feeding. I have a yellow eye that caught ich but I was able to treat him in a quarantine tank for a few weeks. He has been back in my main 75 gallon reef tank for three weeks but seems to be on the skinny side and very pale. I was interested in the sentence that you stated "My favorite "gimmick" with these fishes is to utilize an algal covered "feeding stone" as a site for engendering food-taking behavior". What exactly is a feeding stone and where might I get one? If you have any other advice on getting him enough food would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Cauley <"Feeding stones" are actually made by the aquarist... either in an aquarium (sans algae eaters) or in other containers (like large jars near a window), but you won't want to wait to make these. Do look into buying some palatable macro-algae... either from an online vendor like Inland Aquatics or Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, or perhaps a local retailer or hobby-club member. Bob Fenner>

Phytoplankton dosing schedule and amount? 5/29/04 WetWebCrew, <cheers> Thank you once again for your dedication to this "hobby"! <a labor of love :) > We have a 75 gal saltwater reef tank with a sump (total circulating volume of about 70 - 75 gals.  We have been culturing Nanochloropsis from Florida Aqua Farms in 2 liter plastic soft drink bottles.   <excellent> After about a week of starting the initial culture, I have moved half of the culture to a second 2 liter bottle to continue the culture and have started dosing the aquarium with the other half. <yes... critical to cut and freshen the culture for continued success/availability> My goals for dosing phytoplankton are to increase the biodiversity of the tank, feeding the pods, feather duster worms (all of which have grown out my LR), sponges (which have grown out of my LR and asexually reproduced), and my T. Crocea clam.   <all good... although your tank if its like most needs far more zooplankton. The culture of rotifers and refugium micro-zooplankton is as good or better (more useful) than phyto culture> Currently I am dosing one half of a cup of the culture each evening just before the lights go off - just pour the half of a cup into the tank.  We unplug the skimmer and leave it off for 2 hours when we are dosing the phyto.   <do consider a relay switch to turn this back on automatically... Radio Shack gadgets> The dose rate and amount are just something that I decided to start with since I could not seem to find a scientific consensus from my research.  Since I am culturing the phyto, I do not know the density of my culture.   <even still... near impossible to determine the demand in your tank.> Do you have any suggestions / guidelines on the amount of phyto to dose?   <really experimental... like any nutrient imported, dose in small, gradually increasing portions until you find the threshold, as indicated by the beginning o a nuisance algae boom or some such excess-nutrient indicator. Skim hard after that and step back down to last "safe" dose and ride that for a while. Periodically push the envelope to see if/when increases are necessary (just like adding iodine)> I assume that if I dose too little then the effect that I am desiring will not happen.  What is the effect of dosing too much?  Problems with water quality? <yes... more or less, although slight if you increase feedings small and slow> Thank you in advance! John Bullard <best of luck, Anthony>
Phytoplankton dosing schedule and amount 5/31/04
Mr. Calfo, <just call me "Anthony" please my friend... much nicer than what my family calls me at times <G>> Thank you for your time and knowledge to answer our questions! <always welcome> You mention: <<<all good... although your tank if its like most needs far more zooplankton. The culture of rotifers and refugium micro-zooplankton is as good or better (more useful) than phyto culture>>> I have a small refugium in my sump with crushed coral (no macroalgae at this point).   <the macro is not needed unless you wish to employ a species (avoid mixing species) for "vegetable filtration" (nutrient export like a bog or bog filter on a garden pond)> I was hoping that the phyto dosing would help to increase the pod population within my tank.   <not likely here... at least not to any appreciable extent. The crushed coral is very unfriendly to copepods and small smaller micro-zooplankton. The best you can hope for are amphipods to grow in crushed coral. Amphipods, however, don't eat phyto... they eat detritus and lean carrion (leaning toward a meatier diet... they even prey on small live invertebrates, larvae, eggs, etc.). While amphipods are great food for fishes, they are too large for most corals to eat. A fine, deep sand bed is recommended for copepods here (with or without mud/sediments)> I have also been considering culturing rotifers.   <excellent idea> I wanted to get experience with culturing phyto before taking the leap in to rotifer culture (since rotifer seems a bit more complicated and one needs phyto anyway).   <do get a catalog from Florida Aqua farms... they have all manners of kits and supplies for rearing zoo- and phytoplankton> Too increase the zooplankton population what are your suggestions?   <it depends on what exactly (mysids, copepods, amphipods, worms, etc.) you are trying to grow. All do not fare well/equally in the same substrate. Its tough to sum up in the brevity of an e-mail too. May I suggest you check out our newest book "Reef Invertebrates"... it has the most extensive coverage to date on refugium methodologies. With live sand, live rock, plants and algae chapters, its over 100 of 400 pages> What does the rotifers do for the system besides adding zooplankton to the system (I am familiar with their uses with feeding larval fish)?  What is going to feed off the rotifers? <a majority of corals and other filter feeding reef invertebrates including some of the small(er) polyps species> Thank you! John Bullard <best regards, Anthony>

Greens for tangs 5/10/04 Hi gang: <howdy!> Was at my LFS today (the best of three with significant saltwater collections in the area) and there was a note on the Gracilaria tank saying it "won't contaminate tanks like romaine or Nori". <they are half right... romaine is a poor choice. but the Nori is fine/excellent> I've never fed my tangs romaine-based products. . . but my understanding was that was primarily because it was nutritionally inferior. <and the fact that they are polluted with phosphates from the fertilizer used to grow. But this is not true of Nori. Perhaps they lumped it in mistakenly> I DO use Japanese Nori (available economically from a local organic foods supermarket) as the staple for my tangs, supplemented with Formula 1 and live bloodworms. Plus a refugium busy enough that everybody in the tank probably gets a few live Mysis shrimp a week. Anyway. . . is Nori a problem? <nope... a very fine food... please continue to use/promote> Last question: I saw a note in Anthony Calfo's article on acclimating inverts to captive lighting suggesting investment in a light meter. Um. . . how does one operate these generally non-waterproof devices underwater (or is a reading made from just outside the front pane?) <they are not "generally non-waterproof" outside of wherever it is that you shop <G>. Do seek models used by field biologists and aquatics folks. Apogee makes nice, affordable ones> and to what sort of reference scale does one compare them? <depends on what info you seek to know/compare. If bringing a coral home from a friend or pet store, take a reading from the depth at which it last resided and adjust accordingly in your tank. For wild caught corals, there is data on light readings for various species from various locales: check the academic literature, libraries and databases for this majority of info. Some hobby literature includes it too (like Nilsen's articles from Aquarium Frontiers). And for species for which there is no data, get a measurement of light at depth from another similar coral in an aquarium before buying the new specimen. You can/will also use the meter to take a reading on new bulbs and in time to see how they age, stray. For this, seek a PAR meter instead of just a lux meter. Apogee brand my friend ;) Keyword search the 'Net> Thanks in advance for your help on this. Chuck <rock on my brother. Anthony>

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

Phosphate in Nori and Kombu? No worries 2/16/04 Hi, I have just acquired a Scopas Tang, for which I have bought some Nori, and  Kombu. My worry is that in feeding these, I will probably be introducing  phosphate into the tank, am I right that these will contain phosphate? <no worries at all... nominal indeed. The real problem with phosphate laced foods is from terrestrial farmed/grown produce like lettuce/spinach, etc which is grown with heavy doses of phosphate and nitrate based fertilizers> Is there something I can do to reduce the phosphate content of these foods before feeding? <focus instead on utilizing or exporting it in the aquarium. Other sources of phosphate will enter and need addressed anyways. Use of calcium hydroxide is great for this (precips phosphate)> Also, can the Kombu be boiled to soften it without destroying nutrients it contains? <like our/any foods... it will destroy some/many nutrients. If you must, briefly blanch it instead> Also, I bought this stuff at the Asian market, how can I know it has no added preservatives or other chemicals? <honest list of ingredients is the best I/we can hope for> Finally, do you have any other suggestions for a balanced diet for a Scopus Tang? At present, along with the Nori and Kombu, it gets the mussel and clam fed to the other fish. <having a variety of 6-10 foods of random origin and processing will likely be fine (FD, Frozen, pellet, fresh). Focus as you have done on a heavy green component... and do consider growing some Gracilaria (AKA "Tang Heaven" from IPSF.com) in a refugium. Anthony>

Macroalgae On The Menu? WWM Crew, <Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> Hello and thanks for all the knowledge gained from this site.  I have a question on a refugium.  I have a 125 gal FOWLR tank and have just added a CPR 24" hang on refugium w/ a 36w PC light. In it I have 12 lbs live sand (4" DSB), 5 lbs live rock, and a hand full of Caulerpa.  It has been set up for 3 days.  Will the Caulerpa attached to the live rocks and begin to grow? <Given sufficient light and nutrients, it will definitely begin to attach and grow.> I would like to farm the Caulerpa and feed it to my Tangs and Angel fish, is this ok. <If they accept it- it is a good supplemental food source> How often should I Farm it? <If you're talking about harvesting it to perform nutrient export, then you should harvest small quantities on a regular basis, such as weekly, or more often if it grows like crazy. As far as using it as a food source is concerned- just feed it as often as your fishes will accept it-daily would be fine...> After reading from you site I have learned that the Caulerpa can release organics back into the main tank, how would I know this is happening? <Well, Caulerpa doesn't necessarily release organics into the tank. It does, however, have a propensity to go "sexual", and release cellular material into the water, which can severely tax water quality. It is also known to release some substances into the water that can interfere with many corals. Caulerpa is not the most evil algae in the world, but it does have a "dark side", which you need to be aware of. I prefer less "noxious" algae, such as Chaetomorpha, which floats freely and grows quite well in many systems. If harvested regularly, it is an excellent nutrient export vehicle, with none of the detrimental aspects of Caulerpa. However, Tangs don't seem to like the taste of this stuff! If you are looking for a great macroalgae to feed to your tangs, you should give Gracilaria a try. Once you get the knack of growing it, Gracilaria is really the premier macroalgae to feed to tangs!> Thanks in advance. Mike <Glad to help! Regards, Scott F>

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

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>

Too LITTLE Algae??   >WWM Gunk Guru: >>Surely you can't mean ME. >After months of fighting hair algae and Cyano-slime, I seem to have suddenly reversed fortunes. I have a Lawnmower (Jeweled Rockskipper) Blenny that has feasted for months since the setup of my 100 gallon reef tank on all kinds of single cell annoyances, gaining a stomach that would make a Hell's Angel proud. To give him some buffet dining partners, I added some small Sally Lightfoot crabs and a Rock Boring Urchin (true name, it's not very exciting to watch) along with 100 small blue leg and red hermit crabs, and about two dozen snails of various flavors. I've also upped my skimmer to an Aqua-C Remora Pro, and setup a nice little ozonizer that spits out 100 mg of O3 per hour and keeps the RedOx at about 310 mV or so. I've finally added a juvi Regal tang (Doryiatus disneyus) that has a bottomless stomach for algae ... and, I now have to squint like Clint Eastwood to find any algae at all. The drawback it that I've noticed my Blenny is losing some weight, and the Sally Lightfooters seem to have less and less to munch on. The Rock Boring Urchin cruises over the entire landscape much more frequently in what I assume is a heightened search for yummy green snacks.  So (here's the question, thanks for waiting) >>Believe it or not, my pleasure! >...have I over-controlled my algae? >>It certainly sounds like it, especially if you're relying on the algae alone to meet the dietary needs of these denizens.  Could it be time to consider setting up a 'fuge for macros? >I could stand to give away or lose everything that needs it, except for the Blenny, who was my first fish and has survived major ammonia spikes and a 10-minute fresh air dip... >><GIGGLE!> >Thanks, SLC >>Would it be out of the question to set up a 'fuge or otherwise supplement their diets?  If not, consider either or both options, with the additions of Nori and romaine lettuce.  Otherwise, you may very well indeed have to remove some of these animals, and I would start with the Sally Lightfoot crabs and some snails.  Crabs first, for sure.  I'd like you to keep the urchin, just because it's really boring.  Marina

"Ogo-Mania!" Hello.  I have a 4" yellow tang (Tango) and would like to start feeding it some fresh macro algae like you suggest.  Any idea where I can buy Gracilaria (on the internet) so I can start propagating it at home?  All of the LFS's in my area only seem to carry grape Caulerpa, and even that is only on a limited basis.  Thanks!  Sherri Wilson, Buffalo, New York. <Ahh- you can get my favorite stuff (Gracilaria parvispora aka "Ogo") from my favorite e-tailer, Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kailua-Kona (www.ipsf.com)! They call it "Tang Heaven", but whatever you call it- your tang will call it "delicious!" This stuff rocks! Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>

-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

Macroalgae 08/04/03 <Hello, PF with you tonight> I have a 80 gallon fish tank that I would like to put some Caulerpa in but, I don't know if my fish will eat it before it has time to establish itself. I have: three stripe damsel x1 yellow damsel x1 Gregory damsel x1 Clarkii Clown x1 Do you know if my fish will eat the Caulerpa if I were to put em in my tank or any other species of macroalgae. <Well, from what I know, they are all primarily planktivores (i.e. eating small floating things). Then again, they don't read the same books and articles we do. I would think though, that your algae would be safe. Do look into it's light requirements, and remember, Caulerpa can grow like a weed. If you want a tank full of it for a planted FW tank look, then you're set. It will spread to all available space, it took me months to get it all out of my tank, and in the end I had to get a tang to handle it. Read up on it here, www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpaalg.htm  lots of good info for you to use.

- Freshwater Algae for Marine Fish? - Hello, <Hello to you.> I was wondering if you could feed rocks covered with that green stringy algae that grows in freshwater to a marine fish such as an angelfish or tang? <I would think so.> Would it be bad for them or would they just not nibble at it? <Won't know for sure until you try it, but I'd be more concerned about the 'rocks' that held the algae... just concerned they may react with saltwater, depending on their origin.> I read on your site about growing your own rocks in the window in a jar with saltwater so I have started that but no algae yet, but I have tons of rocks with freshwater algae on them from my pond so I was wondering if I could use them in a marine setup. Would the algae just die off when put in saltwater and the water? <I think it would eventually, unless the fish eat it first.> Just curious. <I would try with just one, and have a water change waiting in the wings in case something unexpected happens... if the fish eat it, then you know you're on the right track. If the algae dissolves and discolors the water, do the water change and don't put in any more algae rocks.> Thanks for all of your help all of the time, you are an invaluable resource. Kylee <Cheers, J -- >

Too much Nori for tangs? >Hello, >>Hi Terry, Marina here. >I have enjoyed your website for some time now and have come up with the first of probably many questions for the future. I have two small tangs (a yellow and a palette.) I normally alternate feeding every other day--flake food one day and frozen the next. They are healthy fish and recently I have been giving them dried Nori on flake food days. Well they love it and gorge themselves on it. I just wonder how much of a piece of sheet Nori would be too much every other day. I have a 90 Gal tank with LR and the tangs share the tank with three green Chromis and two maroon clowns. >>No such thing as too much Nori, Terry.  I will only suggest that you soak it once or twice a week with Selcon (or similar quality supplement).  What I prefer to do with the Nori is put it on a clip, then let the animals free-feed off of it, similar to what they would do in nature.

What is Nori? What is Nori? Who makes it? Is that flakes? Pellets? <It comes in strips and can usually be found at your LFS or grocery store.  Cody> Thank you, Luke Green water- phytoplankton I would like to culture my own Phytoplex.  How do I do it? Alex Reynaud <do an Internet search for Florida Aqua Farms... they sell complete kits and individual starter components and cultures for Nanochloropsis and Isochrysis to get you on your way. Best regards, Anthony>

HELP -- need advice! Thanks for the advice.  It troubles me to hear that you are surprised with their size.  Should they have grown more?  Am I doing something wrong?  I feed them every day (variety of foods high in protein) <Are you feeding them veggies? Sushi Nori is now available at many grocery stores, and you can find it at Oriental Markets if worse comes to worse. Some fish food makers are selling it as prepackaged fish food, for about 5 times the price of sushi Nori (and it's the same stuff!) and they look very healthy -- brightly colored and definitely not skinny. They are also all very active fish -- acting content with their surroundings. <Well, then I wouldn't be too worried.> Also, how do I find a mate for the clown? <Buy a juvenile of the same species, after some squabbling (and maybe not even then) he'll change into a male, your female has already established her place.> I've tried an Anemone but didn't have any luck. <Anemones are generally hard to keep, and can live for decades, if not centuries in the wild. Please research them thoroughly before trying that again.> Plus she never would come out of it! <That's called hosting and is what clowns do in the wild. Prevents them from being eaten and their host Anemone is protected from predators too.> How can I get a mate for her?  I would love to do that. One more question.  I have about 35lbs. of live rock in the tank right now. Should I add more with the new angel coming?  Could I add maybe one new piece every two weeks or so? <Most angels are nibblers and need a lot of LR. Getting a 100lbs+ wouldn't be out of line. Cure it in a separate container and add it to the tank once it's cured. Even then, you should wait a few months (at least) before adding the angel. Here's the info on LR: www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm  > Thanks so much!  You all are lifesavers! :) <You're welcome, and we try out best.>

Feeding Algae to corals Bob, one more question....how do you feel about feeding micro algae, sparingly, twice a week for the corals?? I mix  about 1/4 or less phytoplankton using my tank's water, and shut the pumps off for a little while, and administer it with a feeding tube. Pat Marren <Very few corals actually feed on micro-algae. Am not a fan of administering for this purpose. If you feel the entire system is benefiting from such application... Bob Fenner>

Procuring Macroalgae Dear crew: <Scott F. your Crew member today> One of you recommended me to try feeding tang heaven algae from IPSF at Hawaii.. but they say they cannot ship to Canada. and I know currently, FFExpress sale some of the type of algae, but was also unable to ship up to Canada, do you guys know who can ship up here for us?? Or perform a transship at some cost?? Because I am sure there are lots of demand here!! Eric <Hmm, Eric...interesting problem...I was not aware that there is a problem in shipping macroalgae to Canada. Maybe an agricultural regulation or something? My recommendation to obtain this macroalgae would be to try other sources, such as Inland Aquatics, Sea Crop, or Florida Aqua Farms (do internet searches to see how to contact them). Other ideas would be to try a scientific supply company within Canada, perhaps with the assistance of a local educational institution, like a high school or college. Finally, you could see if any fellow hobbyists have this stuff available for trade or sale locally...Perhaps a posting on the WWM forum, or on another message board on the 'net. I sure hope that you can get Gracilaria, because it's truly an amazing food for tangs. Once you get some, I hope that you can really make an effort to propagate this macroalgae for your future needs. Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

What to feed algae lover - 3/26/03 I have 90gal with 90 lbs Kaelini rock setup since 1/10/03. I have 1 coral beauty clown and have gone thru the brown diatom algae period and i now have green hair algae. Last Thurs. i received a standard algae attack pack of turbo snails, dwarf hermits and red tipped hermits. They are doing such a fantastic job that i am already worried about having enough algae for them to eat. What and how much should i supplementary feed them? <How much is to be determined by how many you have and a visual check as to who eats what, but as far as what to feed them there are many choices to choose from. Gosh......Mmmmmm.....Spirulina pellets, blanched spinach, seaweeds sold for the pet fish industry and in many Asian food markets now and days, uh..... meaty foods for hermits as well i.e. frozen mysids and plankton>  What is the correct photoperiod length for inverts? <standard lighting scheme applies. Whatever goes for your fish and corals will likely be fine for the rest.> Thanks <You're welcome. Paul>

BGA in algae cultures The aquaculture facility I work for is encountering problems with BGA in our batch culture system.  The water used is filtered down to .35micrometers and it is UV'ed.  BGA is predominantly in our T-Iso cultures and is becoming a problem for the larvae it is being fed too.   Could you advise on how to eliminate BGA all together?  Any advice would be appreciated. <The S.O.P. is to bleach/acid wash the contaminated cultures and start over with Cyanobacteria-free culture media and Isochrysis... You likely know this already... sorry to be the re-enforcer of not-so-good news. Bob Fenner> Cathy

Seaweed Selection Hi All! <Scott F. today!> I work at a lab where we have tested various seaweeds  for a local company-Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. I wonder if I can use some of their product to feed my blue hippo tang and dwarf flame angel? <Sounds like a good idea to me!> I have samples of ground Laver aka Wild Atlantic Nori (Porphyra umbilicalis), Kelp flakes (Laminaria longicuris), Dulse flakes (Palmaria palmata), Alaria aka wild Atlantic Wakame (Alaria esculenta) and Sea Lettuce flakes (Ulva lactuca). I believe these are harvested around Nova Scotia and/or New Foundland and are certified  organic. I know the fish are from warmer climates and maybe these seaweeds should  not be feed to them...? I also have a certificate of analysis that states the Sea Lettuce and Dulse may contain Arsenic; Dulse with 1.10 mg/Kg and Sea Lettuce <13 mg/Kg As. Not sure if flake  foods sold over the counter have ever been tested for As levels or if this is even a concern?! Any ideas or comments? Thanks Denise <Great connection to have, Denise! I'd would not be hesitant to try these "temperate" algae. I'll bet a fair number of the macroalgae used in commercial fish foods are not of tropical origin! As far as the arsenic...I don't know of any such analysis being conducted...I'd err on the side of caution and not feed the macroalgae that are stated to contain arsenic...Perhaps you could contact the manufacturer for an interpretation here...Better safe than sorry! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

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

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

Flower Pot Coral II Dear Crew, As you remember, I wrote concerning my G. stokesii (thanks for the correction). I wrote Kent and awaited a response. The response is in and I value your opinion as much and possibly more (your helping the amateurs, he is selling a product). Please do not take offense to my quotation of expert as I am unfamiliar with your staffs qualifications. <No problem. If you are interested, there is a page on the crew, who we are, what we look like, what we do, etc. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmcrew.htm> I simply didn't want some smug response from them saying "who this guy, we are the pro's" <No, I am the Pro, Steven Pro to be exact. :)> You seem to overqualified to say the least and I am interested in your response. By the way, they asked If I am skimming. I said yes 4 hours per day venturi style. Effective today I have 3 inches of aragonite live sand and the stokesii are on the bottom. Thanks Steve- HERE IS THE OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM KENT Hello, Thanks very much for your inquiry; I'll do my best to try and clear up some confusion. Goniopora, in general, has a poor track record for survival in captivity, and the reasons for this aren't very clear to even the most experienced hobbyists and professionals in the industry. There are many factors, however, that are often observed and/or theorized to have an influence on the survival rate. Certainly, water temperature, nitrogenous waste concentrations, light characteristics, water flow, dissolved oxygen concentration, nutrient input, and presence of toxins excreted by nearby corals and other cnidarians play roles in the relative survival rate of Goniopora. I will, at this point, say that I am not aware that any specific studies have been performed on "bottled phytoplankton" and the size of the species included as they pertain to the feeding habits of Goniopora. Our product, Phytoplex, contains three species of phytoplankton in a size range of 2-15 microns, and our ChromaPlex contains two species with a size range of 5-25 microns. The recognized lower limit on size of phytoplankton as noted by Marine Biologists and Oceanographers is 2 microns; therefore I find it difficult to believe that Goniopora, which feed not only on phytoplankton (all 2 microns and larger), but also on zooplankton (also 2 microns and larger) are not able to feed on organisms present in our products. In other words, the insinuation or claim that the phytoplankton in Phytoplex are too large for Goniopora doesn't hold water. Corals and other organisms that feed on the smallest classes of plankton, femto- and picoplankton, at 0.02-0.2 microns and 0.2-2.0 microns, respectively, often use a visible mucous to aid in the capture of such small particles; Goniopora do not display that characteristic. Note that the femtoplankton class is composed wholly of virioplankton (virus'), and picoplankton is composed of bacterioplankton. Again, I believe that an individual would be hard-pressed to locate a study performed on Goniopora citing their feeding schemes, but perhaps I'm just not reading enough these days. Now, allow me to say that if the coral isn't getting the amount of nutrients it needs (i.e. the coral is simply not capturing enough of the plankton to meet its nutritional requirements) in order to survive and thrive, that's another matter, more easily solved. You didn't mention that you have a protein skimmer on this aquarium, did you omit that information or is the tank skimmer-less? Kindest regards, Chris Brightwell Marine Scientist Kent Marine, Inc. www.kentmarine.com <While I know of no studies involving Phytoplankton and Goniopora, Dr. Rob Toonen did perform a study on bottled Phytoplankton products. You should be able to easily find this on the net. The basics are what Anthony gave you in the last email. To be useful, it must be fresh, refrigerated, and whisked to ensure proper particle size. While their live Phytoplankton is probably of the sizes he quoted, Dr. Toonen's study showed that all of these products have a tendency to clump, making them worthless. They must be used up in less than six months, refrigerated the entire time (wholesale, retail, and your home), and need to be blended for a few minutes to minimize clumping. Do read the article for yourself, though. -Steven Pro> <<Gonioporas do not eat much in the way of phytoplankton... but each individual polyp DOES feed on good sized zooplankton. RMF>>

Bad Tangs Won't Eat Their Greens! Bob and crew, <Scott F. here today> I have a problem with my two tangs, one regal tang and one orange shouldered tang. I understand that in the wild they are mainly herbivorous.  Mine will graze constantly on micro/macro algae around the tank, however, this is now in short supply.  They get fed three times a day with Spirulina enriched and omega 3 enriched brine shrimp and sometimes a bit of krill/Mysis shrimp. <These are very good foods, IMO. If you are going to use brine shrimp, the enriched type is the only one to use!> I have read that without large amounts of greens they may get HLLE.  This lead me to trying to provide greens in the form of Kombu seaweed ( bought from Sainsbury's specialty food section) and Sushi Nori seaweed from an Asian food store. I have also tried Spinach but I have been told that Spinach is unsuitable for marine fish as it contains organic compounds that are not found in their natural diet and also that it  may contain high levels of nitrate from the fertilizer. <Good points!> The tangs will not touch any of the food given to them except the brine shrimp and krill/Mysis. <May just take a while to acquire a "taste" for these alternatives> I know the Spirulina in the brine shrimp is tuned to their dietary needs, but is it enough? Can you suggest any other greens I could try them on? Many Thanks, Jon Pinfold. <Well, John, there are some better alternatives, if you could obtain them. In my opinion, the best algae food for tangs is a red macroalgae, Gracilaria, also known as "Ogo", "Limu", or the proprietary name "Tang Heaven". This macroalgae is absolutely devoured by every mainly herbivorous tang that I have maintained over the years. Two great sources of this live algae (which, by the way, you can propagate yourself with a bit of effort) are Gerald Heslinga's Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kona, HI, or Mary Middlebrook's Marine Specialties International in Oxnard, CA. Both  of these great companies offer cultivated Gracilaria for sale on-line. I have obtained my starter cultures from IPSF,  which offers the "red" version, and it's really an excellent food. Finally, please note that the Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) tends to be a bit less enthusiastic about macroalgae, or macroalgae substitutes, such as Nori, but they will munch on it once they acquire a taste. You can also purchase "Ogo" from some Asian markets, but it is refrigerated, and not as eagerly accepted, IMO. Do look for the live Gracilaria, I think your tangs will love you for it! Regards, Scott F.>

Feather stars and the Challenge/Problems of feeding Bottled Phyto Hi All, <cheers, friend> Writing from Australia so you're probably all sleeping now.  <ahhh... one of the beautiful aspects of our WetWebMedia machine: we have a crew spread across three time zones answering queries and I'm a night owl on a shared zone. We have almost 24 hour coverage of responses <G>! Anthony Calfo in your service> Firstly your site is great thanks for all the help thus far.  <our pleasure> I recently went to my LFS to buy a bristle star fish and the one I chose was all wrapped up in a feather star.  <for future reference it can be easily led away with shrimp pellets or some other fragrant fish food in the water> I didn't want the owner to damage the feather star trying to get to the star fish and he seemed happy in there,  <the brittle star may have been happy but the feather surely was not> so......yes I bought the two together.  <Ughhhh! Now that silly twit of a merchant is going to reorder yet another starfish to starve in captivity. Aiiiieeeeeee :p > Only then did I check out your info on feather stars. Realizing they are not easy to keep I need some advice.  <indeed, my friend... although this is categorically one of the most difficult animals in aquatic science to keep alive. You will go though extraordinary feats to succeed but it will be rewarding> I've read all your FAQ's but I have a few questions of my own. This is the situation. The feather star has a bristle star fish living in it. There is also a baby bristle star living in it which I discovered the other day. Along with those two there are two very small black crabs or shrimp not sure but they have little claws similar to that of a tiny coral banded shrimp. I don't think I can get rid of these guys, and am wondering if they might harm the feather star and or the baby bristle star. <you may need to lead all away with stinky food as bait and remove the feather star to a species tank or at least a fishless in-line refugium dedicated to it> Next can the large bristle star damage the feather star, <absolutely yes... and likely in time> its totally wrapped up in it the whole time. Hasn't left it alone since purchase 1 week ago. Next, am feeding the feather star every third night with a frozen zooplankton type food. Cant remember what its called, but its basically for invertebrates, corals etc. The feather star was bought in good shape. Many arms intact. Very responsive, still looks good. <hmmm... I appreciate the effort but I cannot underscore the fact that feather stars feed on nanoplankton... microscopic food... phyto, floc, colloidal matter, etc. Nothing that you or I can offer from a bottle of cube even has a prayer of being remotely close to being small enough to be edible. This starfish will starve in months if not weeks.> Any ideas as to how to keep it this way will be appreciated. Once again I made the mistake of purchasing and then reading up. <no worries this time... we learn from our mistakes of course. The silver lining is that you may enjoy some new techniques learned in trying to keep this animal.> Didn't plan on a nice bristle star using a feather star as a home. <understood... I would have liked to see a more experienced and professional response from the vendor to simply lure the brittle away with bait, or better... not sell feather stars at all without telling customers how to keep them alive. The short story is that you can either set up a separate live food culturing station to grow rotifers and phytoplankton (very tedious!) or you could set up a refugium for your feather star. The refugium is highly recommended with hope that it will generate enough natural plankton if you have the resolve to leave it fishless. Have good strong flow too to support the starfish or it will not open up. Another possible food is bottled phytoplankton (or a slurry of your frozen product). However, the trouble with all liquid suspensions is that they must be blended electrically every single time they are fed to reduce the particle size. Here is a piece I wrote with liquid phytoplankton and other liquid foods in mind: "My reference to the "inappropriate/heavy" feeding of phytoplankton specifically refers to the common misapplication of the bottled products.  When it comes to feeding corals... prey and particle size is everything down to a species level for some.  Some bottled phyto products are very fine indeed but they are commonly misapplied and some have outright poor instructions for application. I have not personally done the studies on phytoplankton, but I have read/heard the reports of those that have. Notably, Rob Toonen has described that even the best bottled phyto (whatever that is by species or nutritional composition for your purpose) is effective in a very narrow range.  The limitations have to do largely with "clotting" or coagulating of the product as it ages rendering the prey/product size too large for many of the fine polyped phyto feeders.  Some recommendations...  Bottled phyto ideally should be packaged, transported, sold and kept refrigerated throughout the chain of custody for the longest shelf life. (on this point most people succeed)  Said shelf life is arguably 6 months at best after which time the efficacy degrades markedly (particle size increases significantly). Such products are used best in 2-4 months, 6 months max. (on this point, most people are willing and able).  With every application, the phyto sample should be whisked in an electric "blender" to reduce particle size... hand shaken is largely ineffective. (Ahhh- ha! on this point, who really does this? Sure.. I have a few kook friends that actually do... but most aquarists know not or will not commit to this tedious application and simply feed more hoping for the best).  Some defenders of the "no-blending" school assert that the undigested or oversized particles still degrade into useful dissolved organics. I'll be the first to say that I am not qualified or interested to test that theory. But by the same line of logic... does that mean that small bits of dissolved cheeseburger also have some potential use? On a more serious note... what of rotting nuisance algae... is that helpful just the same? I don't even want to form an opinion on such matters. If we are talking about delivering particles of phytoplankton to an animal that feeds organismally (whole prey/particles!), then I do not want to make or hear excuses about possible ancillary benefits of dissolved matter.  And so... the reality of some or many folks misapplying such bottled foods (you can extend this argument easily to the chunky gumbo bottled foods that I usually refer to as "pollution in a bottle") is aggravated by the fact that many of the same folks are feeding said product to animals that are unlikely to eat or even known not to eat phytoplankton. The fact of the matter is that most of us has corals that decidedly favor meaty fare (zooplankton). So... unless you have a herd of gorgonians or a gaggle of Nephtheids... I'm not so sure I would be dumping bottled phyto in like it was hair tonic.  To be clear, I think the notion of using a product like bottled phyto in most tanks at least in small quantities is a great idea! I just think that it is misapplied too often. In a perfect world... everybody would have a phyto reactor instead."> Look forward to your reply, Doron Milner. Sydney Australia. <my best regards to you for your efforts still to help this creature. Sincerely, Anthony Calfo>

Feeding fresh algae Dear Bob, <Hello> I just wanted to check your position on feeding marine algae that I might collect on the beach to my Ctenochaetus strigosus. I live on the South Coast of the UK and it would be relatively easy to get hold of some macroalgae from our beaches. Would there be a practical way to preserve the nutrients and get rid of possible microbial or viral diseases (freezing?) and also eventual pollution washing?), so as not to harm him unduly? <I think this is an idea, resource worth trying. As you likely know, such material has been used as fodder... If it were me, I'd rig up a simple marine tank with low lighting, something in the way of filtration (perhaps just an air-powered sponge filter)... and leave the collected algae (of a few, "softer" species... reds and greens, but not browns) to simply float, lose whatever "hitchhikers" it has over a week or two's time... try feeding them... if they're accepted, go on to trying various ways of preparation and storage: parboiling, rinsing and freezing, microwaving, blending and freezing in cubes, and freezing altogether for handy use.> Also, I hear a US public aquarium has very successfully used broccoli to augment the intake of vitamin A in HLLE disease in blue tangs. What do you think about feeding some organically grown broccoli to my Ctenochaetus? <Worth trying. But, many folks simply use liquid vitamin supplements applied to all sorts of foods to augment iodide, C, D et al. nutrients> Finally, he/she's about 10cm long. What length can I expect him to achieve in a 60 Imp Gallon system where his only housemate is a small Huma Huma trigger (4cm)? <Perhaps another 5 cm. over time... they're slow growers comparatively> Thanks for your answers and for your illuminating insights throughout your site. Massimo, Brighton, UK <Thank you for your participation, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Fresh Nori Hi, As you may be aware I commenced supplying the Tropical marine Centre, here in the UK, with their fresh Nori seaweed about a year ago and am very pleased with the quantities we are selling (about 1000 packs weekly in England alone). <Ah, great... It took me twenty plus years to talk Chris Turk into selling friends "expired" product in the U.S. and then Julian Sprung stole the idea...> About 6 months ago I introduced the product to Bob at PW with a view to being our wholesale distributor in the USA. For whatever reason this has not succeeded and I need to start looking for a distributor who is capable of introducing the product into as many fish stores in the US as possible. <Mmm...> If you know of any main distributor I would really appreciate their contact info. There seems to be no product that is similar over there with only Julian Sprung's sea veggies which are dried. This is the only truly FRESH sea vegetable product available to the hobbyist. <There are a few select choices to mention... not the biggest players, but people I know to be honest, competent, hard-working here. I will cc them and ask that they respond directly to you> Thank you in advance. Best regards, Martin Levy. Director - The French Garden Ltd. Moderator - Reef section- Petswarehouse.com <Nice to meet you. Bob Fenner>

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

Hair Algae problems Can Nori seaweed cause hair algae problem. RGibson <Not likely... not much "fertilizer" content (little nitrate, phosphate to it/dried, the Red Algae Porphyra). Bob Fenner>

Algae & Additives Thanks Steven, <You are welcome.> Is algae (micro and macro) all then that is needed by way of "marine origin" greens? <Yes, if you can grow enough. Most people cannot and need to supplement. That is why the Nori is perfect.> On another note, I am adding Iodide, Strontium and Calcium (Seachem) to the tank on a weekly basis. I also have a freshwater top-off system which doses the tank with about 15 litters of evaporation each week. Question is, can I add all the above additives to my freshwater top-off without them having a reaction to one another in the higher-than-normal concentrations (add to 20 litters of top-off rather than 450 in the tank)? <Better to dose individually.> I would prefer to dose gradually over the week than just bang everything in once each week. Best, M <And you too. -Steven Pro>

Re: Algae & Additives Hello, Question regarding Nori: I am told to feed (tang) Nori. Is this necessary if my tank has good growth of Caulerpa and microalgae? <Not absolutely necessary if other good vegetable based foods of marine origin are used, but an excellent option.> The Tang grazes all day on LR and glass. Many thanks, Michael <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feeding kelp Greetings to the Wet Web Posse! <<Yo yo! JasonC here at your service...>> Fantastic site! I read so much info here. Hate to bug you guys but I have two questions that I'm dying to have answered. <<No worries.>> First: I have a 50 gal. With a 175MH FOWLR that is slowly sliding toward a reef tank. A rescued bubble coral from a friend started it. Following success there, a BTA and some star polyps have moved it further along. I have Halimeda coming out of my ears and I am starting to grow other (turtle weed and Derbesia I believe) green algae. I have a yellow tang in QT now and will be adding it in a few days. I was wondering (now to the question) if the tang runs out of algae in the tank, if I would be able to feed it kelp or other macro algae from the ocean? <<I'd say yes to the "other" macro algae, but I'm not sure a tang would eat kelp - it's a little tough. Certainly worth a try.>> I live in Long Beach, CA. and frequently see giant kelp and other stuff on/near shore and in the bays. What are the risks and precautions for doing something like this? <<I would be careful of anything that comes from close to shore as it will likely contain some concentration of common pollutants, none of which you want in your fish or your tank. Stuff collected from farther out would be better advised, but again there's no guarantee that the tang will eat it.>> Second: I have a Berlin (red sea) skimmer driven by a Rio 2700 in my sump that does not seem to pull out much gunk. I cleaned it last month (as per suggestions on your site) and still have not seen much production despite a dramatic increase in the amount of fine bubbles in the column. I have seen a little more Cyano in the tank but this could be due to my recent upgrade to the 175 MH or to iodine additions (started with the introduction of the star polyps). <<Oh for certain, a 175w MH will grow any algae like weeds.>> Any ideas how to boost skimmate production? <<Not really, skimmers can only skim what's there. If your bioload is light, then there's not really a whole lot to skim.>> Thank you so very much for your time. Best regards. Karl Palm <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: seaweed Hi I have recently purchased some TMC seaweed. When i put it in the tank none of the fish can eat it or tear any off. Some other people that i have spoke to have also had this problem. Is there something wrong with it or do you have to do something to it before you put it in your tank? thanks MATT <Much depends on what type/species of algae this is, and the particular fishes you're offering it to... but mainly these lacks of palatability are due to unfamiliarity. Do just offer a small bit of the algae with their meals (on an all plastic clip is best so you can keep an eye on it), and you will likely see your herbivorous (most all fishes are greenery eaters to an extent) livestock taking the algae with gusto in a few weeks. Bob Fenner

Questions about Nori for fishes Hi Bob !! I need some advice from you . First of all, are those Nori found in supermarkets that is for human consumption safe for marine fishes too?  <Yes my friend... identical... just look out and avoid the "flavored" ones (like with soyu on them...). Other human-intended algae from such sources are excellent as foods as well.> Secondly, can I placed the newly purchased queen angel (6 inch) in a quarantine tank of SG level of 1.010 for 2 weeks ? Thanks. <I would lower the spg to only 1.016 or so... a thousandth per day maximum from what the shipping water is/was... and raise it back up at the end at the same rate... to match your system water. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang and Nori The trouble came, I think, when I tried to add some Nori to the tank with a clip and later to just rubber band it to a piece of rock.   The stuff was blowing around all over. When the tang would bite a piece off it left more to sail around the tank. Yikes. <Cut in smaller strips, fold and pinch in the clip> This worked like a charm. Also changed brands of Nori. This seems to stay firm in the water better. (Emerald Cove brand btw). <<Yes. Many different products... Quite different... Best to experiment, look around... Just avoid the "flavored" ones> <No worries. Bob Fenner who sees you with a larger system, soon.> Hey no threats!!! :-) And don't take up fortune telling and leave your day job. :-) <<No way>> --Jane (who hopes Bob takes these comments in the way they were delivered.) <<Only possibility. Bob Fenner>>

Tank Temperature, shrimp longevity, necessity of adding phytoplankton... Hey Bob, Hope this finds you well; the reef-keeping efforts are going well on this end (currently have a coral beauty and three Firefish seemingly happy in my 60 gall). Some questions I have that I can't seem to resolve through research, so I thought I'd go straight to the guru (you) on these issues: 1.) What's your take on the great temperature debate for reef tanks? High 70s, low 80s? I keep my tank at 80-82. I've heard of people talking about corals "melting" at temps higher than this; which corals, if any? <This whole range is fine... there are some important factors to take into account with the high and low end... issues like the desired results of the aquarist: growth, color, shortened life spans... need for added circulation, aeration at elevated levels... Some species of corals have shown difficulties in thermal adaptation... ones collected from "cooler" latitudes, deeper waters... but most all will/can adapt...> 2.) How long do inverts live in aquariums? Shrimp, crabs, snails, etc. Do any last more than a year? <Yes, most live a few years...> How about fan worms?  <A couple to a handful of years for some larger species> I'd like to get more shrimp or a fan worm, but wouldn't be so interested if they weren't long lived in the aquarium. <All relative my friend. To us Drosophila come and go, for Galapagos tortoises, we're moving along...> 3.) How do you feel about the use of phytoplankton in aquariums? Necessary? Is it possible to have phytoplankton reproducing in your tank if you add it frequently enough? <Good idea, yes either produced endogenously and/or added... Yes... with "proper" size, set-up...> 4.) I've read a lot of anti-anemone-keeping sentiment in various posts. Some say less than 5% of anemones in aquariums make it past a year. You say they're hardy, though? What's your take on all this? <They're "hardy", considering the amazing trying environmental fluctuation they encounter in the wild... and how long many apparently live... but not tolerant of the abuse generally encountered in "extraction", handling, then poor conditions afforded them in most cases in captivity...> 5.) Is it possible to have too much Caulerpa or macro-algae in a tank? I've read that excess algae can cause too much oxygen in tanks and be harmful to corals (evidenced by little bubbles on rocks or micro-algae, which I occasionally see). I have three clumps of red ferns (small fist size), and another clump of maiden hair algae. What do you think? <Yes, not so much for "excess oxygen"... but production of other by-materials, over-competition for carbon dioxide, other nutrients> 6.) Lastly, and not so interesting, my two leather corals seem to be shrinking (I've had them for about 2 months -- they used to open fully, but not in the last three weeks). I have no idea what gives -- parameters are in usual accordance to recommended guidelines (with temperature being the high exception). I guess my question is how to tell when, if at all, to throw in the towel with these guys; once on a declining path, do they have good chances for recovery? Or do I just let nature and time take its course? <Go with nature... you will be able (sight, touch, smell) to tell if/when your Sarcophytons are on the way out. In the meanwhile, check on water quality (esp. alkalinity, pH, calcium), look closely for parasites (even at night), pesky predators, add a bit of iodide/iodine weekly. Feed them... and if/when/where in doubt a couple of ten percent water changes, a unit or two of carbon in your filter flow path... may work wonders. Bob Fenner> Thanks again Bob!

Caulerpa in a blender? Hi Bob, I'm back at Vanderbilt and continuing my studies (shuddering). Anyway I had an idea that totally came out of the blue. Well here it is. This weekend I came home and I asked my brother to help me feed the corals and dispose of some of the Caulerpa growing in my tank. Well, I left the room to do something and I came back in and my brother was popping the Caulerpa. I asked him what he was doing and he said that I told him to do that because it released nutrients back into the tank. Well I know that at the time I told my brother to throw away some Caulerpa he was on the computer playing a video game and that distracted him from listening to me. I then thought about what he was doing and wondered if some of the coral in the tank would actually ingest the popped Caulerpa. Do you think the corals would? I then thought that well hey they might be able to and I had the idea of putting the Caulerpa in the blender to provide food/nutrients for my corals. Would this work or would it just provide food for microalgae and pollute the water. Weird story huh? Well thanks for you time and I'll get back to working on my 10 pg lab report (blah!). <Those reports are good practice... I might experiment here with the blended/chopped Caulerpa, but I'd like to warn you that there may be some danger here. Turns out that in the process of sexual reproduction this genus/family dissolve in sort of the same fashion as blending... and that this sometimes makes a real green mess of aquariums... and has resulted in total wipe-outs... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Eric
Re: Caulerpa in a blender?
Thanks Bob for answering my question. I have to ask though, do you think I should try this or is the risk not worth it. I have a pretty stocked 10 gal tank, but I haven't checked the water parameters. Do you think that if there were no nitrates/phosphates in the water that the Caulerpa would hurt my tank?  <Worth trying, but not in your stocked/only tank.> I might get another 10 gal to try but I'm really short on cash at the moment. By the way, I just finished the report and I'm exhausted (10hrs+of work at one time isn't fun). <Wait till you're older... you'll look back on these exercises as great fun, believe me> I wonder how you could write such long books. <Piece by piece my friend. With an outline, and keeping my eyes on the prize> Maybe it might be fun if you wrote about what you enjoy but I'm not enjoying myself so its not fun. <Convince yourself that what you are doing is indeed in your best interests... as it actually is... and hold yourself in good faith. You should only do "what you want"... and you are doing so. Bob Fenner> Keep up the great work on WWM. I enjoy reading these Q&A's everyday. <Will endeavor to do so my friend.> Thanks again, Eric

Re: Sick RedSea Sailfin (green foods) Mr. Fenner, I had quite a great time watching my 2 fish gallivant in the big tank again. They have pretty much eaten all of the long algae off of the rear glass. I did notice that the RedSea has a few spots above his eyes that may be the beginning of HLLE-I hope not but I've read your site about nutrition for it & am going to the store to get some vitamins after this email. I also found 2 cleaner shrimp that have been in the store for over 3 weeks & are looking & eating great. Should I quarantine or dip the shrimp before putting in the main tank?? <Not necessary. Please see the WWM site here> Thanks again for all of your guidance. Craig PS I read it, but forgot! What is you view of feeding broccoli enriched w/Zo? <Fine, but marine-originating algal foods are superior. Bob Fenner>

Seaweed for food Hi Mr. Fenner Just 1 quick question. I've looked around, but the only type of Nori seaweed I've found to give to my fish is the roasted type for sushi. It's all natural, and plain, except roasted. Is this o.k., or do i have to keep looking for a different type? <Roasted is fine... look for other algae for human consumption as well... like Kombu, karame... they should be found in the oriental food store/section... just not ones with "sauces" added. Bob Fenner> Greg N

Fish nutrition, algae, moolah Hi Bob How many kinds of marine fishes feed on algae? <Many... thousands... a huge resource as you know> Do they feed on specific kinds of algae?  <Most are generalists, consuming many types of available greens, reds... some browns... others are filter feeders of other groups... diatoms, Euglenoids, dinoflagellates....> We all know that Koi are fed with pellets made of Spirulina which is a kind of algae. <Yes> What do you know of the fish flakes that Tetra manufactures. Are the green ones just made from normal garden vegetables or something else? <Algae... that they harvest and process in Melle, Germany> In the three weeks that I have worked for Underwater World, Dolphin Lagoon I have seen the boys clearing at least 50 - 70 kg of algae from the lagoon everyday. Dolphin poo, working in conjunction with the hot weather in Singapore creates an ideal situation for the algae bloom in the Dolphin pens. If somehow we could turn these algae into fish food... <Ah, Perry, you should be running Singapore! Wait, your talents would go unrealized there! You should be advising companies to reduce their wastes, and improve productivity. Bob Fenner> Perry

DIY DT's I want to make my own DT's. From what I have found, all it is saltwater in a jar that sits under light and kept warm for a week or two. The water will turn green and then you have DT's. Is this true? <Not exactly.> If so how can they sell it for $16.00? There has to be more to this. <Please take a look at the following articles: http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/r_toonen_102500.html http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-07/ds/index.htm> Thanks so much for your time! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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