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Related FAQs: Marine Macro-Algae, Algae Can Be Your Friend

To Articles and FAQs on: Avoiding Algae Problems in Marine Systems, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Caulerpas, Coralline Marine Algae, Red Algae in General, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Phytoplankton, To Pest Algae/Control , Algae Filters ArticlesMarine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

Algae Can Be Your Friend, Pt. 2

By Bob Fenner

Some desirable and not algae groups in Cozumel

Back to Pt. 1

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

    Using up available solubilized nutrients by desirable cultured algae species cuts way back on the growth of noisome forms.

  As food itself… what could be better than having your own salad bar growing right in your home? Many types of livestock forage for a good part of the day; live, palatable algae species make up an appreciable part of their diet.

1)      For esthetic reasons. Many algae are gorgeous, ornamental in their own right; useful as growing d?or, breaking up the physical/optical environment for you and your livestock.

    The following factors are the most important in defining what it takes to grow "good" algae types and population sizes and/or avoid too much of  "bad" ones and proportions.

    Many aquarists have a too-haphazard approach to livestock selection, assortment and placement. It pays to investigate the light/ing needs of your systems occupants, be aware of what you're "driving" with your lighting, and your desires. Don't over- or under-illuminate your system and its specimens. Study about their requirements ahead of purchase. Use directed light sources, timers, dimmers to achieve your goals.

     Through water testing, careful preparation of make-up water, use of appropriate foods in palatable formats, fed in such a way that all are consumed, assiduous use/maintenance of skimmers goes a long way to preventing and removing excess wastes/nutrients that drive algal proliferation. Periodic use of carbon (monthly change outs) is recommended and the "trick" of Kalkwasser dosing to precipitate phosphate is worthwhile at times.

    As simple as good water movement and gas exchange is, this is often THE most important aspect missing in algae-troubled systems. Arrange your powerheads, internal and external pump discharges, intakes to prevent any "dead" areas, directing circulation about and behind all live rock, substrate surfaces.  Practically speaking a system cannot be over aerated/circulated.

   There are members of almost all animal phyla that one can enlist to curtail algal overgrowth by their predation; fishes, Seastars, Crabs, Sea Urchins and more. Bear in mind that almost none are entirely herbivorous, and that they need to be matched to the systems size, development, metabolic rate, other livestock and conditions.

    The worlds reefs are vivacious environments, with webs of ever changing, inter-cooperative relations at play, organisms competing for space, light, nutrients. Not well-known amongst home hobbyists is the arena of chemical interactions amongst SeaLife, particularly the allelopathogenic effects of some algae, other photosynthetic organisms have on each other. Favoring, or allowing the favoring of groups or species in a system can have profound effects on the growth, reproduction of other organisms. The use of live sumps, often called refugiums is of keen usefulness here.

    Unfortunately the "powers that be" have begun to make illegal the possession of the very best species of algae to do all the positive jobs that algae co-culture can do. The genus Caulerpa is supreme in accomplishing the "light reaction" of photosynthesis 24/7. It's very adaptability has been its undoing in the eyes/hands of legislators who have banned it in places, for fear of its being released to wild environments. Many other ornamental and agricultural organisms are more destructive, but the point is conceded that it is of utmost importance that no organism be released into a novel environment where it might persist, displace native life, perhaps introduce pathogens, other competitors…

Approaches to growing/resting other algae species that can be employed in Caulerpas place include utilizing two sumps (one lit while the other is dark), a sub-divided sump (with a dark panel) to accomplish the same result, or utilizing timers to alternate between the main/display aquariums light/dark cycle with the sump/refugium with some overlap.

    As with photosynthetic coral culture, live algae require suitable biomineral content AND alkalinity. I would like to mention two points here: That algae can/do modify their environment profoundly, poisoning other life forms (and sometimes themselves) in ways that favor their presence. Don't let pest forms therefore become too dominant. One aspect of marine/reef aquarium culture that needs reinforcement is the technique of switching out, replenishing diversity, solubility of beneficial organisms, minerals with switching out some of  "older" live rock with new after a system is a year and a half or so of age, and every half year or so thereafter.

   Words of wisdom from the Tao te Ching; of use here. What gets placed in what order is important, particularly in a newly set-up system. Water, lighting with live rock use, placement of other photosynthates, scavengers for algae, appropriate feeding, regular testing and augmentation of needed materials… all are important in determining what goes on in your aquariums.

   Regular maintenance is part of the aquarium experience. Develop and stick with a routine of daily, weekly, monthly and other longer periodic activities to keep your system stable, optimized. For instance, simple cleaning, renewal of mechanical filter media goes a long way to exporting nutrients that can fuel pest algae proliferation.


Back to Pt. 1

 ALGAE can be your friend  3/14/08 Dear Bob Fenner, <Charles> Accept greetings from Cameroon. It's my pleasure to connect with you. I came across your information on thallophyte a short while ago and the caption algae can be your friend was attractive enough. That made me to have a look on the information and it has been useful for my lectures on Thallophytes. I am a senior lecturer in Phytopathology and Phyto-toxicology in the Department of Pharmacy and Phytotherapeutics, University of Yaounde 1, Republic of Cameroon. I just thought of connecting with you and appreciate the work you must be doing to inform the academic or reader audiences about your work. <Heeee! More like massaging folks into learning eh?> We can always share and discuss ideas in the future. I would like to have more information and some slides on the beautiful algae. <For academia? Make it known what you're looking for and I'll send along electronically> Very best wishes from Charles Fokunang PhD, CBiol, MIBiolSenior Lecturer Department of Pharmacy University of Yaounde P.O. Box. 33032, YaoundeCentre Province Republic of Cameroon <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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