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FAQs about Mangroves

Related Articles: Mangroves, Marine (Vascular, true) Plants, Marine Algae, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Marine Vascular Plants, Nutrient LimitationRefugiums 1,

Rhizophora mangle, Red Mangroves, growing in a five gallon "pickle bucket" in Anthony Calfo's old Xeniid farm, and juveniles for sale in a retail shop

Mangrove Plant help       2/21/15
<... your msg. was sent to the "junk" folder due to poor grammar>
hi hoping you guys can help. i have a 54 gal reef open top w 7 red mangroves coming out of top. had them about a month they came w/2 to 4 leaves on them. i have them lit at night on reverse from main lights with a small clip on LED light (so they r lit from side). The led has 1 white light in middle and 1 blue on each side. i noticed the leaves developing
rust colored spots
on leaves hoping you can help. i go heavy on the water changes too.
and i do mist 3 to 4 times a week
<There might be some sort of deficiency going on here... N,P,K mostly... but depending on which species... these are such touchy organisms; I would not move... perhaps the addn. of a complete fert. Bob Fenner>

Red Mangrove Grow out Jars       9/14/14
Dear WWM crew,
I just finished reading all of your articles and FAQ pages about mangroves and brackish plants, so I really hope I don't end up asking
anything you've already answered. I want a brackish, Florida estuary-style tank with red mangroves and aquatic grass. The trick is that I currently live in a small New York City apartment with a Central Park themed 30 gallon planted tank hooked up to a 15 gallon Aquaponic grow bed that I don't want to get rid of. I'll have room for the brackish tank in about two years; in the meantime, I want to start growing out red mangrove seedlings so that when it's time to start scaping, I'll have nice, satisfying saplings to work with, rather than a handful of unsprouted propagules.
My plan is to buy about 10-15 mangrove propagules and suspend them on the water's surface in some very nice looking 3 gallon glass cookie jars from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (now I know what the "Beyond" part is!).
I was thinking of going with 3 pods per jar to start (keep reading! I know this is crowded), with no substrate (I want those prop roots!),
<Mmm; am a fan of fine sand and some mud... for a few reasons: nutrient, support, blocking light>
just dechlorinated, fertilized, marine-salt brackified tap water. Ultimately, I will probably only end up using something like three mangrove trees in my scape, but I am averse to risk, so I want to really have good odds with this sprouting phase. I'll keep the best growing specimens for my future tank and sell the rest on craigslist (at a profit) as thinning becomes necessary over time. For light, I have three 12" Ecoxotic Panarama Pro LED modules, because it's 2014 and other lighting options are too climate-change-tastic for me.
What do you think of this setup? What changes would you make in order to make the eventual transition from grow pots to display tank as stress free as possible?
<Top off jars water-wize weekly... be careful to not touch leaves...>
I was thinking it would be best to grow the mangroves out sans-substrate for as long as possible in order to avoid the stress of
removing roots from soil, but on the other hand that sounds sort of like chopping off an arm to keep it from itching. How long can these trees go without soil?
<Sometimes forever seemingly; but there is much more mortality with no soil, and slower growth>
Remember, there is nothing else living in the containers I'm growing these out in, so I can soak them in a nutrient soup if I have to.
As a side note, can you think of any good, friendly inhabitants for this (future) biotope?
<All sorts... do see WWM re TWA life, the ratings there in terms of aquarium suitability... of an olde copy of my Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World (Amazon has)>
I'm more in this for the plants, so I haven't really put much thought towards the type of fauna I'd like. Most brackish fish seem to be either enormous or from East Asia. Crabs would be nice, but I want open top, and mollies, though I love them in other settings, just seem a little domestic for what I'm going for here.
<Still a good choice>
Thanks for all your help! I am a huge fan of your website. It is a fantastic resource, and I think it's just great what you guys do.
All the best,
<And you Theo. Bob Fenner>

Mangroves in Botany Lab Course    2/23/14
Hello crew and thank you for the website! I've been using it for years as a reef hobbyist (Hawaiian reef biotope). Now I'm contacting you as a General Botany Instructor. I'd like to incorporate a mangrove project into the second half of the semester. We'd have studied soil and plant structures by then. I'm leaning toward using mangroves for studying plant nutrition, vascular systems, hormones or aquatic plants. I was wondering if any of you would have a question, hypothesis or observation that might be interesting to college sophomores majoring in environmental and molecular biology.
<Re the common mangroves used by hobbyists and public aquaria I take it. Yes
1. What is it about cleaning, removing leaves in these vascular plants that so resets their metabolism?
2. What growth limiting mechanisms are there to allow their culture in small volumes?
3. Are these embryophytes capable of much uptake of principal excess nutrients as nitrate and soluble phosphate?>
We have a greenhouse but currently no hydroponics system. And we're in Oklahoma, so no natural mangrove habitat to observe. Sorry about the broad range of need here. I realize I opened a big door for you. Renee
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Any ideas on what this is?   10/19/13
We ordered a Reefs2Go pod pack from you and received a small piece of a plant in one of the bags. We "planted" it in our tank and it has really took off. Does anyone know what the name of this is?
<Ah yes; some species of Mangrove; perhaps the genus Avicennia. Do search read re on WWM, elsewhere... may be too large, trouble here in time>

Using nature/Limestone and Mangrove Mud 5/10/13
Dear Wet Web Media,
<Hello Alyssa>
 I live off the West Coast of Florida. I am setting up a new 265 gallon system. A beach nearby has tons of limestone rock everywhere. If I cured this, would it be safe to add to my tank? I have a 40 gallon refugium and another spare 40 gallon tank that I plan on making a Mangrove refugium with a deep sand bed. Is it ridiculous to consider using "real" mangrove mud? I can't seem to rule out these options in my readings and thought I should go to the source.
<Well the limestone/dolomite is certainly safe to use but you run the risk of bringing unwanted microorganisms into your system.  Would be best to let the rock bleach in the sun for a week or so to ensure no living organisms are on or within the rock itself and then go through the curing process. 
As far as the mud, I would just buy some Miracle Mud or similar product.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Mangroves...   3/5/13
Hi Bob
I took some black mangrove seeds from the beach home to nyc.
They have grown two feet in dirt.
Can I wash them off and drop them into my aquarium?
<You can/could... do read re them generally on WWM... can get very large, break the systems they're in; can transfer nutrients... Many species are not easily cultured... B>
Re mangroves     3/5/13

The reason I asked was that among the aquaria I saw one with several black mangrove shoots in it, around 2 feet each, about the size of mine in dirt.
I will try with one of mine when I transplant them and will let you know how it does.
<Real good. Thanks. B>
okay.  The articles say black mangroves don't do well in all salt.
Mine seems happy after a day.
What's the prognosis? 
It gets lots of sun.  I could pull it up so the top leaves are out of salt, and I can wash them with fresh water if that will
If it rots, it could kill my fish.
What do you think?
<That you should keep reading. B>
Re: Propagules...
next time, I'll pick up red mangrove seeds.
one thing I noticed:  when I pulled the mangrove out of the pot, there were fine roots.  The black mangroves at PetCo had only thick roots.  Is that a result of being raised in salt water?
<Can't say w/ the data presented>
I shall, Bob.
<Ah good Pete. Do accumulate your observations, comments, questions and concerns. B>

Buying Mangroves    7/2/12
Hello all!  I am interested in purchasing Mangrove species other than the standard Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle).  I am interested in species like the Thai Mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata)
<Mmm, put the string "Rhizophora mucronata for sale" in Google... a few outfits offer this species... though may be more than a bit of trouble to import>
 or the stilted mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa).
 Are you aware of anywhere in the US or Southern California specifically that might have other sea water tolerant species available?
<Mmm, none that I'm personally aware of; but I'd check w/ the reef clubs locally (perhaps a "contaminant" has made its way into hobbyist's hands) and colleges w/ Botany and Marine Bio. departments near you.
There are restrictions on many of the 53 or so families of these plants from many countries (into the US and elsewhere)... and the usual
encouragement to read what is posted re on WWM, and awareness of size and growing issues therein.
 Bob Fenner> 

Mangrove leaves are turning black   10/3/11
I have this mangrove, I have no idea what kind it is, its dark green, then light green, with 4 leaves, 2 pairs, that look like this, -:- dashes being the lower leaves,
I've had it since about march, and all of its leaves are turning black and crunchy.
I don't know if this matters, because I think I know what the problem is with it, but I have a bonsai tree next to it, and its been sprouting this long thing, that then blackens and dies,
but not the tree itself, its started this four times. Anyway, I need to know how to save it, without spending a lot of money, because my mom wont let me, but I'm just sort of babysitting it until the organization rakes it back.
<... need to know re the growing conditions... soil, lighting... Read here:
and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>
re: Mangrove leaves are turning black
Yes, I read that first, it looks like the skinny things in the picture
More grown, with leaves. Its still in the pot I got it in, with the same soil,
<Should have been moved... should be now>
I think I need to put new soil in, but I have none,
<... look to Fiji, Miracle... et al. "muds">
and the soil from my backyard
killed my herbs. Its in a sort of sunny room, but not direct sunlight. Its also started growing a short needle thin thing, which looks like a shoot. I have no idea what kind of mangrove it is
<... BobF>

re: Mangrove leaves are turning black   10/3/11
So what is the black stuff?
<Decomposition, death>
Will it go away if I repot it? What kind of pot,i read that their roots are really strong.
<... this plant should be planted permanently... not potted. Mangroves suffer easily for being handled, misplaced. B>

Red Mangroves 5/14/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I am due for my monthly question on my on-going marine endeavor. I found an excellent site (reefcleaners.org) to purchase my clean-up crew for my 200 gallon reef tank I am undertaking. I received 200 snails,
<... too many>
some Chaeto, Ulva, 5 Red Mangroves, and Red Gracilaria for the great price of $50 including shipping. An easy $300 somewhere else I might add at least that I have found. Now let us get into the real problem. I have read the info on your site as well as other sources about the red mangrove. However one thing is puzzling me. I have read that you can place them in display tanks and that you can tie them to pvc pipe or float them above the water line as long as 2/3 of the plant is outside the water.
<Mmm, not really>
I also read that they can be fully submersed and placed in the sand (not on WWM of course). Is that possible?
<Not for long, no... Look up the word "mangrove"... are more or less intertidal plant species>
I would think that would completely rule out the nutrient export and the fact that the leaves would need to be above the water line would seem to make that a non-possible approach. Also I would like your advice on the effect they could have on the glass of a 200 gallon all glass aquarium. Would it be possible for it to break the glass with the root system?
<In time, perhaps... but, they/these won't live in such a setting... need aerial, lighted air space... perhaps best in a sump that is tied in...>
As always thanks for any input or advice you might have on the matter. Love the site and
the community you have brought to the web. It is a great resource for all of
Jeremy Wright
<Ahh, please re-read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Mangrove "swamp"/ mudskipper, fiddler tank?   7/31/08 Hi Crew (or should I say crew member), This is 40 gal des (not sure anyone remembers her). I have a bee in my bonnet (or perhaps gobies) as I have a new project idea. My tank has been fallow for ages now, and I was paging through the book by "The Complete Aquarium" by Peter Scott. Anyway, I came upon the Mangrove swamp with the mudskippers and fiddlers and I was utterly charmed. <It is indeed a lovely aquarium.> Anyway, I have been researching this topic-- where to get the critters and plants, how to raise mangroves, what to put in the tank, how much water and sand, brackish, the range of topics. But a few things seem blurry to me (well more than a few...), but I 'll try for brevity. <Would highly recommend looking over Richard Mleczko's chapter on mudskippers in my 'Brackish-Water Fishes' book. He's easily the world expert on keeping these fish in captivity, and discusses every aspect of their care as well as all the different species you'll see on sale. In fairness, the chapter on Mudskippers in the Aqualog Brackish Water Fishes is also very good.> So here it is-- Basic setup: 40 gal breeder and stand; Orbits' compact florescent (2 92 watt bulbs). Plans: Replace actinic bulb with 6700K and keep the 10,000K. <Do make sure the tank is "mudskipper-proof", as these fish will climb out of any gaps they find.> Divide tank roughly in two with plastic, rock up to about 8 inches or so. Place (no.? ) potted mangrove trees grown from seeds (already with leaves, etc) around mostly one side. <Mangroves grow very slowly, and you may find plastic plants or houseplants in plastic pots (to keep the salty water out) will work at least as well. Plants like Philodendron work very well for this sort of thing.> Fill around with (? type sand-- oolitic, aragonite, etc?) about one inch on one side and about 1/4 to 1/3 on the other <Sand type doesn't matter, but a mix of coral sand and smooth silver/silica sand is probably the best in terms of appearance and "stickiness". The coral sand will also add a bit of buffering to the system.> fill with brackish mixed water 1.05 or so salinity (I have an RO system), over the top of sand on both sides. <SG 1.005 upwards to seawater is fine; 1.05 would be hypersaline and deadly!> Use small internal power filter and guarded 50 watt or smaller heater ( although I'm going to bet it isn't going to go on much). <Would highly recommend an external heater to avoid problems with mudskippers climbing onto a glass heater and scalding themselves. Failing that, make sure there's a plastic guard around the heater. But seriously, undertank heaters similar to those used for amphibian set-ups would be better. Filtration is relatively unimportant to mudskippers because they spend so little time underwater, so use whatever suits your budget.> Aquascape with some large flat rocks, coral pieces, shells, and driftwood (a little!). Cover with bullet proof plastic (I don't expect it to get shot, but it doesn't warp.) Cycle. <Always a good idea cycling the tank before putting in fish, but funnily enough Mudskippers are ammonia-tolerant "right out the box", presumably so they can survive in their wet burrows while the tide is out. They also spend most of their time on land, so aren't exposed to the ammonia anything like as much as regular fish. So provided you did lots of water changes so the ammonia stayed below 0.5 mg/l, you could probably cycle with the Mudskippers.> Add quarantined (? number of mudskippers (P. kalolo) and fiddlers (and ?). <Richard isn't a fan of mixing crabs and Mudskippers, so be careful here. Big crabs will nip small Mudskippers, and big Mudskippers will eat small crabs. Fiddlers are probably the best crabs to go with because they're deposit feeders rather than omnivores, but be careful. Periophthalmus kalolo is a fairly aggressive species, so either avoid having more than one male or else overstock the tank so no single male becomes hyperdominant.> Pull up a chair in front and watch! <Sounds about right.> So maybe my questions are apparent here. 1. I was told to plant the seeds in a gallon pot, I'm guessing clay. Is this a good size. I think the pots sound like a good idea given the root strength. What do you think of the gallon size and how many do you think I should do in a 40. The picture in the book (which is a 40) shows four , and I don't think the pots are that big. I was thinking 3? <Mangroves are trees, so whatever you do with them and however you pot them, eventually they will get too big. I don't actually rate them highly for this sort of set up.> 2. What kind of sand? The book says silver, but I was thinking aragonite or even oolitic to keep pH high. <Without undergravel filtration, the buffering effect of a mound of coral sand is limited. Buffering is proportional to the surface area of coral sand in contact with moving water; in the case of a layer of coral sand without undergravel filtration, only the top grains of sand are in contact with moving water. So I'd not fuss about this issue.> 3. What rock is safe? I think limestone would help the pH, but I think granite is the most common, in the yard sort of rock (I don't intend to buy it.) Is there rock I should NOT use? (Obviously nothing that would be too sharp on the fish.) <Again, don't be too worried about the pH issue. Marine salt mix will buffer the water nicely, and if it doesn't, you can also add a bit of home-brew Malawi Salt mix to up the carbonate hardness. I've described this elsewhere on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwhardnessfaqs.htm So choose rocks that look nice, aren't spiky or rough, and don't have metallic seams in them that might poison the fish/crabs.> 4. I know driftwood is acidic, do you think the other stuff would out weigh it? Do I need to add something for hardness, pH? I have B-Ionic. I was thinking though that that was a bit overkill. <Bogwood will have minimal effect. If it does, up the carbonate hardness as stated above.> 5. Stocking number? (mudskippers, crabs). Any safe critter to put in there. I am guessing I don't have room for much. <Mudskippers are funny about tankmates. Your best bets are things like small brackish water livebearers, perhaps Guppies or Limia. But big Mudskippers will eat small fish, while big fish terrify Mudskippers who view them as predators.> 6. Cycling? I have read not such good things about BioSpira, that it isn't refrigerated. I have never seen it refrigerated. Fish food? Shrimp? <Any of the above. Or just let nature take its course, using the Mudskippers or crabs.> 7. I live in the desert, should I think about a fog maker, to get up the humidity a bit? <The lid on the tank should take care of this automatically.> OK, I think that's enough. I was working on brevity. Thanks Crew!!! You are terrific! --des <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Mangrove "swamp"/ mudskipper, fiddler tank?  7/31/08 Hi Neale, Thanks for the great information. <Would highly recommend looking over Richard Mleczko's chapter on mudskippers in my 'Brackish-Water Fishes' book. He's easily the world expert on keeping these fish in captivity, and Just ordered off Amazon. <<I am sure you will enjoy.>> > <Do make sure the tank is "mudskipper-proof", as these fish will climb out of any gaps they find.> Yes, I have kept Jawfish. Tricky little devils. Fortunately mudskippers aren't $180 like those cool blue spotted Jawfish. Just when I thought it was safe to remove the netting around filters and the like, he jumped to his death! So no more removing netting, though without hang on the back stuff should be easier really-- until trees grow. <<Ah, seems you're mentally prepared at least! The difference is that Mudskippers are gobies, and are equipped with a neat suction cup that lets them climb up vertical surfaces, including glass.>> <Mangroves grow very slowly, and you may find plastic plants or houseplants in plastic pots (to keep the salty water out) will work at least as well. Plants like Philodendron work very well for this sort of thing.> The way I read Scott's book, it was the ceramic pots and not the actual trees that kept the bank up (along with rock. So you are really not depending on tree growth. <<I have the book and checked. My issue with ceramic pots is they're porous, so will let salt in. If you're growing salt-tolerant plants like mangroves or Nypa palms or whatever, then use whatever pots you want.>> > <SG 1.005 upwards to seawater is fine; 1.05 would be hypersaline and deadly!> Oh yes, woops! It's not a typo really, but I am familiar with all this. Just will have to go through the numbers again. <<Good.>> Thanks for advise on filtration and heaters! >below 0.5 mg/l, you could probably cycle with the Mudskippers.> Cycle with fish! Yikes! This is new info and I have never seen this (though saw they were tolerant of ammonia. <<Some mudskippers will happily frolic around sewage outfall pipes. They are incredibly tough fish.>> What about quarantining these guys (gals)? I have a ten gal QT. I was thinking in terms of about 2-4 inches of water and some rocks (or maybe dinner plates. <<Since they're the only fish in the tank, quarantining them is redundant. Of course you can't use formalin or copper medications in a system with crabs, but brackish water will kill off Whitespot anyway.>> > Periophthalmus kalolo is a fairly aggressive species, so either avoid having more than one male or else overstock the tank so no single male becomes hyperdominant.> What's your definition of overstock of P. kalolo in a 40? <<Depends on the size of the fish, and how much land there is. Richard's basic idea is that if all the fish are crammed onto the same bogwood branch or sand bank, none of them can make a territory. I'd be looking at half a dozen specimens, at least.>> Or can you sex the fish to determine which is male? <<Difficult to sex Periophthalmus spp. except to say males are more aggressive!>> Also I was told to overstock the crabs. Both because they are aggressive, and because some will be eaten-- this from a guy who does barbarus which are even nastier. <<P. barbarus usually ends up being kept alone.>> > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwhardnessfaqs.htm Thanks for the link. > <Hope this helps, Neale.> You're all great! <<We do try.>> --des <<Cheers, Neale.>>

Lagoon... small mar. set-up - 12/16/2007 Hi Crew, I'm in the planning stage of building a 15 gal. lagoon tank with a 10 gal. refugium. I'd like the 15 to have a sloping (probably fairly drastically) sand bed to a deeper end as if falling off the atoll (or whatever), if you can imagine with me. The deep end will have a 2 live sand substrate. It should have at least 5 to 6 of water at low tide. The shallow end will have a short beach, then slope through the mid-section of the tank. The slope will have mud on top of aragonite. <I highly doubt you will be able to do this in a 15g tank.> I will attempt to facilitate a scheme to resemble tides by using a pair of peristaltic pumps to move water very slowly over a 6 hour periods each way between the display and the refugium. I need to work out the volumes and flow rates. Lighting will include a 150W incandescent pendant over the mangroves, a 36W PC over the remainder (about ?) of the 15 and another 36W PC over the 10gal. refugium. At least that's the way I see it right now. <Mangroves, in a 15g? Seriously?!> In my dream the display will ultimately house about half a dozen small fiddler crabs, a couple of mangroves, and deeper, live rock, small hermit crabs and a couple of peppermint shrimp. The beach area should be exposed during low tides and then inundated at high tides. <It's a nice idea, but you need a bigger tank for this.> The refugium will house 2 live sand, live rock, and macro algae (yet to be determined). I'd like this to be a filter less system. Do you think that's possible, using the macroalgae for nutrient export not the mangroves, although they may help to a small degree and the live sand/rock for a bio filter? I like to make smaller (10%) water changes twice a week rather than, say, 25% once a week. It seems to have been effective with my other tanks. Should I build up the end that will be shallow and exposed tidally with aragonite or should I build a form out of concrete?? and then top the form with live sand and/or mud? <I would consider the later. But again, you need a much bigger/longer tank.> I'm concerned about the system going anaerobic with a sand bed that may reach 7 or 8 deep in some places. <"Going anaerobic?" Why is this a bad thing? And just FYI, sand bed can have anaerobic zones even more shallow than 7in.> BTW, you guys and gals are fantastic!! You are beyond being an asset to this hobby. IMHO, you're a necessity. <Well, thank you!> Thank you all so very much for you efforts, Mike <De nada, Sara M.>

Mangrove Refugium  11/10/06 Hi   I currently attended Sparsholt College in Hampshire England, on a Fish Management course. As part of the course we are asked to design create and look after different types of systems. I have been asked to help design a refugium with the aim of growing mangroves in it for a marine system. <Is done...> The refugium tank is 4ft by 2ft by 2ft the same as the display tank. The question I wish to ask is are there any special considerations I should take into account? <Hmm, have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm and the linked files above?> Or are there certain methods that would be best for me to use? <Oh, yes> Could macro algae also be grown in the refugium as well? <Yes... posted> Also my lecture is interested in us trying to keep Cephalopods in the display tank. <Also archived on...> The tank is also filtered by two large canister filters. <Not the best available, most appropriate technology> Would this set up suit them? <Mmm... possibly... depending on the species involved, the amount of ongoing testing, maintenance one would be willing to provide... As stated, recorded, there are better methods...> Hope you can help and sorry for all the questions, just wanted your opinion and advice if you can give it. Thanks for reading this      Andrew <Read my friend. Your answers are already gone over... Bob Fenner> Mangrove/Health  6/21/06 Good day, I hope this finds you in good spirits. <I would like some good spirits.> I have an inquiry in regards to a red mangrove I have in some home  aquaria. I was in the midst of moving and the tank had no lights nor was it located   near a window that would yield enough sunlight for it.  There was a decent   delay in setting up the system it was to be held in and unfortunately, it seems   to have dried up from the top.  No more leaves and a bit pruned  looking. The roots look well in tact, and the mangrove has never left the systems   water.  The roots have not changed in the midst of the top portion of the mangrove not faring well as of late and I was hoping if you have a moment or  two, could lend me any information on what I may be able to do to help aid it  along. Anything you could furnish would be greatly appreciated and I'm hoping that there is something that can be done here.....thank you so very much for your time.... <You're welcome.  Here is a link to read along with related links above title bar. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm  <James (Salty Dog)> J Need Help for Mangrove Acclimation   5/27/06 Hello to the WWM crew and to all the readers!    <Katsu-san>   I'm a saltwater reef tank enthusiast and ordered 10 Red Mangroves from E-bay. <Rhizopora etailers!>   I read through your articles and FAQ's about mangroves before I purchased them and decided to buy them for the cosmetic reason for my tank refugium. It is a 10 gallon glass tank <Mmm, will quickly outgrow this...> with an old wet/dry filter on the side which I use for the overflow into the refugium. I am planning on keeping only 1 or 2 in the future and already talked to a local fish store and he put a 'rain check' on 12 of them. <Oh, good>   Here is the problem:   I was wondering if I should acclimate them to my sump or just put them in. I am confused about the option of acclimating because I read from your sight that if the propagule was rooted in saltwater first, <Mmm... sometimes, places, yes... often, if there's not much root in evidence, these propagules have just been "collected on the beach" so to speak... not ever rooted> I would not have to acclimate them to my tank. He claimed that the plants were originally rooted in saltwater and now live in freshwater, <Not likely> so I sent him an email about how long the plant was rooted in the saltwater and how long the plant remained in freshwater before the shipment, in hopes of survival of the plant. I also asked for the SG of the saltwater it was rooted in. I sent the email right before I wrote this so I will be checking it sometime this week. If you can help me out with any information, that would be greatly appreciated by me and possibly the LFS, so they won't come running after me because of dying mangrove plants :). Thank you and please hurry because the shipment is on its way :P.    P.S. Sorry for the rush. I was wondering who could answer this question, and the first person/group that came up to my mind was WetWebMedia.com. To readers out there surfing the archives, PLEASE read the information given on WetWebMedia before you buy anything for your tank. Best Regards      -Katmanreef. <Thank you for this. I would place these directly in your saltwater sump (no real acclimation) in the hope/s that they will adapt... My experience has been that exposure to lower specific gravities is deleterious. Bob Fenner> Re: Need Help for Mangrove Acclimation.   5/27/06 Hello again, and good morning.   I received an email this morning and the news was that, the mangroves were harvested on the shores of Hawaii with roots and seed leaves, and left in freshwater to hydrate for 4 days before shipping. <Okay> I am now more confident about not acclimating due to the similar salinity of the tropical waters of Hawaii to my reef tank at home. I read your site religiously so if you can give me a heads up to what I should do, that would be excellent.   Thanks again for your time.      -Katmanreef <Again, I would just directly plant these in your fine-substrate sump/refugium. Bob Fenner> Keen on Mangroves  - 05/20/2006 Dear WWM crew, This is the best website for aquarists I've ever seen. As a keen mangrove grower, I would like LOTS of mangroves. Living in the UK is not very good as mangrove availability is very limited. But I was wondering if it is possible to propagate mangrove cuttings. Also, how old are your oldest mangroves? Have they got prop roots and have they flowered and fruited yet? Thanks, James <Mmm... don't grow any of the many families of such plants... but  have seen some species grown for years, around the world... Mostly Rhizophora... started as propagules. Have not seen trees as such grown large enough to reproduce sexually. Cuttings have not seen work out. Bob Fenner>

Re: Keen on Mangroves  - 05/22/2006 Hello. I bring bad news. AAH! Mangroves are so hard! The cuttings turned black and died by the next day. Should I try tissue culture? <Mmmm, I guess I should have emphasized a bit more... I would only seriously try culture here with propagules. All other methods are too time-consuming, likely to not meet with success. Bob Fenner>

Mangroves    4/4/06 Hi Bob.  Loni again.  Interested in red mangroves.  Plan to put some in my reef.. and low brackish puffer tank (1.005 spg).  I've read they will "tolerate" freshwater (I have a 72g planted discus tank also), though acclamation would be a problem. <Yes>   I've also read they need at least high end brackish (1.012spg). <If collected in less saline conditions, do much better...> Your thoughts, on mangroves in reefs, brackish and freshwater.  Thanks Bob, with all the bad info on the web, I like to get it right the first time.   <Understood. Collect your own or talk with the collectors re. Bob Fenner> Mangrove relocation   1/14/06 Currently I have a small (10gals) refugium located inside the stand of my tank(55gals) where I have some mangrove plants(4)and Caulerpa algae. The mangrove started as seeds planted to the biosediment of my refugium and after 1 year in one of them and 7 month in another they are already reaching the bottom of the main tank. I will like to move those 2 plants to the main tank but because they are actually in biosediment I am not sure if moving them over some live rock in the display tank will cause them to die. What would you recommend? I am not sure if anyway they will die form the lack of overhead space in the refugium. Thanks. <Are not easily moved... will at least undergo a metabolic "check"... If possible/practical I would use another sump... tied in... that is larger, outside the cabinet... with more sediment... move all the current into it... tie this in plumbing wise with the main system. Bob Fenner> Re: Mangrove relocation   1/14/06 Ok, somewhere I have a 30gal tank that will be an alternative to use. Thanks for all the attention provided, most probably will have some more questions once in a while in the future. No matter how much I read and try different things, this hobby is a never ending one in terms of learning. <Agreed. BobF> Mangrove and bulkhead questions 11/1/05 Hi, I had two quick questions that I would like to ask your staff. The first one involves red mangroves. I recently purchased a red mangrove pod from http://garf.org, it did not have the roots or stems growing yet. I have had this floating in my sump, with a grow light, and the roots are sprouting very nicely. My question is, at what point do I remove the pod from the Styrofoam that it is floating in, and begin to establish a root system? <Yes> I will eventually be moving this to a 25g tank aside my 125g tank. I wanted to have the tree elevated on pvc pipes so that the roots are exposed and have lots of room to spread out, or something of that nature.  <Better to have rooted in a fine substrate...> What methods do you recommend for something of this nature? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm and the linked files above> My second question is about my overflows in my 125g. One of my black overflows has a bulkhead built into the body of the overflow. This bulkhead is approximately 5 or so inches off of the sand bed. When I turn off my return, there is a slow trickle of water that continually comes from that overflow. The bulkhead does not make a secure fit with the walls of the overflow. <Not good> I am concerned that the power will go out when I am not around, and this will cause a slow flood in my apartment. <You are right to be concerned here> I have the bulkhead fitted with pvc pieces and a cap, so that no water flow goes through the bulkhead, it just seems to come from around the seal. Do you have any suggestions about how to stop this bulkhead from leaking? <Yes... requires draining the tank, drying the area... removing the bulkhead, smearing a bit of Silicone sealant on the gasket/fitting on both sides (in/out of the tank)... allowing to cure for a day> The tank is up and running with about 120lbs of LR and 3 fish, so draining it all the way down to silicone the bulkhead does not sound appealing. <More appealing than the water on the floor to me> I thank you for all of the help you have given me so far, and undoubtedly the help your site will give me in the future. <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

Mixed Plants 7/31/05 Hi, love you guys are doing a great job I'm always learning something new. Now here's my question, can I mix Chaetomorpha & Mangroves the in my ten gallon refugium <Too small for Mangroves> with a 6 inch deep sugar fine substrate. Main purpose is for nutrient export and to grow pod and such for my main 60 gallon aquarium. Thanks In Advanced <Try again, keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Mangroves- Dust Magnets? Well, not sure how clean or dirty my house is to others, but the current article on Filtration in the Advanced Aquarist Online Magazine shows an inviting picture of a Mangrove sump. <A beautiful concept; probably of minimal impact from a nutrient export standpoint, but attractive nonetheless!> Since Mangrove grows tall, therefore needing an open lid, would it invite too much dust/ particles / dirt into the main tank or would you think this to be irrelevant? <Good question...I think it would be no different than a houseplant, lamp, or other piece of furniture, as far as dust accumulation is concerned. I am not aware of any special affinity that airborne particles would have for mangroves over other plants or objects. Do spray the leaves periodically, as this is considered good husbandry for these plants, and serves the alternative purpose of "cleaning" the leaves.> In actuality, it not only serves a great purpose for the tank, but could also entice my wife's interest in the tank with some external plant life - life would be good! Rainer <A REALLY good concept! The more we can involve other members of the household, the less likely they are to object to the next crazy scheme that we come up with! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Pump selection, plumbing, using WWM Hi to the crew- I actually have a "crew" listing in my hotmail account for you guys... it's just easier. <Yikes> So I've left the tank of my college years- a 150 gal reef tank I built for the biology building. <Man! I couldn't afford a ten gallon guppy tank in my years...> And now have started over on my own tank. It's been up for a few months now, cycled appropriately until my ammonia, nitrite/ate were down to zeros. From what I've gotten in feedback, it's a not too common set up. 55 gallon tank, holding only 30ish g. The upper space is empty to accommodate a 150w MH de bulb at 10k, and to let my dozen mangroves grow up. <As in mangrove trees? There are some 53 families of plants... but mostly what folks keep (Avicenna) grow very large...> This way, my MH fixture fits in the hood, and I have enough space so I don't simmer my tank- and with less water, the light is "more powerful". <Okay> Right now, a pair of maroon clowns, both about an inch (the one from the college tank is about 6 inches now.. she's a beast and the same size as our yellow tang. Maybe she has encouragement from the 2 foot across, 4 year old green carpet anemone...) and a colt coral. My plan is to understock with fish, heavy on corals-hardies, a distance from the colt and each other. all in the hopes of keeping nitrates as small as possible.  So, filtration has been live rock 35/40lbs, a shallow sand bed and a Fluval 304 filter stuffed with live rock for bacteria purposes. So...the plan is that ASAP, I upgrade/add to the filter and put in a sump/fuge and skimmer. Return pump suggestions? The standards are Mag drive, Iwaki, Rio- but gph? <Pump selection and circulation is posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm > wasn't sure of an acceptable rate. The 150 tank had a little giant 650gph, but this is a much smaller tank- I would estimate four feet from bottom of sump to back into tank. Also, because of this weird set up- the water level is a good 8-10 inches from the top of the tank. I see no problem with a longer U-tube for an overflow box- do you? I figure a siphon can be used to drain a tank, so halfway shouldn't be a problem. <Trouble... yes... Also addressed on WWM and some alternatives suggested... When, where in doubt, keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: pump selection Back to Bob F. FYI, the fun part of doing the 150g tank for Roanoke College was that I designed/built what I wanted, and they paid for it all. I had no money to speak of... <Ah... I do remember those days... wait, what is today, Wednesday?> The hard part was leaving it all behind when I graduated...I was going to send an email back because I found the faq's on pumps/siphons right after sending. sorry- but thanks for all the great service over the years. Oh, the mangrove plan is a long term one. In the future when I'm old enough-and financially secure enough-I want to do a large indoor pond/lagoon like Anthony showed in the magazine- so if I can keep these trees alive, I'll have the adult ones that I want. I'm thinking a similar thing if I can keep corals alive for 20+ years...a far shot, but kind of a living heritage to pass down. We have a jade plant from my ancient relatives that's about 200 hundred years old that we each have a cutting of. <Neat> ( I did a lot of work with Historic trees in college- growing saplings from cuttings of the last tree planted by Johnny Appleseed, the family tree of Martin Luther King, Jefferson's cherry trees that he planted himself...) <Ahh, and I too grow a few trees that have been similarly de-grafted... mainly Persia americana. Bob Fenner>

Marine Plants/Algae Hello there,             I have a couple quick questions for you regarding some plants. I'm setting up a new custom refugium to filter my 120g tank exclusively.  In this refugium I'm including a partition which will hold some free floating plants <actually algae, not plants> such as Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha.  It'll be built so that a pump low in one corner of the tank will push the plants in a "rolling/tumbling" fashion that I've read about.  Now I was wondering if there are any other good plants that would also do good in this type of filtration style?  I've heard both these plants do great for nutrient export which is my main concern for this section of the tank. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm and the MANY Related FAQs files (linked, in blue, at top)>             There is also another section to this refugium that will hold some turtle weeds and mangroves and such. <This is a BIG such> There will be a 30x30 area with a very deep 6-8" bed of Aragamud with a 1-2" bed of various muds on top of that.  Are there any suggestions on how to set that up? <Uhh, see WWM re Mangroves, the FAQs>   In my design I'm thinking about putting some plastic pots in there surrounded by live rock that will hold the mangroves stacked in the back area of  the fuge. <Stacked?> On the rocks I'll put some other plants and corals that are good for nutrient export.  On the open space in front of the rocks I'll have a seagrass bed with some flowerpot <I'd reconsider Goniopora use> and elegance corals in them.  Is there a certain way to place them in there? <Yes... posted on WWM> I'd just like to know if you have a suggestions on how to set that up or know of any conflicts going on in my plans here.  Thank you guys a million for all your help as well!  I can't get enough of you guys.  I'm looking forward to your guys new book on fishes.  Any due date on that? <None definite... thanks for asking... maybe another six months for the first of the two volumes to hit the street... another year after that for the second>   Keep up the fantastic work, it's good to know there are people out there with some good sound advice.  This coming from someone who's been working in the industry for some time now and have heard some seriously weird stuff on how to do things (male and female mushrooms that need to "mate") phewww!                                Thanks a ton  Chris AKA Fishtank <Keep studying, taking good notes Chris... and make a diagram of all of this planning to share please... and maybe write up! Bob Fenner> Pruning Mangroves 10/21/04 Hi there guys. <howdy> May we please have a detailed response in regards to how to prune a  mangrove in a topless aquarium?? <very simple: they absolutely cannot and should not be pruned until the lead/axial branch has forked. Even after that you must be very prudent in the number and nature of cuts. The Florida Sea Grant program offers a free pamphlet (seek in online search engine) called "A homeowner's guide to trimming and altering mangroves"> I think this would prove to be useful as there is not too too much info on  the pruning of them as they are such slow growers to begin with.  Let's  just say it was time to prune in a topless aquarium, where would one start?   <ultimately like most trees... back to a node, but not too close to the trunk (leaving 3/4"+ stump at an angle)> Cut? Avoid cutting and the likes......all your insight would be  very very  appreciate as always.  You guys are God sent I tell you.   take care <best regards, Anthony>

Pruning Mangroves II 10/23/04 Many thanks Mister Anthony....I shall search for that ASAP. I did just want to respond real fast as I wanted to see if I could in a better way, understand where exactly the lead/axial is on the red mangrove I've questioned  about pruning. <as a devout student and teacher of "being resourceful" (in the spirit of the old adage, "... teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime") I will direct you to simply plug that term/phrase in question, into our Google search tool on the home page. You will most likely come across hits to old queries where I've mentioned/explained it. You can find the word on the page fast too with the "find" feature of your browser to search any given page you are reading (usually under "edit" on the toolbar). A step further... you could do a web-wide search of the term or just navigate your way (search tools again) to a horticulture website... or simply: Webster's Dictionary. Within moments time or reach of your copy of the dictionary... you will discover what "axial" means> The mangroves, as they are now....are just the base with a very very under  a half an inch green sprout/stem.   <you are literally years away from pruning these seedlings even with fast growth> They are currently acclimating in a container.....and slowly maybe by the end of the weekend or end of next week.......the water should have evaporated leaving them with a higher  salinity. I plan to house them in the main tank when I deem them ready and thus  far, I plan to have them as far in as I can put them while having the tops not submerged, allowing for their very very slow growth and will hopefully aid in me not having to prune it....as I'm hoping it won't reach the lighting fixture at some point.   <they are very slow growers even with (proper) daily misting/spraying of their leaves with freshwater> As long as the green sprout/stem is out of water, I'm in the clear right????   <they can sprout fully submerged too... but I prefer it as you have it> The light fixture is just a PC unit from CSL, and it's     sitting atop the lip of the tank via the braces it comes with, which doesn't lend too much height between the tanks surface and the fixture itself......about 4-5 inches I'd say.  I'm hoping this will make due for about a year or so until we can move and I can house them in a larger more technical system. <agreed... I suspect you will> Many thanks......for such a swift response. <always welcome... carry on my now/newly resourceful friend. Anthony>

Mangrove recommendation 9/13/04 You site gives me hours upon hours of enjoyment, thank you so much for the numerous articles and information, I have sent so many people to your site and have never heard a complaint. <thanks kindly!> I want to setup a mangrove beside my reef tank....maybe a small flower pot with a small mangrove inside of it...I will have a pump running from the top of the tank into the flower pot, with a simple overflow in the flower pot returning water into the sump....is it this simple?   <exactly that simple... just make sure that you get an unsprouted propagule because you cannot move them between differing salinities easily> Can I just have crushed coral ( I have so much left over from an old FO tank....)?   <no my friend... that substrate is too coarse. Use sugar fine sand or marine mud> I also have plenty of Southdown sand.   <BINGO> I already have a refugium with Caulerpa in it, so I am not really worried about nutrient export...just the cool idea that this plant will grow from salt water.  Can the setup be this simple? <easily... best of luck! And please do take the time to read are articles and many FAQs in our archives here at wetwebmedia.com... Anthony> Mangrove Filtration Follow-Up Thanks Ryan, <Surely!> I understand the irrigation of the leaves, that makes sense.  Am I to understand that my mangrove to have an exposed root system I am to lift it partially out of the sand, it has leaves approx 6. Or did I mis interpret? <Depends on the type of mangrove...but with most mangroves distributed in my area, yes.> Also I was not clear about my overall tank water quality.  everything is fine except the nitrates there high like 140.  I am doing 20% water changes every two weeks I was under the understanding that the mangroves reduce nitrates naturally I just want the best system possible (naturally) that's why I mentioned the clams. <Oh, I see.> What temperature is ideal for clams? <Again, depends on the type of clams used for this application.  Check with the species once you've established what you want to use.> Current Livestock in tank, I was very careful about this and consulted the crew.  blue face angel, pink tail trigger, harlequin wrasse, yellow tang, hippo tang, threadfin butterfly, banana wrasse, dogface puffer, not adding anything else. <Well, the nitrates make sense now.> the tank itself has 80lbs fl crushed coral, 120 0f oolitic sand and 200lbs of live Tonga rock with a lot of holes and critters inside. all is well except nitrates this particular problem has plagued me over the years help me out please. I think I'm doing everything right. <Nitrates aren't all bad, and with your livestock list you're never going to eliminate them fully.  I would consider using a refugium plant that uses more nutrients from the water- Mangroves are notoriously slow growers. Chaeto, Gracilaria, etc. would export nutrients in a more ravenous way.  Cheers, good luck, Ryan> Acclimating red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) 7/6/04 I have been reading up on mangroves and recently acquired some to help me knock my nitrates out (I always seem to have a smidgen). <Hmmm... do consider other more efficient ways too (a small DSB refugium, more careful feeding habits like never adding the thawed pack juice from frozen foods into the aquarium - always thaw in cold water, then strain the meat and discard the liquid before feeding the tank... else its like rocket fuel for nitrates <G>). I do love mangroves (literally have run a few thousand of them through my greenhouse, but still must admit they are too slow growing to be any significant means of nutrient export> They are, unfortunately, sprouted -- just a few roots.  I got them second hand, so I don't know what kind of water they were originally sprouted in, but the person I traded for them kept them in fresh water for at least the past week.  They look firm and healthy. <ah, good to hear they still look firm.> So... I now have mangroves in a bucket of dechlorinated water.   <Did you have reason to suspect they came from freshwater? Else, for future reference (and the sake of future readers)... my advice would be to acclimate sprouted mangroves to half strength seawater so that if you are mistaken about the origin, you are not so far off the mark possibly> I realize I need to acclimate them to salt and that this may be difficult- but how slow should I take it?  Would .005 per day be too quick? <hard to say... but very very slow is crucial> What symptoms can I look out for to get an idea if I am going too fast? <the plant will likely suffer irrevocably if it goes into salinity shock. The characteristic sign is a withering or wilting of the entire seedling (trunk of propagule and all). Almost looking desiccated or dehydrated> I assume that by the time they looks shriveled it's too late, and there are no leaves to watch for yellowing. <correct> Any direction would be helpful. <do be sure to spray the leaves with freshwater several times weekly or even daily. This is quite necessary for their good health and growth> Thanks, Nicole <best regards, Anthony>

Acclimating red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) II 7/6/04 Thanks for the info.  I guess I will take it very slow and hope for the best.  Since I have more than I really need, I have spares, so perhaps I will do two batches.  I put them in freshwater since they had been in freshwater for a while, and seemed healthy.   <hmmm... I may have misunderstood from your last query. If you knew or had good reason believe they were sprouted in freshwater, do stick with your first choice of acclimating them from there. But again, if the origin was uncertain... perhaps 1.010 would be a safer bet> I do have a refugium, just upgraded my skimmer, and make my own food (per Eric B's method) -- <all good> that stuff you buy is practically algae in freezer pack, and with my goby's spawning and my clowns getting ready to, cutting back on food isn't an option.  I'm adding the mangroves because a) they are cool and b) I hope they will provide a bit of an extra kick. <agreed... beautiful and unique additions to your system> Thanks again, Nicole <best of luck, Anthony>

Acclimating red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) III 7/26/04   Anthony, <cheers dear :) > Just a quick follow-up on how it went.  I proceeded slowly and raised the salinity every 2 or 3 days over 2 weeks until I reached 1.025.  I kept them good, but indirect, light beside my tank in a very unglamourous 2 gallon bucket.  Some did experience a bit of shrinking more than others; moisture loss, I assume.  Perhaps even slower would have been more prudent. However, all survived the acclimation process and got moved to my fuge the other night.   <outstanding to hear!> 2 are growing; the other 4 haven't shown any change yet. Ironically, the ones who had the largest sprouts and roots to begin with seemed to be the healthiest all the way through the process and are the ones growing now. Of course, now I have extras, so I'll bring them to the next frag swap.  See you there at the SCMAS Reef-A-Palooza in Orange County next month. <ooh, wonderful... I'm looking forward to meeting you my friend!> Thanks again, Nicole <always welcome. Thank you fore the follow up. With kind regards, Anthony>

Mangrove Filtration I have an established 220 gallon FOWLR. <Hello, Ryan Bowen with you today> here's my questions my filtration consists of an aqua clear macro skimmer with a Rio 3100 a 55 gallon refugium with a mangrove grape Caulerpa live rock 4 jars of m2 mud 40 lbs of live sand and a flame scallop. all is working fine. <Great> I want to incorporate some clams as part of my filtration <Are you planning on adding more livestock?  I'm wondering why increase filtration if all is well.>  in the refugium I currently have a 5500k metal halide over the area, but because of the extreme lighting on the bottom my water temps are averaging around 83 degrees the fish seem to be unaffected been that way for over a year I am thinking about incorporating two fans into the cabinet doors one pushing one pulling air in. your thoughts <A good idea.  83 isn't really very healthy for some marine animals over a long period of time.> Also my mangrove has not seem to grown in the last couple months it's green about 6 inches tall and looks healthy, am I suppose to trim it or do something to it? <See here: Mangrove Care http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm.  Could be related to nutrients and/or temperature.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks in advance Frank

Mangroves failing! 11/26/03 My refugium has been set up for almost a year. I went back and forth mud or float. They are floating. My back ground is horticulture they look chloritic (off in ph or lack of Iron )I have added trace elements and magnesium (which I find out they need extra) not getting worse but not improving. Any ideas. <assuming your salinity has been stable (they tolerate a wide range but not sudden change), I would guess that they have not been getting adequate hydration. Mangroves need to be misted upon their leaves almost daily (purified water) to help them shed exported salt crystals for their existence in a saline medium (you will occasionally notice these crystals on the leaves). This is a very common oversight... some folks do not even spray their mangroves weekly (yikes) and as such they slowly fail in time. We have good coverage on the subject of mangroves on our website WetWebMedia if you will take the time to browse and read... we also address the white and black mangrove species too in our Reef Invertebrates book (Calfo and Fenner). Anthony>

Re: mangroves failing! 11/27/03 Thank you! I had read 4 days ago about the misting but never realized how important that was and that they could fail because of it. <indeed I underestimated that myself early on. What a difference you will see!> I plan to buy your book. Thanks again. I hope you had a good Holiday. Tom Grayson <with hope for you in kind my friend :) Anthony>

Re: mangroves failing 12/31/03 Hello, Thank you so much for the information It is so great to have a resource such as yours. <always welcome> It has been more then a month and no change some are doing fine but not all of them I use an alcohol wipes to rule out mites. My ph still around 8.0 and I wonder what ph is best. <for the mangroves there is certainly a tolerance for a depressed pH... but if this is the system pH, it is a borderline serious problem or indication of one (inaccurate test kits, excess CO2 in the house, weak skimming/poor nutrient export/high DOCs in a complex relationship, etc). I must admit... I'm reaching here... will little information to go on (other than what was addressed in the last message) and no history on the propagules (where collected... what salinities exposed too, etc).> I add magnesium and an iron supplement because as I mentioned they look chloritic (usual symptom leaf looks like a road map and a leeching of the color. I have one black mangrove seedling that has taken off and 14 red mangrove pods that are ready to break. Light is not the problem because they thrived for a year and I raised the candle level a third. I'm at a complete loss. Have you any suggestions Do you have a source that I could go to read about my problem. Sincerely Tom Grayson <the state of Florida has some free info on mangrove culture/care/pruning... find this and more info from the Florida Sea Grant College program and the DER & DNR. Best of luck, Anthony>

Mangroves with salinity shock 10/10/03 Anthony, You diagnosed my 2 mangroves as having salinity shock. Would it do an good to move them back to their original environment where they were doing so well. <perhaps not... a sudden change is bad, but 2 sudden changes in the same week may be fatal> Or leave them where they are and hope for the best? <please do> They are shriveling and have lost some of the leaves but look like new leaves may be in production. <excellent to hear... the new leaves show adaptation of course. Lets hope for the best. Failure is unmistakable... the shriveled propagules look "wrinkled". Often so after a rapid and unnatural swing in salinity. Anthony>

Mangrove plants 10/5/03 I acquired some mangrove plants an acclimated them in a separate container with a power head for circulation and have very good growth in the root structure and leaves. <we have some excellent articles and FAQs on mangroves here on wetwebmedia.com  Do a keyword search with the google search tool from our home/main page> Lighting was provided by natural sun light in a west facing window in So. Calif. I supplemented with FloraPride by Tetra Plant to get the required iron. When I transferred two of the ten to my refuge on my reef tank they started to get yellow leaves and shriveled stalks after a few weeks. <sounds like salinity shock to me> I am using a 6500K fluor. light for supplemental lighting of the refuge  I don't know if this has anything to do with the now lack of iron. <not likely> Can iron be supplemented in a reef tank? <yes... in small amounts and tested for to control it. See Seachem products for both> If so what should be used? FloraPride states it's for fresh water aquariums. I supplement the reef tank with B-ionic, iodine.  Thanks, John <Seachem is but one of several outstanding companies that can provide this supplement and test kit for you. Best of luck! Anthony>

Macroalgae and Mangroves - 8/18/03 I've read a few article lately about using mangroves to reduce phosphates and nitrates. Is this method preferred over using macroalgae? <not at all IMO. Many macros can far out perform the slow-growing mangroves as a nutrient export vehicle> I'm am planning of setting up a 90 gallon tank with several messy eaters in it. I have a Berlin skimmer with a Mag drive 500 to power it. <seriously consider a better skimmer my friend. Something more aggressive and reliable. EuroReef or Aqua C rank high> Even though wet/dries can be nitrate factories, I would like to utilize the bio filtration for these fish. <no worries... necessary and helpful for large bio-loads> The tank will include about 45-60 lbs of live rock with about 20 lbs of base rock. Could I place any natural nitrate reducers in my sump. Thank you <an inline DSB would help significantly with NNR. Anthony>

Mangroves killed my skimmer? 8/6/03 I've gotten 10 mangroves (seeds) floating (in Styrofoam) on the top of my 90gallon tank. <wow... that's a lot of mangroves! What will you do with that many when they mature?!?> Right after I added them, my skimmer went flat, it didn't remove anything in 2 days... Is this normal? Why? <not surprising or good... the raft is disturbing the proteinaceous sheen at the surface... the concentration that he had hoped to funnel and export through your skimmer> Do I have to choose between mangroves or skimmer? <nope... just move the raft to a lit sump or refugium> I mean skimmer is good for removing proteins, mangroves for nitrates and phosphates... would be cool to have them both working... will mangroves also act as 'skimmer' if the skimmer is removed, if so, will they remove organics just as good as the skimmer would? Thanks <I absolutely adore mangroves... have written about them at length... grew out several thousand in my coral farming greenhouse over the years... and I can honestly tell you that they are very weak for nutrient export in aquariums. They cannot even compare to a skimmer. Do adjust my friend. Anthony>

Re: Mangroves killed my skimmer? II 8/8/03 Anthony - <unnamed person...> ><wow... that's a lot of mangroves! What will you do with that many when they mature?!?> They will not mature, I'll keep cutting off the leaves :-) <that's what you think ;) Please do research more about the extreme sensitivities of mangroves to pruning. The state of Florida and others have legislation on the subject because they are so sensitive (and crucial for coastal ecology). As it pertains to yours... cutting the axial tip before it branches sometimes simply kills the propagule! And for how slow they are to branch... you have your work cut out for you> > <not surprising or good... the raft is disturbing the proteinaceous sheen at the surface... the concentration that he had hoped to funnel and export through your skimmer> Hmmm... not sure what you mean here, could you be more specific and simplistic? I still don't' understand how adding mangroves to the tank makes the skimmer stop working, but adding them to sump or refugium would not? <please re-read the rationale: its the raft, not the mangroves that is the problem. Proteins that you hope to export from your skimmer migrate to the surface of the water (as sea foam does in the sea on a much larger scale). Your raft may be breaking or disturbing the sheen that forms, thus diluting the concentration of proteins that make it to the skimmer. Skimmers are notoriously sensitive to having very stable and consistent influxes of water. If your skimmer is in an open sump with a fluctuating water level... you have even bigger problems then (needing a static water level and a feed of surface extracted water directly)> > <I absolutely adore mangroves... have written about them at length... grew out several thousand in my coral farming greenhouse over the years... and I can honestly tell you that they are very weak for nutrient export in aquariums. They cannot even compare to a skimmer. Do adjust my friend. Anthony> I remember seeing a website somewhere that did measurements with control and mangroves and it seemed that mangroves did pull out all the nitrates and phosphates... hmmm... confused here. <I'm not sure how I can clarify it for you based on a website that you seem to recall. I can only offer you my extensive experience with this beautiful Angio. Leaf growth is often concurrent with leaf drop. In the aquarium, that means little or no net export of nutrients. Where mangroves are of considerable benefit is in their root systems. That's what makes them such great mechanisms for exporting or at least sequestering elements on a coral reef. But that mass takes years (often decades) to develop and is unlikely to ever make an enormous impact in your aquarium. They are a help... but there are much better species for vegetable filtration (like Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha algae... or better still, a proper turf algae scrubber). Anthony>

Mangrove from Hawaii... Research before buying Anthony, I now have my mangroves in a small bucket of fresh DI water. <Yikes!!! Never use wholly demineralized water on any livestock for an extended period of time... it is unstable and barren (can be acidic and dangerous too). Use buffered freshwater. Honestly... your dechlorinated tap water is likely fine here for emersion. Interestingly... you can/should use DI water to irrigate leaves once this coral is in saltwater to help purge salt crystals (mineral rich FW can be clogging)> Do I > need and additives for growth? <of course... your DI water in it has absolutely nothing in it for growth... you need to decide if these mangroves will ultimately be potted... or grown hydroponically. Many choices to make actually... ughhh... I really wish you had researched first before buying the live plants. Please do so for all livestock in the future... else its a waste of life> Do I need any type of circulation? These are the ones that were rooted in fresh water. Thanks John <start here John: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm be sure to follow and read the FAQ pages linked at the top of the page. I also have some extra coverage of mangroves in my Book of Coral Propagation, if you like (readingtrees.com). Best regards, Anthony>

Mangrove from Hawaii I purchased some Red Mangrove from Hawaii. I was not aware they tend to pack them in fresh water. I have not received them yet. I purchased from e-bay. If they have been sprouted in fresh water, what is the procedure to acclimate to a salt water environment? <a slow acclimation to increasing salinity over a period of weeks/months> I am hoping to use them in a salt water aquarium. Thanks, John <with slow acclimitization, you should have no trouble John... best regards, Anthony>

Mangrove summary Bob... the attached doc is a short summary/distillation of the mangrove section from "plants and algae" that I thought we could use on WWM. <Hotay. Will post> Bummer about Cathy's mangroves on the FAQs yesterday (remember her from Texas MACNA? sweet lady). <Yes> Ciao, bub <Bob>

Mangrove from Hawaii-  Acclimating from sprout in FW Do I start with say a brackish water and slowly bring up the salinity? <we really need to know exactly what salinity they have come from. If it was freshwater (sprouted) then you need to keep them in freshwater for the first week or two and then very slowly begin to salt the water. IMO... take at least 2 months to go from FW to full SW. Best regards, Anthony>

Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) 3/14/03 Hello, Anthony! Hope all is well with you! <and to you as well my friend> I have yet another question about mangroves. You may remember, I have five small trees in my sump, and at first, had an adjustment-to-salt-level problem. <I do recall> Well, that was solved, and the trees WERE growing, sprouting leaves, etc. You may also remember, I have a small daughter. Weeelll - she pulled all the leaves off the trees, <Doh!> and broke some of the stems from the top - not the propagule (sp), but the top of the stem, right off. <Ouch! That's going to leave a mark <G>> (These were broken past the point where the leaves were sprouting.) AAAUUUGGHHH!! Is this a disaster, or will these poor little trees recover, and sprout new leaves from the broken top? <unfortunately... mangroves of all ages are extremely sensitive to pruning. The state of Florida regulates it so strictly that people are limited from cutting these trees on their own property! (permissible but regulated). With your seedlings, if they are pruned before the axial tip branches... they often die. Don't give up yet, but I must admit the prognosis is not good. Do mist the tip still weekly or better... they will sprout or shrivel within weeks. Part of the problem here is that sitting in seawater without leaves, they have no means to export salt crystals> I had just gotten about 3-4 leaves on each tree, too. I know you had mentioned not to remove leaves....please, any suggestions? THANK YOU!-Cathy in Texas <>< <prayer :) Anthony>

Refugium plants and algae mixing 3/13/03 I have a question regarding mangroves & other micro algae's in a refugium. Must you use one or the other or can you combine mangroves and micro algae in the same refugium. Many Thanks, John <you may certainly combine algae with mangroves in refugia, bud... mangroves are more ornamental- the macroalgae will be a better vegetable filter for you :) Best regards, Anthony>

Mangrove tree ailments Hello Anthony! <Cheers, Cathy> My mangroves are goners, <sorry to hear, but not surprised... the salinity thing> I think - no more leaves, and rather shrunk up. <yes... dead. The leaf loss is not a problem at all. Common. The shriveling is a sign of death though... almost always desiccation from osmotic processes failing or becoming overwhelmed (changes in salinity from where the propagule was sprouted)> I had written to the following company, just to see if they had different ideas about what was wrong - my trees didn't seem dormant, just gone! Anyway, this is what they wrote: (I apologize if you get the letters twice) <Cathy... I have read the letter: this  supplier is mistaken or inexperienced with long-term captive care of mangroves in aquatic systems. If this is the company that you bought your trees from that could not answer you when you wrote them before asking what salinity the propagules were sprouted in (and the said they did not know)... then I am quite sure they need to know and provide more information. Speaking from experience (having grown several thousand mangroves in my greenhouse in the last decade)  I can assure you that what you and most aquarists experience with mangroves is salinity shock. Mangroves can be sprouted in freshwater, brackish or salt... but cannot be moved suddenly to a different saline environment. Sprouted propagules must be sold with salinity information or simply sold unsprouted. The light acclimation shtick is just that. Indirect light for plants that grow in blazing tropical sun?!? The only lighting problem with mangroves in captivity is that they grow even slower than in the wild for a LACK of light (who buys halides for their mangroves <G>?). Furthermore, the specific comment that its a good idea to mist the plants with freshwater "in the beginning" is misleading and implies that is not a good idea or necessary later. On the contrary... it is CRITICAL that mangroves be misted several times weekly with freshwater for their entire life (like the rains). Mangroves are true vascular plants sitting in seawater... absorbing salts (!)... and the salts must be exported. They do this through their leaves as evidenced by the salt crystals that form there. These salt crystals must be washed away... I recommend daily misting of leaves as a goal for maximum growth. Weekly for maintenance. Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Re: mangrove system Hey Anthony...I need to bother you one more time. Someone managed to take a photo of a page out of your book where you showed taping the mangrove the a prop stick and allowing the roots to dangle just below the water, then raising the mangrove slightly as the roots grew.  NOW it makes sense. <excellent!> I may still go through with this tank, but cut back to 1-2 propagules like you mention.  That still leaves me with 8-9 plants, which I may just place in various bog planters around the house and see what happens.  Dealing with the mangroves that will go in the aquarium--will it harm the plant if I snip a root off once in a while to keep things "maintained"?   <little harm or help I suspect> In other words, do the prop roots act in major nutrient uptake as well as stability, <yes> or is there some primary tap root that does this? <nope> As far as the plants from HI, just to verify...you're saying to just plop them into SW when I get them, right? <Hmmm... not if they are held in FW. Im saying the Hawaiian distributor has no idea what they are doing of they are putting the seeds in FW and selling them to SW aquarists to re-acclimate. My advice is to get a SW propagule and put in in SW. Many Florida folks sell these. Do a search our archives FAQs on this topic. Some customer feedback from Haw. mangrove customers there> Thanks a TON, Anthony. <with kind regards, Anthony>

Mangrove system Thanks for the info Anthony.  It sounds like my idea may be shot to crap then.  I'm guessing, like you said, most people simply have not kept mangroves long enough to gain any noteworthy experience with them (e.g. tank breakage, etc.) <correct... but expected as we know from other botanical/horticultural endeavors. Bob and I have had much experience in this arena in pond applications (as designers and installers when we both were younger and stronger or at least felt so <G>)> As far as the acclimation process I mentioned, the source I contacted in Hawaii collects the mangroves from a saline environment, then he keeps them in fresh water until he ships them out.  I was assuming I would then have to re-acclimate them back to saltwater.   <I am very aware of the situation... we have counseled a few aquarists that have bought these plants (archived) and watched every leaf die and fall off. Some recovered, some did not.> I've heard they are pretty sensitive to shifts in these types of conditions, <very... in fact. There is no reason to place them in FW and re-acclimate them to SW. They should simply be kept in SW> so I was hoping to acclimate them slowly to prevent them going dormant or shocking them too much. <OK> I'm not quite familiar with the taping method you mentioned-- <just gardener's tape from a landscape nursery or florist> and I'm having a hard time tracking down anyone with your book. <please look here: http://www.readingtrees.com/dealers.html or here: http://www.readingtrees.com/books_in_print.htm  > Well, I this system was "inspired" on a whim to try some mangroves with the natural light and the 30 gal tank I had lying around empty...but it sounds a bit too impractical at the moment.   <perhaps not... may I suggest that you simply be content with one graceful seedling alone?> I see on the WWM article that you have them growing in a bucket, and I have heard that they do quite well growing terrestrial or in freshwater.   <correct... they are adaptable... wet bog buckets> Any advice if I just wanted to go this direction? <treated just as you would in the aquarium... buckets are filled with fine sand or mud/sand mix and filled generously with water> Thanks again, Ron <best regards, Anthony>

Mangrove system Alright guys, I've been doing a ton of research the past few weeks in preparation for a "reef" tank I plan to set up, but instead based on a mangrove environment.  Let me share with you my plans, and then ask a few questions. The tank will be 30 gal(36"x12"x17") with no sump or refugium.  It will be open-top and the water level will be lowered.  As far as substrate, I will be mixing 40 lbs. of fine aragonite with some silty sediment collected from a nearby eelgrass bed.   <all good thus far although the tank is small in the 5 year picture for mangroves and do be sure to pot these mangroves. Else, their powerful roots could break this aquarium some years down the road> Substrate depth will be anywhere from 2-5".   <alas... not deep enough for even 2 years with mangroves to thrive> I will have 10 mangroves in the tank. <Yikes... that's a lot of trees for a thirty gallon aquarium. Like Bonsai? Even still... Rhizophora cannot be trimmed until axial tip forks. Challenging here> Liverock will be kept to a minimum, mostly just rubble laden with sponges, tunicates, etc. to help seed the system and will be gathered from various established tanks).   <very nice> The tank will be placed in front of a large window, so lighting will be 100% natural for the entire tank although a fluorescent tube may be used after dark for viewing.) <please confirm too that the window glass is not Low-E (UV filtering as many are)> A single powerhead will be used for water flow, mainly for surface disruption and gas exchange.  Down the road I may try various polyps or zoanthids in here as well. With the natural light I have taken into account the algae that will no doubt explode within the tank.   <more nutrient driven than light driven> I plan on having a crew of snails to help with this.  However, I would also like to take advantage of having such an abundance of filamentous algae and would like to try either 1-2 Rainford's gobies or a dragonet of some sort.   <very exciting> I'll have to wait and see how the tank matures and if the food supply will be enough. My questions revolve specifically around the mangroves (red, of course.)  They will be received from Hawaii, and I was told that they are collected under marine conditions and then transferred to freshwater.   <bad idea... they do not move between saline gradients well if at all. They can grow in anything, but are best kept in in the salinity they are sprouted in> I plan on keeping them in a FW holding contained and slowly raising the salinity before transferring them to the main tank. <I don't see the advantage. They are collected in saltwater... you are going to put them in saltwater... why not keep them in saltwater in between?> One thing I really want to encourage is the growth of the trademark prop roots of these plants, something I rarely see in captive grown mangroves.  Anthony, in reading some of the FAQ's on mangroves I saw that you touch on this a bit in your book--any advice on this?   <very simple procedure as described in BOCP1 with gardener's tape and teasing upward> I assume floating them in Styrofoam is best to force the roots down.   <a common application... I'd do the tape instead. Its fixed an reliable> Would a thin substrate also be beneficial as well? <depends on how well and how soon you are trying to develop capillary roots> Bob, based on what I could pick up in the FAQ's, you also seem paranoid that mangroves will bust any tank at the seams.  Is this a pretty valid concern?   <not paranoid at all. My friend, if you have ever do any kind of aquatic gardening, you would know it to be true... FW lilies, lotus, etc. It will take 3-5 years if you grow them well> I have never heard of this actually happening. <heehee... and that makes it invalid? <G> From a different angle, how many aquarists do you know with 10 mangroves in a 30 gallon tank for even 2 years. Alas, most people have not kept enough of these trees long enough. The advice is free... FWIW :)  > Thanks all! Ron   <best regards, Anthony>

Mangroves Hey Anthony! My trees are coming back! After suffering leaf drop and a little shrinking, the leaves have sprouted again, and 4 of the 5 little pods are doing well! Thanks for the good advice - mangroves CAN recover from leaf drop, and never give up! >-Cathy in Texas <>< <Wow... I must admit that I am a little surprised <G>. Great to hear, of course! Best regards, Anthony>

Red Mangroves and sans skimmer Thanks Anthony, I surely did not expect a reply so soon.   <Ha! here at WWM we aim to be one of those few places where you get more than you pay for <G>. Of course, if you have a complaint... you got exactly what you paid for <VBG>. Ahhh... the pleasure of a free service ")  > The mangroves as nutrient export was just an idea that I read about when looking around one night, and getting into the heated topic of protein skimmers.   <indeed... I have seen a few threads rather misguided about how good mangroves really are or about how easy (not!) it is to succeed without a skimmer. You can succeed without  a skimmer... but the alternatives for nutrient export are generally harder earned (labor and efficacy). I'm comfortable with folks without a skimmer that have weakly autotrophic or aposymbiotic animals, a light bio-load, heavy water change schedule, etc... but for most aquarists, a good skimmer is worth its weight in gold> I am not really considering not using one (I already bought it you see ;) ) which makes it kind of pointless to go about learning how to not use one. <Ha! Agreed... its still nice and necessary to think in new ways and understand all benefits as best we can> All the same though, I have seen some pretty beautiful mini-reefs 38-40 gal, that did not have them.  Could you tell me how they are able to get that to work?   <absolutely... and having seen enough successful systems over the last decade, there is a common thread: small tanks, easily controlled with water changes, weakly dependant on supplemental biotic filtration when the amount of live rock and sand per gallon of water is so much higher than a large tank... the list goes on. Yes, I could easily live without a skimmer on tanks under say 75 gallons> I may be narrow-minded, (not a good thing in aquariums.  Limitations and all of that.)  but I thought that it was simply not possible to maintain inverts without a skimmer.   <a good though to have as a beginner... seriously, but in time we realize the exceptions and limitations (by system and species kept). Is very possible to have a great skimmerless system simply with other forms of nutrient export> Two more questions, and I will let you get back to what you are doing.  one) Someone (no names, he does own a pet store though) made the statement that a countercurrent airstone skimmer will remove planktonic animals, where as a venturi will not.  Is that the truth, or does it go along the same lines as when he said that ammonia and nitrites eat each other. <Hahahhahahhahahhahhahahhaa......hehhehehhehhehehe... Wahoooooo... hahahahahhahha... ahhhh...no. Not true. This person is mistaken but working hard to make specific sales. The truth of the matter is that all skimmer skim phytoplankton fairly easily, most skimmers do not take out significant amount of zooplankton... some skimmers (Tunze) are designed to reduce this dynamic... and no skimmer is so successful regarding any plankton that the point is even interesting or necessary to worry about. Skim away... plankton in your system will thrive or not irregardless of your skimmer> two)  Does a downdraft skimmer work as efficiently as the other skimmers? <yep... as good or better but they are generally overpriced and labor intensive to service. I personally don't care for them. Miserable to clean... especially the ones with thumbscrews. For the money... a Euroreef is as effective or better and much more user-friendly> I know that I said two but there's only one more honest, <no worries... I'm making half this stuff up anyway <G>> I am about to ask this question knowing good and well that you are going to tell me to go to the lighting faq,  I already have, and I am still confused.  I got an Ice cap/VHO lighting system that was attached to a 55gal stand with the hood and all that for $75 so its not like I could pass it up.  The bulbs are two full spec, and one actinic blue (full not 50/50) at 110 watts a piece this should in theory be enough to cover a 55 and then some right?  I mean for just corals, and anemones.   <hmm... actually is moderate lighting at best... and few cnidarians could be kept below 10" from surface under these lights. I would not recommend any anemones here (and never mix anemones with corals).. There are many soft corals that would do well here though> No SPS's though I am not sure of that abbreviation.   <correct my friend SPS corals (small polyped stony) and clams will not survive under these lights in the long term unless kept at the very surface of the tank> I know that it may seem strange that in the last letter I was talking about breeding Centropyge, and in this one I am talking about some of the most simplistic stuff, but I do know how to care for fish. <not strange at all... very exciting. If you can make it to a MACNA conference (Louisville this year) I'll introduce you to some very generous aquarists that have done this work and can share tips for hours with you> The inverts are a new thing, and I will not get them if I find that I cannot care for them.  It would be a needless waste of money, time and life. Thank you for your time and expertise, Happy New Year.  Brandon <best regards, Anthony>

Red Mangroves and DSB Anthony, Thanks for you reply, I am disappointed, I thought I came across a magic bullet to reduce nitrates naturally. I have been avoiding using Caulerpa Algae, I read it has more potential problems then benefits. <understood and agreed... but do consider a simple and remote fishless deep sand bed (could be a 10 gallon tank full of deep sand) for NNR (Natural; nitrate reduction). Works fast and effectively! (2 weeks for some). Keep unlit and with moderate flow and it will need little else> I appreciate your advice on the care for the plants and will keep the mangroves, maybe it's wishful thinking but my water does seem clearer then it was. <they may have helped some... extra attention to skimmers, filters, etc at the time they were added too helps> I tried finding your book with no success, Barnes and Nobel, Borders etc. where can I purchase it? <ahhh, yes... I normally sell my book after each show... I moonlight as a short, hairy exotic dancer for retirement parties. You can also find it at Amazon.com, CustomAquatic.com, and quite a few other retailers. List of dealers and distributors here : http://www.readingtrees.com/dealers.html > Thanks Fred Warren <no... thank you, my friend :) Anthony>

Red Mangroves I purchased 12 mangrove plants, Hawaiian, and placed in my refugium. <wow... even though Mangroves are slow growing, that must be one heck of a refugium to house 12 seedling trees> I read FAQ about mangroves on your excellent site and would like to know if any portion of the roots of the plants has to be exposed to the air as I have them fully submerged now. <No more than 1/3 of the propagule needs to be submerged... do keep slightly higher to coax prop roots. I wrote more about cultivating these lovely aerial roots in my Book of Coral Propagation if you care to read more about it> I have a light, florescent that I purchased with the refugium and am using in a direct fashion but not close enough that heat is a problem, should I be using the light indirectly? <quite the contrary... brighter light for these light hungry plants. They don't need halides... but fluorescents may not do the trick. Incandescent plant-spectrum spotlights from the DIY store are pretty nice (75-150 watt each) I am also a little confused about comments Anthony made suggesting that Mangroves are nice to look at but do not really do that much to reduce nitrates. Everything I have read about these plants, all on internet sites, rave about the benefits of these plants, especially nitrate reduction. <this is an easy one, my friend... they simply do not grow fast enough to amount to any significant measure of nutrient export. Leaf drop is nearly always concurrent with leaf growth. Mangroves are one of the weakest vegetable filters when compared to Caulerpa, Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, etc. Do re-read the other references you came across... any mention of how a plant with such slow accumulation of mass exports nutrients? Airmail I suspect <G>. With kind regards, Anthony>

Mangrove trees (#2) Howdy! <cheers, dear> My, what a fast reply! Thanks! <they don't call me speedy for nothing... hey, wait a minute?!?!> That's what I thought. ... for folks growing trees in Hawaii, that "no light" was kinda weird. <heehee... ya. A giveaway that they aren't really growing them but grabbing them <G>. It also explains why they have no idea what the salinity is for their mangroves. Because they have never seen an aquarium (!) or brought a refractometer to the reef where they collect> One question? (Of dozens, the most important) How do I know when the trees are too far gone? 4 of the 5 have lost their leaves, but the main "shoot" for sprouting more leaves is still there. The propagules (sp) are not shriveled too much, just wimpy. <when they shrivel like a raison... seriously... they are gone. Leaf drop can recover> Thanks, dear! -Cathy in Texas <>< <best regards, Anthony!>

Mangrove Filtration Hi Bob <Scott F. here today> Fantastic website - have you any opinions on the use of mangroves as filtration?  Worth it for marine or freshwater, or only negligibly effective? <Mangroves have really interesting potential in aquariums, but they do grow rather slowly, and are probably have a minimal filtration value. However, there are many other interesting benefits from utilizing mangroves in captive systems. Do see Anthony Calfo's excellent "Book of Coral Propagation" for more on mangroves in aquaria> Any idea if anyone out there sells effective off the-the-shelf beginner marine setups - there must be a market! <There are a number of filter/skimmer manufacturers who market ready-to-go systems. Do check our sponsor links or check some e-tailers on the web for more information> What's the filtration setup for a cool water marine setup? <Tough to generalize. Many of the same systems that work on tropical systems work on cool water marine systems, too. Also depends on what types of animals you are interested in keeping. Check out the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on filtration systems> Many thanks Wayne Oxborough Stavanger, Norway <Thank you for stopping by, Wayne!>

Mangroves - again! Howdy! <right back 'atcha!> Now that we have the refugium set up, I can pay more attention to the mangroves I want to grow in 55 gal. refugium. I currently have 5 - I sold the other 5 to my LFS. My question is - they are getting "skinny", not plump like they were.  <often a sign of a salinity differential... having been moved from a different salinity than that which they were sprouted in> The roots are in the water, but not the propagule.  <Hmm... do submerge the propagule 1/4 to 1/3 to play it safe... we'll have plenty more roots later to train attractively. Still... there is some concern that they were sprouted in freshwater first> Only a fluorescent light on them right now (It sits on the refugium, away from the plants)  <no worries here... the lights have nothing to do with the desiccation (dehydration)> - the grow light we had melted! Have to get a ceramic socket holder. Is it that the light is the wrong kind?  <not sure I follow here... but the ceramic socket is a must. Do seek water resistant outdoor fixtures and plug all into a GFI> My saltwater parameters are all zero, except for the phosphates, which I am trying to get rid of. The plants have plenty of room, water, so I thought maybe it was the lighting. Or maybe they were not started in saltwater, and the level of salt may be too high. <a strong suspicion here> Also, I looked at mangrovesdirect.com - is this a good source for plants? has anyone purchased from them?<hmmm... I haven't heard from anyone yet that has... do try posting this query on this business on some of the message boards> They are located in Florida. Thanks, guys, and especially for ALL the help! I'm finally rid of the nitrate problem - who hoo! <awesome and our pleasure as always. Anthony> -Cathy in Texas <><

Mangroves (R. mangle) Howdy! <Howdy, my friend!> My mangrove trees arrived. Still no information as to how they were kept <ahhh... we'll make due the best that we can> there are at least two leaves on each propagule (is that the word?)  <yes... correct. the "cigar" shaped seed is a propagule> and about 2" of roots with little tiny roots sprouting from those. Now what do I do? Just drop them into the sump and hope for the best? My salinity is about ...023, do I change this?  <yes... that is what I would do. Hoping they were sprouted in full seawater and almost daily misting> I misted the leaves today with fresh water, and will every day.  <excellent... and do use purified water if your tap water is hard... hard water harms the mangroves> We haven't changed the sump to the refugium yet (awaiting arrival of a "55 gallon tub" from Oceanic, Steven will be pleased to know we aren't using the 20!) so they would be sticking out of the wet dry. We haven't gotten the lights yet; plan to on Thursday, when the trip into town for the new plumbing is planned. Is it okay to leave the stand door open for daylight, and that little light on the small tank? Is that enough for a few days? <indeed... seems reasonable/little harm> I certainly want these trees to live, and hope you can help! The website mentioned before doesn't mention the transfer from one environment to another (and neither does the Coral Prop. book - uh oh)  <Ah-ha... touch? p. 31, "mangroves may be sprouted in fresh, brackish or salt water, but one thing is quite certain: they should be sprouted in a salinity of water that they will ultimately reside in." <G>> for these baby trees with leaves and roots. Thanks again, and welcome home! -Cathy <>< <thank you, my friend! I'm very excited to hear that your system is evolving so nicely. I will live vicariously through your joy with the hobby! Best regards, Anthony>

Mangroves I want to set up a mangrove tank next to my 175 gal reef tank. What is the best substrate to use. I was wondering if I should use miracle mud. Any thoughts. <much to learn and consider on this topic. I discuss culturing strategies on mangroves in my Book of Coral Propagation, and there is some wonderful informative at Garf.org (keyword search). Mud is not necessary for mangroves... but an almost daily misting of the leaves with purified water is. Do follow up if you have more questions after fundamental research. The species name for the plant you seek is Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove). Best regards, Anthony> 

Mangroves, and Overcrowded Tanks Howdy to you all! <cheers, dear... good to hear from you :) > I'm not sure who will have the time, but I was researching the mangroves that Anthony and Steven had been talking about, to put into the sump, and I was given this website: http://www.garf.org/news12p1.html#MANGROVE1 <yes... a very informative site. Mostly excellent and accurate... some controversial stuff too. No worries. Enjoying the experimentation> EXCELLENT information about mangroves! However, farther down the page, there are pictures of someone's tank. It looks really "crowded" to me, but I am really new to this hobby, and wanted to see if anyone had an opinion. <agreed... it is extremely overstocked and nearly impossible for most folks to create successfully. Such requires aggressive skimming (dual skimmers), weekly if not daily water changes, weekly changes of carbon... and even then coral aggression will still be a factor. Its like going to the pet store and seeing a 50 gallon tank with a dozen blue regal tangs crowded in it for sale. It works temporarily because of massive filtration and daily water changes in a commercial environment. Leroy and Sally Jo operate a commercial facility. It is impressive to look at but run quite differently from a home display> It is stated that the corals are "propagated", though this isn't explained. <simple fragmentation... asexual propagation/fission... still a beautiful thing :) > Also, I have red mangroves on the way, and was wondering if they will also do well in the catch box? Mine is tall - over 24", so there is room for trees, and my VHO are over the catch box, so there will be light, and room to grow. <they need bright light and daily misting of the leaves with fresh water. It is also critical that you know what salinity they are coming from. Mangroves can live in a wide range of salinities but do not change between them well. They have to grow into it> The idea of floating a tree with Styrofoam is intriguing, but I'm not sure it is safe for the tank.  <interesting but not a long term solution> I could also "tie" the tree to the outflow pipe, per Anthony's book. <depends on how long you expect the tree to stay in place. If you expect a move in 2-3 years... perhaps floating will serve you well/better. Else... it would be better for the tree to fix it in place> Any thoughts you have would be appreciated! Thank you! -Cathy Hughes <>< <with kind regards, Anthony>

Red Mangrove Trees Thanks Anthony! (Hope you have recovered from your trip! How's the cat?) <Zorro is none the worse for the wear (he's a cat, of course... he couldn't care less when I travel :) I'm glad to be home for a spell. Off to LA next week where they really know how to make sushi (yippee!) and then Omaha the following week (not expecting sushi there <G>)> That's something I had forgotten - to ask the seller of the trees about the conditions the trees are currently in! Thanks for the reminder, I've sent an email to ask.  <excellent! Yes... do match the salinity closely... some growers even use soil instead> My VHO are not bright enough?  <nope... not unless they are really close... too close actually... and they will need to be moved in time as the trees grow. A simple inexpensive incandescent floodlight (75-150 watt) "plant bulb" at the DIY store will suffice. Mount it like a book reading lamp to the wall and shine it down on the trees from above> I AM getting the MH as suggested, and that wooden hood is probably going to have to be modified.  <ahhh...yes, good to hear > Pictures of freshwater tanks show the mangroves sticking out the top, and with the space I have, that seemed better than under the tank.  <hmmm... we should talk more about this. The problem with under the tank is that they are extremely sensitive to pruning when young. Trimming the axial tip can actually kill some plants! So if the plant outgrows the space under the tank before the axial tip branches... you are just beat at that point> I believe you had suggested a container NEXT to the tank, but with hallways on either side, somebody would trip over it. Clumsy children, or clumsy mother :-) Another question - how many trees? I am receiving 10, but I don't think there is room for them all. <agreed... keep all in the beginning to see how many survive. 3-5 in the 3- five year plan might be nice. Trade or sell the others. Keep all while small though (up to one year)> I was thinking one in each catch box, and maybe two underneath in the new refugium. (The rest are going to my LFS). <they fare well together... keep two each in the overflows if you like> I am grateful to find someone who can tolerate all of these questions!  <my pleasure> You must have been horrified to see my tank! <heavens no! We see tanks at all stages in our travels and newer tanks are ever so much fun for envisioning the potential... an open canvas to paint on ;) > -Cathy Hughes <>< <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Mangroves, and Overcrowded Tanks (yet again) Good Morning! <right back atcha!> Yet again about the mangroves....the seller didn't tell me the salinity that the mangroves have been kept in, only emailed the "instructions" on how to raise them!  <wow... bizarre... and not a good sign of a competent merchant. If these are propagules (seeds unsprouted) then you are OK likely. If they arrive sprouted... we may have to experiment> What do I do now? I asked for specifics - if they were already in mud, the level of salt, etc., and got general info. The web site I sent before seems to have been copied by the seller, I do not know if there is a connection between the two, or if he only plagiarizes the site (pictures and all!). <hmmm... GARF may want/need to know this> For lighting the trees - Scott has some lights he uses for his woodworking, the "hood" lights that clip on to whatever he is working on - I believe those are the type mentioned, and we can get a few more really easy. We are at the (major chain) store quite a bit, as you can imagine! >yes...exactly! they will be quite fine> *******"Pictures of freshwater tanks show the mangroves sticking out the top, and with the space I have, that seemed better than under the tank. <hmmm... we should talk more about this. The problem with under the tank is that they are extremely sensitive to pruning when young. Trimming the axial tip can actually kill some plants! So if the plant outgrows the space under the tank before the axial tip branches... you are just beat at that point> ******** In your book, you mentioned that the mangroves only grow about 2' in a few years?  <yes... generally slow growing> The acrylic refugium that we found is 15" tall, the tank stand is 30" tall (inside) so I guess that leaves only 15" to grow. Less, since the "seed" has to be mostly out of the water. Between the catch box and the ceiling is my other choice - about 3'. Hmm. Well, since the trees are on the way, under the tank for now? Until they are almost a year, and I know which ones will grow....then find a more suitable spot? Kinda like a nursery :-) <yes... all sounds good. All will be easy/fine if the seeds are unsprouted> Thanks again, say hello to Steve and Zorro for me - enjoy LA! -Cathy Hughes <>< <thanks kindly :) Anthony>

Re: Red Mangrove Plants for nutrient reduction Steve, Thanks for saving me the time and aggravation. <<You're welcome - Steve's (with most of the WWM crew) off to Dallas for MACNA now...>> One last question or two. Taking your advise, I would like to use an old hang-on refugium that I have, (about 8"H x 4"W x 11"L in size) with about 4" of live sand bed on the bottom, many small pieces of porous live rock and some Caulerpa up to the top. Will this method work the best for de-nitrification?  <<Sounds remarkably similar to my own little CPR 'fuge setup, lit with dual 15W fluorescents, with more Sargassum than Caulerpa these days. Works GREAT, and of some use on most any size tank.>> If I do set this up, what is the best 'flow rate' for the Caulerpa, DSB and live rock? Do I drip the water in real slow or should water be pumped in at around 60 gallons per hour? <<A small powerhead like a Rio400 or a Minijet would be most appropriate. Cheers, Lorenzo (Zo) Gonzalez>>

Red Mangrove Plants for nutrient reduction Steven, <actually, Anthony Calfo in your service> I just purchased 1 dozen two feet long Florida Red Mangrove plants from a dealer in South Florida. I placed the mangroves in my 180 gallon FOWLR 20 gallon sump to work as part of the filtration aiding in removing excess nutrients. These plants are thick, deep rooted and very healthy plants. <I have much experience here not only with growing Red Mangroves in my greenhouse, but also early attempts and establishing such plants bought as sprouted adults...challenging. One of the most critical things to address first is matching the salinity of water they were grown in. If these plants were bought from a full strength seawater system... great. No worries at all. However, many FL dealers that sell R. mangle for wetlands restoration grow out propagules in brackish or fresh water. If that was the case here... you will not be able to easily acclimate them to saltwater. You will notice frequent yellowing leaves and leaf drop in shock> What advise do you have for keeping these plants healthy?  <once established... one of the most important things to do is mist the leaves daily... or at least several times weekly to help them sprout new leaves and to export salt crystals. They will grown painfully slow if you do not> I placed all 12 Mangrove plants in my sump yesterday. Today everything looks fine so far, water tests out fine. I currently have a 75watt 'pure light' florescent bulb for lighting over the sump. Is this cheap bulb the proper lighting for the mangroves?  <plant type spotlights from the DIY store are fine> Do I need to get better lighting?  <definitely brighter is better here... 2 100 watt spots might be nice> How long do I keep the light on for?  <normal photoperiod of around 12 hours daily> Should I run the light at night opposite of tank light or in the day when the main tank lights are on?  <Reverse Daylight Photosynthesis (RDP) is for submerged algae/"plants" that respire... will not help much here> I read somewhere that there could be pH fluctuations if the lighting is not timed properly? <there are always natural fluctuations between day and night. An RDP system will stabilize that swing somewhat. Do consider browsing my Book of Coral Propagation V. 1 on this subject... I love this plant and included two sections on culturing them (one was for training them to grow these amazing aerial prop roots!) Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Red Mangrove Plants for nutrient reduction Anthony, Thanks!  <quite welcome my friend> Good to see that you have great deal of experience with raising mangroves. Well, I have had the mangroves in my sump for about 1 week now and there is no yellowing of leaves or discoloring in the stems at all so far. I also sprayed the leaves a few times this week thinking that may be a good idea.  <good intuition> It may be that the dealer raised these in water of salinity being around .020 which is where my tank is now. I have also read that there are some 'breathing roots' which need to be above the water level at times to absorb in oxygen, (similar to what happen high tide low tide) and without some root exposure to air the plant would suffocate and eventually die.  <Aerial prop roots... and they look very cool if nothing else :p> I am OK here because I placed the plants on a grill which is 3 inches down from the water level and some roots always exposed. The one thing I noticed after 3 days is my protein skimmer has not been collecting much waste at all when it normally produces about a cup a day.  <a coincidence or attributable at best to the disturbance of your hands somewhat frequently in the tank as of late (breaking the proteinaceous film at the surface of the water> I suppose this is a really good sign that the mangroves are exporting some or most of the nutrients? What do you think?  <not even remotely the case unfortunately. They simply do not grow that fast in aquaria to be a useful or measurable impact on nutrient export. At least yours haven't yet. You will notice in the future that leaf growth is fairly concurrent with leaf drop> Anyway, have you had any success in using larger mangroves for this same purpose?  <sure... grown to about 4 feet tall (all sold by that point). Really cosmetic more than anything sorry to say. If you are looking for vegetable filtration and nutrient export... turf algae/Chaetomorpha and others are much better. I'd still stick with the mangroves... they cause little trouble unlike other plants/algae regarding antimicrobial toxins, discolorants, sexual events to wipe out the tank, etc> These mangroves are very thick, deep rooted and you would think that they would be really helping in nutrient reduction. <not necessarily: we simply do not get growth that fast in evidence of nutrient export. The skimmer is simply disturbed. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Red Mangrove Plants for nutrient reduction Anthony, Hi again. <cheers, bud> The mangroves are doing great. I have had them growing in my sump for a month or so now, their seated on top of my live rock with plant lights to stimulate growth. There are many new sprouts, bright new green leaves in short time... no yellowing of leaves. I spray them a few times each day with a light water mist. I rubber banded to a plastic crate... so the roots are a bit above and below water level so that they can pull in oxygen... maybe this has helped them adapt.  <awesome! All very good to hear> My nitrates have gone down, not by much but the mangroves have helped in improving water quality.... the water appears to be crystal clean now, no phosphates. Since these mangroves are fairly large and deep rooted I do believe they are helping. <exciting!> I purchased a 7 inch Apolemichthys trimaculatus 2 weeks ago. She's very beautiful.... the last addition to my tank. Eating is not a problem... <hmmm.... still challenging to meet its strict nutritional needs> she eats Nori, Spirulina Flakes, Angel formula, Formula 1 & 2 , live Black Worms, Red Blood Worms... seems to like the bloodworms the most and that's what stimulated her eating.  <indeed a nicely varied diet> The flagfin, also picks at the live rock. My question... The Large Blue Hippo tang (8") and large Purple tang (6") chase her around every so often... usually not that aggressive , just chasing. But at times I have noticed a the tangs thrust against her side to push her out of the immediate area. Is this territorial behavior going to eventually settle down in time ...  <maybe... maybe not> then go away all together after adapting in time? or will there always be aggression from the Purple Tang since he is the tank dominant and established the space ..  <quite possible> it's a big tank... 180 gallon. <a nice tank... but still tiny regarding territorial aggression. These three fish would never occupy the same 6 feet for an extended period of time on a wild reef :)> I noticed this nasty behavior was happening for a few weeks between the 2 tangs but eventually they settled and now ignore each other. I did not think this fish would be bothered by the tangs since she is in an entirely different family. Your thoughts? <as long as it is simply chasing and there are no torn fins yet... lets hope for the best. It may work out fine, but do watch carefully. Anthony>

Re: Red Mangrove Plants for nutrient reduction Anthony, <Steven here with the response.> Is it possible to use live rock for de-nitrification/nitrate reduction purposes (same way The Nitratreductor works)? <Yes, liverock does provide for some denitrification deep inside the porous rock.> The Nitratreductor removes nitrates through the use of Deniballs as the media and Denimar tablets as the food source to this media. I was thinking of building my own homemade nitrate reducer unit. This unit would be a tall plastic cylinder filled with submerged, porous pieces of live rock. I would drip the water through the top of the cylinder at a very slow rate using a 1/4" tubing run from the main tank. From what I have read, the bacteria in an anaerobic biofilter needs organic nutrients as energy source to remove nitrate. The patented Denimar tablets contain organic substances that dissolve slowly in the water and are taken up by the bacteria. Why not use live rock as the media and just add Denimar tablets? <I would prefer to use neither. Anthony, in his book, describes with a drawing plumbing in a remote DSB in a bucket. I would rather see you use sand and rock and forget the tablets. If you have a nitrate problem you will have more than enough organics in the water column.> The rocks should provide the same amount and types of surface area. In order for live rock to work in reducing nitrates the water movement must be real slow. Has anyone attempted this method in reducing nitrates? <There have been variations. I would still add a refugium, though. With this you would get the add benefit of live foods.> Please let me know your thoughts on this. <See above.> * Deniballs are made of a special biologically produced plastic material. This material is metabolized by bacteria, and is used in the absence of oxygen for the reduction of nitrate. Thus nitrate is reduced to nitrogen gas. Thanks! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Red Mangrove Trees Hello there, <Lois... Anthony Calfo here for Bob while away hunting bunny wabbits> I was just wandering if you have ever heard of the above plant and if it is ok to put in a salt water aquarium. <Rhizophora mangle... the Red Mangrove: I have sprouted and grown out several thousand of these trees in my mariculture greenhouse in full seawater. A beautiful and interesting dimension to marine aquaria> Supposedly, it is supposed to absorb all the floating algae, phos, metals, etc. Sounds a little unreal but supposed to work. <if the above phrase is a direct quote from the site/sales team, it is an outright misrepresentation> A new site opened touting this plant, "Mangroves-n-more.com" <not at all valuable... just delightfully pleasant. The unsprouted seed pods (propagules) wash ashore and may be legally collected. They can be found at times in quantities ashore of metric tons!!! Really only worth a few dollars at best> I would not put it in my tank unless you said to do so. <an excellent and interesting plant. Highly recommended with the caveat that a single tree or two will not help or hurt water quality much... just fascinating. I have detailed the culture and display of this plant in my new book, Book of Coral Propagation Volume 1 (www.readingtrees.com). They are also mentioned in John Tullock's wonderful reef book, Natural Reef Aquariums.> Thank you, Lois <quite welcome... Anthony Calfo>

Mangroves Ya I had read somewhere that you can grow mangroves in your freshwater and/or saltwater tanks from small saplings. Do you have any experience with these plants or do you know anything that might help me in deciding whether or not this is such a good idea in my tanks. <Have seen several species grown in captive conditions... am not a big fan myself, as most of those offered, particularly Avicenna's ("Red Mangroves") get too big, can break the tank's they're put in... most all hobbyists are better off culturing macro-algae... Bob Fenner>

Mangroves in Sumps I would love to hear your opinion regarding the use, in a refugium, of mangrove plants basically for nitrate reduction (besides their intrinsic beauty). I have just added 6 new plants to my previous 5 in a 20 gal. refugium hooked up to a 55 gal show tank (in addition to a wet/dry I'm am using as a sump). Currently, the plants are kept afloat by Styrofoam, but I have read somewhere that they can be "planted" in shells. The use of a certain type of "mud" is also recommended (do you have any information on this?).  <Don't endorse or use these species of plants... and six is way too many for such a small sump... Can use "mud" like Leng Sy's www.ecosystemaquarium.com product with such...> Up until now I have been able to reduce the nitrate level of my aquarium to approximately 20 ppm (this is prior to the addition of the latest plants). I have a Bak Pak skimmer and a 16 watt UV in a walled-off portion of my refugium (the source area of the returning flow). The livestock in my tank consists of 3 Tangs, 2 Rabbit Fish, 2 Twin Spot Wrasses and a Reef Damsel, plus an assortment of leather corals, mushrooms, a bubble coral and a red open-brain. I also have a finger tree sponge and a considerable cleaning crew.  Water parameters are excellent (nitrates still must improve), but I'm sure the mangroves are doing a good job, moreover since I have been able to reduce the number of monthly 10% water changes (+ siphoning of tank bed) to 2. Where can I get more info on Mangroves? Thank you. <I would just use live rock and some species of Caulerpa in your sump... You might look at two little fishies for more info. as they are providing these trees. Bob Fenner>

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