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FAQs about Marine Vascular (true) Plants

Related Articles: Marine (Vascular, true) Plants, The Genus Halophila; Stars, Paddles and Oars for Marine Planted Aquaria By Sarah Lardizabal, Mangroves, Marine Algae

Related FAQs: Mangroves, Nutrient Limitation

Syringodium filiforme, Manatee Grass. 

adding freshwater plants to saltwater aquarium      11/6/12
Hi Crew,
<Hey Danielle>
Is it safe to add freshwater artificial plants to a saltwater aquarium? My concern is that the saltwater fish may get tangled in plants they are not used to seeing in their environment.
<Ah yes; tis fine. Those made for fresh and marine are composed of Polyethylene, chemically inert. In fact, many folks, and public aquariums use the fresh water as marine... Vallisnerias and Sagittarias resembling various seagrasses quite closely.
Bob Fenner> 

Crazy Fish Ideas... Reef, FOWLR set up, marine plants use    9/11/10
Hey WWM! Thanks for helping me out with trying to bring my aquarium ideas a reality. Over the summer I got a free 135 gallon fish tank from my teacher at Marine Biology and since I've gotten it I've wanted to turn it into a
reef. At the moment my only problem is my current fish. I have a 90 gallon tank FOWLR tank with a porcupine puffer, bird wrasse, zebra moray, and juvenile chainlink moray (I know, I know I have WAY too much in one tank, especially for it's size. It was my first time setting up a tank, which consisted of getting whatever fish I liked without thinking twice.) Since I love these fish too much to get rid of them, my plan is to have the 135 gallon become a reef and move the bird wrasse since they're semi-"reef compatible"
<Mmm... won't eat Cnidarians, but will eat crustaceans, worms...>
and the zebra moray
<Messy and clumsy>
over and having beginner, hardy corals, a crustacean-less cleaning crew with inverts such as snails and brittle stars, and two surgeonfish like the orange shouldered surgeon and a yellow or Kole tang to help algae control. The other part of my plan is connect the reef to my 90 gallon tank, which will be come a seagrass/lagoon tank where the puffer could live peacefully with the chainlink moray eventually (the chainlink is living in my Nano-reef alone very temporarily until he gets large enough to live with the others, then he's moving) and I can grow mangroves and seagrass.
<Neat plan>
I've read about how seagrass is an excellent nutrient remover
<Mmm, not so much really... Takes a good long while to become established, grows/metabolizes slowly, and takes a "high nutrient" substrate itself in point of fact>
and since I have some heavy duty fish, I'm going to need it. Of course these tanks would have a large protein skimmer attached along with mechanical and chemical filtration like poly-filters and carbon in a twenty gallon sump underneath.
<Larger gallonage if at all possible>
My main question is do you see anything wrong with this plan, have any suggestions on ways to make it better (or
<Look around for a larger sump container... maybe a plastic tote of some sort>
or is this idea really not going to work? Since this will be a HUGE project I'm trying to research as much as possible and getting as much advice as possible. Again, thanks for your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Seagrass aquarium  6/21/10
Hi WWM Crew.
I am currently in the process of setting up a 3' x 3' x 3' sea grass aquarium.
<Hope you've got tools... and/or very long arms! To reach the bottom here>
I have the filtration and everything else figured out but I am stuck on the lighting.
I would rather not use metal halides again so have been looking at LED's, while searching I found some LED's designed for plant growth HERE AND HERE
<Mmm? Were there links supposedly embedded? Nada came through>
Do you think these would be suitable, I would also be using T5's.
There will be not light intensive corals in the tank and the only fish will be seahorses and possibly pipefish.
<There are some species of seagrasses that could do well-enough w/ LEDs and T-5's at this depth of water. I'd get/use a PAR meter to be sure there's sufficient intensity... a value of 80-100 should be sufficient at the sand
depth/surface. Bob Fenner>
Re: Seagrass aquarium  6/21/10
Many thanks for the reply, RE the depth there will be 12" of sand so more like 24" depth.
<Ahh! Then these lights should work out fine>
Links to the lights are
http://fastlight.co.uk/acatalog/LED_Grow_Spot_Lights.html and
I will pick up a par meter.
<Good... you might check around the local reef/marine aquarium clubs. Many have a "club" meter to lend>
Which of the seagrasses would be suitable? I was thinking ell grass, turtle grass etc.
<Thalassia spp. are my faves... But do read here:
Many thanks
<Welcome Nick. BobF>

Turtle Weed Control -07/18/08 Greetings Crew and happy Friday. I have some dark green turtle weed that's been slowly but surely covering some of my live rock. I want to start controlling it. I have a Sailfin Tang, a Kole Tang and a Sailfin Blenny, but they don't touch the algae. I also have a number of hermits and snails, but likewise they are not touching it. Is there any turtle weed eating animal you know of that might be appropriate for a 110g SPS dominant tank? I already employ a 30g fuge with Chaetomorpha. I have searched WWM and the web and have come up empty handed. <Manual removal might be your best option here-- is a great method for nutrient export and you could sell it to other hobbyists. I'd also plant it in the fuge. I imagine that it will compete with itself better than Chaetomorpha will (possibly).> Thanks for your help. Andy <Best, Sara M.>

Re: Turtle Weed Control -07/18/08 Thanks, Sara. Unfortunately, the Turtle Weed is growing in such a way that manual removal may be difficult. I've tried to siphon, but that is going nowhere. It's pretty short so grabbing it isn't easy either. <Hmm... if it were me, I would either try to kill it with Kalk/NaOH solution, or scrape it off with a razor (or with the aid of some other tool). Do you have any corals in this tank? If not, you could try killing it by simply keeping the tank in complete darkness for a few days or perhaps even a few weeks (if you have no coral).> Take care. Andy <Good luck, Sara M.>

Seagrass tank Messing With Mud (Substrate Composition)  1/19/08 Howdy crew! <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I am in the process of setting up a 40g breeder seagrass (Halodule wrightii) tank and have a few questions. <Glad to oblige; I'm a fellow seagrass fan!> Let me start my giving you some of my plans for the tank..... 5" DSB with some mud. Halodule wrightii. Yellowhead Jawfish or seahorses (still have to decide). plus the various snail...etc. I do not plan on having any live rock. (2) 55-6700k 85w fixtures This tank will be looped into my frag tank as well. My questions are: 1) I plan on having a mixture of some mud and live sand and was wondering if I should mix it all together or have one layered on top of another. Forgive me if this was already asked. <In my seagrass system, I mix the various substrate materials together. I don't think that there is any advantage to separating the materials.> 2) I have read a few articles stating that certain bacteria that thrive near the surface of the sand need the oxygen to live, but as you get deeper in the sand the bacteria that live do not need the same amount of oxygen. The article also stated that if the bacteria that live near the surface of the sand get too deep, the amount of oxygen they get is a lot less, thus causing them to die. This article says it is better to add small layers than to add it all at once. (http://www.miniaturereef.com/Deep%20Sand%20Beds.htm). So, basically my question is when adding the sand and mud is it best to add it in small amounts, so not as much bacteria dies off, or all at once? <If it were me, I would add all of the substrate material at once. I am a pretty simple guy, and I've never had a problem keeping this stuff simple!> Thank you for any and all information! -Elliott <Glad to be of service. Regards, Scott F.> PS: This is one of the greatest sites on the web concerning saltwater tanks IMHO!

Macroalgae (sic) nutritional value 1/17/08 Hello there, <E> I am part of a forum and together we are getting a "library" or links and articles together for easier research. <Good idea, practice> I am currently researching a lot about seagrass specifically Halodule wrightii. As I have been researching I have come across many articles about marine plants and have been contributing to the "library" or article. A few days ago I received a private message from someone asking me this: <I have a feeling I will be helping the guys read through some of the links you provided in the Library. While you were researching, did you happen to come across anything that discussed the nutritional value of the different algaes and preferences of different herbivores/omnivores? I know it sounds like a strange question, but I would appreciate it if you sent anything of the sort in my direction.> To make a long story short, I have looked and looked and looked all over and cant seem to find the answer. I was hoping that you guys would be able to help me out. Thanks in advance for any and all information! -E <Mmmm, well... first off... this is a true plant, an embryophyte... not a thallophyte/algae as the writer lists... There appears to be some noting re its nutritional value even via the Net: http://www.google.com/search?q=Halodule+wrightii+nutritional+value&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIC But I know naught off the top of my head, and am away (out in Hawai'i) distal from a large library. Are you familiar with doing computer search bibliographies? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

Snails laying eggs, and lighting Thalassia sys.   3/20/07 Howdy Guys, <John> I'm attaching several pics of some snails (Cerith perhaps) laying eggs on my aquarium glass. Maybe they'll come in handy. <Hope so> I do have a question. I have a yellow tang and I was wondering if he'll eat turtle grass. <Mmm, maybe... is tough to chew> A friend of mine gave me a few sprigs and I'm not sure about the lighting requirements, etc. My main tank is 120 gallons with about 4-5 inches of fine aragonite sand on the bottom, two 4 foot VHO's and two 175 watt MH, the yellow tang, seven yellow tailed damsels, many snails and hermit crabs, three urchins, various polyps, a bubble tip anemone, and a bunch of Xenia. I could put it in the sump but I would have to put some sand down there. I have a couple of 2 foot fluorescent fixtures with two bulbs each I could use for lighting, but I imagine I would have to block the light to prevent algae growth in my skimmer. I really want to avoid all that if possible. Oh, my main tank is 2 feet deep, 4 feet long, and 2 feet front to back. Thanks, John Jordan <I would try this in your main display. Bob Fenner>

Turtle Weed/ Anemone Tank   2/20/07 I'm setting up a tank and would like to have turtle weed and an anemone. I'd like to grow out the turtle weed until it covers the liverock, then add my bubble tip anemone. Here are my questions: 1. Can Chlorodesmis fastigiata aka Turtle Weed withstand high water flow? <Mmm, relatively high, yes... more than most hobbyists produce. I'd like to ask you though... is Entacmaea found on such a setting?> 2. Would the Turtle Weed negatively affect the anemone or vice versa? <May find that the Anemone doesn't open up as much, far... but then again, might just be harder to see...> 3. I've read that Turtle Weed might release toxins into the tank. Will this kill my anemone, fish, etc.? <Only under "dire" situations... with regular maintenance... shouldn't be a problem> Well, thanks in advance, <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Turtle grass What kind of flow do I need for the turtle grass?  <surge flow from a dump bucket would be ideal... but random turbulent if you must. Do read about the differences of dynamics of flow in any of many popular books. I detail it in my coral propagation book as well> What submersible pump would you recommend?  <that depends on if heat transfer is an issue or not for you. If not, a Supreme Mag Drive will be fine.. else, an Iwaki or Ampmaster external> Unless I do a complete tear-down I am limited to a submersible.  <ahhh... then if you can sustain a slight increase in temp, do the mag drive> <<not enough flow and very dangerous! PLEASE have the refugium drilled for an overflow>> Do you mean drill one or two holes very near the top of the tank for the water to flow out?  <yep... fitted with a bulkhead. Just like one would do with a drilled overflow on a display tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm > Something like hole(s) covered with some kind of material that is not bio active to prevent unwanteds from leaving through the holes? < you need to see a pvc bulkhead fitting to understand, my friend. They are simply and inexpensive. Do a keyword search on an engine to get hits on links that will show you such products. Or look up Rainbow Lifeguard... they sell such plastics. They come with a strainer to prevent fish from overflowing. However... your refugium will be fishless and we DO want plankton to overflow for the fishes/corals in the main display> The tank I have has a tempered glass bottom so I can't drill it.  <I almost never recommend drilling a tank bottom... and I never do personally. Always the top on a side panel> How far from the top would you drill the hole(s)? What size hole(s)? <all relative to the desired pump/flow size. 1 3/4" holes for a 1" bulkhead are standard. 2 would probably do the trick... still... don't decide until you have estimated a pump and flow rate. Kindly, Anthony>

Thalassia in sump Hello again, This question is probably directed more at Mr. Anthony. If that was you who replied about the 2000 years of calling your cat and they still won't come, here's to ya, sip a cold one for me!!!!! <Yes... my friend. I need to go back and put a signature on that piece...heehee. We're just typing too quick here. From one gilded admirer of Felids to another, Thank you :)> Anyways, after the e-tongue lashing I got last weekend about the feeding of my open brain coral, I was afraid I'd never come back,  <Ha...my/our apologies...please don't feel that way at all. Our already challenged wits get fried after a few hours of answering e-mail and the salty dogs in us come out (or is it the Marine Nazi like the Seinfeld "soup Nazi"?)> but I recovered and have been doing a lot of reading since then. <we all need such patience and resolve> I am guilty of having one of those garden variety reef tanks, but there is an empty 125 gallon sitting in my garage just waiting for all the summer projects to get over with. I plan on making this tank a SPS and LPS tank. Is this a feasible theory, or should I just go with the SPS and leave the LPS in the garden. <depends on species selection to some extent, but its not that terrible of a mix as both are scleractinians and predominantly zooplankton feeders... indeed similar demands for food and water quality> My main question though is regarding the use of Thalassia in a separate refugium for the 125. Would it be possible to put the seagrass in the main sump with LR and LPS? Would the flow rate thru there be too much? <it might be very fine... they really need much more flow than most people would guess> What about lighting? Should I use a reverse lighting time period or would the seagrass be ok with no light? <they need very bright light and the RDP photoperiod would help to stabilize pH> Thanx for your patience, not just with me but everybody that writes, you guys have a tougher job than you think!!!! thanks, ce <I sincerely appreciate you thanks and understanding! Kindly, Anthony>

Growing turtle grass... not easily done  7/5/06 Hi Bob, I'm trying to make turtle grass grow for my seahorse aquarium. Its been several months now and the turtle grass doesn't want to grow. Its alive but, it looks like its shrinking. The lighting i have is 2x96 powercompact water flow is  high and the substrate I'm using, which i think is the problem, is oolitic select aragonite. I also have shoal grass its growing but not as fast as i would expect. <Mmm, surprising to many, actual plant marine "grasses" aren't easily cultured in captivity. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/seagrasses/seagrasses.htm and the linked files below on SW vascular plant growing on WWM? Bob Fenner> Marine Gardening, but with actual plants this time………..    4/3/06 Hey WWM Crew! <Hi there Josh.> I Have read your article on Mangroves and the FAQ's but I still have a question. <That was Actually Mr. Anthony Calfo's article but I am familiar with it and I will do my best to help you out.> You say to get Gardener's tape and raise some of the roots out of the water to get the arch shape in the roots. <Right have seen this done.> Well instead of using Gardener's tape couldn't I just tie it to a ruler that is hanging across the rim of the  tank. Yes but I would be careful as not to constrict or stress the plant….but again yes it should work, the principle sounds the same.> Doing so would lift up some of the roots while others would  dangle in the water. <Sounds like you have a grasp on it.> Also how deep of a sand bed should I use for Red  Mangroves? <Minimum 6", preferably more.> Thank you so much! <Anytime!> - Josh A. <Adam J.>

Potential contribution to WWM  10/20/05 Hi Mr. Fenner, <Bob, please> I'm hoping I've got the right person, I am trying to contact someone with WWM to get approval to add some pictures, captions and potentially a quick article to WWM about a 'new' seagrass species.   <Oh...> On http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marvascplts.htm the Marine Plants picture list, you have Halophila ovalis listed, but this is mostly unavailable to N. American hobbyists.  I have personally collected and distributed (and have been growing) its Caribbean cousin Halophila engelmanni.  It is still a considerably rare thing to come across in the hobby but I have personally sent it out to at least 20 aquarists who have likely distributed it even further.  Its a real gem of a species to work with and I think it would be great for other hobbyists to know that it exists.  I would like to add a picture plus caption to WWM just for info purposes for other aquarists.  I could also write a nice article at this point about its husbandry requirements, differences from other grasses, potential sources, nutrient requirements, reproduction and so on.   <Great> If you are open to having more information added to the WWM MarVasPlts page I would be very happy to help and contribute.  Let me know when convenient if this sounds like a good project and I can send you appropriate potential pictures and will start work on a decent article with photos. <Will gladly post this, to your credit> You can see much more information about my efforts with this species and other seagrass species on my homepage at http://home.comcast.net/~slardizabal/home.html and 'go marine'.   <Will have to look into the works of Daniel Quinn> If I've gotten in touch with the wrong person, please let me know who to contact, or feel free to forward this email.   Thank you very much for your time! Sarah <A dream unfolds Sarah. Bob Fenner> Growing Grass (Thalassia) In A Marine Tank 8/9/05 Dear Scott Recently I bought turtle weed and honestly I never have a success with it, so how can I keep this alive for a long time? Thanks, Ignatio <Well, Ignatio- "Turtle Weed" or "Turtle Grass" (you may have to check me if I'm wrong here) are usually common names given to algae <<Mmm, no... vascular plants, not algae. RMF>> in the genus Thalassia. This algae <<these plants>> need/s to be anchored deep in a soft substrate (with a depth greater than 3 inches) with lots of organic material. You could experiment with commercially-available fertilizers as well, but be careful not to overload your system. I'd do some research on line (there are LOTS of great sites about macroalgae that you can check out on line). Do a little research online under the genus name and you'll find lots of stuff! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Growing Thalassia turtle grass 7/30/05 7/30/05 Hello there, I have been pleasantly lost on your web page for some time now.  Very enjoyable by the way! <Thanks kindly> I have read what I can find about turtle grasses.   <I do have experience here. I grew them for many years (still do in small quantities) and have chatted with he Smithsonian boyz about cultivating them for personal interest)> I was thinking about starting up my 55 gal tank again and was thinking about a sandy, sea grass tank.   <Hmmm... if/as a refugium for the grass only - then OK. Else you will see they grow too thick and tall once established> However, from what I am reading it sounds difficult to keep alive. <Actually no... just tough to establish. Most folks use new tanks and new sands and the plants never root/establish. You can accelerate the display by incorporating muddy substrates or just go to a coast and get some yourself (or have it flown in)> Not only that but it sounds like it is almost impossible to come by.   <Good heaven's no... there are hectares of it along the coasts! Indeed, protected in some regions, but no... some folks can legally get it for you. Drop a line to my friend Bill Chamberlain at Billsreef.com  He sells Thalassia and so much more> Have I gotten the wrong impression?   <yes, my friend> Any information or finger pointing in a different direction would be great. <The key to success is having a very deep (6" or greater) and mature substrate, and to plant the clusters of grass with their crown no less than 3" deep> Thank you for all your time and hard work. Cindy Haralson p.s. BF, I love your book, I have put my choices for tank critters on index cards, I will need at least three different tanks to make my choices happy. Better see about reinforcing our floor! <Fabulous :) Bob will be sure to read/see this. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Sand Sifters and Bacteria Effect, Mangroves Yikes!! The more I read the less I know!! <This is beyond you! You are on a path of enlightenment for sure.> 1) What effect do the sand sifters and burrowing critters have on the Nitrifying anaerobic bacteria in a 4 to 6 in DSB? Are they (the critters) counter productive in that they allow O2 where it shouldn't be? <Almost nil effect... the microbes are too small to be appreciated, eaten... some stirring is to their benefit> 2) Just how effective of a Nitrate/Phosphate remover are mangrove plants. <Can be tremendous... quite effective, measurably, in the wild> Saw a pic of what I think was about a 30 gal tank with at least 10 to 15 healthy plants about mmm......... 24-30 inches tall. Profuse green leaves. 3) If they are effective is there a preferred species. 4) What lighting do they prefer? 5) I am thinking of starting a solo refuge, and feeding it if I have to until it is healthy and full of critters and plants before I start the main tank. Your thoughts? Thank You, Ben <Posted... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Artificial turtle grass? Mr. Fenner, < Blundell here tonight. > I am looking for a supplier of artificial turtle grass. Can you help me?  < Artificial? You mean plastic? I'd maybe look into having a store order you this http://www.naturesimageonline.com/NI-125.htm or just look in local pet stores in the freshwater section. Unfortunately I don't know any product that is specifically made to replicate turtle grass.> Thanks, Gary < Blundell >

Source for neat plants, algae and sea grasses 11/30/04 Hi Guys, Been reading your stuff for quite awhile. <cheers> I'm getting ready to set up my next tank and would appreciate a little input. It's a 375g - 96x30x30 that will incorporate a 150g sump (dual protein skimmers plus any other filtration stuff) and a 150g refugium. Lighting will consist of 2-250w MH HQI 14k & 2-250 MH HQI 10k plus some various PC lighting for dusk/dawn effect. I will be using a DSB in both the tank and refugium. Sorry, but it will be a somewhat mixed tank - primarily SPS with a few softies and a minimal fish population. My original plan was to incorporate the tank DSB with sugar fine sand,.2-1mm, (6") and grow some sea grasses in it, which brings question #1 - is this suitable for Syringodium or stick to Thalassia ? <the latter is easier to get and keep (its shorter and better suited for aquaria)> The refugium would use fine sand,1-2mm, (7")with some Halimeda and Penicillus, which I think would harbor more 'pods for export to the main tank. <actually... Chaetomorpha would be best of all> What kind of flow should I have through the refugium ? <something around 20X turnover or better for vegetable filters> I plan for a total of about 6000gph with most of it going through the sump. >may not be enough flow for the display (depending on the exact coral species you keep... especially for SPS - need 20-40 X minimum)> Sound reasonable or should the 2 DSB's be switched? <I don't follow here> Any other observations would be great. Regards, Greg <I just bought Thalassia, Chaetomorpha and more from www.billsreef.com. Fab chap from NY area. Covers plants and algae and knows his science. Do consider. Anthony>

Seagrass and lighting 10/3/04 I am in the process of setting up a 20-gallon hex to house a pair of h. erectus seahorses.  I would like to create a natural environment for them, including seagrass.  I understand seagrass needs 2 important things: 1. a deep sand bed (like 6 inches) that is well established (6 - 12 months old) <both correct> 2.  good light - at least 100 watts for this tank. <agreed> I am really stuck on the lighting issue.  I'm not much of a DIY'er although I might be able to call in some favors if I have to go that route.  I figure my choices are to get a MH pendant (I'm quite attracted to the 150w HQI pendant by Coralife) or build my own canopy and retrofit a whole bunch of fluorescent lights into it. <either is fine... and frankly, for growing seagrass... the inexpensive warm light fixtures at home depot and the like are fine here. use 5-10 watts per gallon> I'd be happy to receive any input on the pros and cons of these two setup ideas.  I've been doing a lot of reading but just like with everything else there is no one right answer, and everyone has their own experience to share.  I am just looking to gather as much input as possible so I can make my own informed decision. Thanks, in advance!  Julie <if you want an easy solution... my vote would be a 100 or 150 watt double ended HQI metal halide 6500K in temp. Best of luck! Anthony> Seagrass and lighting II 10/3/04 Thank you for your response, Anthony! :) <always welcome my friend> The 150 HQI pendant is what I have been leaning towards only for simplicity's sake, but its nice to hear that from someone who knows about this!   <I have grown several true vascular (marine) plants for some years... really nifty plants making great biotope displays> I've read plenty of your other responses on WWM so I know you have lots of knowledge in this area. Just one clarification - you recommend 6500 rather than 10000.  any reason? <the warm daylight temp is more natural for these shallow water grasses> better spectrum for the plants?   <yes> Will this affect my ability to keep a few corals? Thanks again! Julie <actually... 6500K lighting is better more more corals than not... its simply unpopular since the advent of more blue colored lamps (10k K and higher). Still... most of the corals we keep are shallow water species or can be acclimated/adapted as such. No worries... enjoy :) Anthony>

Turtle weed polluting tank? Hello guys, << Good morning. >> I haven't had to ask a question for almost a year now.   My reef tank is doing well, fish and corals healthy.<< That is good to hear. >> I  have this patch of turtle weed that  I got about a month ago, it is really beautiful bright green.  I have it placed at the top of the tank and it gets good circulation.  It was doing fine until one morning when just the actinic lights were on I noticed the water in the tank was all cloudy around it, it was definitely coming off the grass.  I took it out and put it in quarantine to watch while I tried to figure out what was going on. << Odd, unfortunately I don't think a QT tank will help with this. >>   I did  a water change on my tank and it has been a couple days, no adverse effects on any of the livestock in the tank.  When I took it out it soaked the towel with a bright green water which smelled a lot like cut lawn grass. << Don't you just love that smell? >> It clouded up the qt tank immediately but a couple hours later I changed all the water in the qt and since then it hasn't put off any more cloudy green stuff.  It has been 3 days and I am wondering what happened.  Was it dying, or reproducing or what? << Not sure, but keeping it pruned back propagating it is a good idea. >>  And should I put it back in my main tank or not?  Any help you could give me on this matter would be greatly appreciated.   My qt tank does not have sufficient water movement or light to keep it in there for too long.  It really looked pretty in my tank but I don't want to put it back in if it is going to jeopardize my livestock. << I would personally chance it.  I love macro algae and plants, and I think they are very beneficial to the tank.  But, I would be cautious. >> Thanks a lot, Kylee

Turtle weed where can I read more about this turtle weed? also is there a twelve step program for Reefers? sincerely,  Tom Grayson    <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marvascplts.htm and the linked FAQs (in blue, at top), and use the scientific names of vascular plants mentioned in your search tools on the Net. Some one needs to write definitive articles on the use of embryophytes in marine aquariums, perhaps even a book. Maybe you are this person. Oh, the twelve step program is actually one of those instances where someone forgot to install an "end-stop" in our matrix subroutine... for reefers, the thirteenth step is to go back to the first... Bob Fenner>

QT For Plants... Hey Crew, My question is in how to quarantine Thalassia, right now my quarantine tanks don't have any Substrate in them and I know these plants need a deep sand bed. So do I need to add sand to my QT? <Ahh- the easiest way for us hard-core quarantine freaks to use for a plant like this is to pot it in a container with some sand, like a glass jar or other plastic container...This will work just fine> The QT I was planning to use for this is a five-gallon tank or should I use a twenty-gallon tank? <as long as you can maintain stable conditions, the 5 gal tank is just fine!> Also the place I found this and other sea grass for sale is www.floridapets.com and they ship using two day delivery is this an acceptable means of shipping these plants to Colorado. Thanks for all the help! Joe Masyga       <The shipping period is okay...I would not be overly concerned. And I commend you on your use of quarantine! Good luck! Regards, Scott f>

Thalassia seeds 9/13/03 Hi all, Thank you very much for the quick reply. Would you be able to suggest a Florida supplier of Thalassia seeds from whom I might be able to have the seeds sent directly to me? Thanks, Massimo <I am not aware of any collectors that will sell direct presently... but will post your query as always on the daily FAQ page. Perhaps someone will write in, and we will post such in kind. Else, let me suggest again that you contact your local pet shoppe and ask them to order them from whoever they get their common turbo snails, hermits, etc from. Anthony>

Red Mangroves Dear WWM: <Hello, Gage here.> Do red mangrove's leaves need to be out of water or can they be submerged? Will they die if the leaves are submerged? <The Red Mangrove "can live as submerse, emersed or fully terrestrial (if well-hydrated)".  The quote is from the article below, check it out, good stuff. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm >                                                                 Thanks Bob Najdek Seagrass and the re-write of War and Peace 4/14/03 Hello Mr. Calfo, <cheers, my friend> I've got a few questions for you regarding Thalassia. First, let me describe my setup: -20 extra-high (20"x10"x24") -150w DE HQI pendant made by Aqua Clear (Btw, have you ever heard of that company? I'd never seen this pendant before I bought it, but it's really nice. The pendant's height is adjustable simply by pushing it up or pulling it down.) <sounds very fine> -no skimmer -10gal 'Xenia refugium', a somewhat novel technique I thought I'd try out.. Basically it's just a refugium covered in Xenia elongata with very little macroalgae. There's also a fish in there that I collected while in the Bahamas. It's a small goby of some sort. It's been doing really well for the four months that I've had it. Very hardy-- it's lived through hell and back. -Substrate: 3" wild-collected mud that I got from a marine sanctuary on the SC coast (yes, it was legal heehee), ~1cm live Caribbean sand, 2" Southdown. Let me just mention that it's VERY active and full of live-- the mud brought in more critters than I expected: worms, amphipods, copepods, snails, even fiddler crabs. <how are the fiddlers living without intertidal "dry" areas? Hmmm... climbing out on mangrove roots?> -Current inhabitants: ~15 lbs live rock, 3 mangroves, 2 Caribbean feather dusters, 20 blue leg hermits, 7 Astraea snails, 10 Nassarius snails, Tubastrea, Eunicea sp., Pterogorgia citrina, and a Pearly Jawfish (O. aurifrons). -Future inhabitants: 6 Hippocampus erectus seahorses, captive-bred of course (This tank is really for my horses more than anything else. The reef tank is just becoming too "reefy" for them.), more Caribbean gorgonians, possibly some Ricordea, Montastrea, other Caribbean corals, and X-mas tree worms. <wow... overstocked starting with 6 seahorses in a 20 gall (regardless of the 10 gall 'fuge). Its my strong suggestion to keep less seahorses or get a larger tank and fuge> -Flow: 1 Powersweep (the lowest one) and flow from and to the refugium provided by a Mag2 So, there ya have it. I think that pretty much sums it up. First of all, what do you think of the setup? <its inappropriate and unnatural to keep cnidarians (stinging corals, gorgs, etc) with seahorses... a recipe for disaster. Skip the seahorses and all else sounds like a fine mini-reef to me :) > I've ordered my seagrasses (Turtle Grass, Thalassia testudinum), which should be arriving middle or late next week. I got 12 individual plants-- that ought to provide the heavily-planted tank that I'm going for. I think the seahorses will really, really, really appreciate it. <agreed on the latter> They're sick of hitching on acros!!! ;) <not a good long-term habit either> I've got a few more questions.. Lorenzo mentioned to be VERY careful when actually planting the grasses in the new tank. How should I go about doing that as to not injure them? <hmmm... do see a recent thread on this (pasted below at end of this reply) that I responded to on RC at: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=176107 > Also, what would you suggest as far as supplements? <without a skimmer and in fear of difficulty finessing additives with the sensitive and scaleless seahorses... I'd suggest large weekly water changes instead to dilute and reconstitute the quality of your captive seawater> I've done quite a bit of reading, and Fe and Mn seem to be the most common supplements used for grasses. Do you suggest that I use them? <nope... the seahorses are very metal sensitive... the mature mud you have is far more helpful/nutritive anyway. Some concern for overfertilization here> What brand works best? I know I've seen Kent around here and probably SeaChem too. <I favor Seachem... and personally avoid Kent products> Should I dose Ca? What about B-Ionic? Would that be adequate? <all depends on water change schedule and demands of the system. Simply test for these parameters and dose as needed. I do like B-Ionic for this application> I believe it contains ionized iron, but I'm not sure. Lastly, how do I go about acclimating the grasses? I don't know if they'll be sent dry or wet. Will I need to acclimate them to the lighting? <most will die back within the first couple of months but send new shoots up shortly afterwards> Whew, I think that about covers all of my questions for now... So, I'm open to any suggestions about the setup itself and any answers to the questions above. <it honestly sounds like way too much for a tank so small... the seagrasses once established will overgrow many/much desirable fauna... and they need a 6" minimum substrate in my opinion (on the advice of the experts at the Smithsonian to me)> Thanks Anthony (I'm guessing you'll be answering this, being the resident "algae/grass guy" around wwm). I look forward to reading your comments. Again, thanks! :) -Will ps- I'm so excited about this new tank!!! It's been in the works since the end of last summer! From: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=176107 "The crash course for your seagrass is to plant it in live sand that has been established for a minimum of 6-12 months... and is at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep. The pods or clusters of undamaged Thalassia are to be planted at least 3" deep in the sand by digging a hole, placing the pod in and then gently cover the crown/roots. Never push a seagrass into the sand like a plug (often fatal damage occurs). Its my strong advice not to mix any plant species together here... it will be a waste of time/resources as one plant will inevitably outcompete the other in the short run. You have made the right choice with Thalassia... Syringodium gets too tall for a 55 gall. The two other commonly recognized true vascular plants (Zostera, and paddleweed) are temperate and not yet in the trade, respectively. The amount you select to start with is somewhat up to you. More pods will give you a faster start, but at some point in time (X months/years) you will have to thin them out in the tank with good growth. Buy at least 6-10 pods/clusters, I suppose. More if you can afford it. As far as lighting... brighter the better with this genus (and Syringodium). Since you will have at least 6" of sand in a 55 and the water will be fairly shallow... you can get away with a VHO system. Still... MH or HQIs would grow them much better. Nothing too excessive though. 150 watt double ended 10Ks would be fine (2 lamps)." Kind regards, Anthony

Thalassia in the main display? 4/11/03 Hi Anthony, Thanks for the info on Thalassia!   <always welcome!> After getting info from you and Zo, I've decided that I can't afford the upgraded lighting for it in my refugium... However, I am getting a new tank (60x24x24) that will have a DSB and MH lighting.  Would sea grasses in the main tank still help with plankton production, or do they really need to be in the refugium to be useful? <more a matter of them being too awkward in the main display in the long run unless the main display is intended to be designed like a lagoon (little live rock). My advice would be to use a more forgiving macro like Chaetomorpha (Spaghetti algae) in the system.> Thanks again, David <best regards, Anthony>

Thalassia refugium setup 3/15/03 Hello Bob and crew! After reading your articles on the benefits of Thalassia, I've decided to convert my refugium to use Thalassia.  A few quick questions: 1) My refugium is 20" tall.  With a 7" DSB and ~2" overflow protection, this leaves ~11" for the Thalassia.  Is this enough vertical space? <not really... but no worries... sea grasses need to be cropped for vigor/health. Many of the current diseases of seagrasses are theorized to have been migrated by the lack of predation from over-fished grazers (sea turtles, manatees, etc) which leads to overgrowth and decay> 2) The DSB is composed of a mix of fine aragonite sand and some leftover epoxy-coated silicate sand (from a freshwater setup; mixed in before I knew what I was doing).  Will this sand be okay for the Thalassia, <not sure... in seawater it sounds a little shaky. Probably OK> or should I dump it and replace it with all fine aragonite? <for how small the tank is... the latter gets my vote> 3) I'm currently using 2x18W "Eclipse daylight" (5500K?) bulbs for lighting.  Is this adequate?  (or rather, what lighting would you recommend?) <not even in the ballpark, alas... you need at least 100 watts over a 20 gall for sea grass. Select warm colored lamps around 5500-7000K temp> 4) Can I run the lights 24x7 or is there a recommended photo-period for Thalassia? <24/7 can only be done over Caulerpa... none others commonly available. Employ a normal photoperiod of around 12 hours> Thanks!  Your website has been truly invaluable! David <best regards, Anthony>

Marine Plant/Algae ID- 2/5/03 Hey Gang, Greetings from the Mile High City. <cheers, bub> Anthony, do you know what this leaved algae is?" (see attachment) <the image is just not clear enough, bud. At a glance/from the blur there is the hint that it could be a true plant: Halophila (paddleweed). Still... I'm guessing not and that it is an algae. Better image if/when you can please. Tweak settings on camera for hi-res (likely with flash at angle)> The turbo Snails plow thru the stuff & clean the area well (not like you can see its efforts in this shot!) The Lawnmower eats the hair algae off of the leaves. I was thinking that it was a "wanted" form, <it does strike me as a desirable species> but saw a picture at Reef Central that was labeled "Dictyota spp..", what do ya think? <no way its Dictyota...>                                                       Thanks, from Scott, a Denver reefer! <PS... Bob is going to be in Colorado in May(16th?) speaking at a big local store. Best regards, Anthony>

Thalassia testudinum, Turtle Grass Bob, Anthony, et. al.- <cheers, bud :) > I just incorporated 3 Thalassia testudinum (Turtle Grass) into my 135g reef to help with nutrient export.   <into the tank proper? Interesting. Awkward in the long run (as it grows) but very cool> This is predominantly a mixed coral display from the south pacific region, with a 5" sand bed.  Will there be any problem with it "rooting" in my aragonite sand bed since it's probably from a mud plane somewhere in Florida?   <no problem at all... plant corm/crown a minimum of 3 inches down (very deep) to insure success of establishment. Expect the plant to die back and regrow weeks/months later in accordance with the new light and water flow> Other than providing it with enough nutrients and light...is there anything special I need to know to keep it healthy and growing? <crop regularly after it matures to stave off disease> Darrell Daniels Sacramento, CA   <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Re: Finding Syringodium sp. grasses Anthony, Thanks for the quick reply,  <our great pleasure and duty <G>> I actually used to work for Inland Aquatics for a while, and I am very good friends with Morgan the owner. My store is only 100 miles from his, so I regularly visit him. <excellent... and Morgan is a great guy... a well deserved reputation for his service to the industry... I'm only acquainted with him in passing but will enjoy our friendship ever more in time> Thallasia sp. I can get from him,  <yep> but the Syringodium was something we both were having a hard time finding.  <understood... I chatted with Morgan briefly about this in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. Many Florida divers can get this true vascular plant... it is a plentiful weed in many areas. You don't see it on stock lists because the collectors don't realize that there is a demand for it yet. Do educate any of your own favorite Atlantic collectors/dealers. And remind them that it must be collected like a plug... a wide and deep berth around the plug with minimal disturbance to the roots. Damage of the lead rhizome often kills the whole strand. Also, plant it at great depth at home (no less than 3" deep)> I'll try to locate some divers that can collect it for me. Do you happen to know any off hand? <alas no, my friend... I've been writing and traveling extensively for the last 2 years. Somewhat out of the loop on active collectors. If you don't find a good chap through your own efforts, let us know and Bob/I can run somebody down surely.> I'm putting them in a 120 gal. refugium/little tank for me to play with seagrasses, that is connected to my 350. reef. the tank is 48x24x24 and I plan to put a very deep sand bed, of 8" or more in it, and light it quite strongly with 400 watt MH, since I've got a couple of them I'm not using. <all excellent... and don't be afraid to trim the tops of the Syringodium regularly... it can actually get 3 feet tall but is prone to diseases if allowed to do so. Many of the diseases of these grasses has been suspected to the lack of grazing by absent/over fished sea turtles> Thanks, Leland Foley <do take and share pictures along the way with your seagrass display! Looking forward to it :) With kind regards, Anthony>

Finding Syringodium sp. grasses Hello, <cheers, my friend> I attended MACNA last month in Ft. Worth, and heard Anthony Calfo say he had a tank full of Syringodium sp. turtle grass, and I was wondering if he/you had any sources for it, wholesale? <ahhh, good to hear from you. Alas, there are few who currently collect Syringodium deliberately. It is rather difficult to transplant at first but does very well once established. This true vascular plant species needs an aquarium at least 2 feet deep. Closer to 3 foot would be better. If you need a shorter seagrass, do consider Thalassia. Sea Dwelling creatures seasonally offers sprouted Thalassia seed pods from Fiji. Atlantic divers and collectors else can collect Syringodium or Thalassia from Florida on request. They should cut them out of a deep sandy substrate with a wide berth like a plug. Be sure to plant them yourself in VERY deep substrates... 3 inched minimum under the sand in a 6 inch minimum bed. Inland Aquatics and Bills Reef (online) offer Thalassia retail with regularity> Thanks, Leland Foley Mainstream Aquatics <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa vs Seagrass for Refugium & MM filter Anthony, <cheers, mate> I was reading through "FAQs about Refugium IV" section and you stated: "Syringodium manatee seagrass would be awesome here... many benefits to it as a refugium. Whatever you choose, though, PLEASE do not use Caulerpa... an awful thing to do to a coral system on a larger scale" Can you explain this further? I want to understand why would Caulerpa be bad in a refugium?  <yes... my pleasure. Caulerpa itself is not so bad, but rather easily mismanaged. For decades aquarists have enjoyed its benefits of great nutrient export with little trouble becuase we rarely did/could keep it in large masses (tangs, angels and other fishes eating it in check) and the lack of refugium applications. Now that refugiums have become popular, aquarists are keeping it in larger quantities and discovering the many pitfalls with it. The problem is that it is very labor intensive to maintain safely in large quantities. It must be harvested systematically like clockwork (!!!) and you should not cut branches (saps noxious elements and risks a disastrous sexual event of pollution)... instead each frond must be carefully hand picked and extracted to thin the colony. Caulerpa also contains some of the most noxious elements known that inhibit coral growth. They secrete serious discolorants into the water that require ozonation or weekly changes of carbon to maintain water clarity, and the risk of a sexual event (expelling all of the nutrients from growth en masses) can cause catastrophe in some systems. Other plants share similar negative qualities... but none so commonly and to the extent of Caulerpa. It is simply too risky in large quantities... BUT... I do enjoy and recommend it in small amounts. I'll publish a paper soon on the topic. Many experienced aquarists are discovering this dilemma with Caulerpa... I got some scientific references from Eric Borneman who is very much in agreement on the topic: ANYTHING but Caulerpa is better :) > Also, I am setting up a 350g (96"x24"x36") reef tank in the spring with SPS as the primary inhabitants.  <the your definitely do not want Caulerpa... shown to markedly inhibit the growth of stonies> The plan was to use and EcoSystem mud filter that uses Caulerpa.  <I see no significant advantage using Caulerpa here... although I do like the idea of you using a fishless refugium to generate natural plankton for your zooplankton feeding sps (little phyto here)> The EcoSystem site recommends Caulerpa but states Seagrass can be used also. Do you believe Caulerpa is bad in this setup and would you recommend Seagrass as an alternative?  <definitely> If so, what are the pros/cons? <slower, safer and more manageable growth of seagrasses. Less noxious compounds exuded, a true plant that does not execute a sexual vegetative state/event under duress, more useful epiphytic material shed from the blades of the seagrasses... perhaps better support of copepods populations for it. Thalassia is a shorter seagrass species for refugia under 24"> Thanks as always. <best regards, Anthony> - Rob

Refugium Believe me,  I have checked out every refugium I could find and I like the looks of sea grass. However, I cannot find the Syringodium manatee seagrass you mentioned for sale anywhere.  <Thalassia may be better suited just the same... it is shorter. Syringodium grows 2-3' tall> I have checked several of the forums and was given several good leads that didn't pan out. If you know of a source please let me know?  Turtle grass is readily available and I can get Widgeon grass also but not sure if this is good for a refugium or not.  <not at all> Do you know anything about widgeon grass?  <yep... Ruppia maritima... it is a low salinity/brackish rat weed> I would like to start with two or three and see what happens. How do you attach the bio-balls or PVC tee's to the powerhead?  <bio-balls grip on with the clustered tines if you ram one on. The tees snap on if you simply find the right size at the DIY store (3/4inch CPVC for big Hagen pumps for example)> Is there a PC light that would provide enough light for the sea grass or is metal halide the only way to go?  <PC over turtle grass in shallow water (under 16") would likely be fine> If halides, would you use a 150 or 175 watt with a 65k bulb? HQI?  <there is no rule on brand or wattage... especially over a tank so shallow: hardly a diff to be noticed. They like bright daylight short and sweet... no magic recipe> Sorry to be so pesky, I drive my LFS "experts" crazy too. Fortunately for them, they are 189 miles away. Thanks for all your help! <best regards, Anthony>

Thalassia Grass Bob & Crew, <crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> I was reading you daily FAQ'S and noticed that reference was made to running a tank along side the main tank and planting Thalassia Seagrass in it.  <likely from me :) I'm a seagrass junkie (if you dry it just right... <G>). Actually, I discussed it a bit in my first Book of Coral Propagation... Bob, Steve and I have covered it at greater length in our upcoming book Reef Invertebrates being released by March 2003 (pre-orders starting this September for triple autographed copies...OK, shameless plug over)> I am in the process of utilizing a similar type system (teeing in to my return flow) on my main system and was wondering if you could enlighten me on the function and benefits of Thalassia Seagrass.  <numerous! It provides a tremendous amount of phyto and zooplankton and epiphytic matter for feeding invertebrates and fishes. Is an extraordinary nutrient export mechanism without the awful baggage of Caulerpa (no massive vegetative state, or heavy compounds exuded to discolor the water and inhibit coral growth) etc) Is the type of Thalassia Seagrass also referred to as Turtle Grass?  <yep... available from the Atlantic as plants (more delicate to transplant) and the Pacific as seeds> Can mangroves be included in that type of set up.  <they would be very fine likely> My filtration is based on the Berlin system, so I don't use a refugium type sump.  <Hmmmm.... interesting. For Thalassia, you will need a very deep sand bed : 5 inch minimum for root development> Second part of the question. I am starting to put a list together for a clean up crew for my reef, and suggestion? I have a 180 gallon tank. <very tough to answer without knowing your planned livestock and husbandry. Resist most until your tank begins to mature and nuisance organisms indicate a need (Astrea snails for diatoms on glass, sand borrowing stars for like growth on sand, brittle starfish for general cleanup...etc). Resist crabs (long term heavy toll on other livestock) and sea cucumbers (hard to maintain long-term without very fine sand). And be sure to maintain very strong water movement in tank and seagrass display. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks, Mark

Eelgrass Instruction On www.WetWebMedia.com you have a section for "true" vascular marine plants. Here you mention that eelgrass can be grown, but no instruction about how. I think I'm not the only one that would like to know how! Can you help? Kind regards, Torben <Generally, there is a lot of additional information to be found on the WWM site in the FAQ files. Some of the pages do not yet have full articles written for them, but there is always a FAQ files linked when we archive all the relevant questions. There is a lot of husbandry information here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marvascpltfaqs.htm -Steven Pro>

Refugium and "Hitchhikers" Dear Crew, <Steven Pro in this evening.> Sending to both addresses because it seems as if you are still having the occasional email twitch... <We don't get any messages addressed just to the WWM email, but if people CC them to both the WWM address the hotmail account, we get two copies. Very strange. Glad I just have to worry about pet fishies and only have to know how to type on the computer.> My apologies if I missed the answer to this in the refugium FAQs, and please feel free to just shoot me a link if I did...... <No problem.> First of all MANY, MANY thanks to Steven Pro in his assistance and suggestions in setting up my refugium. <Glad to have been helpful.> I ended up using a 20g long and getting my local glass cutting place to cut me a divider out of double-thick glass, which I then siliconed in place to divide the 'fuge into the pump area and the rock/sand/algae area. I think it's way cool. <Me too!> I have one small thing to run by you guys: The water goes from my overflow box (undrilled, sorry Anthony), through a plastic hose, down to the refugium in the cabinet under my 55g main display (couldn't do it above as suggested in Anthony's book). The water flow into the refugium is fairly strong. There is 15 lbs of Carib sea "reef sand" grade sand and about 20 lbs of LR in there along with assorted macro algae. The water flow is heavy enough to "move" the sand, so there is a little round patch of bare-bottom aquarium visible. Is this too heavy or am I twitching unnecessarily? <See if you cannot add a T or elbow to the end of the drain hose to direct the surge from going straight down and disturbing the sand.> I wish I could tell you what kind of pump I have, but I got it from a store going out of business (before I knew ANYTHING) and didn't pay attention to what kind it is, and it has no brand name or model listed anywhere. <Kind of weird it is not labeled in some manor.> Second question has to do with critters I saw in the system. They are either rock hitchhikers or they came in on all the algae and Thalassia (sp) I got from Inland Aquatics. <Be sure to tell us how the Turtle Grass settles in and grows. Jason, Zo, and I all would like to get some for ourselves. Getting undamaged fronds can be difficult.> They are snail-like (if not in fact snails), no shells though, the exact color green of grape Caulerpa, about half an inch in length. I have only seen them at night when the lights are on, and they are usually crawling on either the Caulerpa or the rock and it looks like they eat algae, from what I can tell. I went looking for pictures on the site, but didn't find "them". They are roughly the same shape as the photo of the Roboastra arika listed in the Nudibranch section. Need a pic? <A picture would help, but see if you cannot get a copy of Baensch Marine Atlas Volume II. There are several likely candidates in there.> Harmless or something I should remove? <More than likely harmless, enjoy.> Many thanks as always, Rebecca <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Marine Plants Howdy Bob! <Steven Pro in today.> It's me again! Wanted to get some information regarding plants (live) in my saltwater aquarium. My local pet stores carry a lot of freshwater plants for aquarium use, but they say that they don't carry marine as it costs too much. <Should not be that expensive. Freshwater plants require bright lighting just as marine macroalgae.> I have seen a little on-line at e-tailers from your web site. Would hardy brackish plants survive in a marine tank? If not, is there any plants that would? <Yes, many marine "plants", mostly various macroalgae. Caulerpa is very popular, also, Halimeda, Sargassum, Dictyota, etc. Look under Non-Fishes in the Marine Section of WWM for much more information.> Please let me know. I want something to help my tank look a little more natural, but can't afford lighting to acquire corals. <All of the above require lighting more powerful than the standard fixtures that come in tank combos. You should be able to find lighting suggestions under the articles or FAQ files.>  If you have any suggestions, please let me know. -Kat <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

Seagrass crash course Hi, <Greetings, Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm interested in setting up/converting my refugium into a Floridian seagrass biotope with shoal, turtle, and manatee grass.  <I'm very excited to hear that. I am also admire the seagrasses and have written about them a bit in my book. I must admit, though, that I'm hoping you didn't intend to mix species... not easy or appropriate at all. Thalassia gets nowhere near as big as Syringodium and will likely be outcompeted. I got some great advice from Bill Hoffman when he was at the Smithsonian for culturing seagrass in my coral farming greenhouse. Essentially... you need fronds handled very delicately... if the lead tip of the rhizome is damaged, you can probably write it off. Secondly, they need rather deep fine substrates. 4" is a scary minimum and 6+" of sugar fine sand would be ideal. And the starters must be buried rather deep (3+") or they will not take well or at all. Manatee grass (Syringodium) needs aquaria more than 2' deep...closer to three would be nice. Turtle grass can grow well in average sized aquaria. Despite that, I like the Syringodium better and found it to be faster growing. Based on some advice/theories from Martin Moe, I suspect the lush growth of my seagrass contributed much plankton directly and indirectly (aliotoms, bacteria, etc) from the microcosm environment that it facilitated the outstanding reproduction of a very challenging lagoon species of coral that I kept. Do follow up if you need more advice> When I wanted to get the grass from a collector in Florida I got an extremely negative reaction from one person, who said I should get seagrass seed pods that are imported from Palau, instead of Floridian seagrass.  <did that person say why... I can't imagine so. Do try the Floridian species...cheap, easy and plentiful. Find another diver/collector and instruct them on carefully harvesting the fronds> They told me to ask my local fish store to get them in, but I have never seen these so called "seed pods" at wholesalers, retailers, or anywhere on the internet. Do you know anything about them? <have not heard of any such thing in over ten years... quite frankly I think it might have been misinformation. The United States is VERY strict about wild imported plants and seeds as I suspect you know. I can't get Maui onions farmed in Hawaii to the mainland, then I don't see how you/he can easily get tropical seed pods (and the potential agricultural nightmare of a pest or disease with it) into the country on a whim through your local pet store> Thanks in advance, Ethan <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: seagrass II Hi Anthony, <Cheers> Thanks for your response, it is appreciated. I got more information since I e-mailed you Bob). The reason I was initially discouraged from encouraging collectors in Florida to collect seagrass, was because it is threatened.  <protected...in areas> Due to motorboats, pollution, etc. Because the government is always slow to regulate the environment, they felt the same thing that happened with the B. cardinals in the 90's could potentially happen to seagrass.  <delightfully, by the way... Banggai cardinals have been discovered in great quantities in other locales...likely more to come... and none necessary (we hope) thanks to captive propagation in the 5-10 year picture> Basically, everyone that owns a refugium would try and get some, and unscrupulous collectors would destroy what is left of the vanishing seagrass beds. Whether that fad could happen, I don't know,  <very doubtful> one reason I can foresee it not happening is because many types of seagrass are not adaptable to the majority of peoples' aquariums (i.e. height, substrate). Anyways, it is a valid point. What I would like to know from you is if it is legal to collect seagrass? I realize much of Floridian water is in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and supposedly some people (distributers/wholesalers) claim it is illegal. <I'm hesitant to speak on this subject (from the state of PA <wink>)... allow me to suggest that you simply call the fish and wildlife commission(s) (The DER, Wetland Resource Relation Permitting Offices, Sea Grant, DNR) for the state of Florida to get the final word.  Also, got more info. on seed pods, which actually turns out not to be misinformation (???). As you know seagrasses are true flowering plants so they produce seeds, and the seed pods are supposedly available from Palau or Florida. Supposedly the wholesaler Sea Dwelling Creatures in Los Angeles gets them in once a year. However, I have never seen them at retailers or wholesalers, or quite frankly heard of them period. <very interesting and thank you... the Palau seeds are indeed surprising. Again, as with our own agriculturally regulated state of Hawaii, the only seeds permitted into the US are government inspected (and irradiated?). Hopefully more to come on this topic. <I will look forward to it> Talk to you soon, Ethan P.S. Thanks for the crash course in seagrasses, I didn't know some of that info. and will probably have more ?'s when I get closer to getting some. <quite welcome... and if Bob cracks the whip enough, I'll be sure to hash out a new article or excerpt from my book on the subject <smile> Anthony>

Re: seagrass II <quite welcome... and if Bob cracks the whip enough, I'll be sure to hash out a new article or excerpt from my book on the subject <smile> Anthony> <<That sharp noise over your shoulder, sudden searing pain is your comeuppance! Write on!. Bob F, aka the cruel taskmaster>>

RE: sea grass Hi again, <Cheerio! Anthony here still duct taped to my keyboard> Attached are two pics of the seagrass Sea Dwelling Creatures imports from Palau. Could you enlighten me as to what species these are?  <Well... they are indeed of the genera, Thalassia. the common turtle grass. Occurring in relatively shallow water and enjoying sandy/muddy substrates for culture> Are these seed pods??? <LONG since sprouted> Young seagrass??? I sent the same pics to the person who told me SDC imported "seed pods" and am waiting for a response. I'll tell you what he has to say about the photos, when I get a response. Thanks again, Ethan <very well. Kindly, Anthony>

RE: Hey Bob! Looking for marine embryophytes You rock!!!!!!!! Any place you know of that sells Tropical eel grasses? <Let your fingers (on your keyboard) do the walking... on the etailers listed on the Marine Links on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm Bob Fenner>

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

comment on "planted" marine tanks Mr. Fenner, I have been researching your articles on Wetwebmedia.com for a 3.5 gallon (Eclipse) marine tank that I have recently set up. Your articles have been a great help! Just wanted to let you know. <Very glad they have been of service to you> My plan is to actually created a "planted" marine tank. My exp has been in fw planted aquaria, thus the attraction. I would like to maintain the standard filtration and lighting over this tank. So, I am looking for species of "corals" or plants/algae that I can maintain in such an environment. <There are many choices> I used live water/live sand/live rock frags, so my tank was more or less "pre-packaged". I didn't have to wait to cycle it which was nice. I've already got some cup Caulerpa, "turtle grass", and Gracilaria (?)  <Gracilaria> to start off with. If you have any comments or suggestions concerning other species (or if you can comment on the above - esp. the Gracilaria and turtle grass re. propagation) I would be more than interested. <The Turtle Grass (likely a Thalassia sp.) is not easily kept in such a small system... and the consequences of its loss would/will be troubling... I would continue to seek out other true algae and leave off with embryophytes like Turtle Grass. You have seen the macrophyte articles posted on WWM? Bob Fenner> Thanks so much again, Joe Anderson, a new convert to salt, Joe's Aquatic Lounge www.aquaticlounge.aquariumplants.cx Oklahoma City Aquarium Association www.okcaa.aquariumsociety.com <Be chatting>

Re: algae Thanks Bob. Good news. My son has received one of your books already ' the conscientious' etc. I guess the next will follow soon. By Christmas I should have them all. I will follow Your advise and keep You posted. I found out that I have a lot of friends on the islands that could supply me with live rock and live sand if necessary. They are all excited about my final setup. Is it a good idea to put ' Caulerpa ' or turtle grass in the tank? <Caulerpa spp. are excellent, Turtle Grass is actually not easy to keep... for it you really need a very large system... or even a separate sump for culture> I might get that myself. I will send You fotos and keep You updated. It seems that I never run out of questions. Sorry. If You ever happen to come this way, make sure You contact me before hand. Tel/fax: 504 442- 2713  <Ah! Will do so my friend. Haven't been back to your part of the world for a few years.> The question about the 'Chrysiptera parasema ' is that it costs only about a third of an ocellaris!! But I don't want to start with a damsel that doesn't allow another fish in the tank afterwards! Always at your service. Bernd <This type of "yellow-tail blue demoiselle" is actually pretty easy going... mellow enough to go with most all: http://wetwebmedia.com/chrysiptera.htm

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