Cheato and refugium

Backer

New member
Need some help with Refugium. I just recently started my tank over from scratch (running now for almost 2 months). I had a custom sump built with a 5gal refugium . The refugium sets inside the sump but is a separate chamber from the sump flow. The refugium is fed by a small pump rated at 237 gph, but have it restricted to probably 2/3 flow with ball valve and has a spray bar submerged in the refugium. The pumps sends water from the sock chamber into the refugium, and the refugium over flows into the return chamber. The refugium has rock rubble spread across the bottom and a ball of cheato about the size of a softball. The refugium is lit by a reefbreeders pico refugium light running 8 hrs a night. The cheato has been in the refugium for about two weeks now. I thought everything was going well but since the cheato doesn't really tumble I thought I would just turn it over by hand. When I did the cheato started to break apart. The top side seemed firm but appeared the pieces came from the bottom when I was trying to flip it. What could be causing the issue. The cheato is green an looks the correct color but just appears to be falling apart. The nitrates in my tank are somewhere between 0 and 5ppm. Is this normal? It this is a sign of the cheato dieting?


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Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
That sounds like a great setup. Chaeto works great when there are plenty of nutrients, but not so well when not. Are your phosphates low as well? When your tank has excellent parameters, chaeto suffers. There are a few things to try. Reduce the size of your chaeto ball by getting rid of the crumbly bits. Smaller plant mass needs fewer nutrients. You might try a marine specific Iron supplement. It's a trace element that can be quickly stripped from closed systems. Corals like it too. Also consider diversifying your fuge flora, with a less greedy, slower growing macro such as Gracilaria. That way you are covered for different nutrient levels. Can you adjust the angle of the spray bar and/or turn up the flow to get things tumbling? It's not required but it might help.
 

Backer

New member
The spray bar can be rotated to any angle that I need, but did try several angles when I first put the Cheato in to the refugium. However, I was not able to get the Cheato to tumble. The cheato sank to the bottom when I put it in, and could not get it to float or tumble. Does most cheato float, or is normal for it to sink and sit on the bottom. Could my flow rate be to high?
 

Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
It's normal to sink. It might float if there are lots of bubbles. I would think you need more flow to get it tumbling. But maybe less flow would help. Try both. For spray bar angle, I would try almost horizontal or almost vertical. Like topspin or backspin when you're shooting pool.
 

Oldreeferman

New member
That sounds like a great setup. Chaeto works great when there are plenty of nutrients, but not so well when not. Are your phosphates low as well? When your tank has excellent parameters, chaeto suffers. There are a few things to try. Reduce the size of your chaeto ball by getting rid of the crumbly bits. Smaller plant mass needs fewer nutrients. You might try a marine specific Iron supplement. It's a trace element that can be quickly stripped from closed systems. Corals like it too. Also consider diversifying your fuge flora, with a less greedy, slower growing macro such as Gracilaria. That way you are covered for different nutrient levels. Can you adjust the angle of the spray bar and/or turn up the flow to get things tumbling? It's not required but it might help.

That is some really sound advice for a mature tank, would make a super sticky! Ill be filing this one in my long term mem for sure:thumbsup:
 
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