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Mermaid Fan Plant
(Udotea sp.)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Easy
Lighting: Moderate gallons
Placement: Bottom
Maximum Size: 8"
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Propagation: Division
Coloration: Green
Supplements: Calcium, Trace Elements, Iron
Origin: Caribbean, Western Atlantic
Family: Halimedaceae
Species: Udotea
Species Information
The Mermaid Fan Plant (Udotea sp.) is a calcareous algae species found throughout the Caribbean growing both in sand flats and near rocky structures. The plant is found growing both in the sandy ocean substrate and attached to live rock or coral structures. They build themselves out into a fan like pattern through deposits of calcium carbonate that is found in their tissues.
The tissue of the Mermaid Fan Plant stores calcium that it uses for energy as it grows. Thus it is important to provide calcium supplementation to the aquarium in order to ensure the proper health of the plant and other organisms like Corals and Invertebrates that depend on calcium in order to grow. Being that the Mermaid Fan Plant is made up of calcareous deposits, most fish will not see this as a source of food and will leave the plant alone.
Overall the Mermaid Fan Plant is a very hardy plant species that is well suited for both the display aquarium or sumps, within reef or FOWLR aquarium setups.
Aquarium Care
Mermaid Fan Plants are a hardy species that is found widely distributed throughout the Caribbean, tropical coastal Atlantic and areas off the coast of Central America. They require plenty of direct lighting and calcium supplementation in order to grow and thrive. Due to the calcareous make up of the plants tissue, most fish will not attempt to eat or pick at this plant which makes them more suitable for FOWLR aquariums than most plant species.
The Mermaid Fan Plant also works well as a supplemental filtration source by removing both nitrate and phosphate from the water column. It is difficult to prune this species without causing damage to the plant due to the layered composition of the plants body. Care should be taken if pruning is attempted.
Growth and Feeding
Mermaid Fan Plants are excellent consumers of excess nutrients including nitrates and phosphates. In addition to feeding on these nutrients, they require moderate to strong lighting and calcium supplementation. If placed in the substrate of the main aquarium, be sure to place this plant somewhere where it can obtain plenty of light and moderate water flow. Plants placed in sumps tend to be placed much closer to the light source, thus do not need as intense lighting in order to thrive.
Additional Photos