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A Macro Algae Specific Saltwater Tank

Discussion in 'Marine Plants - Macroalgae' started by WarEagleNR88, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Hello. travis recommended me to this forum and I can say that I am impressed by what I see so far. I look forward to contributing during my time here.

    A little background on my experience first: I've been working with planted freshwater aquariums for over three years now (Aug 03) and have been working with saltwater/reef aquariums for almost two years (Jan 05). I know it's not a long time and I'm not much one for advice, but I'm a very fast learner and I really like this hobby and the things you can do with it. Plus its nice to look at your work and just stay interested in all the life that's inside of them.

    Planted FW: I've had a few 10G tanks, one 2.5G tank, and one 20G tank. When I heard about CO2, my first method was by yeast and the old Hagen bubble ladder with a HOB filter (I know, I know, bad combo). I increased light, CO2 and nutrients to levels you wouldn't believe and forced my plants to do things normal people shouldn't do--hard to keep algae controlled. Then I upgraded to a canister filter with my 20G setup and added a pH controller with a pressurized CO2 setup for pretty good growth under 65W bulbs.

    Reef SW: I've had a 50G tank that started out ok, had some bumps in the road, smoothed those out and starting doing really well for a while. Then I went through some bad experiences with a cross-country move and things went downhill quickly as the tank went through another cycle. I lost quite a few corals and fish before I can find someone to take them. Then I restarted the tank. Almost a year later, I decided to sell the equipment down to a much smaller 10G system. From there I've been rocking and rolling with this little guy. Easy maintenance, easy to move, kinda hard to keep clean, but fun nonetheless. Its skimmerless with high flow and 96W of light with zoanthids, ricordeas and hair algae :(.

    Now this is what I want to do. I'd like to start a saltwater macroalgae tank in a 10G format and specialize more on simple, easy to keep species of macroalgae. I've never dealt with macroalgae before so I'm brand new to this. As far as lighting, filtration, water movement, nutrient levels and general maintenance are required on a tank this size? I have some 13w bulbs, ballasts and sockets from my previous tanks, could these be used? And would a HOB filter with some bio-media for KNO3 production be acceptable? What kind of substrate should I incorporate? Would Seagrasses be able live in this type of environment or will the depth of a 10G be too shallow?

    Thanks ahead of time and hopefully I can learn a lot of good information. And Tom Barr, you are awesome!
     
  2. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Any suggestions?
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Most of us are freshwater tank enthusiasts, so there isn't as big a pool of experience with salt water tanks here. But, I'll bet someone will be able to answer this eventually.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You do not need so much light for the 10 gal.
    About 50 w or so.
    Caulperas are nice, depends on the stae, they are generally illegal to keep in CA.
    Add some rocks for depth perspective and scaping.
    Some use live rock(3-8$ lb! haha), some use chepay rock(me).
    HOB, the Skilter's work well.
    A bit large for this tank, but good never enough current in marine planted tanks.

    I use sugar sized Arag, I add some seasoned dirt/mulm from another tank, then some garden soil that's been soaked in water is shallow tray(2-3 weeks) or boiled(10min), about 1/4" or so, and then the mulm and about 4-6" inches of the arag.

    I'd chose Halophila's for a vascular angioisperm personally, they are cute and neat little weeds.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. PatrikS

    PatrikS Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for heads-up, Tom!

    Nice to hear that one can cycle the SW-tank in the same way as a FW-one. I was wondering if additional CO2 (pressurized) would promote growth on the macro algae? I'm thinking on starting a SW tank with seaweeds and macroalgae, can I use EI on that too in pretty much the same way as in freshwater?

    Patrik.
     
  6. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    This is what I've done so far--this is actually for a nano-reef.com contest! Since I'm in the stock division of the contest, max lighting is 40W using the Current USA Satellite 40W 50/50 bulb and that is the light I'm using. I also picked up a Penguin 200 BIO-Wheel filter (200 gph) and am using the Bio wheel at the moment. I also have a Maxijet 600 (160 gph) on hand for any extra turnover that I may need, but it is not installed now.

    I actually did go with 7 lbs of somewhat cured live rock from a LFS, and got some caulerpa, halimeda, and udotea along with coralline as hitchhikers on the rock. Less I have to buy :D! For the substrate, I went with 3/4 aragonite mixture of seeded Nature's Ocean from my other SW tank, fine aragonite, and coarse aragonite. The other 1/4 of the substrate is Eco Complete Planted substrate from my planted FW tank. It has lots of good stuff in it.

    So far after just a couple of days, the cycle is almost complete, new caulerpa shoots are sprouting out of the rock, and everything is looking good. For halimeda, should I now artificially boost the calcium to sustain it? I have on hand Seachem's Advantage Calcium, Seachem's Reef Builder, and Greg's KNO3. I'm thinking of ordering Greg's CaNO3 and supplementing that since K is not really as important in a reef, or is it?

    Here's a pic from the other day and the thread of my contest entry.

    [​IMG]

    [Stock] WarEagleNR88 - Nano-Reef.com Forums
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Good rocks, now you need a lot of Halophila to make a nice field in the front and some reds on the rock, Heterosiphonia would be rad!

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Tom, thanks! Question for you if I may, what kind of Fe dosing schedule do you use for your macro algae tanks?

    I'm considering purchasing "Kent Marine Super Chelated Iron Supplement with Manganese" through a local vendor and am wondering its performance with regards to macroalgaes. I've read through Randy Holmes-Farley's Fe article and realize that with macros, I should definitely dose Fe. The only Fe supplement source I currently have is Planted CSM+B and that includes chelated Copper at 1% which is a big no no for reef application--and I plan on having invertebrates in the tank.

    I plan on fully utilizing your EI of dosing as I have done in the past with my very successful planted tanks--that does remind me I should bring my 10G out of hibernation to put my current plants. I have lots of Marsilea sp. that were growing out of control over the substrate of my 20G long before I swapped my reef into the tank. I love that little plant but I don't want to lose them as they are currently bagged! Are there any marine plants like that?

    Also, I'll be transferring my SMS122 w/ 5 lb tank over to this macroalgae setup and pumping it with CO2 to help out my macroalgae growth. What do you think of that! :D
     
  9. morphriz

    morphriz Junior Poster

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    Hi there!

    Nice to see your trying out a marine planted! I had plans for a 100L(~25G) marine planted this summer but finance and problems getting hold of seagrasses got in the way. After research I planned a small center LR pile and two fields of grasses on both sides. I wanted to experiment with grasses, macros and corals as nutrient exporters.

    I'll follow your tank with interest!
    //Mattias
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Dosing EI is tougher unless you plan on doing a lot of water changes with Marine water.

    EI is not something you want to use verbatum off the EI article, the concept yes, not the dosings.

    I dose the Kent stuff at 5mls per 80 liters 2-3x a week.
    I dose KNO3 at about 1/8 teaspoon for this same volume 2x a week.
    A "speck" of PO4 after things have grown in 1x week. About 0.2ppm.
    I do 70% water changes weekly, sometimes I slack.

    I found that CO2 did not really help the macro's.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr




     
  11. richardsantink

    richardsantink Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,

    I have a 125g tank that contains macroalgae exclusively. At present, I have Chaetamorpha, Chondrus, and Ulva. They don't seem too picky for lighting, and I generally triple the dosage for Kent Iodine, Iron (with K20), and Calcium (regular dosage). Because I keep my tank cool (about 12-14*C), the microalgae is not a problem, despite the long photoperiods (17 hours), and nutrient rich soup I've got going.

    Circulation definitely seems to be a key player for rich looking algae, especially the Chondrus crispus. Without vigorous water flow, the ends of the fronds tend to get 'dirty' and aren't as robust as the ones in a good current.

    The Chaetamorpha seem to do well, regardless of anything! It can be annoying in that it floats freely and often snags my Chondrus, or becomes caught in the Ulva.

    In the coming weeks I should be posting some photos once I redecorate the tank, to make it more 'camera friendly'

    Cheers,

    Rich
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The main focus I did was a lot of pruning and keeping these weeds at bay.
    The same is true for FW Plants but this is a bit different, much more picking things out.

    Given my algal background, this is not an issue for myself.
    FW plant folks might be able to make the jump better perhaps.
    Not sure.

    Circulation is certainly a big issue and for FW plants as well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Tom, do you dose dry KNO3 of 1/8 tsp or a solution of it? I am dosing a solution of KNO3. The solution I am using is 1T of KNO3 in 500mL of RODI water. My plan is to dose 2 tsp per week.

    As far as the EI goes, does it not workt he same in a marine aquarium? Please go into some detail if so. My idea was to incorporate larger water changes (approaching 50%) since it is a 10 gallon aquarium, but I may change this depending on how things are going and how things look. I say "how things look" because I'm thinking I should fuel the algae growth instead of using water changes to reset my parameters. But what is the best way to do that? And am I all wrong with my approach to growing macros? I'm looking for the best growth from them and am trying to fuel the fire--so to speak. Do you have/know of any literature or a website that outlines the parts of macroalgae and goes into good detail? I find it hard to know what to do to make these things flourish.

    The cycle is nearing full completion--for the time being. My water tested 0 NH3/4 and 0 NO2 today. Again I haven't testing nitrates as I feel the alage will utilize nitrates. Diatoms have fully bloomed and the tank is good IMO, even with them taking over the place. I have added reef janitors (hermits, snails, and 1 emerald crab) and am looking for my first fish to add. I'm still searching for more algae, particularly red algae and have let my LFS's know I'm looking for interesting and hard to find macros and inverts. Currently in order of size, I have 5 large halimeda plants, ~5 species of caulerpa, chaetomorpha, and a small stem of what appears to be some type of botryocladia. Algae is even sprouting out of the rock and is appearing in all shapes and sizes that I'm not yet able to identify. Two that I think I can identify are a type of codium and small udotea sprouts growing from the rock. Oh and I can't forget the coralline and the diatoms that are growing as well.

    Thanks for your help. I will try to post a picture very soon.
     
  14. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Can you detail your "picking things out" Are these older plants? Or are they to clear the vertical for the algaes that are being shaded?

    Does algae benefit from pruning like FW stem plants do? If you trim FW stem plants, they typically will "fill-out" and become slightly bushier over time.

    Also, currently I run the 200gph Penguin filter with the HOB wheel installed. Should I add a small powerhead to the tank? I have a MaxiJet 600 on hand that I can easily add.

    Hmm, sorry for all the ?s, I'm very curious.
     
  15. dschmeh

    dschmeh Prolific Poster

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    I setup a tank just like that a ten gallon stock light and a skilter . Three chunks of nice live rock . for fish i had 2 clowns thats it and a few snails and some blue leg hermits . the tank got direct sunlight for about 4 hours a day . Some nice red macro algae started growing out of the rocks at a nice rate this was one of my best looking tanks and almost no maint. I use to pick the algae out of this tank and throw it im my 75 reef and my tangs loved it.
     
  16. WarEagleNR88

    WarEagleNR88 Junior Poster

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    Here's what it looked like last Tuesday. :D It looks even more grown up now and it continues to grow like crazy. There are a lot of animals in there. Ask questions if you've got them.

    How do I trim Caulerpa without it nuking the tank, Mr. Barr? I pulled some apart last week and it started oozing in the water. Should I run carbon if I do trim it?

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Grape is tougher, I trim it, it'll leak for awhile, but should seal up.
    You can run a skilter or skimmer/AC etc.

    Do not dose then!!

    When you prune, clean etc, do that large massive water change, just like after a good pruning with a FW tank!!!

    Be judicious to the design layout, Grape grows like mad, I got rid of it.
    Pesky weed. Dictyota was worse, but......I could not get rid of it entirely, the Grape I could.

    I'd dose 1/16th 2-3x a week for this tank, same for traces, 3mls or so.
    Maybe a tiny speck of PO4 1 day before water change and then maybe 3 days after.

    diatom bloom: too much PO4.

    Diatoms are the worst general algae issues you will get from over dosing.
    Herbivores, shrimps etc are very useful.

    Shrimps are my personal favs for such tanks, SeaHorses are also nice additions.

    Blood shrimp, Clowns, cleaners etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    How is that tank doing?

    WarEagleNR88,

    How has the 10 gallon macroalgae tank worked out since your last photo was posted? I have long been considering dipping my feet (so to speak) into a marine tank and want my first foray to be a planted one. I'm very curious to see how things have worked out for you.

    -Jason
     
  19. sherry

    sherry Guru Class Expert

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    tom what is the kent stuff? and would tmg work?
    any potassium needed?

    good source of halophile?
     
  20. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    This stuff?

    I use it every other day and also dose CaNO3 to keep ~2-5ppm nitrate. I wouldn't worry about K or other elements bottoming out with a good water change schedule.

    I haven't tried any other source for Fe yet but when I get low on the Kent mix I might look around for other options, although the Kent mix is not too expensive and lasts a long time. My caulerpa tends to lose its deep green color if I skimp on the macros.

    By the way, I have a 20g tank stuffed with various caulerpas and some gracilaria. I'm about to throw it out because I've nowhere to take it. Ley me know if you want any.
     
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