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FAQs about Marine Macro-Algae 3

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 2, 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

Lobophora... a Brown algae... not often used...

Tang Heaven Q's 5/31/04 Greetings from Denver! <howdy> I'm in the middle of doing some research on tangs before I purchase one.  I like the Naso but don't want it to be too cramped in my 150.   <I'm very grateful to hear of your consideration/empathy> I'll probably go with a surgeon, as it is smaller.   <yes, do consider a smaller Zebrasoma species which you can enjoy for its full lifespan in the 150. Yellow tangs are fine choices... Sailfins however get too big and mean for most community tanks> I keep quite a bit of Caulerpa in my refugium to absorb phosphates and other garbage.  Can I replace it with Tang Heaven and still expect the same "water cleaning" results? <I do believe Gracilaria/Ogo (AKA Tang Heaven) would be a much better choice. Equally good nutrient export potential, and far less noxious to water quality, and clearly non-toxic to fishes over the long run (unlike Caulerpa... there are papers published showing inducement of death to fishes fed Caulerpa to excess). You may need brighter lights and stronger water flow for Gracilaria though... its not as adaptable as Caulerpa, but it sure is safer and more useful IMO>   Thanks in advance for your help. <with kind regards, Anthony>

Great Source for Mermaid's Wineglass (I didn't know they drank) >Hi 'Skeleton Crew' gang: >>HA! Someone DID notice! Woo-dee-hoo! >I'm a nut for marine macroalgae... and in the past my best source has been Morgan Lidster at Inland Aquatics (I've seen him and his operation referred to favorably here in WWM before)... >>Indeed, though, last I'd heard, Inland was closing at least its online operations. Fantastic operator, they all really know their stuff. >..but one species in particular that's been hard to find is Acetabularia crenulata AKA Mermaid's Wineglass or Mermaid's Winecups. >>Oh yes! Not sure, but I seem to recollect hear tell of Harbor Aquatics having it, at least occasionally, as well. >It's a beautiful, lightly calcified algae, with bright green 'parasols' suspended on slender stalks... >>Indeed, almost like having a zoanthid or other animal. Really attractive species, though I personally have never kept it. Is its husbandry particularly difficult? >..it's actually the cover photo species for Littler & Littler's 'Marine Plants of the Caribbean'... >>Those interested, take note! >..by virtue of being so attractive. Anyway, I FINALLY found source for this, very reasonable ($4.99 per cluster, plus shipping) with great service and  attention to packing (it's a delicate shipper)... so I thought I'd share it. >>Please do! >It's Holly@Floridapets.com - The only caveat is it's fresh from the ocean floor, and full of 'hitchhikers', so be prepared for a dip/QT regimen unless you're anxious to include same in your system. >>Fantastic to know, Chuck. >Chuck >>Will be posting this on the dailies, and I'm sure there will be many thankful for the tip. Marina 

Bio-Load Question Hello Guys, <Hi! Ryan with you today> Just to preface this message, I attempted to check the WWW site for possible answers to my question, however the page could not be viewed (could not find server error ). Anyway, I hope you don't mind. <Not at all- and I bet you learned a ton in the process as well> It seems I am almost daily (maybe some exaggeration but not much) pruning the Caulerpa/algae within my 180G, 200lbs (Florida LR), Hamilton MH and PC's (12 hour cycle), 30G sump, Shorty Turbo Skimmer with Rose anemone, Squamosa Clam, (2) Dottyback, various Mushrooms, and various Zoanthus, numerous (100's) snails/crabs . I have about 10 different kinds of Caulerpa /plants/algae (red/green/tan) including: Halimeda, Grape, Feather, Red Macroalgae, Brown Macroalgae, and what looks like Red Turf.  I am considering the purchase a couple different species of tangs, and blenny to assist with algae control, a Yellowstripe Clownfish for the anemone and 3-4 Blue/Green Chromis for continuous viewing. <OK> My questions are: Am I being overly concerned with this pruning deal <No, and if the algae grows, then there are nutrients to export.>  and am I over populating this tank and causing too heavy a bioload. <You're looking at adding some fish here- they certainly could help.  A Foxface may be a better algae consumer than a blenny, in my opinion.  I would keep it to 2 tang sized fishes, and you could add quite a few damsels for a school.  The clown is acceptable as well.  As long as you stock slowly enough for the bacterial populations to keep up without a crash, I think you're balancing out quite nicely.> Any response will be welcome. You guys are the best to lend your time and suggestions to paranoids like me. <I'm just another paranoid my friend- But instead of being worried about just my tanks, I worry about yours too!  See ya, Ryan> Dwarf Seahorses, Refugiums and Macro Algae 5/2/04 Hey gang! Good morning from New Jersey! <Good afternoon from the other side of the country> First off, I'd like to thank you for the wonderful service you do for us fish geeks. It is greatly appreciated. < You're most welcome from  another fish geek!> Now, I wanted to run this past you guys before I end up bashing my head against the wall later. <Yikes......Please refrain from head bashing. Then the seahorses will really have a problem and you will have a headache.> I currently have several dwarf seahorses in a five gallon but the brine shrimp is really taking its toll on the nitrate levels. <Hmmmm I assume you are feeding live.  My first thought is perhaps you are over feeding a bit. You might want to cut back a bit and do more frequent water changes. If you are not keeping any clean up critters you might want to consider a few Nassarius snails, which will quickly consume detritus, uneaten food, decaying organics, and fish waste. In addition  a few of the Hawaiian red shrimp Halocaridina rubra would feed on excess brine shrimp> So I plan on upgrading to a 10 gallon for increased water volume. I would like to partition off half of the tank for a refugium.  The side that the seahorses are on would be bare bottom for easy cleaning and the fuge side would contain a DSB with some rock and macroalgae. The hang on filter would uptake from the seahorse side, spill out through the fuge and flow back into the display area. <It's not the typical dwarf set up but sounds very good actually. I have a friend who kept her dwarfs very successfully in the 40g refugium connected to her 125g reef.  Be sure to provide some sort of barrier to the intake to protect them from getting sucked against the intake......perhaps a sponge. I would probably be tempted to go with at least a little bit of sand and some of the macros on their on their side for a more natural environment. Unless of course you are keeping captive bred dwarfs which might be used to a more barren tank with a glass bottom. I have one concern .......live rock and the macros combined with live Artemia is the perfect breeding ground for hydroids which as you probably know can wipe out an entire tank of dwarfs. You can avoid this by treating the rock and macro algae with Panacur for 3 days There is more information on dwarf seahorses and their care on www.syngnathid.org  in the Tiny Tots forum and specifically hydroids and this treatment regimen in this thread..... http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Dwarfs&Number=11739&page=&view=&sb=5&o=&fpart=all&vc=1 > So my question is concerning the macro.  I have access to several types but I'm not sure which would be best for this application and I know that mixing too many species, especially in this size tank isn't good.  Keep in mind that dwarves fair best in 1.019 - 1.021 SG. <Yes I am familiar with that.> I have access to the following: feathery Caulerpa , grape Caulerpa (...would prefer however not to use these), Halimeda ,Penicillus ,Udotea ,Ulva, red Gracilaria, green Gracilaria, and Bryopsis (haha! want some?) < I think I will pass on the Bryopsis but thanks so much for the generous offer <G> anyway . You are limited here by the optimal specific gravity range of the Dwarfs, with the exception of the Penicillus which can be kept at 1.020. The rest of these species have an optimal specific gravity range of 1.023 to 1.025.> Depending on which macroalgae you think is best, do you think I could get away with a 15watt NO 9325 Kelvin bulb on a 10 gal? (I'm thinking probably not!    hehe) How about 2x13 watt PCs 50/50?..or would you suggest a different Kelvin since the only thing in the tank that would benefit from a specific spectrum would be the algae? <You can find the answers to this in this article Macro-Algae Use in Marine Aquariums http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm . > thanks, chickie moomoo <You're most welcome, Leslie>

ARRGGHHH!!!  Confused on algae 4/13/04 Greetings Crew! <howdy> Let me say that for the first time, I am upset with your site.  There is TOO MUCH INFORMATION to sift through some times!!!  I thought I knew what I wanted but now I am totally confused.  Please help. <OK> I finally got my CPR hang-on refugium (12" size--best that could fit) and have 5" of mineral mud in the bottom and water is flowing.  YAY!!  Now I want to stock it with macro algae.  This is my problem.  I want an algae that both removes wastes (nitrates, phosphates, silica, etc.) AND one that my yellow tang will enjoy. <Gracilaria it is then! DO look up IPSF.com for some red "Tang Heaven">> I have read about Gracilaria, Halimeda, Thalassia, Chaetomorpha, Caulerpa and a few others that would work. <hmmm... yes to all of the above for nutrient export... not to all but Gracilaria for suitability for feeding/recycling algae through tangs. Caulerpa may be eaten too but is noxious (read: toxic, I have read studies on it killing tangs in time). And Thalassia may get nibbled. Not much though> The problem is that it seems every FAQ I read says a different one will work better.  HELP!!!   <our "Reef Invertebrates" book covers this toxic with refugiums in greater detail than any other book currently on the market> I have 18W of 6500K lighting for the refugium FYI.   <this is not even remotely enough light to keep any decent plants or algae alive. Much brighter needed here my friend. Rather double> At the time, I am leaning towards Gracilaria (my tang LOVES it!) <excellent choice, ease of care, edibility, nutrient export, attractive> but I have read that it is difficult to keep.  <nope... very easy. Just usually gets stuck in refugiums with not enough water flow (aim for 20X to keep it tumbling) or enough light (5 watts per gallon bare minimum... closer to 10 will be nice here since using weaker fluorescents)> Chaetomorpha is another choice, but I am unsure if it is good for my tang. <not palatable> Please help my poor, overworked brain to sort this out and get my little refugium fully operational.  Thanks! -Ray <have a shot and a beer, and no worries Ray. The fish-doctors orders :) Anthony>

Going Local  >Hey Fish Nerds!  >>Hey, I'm a computer geek NOW! Wha's up?  >(I am well on my way myself as well. I actually used the word "refugium" in a conversation and the listener knew what I was talking about.)  >>More indicative of the company you're keeping, too.  >I was taking a short break to sweep out the dirt from the bed of my truck near the "beach" here at work (Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, WA) and happened to stroll down the pebbled shore and had an idea. Would it be safe to collect the seaweed and incorporate it into a salt tank?  >>Only if you're talking a very chilly temperate tank, and even then, one must be careful or suffer the consequence of introducing pests.  >Or in the refugium rather?  >>Same deal.  >Some of the stuff I saw was kinda lacey, fan like, pinkish, maroon etc. Real attractive stuff. Plus there was some green and brown kelp stuff. If it was slowly acclimated to the warmer water in my tank, could it adapt?  >>Well.. I suppose if you had a few thousands of years it might, I doubt you can get it to evolve any more quickly than that. In lieu, try a chiller. Of course, don't try keeping your tropicals in such a situation, they'll be best shown off as sushi at that point.  >I appreciate your help on this, James  >>I wish I could be more helpful, but honestly, there's just no getting away from what the specimen in question has evolved to require. In the case of this seaweed it would likely be rather chilly saltwater, probably of a slightly higher salinity than your tropicals would care for, and being as it comes from such waters, may or may not require either/or/both higher oxygen saturation & nutrients. Marina

Refugium macro for tang food/nutrient cycling 3/28/04 Anthony, Thanks again for such a prompt response!   <always welcome> I am left with one remaining question...  Since you suggest against adding Caulerpa (and Bob suggested I use a macro algae other than my red Gracilaria) <I did? Mmm... nah. RMF>, what do you suggest I use for nitrate/phosphate export and to feed my many tangs?   <Frankly... I don't think you should give up on Gracilaria so easily. It is the most readily consumed and one of the easiest to keep by far. Any else I can think of is substandard. Still... as a suggestion, Ulva/sea lettuce types if you prefer> Since space limits me to only a 20 gallon refugium for my 180g aquarium, I need a very efficient method of nitrate/phosphate export (although my nitrate level has never been measurable, PO4 has been excessive). -Greg <Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha (not edible) are two of the very best. Anthony>

-Macro vs. Hair algae- Dear Crew, I have two questions.  First, I know that you are not supposed to put two types of macroalgae in your refugium, but can you have one type in the refugium and a different type in the display?  Will they still compete? <Of course, after all, it's the same water. I personally use multiple kinds of macroalgae as they each may remove different compounds from the water.> Second, I have a hair algae (I suppose) growing on my live rock.  It is short and flowing, but has no color. <No color?! Hair algae (along with all the other green Algaes) are green, as redundant as that sounds.>  I would have to say the color was white if anything, but it really just looks like fog rolling over the rocks.  Do you know what this would be? <Maybe some sort of bacterial mess. I'd siphon it out, I can't think of anything good that looks like that! I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks so much for your time. Bess Refugium pondering 3/10/04 Hello, I have a slew of questions. First of all, I replaced my wet dry with a refugium which I am currently growing 3 types of macro with live rock. <great to hear of the refugium... but do consider reducing to only one species of macro... it will be better/more effective for all/many reasons. Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria get my vote strong> I have a compartment in the refugium which houses my ev-120 on my 90 gal reef ( sort of ) tank. The refugium holds about 20-25 gal. My ph seems to be a little low and I run alternating lighting on the tank/refugium. I would say my ph is about 7.8 to eight. <very low IMO. Target 8.3-8.6  Some corals like Xeniids are clearly stressed below 8.0> I have a digital meter coming to be more accurate. Now, one of my questions is a calcium reactor and co2 system more beneficial overall to a reef system than a refugium?? <apples and oranges... can't compare. They do vastly different things> I was thinking of removing my fauna in the refugium to make more room for hardware, |<Yikes! keep it natural my friend... better for the tank> Hardware would be more beneficial in maintaining calcium, ph levels etc. <you should not need hardware for this, although a calcium reactor is a fine instrument if tuned well> Not to mention my ev-120 is real tight in its little compartment and I could easily put both a calk reactor and skimmer in the larger side of the sump. So basically can I regulate chemically the ph and hardness and keep the refugium or would I be better off with the reactors because I want to get a little more into coral keeping??   <you will be losing refugium benefits for the hardware here which easily can be skirted with regular Kalk dosing, water exchanges, aerating and buffering FW used for evap and salting (this is a common mistake to use raw, unaerated RO or DI water... a burden on buffers if not aerated), etc. Do reconsider the significant benefits of refugia here my friend and the ease with which you can attain stable water chemistry without mission control models ;) Anthony>

Macroalgae in the aquarium 3/11/04 Thanks as always for the prompt reply. Following your advise I will leave only one species of macroalgae in my sump. Is it better to leave the Halimeda sp. or the Dictyota? <neither are ideal for nutrient export or plankton production (Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria would be better). To pick between the two, however, easily choose Halimeda. Dictyota is noxious and can become a nuisance> Do you advise to do this also in the display tank (the algae here is far from each other). <its better, yes> The C. racemosa is not much in the display tank and is the only algae that my Yellow Tang eats. Is it ok to leave it be in the display tank? <its actually toxic over time (1-3 years) in some fishes allowed to repeatedly graze it. It is also competitive with corals. I do not recommend Caulerpa for any reef aquariums. Best for biotope displays instead> Thanks, Thanassis <kindly, Anthony>

A Words - Algae and Anemones >Yo Crew! >>Word up? >Point me in the right direction.  My daughter (8 yrs old) has mentioned to her 3rd grade teacher that we have aquariums and has talked about a few things in them.  Algae and the anemone.   Her teacher has requested I send some info on these things and possibly a few other tid bits of info. >>Let the coolness ensue. >What I'm trying to gather is some basic info on algae and anemones without throwing a bunch of 3rd graders for a super loop.   >>Understood.  Pictures, and if possible, examples would be helpful. >Most of what I find is entirely too technical.   >>I wonder where you're looking. >Do you guys know of where I might find some basic info on algae and anemones?  I can edit what I feel would be TMI for the kids. >>I'd Google it, honestly.  I Google everything.  If you can get into the school library, then look for the First Discovery series, though some of the books are VERY basic (looking at one of my boys' First Discovery "Fish" book, it's about 1rst-2nd grade level).  My suggestion is to keep the information scientific, don't dumb it down too much.  Explain to them that algae are plants, but not like plants on dry land.  Show them what anemones are related to, and have schematics of their nematocysts (they will find this to be uber-cool). >I'm pretty confused as to what the teacher really wants from me as my daughter couldn't quite spit it out.  LOL!!  Kids....   But some info that would enlighten the kids on marine life would be better than none. >>Exactly my feelings.. wait a minute!  I know YOU!  Heh.. it's Sea Maiden (aka "Seamaiden", "Seamaiden").  I only JUST looked at your email addy.  She can't tell you what teacher wants because she's the student.  But if you take the angle of what You'd teach her class if you had them to yourself, you'll do just fine.  I think, if possible (you're a 'puter person, right?) print out stuff that you design yourself, borrowing schematics and whatnot from online.  If you have or can get a hold of a few Aiptasia anemones, bring those to the class, same with a bit of algae, show a couple of different types.  Believe me, they'll be asking so many questions that you won't have to worry about figuring out what to tell them.  Marina >Thanks in advance, Eduardo >>Some linkage (sorry, can't hyperlink in this form) Googling "sea anemone" and "macro algae" and "seaweed": http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Cnidaria&contgroup=Animals http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&q=sea+anemone+&btnG=Google+Search&sa=N&tab=wi http://www.reefcorner.com/macroalgae.htm http://www.geocities.com/clevelandsaltwater/plants.html http://www.noamkelp.com/technical/handbook.html

Producing nitrates to feed macroalgae? 2/12/04 I have a question that I really need help understanding. It seems to me that having bio balls before a algae refugium would be very helpful. From what I understand plants will only absorbed nitrate when ammonia and nitrite are not present, as it prefers to absorb these first. Since there are many things in your system that can break down ammonia and nitrite wouldn't it be best to have the plants absorbing as much nitrate as possible as it is the hardest to break down? <flawed theory: the nitrate being produced is being done so by a man-made filter. Bypass the problem by aggressive skimming of organics before they turn into nitrate... and/or maintain adequate water flow so that live rock, live sand fauna and invertebrates consume the matter directly rather than letting it go through nitrification. This boils down to natural filtration versus artificial filtration methodologies> Since the bioballs have been accused of being overly efficient in breaking down ammonia and nitrite wouldn't they create a situation where the plants would have to feed on nitrate and you would get maximum absorption of that nutrient (which is the hardest to get rid of) out of your plants. <it's haphazard and unquantified. How much nitrate will be produced, how many plants are needed to temper it, what is the rate-limiting factor if not nitrate?> I thought this was why ecosystem has always kept them in there design, even though they are submerged? Thanks <Hmmm.. I cannot comment here. I do not care for or subscribe to the ecosystem methodology wholly. I appreciate some components of it, but would not employ it personally as directed (with Caulerpa, overpriced mud, etc). Anthony>

Algae- The Good, The Bad, and The Best! Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have been dealing with a diatom problem since setting-up my 180g aquarium 10 months ago.  At least, from reading the FAQs at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm I think the brown dusting on my glass sounds like diatoms.  It is fairly easily removed but it returns in only 1-2 days.  I use RO water and I don't *think* I overfeed as my fishes always hungrily finish all food in under 2 minutes.  I also have several brittle star, hermits, sand-sifting goby, etc to clean-up any "leftovers". <All good nutrient control and scavenging techniques, but there are more things that you can do> From what I have read, using a good skimmer is probably the most important step in eliminating diatoms. <Well, actually, skimmers are excellent at removing many of the excess nutrients and substances that contribute to many different nuisance algae, and I recommend a skimmer for every tank, but if you're dealing with brown diatoms, the causative factor is often an accumulation of silicate in your source water. RO is a good start, but you may need to use a "high silicate removal" cartridge on the RO unit, or utilize a silicate-removing chemical filtration media somewhere in your system. Otherwise, every time you change your water, you are re-supplying the algae with "fuel" for more growth!> I have a Red Sea Berlin (non-Turbo), powered by a tee off of my main return (Mag 18).  Although the skimmer can produce a significant amount of foam, this foam is generally white in appearance and the collection cup is filled with fairly light-colored skimmate.  I reduced the venturi airflow so I get a dark-colored skimmate but, at this rate, it takes about 2-3 weeks to fill a 16 oz. collection container.  Is it possible that there is very little waste/protein in the water to be extracted by the skimmer? <Not usually. Even very well-established, nutrient poor systems will contain enough organics for a well-tuned skimmer to produce something dark and yucky weekly, or even more frequently. Keep tweaking that skimmer until it produces, or consider a more capable skimmer...> Ammonia and nitrite test zero, nitrate tests 10-20 PPM.  Temp is 77F and salinity is 1.0235 SG.  If this amount of skimmate production seems entirely too low, do you have suggestions for increasing skimmer output (without just increasing water extracted)? <No specifics for your skimmer, as I have not used it before, but it usually has a lot to do with getting the right air/water mixture into the unit, a considerable amount of time, and use of colorful metaphors in the process. In other words, it's a pain! But keep trying!> Unfortunately my red leg and blue leg hermits seem to think Astrea shells are in fashion these days so I think I need to supplement my janitors. <Yep- I've seen that, too!> What is the best diatom cleaner for glass (or acrylic in my case)? <Well, as a "cleaner", Trochus and Strombus are good ones, IMO. The best thing to do is keep the silicates and other nutrients out to begin with...> If I order more snails, I want to ensure they are able to right themselves before a crab moves in.  I have several Nerites and Ceriths but neither appears to have a strong appetite for diatoms (some Nerites at least try but they cannot keep-up with the diatom growth). <I use this species, and find them more interesting to look at than effective as a nuisance algae control, myself. They are pretty cool, though!> Apparently my sand sifters are doing a very good job of keeping diatoms off the sand because I never notice a problem there. <Good> I am in the process of adding a 20g refugium to this aquarium so I am hopeful this will help to reduce the diatom problem as well provide 'pods for a mandarin and food for tangs. <A refugium will definitely help process organics to reduce some nuisance algae> I have read that mangrove is one of the most efficient consumers of nitrates and I have read that Caulerpa is the best consumer of nitrates/phosphates. <Well, in my opinion, and the opinion of many others- mangroves simply grow too slowly to be considered an efficient nutrient export mechanism. Caulerpa is a great consumer of nutrients, but has some potential drawbacks to its use in some cases, such as a propensity to crash and release its gametes and adsorbed nutrients back into the system. Look for the macroalgae Chaetomorpha, which is every bit as prolific as Caulerpa, without any of the "dark side"! Or- you could try propagating Gracilaria parvispora, a great and useful algae!> Which do you recommend growing in a refugium (or do you recommend both)? <Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria, baby!> Of the various types of Caulerpa, what type is the best at NNR and phosphate reduction - without releasing toxins or being overly-invasive?   <Other hobbyists may disagree- But I feel that none of them are without this potential problem!> Since I have many tangs, I was planning to grow IPSF's "Tang Heaven" in the refugium as well but I see they offer three types (red, yellow, gold and green).  Which type would be most attractive /beneficial to tangs and how would "Tang Heaven" compare to Caulerpa or mangrove for NNR or phosphate reduction? <"Tang Heaven" (Gracilaria) is an awesome macroalgae, which would be my first choice for organic nutrient control. However, many people seem to find it a bit tricky to grow. I would utilize any of the Gracilaria species, but I prefer the red variety. The limiting factors in its propagation are nutrients, lighting, and water motion. Try to keep it well lit, and in constant motion.> As always, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with all of us in the hobby! --Greg <My pleasure, Greg! Keep working that skimmer and limiting incoming nutrients, and things should work out okay! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting Chaetomorpha (1/22/04)    Hi, and thank you for your good work !! <A pleasure>    I'm searching for a couple of days on the web what is the amount of light (in lumens) the Chaetomorpha algae do need and how many hours/days at most can we light it?  <Don't know how many lumens. Standard output or PC fluorescent lights should be fine. I light mine with 46W of PC. W would not recommend more than 12 hours per day.> Is it the best choice of algae to put in a refugium with a deep sand bed  and to do nutrient export ?! <A matter of opinion. There are pros/cons to all algae. Read the FAQs on Chaeto & Caulerpa and choose which is best for you.> Thank you ! Steve Timmons  <Hope this helps. Steve Allen>   

Macroalgae Mania! Hi Scott <Hi there!> I am thinking of adding some Caulerpa into my sump. <A good move to use a macroalgae, but I am partial to Chaetomorpha, myself...> I currently have the sump filled up with Siporax. Would this be a good idea? <Well, Siporax is a sintered glass media that assists in colonizing bacteria for biofiltration. Not a bad idea, but I think that a well-established reef system with live rock can do the same thing> Don't like the look of Caulerpa in the main display but hearing about how beneficial it is for filtration, I came up with the idea of sticking some in my sump. <That's an ideal application...> I only have my lights on at night for about 5 hours would this be enough light for the Caulerpa, during the day I get quite a bit of natural light? <Try it and see... You may need a longer "lights on" period for the macroalgae in the sump.> I also mentioned to you that I set my lights to go on for a few hours in the mornings, and man did this create allot of terrible brown algae so I have changed the lights cycle to only go on at night again. <Well, remember, algae blooms are as much a function as nutrients as anything else. Light is just a "catalyst" here-not the cause. Consider aggressive nutrient export techniques to help alleviate the problems. Don't forget that it is common in new tanks with immature nutrient export mechanisms...> I also have noticed that the Siporax in my sump still looks very clean, nothing building up on it yet? is this because of the light load? <Well, it is unlikely that the biofilm of bacteria are going to be visible, at least initially...> The Siporax has been in there for a few months already and it looks as if I put it in there yesterday. A friend of mine has been reading up on this filtration called miracle mud? Can you tell me more and if its as good as say they say it is? <I'd check out Leng Sy's Ecosystem Aquaria site for more information. It's a valid technique, and there is a ton more information out there than I can provide in this response! Back to the reading for you! LOL> Thanks Ziad <Always a pleasure! Regards, Scott F> Vitamins and Lighting for Gracilaria and Ulva 1/5/03 Hi, Sorry for filling your inbox - we have an additional question(s): <No Worries!  Adam Here tonight.> We purchased Gracilaria Parvispora and Ulva algae for our yellow tang (and hippo tang if you recommend one).  I think we will have to grow it in a separate tank (our sump is an ecosystem and the 18 watt pc lighting stays on 24/7 - may be too strong). <Probably not too strong, but maybe an inappropriate photoperiod.  Also, if you are growing Caulerpa, it would probably out compete the others for space, nutrients, etc.> - Would you recommend adding vitamins to the water to enhance the Algaes' food value we'll be using the old tank water as we replace weekly)?  If so, would that be vita-Chem, Selcon, garlic... all... or something else?:-) <Probably just a bit of iron.  Everything else should come from the tank water.  You may wish to add the things you listed to a single portion just prior to feeding, though.> -  How much light would you recommend and which type to best grow the Algaes?  We've seen some recommendations for actinic and some say florescent is fine. <A couple of generic fluorescents should be fine.  No special spectrum necessary.> Thanks once again in advance!!! <Glad to!  Adam> - Doug

Refugium (macroalgae) Lighting This question is directed at Bob Fenner (unless someone else would like to answer)...when you spoke November 21, 2003 at the Sacramento MARS meeting you included some information regarding macroalgae.  Maybe I misunderstood you, but did you say that Caulerpa was the only macro that could be lit 24x7? <Yes, did mention. As far as I know the Caulerpaceans are the only continuous photosynthetically active macroalgae> I mentioned this to a friend of mine that has Ulva & Gracilaria lit 24x7 in a refugium.  I looked through the information in your new book and it did mention that Caulerpa could be lit 24x7, but there wasn't anything saying that the others couldn't be lit 24x7.  Can you please elaborate why Ulva and  Gracilaria shouldn't be lit 24x7. <I would separate the area where the algae are into two compartments and only illuminate either side 12 hours a day>   I know you mentioned it during your presentation, but I think our table was on the 3rd pitcher by the time you did so. <Hee hee! Most photosynthates require or at least do best with a "dark phase" period... and so would grant these other algae such... either by turning their light off some hours during the "day" of the main tank... OR dividing and lighting only part daily. Bob Fenner> Thanks Marc Daniels

Obtaining Macroalgae (12/27/2003) Hi, after reading the wonderful "Reef Invertebrates", I have been really interested in obtaining some Chaetomorpha algae to put into my new sump/refugium.  The LFS's in my area only carry Caulerpa. <Often more trouble than it's worth. I'm surprised it's legal in Oregon now that it's illegal in California. It'll be banned there soon enough.> Where can I get some of this Chaetomorpha "Spaghetti" type of algae?  Any e-tailers? <www.inlandaquatics.com  I have ordered here myself & they are great.> Gracilaria looks good also, but I am not sure how to keep it tumbling? <Can be tough. I keep mine in a well-lit, moderate flow sump refugium with a DSB. Growing like mad. I'd had trouble before and still am having a hard time getting Chaetomorpha to grow in my other refugium. The only thing I can guess at this time is that starting it in my CPR AquaFuge helped. Everything that I put in there for a few weeks seems to thrive when I move it elsewhere. If it doesn't spend time in there, it doesn't thrive elsewhere. I have no theory as to why this is the case.> I can't find it anywhere either. <IA carries it as well, but I bought mine at http:// www.ipsf.com  Another great e-tailer.> Is one of these two totally better than the other?  <No. The main advantage of the Gracilaria is that Tangs & Rabbitfish love to eat it. It is a nutritionally complete Tang food.> I am reticent about keeping Caulerpa if I can obtain the Chaetomorpha.  Please help me.   Thanks so much for the website and all your help. Mike near Portland Oregon <Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

- Algae Questions - As per my original email... I am thinking that I am having a little bit of Turtle Weed growing out of my live sand and a bit on my live rock. <Keep an eye on this stuff, it grows like... well... a weed.> As well, from the pictures and description in your website, the 'sea-weedy' type algae that is growing in the front corner of my tank appears to be Bryopsis plumosa.  In both cases, nothing to worry about other than it doesn't look to great??? <Is only a 'problem' because it grows so well... can overtake other more desirable items in the tank.> There is not a lot of water circulation in the front corners of my tank so I can turn my power heads to it... this should help shouldn't it? <Yes.> Other than that, once I move my tank in two months I will get more critters that will help out...  Any good livestock recommendations to feed on the two algae's that I mentioned?? <A blue tuxedo urchin, Mespilia globulus.> My power heads, filter hoses, and heater are coated with a 'slime' (as is the back wall of my tank).  Anything to worry about?? <Probably Cyanobacteria... not a worry per se, but something that can come to cover everything if not dealt with.> It is kind of a brown/green sludge that breaks off and floats around my tank.  Is this something that should be scraped off frequently??? <I would.> Will too much of this floating around my tank cause problems??? <Not in and of itself.> Thanks, Dave <Cheers, J -- >

Chaetomorpha source 12/5/03 Hey guys, <whassup> I have had a refugium and have been trying to find some Chaetomorpha to stock it with for a while, but have been having trouble finding anyone who sells it.  Do you know of any reliable e-tailers who carry it? Thanks, Rem <I'd contact Morgan Lidster at Inland Aquatics... many nice refugium species available. Or, look up some local or regional aquarium societies. Many have members (like my www.PMAS.org) that have so much Chaetomorpha and other macros that they bring them to the monthly meetings or throw it away. It will not be hard to find my friend. Anthony>

Heavy metals and macroalgae 11/15/03 Bob (or whoever answers this) <Anthony Calfo in your service> First, I really, really like your web site.  Great resource and I refer to it all the time. <thanks kindly... do tell a friend> to make the question short.  Do macro algae and other marine plants filter out (absorbed, export or whatever) heavy metals?   <yes... heavily in some cases. Not uncommon though among plants and algae. You may recall industry using various plants (Hyacinth) for doing the same. And what of the role of bog plants in wetlands and aquatic ecosystems? Huge role> I especially like your pages on marine plants and thought they mentioned that marine plants also do some filtering out of heavy metals.  If I missed that page could you provide me a link? <I am not aware of that specific page... do simply use the google search tool from our home page wetwebmedia.com to toggle and seek your desired subjects please> The reason I am asking is that I am constantly chatting with other saltwater keepers who just don't seem to get the importance of naturally balancing out the ecosystem using plants.  Sure you need to look at the entire system but to me the single most important thing is to establish a thriving plant growth and then do the rest. Bob Beasley <indeed... and the most underrated of all perhaps, turf algae> PS  can you tell I am an old freshwater natural tank guy? LOL. My current 10g fresh has 30 guppies 5 platies, sand, plants and light.  no circulation of any kind not even an air stone.  All I do is replace evaporative water and feed the fish.  Been up two years no and all fish grew up from the original 2 guppies and 2 platies. I kept one tank like that for six continuous years.  And a small salt for 6 years also.  But I didn't know about macros and plants for salt. <do peek at our coverage of marine plants in algae in our new book too if you get a chance ("Reef Invertebrates")... its the most comprehensive in the industry to date. kind regards, Anthony>

Marine Plants and Algae 11/5/03  Hi, I asked you a question about Gracilaria algae once before. When I did the Google search on the web page, I got only one hit, and not much was said about it.  <you had the spelling incorrect my friend... please try again with "Gracilaria" (only one "l")... I got 188 hits just on our site alone. Many more if you search the whole web (toggle off the WWM only button)>  Is it a good one to use, could you mix it with Chaetomorpha, or should I just stick with one type?  <algae are fiercely competitive like corals... use the word allelopathy as a keyword to search for more info on this. One species of macroalgae per refugium is best>  Also, I looked in the FAQ's for info on Bristle Brush plants. I see sites that sell "marine plants and include the Bristle Brush." I like plants in my freshwater tank, but I don't know if marine plants would work the same way. Do these plants do the same type of thing as freshwater plants (take out nitrates, improve water quality)?  <all plants and algae to some degree (very significantly in many cases like turf algae) are nutrient export mechanisms>  Would these plants primarily go in a sump or in the main tank?  <depends on the species (rates of growth, lighting/water flow needs, rooted or not, how noxious they are to other algae and fishes, etc>  Finally, would putting these plants in the sump with macroalgae cause the same type of competition as putting in different types of macroalgae together or would it be different and not cause a problem?  <a similar problem... but less severe with some calcareous species>  Thanks, Paul  <best of luck, Anthony>

Macroalgae 11/4/03  Hello Anthony!  <cheers to Greece>  My 80-gallon reef tank is two months old now. It is fully cycled (Ammonia, Nitrite is zero and Nitrate is approx. 5ppm).  The hair algae (green and brown) gets less every day, as there are a few species of macroalgae growing on the LR (Halimeda, Padina, Dictyota). There was a lot of Caulerpa during the first month, but turned white and I believe it went through the Sporulation phase. Now there is not much of it on the LR. I do not worry though, because I have the other species of macroalgae, which are more problem-free.  <yes... exactly. Fascinating to watch the progress of species in algal succession>  There are also some fan worms which I feed with plankton several times per week. Redox is 420, pH is 8.1 (I am trying to raise it now by aerating and buffering the water (3 liters per day) of evaporation. alkalinity is 11 dKH.  <all good>  I have some problem with my calcium test kit, so I am not sure of the calcium level.  <they can be difficult to read>  I use B-ionic as a Ca and buffer supplement. The Remora is doing quite a good work. I have been thinking of adding the first clean-up crew and fish but in the meantime I read in your book that it is better to leave the tank without fishes for 4 months, so that some other types of macroalgae will be given the opportunity to appear and grow, which would never do so if there is a fish in the tank.  <yes... necessary if you wish to enjoy a good growth of macroalgae and plants>  My target for the time being is this, to give place to any kind of macroalgae to grow and not to disturb it by herbivorous snails or fishes. Do you think this is a right approach?  <indeed, yes>  If yes, then what do you think about adding a fish that is not herbivore, for example two ocellaris Clowns? Will they also eat any of the desirable forms of macroalgae?  <they will not touch your macroalgae... but will be a slight burden on the zooplankton (amphipods). A small concern though... they are generally a fine and safe choice>  Thanks, Thanassis  <kind regards, Anthony>

Macroalgae and DSBs 11/2/03  Hi, I am looking to add macro algae to a new sump. Can you tell me the best kind to use?  <that depends on many factors... but Chaetomorpha (Spaghetti algae) is hands down one of the best overall. Gracilaria is also quite good. Avoid Caulerpa in my opinion. See about all and why in the FAQs and archives of our site at wetwebmedia.com>  I thought about mixing a few kinds together, but I read one response in a reef forum, and it said that you can make a mistake adding different types of algae together (maybe Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha?...  <all algae fight (allelopathy) and one will ultimately succeed all at the expense of considerable energies. Pick only one species per tank>  I don't remember for sure). They actually compete against each other and can become toxic.  <yes... to each other, to invertebrates... and even to some fishes>  I didn't know mixing macro algae could do that. That's not what I had in mind to do :-) This response also said the grape Caulerpa being one of the most noxious of all of the algae. Is that true?  <very true by a remarkable scale of magnitude>  I thought it was a good kind to have?  <Caulerpa can be a boon or scourge. I dissuade folks from it because it is too labor intensive for most folks>  The response also talked about macro algae going 'asexual' and becoming toxic. What does this mean? I have never heard of this either.  <please do a keyword search of this topic and any other that interests you with the google search tool from our home page at www.wetwebmedia.com and all will be revealed to you my friend>  Secondly, I read in another forum where a lot of reefers were talking about having reef tanks with bare bottoms (either no sandbed at all or a very small sandbed. They ripped deep sand beds talking about DSB crashes and really messing up tanks.  <removing DSBs is a knee-jerk reaction by aquarists that have improperly installed them or have poor tank husbandry overall (usually inadequate water flow). We explain this dynamic at great length (tens of pages) in our book "Reef Invertebrates">  I have never heard of this and have never thought of having a tank with no sand at all. Everything I have ever read talks about live sand being a very important part of biological filtration.  <agreed... there are tremendous benefits to live sand and rock methods>  I am confused.  <just need to read/research more my friend... and not so much from message boards with much opinion and inexperience (or limited experience) but from tenured and objective sources/authors>  Can you tell me your take on having deep, medium, shallow, or no sandbeds?  <I wish to help here my fried... but a proper answer cannot be relayed in an e-mail less than 20 pages! Please do simply read through our archives or if you feel frisky, that new book of hours is months old and covers all of these topics at great length. The most comprehensive in the industry to date>  Thanks, Paul  <best regards, Anthony Calfo>?

Grass in the tank? (10/23/03) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> Here's a pic of what I have. <Yep, I can see why you called it grass... It's algae, and not the kind you want in a tank. You probably have fairly high nitrate and phosphate levels, both of which contribute to the algae.> I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank. I have 20 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of live sand. <More rock would definitely help.> I have a 15 inch snowflake eel. A maroon clown fish. No skimmer. <And a Penguin or Emperor filter, from the looks of that intake. A skimmer would really help, as it will take the gunk out of the water before it can get converted into nitrates.> Any info would be appreciated. <Lots more on marine algae on the WWM site, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm (scroll down for the algae links), and more specifically here: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and at the links listed there.> Thank You Brian
<You're welcome. --Ananda>

Coral / Algae Id and care WWM Crew, <Hi there> Could you please provide an identification of the material that is encrusting this rock (the "bumpy" purple and green stuff)?  I first thought that this was coralline algae, but after searching your id pages and others on the web, I do not know what to think. <Looks like an encrusting Red (coralline) and some sort of green algae to me as well.> I would like to also the care for this particular material.  We think that it is very attractive It came in on our LR, but as you can see on the lower left hand portion of the picture, the material is receding, and on the top of the rock, it is bleaching (turning white).  On another piece of LR that did not have as much of this material on it, it is almost gone. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs> Setup: We are setting up a Oceanic 75 gal. mini reef tank. The equipment currently in the tank are 2 MaxiJet powerheads,4-65W PC Coralife (2-10000K and 2-actinics),Prizim Pro skimmer, Oceanic w/d sump (bio balls removed - put skimmer in the "old bio area" - the output of the skimmer goes into the refugium with has LS and red Gracilaria growing - reverse photoperiod of about 12 hrs.- which then overflows into the pump area to be returned to the main tank), Eheim power canister filter (with floss and activate carbon in it) and a UV sterilizer (not on) in a separate loop. We currently have about 60 lbs. of LR (LR is Fiji (45%) and aquacultured from FL (55%)) and 45 lbs. of LS. The sand bed (mix of sand and LS) in the main tank is 3" of fine sugar sand (a little medium fine aragonite mixed in). The tank is about 8 weeks old. <This is "very young"... and has a direct bearing on the vacillation in the encrusting algae you are experiencing... You need to maintain biomineral and alkaline reserve levels... over time... to grow all> The tank was cycled with the uncured LR and LS. For the past 4 weeks our water tests have shown ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0,and a temp. of 80-82F. Within the last two weeks we have been testing alkalinity and calcium. The current results are KH 11 dKH, GH 40+dkh (got tired of dropping reagent - is this possible or do I have a bad test kit?), and CA of 255. I know that I need to increase the CA levels. <... please have a read on WetWebMedia.com re these materials> I have been adding small amounts of Kalkwasser to increase the CA, but from reading your website, I would guess that I am close to a precipitate snowstorm. Therefore I need to do water change to lower the alkalinity so that I can raise the CA -- Do I understand this correctly? <Partly> We added the PC lights about 3 weeks ago (before only ambient lighting and 1 48" NO Coralife flour.). Over the last two weeks this material (referred to above) on the LR has been receding (mainly the dark and light purple, and dark and light green algae -- the pink coralline seems to be growing well within the last week (after we started supplementing the Ca - small spots on the glass, on the dead rock, and a little on the sand). Is the receding material due to the water quality issues (low Ca and high Alk.) and/or acclimation to the new lights? <More the former> Or is this too much lighting for this tank? Or some kind of disease? <No on both counts, your system is "settling in"... you need to settle on a regimen of testing and whatever supplementation you're going to utilize. I encourage you to look into simple two part systems (Wilkens/C-Balance, Stark's ESV...) and stop the yo-yo'ing with Kalkwasser. Bob Fenner> Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Refugium lighting One quick follow up to the 13 watts PC-  Am I correct in saying it will be sufficient to grow Chaetomorpha & Gracilaria a refugium of these dimensions? Or do I need to step the light up like 27 watts? Gracilaria <these macros (like most) are shallow water species and require as much light (watts/gal) as full reef displays. You should aspire to provide at least 5 watts per gallon in this case to keep them successfully. Anthony>

Macroalgae warfare 10/05/03 Hi Crew! I am discovering for myself the major downside of grape Caulerpa, <indeed... it has been documented to be perhaps the most noxious of an already very noxious genus of algae> which doesn't seem to be the threat of going sexual, especially since I pull out from my 'fuge a cup or so every few days.   <correct... the threat of "going vegetative" is easily skirted by interrupting the 3-6 month life cycle by regular thinning> It's a weed!  Some other algae species seem to survive (such as feather Caulerpa and sawgrass) but not thrive.  My Gracilaria (Ogo) didn't make it and my C. racemosa also couldn't compete.  The Chaetomorpha ball hasn't grown in over two months!  but I guess it's doing the job of removing nutrients, don't you think? <ahhh... not growing but exporting nutrients? How do you figure? Sounds to me like you've made the mistake of mixing algae that too many folks do. They are very (chemically) competitive with each other. Energies used in warfare could instead be used for good vigor/growth. Please have the discipline to use only one algae species proper in your vegetable filter/refugium. Anthony>

Macroalgae and Grape Caulerpa II 10/6/03 By "doing the job" I meant the grape Caulerpa is doing the job.  It's growing like a weed, hence exporting nutrients.   <true... but imparting many noxious compounds in the process that accumulate and harm or kill some fishes and corals over time> If I had to pick one, I guess you would recommend Chaetomorpha, right?  but it's ugly.   <anything but Caulerpa for most aquarists IMO> The Caulerpas look nice. <agreed... but eye of the beholder. If you are willing to make the necessary and labor-intensive concessions needed to keep this macro, you will do fine. Else, you may suffer from it in time like many folks do. Caulerpenes, Caulerpenyne, etc ;) > Also, what do I care if the Algaes are fighting, as long as they are growing? <because none can excel optimally for wasting energies on warfare... and such allelopathy has been shown to kill desirable reef creatures mixed unnaturally with a preponderance of this algae. You really are not very well read on this genus of macros... please do help yourself with a delve into more data on the subject to keep it safely long-term. Best regards, Anthony>

N-Cycle & Algae Question >Hi Mr. Fenner, >>Marina here in his stead. >I have a 26G tank. Been running over 5 weeks w/23lbs Live Rocks and 2 damsels. I'm noticing brown-like algae on my white dead coral that I bought from Petco. Is this a sign that my tank has been cycled???? >>No, it's a sign you have excess nutrients. >My pH=8.4-5, Ammonia=.40ppm, NO2=O ppm, and NO3=20-25ppm. Any advice on what I should do??   >>Water changes, along with ensuring you have adequate nutrient exportation in place.  You want the ammonia to be zero, nitrite zero, and a low reading nitrate. >Been reading the website, no help.  My damsels used to be active, and now most of the time they are hiding.  Please Help w/lots of details. Thank you VERY much.  -Donnie >>Read the site more, there is more there than what I can/will provide here.  You have not insignificant ammonia readings, this is an issue.  I would make use of a good quality protein skimmer.  You can bleach (and properly dechlorinate) the dead coral to remove the algae.  Marina

Too much macroalgae? Hey, I have a 65 reef tank and the algae which is the (plants) in my system is growing rapidly I was wondering if I should get rid of the plants, what is the positive side and the negative effect of this choice?  And I was wondering do I really need these plants or should I get rid of it?? please help <Well, first of all, I'm assuming you mean a macroalgae of some sort - Caulerpa, I'd assume.  Caulerpa can grow with surprising speed.  There are definitely some serious benefits to having macroalgae in your tank - primarily nutrient export (the macroalgae sucks up nutrients that would otherwise contribute to massive growth of undesirable Algaes, like Bryopsis, hair algae, Cyanobacteria....).  However, there are other macros that are more easily managed than Caulerpa, like Halimeda and Chaetomorpha.  Start reading here, under "Marine Micro/Macro-Algae & True Plants" for gobs of info:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  -Sabrina>

Macroalgae and Mangroves - 8/18/03 I've read a few article lately about using mangroves to reduce phosphates and nitrates. Is this method preferred over using macroalgae? <not at all IMO. Many macros can far out perform the slow-growing mangroves as a nutrient export vehicle> I'm am planning of setting up a 90 gallon tank with several messy eaters in it. I have a Berlin skimmer with a Mag drive 500 to power it. <seriously consider a better skimmer my friend. Something more aggressive and reliable. EuroReef or Aqua C rank high> Even though wet/dries can be nitrate factories, I would like to utilize the bio filtration for these fish. <no worries... necessary and helpful for large bio-loads> The tank will include about 45-60 lbs of live rock with about 20 lbs of base rock. Could I place any natural nitrate reducers in my sump. Thank you <an inline DSB would help significantly with NNR. Anthony>

Finding Macroalgae - 8/14/03 I have a craving for Botryocladia and Ochtodes since I saw the pictures in Reef Invertebrates, but I can't find any dealers?  any suggestions? <yes... do try Morgan Lidster at Inland Aquatics. Very nice chap... and many refugium livestock items/supplies. They are listed in the book (page 387) under "Other Resources". If that doesn't pan out for you... do seek the folks at some of the regional aquarium societies like MASM.org (Michigan) for a trade. Its quite common for the aquarium clubs to actively hold and share such nifty organisms. Best regards, Anthony>

Halimeda Algae I have a 55 Reef tank setup that has been up for 4 Mo. now with 80-90 lbs of live rock from a tank that was up over a year. DSB 4+" tons of pink and dark purple algae etc. 260 watts of PC lighting all parameters within acceptable range (except nitrates 20+/- ppm I think due to new tank). Some SPS and LPS and softies all doing well. Now my question. I have some Cactus Algae (Halimeda SP) that was doing great, growing one section a day. Then it started to slow down growth and parts of it started to get some coralline on it. Now it is starting to turn completely White. Can you shed a little light on this for me? I did like the look of this stuff and would like it to continue to grow. Do you think it's the nitrate? <Not the nitrate, but there are several things that can cause this: too much light, over shading, water warmer than 84 degrees F, or a magnesium deficiency> Any suggestions as to how to get it down in addition to water changes. How long does a DSB take to start helping with nitrates? <you should notice it any time now> As always Thanks for your time and knowledge.  Dennis Vigliotte <best, Chris>

Lighting over Chaetomorpha 7/21/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers, Howard> After reading Reef Invertebrates, I feel that I should replace the refugium lighting. <Okey-dokey> What is the ideal lighting system over a 30 gallon refugium with the purpose of cultivating Chaetomorpha along with copepods and amphipods?   <a single 100 or 150 watt double ended HQI lamp (say 10K) would rank very high in my book. Do use a parabolic reflector if possible. Seek 4-5 watts per gallon here at any rate> There are so incredibly many options, I would appreciate your personal opinion regarding spectrum, watts, and cycle of the appropriate pendulum metal halide light including your favorite brand. German? <for MH in general... I like Iwasakis, Aqualines and Ushios. Not inclined to take most others for free <G>. Radiums are also very good... but the 20Ks are scary blue (too much so for shallow water Algaes and some corals). and 8-12 hour photoperiod will be fine> Many thanks, Howard in Wisconsin <best regards, Anthony>

MACROALGAE  I.D. & Question 7/20/03 Hello Crew: <cheers> Here is a photo of some algae I picked up from my LFS.  They said it was a type of Gracilaria. Is this correct?   <holy cow... if we are talking about the green subject in the photo, then they are way off. Give everyone at that LFS coupons for free eye exams and  a referral to a good book on plants and algae like the works of the Littlers <G>. The macro in the photo is the very(!) common Caulerpa prolifera> More importantly, is this type OKAY for my "hang-on" refuge? <I would say that the real Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha would be better. Easier to keep and harvest... and less noxious too> Here is why I ask.  This "clump" came with a virtual primordial soup of marine critters.   <excellent> I have NEVER been so excited about any purchase that I've made in my 5 yrs in this hobby. <reminds me of my first batch of Sea Monkeys <G>> I felt like a 10 year old boy gazing into a tide pool, as I lay on the floor looking into my little holding tank. Shrimps, snails, tiny stars, and BRISTLEWORMS... Yikes!!! <really no worries about the bristleworms... they are some of the best sand agitators and scavengers for sand substrates. They only plague if your tank has nutrient control issues> Well I picked out  4 or 5, but doubt I got them all... <good to hear... no need to bother> NEXT QUESTION:  If I put this "clump" into my hang-on refuge, do I run the risk of any bristleworms getting into the main tank, or will they (if any left) simply live happily ever after in the DSB?   <like most any nuisance/pest organism... they can be limited by food. If you do not overfeed and have sufficient water flow to prevent excessive detritus build-up... you'll have no worries in the display. Many fine fishes also control them in aquaria like the longer nosed pseudochromids (Red Sea varieties like fridmani, springeri, Arabian, etc)> Or should I toss out the whole lot?  Thanx again.  Stacey from Los Angeles <seeing you are in LA, have you visited the LA marine club? MASLAC. Great gang... our fellow crew member Scott F is a member. Do write back to him here if you need info about the club. Kind regards, Anthony>

Algae Ids 7/16/03 Howdy wet ones!  Hope all is well.   <Thanks :) with hope for you in kind> I have an algae Id question again.  I have been able to identify the algae in my tank, thanks to the new "Reef Invertebrates" book and the abundance of great images.  But I have two I am questioning. I assume this first one is Valonia.  I normally see it as a round ball, but I did read it can come in different shapes, so that is why I came to this choice. <it does look quite like Valonia types... but also resembles a gametophyte generation of Derbesia hair algae> The second one is some sort of red algae that I was not able to find a picture of in the book.  I was wondering if I can get an id and some basic info on it.  I hope the pictures are ok. Thank you Paul <using my handy algae guides by the Littlers (the best) your second pic, the red algae, bears a strong resemblance to Wrangelia. Best regards! Anthony>

Algae ID this is not an algae I think it is a plant of sorts! I looked for a picture and could not find one.. nor do I have a digital camera bummer but it does root in the sand it is starting to even grow on my power head .. it is about three inches long at this point and is moving like crazy!! <do visit your local University library or even try Borders or Barnes & Nobles booksellers. Seek an algae reference by the Littlers (likely to find easily). Therein you will find many pics for comparison. There is also algaebase.org to browse with names once you get into the ballpark. Best regards, Anthony>

Searching for Chaetomorpha Hello Crew, I read the book, love the book. <Excellent, I will pass along your kind words.> I have a 75 gal. with home made Ecosystem type sump and you've convinced me that Chaetomorpha is better than Caulerpa. <Great choice.> Now then, where in the heck can I get the stuff.  LFS guy, who is a great guy and also runs a home made Ecosystem sump, never heard of it.   Doug <I got mine from the great guys in my local reef club. Do you have any reef clubs in your area?  If you let us know where you are from would could probably help you locate one. There are some groups listed on the link below.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm  Reefcentral.com has some club forums as well as our forum here at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/  As far as purchasing the stuff on line, I would check with http://inlandaquatics.com/  or  http://ipsf.com/  Best Regards, Gage>

Macroalgae 6/23/03 Hi, crew: <howdy!> In the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Bob Fenner states that "Caulerpa are best."   <correct> Yet recent postings from Anthony Calfo state that a marked preference for Chaetomorpha, which doesn't go sexual.   <correct... if that "threat/inconvenience" in Caulerpa bothers you, than other such macros would likely be better> Aren't you guys part of the same crew?   <yep... the WetWebMedia crew... not the Stepford crew, the NRA or the Republican party collectively> Sure team members have differences of opinion, <good of you to notice mate <G>> but is there a consensus?   <there are many benefits and risks to Caulerpa... and they are overwhelmingly documented in our WWM archives free for the perusal (largely in the FAQs if seeking the cons. Else, we describe the "modern" consensus on the subject collectively in a nearly 50 page chapter on plants and algae in our new book if you'd care to pursue it> What should I do? <weigh the merits and demerits of the various Algaes that appeal to you, my friend. Caulerpa can be a tremendous boon or scourge depending on how strict you are (or not) as an aquarist with husbandry. No worries :) Kind regards, Anthony>

Light for coralline and macro! <Helllloooo!> I have a 55 gallon saltwater aquarium with fish and live rock. I have not had very good coralline algae growth and I have a small amount of Caulerpa that is growing very slowly.   I have a twin set-up with fluorescent bulbs; one is regular daytime and the other is actinic.  I change my bulbs every six months; I recently put in a 10,000 K and an actinic from a friend who had a previous setup. I do not know how long he ran them for. <That may defeat the purpose of changing the lamps, the idea is to have fresh lamps every 6-10 months.> I know I need more lighting in my tank and I would like to up grade my tank lighting and get either VHO or metal halide. <Actually, you may find that this is the best lighting for coralline algae, my rocks are WHITE under 400w MH.> I am still planning on keeping the twin fluorescent bulbs in my set up and I would build a canopy for them all.  I am looking in to replacing the fluorescent bulbs with  the Coralife High Intensity 20,000 K and the 10,000 K. <Nothing about the intensity will change by simply switching out the lamps. Increasing the intensity would only happen with a complete fixture change.> Do I need to up grade, if I do what would be my  best option with my setup? <I think you're fine. If you want some coral, then yes, you'll need to upgrade. Enjoy! -Kevin> Thanks, Codie

Algae and the early life of a tank <Hi Mike, PF here tonight (another Mike who caught a nickname)> This is my first salt water tank and it has been up and running for about a month now. The tank is a 65 gal. acrylic. The equipment is as follows: 65 gallon inside corner tank 80 pounds live sand (Aragonite) 40 pounds of reef bones (as called by the pet store) <I'm guessing that this is Tonga Branch Rock> Aqua Clear Pro 150 wet/dry filter w/built in  protein skimmer <A wet/dry will eventually produce nitrates, after the cycle remove the bioballs (about a cup a week) and replace them with LR, a much better option> Rio 2100 pump for return water (692 gal per hour) Coral life 10,000k lights 1-36 inch, 1-24 inch (running 7 hours a day) <Fine for fish only, but you'll need some serious upgrading to keep most corals> Pinpoint Salt monitor (Pretty nice tool) I have 2 yellow tail blue damsels. <If you want other fish, you'll have to remove these buggers, they're territorial as all get out> I take water tests every other day and these are the latest readings. pH = 8.2 Sp. gravity = 1.0216 Ammonia =.5ppm (Still cycling?) <Yep> Nitrite = 0ppm Nitrate = 5 ppm This is a color match test set, so as far as I can tell these are accurate. Today I noticed that there was a brownish green algae growing on my live sand. So I stirred up the areas where it was growing and then vacuumed the areas.   The algae seems to be growing in the areas of the tank where there is the strongest water flow. Also when I vacuumed it the live sand was all clumpy like cat litter. I am fortunate enough to work in a water treatment plant so the water I use for top off and salt mixing is high purity RO/DI. <A lot of people are going to be very envious of you when they read this in the Daily Q&A> I have read so many books and magazines about salt water aquariums that I was sure I was doing it right. Can you help? Thanks Mike <Well Mike, this is pretty normal for a young tank. The vast majority of tanks go through several cycles of algae growth before they stabilize. This is more a matter of time than anything else. The hardest part of this hobby is patience, remember this if nothing else: nothing good happens fast in a reef tank. Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupii.htm a good place to begin reading. Lots more to read and learn, have a good night. PF>

Macro Algae choices for the ecosystem? Greetings! <Howdy!> I have just set up an Ecosystem based reef.  The main tank is 135g and the sump is from Leng, and is the largest one they carry (The 3616).  The main tank is on my main floor and the sump is in my basement.  I use the Iwaki 100 as the return pump and it does just fine.   <all good to this point... I especially like the choice of pump ;)> I am curing the live rock in the main tank and skimming to remove the die off.   <Doh! that's not a great idea... rather terrible in my opinion. Pests and predators that survive curing can get established in the display or sand/substrate and be very (!) difficult to remove. Always cure LR on shelves in bare-bottomed tanks so that you can siphon off detritus (which may now be settling in your present sand bed and will make for a nasty algae problem to come)... and to bait predatory shrimp, snails and crabs off bare glass> I do plan on continuing skimmer use even after the mud is added.   <very good to hear... agreed> After about 3 days, the ammonia level was around 5 and today it is undetectable, as is Nitrites.  The Nitrates are around 5, but I believe the rock is cured and ready to have the Mud added.  As for the question, after adding the mud, I was planning on using Caulerpa.  However, after reading some of the FAQ's on Mud based filtration, your crew has suggested that Caulerpa may not be the best Macro Algae for this setup.  Could you please explain why, and then give some alternate options I should consider?  Thanks!

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