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FAQs about Marine Macro-Algae Health/Disease/Pests/Predators

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 3, Marine (Macro) Algae 4, Marine (Macro) Algae 5, Rationale, Identification, Selection/Compatibility/Control, Systems, LightingNutrition, 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


The Great Chaetomorpha Caper (What Killed His Chaeto?)  - 03/29/2006 Thanks for taking my email. <Our pleasure! Scott . with you today!> I have a six week old 75 gal eventual reef tank, 80# LR with DSB, now completely cycled. Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate <5. In the sump I have a separate 8 gal refugium fed by a 1/2in PVC branch off my main overflow drain. <Sounds nice!> Soon after the tank cycled--- about three weeks ago--- I added Chaeto to the refugium with very low flow and it grew like gangbusters. Water parameters have been essentially stable throughout. Then (reading somewhere that Chaeto should "tumble") I dramatically increased the refugium flow.  Two or three days later there was a diatom bloom, and then--- while scratching my head--- I noticed the Chaeto had wilted into a rotting mushy ball. I tossed it in the garbage and the diatoms soon disappeared. I surmise the Chaeto released a bolus of nutrients when it died, thus feeding the diatoms. <A very good guess, IMO> Any idea what killed my Chaeto? Besides increasing refugium flow, the only other thing I can think of is that, the week before this happened, I raised my dKH from 9 to 10--- over about 4-5 evenings with B-Ionic #1. Would appreciate any input. Russell in Louisville, KY. <Hi Russell. Sounds like you were really on top of things. However, Chaetomorpha is like any other algae in that it can and does crash when something is not to its liking. Hard to say what did it in. I doubt that the increasing dKH is what killed off your Chaeto. Contrary to what you may have heard, I've always kept this macroalgae in systems with a gentle current. Other macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, DO like to have a tumbling motion. Perhaps the strong water motion damaged some of the woven masses of the algae, which lead to a crash. Could have even been a combination of a few little things. I'd try a gain, but keep the flow moderate, and try to keep excessive amounts of detritus and other algae out of the Chaetomorpha "matrix" to ensure maximum growth and health. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

What Killed My Chaeto? Bob's go... multiple msg. sends?  - 03/29/2006 Thanks for taking my email. <Thanks for writing> I have a six week old 75 gal eventual reef tank, 80# LR with DSB, now completely cycled. Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate <5. In the sump I have a separate 8 gal refugium fed by a 1/2in PVC branch off my main overflow drain. Soon after the tank cycled--- about three weeks ago--- I added Chaeto to the refugium with very low flow and it grew like gangbusters.  Water parameters have been essentially stable throughout. Then (reading somewhere that Chaeto should "tumble") I dramatically increased the refugium flow. <Mmm... doesn't really need to have vigorous circulation> Two or three days later there was a diatom bloom, and then--- while scratching my head--- I noticed the Chaeto had wilted into a rotting mushy ball. I tossed it in the garbage and the diatoms soon disappeared. I surmise the Chaeto released a bolus of nutrients when it died, thus feeding the diatoms. <Good theory... how would we test?> Any idea what killed my Chaeto? <Likely the tumbling> Besides increasing refugium flow, the only other thing I can think of is that, the week before this happened, I raised my dKH from 9 to 10--- over about 4-5 evenings with B-Ionic #1. Would appreciate any input. Russell in Louisville, KY. <Could have been mal-affected by other changes... in nutrient availability, the cycling in of new competitive, predatory organisms... I would not be dissuaded from trying again in a few weeks to months (sans the tumbling). Bob Fenner in Hawai'i, down with the NELHA crowd, including some old friends who are involved in macrophyte culture... that do use tumbling... but in large settings, complete, axenic...>

Quarantine...Macroalgae  6/5/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Jeff> I just purchased some macroalgae for my refugium.  How should I quarantine it so nothing that came home with it will infect my system? <How comfortable do you feel with your dealer?>  If uneasy, quarantine the same as you would for fish.  In most cases dealers usually keep macro in separate tanks where no fish are present.  If all his tanks are centrally filtered, then we are back to the top.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome> Jeff

Golden Brown Algae in Chaetomorpha   5/15/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello>> I am using Chaetomorpha between my refugium baffles as a macro algae filter.  A golden-brown algae with fine strands has become enmeshed in the Chaetomorpha. <<Likely a blue-green algae/Cyano bacteria>> Rinsing and cleaning the Chaetomorpha periodically with marine water helps but the golden brown algae keeps returning.  What can I do to ensure that the Chaetomorpha and not the golden-brown algae thrives? <<Mmm, if the macro algae is not being malaffected I wouldn't be concerned.  The Cyano is obviously feeding off of something in your system>> I have a 75-gallon reef aquarium with a 29-gallon downstream refugium.  The Chaetomorpha is kept in a space between the refugium baffles which is 5" wide x 12" long x 15" deep.  The Chaetomorpha culture is 3-inches in depth and kept suspended with a strong up flow powered by an Iwaki MD-30RXT pump.  A mesh screen keeps the macro-algae from the pump compartment.  Over this relatively small 5"x12" surface area, I've placed a Jalli compact fluorescent fixture for reverse daylight photosynthesis (RDP).  The fixture's 13-watt "daylight" bulb is switched on by a timer for 8 hours each night.  I can replace the daylight bulb with an actinic bulb, replace the 13-watt fixture with an 18-watt fixture and change the photoperiod.   Which steps do you think will help the Chaetomorpha in its battle with micro-algae? <<The lighting is not likely affect the Cyano, but for the health of the macro algae definitely keep a "daylight" bulb, and if you think growth is slow, up the wattage.  I would also try siphoning out the accumulated "gunk" from the bottom of the baffle/Chaetomorpha chamber...the macro algae is functioning like a mechanical filter and probably trapping a lot of detritus which may be spurring the Cyano>> Thanks very much. Regards, Paul <<Cheers, EricR>>

Zoanthids and algae with air bubbles Howdy Bob and crew! Thanks in advance for the fantastic site and all the time you guys put into helping people like me. ;) First off, my water: SG: 1.0245, PH: 8.2, Calc: ~430, dKH: 11 Alk: ~3 (I think, I can't recall exactly honestly), Nitrates: 0, Nitrites: 0, Ammonia: 0, Phosphates: 0.0-0.1,  Temp: 79.4-80.2 (throughout the day). It is a 70 gallon tank (36 x 18 x 25; was limited by width where it was installed and figure the extra water volume would be a good thing) and currently I'm doing 20 gallon changes once a month with top off water from evaporation as needed (sometimes just a little every day; I top off in the sump). Large wet/dry (for a 150g system), with built-in skimmer (from ProClear), Eheim 700g/hr pump, 60lbs live sand (3-4" DSB), 90lbs premium live rock (gorgeous rock, 60lbs came out of a 4 year old 400gal reef that was taken apart and sold in pieces; all was cured and completely covered on coralline). 150w Ebo/Jager heater (in sump) and lastly the CurrentUSA Orbit 36" 2x96w PC fixture (10,000 and 6,700). << All sounds good, but the lighting seems a little low. >> Livestock: 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Rainford Goby, 1 Scooter Blenny, 3 Emerald Crabs, 1 Sally Lightfoot Crab, 2 Fire Shrimp, 8 or so Snails and 2 sand-sifting Starfish, some Bubble Caulerpa racemosa and Caulerpa mexicana. *whew!* Ok, my two questions! 1)       I've got some Zoanthids (brown Button Polyps specifically, not sure on the exact name). They came attached to a nice piece of live rock but I've noticed some brown "sticks" protruding from the rock, almost pushing up the polyps. Tonight I observed what I thought to be tentacles coming out of the ends of the sticks (looked like 2 each). Could these be some form of worm? << Very good possibility.  If so, I'll say they are beneficial. >> They are very thin, probably <1mm. I did not notice them originally when I brought the specimen home (they could've been there, I just didn't notice), but sine they've become more "prominent" the polyps seem to but suffering some; losing color and some are not quite opened all the way (though most are and are responding well to target feeding with a turkey baster). Just not sure what to do with these brown sticks! << I'd leave them be.  If the polyps are large enough to cut, you could always propagate them onto other rocks. >> 2)       I've got some hair algae in a few places (nothing overwhelming, just two parts on two pieces of rock). My Rainford Goby and my Scooter Blenny seem to enjoy nibbling on it ( as do the Emerald Crabs, and as it wasn't much I just leave it alone. The Goby and Blenny primarily eat Emerald Entre and whatever 'pods are living in the Caulerpa (they police it pretty often; especially the Rainford). Actually, the Blenny kind of nibbles everywhere; sand, rocks, frozen food. He seems very happy and well fed; both the Blenny and the Goby have noticeable belly's, I hope that's a good thing! If not, I have fat fish. ;) The question about the algae: It seems to be fairly consistently covered in small air bubbles (as is the Caulerpa actually). I figured it was either CO2 or O2, but was unsure of it and if it was something to be concerned about. I do have good circulation/aeration, but as far as I can tell it's not bubbles from that. << It's nothing to be overly concerned with, but usually the bubbles on algae is seen in unhealthy tanks.  I'd watch the water motion and nutrient levels. >> Thanks in advance for all your time! :-) ~Jeff <<  Blundell  >>

Ich, Macroalgae and medication 11/12/04 Hello again to the WWM guru! <Hardly a guru, but glad to help!> I wanted to get some further input on the ammonia situation in the OT tank. Unfortunately the Flame and neon goby are covered with ich now. The LFS rep & I discussed the constant spikes despite my using cycled water and daily WCs. Guess what we figured out...I have been placing a piece of LR in there, which naturally had some die off (yes, it was newer rock, duh!!). <Yup. That will do it.> Now the thing is this, I put them quickly into the fuge (which has been unplugged from the main tank), and got a "reef safe" ich treatment to treat them while there. <The problem with these treatments is that they are most often made reef safe by recommending such a low dose that they aren't effective.> Here's the big question...wouldn't you know, there's a shipment of Macroalgae on the way and I 'm not sure if its safe to put them in the fuge while the ich treatment is proceeding. I'd place the algae in my main tank, but the hermits would likely have a heyday with them! What would you suggest?  <I would suggest having passing on the macros or letting someone else hold them for you.  I also suggest that all of the rock that will be used for a display be cycled BEFORE adding any livestock.  Your sick livestock should be treated in a separate tank, and any future additions should be quarantined.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>  Allegra in SD Dying Chaetomorpha... needs more water flow? 1/29/05 Hey guys. Just a quickie for ya, if you don't mind. I have an upstream refugium with a few bundles of Chaeto, and for some reason it is turning white and dying off.  <the most common reason is a lack of water flow. Chaeto is very hardy with regard for lighting (5 watts per gallon will do)... but it is very needy for water flow so strong that it stays tumbling> I run a system with a fairly high nutrient load, since it is a softie tank, so I am a bit confused as to the issue here. I have a 10K regular wattage fluorescent bulb, run opposite of my display tank. Is it a possibility that Iron is depleted too rapidly in my system? <not likely the problem here> I dose b-ionic daily, and it lists iron as one of the trace elements... but I am wondering if I need to supplement further. At any rate, I though Chaetomorpha was not an algae that dies off as it has been, so I am a bit confused.  <correct... it is quite hardy and not prone to events of sexual die-offs... particularly if/when you have been harvesting it regularly> Any speculations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! <this is a common question and problem... most always a lack of water flow. Apply enough to make the Chaeto ball tumble. Anthony>

Botryocladia Predators Hello. <Hey, Mike G here> I recently purchased a red grape macro (Botryocladia sp.) and would like to know if there are snails that will eat algae, but not touch my red grape macro. <An astonishing array of herbivorous marine life will consume Botryocladia species macroalgae, I am sorry to inform you. I would think it would be consumed soon after you began to fill your tank.> Also, would a lawnmower blenny eat the red grape macro? <I would think so.> Chaetomorpha help The problem/questions: I'm having a problem with Chaetomorpha slowly dying. Small sections are turning from dark green to clear and those clear sections eventually go limp and dissolve or break away. I have tried placing the colonies at different heights within the tanks but with no improvement. Gracilaria in this same system is growing rapidly. Ochtodes is doing well but growing slowly. Micro algae exists, but is kept under control by snails and other tiny invert grazers to the point where I no longer need to clean the glass. The macro Algaes are separated by a reasonable distance, but is it possible these are conducting some sort of chemical warfare?  <Yes> I chose these varieties because I believe they are less noxious then most. What is your opinion of chelated Iron in a marine system? <Generally ferrous matter is not rate limited in marine systems, but it does little possible harm to add it> I have heard anything from definitely not to it's a requirement of macro algae. I have started adding Kent Marine Iron supplement for the past month, but that doesn't seem to make a difference one way or the other so far. The setup: The system is 3 months old consisting of a display and refugium with several types of macro algae. It is currently fishless but has two L. debelius and a good assortment of micro-fauna. Both tanks use compact fluorescent lighting - ~4w/gal in the display and ~5w/gal in the 'fuge. The lights are on 10 hours in the display and 18 hours in the 'fuge on a reverse schedule.  Everything is growing well except the Chaetomorpha. There is a fist sized colony in the display directly in the path of one of the returns; it tumbles freely. The second colony in the 'fuge is much large and is stationary with moderate water flow; it rests on a 2" bed of Kent Bio-Sediment. Water parameters: Temp: 80-82F Specific Grav: 1.022-23 pH: 8.2 KH: 110-160 mg/L Calcium: 440-520 mg/L <This is a bit high... I would let drop to about 400 ppm> Ammonia: undetectable Nitrate: undetectable Nitrate: ~5 mg/L Phosphate: undetectable Silicate: undetectable Free Iron: undetectable Chelated Iron: 0.1-0.25 mg/L <I strongly suspect that the Chaetomorpha is indeed being "deselected" for biologically in your system... and would either move it to some other separate system, or let it go. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia infestation & quarantine question Dear Crew,  <Hi Paul, MacL here with you this fine and lovely day.> Last week, I obtained a half-pound of live Gracilaria parvispora (Ogo) from a dealer in Hawaii. I specifically asked the dealer if I needed to quarantine the Ogo before adding it to my downstream marine refugium. His emailed reply was no. <First and foremost, quarantine everything!> Upon adding the Ogo to my refugium, I noticed a few dead amphipods. A few days later, I discovered three 1-inch Aiptasia specimens attached to the glass and to a clump of Ogo. I've never had Aiptasia in my tanks before. After spending all night throwing out everything in my refugium including live rock, quarantining the Ogo in a bucket after the fact, sanitizing my refugium and hoping that the Aiptasia hasn't made it to the main tank, are there any other precautions I should take?  <You should be aware that lots of people use Aiptasia in refugiums for nutrient export. On the other hand its possible that this dealer was unaware that he had Aiptasia in his Ogo. Most people are going to say that you don't have to quarantine grasses etc before you put them in your tank because usually they come out of a situation where they've been used for nutrient export.> Regarding the dealer, should I simply warn him to check his Ogo tanks for Aiptasia or should I also demand my money back? What is customary?  <I might email him and tell him that you ended up having to put the Ogo in quarantine because you found some Aiptasia in it and you didn't want to chance having that go into your tank. I'm sure he didn't mean you any harm, but if you feel very strongly about it you might see if he's willing to give your money back or perhaps you two can come to a compromise. You'll need to treat the Ogo in quarantine to remove the Aiptasia from what's there.> 

Aiptasia Infestation Dear Crew,  <Hi Paul, MacL here with you again today.> (1) If Aiptasia is used in refugiums for nutrient export, how does one prevent the Aiptasia from contaminating the main aquarium?  <The people I know who are using it in this manner are keeping in enclosed in their sumps. So far they are telling me that they are not having it move. I personally wouldn't like to take the chance. One person I know who is cultivating it in their refugium has a second tank with softies that contains peppermint shrimps and copperband butterflies in the line before his main tank, so he controls them that way.> (2) Is it common for growers of Gracilaria parvispora to culture it in tanks with amphipods and other marine creatures, such as Aiptasia?  <With pods, definitely. With Aiptasia, probably not. But there are many people who don't view Gracilaria the way that others do. To them its a nuisance. This is something that is changing as more people begin to use it in their refugiums.> (3) Are you aware of any suppliers of live Gracilaria parvispora and Chaetomorpha linum within the 48 states? (I live in Colorado.)  <Honestly no I'm not unless Inland Aquatics has it. However, I do know that there are lots of people trading it on lots of websites. One with people close to your area would be www.reeffrontiers.com. They have a lot of people based in the western United States who are using Chaetomorpha.> Thanks very much.  <Its been lovely to talk with you Paul, if we can be of any further assistance please let us know. MacL> 

Aiptasia in the Chaetomorpha - 09/11/2005 Good morning fine folks!  Hope you're having a nice relaxing weekend. <More or less, yes.  Thanks.  Hope you've had a good one, too.> I received some Chaetomorpha from a fellow aquarist a couple of days ago through the mail.  It was very compacted but otherwise looked nice and green and healthy. <Nifty.> I put some of it in my 20 GAL holding tank and the rest in my "in tank refugium" in the main tank.  The refugium is nothing more than a box made of egg crate and wrapped in window screen to contain the algae and keep the Yellow Tang out. <So far, so good....> Tonight as I was feeding the tank, I noticed something sticking out of the Chaeto.   <I'm hearing the "Jaws" theme starting, here....> Upon closer inspection, there seem to be MANY Aiptasia living in it.   <Insert hysterical scream> I thought they would only be introduced via Live Rock.   <Anything they can grow on can introduce them.> Could you please take a minute and look at the pictures and tell me if I have the ID correct?  Is it Aiptasia? <Yes sir.> If so, I'll just throw the Chaeto out so as to make sure it does not get into the main tank. <I would probably store it in your separate/quarantine system and kill the little guys with Kalkwasser injection.  Either way, good to get 'em out of your tank.> Yet another "plug" for quarantining EVERYTHING wet that goes in your tank. <Yes, agreed.> http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/aip3.jpg http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/aip2.jpg http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/aip1.jpg As always, THANK YOU for your time and all that you do!  Still hoping to get enough experience and confidence to be able to volunteer my time to your site someday. <Hey, gain that confidence quick! (grin)> Thank you, Tom (The Tool Man) <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

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>

- 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 -- >

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>

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> 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>

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>

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>

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!

Macro Algae, Qt... Dear Mr. Fenner, Do you recommend any dipping or quarantine procedure prior to placing macro algae in one's main aquarium to prevent introducing fish parasites from the dealers tanks? Or is simply dumping the shipping water and rinsing them with some water from the main tank sufficient? Regards, Alec >> Good question... If there is any doubt at all about the possibility of dragging an infectious or parasitic agent, I'd dip/bath the macro-algae, even quarantine it afterwards for two weeks... Bob Fenner

Die off!! Hello everyone.  <all of my many personalities/voices in my head say Hello! right back... One of them is barking "whasssuuuuuuuup?"> It's very nice to know you guys are out there, just waiting for something to go wrong, and ready with an answer! Having said that, here's my tale of woe! In the last 3 weeks or so, I have noticed the plant life in my 55 gal. reef dieing off. I didn't pay too much attention because I don't really care for the species, Brown Macroalgae (Sargassum hystrix. But then, I noticed my Brown Wafer Algae (Lobophora variegata) dieing off???? And now, my Maroon Coralline (Peyssonnelia sp.) is covered with white patches and my, Gelidium pusillum is falling apart! <salinity shock (critical threshold had been crossed in a nutrient deficiency (plants grow, but supplementation has not kept up... they demand more each day and then crash when they do not get it), or a sudden influx of freshwater, or a change in lighting (new bulbs or decidedly aged bulbs) are common culprits for such die-off> My nitrates are always a bit high,  <not likely a problem at all> and at the present they are at 80 ppm. I did a water change about 3 weeks ago, and will do another in a week. Maybe I'm just feeding too much? <even more unlikely regarding nutrients (more are generally better for the plant life) unless the feeding has degraded other components of water quality like pH (is it lower because of the heavy feeding? Below 8.1 by day could be a bit stressful, but even that is a stretch)> One more thing, please??? I just witnessed some really cool behavior. One of my Dominos just backed itself into the many clutches of my Banded coral shrimp. The shrimp seemed to be cleaning him! So cool!  < yes... a wonder of the sea> I've never seen this before however I do know it is a common happening among ocean inhabitants~ <rather common indeed, but ever so beautiful> Thanks for your time! Pam <best regards, Anthony>

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