Archive for the Problems Category

Natural Algae Control – Does It Work?

This question is posed by many aquarists, whether their pride and joy is a reef aquarium or fish only aquarium. Algae can be a terrific addition to the system, if the aquarist wants it.

Algae can be a friend to the aquarist, either in the sump or even the display aquarium, in the control of nitrates and phosphates. Caulerpa is the type normally used for this purpose. Encrusting calcareous algae is also a welcome addition, as it appears in lovely colours and enhances the display. Algae can also be a pain, in some cases causing the aquarist to nearly tear his/her hair out.

The very first point when discussing algae control is that the seawater should be of high quality, with very low measurements of nitrate and phosphate. Nitrate should be below 10ppm (parts per million) particularly in a reef system, (a fish only system can go somewhat higher but levels should be minimised) and phosphate not higher than 0.03ppm. It is probably better that the levels are undetectable. Nitrate and phosphate are known nuisance algae nutrients. To assist desirable calcareous algae, calcium and alkalinity should be controlled. In a hard reef aquarium, calcium will be probably added, but other systems can benefit from around 400ppm or higher as well. Alkalinity can be kept at a level (it will fluctuate) of 3.0 to 4.0 meq/l – this is higher than natural seawater but is advantageous.

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Why Does Coralline Algae Sometimes Turn White

Coralline algae, in my opinion make the rock within a saltwater aquarium look more natural as well as adding a differing type of colour to the aquarium.

The colour of coralline algae is normally a deep red/purple however there are various colour variations which may occur.

So what can make coralline algae sometimes turn white?

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How To Increase The Amount Of Coralline Algae In The Saltwater Aquarium

When you start a saltwater aquarium and have purchased your live rock or whatever decorations you are going to use then there will probably not be that much coralline algae in the system (especially if you have chosen not to use live rock!)

If you are using live rock then dependant upon the quality of the live rock you should have some coralline algae of some type or other.

So how do you increase the amount of coralline algae in the aquarium or in some cases add coralline algae.

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Remember To Harvest The Algae In The Algae Bed

In a saltwater aquarium it is preferential to have both nitrates and phosphate as well as various other nutrients at the lowest possible level you can achieve.

Growing algae in the sump or in the refugium is an excellent way to remove nutrients from the water column, good examples which are nitrate and phosphate.

Once established the algae in the sump/refugium can reduce the nutrients to a very low level.

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A Big Welcome To This Algae

Overall, marine aquarists are a happy lot. It’s not surprising really, the hobby can be quite challenging, is certainly fascinating, and, after a period of just sitting looking at the aquarium, calming.

Unless of course the aquarist notices something that is wrong. Action is quickly taken to put it right. If there is potential to harm the inmates of the aquarium then calming it certainly isn’t.

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Coralline Algae – Love It Or Hate It

Coralline algae (which is a red algae with a calcerous based skeleton), in my opinion adds colour to the aquarium. Once it starts to cover the live rock numerous shades of red add a certain different aspect to the rocks. You have probably seen aquariums like this either in person or in pictures.

Coralline on the glass though – it is a different opinion – at least for me it is.

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Problematic Algae – The Reefkeepers Nightmare.

Algae is a problem for most salt water aquarium keepers at some point in their adventure, the secret with algae is having the knowledge as to why it grows and how to actually prevent it.

Of course not all algae is problematic, for example corraline algae can be quite pleasant to the eye. It is a nice colour, spreads over the rocks giving them a nice appearance – until it starts to grow on the glass, then it can become a nightmare.

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