Chaetomorpha Growth…Or Lack Of… - 09/22/17
The subject title will make you go noooooooo,
but I've got a question I cannot find an answer to.
Ever since I've grown Chaeto, I've been successful in keeping it. Until
recently. Nothing has changed, the available nutrients are still there,
the red/blue light is still there and adequate flow is still there. I
had my crop die over a period of a month, just disintegrated. I replaced
it with another healthy handful which has grown slightly (nowhere near
as fast as before), but is also disintegrating now. The question is, in
your knowledge does Chaeto require anything other than the
aforementioned, which it may be lacking? I have a flourishing sps system
with close to ideal parameters.
<<The alga needs pretty much everything your SPS need…including adequate
water flow. Some say the Chaetomorpha needs enough water flow to make it
“tumble” but I have never found that to really be necessary. I keep
Chaetomorpha in a 55g RDP refugium with a flow-through rate of about 450
GPH which has proven sufficient for more than a decade. Much of the
water is directed to ‘flow through’ the alga, but it certainly does not
tumble. If flow is not an issue, double-check water parameters. Another
possibility is something is either attacking the alga (chemical attack),
or maybe it is simply being outcompeted by the system/your other
As the coral have grown larger year on year, is it possible they are
consuming what may have been previously available for the Chaeto?
<<Indeed…you may no longer need the Chaetomorpha, though I like it not
only for its filtration properties but also as a habitat and nursery for
the myriad of critters it hosts.>>
<<And to you…EricR>>
Re: Chaetomorpha growth 9/26/17
Thanks Eric, you've confirmed what I had suspected.
<<Happy to assist...EricR>>
Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank
Quick question, is it OK to use macroalgae, e.g.; Chaetomorpha
in a hospital tank secured by an algae clip, for example during a
<Mmm; no... the algae... most biota will "complex" the copper, other
med.s as well... And the copper will kill the algae>
I realize that it's recommended to only use inert substances in a
hospital tank, and macroalgae, isn't considered inert, however, I was
wondering if it might be an exception?
<No; not at all. IF you were feeding it... and removing the part the
animals didn't consume; that might work out. But I would not leave algae
in a treatment tank>
The only purpose of having it in the hospital tank would be to help keep
the nitrates in check beyond water changes.
<Mmm; better to keep switching out pre-cycled media... like filter pads,
sponge filters... along w/ dilution from the water changes>
I would never move the macroalgae out of the hospital tank to the
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank 1/11/17
Perfect Bob, that was my gut thought, but I wanted to check
with the experts to be sure! Thanks again.
<Glad to share w/ you John. BobF>
help with Chaeto 2/3/13
Dear Web Media,
About two months ago I set up a refugium with the hopes of
increasing my success of eliminating hair algae from my display tank. I haven't
noticed any difference. I believe this is partially because I do not have a
large mass of macro algae growing. I purchased a small ball of Chaetomorpha. I
heard it grew fast and was willing to be patient. However, it doesn't look like
it is thriving. It is no longer in a tight ball and has gone from a vibrant
green to more of a dull color. I have a 5000K CPF bulb on it 12 hours. My
mangrove plants are satisfied.
<What re NO3, HPO4? Need measurable... as well as sufficient biomineral,
alkalinity water content. Other algae et al. life may be competing chemically>
I guess I'd like to know if my assumptions about combating
hair algae are accurate, and what I am doing wrong in regards to my Chaeto?
<Please read here:
I have a pair of Ocellaris, a
Longfin Sleeper Goby, and a Bartlett's Anthias. I am very careful not to
<Perhaps too much so>
These are in a 50 gallon reef tank lighted by Orphek PR-25pendant bulbs. I
recently purchased an urchin, and he does a great job cleaning everything.
My refugium has approximately 15 gallons that I light opposite the display tank.
Thanks in advance for your outstanding advice.
<Do measure for the needed chemical make up of your water and do the cited
reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: help with Chaeto 2/3/13
I read the link you listed (Thanks!). It sounds like other
have similar issues with Chaetomorpha.
My NO3, HPO4 are 0. That is something I had thought was a good sign, so
now I'm confused.
<Mmm, don't be. Most chemo-trophs need some detectable levels of these essential
nutrients... Think of terrestrial plant fertilizers... w/o them plants/algae
Am I to understand that my water is too pure to grow the Chaeto?
<Yes; one way to look at this>
Should I not bother trying to get this to grow in the refugium, but then
what about my Pods?
<I'd try to get all growing... likely by increasing the feeding to your fishes,
cutting back on the use of any chemical filtrants>
If the hope of ridding myself of hair algae was based on growing macro algae, am
I doomed to be picking it off the rocks?
Sorry for all the questions. I have been reading about all of this like a
crazy person and am starting to get info overload! I truly appreciate the help.
<Take your time here. A bit of understanding, application, and the filamentous
will be gone. BobF>
Puzzling refugium, Chaeto. growth 11/10/12
I guy at my LFS suggested I start using this forum to help decrease all the
misinformation out there regarding this hobby so here's my debut question no one
has been able to solve yet.
I have a 210 mixed reef with a small 10 gallon refugium.
<Is small, but of use>
I have an Ecoxotic panorama pro 8700k led on a dimmer at about half intensity
running 12 hrs/ day & a 5" sand bed. I cannot grow Chaeto!!! It just dissolves
over a month or so. I have changed photo periods and dimming intensities at
numerous combinations with no luck.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated
<Mmm, do you have sufficient (measurable NO3, HPO4? Enough calcium and
Alkalinity? Too much competition from other macroalgae in the system, elsewhere?
These are the principal factors... Read here re:
and the linked files above at your leisure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Puzzling refugium, Chaeto. growth 11/11/12
Thanks for the response. I have no measurable NO3 or HPO5.
<... both necessary for photosynthates... See WWM Re>
My alkalinity is 11.5 and calcium is 450
<Both a bit too high>
consistently and no other macro algae in the display due to my Tang population.
I can't seem to get magnesium above 1200 even with additives.
<Due to the Alk... lack of NO3, PO4>
Ph is 8.3 to 8.4 consistently also. I have never been able to grow any
large colonies of Coralline either. I wrote Red Sea about the magnesium issue &
they were puzzled too. Some say certain types of rock (live rock) just wont grow
coralline but it doesn't seem to grow much on powerheads, glass & other non
natural surfaces either. For a time I was adding magnesium on a daily basis and
though it would not raise the Mg levels it did kill all my snails, shrimp &
stars. In fact I quit adding Mg supplements altogether to see if I can
reintroduce those inverts without killing them.
Hope to hear from you again
<... no sense... You need to read. B>
Re: Puzzling refugium 11/11/12
No to be such a pest but is my refugium still useful even without macro algae?
<Yes; but not nearly as much... a RDP w/ such growth goes a long way to
should I add some rock on top of my 5" sand bed to increase bio surface?
<I likely would>
I have over 200 pounds of live rock in the display now. Have you ever heard of
or know anything about (no light) cryptic zone refugiums.
<A great deal; yes... was friends long ago of Steve Tyree who wrote/borrowed re>
I am very diligent about water changes (20% every two weeks) hence no nitrates
Thanks again for your help & patience's
<No worries. Bob Fenner>
Chaetomorpha dying off in low Magnesium environment -
Many thanks for the maintaining the website and answering to our
troubled questions. I just wanted to share the experience with dying off
Chaetomorpha in low magnesium. I quickly searched WetWebMedia FAQ pages
but did not find a link between low magnesium and dying off
Chaetomorpha. I hope this anecdote help fellow reefers.
I went with Instant Ocean salt 3-4 months ago to save on cost and
gradually developed inability to raise calcium and alkalinity above 375
ppm and ocellaris clownfish <?> 3.5 meq/L respectively. Chaetomorpha is
to a glass wall in the tank with 110w LED light. However, the algae has
recently stopped growing, and the most lit parts have lost green color
and started to shed off. Magnesium was 1115 ppm (Seachem Magnesium test
kit) vs. more than 1300 ppm 7-8 months ago. I started dosing Epsom salt
and brought magnesium back to 1300 within two weeks.
Chaetomorpha started growing and returned to dark green 'curly' state in
a week. I have never dosed magnesium before.
<The ratio (about 1:3) w/ calcium concentration is absolutely necessary
w/ much non-vertebrate life>
Here are a few details about the aquarium setup: a 40gal shallow
tank with a few soft corals (mushrooms, Zoanthids), LPS (Candy
Cane coral, Frog spawn coral, Acan), two unidentified SPS frags, two
Ocellaris Clownfishes, Bubble Tip Anemone,
<Mmm, misplaced w/ the other Cnidarian groups here>
live rock, skimmer and Vortech. The system is 1.5 year old. I dose
alkalinity, calcium supplements (Seachem) and iodine (Kent) and have
just started Trace elements (Kent). I might sometimes overdose
either calcium or alkalinity as I move from one salt manufacturer to
another one but bring parameters back though weekly Ca and Alk tests. I
maintain calcium between 400ppm and 420 ppm and alkalinity between 3.0
meq/L and 3.5 meq/L (Seachem tests). I occasionally test nitrates,
phosphates and iodine level but have never seen any spike. Corals and
other inhabitants have been growing in the system for more than a year.
I could not think of any other reason for dying off
<Need measurable NO3 and HPO4... in this "age" of blind chemical
filtrant use, this is often an issue>
I will probably move back to either Tropic Marine or Reef Crystals once I
finish Instant Ocean (+
trace + Epsom salt, etc.)
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Chaetomorpha in wet-dry setup? Emersed?
There might be some advantages to growing Chaetomorpha in one of those
old wet-dry filters with a drip plate. I think they would do fine in a
moist environment rather than being fully submerged;
<Mmm, think it has to be submersed>
the exposure to CO2 might help growth, and generally prevent fouling
and make it easier to harvest. This would also work kind of like a
degassing tower, with improved pH stability, especially if you were
using a very large mass as the primary filtration. Having the water run
over the algae rather than flowing through it, probably improves
contact, and prevents fouling areas as the algae grows.
On a large recirculating aquaculture system for sensitive organisms, it
might work better than a bacterial system such as beads.
I'm surprised that there are no references to this idea. Do you
know if anyone has tried it?.
<I do not; but you're welcome to give it a go>
Chaetomorpha Growth (Lighting) --
In your expert opinion, does Chaetomorpha do better with reverse
lighting or 24/7 lighting.
<<A 'rest period' is good, as provided by the RDP. This
is more natural and thus likely 'better' for the
macroalgae'¦it is also more economic (less energy costs, heat
transfer, etc.). Lighting a refugium 24/7 is generally suggested when
keeping Caulerpa spp. to preclude a sexual event (often brought on by
the changing light cycle of day/night lighting), and the subsequent
fouling of the system>>
Also, are 2 54 watt bulbs, 1-10000K, 1-6700K to much light on sump with
DSB, to grow Chaeto?
<<Not at all'¦in fact, two 6700K bulbs would be my
choice here. Cheers'¦ EricR>>
One More Skimmer Question To Add To Your Site, sel..
Chaetomorpha tumbling, fan CFMs -- 03/26/10
<<Hiya Drew! Sorry for the delay'¦ Work has been a bear
and I'm afraid I let your query linger in my box a bit too long.
But hey, as I have been reminded'¦I'm just glad to have a
job [grin] >>
You've helped me out before so hopefully you can again.
<<I shall try>>
I read through your info on skimmer selection and found that really
helpful, but am still in need of some guidance.
<<Mmm, indeed'¦ It can be a bit confounding/intimidating
considering the considerable outlay of funds involved with the purchase
of a 'quality' unit>>
I have a 180 gallon drilled tank with a MegaFlow 4 sump/wet-dry. It is
going to become a well stocked reef and have a moderate bioload.
<<Do research our site re reef tanks and wet/dry
filters'¦most don't advocate the use of such filters in
I found a Coralife skimmer 220 that was used for 3
weeks for $100 which is about half the cost of a new one
<<Mmm, did you check yourself? Marine Depot sells this skimmer
new for $112.00'¦and a search on the net can get you one
'new' for as little as $105.00>>
so I picked it up just to have something on the tank.
<<And that's pretty much describes it'¦am not a fan
of these skimmers>>
How well will this skimmer work when the tank is dully stocked with
corals and fish?
<<I do think you will find the money would have been better put
toward a better skimmer>>
Following that should I look into a better skimmer down the road?
<<Absolutely'¦ AquaC, Euro-Reef (now Reef Dynamics),
H&S, Tunze, Deltec'¦and maybe even the Octopus line of
I know you guys are fond of the AquaC and Euro-Reefs.
<<Yup'¦the ER is my current fave>>
What style and price range am I looking at if I decide to get one of
these down the road?
<<I favor the needle-wheel 'style' of skimmer, but other
types offered by the manufacturers I've listed will also serve. As
for price range this will be variable among the differing
manufacturers. I do suggest you get the 'next size up' from
what is 'suggested' where possible'¦and expect to pay
$300.00 and more>>
Also I took out the bioballs in the sump/wet-dry because I heard they
are a nuisance in a reef tank.
<<One way to put it'¦do research our site for a full
Should I replace them with live rock or rubble?
<<You can, yes'¦or even use/rig the chamber for chemical
The previous owner of the tank threw in a refugium that he had running
with some success, but it was neglected and became a rotting mess.
The dimensions are 8"wide x 7"tall x 36"long. Because of
the shape of it I can't figure out how I will ever get Chaeto to
"tumble" any ideas?
<<Not to worry'¦the Chaetomorpha does not have to
tumble. I have kept 'non-tumbling' Chaetomorpha in a 55g
refugium for nearly seven years now. Just supply adequate lighting and
flow (as little as couple hundred GPH has proven sufficient in my
experience), and keep it thinned periodically, and it should be
It's hooked into the main pump using a tee section and a
ball-valve, but I can't adjust the flow too much higher because of
the baffle system at the entrance of the refuge that causes the sand
bed to float into the water which drains back into the sump.
<<As stated'¦no need for a huge amount of
I know this won't work as a true refuge,
but my main concern was added filtration from the macro by pulling out
<<It can/will work'¦but within the confines/limitations
of its size>>
Lastly I've been looking into cooling fans for the halides in the
canopy to keep them from running hot, keep evaporation under
<<Actually mate, 'promoting' evaporation will assist with
cooling of the tank water>>
and to make sure the heat doesn't warp the wooden canopy I built. I
found some great prices for a variety of fans, but don't really
know what CFM I should be getting?
<<Pretty much anything that moves air will help'¦just
keep in mind the higher the CFM rating the LOUDER the fan is likely to
be. I utilize 12v fans for this reason (generally not as powerful as
110v fans given the same size'¦but lots quieter) but if you
use 12v units you will also need a suitable transformer/s>>
I also don't really know what CFM means in layman's terms.
<<CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute and references the
'volume of air' the fan is rated to move>>
Could you guide me in the right direction?
<<I hope I have'¦do look to sources 'outside'
the aquarium industry for the best prices>>
Sorry for the length of this, but I know you guys are busy and I hate
to bother you with multiple questions.
<<No worries mate>>
So with that being said, I'll let you get back to work. Thanks for
all your help and guiding words.
Sent from my iPhone
<<Is a pleasure to share, Drew'¦ Cheers'¦ EricR
Sent from my HP desktop>>
New Tank / refugium. Chaetomorpha hlth.
Hi guys & gals, sorry to keep harassing you but I just was viewing
my refugium portion of my sump and it appears that the Chaeto is
dying...the ends of it have little bulbs on them and there are a ton of
empty stalks where I believe there was growing algae
I'm thinking that a cause of this is either that my tank is not
<? This will do it>
yet so that Nitrates are quite high or the other cause could be the
lighting that I have over it which is a 19 watt fluorescent working for
approx 12 hours opposite to my tank lights
<If sufficient in photo-quality, this should be fine>
Could either of these be the cause and let me know any thoughts on how
I should combat
Thanks again for your help
<Take a search on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
with the genus name and words like "culture",
"health"... read the cached versions. Bob
Chaetomorpha source 12/5/03 Hey guys, <whassup> I
have had a refugium and have been trying to find some Chaetomorpha to
stock it with for a while, but have been having trouble finding anyone
who sells it. Do you know of any reliable e-tailers who
carry it? Thanks, Rem <I'd contact Morgan Lidster at Inland
Aquatics... many nice refugium species available. Or, look up some
local or regional aquarium societies. Many have members (like my
www.PMAS.org) that have so much Chaetomorpha and other macros that they
bring them to the monthly meetings or throw it away. It will not be
hard to find my friend. Anthony>