Q about light penetration to 'the depths' in aquaria..

PatrikS

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Yes, Tom, I begin to understand that. A picture says more than a thousand words. Thanks for permission to post Your pics! Once more - thank You so much for all the help, it is really appreciated!!
 

Tom Barr

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There are few folks doing very well with Halophila species. These are rooted vascular marine plants.
Very cute.
Fairly easy to grow also.

They make a wonderful addition to those barren white sand foregrounds and do not possess many of the more hated attributes that many Coral folks assume of the macro's.

The green to red/purple etc coral contrast makes a nice transition and there's alot of natural scenes that mimic such colorful displays.

This is atypical of FW systems which tend to be less colorful.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

PatrikS

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Well, I couldnt agree with You more Tom, and I try to nurture every little bit of macroalgae that hitchhikes to my tank on some "live rocks" (its hard to find macroalga for sale other than that, except for Caulerpa taxifolia).

But! - the notion among local reefers is that macroalgae should only be kept in the fuge, and if one doesnt have a fuge then every little strain of an macroalga should be killed as fast as possible, before they can choke the corals. We have quite a few threads on our boards about the best ways to get rid of macroalgae. Just today I read about a reefer who give advice to another reefer to kill some little bits (maybe 5 cm) of Chaetomorpha "before it takes overhand and chokes any coral". It´s embarrassing actually. :eek:

And this same reefer claims in another thread that one doesnt have to use any chemical additives (KNO3, TMG) for the macroalgae, they supposely grow like crazy for him anyway because he feeds a lot. My opinion is that sure, one can get good growth with heavy overfeeding, but it could require some practice and probable a couple of pestalgae outbreaks, before everything gets stable. And even then one can get stunted growth, because one cant really know how much nitrogen and phosphates one pours in with the food. And this could lead to say white tips on Caulerpa, or that it is eating itself. But I have very hard time to believe ppl when they say they get "crazy growth", because this is what even old-timers in freshwater said, not seeing what kind of growth that can be achieved with EI and CO2.

I think it must be much easier to add just a tad of KNO3 and a couple of mls of TMG, along with Ca and KH, and feed normally. Then it wouldnt require a green thumb, and just be like EI for freshwater, but much much smaller dosings. Even with heavy feeding one could dose small dosings, just to be sure that nothing bottoms out and running as smoothly as it could be.
 

Tom Barr

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The goal is really to standardize things so we understand the methods to grow macro algae, what induces their growth, what induces their new growth,. gamete formation etc.

Then when coral folks get a pest algae, which is simply a plant/algae that is where to do not want it, they can have decent cause and control methods to address it.

Now if you want a macro algae somewhere, we also have the ability to grow it and cultivate it.

In this case, it's not a weed.

The reef folks have valid points when they do not want a seaweed to take over their precious coral. Most cases, the larger tanks have no issue growing Calupera without dosing, they are dosing, they seldom do not measure nor relate the uptake of Macro algae to the tank's inputs.

It's a fairly simple two biox model, what goes in, must come out or else it stays in the tank.

You can export with macro algae, with skimmers, with water changes, with coral and fish growth, mechanical/chemical filteration etc

But given a choice between these, Macro algae and marine plants sure look nicer and can be sold etc. See how much $ you can get for some skimmate:p

Other folks will not see the beauty of using plants to provide a nice scape and the export of nutrients. Many Fish only folks do not like plants for their own reasons, but oddly, they do not use plants as filters either.

I find that distinction between Marine and FW use of plants very odd.
The fW folks need to use the plants more as filters, and the marine folks need to add the macros to their scapes and various layouts.

It's not about replacing coral reef tanks, it's about using the macros optimally to filter the reef tanks, and also to have a nice looking marine planted tank, something that's not always the goal of most reef only folks!

So you have a different goal than they do also.
If the goal is to use a refuge optimally, then they should listen.
But if they think they have a perfect system and have all the export they need, have no more room for improvement for their system, then suggesting anything to them will not do any good.

If they have that attitude, do not bother.
Just punch holes in their logic and lack of interest, yet obvious passion to debate rather than test and see if there is something they might yet learn about.

I freely will offer advice, designs, hypothesis, ideas, background references to consider, and observations to show anyone that's interested a method/s to look at things and learn more.

If they are truly interested in learning, they should consider testing and discussing things more in depth.

If you want to translate the Marine macro algae articles I have, into Swedish, let me know. That will help.

Realize the coral grower's goals might be different than yours, so they will likely only use marine macros as filters, but the Halophila grasses etc, can easily be added to reef tanks.

But we can heklp optimize their coral growth as well as bacteria with macro algae vs a skimmer.

Bacteria can be limited by low organic carbon levels, often from too lean reef tanks. This slows the denitifyers way down. DBS's and refuges go well together for this reason.

It's very obvious things like this that often are not even considered in the reef hobby.

Not sure why, too much critter focus, less cycling and optimizing focus near as I can tell.

BTW, here's a reef I maintain for a client:

reef23.jpg
 

PatrikS

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Jun 4, 2006
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Thanks for taking time to answer, Tom! And very nice picture - what are the export ways on that reeftank?

The problem with bacteria beeing carbon limited is usually solved here in Sweden with vodka or sugar, and using the skimmer to skim the bacterias out. I tried it and its quete effective actually, but I got tired of growing bacterias that you dont even see (except as skimmate).

Anyway, I started with modified EI for a week ago, and boy do I see difference!! Now its just "wait and see", it takes some time for my algae to grow before they can really impress anybody. The algae grows a little slower then the plants in a CO2-tank, but I think I need to optimize my lightning a little (thinking about getting a 10 000K MH).

I would surely love to translate any articles You have on macro algae, Tom!
 

Tom Barr

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Why add Alcohol whenn you can use something that doses the various forms of organic carbon naturally (macro algae)? That's dumb and counter to the entire Reef keeping philosophy of nature.

In natural systems, the algae release the carbon, the bacteria and corals use it up. You will not skimmate because the macros suck up the nitrogen and PO4 sources, now the system is Carbon rich and N and P poor.

You add some N and P, and the system is even further apmlified and runs much better.

DOM is not the best thing, you can export it and number of ways, but Macros work well also, as well as the skimmate, but you do not have to maintain things so clean, you can have more ranges of nutrient levels with macros vs a Skimmer.

You also have more nutrient available for those coral algae that give those pretty colors. They do not have to get all their N and P from the critters.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

richardsantink

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Apr 3, 2005
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just outside of Ottawa, Ontario
richardsantink;12950 said:
Hi,

I've got macro algae in a 125g marine tank that seem to flourish at 5" depth, but not to the same extent at 18-20". Would this seemingly minor difference in depth be a factor in the differing growth rates? My Chondrus crispus seems okay at either depth, but Ulva lactuca, seems finicky (which seems odd, given its reputation..) when it comes to depth.

My lighting is in the form of two 36" F30T8 "Natural Daylight" Fluorescent tubes (don't know the actual wattage) placed end-to-end over the tank for 8 hours a day.


RAS


Just an update.. I bought two Power-GLO 18,000K (135 Lux) 30W tubes for my tank, and the macros are going like nuts! As a result, I've discovered I also have Enteromorpha intestinalis. For the longest time, I could see something leafy and green *trying* to grow on some igneous stones that I had collected in Maine back in September. Well, with the new lighting, it was just what they apparently needed to get going! The Chaetomorpha is also doing well, but then again, it has always grown, regardless of the lighting I was using.

:)

RAS
 

Tom Barr

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Entromorpha is a bad alga, add a herbivore that eats it.
Clean it off etc.
Hopefully it'll go away.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

richardsantink

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Apr 3, 2005
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just outside of Ottawa, Ontario
Tom Barr;13511 said:
Entromorpha is a bad alga, add a herbivore that eats it.
Clean it off etc.
Hopefully it'll go away.


Regards,
Tom Barr

Figures... I thought I had a good thing.. many sites mentioned how well it takes in NH4+ and NO3-, and it looks pretty good (it's the broad tubular fronds, not the hair-like species...).

Back to the drawing board...

:(

RAS