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Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae
(Caulerpa taxifolia) Moderate Moderate to High gallons Any Varies 58-89° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.021-1.025 Pruning Green Trace elements, magnesium, iron Native to Indian Ocean, Established in Mediterranean Sea, Southern California Caulerpaceae Macro Algae Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae is an extremely hardy species of macro algae capable of growing very rapidly and in a wide range of aquatic environments. This species is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures ranging from 58° F to almost 90° F; as well as, being able to grow on a wide variety of surfaces including: rock, sand, coral structures and even entwined with other plants. Native to the Indian Ocean, Caulerpa Taxifolia has since taken root in both the Mediterranean Sea and portions of the Pacific ocean off the coast of Southern California through accidental introduction via commercial fishing nets and from aquarium hobbyists discarding it into coastal waters. The rapid growth of Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae is what makes it both highly desirable to aquarium hobbyists for nutrient export, but also what makes it an invasive species that can take over a native natural habitat. In nature Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae will often spread rapidly and crowd out and replace native algae and sea grasses. Additionally, it is highly toxic to the herbivores who feed on the native algae that it replaces, which allows it to grow unchecked and out of control. Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae is very hardy species that is extremely easy to care for in an aquarium or sump environment. Most hobbyists keep this species in sumps or vegetable filters in order to keep nitrates low and the resulting nuisance algae out of their main display aquarium. Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae can grow rapidly under the correct conditions and then pruned, with the pruned plants being removed from the aquarium and discarded. This takes all of the nitrate and phosphate that the plants consumed and removes them from the aquarium environment. Despite being an attractive looking plant, this is not generally considered to be a good plant to introduce into the display aquarium, as it will quickly grow over the rock work, sand and any corals, choking out competing plants and corals and turning the aquarium into a jungle of macro algae. Unlike some of the other plants and macro algae commonly grown in home aquariums and sumps, Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae is highly toxic to herbivore fish species who would normally consume many other forms of macro algae or seaweed. It is due to this reason that both California and Federal laws have been enacted to prevent the importation, interstate sale (including Internet sale), and transport of Caulerpa taxifolia. However, it can still be found within the hobby as it is so easy to grow and keep and many hobbyists still use it as an effective form of nutrient / nuisance algae control. However, as a form of nutrient export, Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae is highly efficient and very effective. Hobbyists who keep this species under control and in external sumps are rewarded with an excellent form of nutrient export on par with or even more effective than Chaetomorpha algae or algae scrubbing solutions. Hobbyists need only provide a strong light source of 5000 - 8000 Kelvin lighting, water flow and a source of nitrate in order to grow Caulerpa Taxifolia Algae. Once basic lighting and nutrient needs are met, this species reproduces vegetatively, with growth of up to 1 cm per day, and can form new stems and fronds from mere segments of itself.
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Ulva Lettuce Algae
(Ulva sp.) Moderate Moderate to High gallons Any 12" 64-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Pruning Green Trace elements, magnesium, iron Found globally Ulvaceae Sea Lettuce Ulva Lettuce Algae (Ulva sp.) is a popular macro algae amongst marine aquarium hobbyists both for its filtration capabilities and as a supplemental food source for herbivorous fish species. Ulva Lettuce Algae is typically sold in free floating clumps that can be placed in a refugium or sump compartment. It is important to place the Ulva Lettuce Algae in a location with high water flow as this will allow the macro algae to filter a greater amount of nitrate and phosphate from the aquarium. This will increase both its filtration capabilities and will cause it to grow faster so that plant matter fed to fish can be quickly replaced. Since the Ulva Lettuce Algae requires high water flow and is free floating, it should ideally be located in a sump compartment that is part of the main aquarium filter system. Add on refugiums typically do not have enough water flow to provide enough nutrients for the Ulva Lettuce Algae to go rapidly and thrive. Sump based refugiums that are in-line with the main filtration pump are more ideally suited as the entire water volume of the aquarium passes through the sump multiple times per hour. Once the macro algae has utilized the nitrates and phosphates in the aquarium water for its growth, it can then be fed to fish or pruned and removed from the aquarium. This process is called nutrient export, since the nutrients are completely removed from the water column. Hobbyists looking to grow Ulva Lettuce Algae for a supplemental food source for their fish will want to place the plant in a well lit sump or refugium with a moderate amount of water flow. The plant can be easily pruned and placed into the display tank for fish to feed on. Ulva Lettuce Algae is a highly sought after form or macro-algae that most herbivore fish species will readily consume, which along with its high nutritional value make it an excellent supplemental food source.
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Red Grape Kelp
(Botryocladia sp.) Moderate Moderate to High gallons Any 10" 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Pruning Red, Purple, Pink Calcium Indo-Pacific Grateloupiaceae Grateloupiaceae Red Grape Kelp (Botryocladia sp.) is found in slightly varying forms throughout the worlds marine environments. Botryocladia spp. has an appearance similar to forms of Grape Caulerpa only red in color instead of green. The plant does very well in the marine aquarium environment and can be kept in the main aquarium, sump or refugium. The Red Grape species of Kelp requires moderate to high lighting along with moderate water flow and nutrient levels. Many hobbyists utilize this plant as a form of nutrient export, the plant is grown in a sump or refugium where is removes nutrients from the water column then is fed to herbivorous fish species who consume the plant. If keeping Red Grape Kelp in the aquarium as an ornamental plant, it cannot be kept with herbivorous fish as they will eagerly consume the plant. Red Grape Kelp generally grows less than a 12 inches tall before it begins to grow outwards using its creeping vines to attach to nearby rocks. It will grow more rapidly in aquariums or sumps with strong lighting and moderate nutrient levels on which the plant can feed. Overall Botryocladia spp. makes and excellent plant for filtration purposes as it consumes nutrients rapidly, is easy to prune and makes an excellent food source for many fish species. Red Grape Kelp is a very attractive plant that can be used as an ornamental plant in aquariums that do not contain fish species that will consume it. However, its rapid growth and creeping vines might make it unsuitable for many reef aquariums as it can grown in and on corals and filtration equipment. Hobbyists looking to grow Red Grape Kelp for a supplemental food source for their fish will want to place the plant in a well lit sump or refugium with a moderate amount of water flow. The plant can be easily pruned and placed into the display tank for fish to feed on. Botryocladia spp. is a highly sought after form or macro-algae that most herbivore fish species will readily consume, which along with its high nutritional value make it an excellent supplemental food source.
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Mermaid Fan Plant
(Udotea sp.) Easy Moderate gallons Bottom 8" 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Division Green Calcium, Trace Elements, Iron Caribbean, Western Atlantic Halimedaceae Udotea 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. 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. 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.
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Shaving Brush Plant
(Penicillus sp.) Easy Moderate gallons Substrate 12" 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Division Green Trace elements, iron Global tropics Bombacaceae Macroalgae The Shaving Brush Plant (Penicillus sp.) is a popular plant species amongst marine aquarium hobbyists both for its hardy nature and filtration capabilities. Named for its unique shape that looks similar to a brush used for applying shaving cream, the Shaving Brush Plant has proven itself to be useful in both refugiums and within the display aquarium. Shaving Brush Plants should be planted in the sand bed of the aquarium or refugium and provided with both moderate lighting and water flow. The tubular stalk and long thin leaves give the plant the appearance of a plant as opposed to many other forms of macro algae that grow in clumps or long strands. Unlike many species of marine plants that quickly become fish food if placed within the display aquarium, the Shaving Brush Plant is not often consumed by fish or other tank inhabitants. Hobbyists should ensure that the plants remain rooted in the sand bed and are placed where they can receive both moderate water flow and lighting. While the plants are adept at removing nitrates and phosphates from the water column for food, they should also be provided supplemental iron and trace elements in order to maintain good growth. The Shaving Brush Plant also makes an excellent addition to vegetable sump filters and refugiums, where it will work towards removing excess nutrients from the aquarium water. Marine aquarium hobbyists have found the Shaving Brush Plant to be both an excellent chemical filtration tool and an attractive aquarium decoration. Whether used in the display aquarium or refugium, Shaving Brush Plants are excellent at removing excess nutrients from the aquarium. Unlike many other forms of macro algae, this species both looks attractive when rooted in the aquarium substrate and will not be eaten by the vast majority of aquarium inhabitants. Moderate to high lighting should be provided, along with plenty of indirect water flow. The addition of trace elements via water changes and iron supplementation should be provided for good long term health. Overall this is an excellent plant species for all levels of marine aquarium hobbyists and for both FOWLR and reef aquarium environments. Shaving Brush Plants grow in sandy shallow water fields in the wild. In nature they utilize both sunlight and nutrients found in the water for food and depend on water currents to remove waste products away from the plant. Hobbyists should be sure that they provide plenty of high intensity lighting and at least moderate water flow in order to provide proper care for this species. For the best care, plant them in aquarium or refugium substrate in an area that is well illuminated and receives plenty of laminar or varied water flow.
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Maidens Hair Plant
(Chlorodesmis sp.) Expert Strong gallons Any 8" 72-81° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Fragmentation, Sporulation Green Trace Elements, Iron Tropics Codiaceae Chlorodesmis Maiden's Hair (Chlorodesmis sp.) 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 Maiden's Hair 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 Maiden's Hair Plant to be placed into aquariums where many marine plants would be quickly consumed. The Maiden's Hair 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. The Maiden's Hair Plant 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. Maiden's Hair 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 Maiden's Hair 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. Maiden's Hair can be pruned by simply removing clumps of the plant from the rock on which it is attached and disposing the excess plant material. In order for Maiden's hair 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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Halimeda Plant
(Halimeda sp.) Moderate Medium to High gallons Lower 24" 72-82° F, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025, KH 8-12 Clippings Green Calcium, Trace Elements, Iron Tropics Halimedaceae Halimeda The Halimeda Plant (Halimeda sp.) is a calcareous form of green macroalgae that is found growing throughout the worlds tropical regions. Calcareous species like the Halimeda Plant require calcium carbonate, calcium or limestone in order to grow each segment of the plant. The joints between the calcareous growths are flexible, which allow the plant to cope with water currents and disturbances from large fish or invertebrates. Halimeda macroalgae is coveted within the marine aquarium for its attractive appearance and controlled growth rate. Halimeda Plants can coexist with both sessile invertebrates and corals, as they grow upwards towards the light and do not infringe on nearby neighbors. This plant is also suitable for most FOWLR aquariums as most fish species will not eat the Halimeda Plant. However, Halimeda macroalgae is intolerant of high levels of nitrate or phosphate that are often found in elevated levels in FOWLR aquariums. Halimeda calcareous algae grow well in environments with high calcium, medium light, very low levels of nitrates and phosphates, and low amounts of iron in the 0.05 ppm range. Halimeda grows more upwards that outwards, thus they are generally planted in a sandy substrate or attached to live rock that is placed on the aquarium or sump substrate. Planting the Halimeda Plant in the substrate allows it plenty of room to grow before requiring pruning. This does not do well when pruned too often; therefore, it is better to plant it in such a way that it will have plenty of room for growth. In addition to moderate to high lighting and a steady supply of calcium supplementation, the Halimeda Plant requires low levels of dissolved nutrients like nitrate and phosphate. Halimeda macroalgae require plenty of calcium, some iron and moderate lighting in order to thrive within the marine aquarium environment. They will also grow in other lighting conditions, but will always require a steady source of calcium in order to build their calcareous based structure. They should be provided moderate water flow and water that is low in dissolved nutrients.
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Red Smooth Leaf Kelp
(Haliptilon sp.) Moderate Moderate to High gallons Any 12" 70-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Clipping Dark Pink, Red, Purple Calcium, Trace Elements, Iron Indo-Pacific Grateloupiaceae Tropical Kelp Red Smooth Leaf Kelp makes for an attractive marine plant species in aquariums that do not have large plant eating fish species present. It is also extremely useful in refugiums as a form of filtration and to provide habitat for copepods and amphipods. It is important to provide intense lighting (4 watts per gallon or more) and a good amount of indirect water flow in order to stimulate a good growth rate. Once well established in the refugium, Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can be harvested and placed into the main display aquarium as a food source for marine herbivores. This effectively removes the nutrients that the plant has absorbed from the water column once the fish consume them. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can attached to live rock, live rock rubble or planted in the substrate. Once established and thriving, the Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow upwards of 12 inches in height. Mature plants can be cut down and replanted in order to propagate the plant. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp should be grown in aquariums with low nutrient levels so that it is not beat out by faster growing microalgae. However, when provided intense lighting, low nutrient (phosphate & nitrate) levels and good water flow, the Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow quite large. Well established Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow upwards more than outwards, and can be pruned and re-planted in order to propagate the plant. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp (Haliptilon sp.) is a form of macroalgae or otherwise known as the "good kind of algae" as opposed to microalgae ie. hair algae. Unlike the aggressively fast grow hair algae that can overrun an aquarium, the Red Smooth Leaf Kelp is a peaceful form of macroalgae that has a controlled growth rate and beautiful appearance. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp has a very attractive dark pink to red coloration and interesting shape and overall appearance. While Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can be grown in the reef aquarium where nutrients like phosphates and nitrates are kept low, it is most often grown in the refugium environment in order to protect it from grazing fish species like Tangs and Angelfish who will readily consume it. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp provides multiple benefits to the marine aquarium or marine aquarium refugium as it looks beautiful, removes nutrients from the water column, provides habitat and breeding grounds for copepods and amphipods and can be a food source for many fish species. Under the correct conditions Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can grow quite tall, which allows it to be harvested as a food source for marine herbivore fish species. It is not uncommon for a well designed refugium with Red Smooth Leaf Kelp growing in it to serve as both a main component of the filtration system via nutrient removal and an excellent source of nutrition for herbivorous marine fish species. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp makes for an attractive marine plant species in aquariums that do not have large plant eating fish species present. It is also extremely useful in refugiums as a form of filtration and to provide habitat for copepods and amphipods. It is important to provide intense lighting (4 watts per gallon or more) and a good amount of indirect water flow in order to stimulate a good growth rate. After well established in the refugium, Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can be harvested and placed into the main display aquarium as a food source for marine herbivores. This effectively removes the nutrients that the plant has absorbed from the water column once the fish consume them. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp can attached to live rock, live rock rubble or planted in the substrate. Once established and thriving, the Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow upwards of 12 inches in height. Mature plants can be cut down and replanted in order to propagate the plant. Red Smooth Leaf Kelp should be grown in aquariums with low nutrient levels so that it is not beat out by faster growing micro algae. However, when provided intense lighting, low nutrient (phosphate & nitrate) levels and good water flow, the Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow quite large. Well established Red Smooth Leaf Kelp will grow upwards more than outwards, and can be pruned and re-planted in order to propagate the plant.
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Red Mangrove Tree
(Rhizophora mangle) Easy Medium to High gallons Any 220" 72-82° F, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025, KH 8-12 Seeds, Viviparous Green, Red, Brown Trace Elements, Iron-Rich Fertilizer Tropics Rhizophoraceae Red Mangrove Red Mangrove Trees (Rhizophora mangle) are found growing throughout tropical and subtropical estuarine ecosystems throughout the world. Red Magroves thrive in brackish coastal waters and salty marshes where most other plants cannot survive. In fact they are so successful that they actually create their own habitat where other plants and animals live and thrive. The roots of the Red Mangrove are generally rooted in soil or sand, but can be submerged in water either for portions of the day or on a constant basis. It is this well established root system that creates habitat both above and below the waterline for species as varying as mammals and birds to fish and crustaceans. Marine aquarium hobbyists covet the Red Mangrove Tree for its ability to absorb large quantities of nutrients from aquarium water. They are often found in aquarium sumps and refugiums where they are rooted in sand, mud or other similar substrates. They absorb nutrients from the aquarium water which reduces nitrates, phosphates and other nutrients from the water, which works to starve out nuisance algae growth. Their root structure also provides habitat in the refugium or sump where copepods, amphipods or other small crustaceans can live and thrive. These various pods function as a secondary food source for the display tank and as a secondary form of filtration as the pods consume detritus and other fish waste that makes its way to the sump. Red Mangrove Trees are viviparous, meaning that they reproduce from plant-lets that form while still attached to the parent before dropping off and growing into their own new tree. These fully-grown propagule are fully capable of rooting and producing a new tree or floating in the water for a time before rooting. They are hermaphrodites that are fully capable of self pollination or wind pollination. In order to thrive in the aquarium environment, the Red Mangrove Tree will need a supply of nutrient rich water, sandy substrate and a lighting source (5500K to 6700K for ideal conditions). Being that they originate from tropical origins, the Red Mangrove is accustomed to long periods of sunlight from 12 to 14 hours per day. Mangrove Trees in the home aquarium will need to be pruned and harvested from time to time in order to keep their growth in check. Red Mangrove Trees in the wild can commonly grow upwards of 20 feet or more without pruning. However, rapid growth in the home aquarium is a good thing as it means that large quantities of nutrients are being removed from the aquarium water. After pruning parent trees and removing the clippings, the nutrients are effectively exported or removed from the aquarium.
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Chaetomorpha Algae
(Chaetomorpha sp.) Easy Moderate to High Any Varies 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Clipping Gallons Green Magnesium, Trace Elements, Iron Tropics Cladophoraceae 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. 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. 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.
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