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Turtle Weed

(Chlorodesmis fastigiata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Lighting: High   • Placement: Any
• Maximum Size: 8"   • Water Conditions: 72-81° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Propagation: Fragmentation, Sporulation   • Coloration: Green   • Supplements: Trace Elements, Iron
• Origin: Tropics   • Family: Codiaceae   • Species: Chlorodesmis

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Species Information

Turtle Weed native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Turtle Weed (Chlorodesmis fastigiata) is a form of green filamentous macroalgae that grows in thick clumps that resemble grass or turf. It's bright green coloration and grass like appearance has made the Turtle Weed Plant a popular addition to many marine reef and FOWLR aquariums; as well as, sumps and refugiums.

The plant contains a substance in it that is toxic to fish, which keeps herbivorous fish species from consuming it. This allows the Turtle Weed Plant to be placed into aquariums where many marine plants would be quickly consumed. The Turtle Weed Plant also makes excellent habitat for small beneficial crustaceans like copepods and amphipods, who use the dense plant to retreat from fish and larger invertebrates who would prey on them.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Turtle Weed in the home aquarium.

Turtle Weed requires an aquarium environment with low nitrate and no dissolved copper, plenty of water flow and strong lighting. It's growth rate under ideal conditions is considered moderate. It will grow outward onto nearby rocks, corals or sessile invertebrates. Turtle Weed generally only grows to about 8 inches in height, preferring to spread horizontally along the reef through fragmentation and sporulation.

The plants need a firm surface like a rock or coral skeleton on which to attach itself. Spacing rocks containing Turtle Weed away from other rocks by leaving an area of open sand can control the growth of the macroalgae in aquariums where excellent growth conditions are causing the plant to grow too rapidly. Turtle Weed can be pruned by simply removing clumps of the plant from the rock on which it is attached and disposing the excess plant material.

Growth and Feeding

How to properly feed & supplement Turtle Weed and provide a healthy environment.

In order for Turtle Weed to prosper either in the aquarium, sump or refugium environment it needs strong lighting and strong water current. Strong lighting is crucial as the plant uses photosynthesis to produce food for itself my converting light to energy. Strong water current is also important as it moves waste products produced by the plant away and provides for proper respiration.

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