Poor growth in macros


New member
I added some macros to my HOB refugium about a month ago. One of the racemosas went sexual right away and I pulled it all out. The other had some die off and since has grown several long branches but not grape bubbles. The mexicana has remained about the same since I put it in. I've been dosing iodine and iron and the tanks has a nitrate level of 20 - thats why I went to all of this expense! All of the caulerpas came in attached to rocks. Shouldn't they spread to the mud substrate? I have pulled out some of the mexicana in hopes that it would stimulate some growth. Can anybody think of anything else that might help spur this stuff on?
first I'm going to ask a question....

What lighting do you use for them and whats the lighting pattern?

IME I had some feather caulerpa go sexual on me and it was not very fun why don't you try a spcies which is less likly to go sexual on you. Like the oh so mentions chaetomorpa (which I use) some types of gracilia (which I use) and ulva (which I'll be using, wink wink)
The lights are on 24/7. The light came with the refugium (Ecosystem). It is a 18W 100K Jalli daylight bulb.

I don't use any of the non caulerpa macros because we can't seem to get them up here. Most locations in the states won't/can't ship to Canada. The macros I have are the ones I can get.
going sexual?

going sexual?

What happens when a plant goes sexual?

Why is it such a bad thing?

I have the same question as dmirza. And if going sexual is such a bad thing, how does a reefer prevent/ control it?

IME when a caulerpa goes "sexual" it basically breaks down realeasing (don't know the proprer name) "spores" into the water. In that case most reefers do a massive water change to help prevent the cal\ulper from spreading to the main tank system.

IME feather caulerpa will go sexual the easiest. I had this happen in a small 40 gallon breeder and the algae got into the main tank and started growing eveantually taking over the tank I borrowed a freinds yellow tank and it ate some of the algaes I ended up letting the tank "go" as I was building a new system......
So really the only bad thing of going sexual is the worry of spreading algae to the main tank. Does it relaease any toxins or poisons that can be detrimental to the tank inhabitants? I just added some macros to my sump to grow food for my fish as well as remove excess nutrients. What should I be looking for as far as growth is concerned? Thanks.
Hi-jacking my thread

Hi-jacking my thread

Hey guys,
This is my thread. You can find out more than you want to know about plants going sexual by reading the other threads!

Anybody have any ideas about what I can do to help my plants grow?
How long have you had your refugium set up? I know that when I set mine up it took a couple weeks before the macros really started taking off. Now there's no stopping them. You might need a little more light. I'm running 110 watts on my 20 gallon refugium.

Thanks Travis
The refugium has been up and running for about 6 months. The caulerpa are about a month old. I noticed that one of the pieces I threw into my main tank looks like it has some new holdfasts growing. Maybe its not enough light. I'm not sure how to change the lighting tho' as it is part of the whole unit.
More light and plant them into the "mud". They have rhizoids and will take up nutrients from the substrate. Push them in about 2-3 cm.
They don't sound N limited, and unlikely P limited, most Caulerpa species will take off in less than week, mine have started growing good in roughly 2-4 days, then they don't stop.
I run 110 w of PC lighting on a 25 gallon. This is about right for most macro's/plants and many SW critters.

I'm not sure the size of the Refug you have, but try for around 4-5w/gal range of PC's, that's plenty of light for them to grow fast. Fast growth= fast nutrient removal=happy tank owner.

Herbivores can control a good deal of main tank infestations. The algae will often go sexual due to temp changes, and other disturbances to the system.
Think of it as "seed production" , when times are tough, they release the gametes in hopes one will carried to a better location than the parent.
Some picking and cleaning of the main tank never hurts anyway. Nor does a large water change.

Tom Barr