New Fuge questions?

tankgirl2

New member
Hi, Just put in a cpr aquafuge with Chaetomorpha in it (no other macroalgae). My question is;

1. Do I need to dose iron, since Chaeto won't go sexual?

2. Do I need to dose more iodine (I already dose a little - a 10ml of Salifert every three weeks or so)

3. Is it bad to shake to debris off the algae? I read that somewhere, but wonder if it doesn't cut down on light absorbtion (and hence growth)?

Thanks!!!!
 

Plantbrain

New member
This is a pretty tough algae, not picky about requirements.
Generally lots of NO3 or NH4 will cause it to go nuts.
Iron is funny, it may help it some but you may also get another algae you don't like bloom. Caulerpas are good since they get the iron from the substrates in the mud filters etc.
This algae loves current.

Brushing off or shaking the large algae actually removes quite a bit of attached periphyton, simply taking the algae out and swirling in a flask removed close 70-80% of the attached periphyton on large plants/macro algae in a study I know of personally.
This was more than I thought would be removed.

The good current will make it more difficult for many species of algae to attach.

Regards,
TomBarr
 

billsreef

Moderator, 10 & Over Club
Premium Member
Iron dosing is something I find usefull for growing macro's. As Tom mentions, it can also promote unwanted algaes as well. When using Iron my advise is start with small doses and slowly increase the dose over time. Watch closely for effects on the tank to find the dosage rate that gives you inceased macro growth without too much extra growth of the micro's on the glass.

Randy Holmes-Farley did some experiments on Iodine addition with Chaetomorpha. He didn't find a statisticaly valid growth difference between dosing and not dosing.
 

tankgirl2

New member
Hi Tom!! Hi Bill!!
Thanks a jillion! So, I'll skip any additional iodine, give it a teeny smidge of iron, and avoid shaking it (oops).

What's periphyton?
Sounds like maybe an algal equivalent of phytoplankton?

I didn't want to mess with having the fuge lights on 24/7, so went with the Chaeto - cause it doesn't go sexual, also like that it doesn't attach to rocks.
 

Plantbrain

New member
Periphyton is a term use to describe the attached microcommunity on a surface such as a plant leaf, glass slide or some substrate.
This includes other things besides algae, such as protozoans, bacteria etc.

Sorry for jargon:)

One thing you might consider with the algae you have, use a timer with those 15 minute ticks on it. Run the water through and refill every 15 minutes, on/off. This is a cheap batch cycling method and worked pretty well with turf scrubbers. I ran two of these systems on a reverse cycle.

Not sure if folks have done much of this with Refug's. Be interesting to try.
You'd need good circulation in the Refuge and the main tank with powerheads not on the timer.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

tankgirl2

New member
Hi again and THanks, Tom!! Sounds interesting - the timer thing. What would be the advantange of doing that?
Cheers, tankgirl
 

Plantbrain

New member
It's a poor man's "batch" filter.

It filters small amounts of the water very well rather than trying to filter the whole tank moderately well.
This allows the batch to be complelety cleaned prior to return.
There were a few companies that made Batch denitrifiers back in the late 80's early/mid 90's when I played around around with plants/bacteria and algae for primary filtration. I tried out a few things with the algae in a similar method.

I'm not telling you to do this or try it, I just thought it was interesting to try.

New folks etc should stick with the tried and true methods, play and monkey around at your _own risk_.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

tankgirl2

New member
Tom, Thanks so much!!! Wonderfully interesting idea! Is there any info on whether 15 mins. is enough to actually clean a batch? Just curious.
You're a wizard!
No fear, I'd always research an idea like that pretty thoroughly - but it's truly intriqueing. Did you see any benefit from trying it? Or, do you know of others who tried it?
 

billsreef

Moderator, 10 & Over Club
Premium Member
I like the timer idea. Considering one of the considerations in algae/fuge type filtration is the retention time in the fuge. Length of time for retention would vary from system to system based on the type of algae and the tanks load in regards to nutrient inputs. Hmm, I can see more experiments to do. Now to just find the time ;)
 

Plantbrain

New member
Crap! Another person falls to Fiddleidus!:) The uncontrolled urge to mess with something you spent _so long_ perfecting. Hehe. That's the fun in it for some of us.

Seems a more concentrated pulse of nutrients would help improve uptake rates of the large macro's and this would favor them a bit more without having to maintain a higher residual nutient level in the whole system.
This is not likely to be that significant in our system but it might help some.

I think the notion that is significant is the substrate interaction with the refugium. Seems the lack of flow would enable the substrate to pulse out nutrients and stress the plants/macro's a bit more and force them to use their roots/rhizoids more.

A concentration gradient would get larger across the substrate/water column interface as the water column became depleted. This would bring more nutrients up into the root zone.

The large macro's /plants also have better reserves than the small nusiance algae amd the periods of stagnant flow could cuase the small algae to become nutrient limited for short periods while helping out the macro which would need to shut down/adjust their metabolism to deal with the nutrient fluxes.

I don't know though, many algae can adapt very well to stresses like these also.

As far as nutrient pull out of the water column? I think this might help some. Whether it's significant remains to be seen.

I think about the nice macro's I find in tide pools and they get a splash of Seawater every so often. Seldom willI ever find nasty old nusiance algae but rich macro growth.

With all the research work done on the Intertidal, seems there should be plenty of info done on species composition and density of macro's(vs density of the smaller nusiance algae) within the pools in the splash zones and/or temporarily isoloated tide pool areas.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

tankgirl2

New member
Tom - It's a wonderfully interesting idea - Very worth trying!! I'd think the nutrient levels would be pretty uniform thruout the tank (normally) and it'd be great to see what bursts of nutrient poor water would do - especially to nuisance algae. Think you should present it in the advanced topics (if you haven't already).
Perfection is unattainable in artificial reefs - frees us up to try for improvement!!

Bill, I'd love to hear about it, if you test it out!!! By the way, I like your signature better than any I've ever seen!!!

I'd need to run the timer a month on and a month off to be able to see differences between the two approaches.
 

tankgirl2

New member
postscript;
just realized, that water changes would have the same result - just on a longer cycle. Has anyone ever noticed the impact of water changes on nuisance algae - whether the lack of nutrients has any discernable effect for a day or two afterwards?
 

Plantbrain

New member
Irritating algae often is beaten back considerably for 1-3 days.
If you pick on the algae before the water change, clean filters etc, then do a large water change, this really reduces the organics and algae/critter DOC. Stuff folks never test for in the hobby but often feeds a number of organisms like pesky algae or at least encourages them.
You could also use carbon etc for this. I like the re set of a large water change, nothing quite like it and it's easy. The salt cost some$ but so does a big skimmer, carbon all the traces, dosing etc.

I think the cycling will work also but the main tank will need extra flow during the off cycle of the filter, perhaps the refuge as well.
Extra powerheads and the cost there might cause some issues.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

tankgirl2

New member
Hi Tom,
a departure from conventional wisdom; re the large water changes. How big? 25%?

Neither skimmer nor carbon will remove phosphates (or nitrates, directly) - again, I'm curious about what impact the bigger bursts of nutrient poor water might have.

I imagine the conventional "small" changes advice is to minimally impact the amount of plankton in the water column? And, maybe to minimize small differences in pH, temp, etc.??? Not really sure... Since most of the bacterial filter is in the rocks and sand, I don't think it would have any profound impact on that.

Well, You're making me think about stuff I haven't really thought about before!!!
 

Plantbrain

New member
"a departure from conventional wisdom; re the large water changes. How big? 25%?"

50%,I'll do more, up to 70% in some cases.
It takes the same time to do little almost as it takes to do a lot.
A number of well respected reef folks also did this every so often and mentioned it really help their tanks etc even on 10,000gal tanks etc.

"Neither skimmer nor carbon will remove phosphates (or nitrates, directly) - again, I'm curious about what impact the bigger bursts of nutrient poor water might have."

I add PO4, I use monobasic potassium phosphate, but you can use H3PO4 andor Fleet enemas(Sodium phophate mainly).

PO4 although is often blamed for many issues, is not the evil doer many ascribe it to with macro's and plants. They love the stuff. Smaller algae tend to do better at lower levels of PO4/NO3 etc.
You will have a rough time limiting algae by reducing PO4.
The small zooxanthllae sort of fall into this group and small nusiance algae fit into this group but the macro's need more PO4 and other nutrients.

"I imagine the conventional "small" changes advice is to minimally impact the amount of plankton in the water column?"

I don't really focus on plankton, I'm after the plants/macro's not the critters and their food. You can add plankton back and culture it in 2 liter jugs etc.

"And, maybe to minimize small differences in pH, temp, etc.???"

No. The pH/Temp in the make up water is very close.

" Not really sure... Since most of the bacterial filter is in the rocks and sand, I don't think it would have any profound impact on that."

I think the lion's share of the bacteria is in the sand, not the rocks. The plants short circuit the cycle, they are the "filter".
Happy plants= happy tank=happy fish.
Take care of the plants and everything else falls into place.

For the filter feeding corals, the plankton and the plankton's food(Both zooplankton and phytoplankton) can be raised separately and doses as needed.

You can also dose this in the between cycles so that less gets into the refuge etc.

I'm mainly a plant/mcro algae person. Ilike refuges as they are and as a tank speciality in themselves. Plants doing the work of filtration, PO$/NO4 etc removal. They are good at it. Much better than any PO4 remover/NO3 remover etc and it's awful hard to seel the old spent PO4 remover wereas I get a fair price for for macro's and plants.

"Well, You're making me think about stuff I haven't really thought about before!!!"

Sorry, I'll try not to let it happen again:)

Regards,
TomBarr
 

piercho

New member
50%,I'll do more, up to 70% in some cases.
I've done this on my reef tank for nearly 2 years (since the beginning), and been made to feel like the reef pariah for admitting it. IMO little teeny dilutions just don't do anything. As for those people who experience major problems with big dilutions... I have no postulates. I keep stony corals, clams, and anemones and going back to baseline (big dilutions) has never had a negative effect that I can tell.

Tom: does your "batch processing" tank drain down between cycles (exposing the algae to air) or are you simply pushing the water through in batches? TIA.
 

Plantbrain

New member
Generally dissication slows/harms/kills plant/macro growth. Depends on the species really. Some are much more tolerant than others, some can have it done in a semi sealed chamber(A flat box etc) that's allowed to drain but still keeps a humid atmosphere to avoid the dissication effects.

My idea was more a flow through gate.

As far as admitting it(large frequent water changes)? Well folks should try it.

I think many folks approach this hobby, whether it's FW, SW, Brackish etc, with the goal of avoiding water changes. That's like packing 10 people in a small bathroom and not flushing the toilet for a weeks on end.

I know folks are lazy and like to avoid work but in efforts to avoid such a simple easy to process, they get ever more complex, compicated systems that cost more $ often in the long run.

I know some very well respected folks that do large water changes and they all agree that big water changes really helps.
Especially if you don't know what's going on or are having a problem, clean off whatever is and do a water change is the first order of business.

For small micro reefs, this is a snap. But I'm focusing on plants/macro's.

I do not know how much of an improvement over the continous flow through the set up might have. I worry some folks might have a Caulerpa melt down/other problems.
I think it's more an experimental tank test rather than folks trying this with their main system.

You'll need very good Test kits for measurement, eg all Lamott or Hach kits especially for NO3/PO4 measurements. I have an ion meter at school but I'd have to buy a NO3 probe and account for interferences and make a series of known standards to calibrate. I don't have the time/$ to do it that way.
I just wonder if there's enough difference to pick up from the kits or not.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

tankgirl2

New member
Hi All, couple of questions (going back a little);

the notion that is significant is the substrate interaction with the refugium. Seems the lack of flow would enable the substrate to pulse out nutrients and stress the plants/macro's a bit more and force them to use their roots/rhizoids more

Tom, you meant the substrate in the fuge, right? Also, in my case (chaeto only) don't have roots! Well, none in the substrate, anyway. How would that affect this process?

periods of stagnant flow could cause the small algae to become nutrient limited for short periods while helping out the macro which would need to shut down/adjust their metabolism to deal with the nutrient fluxes.

Would 15 mins be enough time to cause the macro to shut down/adjust it's metabolism?

Actually, easy to test for some interesting info; If I get the chance, today, I'll test for nitrates in the fuge, then shut it down for 15 mins and test again. Be interesting....
In my case, fuge is only about 2 gals and tank is 55 - I'm curious about what the resulting nutrient gradient would be?

Cheers! And Hi, also, piercho
 

boobookitty

New member
I'm glad I found this thread, rather than starting one of my own, although it's a little older...hopefully it'll still get some responses...:)


I too added a CPR refugium (18"x4"x12") on a 75g tank. I stocked it with chaetomorpha, and have it primarily for pod growth and macro...I put it in specifically because I was having a nitrate issue. The nitrates are still an issue, with around a 5ppm increase a week, so I'm wondering if the chaetomorpha just isn't growing well enough.

The fuge is the 18" long version, around 3 gallons, with live sand, pods, etc. For lighting I'm currently using a 20W NO flourescent - an ugly Home Depot special - but it doesn't seem to light the 'fuge well enough, so I've just ordered a 65W PC fixture with an 8800K bulb. Could lighting be the issue? Phosphates are fairly low now (after a series of water changes a month ago), around 0.1. In addition to the chaetomorpha, I also put in there some of the red gracilaria that the LFS sell for tangs - it's not growing much, mostly I just use it for storage of a handful while I feed it to the tangs over a month's time.

I *have* noticed a macro growing pretty well, though, and I've had to harvest it a couple times already. Forgive me for not knowing the name, but I'm just starting to get familiar with macro - it starts its life as long thin green strands that grow from the sides of the fuge, which eventually thicken up into flat blades that start to get crinkly after a while - looks like long blades of green grass. This stuff grows like wildfire in the 'fuge. I didn't put it there, but I've had it grow in the tank before, so it made its way to the fuge.

Any ideas for increasing chaetomorpha growth? I've hesitated to add iron without learning more about this, and I'm wondering if the 65W PC is too much for the 'fuge (but I got a decent deal on the fixture, so I took it :)).

Thanks for any help...

bbk (aka Arthur)
 
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