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Chaetomorpha Algae
(Chaetomorpha sp.)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Easy
Lighting: Moderate to High
Placement: Any
Maximum Size: Varies
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Propagation: Clipping Gallons
Coloration: Green
Supplements: Magnesium, Trace Elements, Iron
Origin: Tropics
Family: Cladophoraceae
Native Habitat and Species Information
Chaetomorpha sp. is a form of macroalgae that typically grows in long strands that ball up in clumps, where the clump then grows in size as the algae absorbs light and nutrients from the water column. Chaetomorpha Algae has become a favorite amongst reef aquarium keepers for its ability to absorb excess nutrients from the water column and ease of care.
Chaetomorpha Algae can be placed in sumps or refugiums with moderate water flow and plenty of lighting, here they will absorb phosphates and nitrates from the water column as they continue to grow, then portions of the plant can be harvested or removed from the sump, which will effectively export the excess nutrients they absorbed while growing from the aquarium.
Its low cost, ease of care and widespread availability has made Chaetomorpha Algae the macroalgae filtration of choice for many marine aquarium hobbyists.
Aquarium Care
Beyond its nutrient filtering capability, Chaetomorpha Algae grown in the refugium also provides habitat for a wide variety of beneficial organisms like copepods, amphipods, worms and mini starfish.
Another added benefit of Chaetomorpha Algae over many similar macroalgae is that it does not go through a sexual period like Caulerpa where nutrients are released back into the aquarium water. Utilizing Chaetomorpha Algae for nutrient removal, along with live rock and live sand for de-nitrification and a protein skimming makes for an excellent combination of filtration for marine reef or FOWLR aquariums.
Growth and Feeding
While Chaetomorpha Algae is easy to grow in most conditions, it will be much more efficient at nutrient export if provided ideal conditions. Ideally Chaetomorpha Algae should be grown in the sump or refugium where it will have low water currents and can be provided plenty of light.
While Chaetomorpha Algae can survive in lower lighting conditions, it should be provided 75 to 100 watts of 5100K to 6700K floodlight lighting or equivalent fluorescent lighting to thrive. It is important to promote a good growth rate, as the harvested Chaetomorpha Algae is what removes the nutrients from the aquarium ecosystem.
Faster algae growth will allow for more frequent harvesting, which will in turn increase the filtration benefit of the Chaetomorpha Algae.
Additional Photos