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  • A Macro Algae Specific Saltwater Tank

    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!
    Last edited by WarEagleNR88; 10-06-2006, 05:24 AM.

  • #2
    Any suggestions?

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      Hoppy

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by WarEagleNR88 View Post
        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!
        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
        www.BarrReport.com

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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 ! 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.



            [Stock] WarEagleNR88 - Nano-Reef.com Forums

            Comment


            • #7
              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
              www.BarrReport.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom Barr View Post
                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
                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!

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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




                    Originally posted by WarEagleNR88 View Post
                    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!
                    www.BarrReport.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WarEagleNR88 View Post
                      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.
                      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
                      Richard Santink
                      Mississippi Mills, ON Canada

                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      125g macroalgae-only tank
                      Non-CO2
                      2 x 30W 18K lighting
                      overdosin' Fe & I

                      Chondrus crispus
                      Chaetomorpha spp.
                      Palmaria palmata

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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
                        www.BarrReport.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tom Barr View Post
                          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
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tom Barr View Post
                            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
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.
                              Eclipse system 12
                              heavily planted
                              AH 36w retro kit light 2pm-11pm
                              Substrate: Flourite
                              Pressurized Co2 with Red Sea 500 reactor
                              jbj regulator
                              PMDD/EI
                              _____________________

                              10g shrimp/Snail Only tank
                              Flourite Red
                              28w corallife aqualight
                              Various mosses
                              whisper 20 w/ sponge pre-filter.
                              Feeding HBH Lobster crab bites and Algae Wafers.
                              No Co2 and light fertilization

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