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FAQs about Marine Macro-Algae Nutrition

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, LightingDisease/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


Greens-Caulerpa and Halimeda... competition twixt Algal Divisions   7/30/06 Hey Crew!   My main tank is incredibly healthy-90g with 60kg live rock; ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=0, calcium=360, pH=8.1. This tank is home to 4 Nemos, 1 eibli, 1 flame hawk, and 1 blue ring angel. <Will need more room... soon>  It also contains 9 turbo snails for which there is barely enough algae to feed. Every piece of live rock has patches of beautiful purple encrusting algae. No green algae seems to grow in it. This leads to my question. My quarantine tank has nice patches of Halimeda, grapelike Caulerpa, and caterpillar weed. I would like to transfer this algae into my main tank. However I am under the impression, from reading many FAQs, that green algae needs nitrate to flourish. So, if I was to move the macro-algae into the main tank, is it likely to survive or will it die? <Conditions there favor/ing the encrusting Reds will likely preclude the Greens doing well> In the beginning (about 1 year ago) the tank was left for about 4 months to cycle and even in this time, no green algae grew. <Likely your lighting, supplementing habits...>   I have moved some hair algae covered rock into the main tank previously and the hair algae slowly disappeared.   I started off doing weekly water changes but have since begun doing fortnightly water changes in the hope I might get some nitrate, but it just won't happen!   Thank you! <Mmm... like some folks lack of understanding re whether the world's terrorist population is static versus dynamic, you do have nitrate being produced... and readily absorbed... I would feed some of the Greens to the fishes here expressly, and/or offer dried human-intended products of same for the purpose. Bob Fenner>

Growing Plants & Algae Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 Hello all, first time questioner (<---a word??) here!! <Hello Jonathan, James here to help.>  I have a 24"x24"x12" turtle tank (no turtles of coarse) that I would like to turn into a "plant factory". I have Grape, Spaghetti, Prolifera?? And one other Caulerpa I can't identify (looks similar to maple leaves) Grape kelp, and a Mangrove.  I would like to also use this tank to breed/seed live sand. I trade these plants/macro's locally. How should I "stock" the tank to promote nutrients the plants/algae need??  <I would try putting a baffle in the area where the pump will be, that is something to cut down the turbulence, and I would try some of Ecosystems Miracle Mud as the substrate. I'm sure within a month this will be teeming with critters.> I currently have a 20 gallon housing this stuff now and it has 5 dwarf hermits, 5 Nassarius, 5 Turbos and a pink Anthias. The problem is that the grape kelp and grape Caulerpa are doing great but all the rest seem to be beginning to "melt" (first turning white at tips) seemingly do to lack of nutrients?? <This is where the Miracle Mud comes into play, it's loaded with iodine/nutrients.>  I dose Kent Super chelated Iron and Iodine daily... <You only want to dose calcium when using Miracle Mud, the saltwater macroalgae do require some calcium.>  and the sand is literally crawling with life but the plants don't seem as happy as they used to be.  <It will also help to change 10% of this water weekly.> Everything else seems to love life!! The Fastest results are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate but my Aq. Pharmaceuticals Nitrates shows 20!!, which do I trust??  <Make sure both kits are actually measuring the same nitrate level. Some kits measure low range and some high range.> Fastest: Aq. Pharm:  Amm:0 Amm: 0 (very slight change, near zero, but seemingly "some") Nitrite:0 Nitrite:<.25 Nitrate:0 Nitrate:20-30 (hard to tell exactly which is closer) pH: 8.2 pH: 8.0 (both tests run at same time on same water sample!!) If 20 is correct shouldn't the plants be happy?? This seems to be the case on all my other tanks, Fastest reads near 0 but AqPham reads near double!! Which should I trust??  <Check the range of the kits as above. Good luck, Justin. James (Salty Dog)> Please help!!  Thanks a lot!! Justin 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

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

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>

Macro-algae Nutrients Bob or Anthony Is there any written information on nutrients needed for macroalgae? I have Caulerpa, bottle brush and some coral in a small display tank with sea horses. I need to read information on the various needs of the macroalgae and the coral. The contributions from animals will be very small, since there are only a few dwarf seahorses. Anything you can send my way will be appreciated. Christine <very good question! Although I am not aware of a specific study on aquariology subjects... algae, simple and higher plants all have the same essential requirements. Some unconfirmed studies of "special" mud products for refugiums have found that marine "mud" is remarkably like good soil in nutritive comparison. It certainly stands to reason that the fundamental needs of terrestrial plant species could be similar to aquatic species. I honestly feel that the small size of your aquarium system does not warrant the risk of over fertilizing with a supplement. Incidental nutrients from feeding fishes and especially weekly small partial water changes will almost certainly satisfy most of your marine greens <smile>. Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding macroalgae > Bob > If I had a backup tank for macro algae that had no animals in it, what would I have to add to keep the macroalgae fed? There are seahorses in the display tank, and we are using Caulerpa and bottlebrush and live rock. thanks... [Christine J. Bock] <when you say backup I assume you mean that it is not plumped inline but rather a separate system. If so... regular water changes (small amount weekly) and standard plant fertilizer in small dilute quantities would be fine (in a fishless system). If you feel that you must, you can overpay for aquarium marketed plant fertilizers. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Iron Supplements & Macro-Algae I have a CPR AquaFuge refugium with Grape Caulerpa growing in it and no substrate, good or bad? <What is the Caulerpa attached to? I would like to see you something, sand or even many small pieces of liverock.> I do want amphipods and copepods and such to have a home or good place to multiply, can they do this without any substrate, only detritus? <Larger pods will do better with the liverock rubble.> I keep the area lighted 24/7, and I have noticed it is growing since I have been overfeeding my main tank fishes/corals. Is this due to it thriving on the high phosphates I have probably added by over feeding? <Probably> Also I always read sites that state you should dose iron, like Kent Iron supplement for good macro-algae growth, is this totally true? <All algae need iron for growth, but you will get plenty with regular water changes.> As I run a calcium reactor and only dose iodine once weekly, and use PhosGuard and activated Carbon? <Sounds fine.> Thank you and stay safe! Paul <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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