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FAQs about Caulerpa Algae 2

Related Articles: Caulerpas by Bob Fenner, A closer look at Caulerpa - Common aquarium species and their care by Adam Jenkins, Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Green AlgaeAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Caulerpa Algae 1, Caulerpa 3, Caulerpa 4, Caulerpa 5, Caulerpa Identification, Caulerpa Behavior, Caulerpa Compatibility/Control, Caulerpa  Selection, Caulerpa Systems, Caulerpa Nutrition, Caulerpa Disease, Caulerpa Reproduction/Propagation, Other Green Algae, RefugiumsGreen Algae Control 1Marine 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

Caulerpa sertularoides in Belize

Caulerpa What is the best natural way to get rid of Caulerpa.  <no immediate or overnight cures that aren't stressful (salinity or temp shock). But aggressive skimming and nutrient control (light feeding/bio-load) can starve it to crash within weeks, high Redox (water changes, ozone, etc) also discourage it. Some natural predators too although never reliable> I ha a 55 gallon tank that is infested with Sawblade Caulerpa. The plant is taking up about 75% to 90% of the tank.  <it really is a dreadful weed> what will eat this stuff but leave my corals alone or would barely bother corals  <a Sailfin or like Zebrasoma tang would work> the corals are all Sarcophyton corals but are not doing too well  <Caulerpa in large quantities is VERY harmful to corals as you have seen... I hear this daily from aquarists yet many people selling Caulerpa and refugium technologies still promote it.. yuck> I also have some mushrooms corals. Please help, I have already had 1 algae bloom with feather Caulerpa. <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa again Hey Gang, I hope you are all having a great summer in between all the help you provide. <thanks and the same to you in kind, my friend> I just finished hooking up my refugium and stocked it with mexicana, raceuros and serrulata algae based on what was available at the LFS and info I read here. <yes... Bob is a proponent of it in small quantities (he is specific about this in verse and presentation)> I set the refugium up to both feed my corals and a future Mandarin Goby (I have a 125gal with 120lbs of live sand and over 100lbs of live rock in the main and 20lbs sand and 5lbs live rock in the refugium). The refugium is lighted 24/7  <this RDP method is nice for pH stability> and is directly fed from the main tank and then to the sump,  <again excellent to get raw water to the refugium for nutrient scrubbing> so it does get lots of "stuff" from the main tank. Today I have read the daily faq's and in 2 of your answers you now say not to use the Caulerpa algae.  <not exactly, please recall that I recommend not using Caulerpa primarily if your goal is coral growth. There are many other less serious disadvantages to it and of course some benefits too. IMO, far fewer benefits though> I am confused more now than ever. What is my best coarse of action, remove the Caulerpas and use something else (what?) or continue with the Caulerpa.  <it depends on the demands you have for the refugium. If you like the look of plants, have a high bio-load of fishes (read: safe oversupply of nutrients without fear of Caulerpa going vegetative), will harvest the Caulerpa like clockwork and are willing to keep it at the slight expense of some coral growth/vigor... then keep it. If you are looking for maximum zooplankton culture or coral growth, then there are much better refugium styles (fishless rubble zones for 'pod culture, or seagrasses for epiphytic material)> Also if you could provide a short explanation of why the Caulerpa is so bad. <excerpted from a recent reply, "The short story is that there are far more disadvantages than advantages. Yes it grows fast and yes it is a large nutrient exporter for it. However, for those same reasons is a very strong competitor with corals for the same nutrients. Furthermore, they exude noxious compounds that slow the potential growth of many corals (read: slows, not stops). They are tedious to maintain without breaching critical mass for fear of a vegetative event which is inevitable and potentially catastrophic in many systems. The list goes on. There are much better macros out there. Caulerpa is popular because it was commercially marketed, not because it is the best choice. See how many corals you can find in Caulerpa zones on wild shores (zero or nearly so... there must be a reason, In small quantities Caulerpa causes little harm... but doesn't help much either."> Thanks to the entire WWM crew for all the selfless help you provide. <best regards, Anthony>

Reef Questions Anthony/Bob - Thanks for your quick response! However, your responses raised even more questions: 1) Caulerpa in sump: You indicated that you disliked the use of Caulerpa in a planted sump. Can you provide specific reasons as to why you dislike the use of Caulerpa in a lighted sump for display systems (with corals/fish) -  <this is literally a several hour/many page dissertation but the short story of it all has been written about many times here in the FAQs if you care to use the google feature in a keyword search to run down the history. My apologies for not retelling the entire story but we literally get upwards of sixty or more emails daily here and brevity alas is necessary at times. The short story is that there are far more disadvantages than advantages. Yes it grows fast and yes it is a large nutrient exporter for it. However, for those same reasons is a very strong competitor with corals for the same nutrients. Furthermore, they exude noxious compounds that slow the potential growth of many corals (read: slows, not stops). They are tedious to maintain without breaching critical mass for fear of a vegetative event which is inevitable and potentially catastrophic in many systems. The list goes on. There are much better macros out there. Caulerpa is popular because it was commercially marketed, not because it is the best choice. See how many corals you can find in Caulerpa zones on wild shores (zero or nearly so... there must be a reason!)> I will definitely be pre-ordering your new book that you mentioned?  <thank you my friend. Read it in good health!> I've used Caulerpa in my reef tanks with very good results - and this was after being encouraged to do so by Bob Fenner (via wetwebmedia).  <in small quantities it causes little harm... but doesn't help much either. Bob is a VERY wise an experienced aquarist. My specialty is reef invertebrate science and coral propagation however (Bob's the Fish guy :) ) I have written a two volume set of books on the topic of coral farming (first volume 450 pages mostly text!). And I have lived this science for many years. Short story: if you love plants and are willing to sacrifice some coral growth... enjoy the Caulerpa. It you want maximum coral growth and health (like coral farmers do), don't take Caulerpa for free!> I went back and looked thru several FAQs/articles on wetwebmedia, and found several places that promoted the use of Caulerpa in a planted sump along with several places where concerns were raised with this approach (but couldn't find specifics on the 'concerns' - other than not to use it in a highly variable bio-load system). <try a keyword string like "Caulerpa, Anthony, refugium" for some of my views> 2) Refugiums vs. Caulerpa in a lighted sump: You stated "If your goal is coral or fish growth... PLEASE do not use Caulerpa but set up a refugium for plankton generation instead." This confused me. Caulerpa set up in a lighted sump should act as a plankton generator to some degree in a mature reef tank - shouldn't it (isn't it a type of refugium - a low intensity plankton generator)?  <agreed... low intensity. Deep rubble zones and seagrass beds are far more productive though. Most corals feed on zooplankton too... very few feed much or at all on phyto (Gorgonids, Nephtheids, some other soft corals but even then not much)> I've used refugiums, but my definition may be different from yours:  <good heaven's... there are more refugium styles than either of us has the time to define.> My 'refugiums' are just small tanks hung off the side of the main tank, with reduced filtration. They are not lighted 24s a day (because of this, I don't use Caulerpa in them), but they contain a few types of macro algae (i.e.. picking types that don't tend to spontaneously degenerate) along with plankton generating species and detritivores - I like using Inland Aquatics refugium Flora/Fauna kits. Both the refugiums and the 24 hour lighted sumps with Caulerpa seem to work well in my reef/fish tanks. <simply "your" refugium my friend. Refugiums are merely places of refuge for whatever you choose to grow/protect and not exclusive of a certain flow or filtration style or limited to certain livestock. You are simple conditioned to the commercially popular interpretation (commercial: driven by a market ($) and not a charity... take such information for what it is worth). However, Morgan and Inland are GREAT folks, indeed. No comment or reflection on them here> 3) Colorimeters - Alk You stated that if I had to pick just one, that the CA-hardness would be the best test for alkalinity. I'm not limited to just one colorimeter - I could use all 3. Its just that I don't know how the 3 hardness colorimeters (CA-hardness, MG-hardness, Total Hardness) relate to the ALKALINITY tests. Could you explain? <not in the scope of an e-mail my friend. Let me guide you to hunt (and easy hunt... keywords again on the wonderful Internet!) for the fantastic works of chemist Dr Craig Bingman. He is widely published and a search of his name will bury you in more good reading than you likely have time for :)> 4) QT systems: You mentioned that I should consider visiting the wholesalers in LA on 104th street. Well, is it possible to hire WetWebMedia experts for private consulting?  <thank you my friend for the consideration. As WWM folks we are categorically unpaid volunteers here. However, WWM crew member Steven Pro is an industry professional on private and commercial system installations. I will forward this e-mail to him and perhaps you can make an arrangement.> Basically, I'd be interested in working with someone there to help me design an acclimation and quarantine system(s) that could: Hold multiple specimens at once (fish, corals, other inverts) be easily sterilized when needed. Automated - i.e.. low need for constant human interaction during the QT process. Or, if I did fly out to LA to see the wholesalers, would it be possible to hire someone from wetwebmedia to give me a tour of the wholesalers systems - pointing the 'good, bad, and ugly' as you put it?  <indeed possible with one of us and I suspect it would be a fine investment for you. Its a pleasure to see your level of commitment> I'm just trying to set up a system for my own personal use, but I've got several reef/fish tanks, and a lot invested (money, time, emotions) in my tanks, and currently my QT process is giving me relatively high death rates - I'd like to spend what it takes (money/time) to get it optimized. <I am sincerely impressed with your efforts and applaud you my friend. It is a pleasure to see an aquarist with the resolve to set up an optimal system. I apologize for the brevity but believe that Steven can help you out better than I can. Best regards to you in your endeavors. Anthony>

Re: Caulerpa Hello again, You mention that a sump raising plankton without Caulerpa is good for Faviids. I am working with an ecosystem sump that happens to have a ton of Caulerpa.  <the merits of refugium applications (and there are many styles and purposes) have been horribly distorted by the commercial marketing of mud and Caulerpa style refugia. There is strong evidence detailing the many disadvantages of Caulerpa in coral systems. Without getting into a very long rant (much of which is covered in the new book from Bob, Steve and I that will be unveiled at next months MACNA and released earl 2003), suffice it to say: if your goal is to grow plants and macroalgae... the mud and Caulerpa system is very fine. If, however you goal is to grow corals, you will be impeded by Caulerpa growth IMO. There are more disadvantages to it than merits and far more disadvantages with it than growing zooplankton in a rubble zone, or phyto in a green water reactor, etc (depending on your corals needs). By chance are you going to MACNA conference or near the Dallas/Fort Worth area. A great meeting this September with many speakers and opportunities to learn and chat with us/many? www.DFWMAS.com> Do you suggest that I should use something like "marine snow "to feed this coral? <Yowsa, bud... we need to get you up to speed on real aquarium science issues. Instead someone has snookered you with a lot of marketing glitch. Independent studies have not shone a favorable light on marine snow products and they explain detailed as well. Most of your coral will eat zooplankton. Cultured rotifers and HUFA enriched baby brine are best for live (although still large particle sizes)... and natural plankton from a seagrass refugium (Thalassia sp) can help a whole lot more. Most of the commercial products are merely pollution in a bottle. Do a keyword google search of WetWebMedia from our index page looking for recent FAQs on the topics that interest you (zooplankton, fishless refugiums, etc) Best regards, Anthony>

Re: My Aquarium Hi Bob I have been working on some of your suggestions and I just want to give you some feedback on what I managed to accomplish today (public holiday here in SA). 1. I added about 300 grams of activated carbon to my sump today - I couldn't find a proper bag to put this in, so I created my own bag with a piece of pantyhose, this bag of carbon is floating in one of the smaller compartments of my sump where the coral chips are. Does this sound like a proper adaptation of your suggestion ? <Yes... what we used to do... and folks still do... who have need of a large filter media bag... and a spare pantyhose about!> 2. Livestock - I added the following today: 4 x Turbo Snails 1 x Salarias fasciatus 1 x Cleaner Shrimp <Very nice> The fish are practically on their knees begging to be cleaned, but shrimp has been ignoring them until now and he has been in hiding since I've introduced him, but he just needs some time to acclimatize himself etc. <All will become "situated" soon> 3. Macro Algae - I managed to find some 'Caulerpa racemosa' today, a beautiful strand of green grapes, this is also floating in my sump at the moment. I have installed a 30watt fluorescent light above my sump for the Caulerpa. I have read all the WWM faq's I could find on Caulerpa and I have 3 questions for you about them that I am not very sure about - <Perfect> - Will the Caulerpa grow if it floats around in the water, or do I have to "anchor" it somehow at the bottom of the tank ? <Better to anchor... for now, a small piece of substrate gingerly laid over the distal end will hold it in place... give it pause to start spreading through rhizomes.> - With regards to trimming the Caulerpa I have found the following two suggestions in the WWM archives: <best not to cut it (saps colony, leaches undesirable elements, can cause die off of main colony, etc)... better to pull entire (unbroken if possible) out. Simply thin out the colony of convenient strands> <never cut Caulerpa and resist excessively breaking fronds as well. This leads to sapping and occasionally the dreaded vegetative events. Simply pull up unbroken continuous fronds (a little breaking is OK)> Maybe its just the language barrier, but I don't understand exactly what they mean by "thin out the colony of convenient strands" and "simply pull up unbroken continuous fronds". or would this become more apparent when I see the Caulerpa growing ? I haven't been able to find much about this on the internet. <This will be apparent. The strands are easily seen, either removed entirely as such or pinched/crushed if taken as a mass. In your application you will not likely encounter problems here> This is all I have managed to do so far, but I think I have taken some good steps towards my goal today. <Yes. Bastante. Bob F> Have a great weekend and thanks again for your helping me out. <Oh, will be out with friends diving, photographing in Mexico's Cozumel for a week starting tomorrow. Others here will gladly respond to your input. Be seeing you> Chris

Refugium Bob, in a refugium with Caulerpa, why does the light need to be on for 24/7. <The 24/7 light cycle is supposed to keep the Caulerpa from going sexual.><<Doesn't always work... RMF>> Ii it because of slowing down growth or oxygen consumption? I would like to try 12 hours on 12 hours off. <If you do so, have the light on opposite your main tank. This way the Caulerpa is consuming the CO2 that your main tank inhabitants are producing at night.> Some of my Caulerpa seems to die off after a while and then come back. Thanks <No problem. -Steven Pro>

Cloudy water - Caulerpa? Hello, <<And hello to you.>> I recently set up my first saltwater aquarium: 75 gal, PC 110W w/SmartLamps, Eheim filter, powerhead, ~1.5" of aragonite substrate, ~75 lbs of lace rock (Feller Stone). I used 4 damsels to cycle, and the cycle recently completed (0 NH4, NO2 and NO3, pH 8.3, salinity 1.022). After the cycle completed, I added a small (fist-sized) piece of Caulerpa serrulata attached to a rock. Within 12 hours the Caulerpa had brown edges. 12 hours later it was more brown and the water was cloudy, almost "smokey" looking, so I removed the Caulerpa. Things looked no better after another 24 hours, so I did a 20% water change and added SeaChem's SeaGel to the filter. Now another 36 hours later and there is no/little change in the water clarity. (although the one remaining damsel seems healthy). My local source of information (where they sell only dry goods) thought the Caulerpa may have been damaged by my LFS or in transit or not acclimated correctly. After reading through your FAQ, it sounds like a bacteria bloom could also be the culprit? (on another note, I had a diatom bloom at the end of the cycle, but that seems to have subsided). Do you have any ideas about what is causing the cloudiness and how I can correct it? <<John, I'm afraid I don't know what is causing the cloudiness, and it sounds to me like it could be a couple of things. I'm not entirely convinced this is/was caused by the Caulerpa. My question to you: are you running a protein skimmer on this tank? If not, it may now be time to consider one - if you don't have one, you really shouldn't be running a saltwater tank without it. I think a quality skimmer could get this cleaned up pretty quickly.>> Thanks in advance for your response. John Holdzkom <<Cheers, J -- >>

Caulerpa Hello Bob, <Steven Pro answering queries right now.> I have been reading the FAQ's on Caulerpa and I am a little confused still. I would like to add Caulerpa to my 55 gallon tank that has approximately 30# Fiji Live Rock, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 False Percula, 1 Green Chromis & a Finger Leather Coral. Anyhow, would Caulerpa be ok to put in my tank that has a 2 x 55w power compact? <Yes> I know there is good sides and bad sides to everything, but is there more good than bad for this stuff? <IMO, yes. Better to have located in a sump, but still of use as nutrient export in the main display as long as you are careful about placement, pruning, activated carbon use, protein skimming, water changes, etc.> Is it better to have it? Or not to have it? <Caulerpa, like almost everything in our aquariums, has some chemical warfare abilities that need to be accounted for. Proper aquarium husbandry should neutralize this.> That is the question! Your opinion would be sincerely appreciated. Thank You, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Hair Algae I have a 300 gal reef with 0 nitrates since adding an additional skimmer since ETS-800 is not big enough. My problem is I let some hair algae overtake the tank. I am using RO/DI water and I tested phosphate level and it wasn't bad, but I added Seachem remover. I purchased 200 hermit crabs and they haven't put a dent in it or can't keep up with it. I don't feed the fish at all. I only add Seachem iodine and strontium. Calcium is per Knop reactor. What advantage would Caulerpa in sump with reverse lighting help? <This could very well help your situation. Caulerpa would compete with the hair algae for available nutrients. At the very least, it would add a source of planktonic life/food to your reef tank.> I have 75 gal sump. Corals and fish look great otherwise. Should I try more crabs? <Not a fan of hermit crabs.> I am at my nerve endings! I pull out 2 cups of algae a week by hand. PLEASE HELP! <Try the refugium and review the extensive writings on WWM regarding algae control. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpas Howdy bob! Wanted some info regarding harvesting Caulerpas from local water sources.  <don't do it... never try to acclimate temperate species to tropical aquaria please> I live in Virginia, right on the Atlantic. Whenever I go to the beach, I sea all this seaweed on the shore. After checking the water, it is rather abundant close to the shore line. The local laws don't prohibit it's collection as long as it's not for sale. Is this safe to place in my 75 gal. Marine setup?  <it would have to be chilled likely and endemic (only coastal species)> Most of it is attached to small rocks with brine shrimp (I think) swimming in it.  <hmmm... not brine. Mysid perhaps.. not a brackish brine shrimp though> Before I add anything like this, I wanted to check on the reality of it. Would I harm my tank?  <beyond incompatibility issues (temperature) there is a very serious concern of introducing parasites pests and disease. If you must, please quarantine any collected/new livestock for 4 weeks minimum> Current occupants are, 2 damsels, 2 Clarkii clowns, a sebae anemone, lawnmower blenny, starfish, hermit crabs and turbo snails. Thanks, Kathy <kindly, Anthony>

Question about Caulerpa taxifolia To whom it may concern at WWM, <Hello> I have been doing much research on the noxious seaweed type called C. taxifolia. From what I read, this marine plant is deadly to all other marine life because of it's toxic properties.  <Umm, no... not a marine plant, not that toxic under most circumstances> I noticed in many WWM FAQ articles this Caulerpa, being the one of choice for many reasons, and is also what Bob Fenner recommends highly for nitrate removal & refugium sumps. I was planning on keeping some in just my sump for nitrate reduction but I am concerned about small parts making their way to my main tank from the pumps. I have read that small particles of the plant can fragment off, (smaller than what you can see) regrow into new plans quite quickly. I guess my only concern is the 'toxic' nature and it's affect on my many fish (tangs and angels). Does this Caulerpa excrete toxins in to the water column or is it only toxic in the way of the fish consuming it directly? <Not toxic to ingest... can toxify a system if allowed to become predominant, or switches into a reproductive phase... can be controlled by regular (weekly or so) trimmings/pinching> I'd hate to wake up and see my favorite Hippo Tang 'toxify' & dead from this little helper plant. Friend or Foe, is it ok for fish? <More a friend. Please read/study on. Bob Fenner>

Growing Caulerpa for Science Dear Mr. Fenner, <Salad> I am a Ph.D. student in institute of marine sciences and technology. I would like to investigate some biochemical parameters of Caulerpa sp. So far, I have no experience on growing Caulerpa sp. So, could you please give me important information about How should I have to grow Caulerpa sp.?  <Yes> What about the tank? I would like to study with small scale... It will be enough to analyze just 5-10 gr wet weight.. <A glass jar of good size will be able to grow this amount of material. I would use two or three separate jars though, with natural or synthetic seawater, and the starter material (Caulerpa) of whatever species you're culturing. No supplements necessary, just set the containers in an area of some indirect sunlight or full-spectrum fluorescent lighting. Bob Fenner>  I am looking forward to hearing from you with kind regards Levent

Thanks message Dear Mr. Fenner I have just received your letter on Caulerpa prolifera, I thank you very much for your kind help... with best regards Levent <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Levent CAVAS, Research Scientist Dokuz Eylul University 

Caulerpa and California I have a quick question for you. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of Caulerpa. I would like to sell some of it off because I have two 150g tanks full of it. But my business is in California and I am having trouble finding what the laws are as to what I can, and can't sell and ship in and out of the state. The good people on Reef Central felt that you would be the man to answer this question. I appreciate any help that I can get, and I have to say I am a big fan. Thanks! <Please see here: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ This is the California Department of Fish and Game site... insert the word "Caulerpa" in the search feature there, and read over the "Caulerpa Brochure" and beyond... Bob Fenner> Justin Phillips

Silly questions cant find on faq (Caulerpa, Dehumidifier H2O, Cleaning Tanks, Amphibious Snails...) hey there I have some basic silly questions, oh gods of the captive sea. <if we get to be deities... I wanna be Bacchus> 1. can I use water from my basement dehumidifier as replacement water or is my well water fine. <possibly neither... dehumidifier water has been used by aquarists before, but that doesn't make it right or safe. Just take the sheer number of hot dogs consumed by people as an alleged food, as case in point. The water produced is condensed on metal parts. No best or guarantees as to what that can or may impart into the water. Furthermore, the standing water collected in the reservoir as demineralized water is definitely going to absorb impurities from the air as it sits (all water especially soft will). Well water can be quite variable seasonally and is influenced by many factors... depth, local run off, etc. Even when good, it is generally not consistent enough to use unless you have it analyzed quarterly to monitor trends. My advice is to buy a deionizer with good prefilters and recondition the purified water made to suit the species you keep> 2. I bought a used 39 tall tank, it has wormy, hard crusted white stuck-on old tiny worm tubes. what's that about???? are they bad? I have his live sand and live rock in quarantine. tiny calcified tubes and all. <they are either Serpulid worms (kinda like miniature feather dusters) or they are sessile snail... both harmless, even desirable filter feeders. Enjoy> 3. my mom brought me some small snails from the Fla. gulf. they are always out of the tank, on the canopy, up the wires, several feet from the tank. waiting for high tide? what are they and should I get rid of them, the kids have a blast finding them every day. beneficial or not.?? also in another quarantine tank...have 3 now after my loss of 22 clowns to ich.  <I have absolutely no idea... many species this could be. And it really underscores the importance of not taking animals from the wild or buying from a store without knowing if you can meet their needs in captivity. I certainly understand that mum brought the snails back with the best intentions, but they are still living creatures that may end up dying or being killed prematurely> 4. ma also brought to NJ for me fresh live sand and fresh live gravel from the gulf...one day fresh...any good for my tanks. in quarantine tank 3 now. <likely fine and helpful> 5. my Caulerpa is making tank water yellow, how do I fix and prevent. grape mostly. <heehee... just one of the many reasons why I dislike Caulerpa in mixed garden reef displays. But.. to answer your question, small frequent changes of carbon (critical for quality light getting to live rock, anemones, coral, etc). For example, 2 oz of carbon replaced weekly is much better than 8 oz replaced monthly?> 6. how do I crop it back. pinch the WHAT?? in your faq, I don't get it. <best to pull up whole and continuous fronds (strands) rather than pinch, cut or crop along a perimeter. Pinching or cutting fronds causes a sort of sapping that can stress/kill an entire colony and forcibly send the mass into a "meltdown" releasing all of the garbage it took up in growth plus its own natural noxious compounds. Sometimes such events can even wipe a tank out. I am personally adamant that Caulerpa needs VERY close attention in mixed reef displays (I like it much better in a dedicated marine "plant" tank).> thank you again most timely gods Renee RN <quite welcome... my work is done: now time to go find some ambrosia and nectar (AKA beer and pretzels). Anthony>

Effect of Various Media on Macro-algae Hi friends! <Hello to you!> I have a CPR hang-on refugium with a Jalli CF lighting, (run 24hrs). In this refugium I have grape Caulerpa on a piece of live rock. I use Phos-Guard in the sump to decrease the bad algae and the occasional Black Diamond activated carbon. Is this also going to have a negative effect on the good algae, seeing they're both algaes? <A possible negative effect, but far outweighed by the positive effects. I like and recommend the use of activated carbon, small amounts changed regularly is better than larger amounts changed infrequently. Not a big fan of the targeted media such as PhosGuard as I much prefer to minimize phosphate other ways; use of purified water, careful feeding, aggressive nutrient export, water changes, etc.> Have a great week, Paul <And you do the same. -Steven Pro>

More Caulerpa Questions Hello again, so can the PhosGuard kill or reduce the growth of my grape Caulerpa? <Possibly reduce slightly, but again phosphate is not desired in reef tank. It interferes with calcification.> Should I stop using it? <Not for the reason you think. Better to use demineralized water so you are not always adding phosphates.> Also I was thinking about adding some Halimeda to the refugium, would the two be ok together, <Yes> and can I still run the lights 24-7 with the Halimeda added? <Hmm, not sure about that. Experiment and tell us how it goes.> I change my activated carbon once a month, this should be done more often? <Yes, ideally smaller amounts more often. If you change 10 oz. monthly, 2.5 oz. weekly is the same amount, but better for the tank.> Thank you, Paul <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feeding Caulerpa I would like to grow Caulerpa in a separate Rubbermaid bucket with small filter and light. Is there anything that I can do in way of 'feeding' the Caulerpa nutrients for it to grow? <The easiest thing to do would be to fill the Rubbermaid with your old water when you do your next water change and continue this practice of recycling. You will probably have to add some extra buffers to the old water, but it will have all the nutrients you need.> I don't have space for a refugium underneath my stand right now, but would like to just have it grow out in another tank in the garage or something. Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

More Feeding Caulerpa So, the water from a weekly water change is enough to feed them until the following week? <Sure> And if I have to add supplements to 'grow' algae, what would those be? <No one that I know of makes a particular algae stimulant for marine tanks because most people try to discourage algae growth. You could experiment with Miracle-Grow or some such product since there will be no fish or inverts in this tank, but it is probably not needed.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feeding Caulerpa III Understand. Some one recommended using some of the sludge from the protein skimmer, but I thought that was a bad idea. Even though there is nothing besides the algae, not sure skimmate would be a good nutrient to put in. . . Jim <Don't know if it would be a good nutrient. Besides, the stuff smells. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa Confusion Hello Gentlemen, <Steven Pro here this afternoon.> My husband and I have recently taken the plunge into saltwater, and so far, so good. We have a 72 gallon tank, wet/dry filter and protein skimmer in the sump, 80 pounds of aragonite live sand, and 50 pounds of live rock. All the water parameters are right on. On one of the rocks there is a fair amount of feather Caulerpa growing. I was under the impression (from Bob's book) that this was a good thing, but now I read (on your website) about it possibly releasing toxins into the water. <That was in reference to growing Caulerpa with corals. Nothing to be concerned about with fish. Caulerpa is known to release certain compounds that would inhibit the growth of corals and discolor the water, further retarding coral growth. No such worries with fish.> The Caulerpa is definitely growing, but I became concerned last night when I noticed that several of the tips were white. That's when I scoured your site and found out about the possible release of toxins. However, this morning the Caulerpa is lush and green again! We just added our first fish to the tank two days ago (2 Percula clowns), and one of the clowns was acting very strange last night and was on his side swimming at the top of the water. It was at that time I noticed the white tips on the Caulerpa. Could his behavior have been a result of the release of toxins? <No, unrelated.> I tested our water when I noticed him acting strange, but everything was still right on. Today the fish is fine -- eating well, looking great, and swimming all over (with the Caulerpa remaining all green). <Glad to hear it.> I read on your site about some people leaving their lights on for 24 hours/day to stop the Caulerpa from going into a vegetative/sexual state. <This is in reference to growing Caulerpa in a separate vessel, like a sump/refugium, not the main display and not with fish exposed to the constant lighting. This would be very stressful on them.> We have our lights on for 12 hours on, 12 hours off. <That is an appropriate photoperiod.> Future tank inhabitants in our fish-only system will include a royal Gramma, Foxface rabbit fish, dogface puffer, and possibly a flame angel. <The dogface concerns me with your other fairly small fish. Also, be warned that the Foxface and angelfish will eat some of your Caulerpa, possibly eating it faster than it can grow.> No tangs or crabs, but we may get some turbo snails. Should we be concerned about the Caulerpa in our tank? <No> Should we remove it from the rock? <No> We don't want to leave the lights on for 24 hours/day. <See above comments.> Any advice you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Karen <Your tank sounds fine now. Watch the clown fish's behavior and search through the WWM archives for anything that matches. -Steven Pro>

Algae question I have a rather large clump of macro-algae (sawtooth Caulerpa) in my very small tank (11 gallons) because I find its quite helpful in maintaining a balanced system, keeping the chemistry closer to optimal and as a supplement to the filter (no skimmer as they seem to over skim this small system, so I do quite frequent water changes instead). <agreed> I'm worried about my algae. I recently trimmed it and since that time some of the under growth has become clear, loosing its green color. It seems to be attached still to the rock and not actually dead, but another cutting I had once went through this phase right before it died. Any idea what's happening?  <yes... if natural, it is going vegetative/reproductive or if followed by actual cutting/pruning then the colony is sapped and dying. Caulerpa really shouldn't be cut or torn back... cutting "bleeds" the colony and too many wounds are impossible to heal. Pulling up entire fronds and thinning out is best to control> Should I try to save the still-green parts (rather significant sections are still completely green) by cutting them away? Could this have happened because I didn't pinch the places where the cuttings were taken? LFS guy said it might be "bleeding to death" because of this. <agreed essentially with LFS> I'm not real sure what's happening but I don't want to lose this algae because they're so bloody difficult to find to buy here in CA and this one has done a first rate job of keeping the system stable. An additional concern is that the crash of a fairly large algae plant in a fairly small system could cause problems--  <yep... a very real concern... that is why I don't care for Caulerpa in most systems... I feel the merits are outweighed> I am keeping a close eye and testing the water to make sure its okay for the rest of the residents (it's a live rock/sand mini reef with a couple fish and a couple types of polyps). <sounds very nice indeed> Any advice would be appreciated. Derek Milne <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa I have a filter bag filled with Caulerpa taxifolia in my wet/dry directly under the bio balls & before another two filter bags of carbon, with a 4 inch fluorescent light shining towards my bio balls in an attempt to provide the Caulerpa with a light source. The Caulerpa seems to be doing fine after 2 weeks & is even sprouting through the filter bag. <An interesting method for growing Caulerpa to say the least.> Could the light be detrimental to the well being of the bacteria on the bio balls in the long run? <Will encourage algae to grow on bio-balls too and may compete with bacteria for space, but probably not a big deal.> After 2 weeks with the light on constantly my ammonia, nitrite, & nitrate levels test fine. <Glad to hear it. -Steven Pro>

Good Caulerpa, Bad Caulerpa Hello Mr. Fenner,  <Anthony Calfo in your service> Haven't written to you in awhile, but have been reading and sponging up the info everyday. Today I'm writing to ask you a question about certain Caulerpa species. My tank is a reef with soft, and LPS corals. Filter system is a skimmer, an empty sump ( I am planning on turning it into a DSB, I already have the sandbags sitting in my garage), now housing my heaters, Mag for skimmer etc..., just being used for more total volume at the moment, and a refugium with Miracle Mud, LR, lit 24/7, and as of now the feather Caulerpa. I read your daily questions on Sat. Mar. 30, and someone was asking you about the Caulerpas. I've been searching for info about a better type than what I have, as I would like to change it out for something better, and found one that a lot of people like better. It is not a Caulerpa, but still is a macroalgae called Chaetomorpha Sp. (Commonly called spaghetti macroalgae), what is your opinion on this?  <I like many macros better than Caulerpa. Caulerpas are problematic in the long run...tending to give out more harmful things than they take up> Would it be better to use? <If your goal is nutrient export and you are disciplined to harvest regularly and systematically...yes, I agree> From what I've read, it's advantages are: it grows fast for quick nutrient export, easy to cultivate as it does not take a foothold on any substrate, will hardly ever die back, and mostly never goes sexual. One other question on a different subject. I wrote up above that I would like my empty sump to become a DSB, but it is already plumbed into my system with in, and out holes already drilled, and baffles at both ends siliconed in. I cannot take it offline to modify. I was thinking about just placing another ten gallon aquarium that I have sitting around inside, and have that be my instant DSB section. The measurements are all good to slip inside ( 1" space on both sides, and the water-line in my sump is higher than the top of the ten gallon, so there would be flow over the top no problem. I don't have to worry about water level dropping below the top from evaporation because I have an auto top-off/ Kalk mixer/ RO system hooked up to my sump that activates by a float switch.  <do be careful watching your system alkalinity and pH if raw RO water goes in. Target 11+ dKH and nighttime pH minimum of 8.3 (day 8.6)> I hope you understand what I'm trying to describe. Do you think this configuration would give me an efficiently working DSB, or is it a bad idea.  <sounds reasonable although it remains to be seen if it will be enough for denitrification> Keep in mind that I don't have an option of bypassing it for a couple of days while I work on reconfiguring the sump, and siliconing in new divisions. Thanks in advance, Greg N. <no worries... just soak the sand for several days in advance and have a diatom filter cartridge handy if possible to help water clarity after you add it. Best regards, Anthony>

Following up on the Caulerpa issue... Added some Caulerpa on Monday, doesn't seem to be doing very well. Does this excrete toxins as it dies? <<very much so... I can't stand using Caulerpa in garden reef aquaria... many complications (inhibiting growth of stonies, discolorants into water, antibiotic properties...just awful and unnatural for scleractinian reef displays>> The only reason I added the Caulerpa was at the suggestion of you guys! (I guess not you personally, Anthony, it must have been another of the crew!) Is there another kind of macroalgae that does better and is less problematic?  <I like calcareous alga better like Halimeda as well as seagrasses in larger displays but none should be relied upon for the amount of nitrate control that most aquarists need. For that we have better protein skimmers/skimming, water changes and careful feeding/stocking> I need something that consumes nitrates and don't have a sump so a refugium is not much of an option until I get another tank. Tracy Creek <keep in mind, Tracy, that there are merits and disadvantages to all things...especially in aquariology. We here at WWM are sharing advice (free) on very general or vague questions based on what serves the masses (the greater good). My advice specifically made a reference to Caulerpa with stonies (scleractinian coral) and even then is merely one man's opinion. We have no idea what you tank has or what you intend to do with it. As such, for many fish only aquariums and systems dominated by soft coral, Caulerpa may be an excellent choice even by my admission. Do try to understand that we are trying to help you as best we can based on inferences and the limited information we receive. There is no one single blueprint for a successful marine aquarium... just ingredients and varying degrees of success in the many wonderful combinations that aquarists mix them in. Kindly, Anthony>

Macro Algae Questions <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he's out on a diving junket>> Hi Bob, A report about the Caulerpa Algae. It has made my tank look great not because of the plants appearance but the clarity of the water. I used to have a brownish film on the surface of my water but the Caulerpa took care of that. <<good stuff>> It seems to grow rapidly so trimming frequently is a must. Is it a good idea to put Caulerpa in a hospital tank (without using any chemical treatments)? <<probably wouldn't hurt>> Thanks <<you are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Transplanting Caulerpa G'Day, 5 days ago I added some Caulerpa sertularoides to my FOWLR. I got 6 5 inch runners each had what appeared to be roots. I placed the root parts by putting them firmly between some l/r. now some of the tips of certain blades are dying off (turning white & some are clearish) should I leave it be and let the algae get a foothold or should I remove it. <I would let it go and see what develops.> 3/4 of it is still a nice lush green and only a few tips are white. I don't want to just cut off the white bits as this would mean cutting the actual blades. not enough growth to pull runners. it is in a 120 gal so a bit of die off won't affect my system but I want it to grow and if these runners aren't going to make it I can replace them but hope this bit of die off is normal and these runners will survive. thanks very much <Not unusual for it to take a couple of days to settle in. It has been 5 days now, so hopefully you will begin to see a difference, for the better. I agree that a complete die back will only affect your system minimally. Do be sure your skimmer is working well and maybe add some activated carbon to suck up any noxious compounds being released by the Caulerpa. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa Bob, I recently notice with the new skimmer that my Caulerpa algae is growing healthier. Is it possible that the high nutrient levels would cause the Caulerpa to die off and not grow? <Generally, Caulerpa thrives in high nutrients.> The Salt that I am using is Reef Crystals with a FOWL. Do you think this salt is overkill. <I use the same thing, more out of habit than any concrete proof that it is better. I started out using RC, never had any problems, and have no reason to change. Instant Ocean, from the same company - Aquarium Systems, is very good too and a little cheaper.> I would like to use a 175w metal halide light with 2 actinic bulbs(30W) on my 45 gallon tank, but people tell my this will promote bad algae growth. Unless I add a couple of soft corals. I don't think light causes bad algae but the nutrient level and other things. <Correct> Should I invest in some soft coral to lower the nutrient level. Eventually, if I get brave, I will try to convert my tank to reef tank. <The additional lighting will be in order when you convert to a full reef tank.> Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa and Red algae How exactly do you trim Caulerpa? <best not to cut it (saps colony, leaches undesirable elements, can cause die off of main colony, etc)... better to pull entire (unbroken if possible) out. Simply thin out the colony of convenient strands> How often do you trim it? <your decision based on aesthetics or desire to use the macro as a vehicle for nutrient export> I have red Cyano Bac. Algae on my live rock, I started to use a tooth brush to scrape it off. It came off like dead skin. I am I able to keep scrape once a week during water changing to get rid of this? <scraping tends to spread it my friend. It exists because of poor water movement in the tank or that area and more so from accumulated nutrients. A skimmer that produces dark skimmate daily can usually starve this "algae" out within weeks. In the meantime, siphon it out directly... do not stir or scrape unless you want more <wink>. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks for your response.

Caulerpa harvesting Hello gentlemen, <Cheers, friend. Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a 15 gal refugium with some live rock and macroalgae. It is lit with a 55 watt PC on 24/7. I have Sawblade Caulerpa, Green Grape Caulerpa and another kind that I think may be Halimeda (water cress?). It is growing straight up from the live rock with one green roundish (flat) blade growing on top of the other, and now growing horizontal. My question is that in order to prevent it going asexual and polluting my tank, what is the proper way to harvest or trim it? And at what point should I do this? Thanks again so much. John <never cut Caulerpa and resist excessively breaking fronds as well. This leads to sapping and occasionally the dreaded vegetative events. Simply pull up unbroken continuous fronds (a little breaking is OK). Do this very systematically to keep the Caulerpa on a good cycle and to act as a vegetable filter for you to export nutrients from growth. Experiment with a small weekly or bi-monthly extraction when consistent growth seems to allow it. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Caulerpa Do you mean that I can take some of their overgrowth and place it in my refugium? <Yes> It doesn't need to be attached to the rocks? <No, it will anchor in time.> How do I place it in there? <You can secure it to a rock using a loose rubber band or fishing line or merely pin it between two small pieces of rock.> How long does it take to start growing? <Depends on lighting, available nutrients, etc.> Sorry I'm new to macro alga. Thanks, Jeremy <Do not worry so much. Growing Caulerpa is extremely easy for most. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lowering Nitrates, Caulerpa and skimmer WOW, you guys are really fast thanks again. How do I get the end result of skimming darker like coffee instead of green tea color. <a model dependant function of your skimmer...but the gist of it is finer bubbles, slower water flow, and/or lower water level in neck that makes foam climb higher and collect drier. Not a real big deal though... you just don't want the skimmate to be too watery>  I have Caulerpa growing in my tank, are there any downfalls to this? <many in my opinion but may not be necessary to take out. Depends on the tankmates...some are very sensitive to its presence. My biggest gripe is that it is labor intensive to maintain and causes more harm than good for most folks who stick it in, watch it grow like a weed (contaminating the tank in the process with discolorants that reduce light penetration and exuding noxious compound that irritate some coral, etc) and then wipes out (goes vegetative) if not pruned carefully and frequently. I dislike it because I like corals better and want to act in their best interest across the board. If I was more of a horticulturist, I'd have a well groomed tank full of Caulerpa with little or no coral. They are simply uncommon together on a reef (sure they do occur... but how much have you seen in any wild reef photo that you can remember. An unnatural mix in my opinion. Anthony> NICK NY 

Caulerpa growth <Anthony Calfo in your service> Just a quick question regarding a lush growth of Caulerpa in my 30 gal. FOWLR tank. It is growing quite well ( 3-4 hand size clumps) and knowing the nasty habit of Caulerpa to go sexual, would you suggest complete removal or just a good pruning? <never prune...think of it as thinning out. You'll want to extract complete strands/runners but not "cut out" a section. Cutting causes sapping that can incite a colony to go vegetative (bad!). So just pull up some strands and do it on a consistent basis> If pruning, what is the general procedure? 1-False Percual,1-Banggai,1-Mithrax crab,40-50lbs LR,3/4" aragonite sand, asst. hermits and snails. Thank you very much for your help. Nathan <kindly, Anthony>

Caulerpa Bailout Hi, <Cheers, my dear. Anthony Calfo in your service> I was hoping you could help me, I have a 70 gallon salt water tank that has been up for about six months now. I use a Fluval 404 filter and a SeaClone Skimmer ( I know you don't like these but it was a gift and seems to be doing the trick).  <indeed...and agreed. Any skimmer that produces daily dark skimmate is a good skimmer!> There is about 60 pounds of live planted rock and about 2 inches of aggregate gravel ( I think that's what it is called?).  <do consider reducing or increasing this amount...more than 3" or less than 1/2 inch. The in between is a long term recipe for nuisance/disaster as it is not deep enough for denitrification, but too deep for thorough nitrification. If you'd like better nitrate control...have more than 3" of sugar-fine aragonite sand> I have a Sailfin tang, 1 coral beauty, 2 clown fish, 6 green Chromis, 1 scooter blenny, 1 orchid Dottyback, 1 canary wrasse, 1 cleaner wrasse, 1 carpet anemone and 1 bubble tip anemone as well as about 15 hermit crabs. <how long have both anemones been together... usually two different species that include on carpet don't last much longer than one year... the chemical allelopathy (silent chemical warfare) is too strong. The bubble will look fine one day and then mush out suddenly (days)> The tank has been running fine with only one outbreak of ich that the cleaner wrasse took care of in no time. The problem is when I turned the light off last night the tank was crystal clear but when I turned it on this morning the water was cloudy green and I could barely see into the tank. I have one large plant that all of a sudden died off yesterday, it turned white, and I removed that this morning. Could that be the problem??  <most certainly... it went vegetative/sexual...a problem with lush plant growth.> I did a quick water change this morning and another one this afternoon but the tank is still quite cloudy. The fish appear to be okay, but is there something else I should be doing?? HELP!! <the skimmer should be overflowing. if it is not, then it isn't working as good as you thought. Typically a good skimmer or two and a couple water changes settles the matter in three days. Little to be concerned about, other than the nutrients released by the plants possibly feeding a nuisance algae bloom in the near future...just keep an eye open for it> Thank you for your time and any help you can give me Chrissy <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa Question Hi again!  <Anthony Calfo in your service> You've helped us so much in the past that I am back with another question, this time regarding Caulerpa. Anyway, due to having high nitrates in our reef tank recently, we added some various macroalgae,  <FWIW... a deep sand bed is far more reliable and predictable for nitrate control. #+ inches of sugar-fine sand> a couple of lovely red species and some Caulerpa (with "fronds" of about 2-3" in length). We added this about three weeks ago and though they have not had a significant affect on the nitrate (probably too soon to tell) they have looked very nice and the reds particularly have provided a source of "nibbles" for our yellow tang. <very well> All was well until this morning. I always check on the tank before breakfast (with the "purple" lights on) and, again, about 20 minutes later to make sure the main lights are on and to feed the fish. On this second check the tank was cloudy. The corals were all small and I immediately did water tests to try and find out what had happened. All water tests were ok except for the ammonia which had rocketed. I immediately did as big a water change as I could (we have a smaller tank which we use to prepare and age water for water changes) which I have now emptied. Buckets of water are being heated/prepared as I type this for further water changes later. I also added Ammonia Detox which I really hate doing but felt I had no choice. On testing the water again, the ammonia level had reduced to 0.5ppm. More water changes to follow.... <agreed...dilution is the solution to pollution> The cloudiness started to dissipate when I effected the water changes (we also use activated carbon so I am guessing that this helped). On inspecting the tank I noticed that the Caulerpa had turned white and was dead. I have removed it. <yes, a major pain with Caulerpa> On reading many of the FAQ's on this, I understand that Caulerpa can "melt down" (something to do with reproduction?)  <yes...going vegetative/sexual> and release toxins/nutrients? <yes. horrible> back into the tank causing cloudy water. Do you think this is what caused my emergency this morning? <indeed a strong possibility> To be honest, I was lucky it happened while I was at home. I suspect if it had happened after I had left for work, the fish would have been dead by tonight. <agreed> Anyway, the corals seem ok now and the fish are all ok (they didn't seem to be stressed by the situation - only me!) Assuming it is the Caulerpa, is there anything we could have done to prevent it from happening?  <a tough gig with the macros... one of the many reasons that I don't favor them in mixed garden aquaria. You didn't have the plants long enough to establish a farming routine. no nothing to be done differently> I don't want to risk a recurrence (nor do I want to be late for work again!) but we are still battling high nitrates. All the other macro algaes are doing fine. <do consider a deep sand bed> I would just appreciate your thoughts on this event. Many thanks, as always, for all your help! Lesley <kind regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa Hello Mr. Fenner, <You got Steven today.> Hope your weather out there is as nice as we've been experiencing in NY. <We have snow today which should be heading to you soon.> I yesterday finally received my shipment of Caulerpa. I wonder if you'd be able to help me identify it, and answer a question or two about care. The Caulerpa is a sort I've not seen in pictures. It's lovely, growing off runners (which I think is typical for Caulerpa). The 'leaves' are long, maybe three inches, and solid. They're oval-shaped, but not wide. I think probably about three inches long by 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide. Any guess? If that description was too poor, I can send photo. <Sounds like C. prolifera. Take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpaalg.htm> I've put the Caulerpa into my refugium. I have some LR rubble in there, a bed of about three inches of aragonite, and a LOA PC unit on 24/7. There are also a few hermits and snails in there. The Caulerpa had some obvious 'roots' but I didn't know if I should risk trying to push them into the sand bed, so I just put the algae in and figured it would do what it had to on its own. Is this okay? <Do try to delicately attach to some sort of substrate instead of allowing it to blow around. Loosely tying to a piece of LR or pinning a holdfast into place with the LR is ok.> Some of the 'leaves', maybe four or five, are clear instead of green. Should those be pinched off? <This may cause it to "bleed". Just leave a lone and see what happens.> Are there any additives I should put in? <No, nothing special for just the Caulerpa. Will find all the nutrients it needs in your tank already.> I dose with B-Ionic every other day, but the alkalinity dose always causes a snowstorm. <Definitely, get a calcium and alkalinity test kits immediately and see what you levels are. The snowstorm is a bad sign and something that needs addressed with further information.> Is there anything else I should do? My nitrates are over 100... I've really got to get this Caulerpa 'going'! <Is your skimmer filling its collection cup several times weekly with skimmate the color of tea to coffee? If not, it should be. Also, think about using purified water to reduce your influx of nutrients.> Thanks for your insights, John <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Caulerpa Thank you for the info... brings up another question or two if you don't mind... :) <I don't mind at all.> I think the Caulerpa is prolifera, good deduction despite my inept description! I'll do as you recommend, and try to get it hooked onto my rocks and such. There isn't too much current down there, it isn't being blown around, just nicely waving with the flow. But, I'll get it hooked down. I've poked around the WWM site, looking for information on the alkalinity/calcium snowstorm I have happen when I dose with B-Ionic. I really couldn't find anything very specific that tells me what's going on. Would you be able to point me to something offhand? <Go through the links Marine Articles, Maintenance, and now look at the FAQ's for alkalinity and calcium. I know Anthony has written about his before.> Or maybe give a brief summation? <Simply, you should not dose anything unless you have test kits to determine how much of the said supplement you need. Also, the alkalinity part of the two-part mixes does form a little, brief cloud when dumped into the tank, but I would not describe that as a snowstorm. The term snowstorm is used when you have a mass precipitation of calcium carbonate from the water.> I'll get the test kits, but it's going to have to wait almost a month... money's far to tight right now. :( <Take a look at the Salifert line of test kits. I just got them and they seem easy to understand, accurate, and inexpensive.> My skimmer doesn't fill several times weekly, usually about once a week, sometimes a bit slower than that. It's very dark stuff in there. The skimmer is a Big Mombassa, skimming a 55 gallon tank. I have read that it's plenty big enough for the job... I have the cup pushed down as far as it will go, the air intake open full. The only thing that's turned down a bit is the pump itself. I'll try turning it up some. I'll let you know how that goes. <I have seen that skimmer at shows and such, but never used one myself. Try cleaning the pump really good. Maybe run it in warm water and vinegar to remove deposits from the impellor. Sometimes that helps significantly.> Thanks for the info. Be talking soon. ~John <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Algae filtration question Thanks a lot for answering my questions. This will be my last question. at least for now...can't promise thought...more information always seem to lead to more questions. Since this Caulerpa will be kept in a relatively tight space probably only a small amount of macro-algae can be kept). Is there any species of Caulerpa or perhaps a better species that will do the job better without occupying a whole lot of space. <Please read through the Caulerpa materials stored on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks Guillermo

Greenery for marine system Hello there, I have a long-horned cowfish in a 75-gallon tank, and I'm looking for something to "spice-up" the tank. Since I cannot keep polyps or coral, I was considering planting some sea grass. What are your thoughts on this? Where can I find sea grass? What is the scientific name of the most commonly encountered type? Thanks! <I would get some Caulerpa. It is not a true plant, but a macroalgae. Sea grasses require deep sand beds over 6" and are considerably more delicate to ship and get to root. Take a look here for more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpaalg.htm -Steven Pro> Sam

Caulerpa Racemosa Bob, <Steven this morning.> I have put some green grape Caulerpa (racemosa) in my new refugium. I had it in a container for a day or two ( filled with seawater from my tank and correct temp) before I had the refugium up and running, and now it seems to be a bit mushy and falling apart. Will this cause any water problems? <Possibly> And should I just leave it and it may come back? <I would remove almost all of it. Just leave one small piece that looks the best.> Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. John <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa Bob, <Anthony Calfo, in your service> I May have made a mistake. I ordered 2lbs of Caulerpa from a place in Miami. (W-W-Media suggested this would be helpful to promote a healthy system.) Problem was, shipping got delayed 2 weeks and was finally overnighted the day before I was supposed to leave for Holland for 10 days on business.  <ouch> I got the package 2 hrs before leaving for the airport. Without any time or experience... I rinsed the 2lb clump, dropped it in and made a crude anchor, then left the country. (150 gal. tank) <aieee!> I returned to find that it had gotten soft and lost most of it's color. It is also mostly disintegrating to the touch. I am now in the process of trying to fish out the remains of what I believe to be the dead plant. (???) Will the remains rot and become excess waste?  <almost certainly...please remove, skim aggressively and do a water change or two> Or should I try to leave some in case there is any life left? <if it is firm and green, else no> Also, if I try this again, should I pull out the clump into strands or drop it in as a brick again? <spreading out would be nice and acclimate it to salinity like a fish, it can suffer osmotic shock easily!> All of the material on WWM was fairly advanced, and I could find no starter info for dummies, so any start-off advice you have would be helpful, as I intend to make another go of it. Thanks for your time. -Pat <no worries... many Caulerpa species naturally ship rough, but grow like weeds once established. Anthony Calfo>

Re: Caulerpa Thanks Anthony, Another peculiar thing I notice <excellent...peculiar is my specialty... have you seen the way I comb my hair?> as I return from my trip, a LARGE coral banded shrimp who was extremely healthy and who has been thriving for a long time in my system seems to have vanished. Gone. No trace whatsoever. Not a claw, Not a feeler, gone.  <possibly died and then was scavenged> I must point out that there are not many animals in this 150gal system. A small puffer, a huge pile of snails and tiny blue leg hermit crabs, a small and a medium starfish. Is it possible that in the 10 days I was away, that he died and was entirely consumed exoskeleton and all by any or all of these creatures? <could easily be done overnight by most... hours by the puffer with teeth designed to do so> Even when they molt, none of them have ever had any interest in the shell.  <no meat inside...hehe> Any thoughts? <yep...Caulerpa is highly noxious (chemically)...that's why I never recommend it for casual inclusion in tanks...only for deliberate purposes and closely supervised. It naturally has compounds that inhibit organic/coral growth, antibiotic properties, discolorants, etc...and naturally takes up a lot of other waster materially as it grows. The problem, then is that when it dies suddenly (and it does this easily and often form vegetative stress or reproduction) it SUDDENLY releases a massive amount of noxious "fertilizer" that it drew for growth. Be grateful that is all that you lost> Also, thanks for the Caulerpa advice. I will skim and change water as you suggested, then try it again. For next time, instead of sink rinsing, should I prepare a tub of tank water and soak it? <any way convenient...just be careful about salinity adjustment (acclimate slow)> also, the clump they send (2lbs) is a fairly large mass. Should I try less quantity?  <yes... you should need very little to get started> And, when spreading out the strands as you suggested, should I be mindful not to break any? <good point...be very mindful of that!> Or can they be cut if particularly long?  <nope...they sap to easily> Or did you mean simply loosen up the bundle a little? <yes> Last, should I go with massive light as in a reef (which my tank is not) or with regular fish only lighting?  <not so heavy, but close for good plant growth> I haven't really picked a direction (reef or fish) with this tank yet. Thanks for your time, it is greatly appreciated.-Pat <the pleasure is mine. Anthony>

Caulerpa/toxic waste spill episode Anthony, <good afternoon, dear> After the Caulerpa/toxic waste spill episode, I did a 25gal water change using the gravel vac to pull out all of the remaining bits of dead plant matter where it had settled. (water was clear when I did this) <excellent> Then, I added about 25lbs of live rock. Now, 2 days later, my water is very cloudy. <was the rock fully cured...and can you confirm that with a zero ammonia/nitrite test...or did you just get snookered again (no mail order rock, right? Its OK if you'll cure it separately, but never to be put/trusted right in display> I have battled cloudy water before, but this is a weird cloud. It has almost a yellowish hue to it, and even more strange, when the morning sun comes in, you can actually see the make-up of the cloudiness and it slowly drifts around resembling cigarette smoke. You can only see this under the right sunlight condition, otherwise it just looks murky. It is difficult to make out objects on the far side if you are looking down the 6ft length on the tank. I have been aggressively changing filter medium as it becomes clogged with this seemingly never ending supply of dead plant material, but there seems to be no more now.  <may indeed be poor quality/uncured rock...any odor? Skimmer working like mad, I suppose> Do I.... 1) Simply wait for it to clear?  <water tests please> 2) Do another water change? <yes...perhaps several> 3) Shoot myself?  <nope.. but patience and the investment into a quarantine tank for all fish/plants/rock to got through for 2-4 weeks first would save you grief> This is disturbing. On a lighter note congratulations on your spritehood! Thanks again, -Pat <thank you, the Queen Mum was shorter in person than I thought she would be when I was knighted...er, spirited. Anthony>

Re: Caulerpa, Cloudy Bloom Anthony, The rock was cured. Bought it from a very reputable dealer in CT right out of one of their MANY display tanks. (Reef & Fin Stamford, CT)  <very good> My water tests perfect. Bacterial bloom???  <possible, but uncommon. Do you have, or can you borrow (/buy) a UV sterilizer... it would clear up the tank perfectly within 24-72 hours if what you suspect is true> This is very frustrating. How big a water change should I do? Or should I wait? It seems like there would be a fine line between doing maintenance for the good of your tank vs. over doing it so as to stress your environment and your animals. Also, don't get mad, but I don't have a protein skimmer yet. AAAAHHHHHHH! <double "AAAAHHHHHHH!"...hehe. Actually, just the addition of a skimmer alone could help you without the UV sterilizer. Truly a wiser investment than excessive water changes (and less expensive even in the short run for what you'll save on sea salt! Anthony> -Pat

Re: Caulerpa Anthony, <here and full of cheer... I just turned into a sprite (the impish little imaginary creature, not the soda pop> You mentioned you would not do Caulerpa unless for a specific purpose. It was recommended to me to create a more stable natural environment, and keep down the growth of less desirable algae. Did I misinterpret that?  <nope, correct...it may. But not without disadvantages too> If this is not the case, I will not go that route again. What indeed are the specific purposes you speak of, and is it your recommendation to have macro-algae or to not go there yet? <like farming seagrass for diatoms to encourage plankton, or mangroves for aesthetic effect, or Caulerpa to feed large tangs> Also, I took some advice from a reputable dealer yesterday and added 25lbs of live rock. (mostly Fiji) He said this would stabilize my system. (sound familiar?) <excellent... cured live rock is a good investment in one's tank's health> He also suggested distilled water or a RO. machine to clear my problem algae. <will only help if the nutrient source of the algae is indeed the tap water (have you found phosphates /nitrates/silica in your tap?> He told me my Brita on my tap was crap. <agreed for aquarium use> Is this good advice or was he trying to sell an RO.? <conditional as above> I seem to be moving in the direction of a reef, as my wife seems to dig the critters more than the fish. <a common move...very fascinating to watch new reef creatures and behaviors everyday> For this, I've decided to expand my sump.  <very wise> From what I've read about pros and cons of Berlin, I think I'm going to keep the trickle anyway and add a large sump area with live rock and protein skimmers.  <heavy skimming very good> Would you agree or would you lose the trickle media for nitrate purposes? <very much so> Also, in my system, in the overflow chamber, and again post trickle I have a TON of mechanical media such as bags and bags of black diamond charcoal and "poly Filter" pads. Should this stay in a reef or should this too pass? <may be very good if you service it regularly> My apologies for taking soooo much of your time. It is very appreciated and I thank you. -Pat <quite welcome, my friend. Anthony>

Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. In San Diego, the civil servant eco-Nazis have had their way. Caulerpa (Killer Algae) possession or sale is now a misdemeanor. (in fact in the entire State of California, per AB 1334 this genus is exclusively banned). Yet another reason to seize your property, control you. Where is the logic in this new law? Might it get loose, grow to the exclusion of other near-shore species? Out compete native forms? What about the tens, make that hundreds of thousands of acres of non-indigenous trees of the genus Eucalyptus or Avocados in the State? The impact of the companion animals that are domesticated cats and dogs... many orders of magnitude more important than aquarium algae getting loose in the wilds here (even throwing in Hydrilla verticillata IMO). Where does this banning end? With the public rising up, compelling their public employees that they're not going to "pay" for it.  The reality is of course that letting anything into a foreign environment where it can/will proliferate is contraindicated, a bad idea, practice... as is covering many square miles of land surface area with asphalt, concrete for roads, buildings, digging up the land for refuse "disposal", having billions of people on this small planet...  Will you freeze and dispose of your Caulerpa and whatever else you're "told to" by your "New Romans", civil servants? Where will you stop abiding by hypocrisies? See you in jail. Bob Fenner

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. ok, so excuse my ignorance... but is this algae something that is commonly used in aquariums?  <Yes... the family Caulerpaceae are probably in about half of marine aquariums in the U.S. and the world> something that's useful/helpful in aquariums? I think I've heard some of the news of why it's supposed to be bad... but what's the downside of not having it around?  <Apparently a threat to near shore environments... there was an "incident" this last year of half an acre of the Batiquitos lagoon being vapaamed to eradicate a population> (I'm not supporting the new law, far from it - just don't know what the stuff is) Thanks, Hindlick <Hoping to make more sense... than usual. Bob F/Dogfish>

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. Thanks for the email Bob. Hey I have three tanks in my house and a goldfish pot outside, and it seems like I have huge amounts of algae. This brings up a few questions which you might be able to answer: 1. What does Caulerpa look like? <You're under arrest> 2. Is it possible that I am harboring it without knowing it? <Come out with your net up> 3. I regularly harvest excess algae from my tanks and throw it away. Is it possible that I am the source of the contamination? <We must euthanize you> 4. If so, should I turn myself in? And, do you know any lawyers that are algae experts? <They've been sent to the ovens> 5. If not, should algae go in the yard waste recycling? Those recycling guys seem pretty picky sometimes. <They were insubordinate and have been eliminated> Feeling Guilty, <We're coming for you. Stay in your home> Jeff Hulett <The new eco-Nazis>

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. http://www.reefsource.com/Caulerpaban.htm <Thank you for this Mary... will add your post/input to our sites. Bob F>

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. Glad it's of some use- it's kinda old news at this point, but it's always interesting to go back and see how the whole thing progressed. <Yes... or regressed as the case may be> Please don't forget to add the "Job Opportunity" that I sent to you to the quatic Business section. I saw it in the Daily FAQ section yesterday- thanks for that. Help me find a salesperson and I'll have more time to "fight the good fight" with you! <Have added, moved to that part of the Business Index of WWM> Now get off the computer and take your wife somewhere nice...it's Saturday night, man!! <Now Sunday... sigh. Be chatting Mary. Bob F> Mary

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. Bob, Glad to see you like spending up to $4 million on the eradication effort (that was one number mentioned at the Caulerpa conference last week in San Diego). They are getting worried that it may not be quite contained (meaning it may have already spread beyond the two small areas and may want to close off some larger areas and nuke them) and are running out of money.  <The arrogance of folks at the public trough> Regarding the laws, San Diego bans all Caulerpa while the state law only bans 9 species (PIJAC was able to get that small concession).  <Yes. Mary has made this clearer to me...> Dr. Susan Williams, the top scientist they are talking to, would still like the whole genus and some others as well! Don't be surprised to see new legislation next year in spite of no scientific evidence that the other species are invasive or capable of surviving in cool Calif. waters. <I say ban civil servants... they're the biggest source of pollution> One interesting point was as they kill of seagrass beds to get at the Caulerpa, because seagrass beds are protected, they may be obligated to do replantings and/or mitigation for lost wetlands! By the way the company that is handling the eradication efforts was planting seagrass at the time the Caulerpa was found. I think they have run up in the $1 million range or more so far.  <I wonder who "planted" the Caulerpa... I'm still wondering who murdered those folks in New York...> (When they found it in New South Wales they spent about $55,000 Aus. before giving up). So this company may actually be paid to cover and chlorinate large areas of seagrasses and then may get paid to replant them! I sent a note to a local woman politician who was at the meeting and gave a short talk and will attach it for your info along with a summary to Dr. Jaubert who has done most of the work showing it is not a problem.. I plan to keep active in this debate and if you hear of local initiatives that need some technical rebuttals let me know. By they way Bob, have you been to Fiji lately? <Last month in Taveuni> One of these days I would like to get back down there (after Micronesia). Regards, Tom <Anytime my friend. Make it known when you have time. Australia next month. Bob Fenner>

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. Does the new law address cruise ship bilge pumping? <No... the hypocrisy of folks who "barely know" and don't care. Bob F>

Re: Got Caulerpa? You're a criminal. Bob, Hasn't this genus gone feral already in Huntington Beach Lagoon, costing taxpayers lots of money?  <um, no... a small patch of no consequence here in San Diego the only incident as far as I'm aware> Why keep something that causes problems?  <Human nature... just that we enjoy diversity, beauty> there are plenty of other species to keep instead. Here in Australia there are many species that cause problems and almost everyone recognizes the need to stop propagation of those species that cause problems. What if you wanted to keep zebra mussels in your tank? Or African clawed frogs? <Amen... don't keep these, endorse their captive use... or releasing ANYTHING to the wild. Bob Fenner> Good luck with everything, Mike Sweet, Brisbane Australia <There next month en-route to points northward>

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