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FAQs about Marine Macro-Algae 2

Related Articles: Marine Algae, Algae Can Be Your FriendRefugiumsAvoiding 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: Marine (Macro) Algae 1, Marine (Macro) Algae 3, Marine (Macro) Algae 4, Marine (Macro) Algae 5, Rationale, Identification, Selection/Compatibility/Control, Systems, LightingNutrition, Disease/Pests/Predators, Culture Algae Use in Refugiums, Coralline Algae: Use in Marine AquariumsMarine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Padina sp., Scroll Algae.

Refugium Lighting And Macroalgae Use Hey Guys, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> A couple of questions. I have read a lot of the FAQs pages but I have yet to see a definitive answer. Do you think 24/7 or a reverse cycle lighting is better. <Well, I personally favor the 24/7 lighting in the sump; it's just plain easier to do, and it has worked well for me (I am of the school that says, "If it isn't broken- don't fix it!"). However, it is certainly not "natural", and people have theorized that the constant light keeps the macroalgae in a sort of "stasis"- much more definitive research has to be done in this area. The "reverse daylight" technique has worked well for many hobbyists. The primary function of RDP and 24/7 is to maintain a more stable pH in the display tank. It really is open to debate and experimentation as to which is better> Also I am using a combo of grape, prolifera, and feather Caulerpa. My Nitrites are 0 my phosphates are 0 also. I see that you do not recommend Caulerpa why? <Caulerpa tends to be an extremely invasive macroalgae, even in a refugium situation. Also, it has a propensity to "go sexual", at which time gametes and cellular material are released into the water as part of the algae's reproductive cycle. This can cause a depletion in the tank's oxygen levels, and a substantial degradation of water quality as these materials decompose. Also, studies by hobbyists seem to have implicated that Caulerpa produces substances which may inhibit the growth of corals in closed aquarium systems. Some of these substances can be leached when the runners are broken, as they may be during "harvesting" of the algae> If you had one Caulerpa to choose which would you use or is a combo good. <If you are determined to use Caulerpa, I'd use a single species. I have always favored C. prolifera, myself. Frankly- I'd recommend an equally hardy, productive, and useful macroalgae, Chaetomorpha linum, which has many of the "benefits" and none of the downsides of Caulerpa. I use this macroalgae exclusively, and am very satisfied with its results> My refugium has only been active for 2 months but so far so good. Should I expect any problems in the future? <If your refugium is well thought-out, and a compatible combination of creatures inhabits it- there should be no difficulties> Also lots of amphipods in refugium, how can I get this life in tank? Fish eat all in seconds before they can hide. <You could simply net collect the "pods and feed them that way. Or- simply allow some to be carried into the tank via the refugium return...Maybe not the most efficient way- but it works> If you were to 86 Caulerpa what would you use (mangrove?) what are your thoughts? <Chaetomorpha, as outlined above, or possibly Gracilaria> By the way I am using a protein skimmer. Thanks Jim <Well, Jim- lots of controversy here. Make your choices based on your needs and concerns...Hope this helped. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Kelp help- Algae ID Hello crew, once again I call on you for help.  I recently bought a live sand starter kit from Indo-pacific, excellent product.   <agreed> In the kit was a small piece of kelp or algae that I can't identify.  Basically it is red/brown in color, branched with pointed ends.  No fronds and no apparent roots.  Well that small piece has grown to fill most of my sump.  Looks like it is helping with nutrient export so I don't mind keeping and harvesting. Any ideas where I might find some general information to help ID this, I looked over the site and didn't see anything quite like it.  As always thanks for your help. <Hmmm... start with a google WWW search of Phaeophytes (brown algae... you mentioned kelp-like)... for genus names to ponder like Turbinaria, Dictyota, Sargassum, etc... unless its not a kelp and you want to explore possibilities with Rhodophytes (red algae). Perhaps carry some of those names over to a search on www.algaebase.org DO send us a picture for an even faster ID <G> Kind regards, Anthony>

Algae Transplanting Hello Crewmember #6: I have some grass-like algae growing wild on some LR that I would like to remove from the rock, but keep growing elsewhere.  If I rip the algae off the rock, does the ripped part stand a chance of survival?   <Chances are good depending on the type> If so, would I have to mount it somewhere so it can re-root, or does rooting matter?  That said, would any/most algae "clippings" live if transplanted?  Is there a special method to this madness?   <I would place the transplant in a low flow area if possible and anchor it with another rock. All you are trying to do is keep it in place for a few days so the hold downs can find a place to hook on. Hope this helps, Don> Thanks, Rich

Macroalgae On The Move! Hello Crewmember #6: <Scott F. behind Door #3 tonight...> I have some grass-like algae growing wild on some LR that I would like to remove from the rock, but keep growing elsewhere. If I rip the algae off the rock, does the ripped part stand a chance of survival? If so, would I have to mount it somewhere so it can re-root, or does rooting matter? That said, would any/most algae "clippings" live if transplanted? Is there a special method to this madness? Thanks, Rich <well, Rich- these are all great questions, and the answer largely depends on the type of macroalgae you're working with. Algae that propagate with runners, like Caulerpa species, can be relocated with relative ease. Some of the others, like Halimeda, put down "holdfasts" (for want of a better word), and can also be removed easily. The more hair-like macroalgae tend to be damaged through "ripping"; it's really a matter of luck. You could chip off a small chunk of rock that the algae is attached to as well- maybe best of all...But you should experiment with different techniques...Do let us know what works best (but verify the species that you're working with so others can learn)! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- How Often Should I Mow the Lawn? - Hello, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a 23 Gallon refugium on my 60 Gallon tank. I recently added 1/2 lb of red Gracilaria and 1/2 lb of green Gracilaria. I have read that I should be harvesting this periodically. What exactly is "harvesting"? Is it just removing a small portion? <Exactly.> Thank you. <Cheers, J -- >

Algal succession Hi guys, I am a neophyte in the aquarium hobby, and I love your website.   I've seen several references to algal succession in the articles and conversations in your web site, but I cannot seem to find a clear description of what this is. <This term describes a gradual replacement of life forms by others... some organisms are "founding species" (various bacteria, slime molds...) that first occupy sterile niches (habitats)... that in turn are supplanted by other species. Some algae, like the Blue-Greens, Diatoms are able to colonize a new aquarium setting (and wild) ahead of "higher" forms like Greens and Reds...> I THINK this might be what's happening in my aquarium, but I am not sure. I had a serious case of brown algae, but weekly water changes and serious scrubbing of algae off of the live plants seems to have brought that under control, but in the two days, I have developed a stringy green algae that is rapidly spreading.  I plan to add 3 Otocinclus this afternoon to help, as I have no other algae-eating denizens in my tank. I see other people putting info about their tank in the chats, so I'll tell you what I know:  18 gallon tank, Power Filter 20, 15 various assorted Tetras (all 1 inch or smaller) and a variety of live plants.  My plants and fish seem happy, everybody has their own territory and hidey holes, nothing weird going on there.  Lunch is a popular time of day. I'm understand that algae is a natural part of the tank, so I don't want to eradicate it so much as control it.  Going back to algal succession, any place I can go for a good description of this? Amber Kallstrom <Please take a read through this piece on freshwater algae, control in captive systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Choosing Macro Algae Hi crew, hope everyone is doing well. <Sure am! Scott F. with you tonight!> I have a question about macro algae.  I've been reading through the FAQs about macro algae for my 125g marine tank.  But first, I set up the tank prior to finding your website, and now I'm trying to fix some of my mistakes.  I didn't invest in live rock as I was told by my LFS that since I was planning a fish only system I didn't need any.  Don't think I can afford the rock now, and kinda like the way the tank looks.  They also sold me on the idea of an Ocean Clear 340 inline filter.  This is fine, I've just been trying to keep up with the cleaning schedule.  I did order a new filter cartridge yesterday so that I may rotate in a clean one every week. <Very good idea if you're gonna use a mechanical filtration system...Rotate/change the media regularly> I've been battling with slime and hair algae for the past 3 months (the tank has only been set up since November).  I've read about nutrient export, and believe me I've been trying.  I have already upgraded my skimmer from a Prizm Pro to a Remora Pro (What a difference!!).  I've switched to RO water only for my water changes.  I have calculated that I'm turning my water over about 10 times an hour, and plan on installing some air stones to further circulate/aerate the water.  I've changed the filter cartridges every 3-4 weeks and also added some Poly Filter to the Emperor 400 that I'm also using, mostly for the carbon and/or other chemical filter media.  I've cut my lighting period back to 6 hours a day.  I vacuum and physically pluck the stuff from the bottom and decor weekly, sometimes daily.  I've added some hermit crabs, snails, and a Lawnmower Blenny.  I'm still losing the battle of the slime, although I may be gaining some ground.  I've also cut way back on the food (only been feeding every 2-3 days for the past week), since I've recently had a very small ammonia spike (0-0.2ppm).  I wanted to add some macro algae to use up some of these nutrients in the water. <You're doing fine...it's just gonna take a little time! Don't quit on the nutrient export processes...be patient- these things work! Hang in there!> My wife likes the Halimeda species offered by Live Aquaria, and I like the Feather Caulerpa offered by ETropicals.  My LFS has some of the feather Caulerpa, but it is seldom offered for sale.  Would both of these be OK or just one, or none. <I like Halimeda myself...Caulerpa has some downsides (discussed on this site and others many times) which make it a less than perfect choice for most systems.> Are there others that would be better.  Keep in mind, I don't have a sump to put these in. <I really like Chaetomorpha, but it really is better suited to a refugium or a sump, as it is a "free floating macroalgae...go with the Halimeda...but be sure to provide sufficient calcium levels> I am planning on having a Yellow tang and a Black and White Heniochus (H. Acuminatus?).  I thought these plants would also supply some supplemental food. <Caulerpa might...Gracilaria is much better, but, once again-better suited for a sump or refugium> Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated, and may I say thank you for educating so many people on how to keep these magnificent creatures alive and well.  You're doing a fantastic service. Vince <So glad to hear that you enjoy the site, Vince! Keep doing the things that you are doing, and you'll enjoy much success...be sure to share your experiences with others- that's what this hobby is all about! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Macroalgae Mix Hey there- <Hi there- Scott F. with you today!> I have a 125 gallon mixed reef and I have an ecosystem type filter (Caulerpa and miracle mud) with a skimmer.  I just upgraded my skimmer to an Aqua-C EV 240 and would like to get rid of the Caulerpa (since I don't need it for the nutrient export) and replace it with a better macroalgae.  I am afraid that after I remove the Caulerpa, the small roots or pieces of Caulerpa in the mud will grow back and take over the new less aggressive macro algae.  Would the best bet be to take out the miracle mud to eliminate the Caulerpa all together? <Well- as much as that is a pain in the rear, it may be a good idea to take out all of the Miracle Mud to sort through it and see if there are any runners present in the mud...This stuff can be really invasive, as you noted, so do take your time and make sure you get most of it> If so, can I replace it with a DSB of oolitic aragonite sand instead of the miracle mud?  How many inches of sand would you recommend?  If I shouldn't replace the mud, can I add some oolitic sand on top of the mud? <I would not replace the mud...It's good stuff, IMO. I don't see a need to add sand as well> What macro algae would you recommend to replace the Caulerpa?  I am looking at Chaetomorpha, and possible some Gracilaria because I hear it is good to feed to my tangs.  What are your opinions. <Yep- I love both of them...my favorites! I'd start with the Chaetomorpha> Thank you very much for your help. Josh <Any time, Josh! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- What are These Things?? - Hello Crew <And hello to you, JasonC here...> Your Site is the BEST !! I try to read some everyday. <Glad to hear you find it useful.> I am including a pic of two things that have grown in one of my tanks. The red one is about 4mm in size, it looks like some sort of clam. I had another one thought it was a rock, took it out of tank gave to my wife (she collects rocks) she said it's not, I said it is. Squeezed it and it popped so I know it was alive until then. any ideas? <Perhaps a bivalve or crustacean of some type, but it could also be a free-floating tunicate - I've had that happen before with new live rock.> On the left a piece of shell that started growing ??. I thought of hair algae, but this is stiff and slow growing. any ideas? <Weird stuff... could be a type of Bryopsis, but difficult to be certain.> 45 gal , 77 F,   1.024 sg,   8.3 ph,  0 phos,  0 ammonia, 0 Nitrites,  <3 Nitrates,  12 dKH, (calcium test on its way) 4"+/- aragonite for substrate, 40+lbs Semi-live rock,  350 magnum (cleaned every 2 weeks, carbon every other time) ,  wet/dry with live rock and skimmer moving about 400 gph, 2 power heads @ 150gph each (about 1000 gph total). JBJ PCs  260w  for lights. Been running almost 12 weeks. This will be a Semi-Reef at the moment inhabited by 3 Turbo Snails with lots of Pink and purple Coralline algae,  14 <1/2" Nassarius Snails, 4 Red-leg Hermits.  Will slowly add about 6-7 small fish, some polyps, soft corals and a 30 gal Sump. Suggestions about any of this is appreciated. <I wouldn't stock any more than three or four small fish in a tank of this size.> Thanks.  Ron <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Algae or coral ??    Bob, thanks for the quick response.            Your reply was you thought it looked like a zoanthid.  I looked at <A HREF=" http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm">http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm >. Can they lack tentacles? <Can be small... not evident when colony is not open... but I think maybe we/I was looking at something else in your pic from your description below> These things look like a painted bubble. One of the oldest and largest, about a half inch in size, has one of the dark spots on the top growing a stem that has two tiny bubbles.        <Please take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm> I have a large  3/4" Chiton that lives in that same LR. I've noticed many small ones all over my tank along with many cone shaped snails. I also have some kind of flat tan 1/8" "slugs" all over LR.    Friends or foe?                                                                     Thanks, Jim <Please read through the "Worm" and "Gastropod" sections posted on WetWebMedia.com re these animals. Bob Fenner>

Grey Algae ID 3/30/03 I couldn't find anything like this on your site or the 'net - do you think you can ID this alga? <alas... cannot discern clearly from the image at all> It looks very much like the lint-type dust you find in a vacuum cleaner bag - not really "hairy" more clumpish - like dust. I know the pic isn't the best (hard for it to focus) I want to make sure it isn't something dangerous. The algae in question is the clump dead center in the pic. David <there is a great algae web-site you can browse (www.algaebase.org) once you have an idea of its genera/ballpark. The Littlers have produced several incredible algae ID books if you are interested too and can be purchased at SeaChallengers.com  As far as this algae is concerned, it is likely limited by nutrients and well within your control. No worries <G> Anthony>

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>

Macro Algae I.D. Please 3/21/03 My Fiji live rock has sprouted a macro algae that I can't i.d. Most likely very common I'm sure, but I can't find a picture of it on your pages, and the other pages I've looked on usually require a name to give a picture. I believe the small pale green algae is a Halimeda sp. but not sure. The larger ones have a serrated sword like leaf. Here's a link to the pictures. <no worries... it appears to be Sargassum. There are quite a few species... some live free-floating (rafts of Sargasso-weed and the like) while others live tethered. They can get a bit tall... but most top off at around 18". A handsome and sturdy macro... somewhat noxious, but easy to prune and can be enjoyed. Do browse the genera on http://www.algaebase.org/ if you seek a species name once it matures a little more. Best regards, Anthony>

Algae ID website Bobster... Our friend Amy L from Napa just pointed out this nice algae/"plant" ID website: http://www.algaebase.org/ Perhaps on the FAQ page we could include a permanent listing of the three (fish, corals and algae) Just a small by-line for those in need of ID's? Antoine <Oh yeah. Algaebase. Will add to parts of WWM. Bob F>

Refugium plants and algae mixing 3/13/03 I have a question regarding mangroves & other micro algae's in a refugium. Must you use one or the other or can you combine mangroves and micro algae in the same refugium. Many Thanks, John <you may certainly combine algae with mangroves in refugia, bud... mangroves are more ornamental- the macroalgae will be a better vegetable filter for you :) Best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums, macroalgae and reef plumbing Hello, <cheers> Can you tell me the best set up for a  ecosystem mud filtration unit, my tank will be a 125gl with twin overflows. I need to know what is a good pump, and how should I run the lines from the pump to a heater/chiller (aqua-Therm) and back to the return. I want to have at least 1000-1200 of gph for the sump and I need at least 600gph for the chiller so it will not freeze up, that is the manufactures  states. I was thinking that I could use a mag drive pump rated for 1500 or 1800gph to do the job. <please view the illustration and following links to get an essential take on the matter: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm how do you rate the Kent marine Biosediment to the miracle mud ( I hope you are liquored up to tell me about it)? <I find them both to be equally useless and overpriced and would advise a deep bed of fine oolitic/aragonite sand instead (6" or more) :) > I also need to know why you said sea grass is a better choice than Caulerpa and why don't ecosystem tell you why. <actually... seagrasses are not the only or best alternate for Caulerpa. But Caulerpa is frightfully noxious if neglected and has been shown scientifically to impede coral growth. They are not found naturally together on a reef. Other algae like Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria are more stable and less toxic if neglected> They don't have the patent on plants, right so why promote a species of plant when  there  are ones that are better for filtration, <because Caulerpa was one of the very few "plants" available in the hobby when Leng Sy first developed his mud system and they are the only common macro that can remain in stasis if lit 24/7> how  can I get some of this sea grass. <seek Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria instead from IPSF.com (AKA "Tang Heaven" or Hawaiian "Ogo")... or from inlandaquatics.com ("Spaghetti algae")> thank you, and I appreciate you site .   Mr. McCoy   <kind regards, Anthony>

QT of new macrophytes Follow-up question if I may I am getting some Halimedas from same supplier-should plants be freshwater rinsed, drugged or quarantined before going into main tank? <Just rinsed (in seawater) on removal from the shipping water, and quarantined for a few days. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Re: brown film algae just gone out and bought a Digi cam so i could send you pics in future, sorry but the missus may be on the phone to chew your ears off as i told her you made me buy one!!! lol here are a couple of pics to show you the brown algae, the pic of the algae between the pulsing xenia is not so clear but gives an idea of how it is starting to spread over the corals. tried to pick/scrape off what i could but to no avail. thanks once again for your help and much appreciated advice, Brent. <Oh, this is Cyanobacteria, aka blue-green algae (come in all colors). Please read over our coverage of the groups control and related materials, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm going through the linked files (in blue, above)
Bob Fenner>

Converting Caulerpa refugium to misc. algae More questions baby bubba crew, <no longer... I am now... a knight... who says... "Ni!"> What other types of nutrient export can be used besides macro algae? <wow... a tough question to answer in less than 10,000 words. At least by me. Bob and I turned over something like 30 pages into the editor just on refugiums (without pictures!) for the new book (Reef Invertebrates). There are tens of species that can be used. Animals filters, Vegetable filters, true plants, micro- and macroalgae. Syconoid and other sponges, tunicates... so many great creatures> I have heard of people using xenia as a nutrient export. Are there benefits? downsides? <briefly stated... Xenia is fast growing, weakly noxious and fairly stable. It is also quite saleable. That makes it useful as an "animal filter"> How about cryptic zones. <fascinating with sponges and tunicates (and other filter feeders, worms, etc). They are slow to grow, variably noxious and precarious. Only recommended if you are willing to work harder for it> And lastly what are your thoughts on using quality natural seawater. <Never!!! Too tedious to prepare safely. No less expensive after processing (ozone, carbon, test kits and additives to temper its seasonal variations in bio-minerals, etc). And where are you going to draw natural seawater from that isn't along a populated coast with effluent from millions of people living inland polluting the first few miles of it. No way dude. Not likely safe or worthwhile. Synthetic seawater mixed with purified H2O is extremely consistent and safe... I'm willing to pay for that small bit of insurance> As you can tell I am trying to be nature boy with my reef tank. <why don't you make a jersey shore biotope display with a sandy beach with beer cans and needles littering it? Just a suggestion> Once again thanks in advance. Tom G. <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Do you know what these are and how to get rid of them an early thanks for the help. I have a 200g FOWLR set-up.  About 5 months old with only 5 fish and about 100 lbs. of live rock.  A few months ago I noticed tiny little rectangular shaped (yellow-gold in colour with a speck of red) objects showing up on my glass and gravel.  I am assuming they are some type of algae growth ??  When I clean my glass to get rid of these they fall to the gravel and magically 24 hrs later have managed to get back on the glass.  I am running a Aqua-C EV-240 skimmer and not having any other algae issues, assuming that this in fact is algae.  Is there anything I can do to reduce these pesky little things.  I just bought a purple tang, will he make dinner of these?? <Mmm, hard to say what this is, or if the Zebrasoma will consume them (I would have suggested a bristlemouth species instead, genus Ctenochaetus. More likely these organisms are crustaceans or worms... and very likely that they are innocuous/harmless. I would keep wiping them off. They will likely "cycle out" on their own in due time. Bob Fenner> thanks. Joe

Brown film algae evening crew, i have brown almost hard looking film algae spreading across the surface of some of my live rock. i have picked off a lot of it by hand but the majority of it is encrusting the surface, and now starting to grow over some of my button polyps and star polyps.   could you identify this type of algae, which I'm sure is probably common.  also are there any natural herbivores that may eat this slow growing but now poss. deadly algae?? <Mmm, hard to make out from the description. Please take a read through our "brown algae" pages, perhaps starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm and the associated (linked, in blue, at top) files> thanks for the (always) great advice, Brent UK <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Plants and algae for the refugium Can anyone on your staff guide me to a website or store to buy some macro algae to use in my Refugium? <many places on the 'Net... inlandaquatics.com and IPSF.com both specialize. Both operated by great industry peoples> I live in South Florida.. Ft. Lauderdale <swim out into the keys and collect your own then <G>. And send us some Thalassia seagrass. And some of that cute ornamental Acetabularia too> I was going to use Caulerpa but am now afraid due to the toxicity produced by this variety of macro algae. <indeed... noxious and labor intensive/precarious... better choices abound> I was told that perhaps Gracilaria, Thalassia, Dictyota, Chaetomorpha may be a better choice <all but Dictyota... some are a nightmare and a nuisance> but I don't believe I could use a 24/7 daylight schedule with these specimens.   <correct> I believe they need some darkness, <respiration> whereas Caulerpa does not. <the rat weed does not... correct again> Leng Sy uses Caulerpa sertularioides and a 24/7 light schedule.  I didn't want to deviate from his method, <no worries... the experimentation can be good. Even Leng has changed his opinions over the years an now concedes to the benefits of water changes and protein skimmers> but feel i may need to, to bypass the toxicity problem down the road. <agreed... and other inconveniences too> Please advise. Steve <Morgan at Inland Aquatics or Gerry at Indo Pacific Sea Farms as listed above. Best regards, Anthony>

- Lighting for a Saltwater Planted Tank - Hi. <Greetings, JasonC here.> I just purchased a Saltwater setup with the intention of keeping larger fish such as a clown trigger (possibly), a snowflake eel, maybe a harlequin tusk but all of this of course would depend on if they can be kept in a planted saltwater aquarium. The setup is as follows:   200 gallon tank 30 gallon sump 3 250 w MH lighting 2 4ft Blue actinic bulbs 2 fans for the MH lighting plumbing for the sump 2 built in overflows (1 in each back corner of the tank) A custom built stand and canopy With the above lighting setup will it be possible to have a beautifully macro algae stocked tank (with the addition of a good skimmer which I hope that you can recommend both size and brand) with some live rock and some fish. <I'm a fan of AquaC skimmers.>  I have been told this is too much lighting but I have read about peoples tank setups and have found a few with this much lighting and planted macro-Algaes. <Well... in my own experience, most people who have macro Algaes in their tank use them as an adjunct to the system and not as the major feature, but no matter. Either way, the lighting you have will be more than adequate to grow very robust quantities of macro Algaes; probably to the extent that you will need to remove large quantities on a semi-daily basis. Do be cautious though... if algae becomes your major feature, you may find your fish oxygen starved when the lights are off and the Algaes begin to respire.> They are beautiful but I cannot get them to respond to my posts of questions.  Can you help me? <You seem well on your way.> Thanks Robin <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium algae Dear Anthony, Many thanks for your quick and thorough response. No way I'd be in this hobby were it not for the books and advice of Bob and friends. Looking forward to the new book. <thanks kindly> A bit of clarification, please. I have dual 95 PC, 10,000 Kelvin lights on the new refugium, on a chain, 8 inches above the water <whoa! stop there bub. Sweet lights... but useless at 8 inches. This may singly explain some previous trouble keeping Gracilaria for example. Although bright to the eye, the usable light (PAR) plummets with every inch off the surface you creep. The "rule" for most fluorescents (including the blazing VHOs and PC.s) is that anything higher than 3" off the water surface if a waste of electricity. A lux meter will confirm this for you... just amazing. With some light systems, the difference between lights at 8" and lights at 4" is 150% or more! Just staggering. Please do lower these lights> line with a .177" acrylic lid. I can put the fixture right on lid, an inch from the surface. <if it presents no fire hazard, yes... OK for livestock> Is this too much light for Ulva, Gracilaria, and/or Chaetomorpha? <my heavens, this is not even remotely too bright for these algae. Gracilaria for example is farmed commercially in floating baskets at the surface of the water under tropical sun. Our pc lights are barely a glimmer by comparison> I can raise the light or lower it easily. <excellent... my vote is 2-3" off water surface> Caulerpa refugium has and old All Glass 2 tube fixture but I will gladly upgrade to your recommendation if and when I can replace the bad stuff. Please describe proper acclimation for these plants. I didn't know it was required. <acclimation of corals, anemones, other invertebrates (shrimp crabs, etc) and plants and algae is extremely critical. They are far more sensitive to osmotic shock than fishes that have many thick layers of skim to temper the osmotic changes. Algae and Arthropods (shrimp, crabs) are perhaps the most sensitive by far. Acclimate them with a slow drip as you would a sensitive fish for 20-30 minutes> Please expand on "competition". Is this completion for space?  I have plenty. Or is it a chemical competition? I would like to try continue trying several varieties to see what works. <you would be much better with one species unless the total system volume is huge... competition for available nutrients, noxious exudations, etc. If you want to succeed... definitely begin with one variety only. To compromise... how about going back to Gracilaria and getting both red and green species> I have added a small 600 GPS pump for turbulence since getting your email. OK? <sounds pretty cool... remains to be seen for algae. Keep a good turbulent/tumbling movement of the algae and detritus in suspension> "Free floating for all of the above plants?  Blowing around with pump? I can divide the surface area with acrylic or fine mesh fiberglass screening. <not sure I follow here? Gracilaria floats... pump is drawing low? A simple cage may be all that is needed. > Again, many thanks, WetWeb advice has served me well. Never had a disease process since filling the show tank (first reef experience) 30 months ago. I expect Santa will bring me a digital camera (with diving case) so I can send you folks photos of my 160 gallon Howard/Wetweb creation - the best aquarium between Pleasant Prairie, WI and the Shed in Chicago. Howard <awesome! We'll look forward to it! Best regards, Anthony>

Macroalgae In The Mix Hi My water parameters are calcium 350, kH 7.4 and alkalinity 2.63. <KH and alkalinity are a bit on the low side, but well within acceptable parameters> The iodine is saturating the water through adding too much. <Hmm- definitely continue regular water changes and discontinue the iodine dosing- the level should fall to a "normal" concentration> The Penicillus seaweed is still white looking and the Ophiocoma seem to be shedding segments from the tips of their arms and to be losing bristles and turning white in patches along the arms. One brittle star seems to have lost most of his arms. <Not sure what could be causing the brittle star to lose arm segments...I'd keep shooting for the highest possible water quality through aggressive skimming and water changes> I cleared out most of the racemosa and the prolifera isn't a problem but how do I attach cuttings of taxifolia to rocks? I know a local fish shop takes seaweed cuttings but the taxifolia is harder to attach. <If you want to keep working with this species, you might want to try attaching it with some cable twist ties gently pressed near the runners (not too tight-you just don't want it to blow away in the current) around some small chunks of live rock. I've done that with Halimeda and even Gracilaria with decent results. Once the algae puts down it's runners, you can cut away the twist ties. It's not too attractive, but you'll only need to do this for a few days, or until the runners attach. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Macroalgae and Water Pre-Treatment Good evening! <Hello! Scott F. here tonight> Have just 2 quick (I think!) questions for you this time around.  I recently emailed you regarding changing my "nitrate factory" (sump with bioballs) over to a macroalgae filter, you recommended Chaetomorpha or Ulva vs. Caulerpa. Problem is, I have only found mention of the names of these macroalgae; never any pictures (for identification) or locations where I might purchase them. <Chaetomorpha is also called "Spaghetti Macroalgae".  It really does look like spaghetti or a kitchen scrub pad! A good commercial source of this algae is Inland Aquatics. Ulva can be purchased from Indo Pacific Sea Farms. There are other commercial sources for these and other macroalgae; it will take a bit of searching. Alternatively, you may want to post an inquiry on WetWebMedia.com's chat forum; in all likelihood, there are other hobbyists out there who have these macroalgae available for sale/trade.> I searched the site for several hours this week.........(It's a guy thing ya know, never ask for directions!!  Well, I'm convinced........I'm lost!) Any help would be greatly appreciated. <You are right- there is not a tremendous amount of hobbyist-related stuff on the internet regarding this particular species. Much of the husbandry information that you'll find on this macroalgae is from fellow hobbyists, so do use the chat forum on our site or more information.> Also, in scanning through all the FAQ's, I caught something about watching your PH, and alkalinity if you use "raw" R/O water for tank top offs.  Can you point me to more information as to what I should be adding to my R/O water before adding to my tanks? <First, you should always aerate the water before using it; to help drive off the carbonic acid that's usually present in highly purified water. Second, you may want to use an aquarium alkalinity buffer product to help "reconstitute" the water. More on this topic is available on the wetwebmedia.com site, and a further discussion of source water and its treatment is available in Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation".> I didn't realize this was a problem, yet probably explains my low PH. <R/O water tends to be very unstable, acidic, and have no hardness, so aerating and buffering the water before using it is a necessary step when using RO water, IMO> Thanks and Happy Holidays!! Doug Edwardsville, IL <And thanks to you, Doug- Good luck in your efforts! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium Macroalgae Question Hi Guys ! <cheers, Chuck!> Recently I removed all (well almost all) of the Caulerpa from my 50 gallon refugium and replaced it with Gracilaria, turtle grass and Chaeto... (spelling ?). <Chaetomorpha... all very wise IMO. Kudos> Everything is going well, many small "bugs" and my peppermint shrimp  have been breeding periodically releasing even more food into the main display tank. Since my display tank is 300 gallons I do not plan to use such a small refugium for algal filtration.  Instead, my refugium's purpose is to generate live food/plankton for my main tank. <agreed here too that this is a better plan for most aquarists> Small amounts of the blade, fern, grape Caulerpa have come back even though I removed all of the live rock and brushed it with a toothbrush.   <the grape Caulerpa is especially noxious/toxic> The other Algaes are growing at a very swift rate and I am worried that the Caulerpa will sexually spawn since it is in the minority and since it is being "squeezed out".  Is this concern well-founded? <not very... its more a simple matter of completing its life cycle (3-6 months unbroken for the cell/colony)> I try to pick out the Caulerpa as it grows but it is nearly impossible to get it all.  Is this sufficient to keep the Caulerpa from  sexually reproducing / entering into my main display tank? <yes... frequent and regular pruning> Right now it hasn't spread into the display tank and I want to keep it that way....any other suggestions  on how to do maintain this ? <yep... napalm> Do I still need to harvest the "good" or less virulent Algaes mentioned above in a similar manner as the Caulerpa ? <yes... all Algaes essentially for vigor if nothing else. Less or no risk of sexual reproduction with some of the other non-Caulerpas though> Thanks, and looking forward to meeting Anthony in Boston, home of the Boston Reefers,  in January !!! <me too, my friend. And we can discuss then if Dr Ron and the Ronnie's are fascists or hypocrites or something altogether different <G>> Regards, Chuck Spyropulos <rock on my brother :) Anthony>

Macroalgae Gone Wild! I'm having trouble with my Penicillus turning pale, and also my Halimeda occasionally looks white then looks green again. Would it affect the plants if the liquid reactor I have been adding was precipitating in the tank? <This color change happens often with these plants, usually after the lights go out- then they often turn green again. I wouldn't be overly alarmed by this. The "Liquid Reactor"  probably wouldn't do them any extreme harm...but the calcium/alkalinity dynamic could be out of whack, causing all sorts of problems with your animals. DO monitor these parameters if you're gonna add any type of calcium product.> I am checking to see the parameters for iodine, ph, calcium and nitrate tomorrow. <Ahh- that's good!> Also two types of Caulerpa prolifera have partly turned transparent then stopped, it hasn't spread. Do you think that nutrients are being taken out too fast by the Caulerpa? <Let's see what your water tests say about that. Most likely, these algae are releasing their sexual products into the water, which is not the best thing for your water quality. My advice would be to get these "weeds" out of the tank as soon as possible. This propensity to go "sexual" is just one of the aspects of the "dark side" of Caulerpa- a reason why more an more hobbyists are using different macroalgae (like the Halimeda, and others such as Chaetomorpha) in their systems. One of my favorite quotes comes from Anthony's MACNA presentation: "Friends don't let friends buy Caulerpa!". That pretty much sums it up! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Macroalgae Gone Wild! (Pt 2) I actually get the test results tomorrow or even today. But before then I have noticed hat my Caulerpa racemosa is turning red! Is this relevant? <Maybe not relevant...But it's WEIRD! Seriously, could be Cyanobacteria overtaking the Caulerpa??? Hard to say. I've never heard of a green algae turning red...Seems contrary to what we learn in biology...but who knows? I am certainly no botanist...I think it would be cool for you to record this occurrence with some pics! Perhaps the "Men In Black" from the Government may want to stop buy and see if this is an extraterrestrial plant species- watch out for unmarked grey Ford Fairmont's in your neighborhood...> Also my Penicillus is almost white. The whitening of the Halimeda isn't related to lighting either I should add, but not all the plant is white, other parts are green and I'm aware that this plant can regenerate after turning white. But the Penicillus doesn't have a stiff stalk anymore, its flexible. I've moved that plant elsewhere in the aquarium to see if this makes a difference. The plant is/was (before turning white)? growing runners. <Well, I'd be inclined to leave it for a bit to see what happens. The fact that it's growing runners is good...Keep a close eye on it- as long as its not decomposing or otherwise degrading your water quality, let's see what happens. I personally don't like to give up so easily, and I think that you are the same! Keep in touch!  Regards, Scott F>

Algae ID Can you help me to identify "brown leather algae"? It has a stem then is like a fan - similar to that of the Stylopodium zonale picture. However the stem is narrow and each of the flattened, edges looks hairy. These are large macroalgae at around 12 inches tall at this time. They are greenish-brown and rather robust except near the edges. I'm sorry that I can't tell you more. <Alas... I wish I could be of more help, but there are so many algae species. We cannot even narrow this one down to an ocean(!) by the description. When possible, do send a picture... hoping Santa is good to you this year ;P Kindly, Anthony>

Brown Wafer Algae: Lobophora and like species I have on a couple of my LR some algae that look's exactly like the algae on this page: http://www.globaldialog.com/~jrice/algae_page/lobophora.htm It began to grow at the same time coralline started (aprox. 2 months back)... I was wondering if you 'aqua-maestros' have any idea (and I'm sure you do)on what this is and what steps should I take do get rid of it. My tank is 6 months old, all water params are ok, I use Kalkwasser for all evaporation and a RO unit... Thank you. <The "brown wafer algae" Lobophora is fast growing but not at all palatable to most herbivores. Some Diadema urchins will eat it, and if your tank is over 100 gallons, then a Naso tang may control it for you. Else, manual extraction is called for (Ughhh!... no fun). Best regards, Anthony>

Sea Urchins and Macroalgae Hi! Is there a sea urchin that can be trusted with macroalgae and sessile invertebrates? <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchins.htm -Steven Pro>

Re: shaving brushes I've never put any macro algae into my tank (55 gal FOWLR) but I have the opportunity to purchase some Shaving Brushes.  Is this a good or bad idea?  I think they'd look terrific but I don't want to mess with my fairly stable water chemistry. Ana M. Saavedra <A good idea to try. Bob Fenner>

Refugium I have a question concerning a refugium set-up. I currently have a 55 gallon refugium that is on an opposite lighting cycle than my display tank. The refugium contains 60 lbs of live sand and some Caulerpa algae. I have read some articles that make me think that there are better algae or other methods to do the same thing (reduce nitrates, etc.). I would like any information or resources about refugiums. <It depends on your tank. If you have a mostly fish tank and nutrient export is your priority, Caulerpa or Dictyota would be my choice. If you have corals, I would avoid both. Then depending on your corals and the type of plankton you wish to generate Seagrasses, such as Thalassia, or Chaetomorpha would be my favorites.> Thanks for your help, Mike Winston <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Refugium Follow Up I do have corals mostly LPS and soft leathers. Will the Thalassia or Chaetomorpha also remove the nutrients <Yes, to an extent. The Chaetomorpha is your best choice. It is more effective at nutrient export than the Seagrasses and it will encourage zooplankton for your LPS.> and if they will where can they be purchased, none of my LFS have this? <You should be able to find it at many online e-tailers. I know http://www.eastcoastclams.com/ has some. It is not listed, but just email him and I am sure he will send it to you. You should look around though. You don't want to pay shipping on a handful of algae. It would be more cost effective to buy something else for the shipping fees.> Thanks again <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Caulerpa! Good evening! <Hi there! Scott F. here for you!> I just recently heard about utilizing mangroves in a sump vs. Caulerpa, searched your site for more info, found a little.  Was wondering if you could give me a quick run down on the pro's and / or con's of this, was just about to set up a new sump for Caulerpa when I heard about mangroves. <Well- first off- I wouldn't look at mangroves as a means of efficient nutrient export, like macroalgae. They grow very slowly...much too slowly to perform the same export function in a closed system as macroalgae. They do encourage the growth of various fauna within their root systems, however, so are interesting in that regard. You should purchase a copy of Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for some really cool information on using mangroves, as well as more good stuff on macroalgae and nutrient export. A must read, IMO.> I am looking for a natural way to lower nitrate levels so I can start adding corals, liked the Caulerpa idea because I could cut off excess growth and feed to my ever-grazing Naso tang. Current tank is 120 gallon fish and liverock only with 29 gallon sump.  Thanks for any info you can provide, love your website!! Doug Edwardsville, IL <Thanks for the kind words, Doug! Although very popular, Caulerpa is not really the best choice for a purposeful macroalgae, IMO. After lots of personal research, reading, and discussions with the likes of Anthony Calfo, Eric Borneman, and others, I have concluded that there are more drawbacks than benefits to Caulerpa use. This stuff grows like a weed, true- and if harvested regularly, can export nutrient efficiently. However, should you rip segments of the plant through careless harvesting, many potentially noxious chemicals from within the plant are leached back into the water. Also, these algae have a tendency to go into a sexual reproduction stage, potentially releasing enormous quantities of gametes and other cellular material into the water, negatively impacting oxygen levels, among other things. I'd look into more "docile" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, Ulva, and even Halimeda. They offer many of the advantages of Caulerpa, without much of the detrimental effects. As Anthony likes to say- "Friends don't let friends buy Caulerpa!" 'Nuff said! Good luck, and have fun working on this project!>

Trial, Error and Macroalgae Scott, Thanks for the lengthy response, will buy the book and look into locating the other macroalgae you mentioned. <You'll be glad that you did!> On the kind words, seriously, your website provides a wonderful service, especially to those of us who only get to tinker with our tanks after work and can't do the "trial and error" on everything that hits the market. <I WISH I could do that (the "trial" part)-it's mostly "error", believe me!> The price is right too :) <You can't put a price on sharing!> Sincerely, Doug <Thanks for the "props", Doug- just don't buy Caulerpa, and I'll sleep better tonight!  Regards,  Scott F.>

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>

Plants for nitrate reduction Hello to whomever may be answering questions tonight! I just have a couple of simple questions. I'm trying to reduce nitrates. I've been reading the faq's on your site, and noticed that plants have the ability to lower nitrate levels. Could you please recommend a few?  <Mmm, Halimeda, Caulerpa species grow best/fastest for the purpose in hobbyist systems> Would these plants take over my tank or make burrowing difficult for my sting-ray?  <Yes> If so, I'll just put them in the sump, but I was thinking that the tangs might like to graze upon whatever plants were introduced to their home. Thanks for your help, you guys rule (: Ro <These are actually not plants, but algae/thallophytes... you can look up true/vascular plants, use them... or both in a sump/refugium... a good step for many purposes. Bob Fenner>

Red Bubble Algae Causing Seahorse Problems? Hi Bob, <Hi Leslie, Craig here> Something very strange happens every time one of my seahorses (all captive bred) hitches to this small piece of red bubble algae, sorry I do not know what species it is. I have had red bubble algae in the tank with the horses before without any problems, maybe this is a different species. <Sounds like Cyanobacteria, not algae. Could be quite poisonous to these guys I suppose> So..... they act like they are stuck and trying to get free, but can't.....writhing, twisting, trying to pull away from it, and rubbing their body and head against it. Now, they do not do this at any other time at all. I have had 2 unexplained deaths of the smaller horses recently. When it was one of the small ones I just thought maybe they got their tail twisted in it. Last night one of my larger Ocean Riders got "stuck". I released her and removed the algae from the tank. She has always, from day one, been a very good and aggressive eater. After the incident last night, she ate one piece of Mysis out of the water column, continued to hunt, but just stared at anything else she came upon. This am she did not look quite right, she was hitched hanging upside down like a possum. The lights were still out when I left for work, so I will see how she is tonight when I get home. I am wondering if there could be something in or on that piece of algae that could possibly be stinging, stressing or injuring them in some way.  Thanks for you help, Leslie <Well, in Cyanobacteria, cyanide. Reduce nutrient load in tank causing Cyano, increase circulation in those areas affected (I know, be careful with too much) make sure your skimmer is clean and working in top form, water changes and perhaps filtration with a PolyFilter or? Get rid of the Cyano! (excess nutrient, low current) Craig>

Re: Red Bubble Algae Causing Seahorse Problems? Hi Craig, <Anthony Calfo with the follow up> Thanks for the rapid response. I guess I was not clear enough. I am pretty familiar with Cyano. I have had Cyano in my tanks on various occasions several times. There is no visible Cyano in this tank at this time. This is a piece of red Caulerpa I purchased from one of my LFS. Inland aquatics sells 2 varieties as well. It looks like the green grape Caulerpa, but is red. I believe it may be Botryocladia uvaria, as it looks very similar to the photo in Baensch Marine Atlas, vol 1 on page 233. <I am familiar with it an believe it to be relatively non-toxic although numerous fish toxins have been isolated in Caulerpas. Perhaps something here too although I doubt it> Are there any parasites, bugs or critters that can live in or on this type of Caulerpa causing the type of "irritation" to my horses that I described in my original e mail?  <not really... the macro is not a viable host. There is something concurrent about the "relationship" between the plants and seahorse (if at all) that we are missing. Do consider that it could be something altogether different. Have you tested dissolved oxygen levels by chance? Or do you shut off your skimmer or any other filter at night?> I am concerned due to the strange behavior as well as the 2 unexplained deaths. Thanks, Leslie <best regards, Anthony>

Hawaiian Ogo... Lolo for Ogo! Aloha WWM Crew, <Eh Howzit Jeff, Scott F. with you (one haole with one Big Island girl)> Your web site is DA KINE (the best). I can't thank you guys enough for the great service you provide. I live on the island of Oahu and have a 55 FO tank. I have a question about Hawaiian Ogo (seaweed). I noticed that the local markets have fresh Ogo bagged for consumption. I was wondering if you could place that Ogo in your sump or main display. <If you got the Ogo already refrigerated, chances are it will not grow in your sump or aquarium. If it's fresh, meaning you "jus' wen pick em from da ocean water," then, the Ogo will probably survive and grow. I have had success growing fresh Ogo in a 10 gallon aquarium with an airstone. Please note that Ogo (Gracilaria parvispora) needs a lot of light and should be kept in suspension in order to grow at its best>  Moreover, would it be okay to place shoreline rocks from the North Shore into my tank without worrying about pollution and other negative consequences. Thanks for all your help. <Jeff, are you referring to coral rubble or lava rock? If it's coral rubble, it may be okay after curing. If it's lava rock, it may not work in a closed system, because of the possibility that it could release lots of compounds that will induce microalgae growth. Also, you might want to check with local authorities to see if it's legal to collect rock.> Jeff <Malama Pono and A hui hou! Scott F.>

Macroalgae Hello, everything seems to be going fine in my hospital tanks, fish are looking the best yet. I was interested in introducing some macroalgae into my main tank while the fish are in the hospital so that it would have a chance to establish itself before the purple tang gets a hold of it. I read over your FAQ's and I'm a little confused. I see that Bob seems to like Caulerpa and Anthony doesn't like it at all. <It all depends on what you intent is. I like Caulerpa for nutrient export in fish tanks (and I believe we would all agree on this). I believe Caulerpa can negatively impact corals (here there may be some disagreement between us).> My main reason for wanting any type of macroalgae was to have a little something for my purple tang to nibble on and also I like the looks of it. <Then you are fine.> I am not going to have any corals but I don't want to get something that is going to be more trouble than it is worth. I'm especially afraid of the Caulerpa going "sexual" or whatever it does that pollutes the system, I definitely don't want that, how can you keep it from doing this besides leaving the lights on all the time which I can't do with fish. <Some people have controlled it with regular pruning and keeping the total mass down, but no guarantees.> I have a 55 gallon fish and invertebrate system with 60 lbs. live rock. Is there a different type of macroalgae that my fish will like to eat but doesn't do a sexual thing? <Many, do see the coverage of macroalgae on www.WetWebMedia.com.> Could I get the red feeding algae (Gracilaria) stuff to grow and would that be a better choice? <Sure> Will my tang even eat the Caulerpa <Yes> and if you do suggest Caulerpa which type would be the best for my needs. <Any> I see the grape and lettuce types offered although after reading about the legislation I am not sure if I am going to be able to get any in California. <It is illegal for anyone in your state to own, possess, sell, blah, blah, blah...> Please advise me about the wisest choice for growing it for looks and a snack. Thank you so much for all your help so far, you guys are really amazing. I'm so impressed that some people actually care enough about the aquarium hobby to put so much time in to answering all the many many questions people like me have. Thank you again. <You are quite welcome. It is a labor of love for us.> Also, I saw a really cute all yellow goatfish that I love but I'm guessing my tank is too small for his eventual size, <I don't believe you mentioned the size, but plus I have a cleaner shrimp and neon gobies that he would probably eat. <Hard to say for certain> I don't think he would eat a large hermit crab, or would he? <Depends on the size of both> Anyway he probably isn't a good choice for me, but in case I am wrong let me know because I really do love him. Kylee <They all get about 12" or more and need a standard 180 or larger. See the piece written here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm -Steven Pro>

Algae? Hi! My name is Heinrich. I've been keeping fish since the age of 3 and love every minute of it. I've bred Discus successfully for about 3 years now - so I decided to move up a step - marines. I just bought another tank for the marine set-up a week ago - and jumped in as I always do - but not to worry - no catastrophe yet! I've purchased all the stuff needed to set up the tank AND a Yellow Tang and a Pink Tip Anemone at the same time against all advice. <Agreed, bad husbandry. I cannot advocate this practice. This hobby demands careful and patient approaches. One way or another, you will learn this.> I just arranged the live rock, mixed the salt and added all the saltwater - left it for approximately 6 hours for the anti-chlorine stuff to work and then added the Tang and Anemone. All seems fine up to now - the fish and the anemone is looking great and both are eating well. <Too early to tell anything yet.> There is a slight brown algae starting to form on the substrate and live rock - is this because of nitrates/nitrites or ammonia build-up. Or is this normal for marine tanks with the strong lighting and all? <Diatoms, normal.> With my Discus I always used to test the water for everything from permanent hardness to nitrite, but I later discovered all this just told me to do water changes - 30% water change about every 2 weeks - so I stopped testing and just did the water changes - did not have one Discus die for 2 years. What is your advice on this algae problem (if it is a problem) - water changes, tests or ammonia-rid resins? <Do nothing, but continue to closely monitor for ammonia and nitrite problems for the first month or two.> Looking forward hearing from you! Heinrich <Welcome to the hobby! -Steven Pro>

Thanks (Shopping till...) Robert Thanks for the reply. <Thank you for the query> Yes, I know I have to take it slow. I stay in a small town, and I was visiting a "Big Al's" store in a larger town, so I thought the risk is worth it. If it works I don't have to make the trip (2 hours) again - if not, well then I will be back. If I did not take the chance - I would have to come back in any case. <I see... but our views differ> Will keep you posted. <Again, thank you. Bob Fenner> Heinrich

Re: please help (Oh green water, keep on moving...), part II I have a protein skimmer but no live rock yet, I was just getting ready to put some in when this algae problem started. I use a tap water purifier that I have done all water tests on and it is fine. <<What did you test? A TWP is not sufficient to remove all the possible suspects that might be causing your algae problem.>> I tried a few turbo snails but they died off. <<These aren't going to help with green water anyway.>> I have talked to my local fish guy who has been helping me a lot since I am a beginner aquarist and it has baffled him. I was thinking of getting a small amount of Caulerpa , what do you think about that but I eventually want to grow a reef when I get more settled and I don't want that to ruin that set up. <<Don't add anything else until you've dealt with this problem - the Caulerpa won't help at this juncture. Honestly, I still think you need to explore your source water a little more.>> thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

Macro algae for nutrient export Hey team! I am planning on using a custom-made, hang-on, refugium with macro algae on my 20 gallon mini-reef at the office. The macro algae, a Remora, and ~16lbs. of live rock will be providing the filtration for the system. I understand that Anthony prefers other macros over the Caulerpa. I'm interested in trying something else, too. I checked http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marvascpltfaqs.htm and it looks like most of your favorites require a pretty deep sand bed. My refugium has baffles that are about 2" deep. What species of macroalgae would you suggest based on these limitations? <many species of Chaetomorpha work well, Acetabularia and Neomeris are very attractive (more aesthetic than anything), Codium is interesting and also do consider many of the more calcareous algae species (Halimeda, Penicillus, Udotea) Best regards, Anthony> Thanks! -Jeremy

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.

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