Is dying chaetomorpha bad for the tank

mskvarenina

New member
Despite fairly high nitrate 40-50ppm and some phosphate 0.45 and good waterflow and light through my refugium for some reason by chatomorpha seems to be dying. It's turning pale and grey and seems to be breaking away from the clump.

I ordered an iron test kit to see if it's an iron deficiency but in the meantime I'm not sure what to do. Is the dying chato harmful to the tank? Should I just remove it all, clean out the fuge then restock it with a fresh clump from my LFS?
 

mskvarenina

New member
Ok then, so mine is a little high but shouldn't that be good for the Chaeto? My phosphate was 0.42 last week. I'm just worried that the dying chaeto may be toxic to the tank? Today the fish have not been out as much as usual and a flame angel who is usually out and about is nowhere to be found.
 

atrox

New member
Remove anything that is dead. Has it started turning white/flaking off in small pieces?
 

mskvarenina

New member
If I tumble it, small pieces break off and float away. Certainly not the nice deep green that it was when I added it just a week ago.
 

Drakon

New member
I've been having a similar issue with ever batch of chaeto I've gotten from my lfs it gets brittle and breaks up real easily after a few days and I'm starting to wonder if that's normal. What kind of light do you have on it?.

On a side note I've been having a lot more luck with Gracilaria parvispora and Ulva sp. (added straight to my DT atm) From my understanding they dont grow as fast as chaeto but my yellow tang loves to graze on it through the day. Might want look into a variety of macros just research what ones can go sexual on you.
 

mskvarenina

New member
I actually have 2 lights. One is an Aquafuge refugium light with a bulb presumably appropriate for growing. The other is also a grow bulb fluorescent but I'm not sure who the manufacturer is.
 

mskvarenina

New member
You acclimated the chaeto algae right?

How do you acclimate chaeto? I just pulled it from the bag and dropped it into the fuge. I figured it's just a plant and doesn't really need any special handling?

And with my prior clump it was getting cyano on it so I was pulling it out and rinsing regularly with fresh water from the tap.

Is all this bad?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I ordered an iron test kit to see if it's an iron deficiency but in the meantime

FWIW, I doubt the kit is useful in a marine tank. Iron levels in seawater are typically well below kit detection limits, even after dosing.
 

mskvarenina

New member
Well it's a Shechem kit which is made for salt (and fresh) water. I can't imagine Seachem would sell a kit that was not useful?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Well it's a Shechem kit which is made for salt (and fresh) water. I can't imagine Seachem would sell a kit that was not useful?

Can't you???? Maybe this is a good time to become more skeptical of hobby supply companies in general.

This is what they claim:

"This kit measures iron in freshwater or marine water to less than 0.05 mg/L."

Since the NSW level of iron in surface seawater is about 0.000006 ppm, that 0.05 ppm lower limit doesn't look all that useful. Even after my recommended dose of iron for macroalgae, you are far below that detection limit.

I discuss iron in these articles:

Iron In A Reef Tank: Macroalgae and Dosing Recommendations
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/aug2002/chem.htm

Iron: A Look At Organisms Other Than Macroalgae
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2002/chem.htm
 

mskvarenina

New member
Thanks Randy, Once I saw the number of posts you contributed (83,375 and growing) I checked out your profile and saw chemistry was an area of extreme expertise so that you for your valuable input. I will definitely study your articles in detail later in the week.


So can you comment on my main problem of the dying chaeto?

The main symptoms are I added 1 lb of Chaeto from LiveAquaria about a week ago. When it arrived it was nice and green (although it did smell a bit foul but thought maybe that was just the plant odor). I placed it in my sump where which has good waterflow and lighting. My nitrates (this is a FO tank) were about 40-50ppm and my phostphate at least 0.35. Now just a week later, the dark green is nearly all gone and has instead turned very pale to grey. If I tumble the chaeto, it just breaks apart and floats in the water.

I can think of only 2 possible items that could be a problem. First, I was dosing the tank with Cupramine at a 0.5mg/L concentration whcih I just started removing 2 days ago with both a Polyfilter and Curpisorb. And second I did not acclimate the chaeto before putting it in but most people say there is no acclimation needed.

Any ideas? Perhaps I should be trying to find a botinist.
 

Uncle Salty 05

New member
Does your tank have sand and rocks in it?
If so they have absorbed the copper and are useless in a reef tank.
You will never remove enough copper to make the tank safe for inverts.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
I regret to say the cupramine is meant for bare tanks, no sand, no rock, etc: PolyFilter will get it. If you need it again, do it only in a bare tank with no carbon...

Re the cheato not thriving, I would actually suspect your light is inadequate. I grow it very well under a shoplight with a 6500 k CFL bulb...ordinary household stuff, but very high k.
 

mskvarenina

New member
Yes I have sand and dead rock in the tank. It may have absorbed some but I was then able to maintain a constant level of 0.5mg/L for 30 days.

This is a FO tank so I'm not really concerned about adding inverts but Cuprisorb seems to imply that if you run it for a month it will complete remove any absorbed copper.

The issue at hand today is why the chaeto is dying instead of flourishing in a nutrient rich and light rich environment. I have not been able to find any solid documenation that says copper effects chaeto.
 

mskvarenina

New member
Re the cheato not thriving, I would actually suspect your light is inadequate. I grow it very well under a shoplight with a 6500 k CFL bulb...ordinary household stuff, but very high k.

Yes next time around I plan on setting up a QT.

Prior to the copper dosing using the same lighting conditions a clump of chaeto really started growing well so I don't think it's the lighting as I know I've had success with the existing lighting (which is actually a AquaFuge flourescent refugium light and a Sunpower flourescent grow bulb).

I'd like to just blame it on the copper but since I can't find any realy documention for this I can't be sure and am wondering if it's something else.
 
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