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Broseff

Macroalgae Ecosystem?

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Broseff

So, I currently have a freshwater shrimp tank that is mostly self-sustaining (walstad method) and I was hoping to recreate something similar that's saltwater. 

 

My end goal: 

  • 3 gallon tank (same size as my freshwater, for aesthetic purposes)
  • Filled with Macros (I don't expect/want a large variety, 3-4 types at most.)
  • Little maintance (Specifically glass cleaning & water changes. I know that I'll need to dose, trim, and top off.)
  • Low tech? (Would love to just need a light. I know something that generates flow may be necessary.)
  • Some fauna (Maybe like asterina starfish, not expecting to be able to support much.)
  • Little testing (Hopefully once everything is stable I'll be able to do everything on a schedule and only test once in a while.)

 

I already have some Macros. Specifically Gracilaria Hayi, and Red Ogo (I think, the store laballed it as Gracilaria Hawaii). I also know that dosing will be necessary in the long run (trace, iron, calcium). 

 

I have a few questions for the community to help me get started and hopefully I'll be posting some long term updates/data from my tank.

 

  1. Are there any current posts/websites that go in depth with Macro tanks? (I know tigahboy.h2o on instagram runs lovely macro tanks and responds on there, but I'm hoping to find some other sources.)
  2. What is the role of flow in relation to macroalgae? (Why do some need higher flow than others? Can some grow without any?)
  3. What are some easy macros that would pair well with what I already have? (ie What grows in similar conditions to Gracilaria Hayi?)
  4. What are the best micro fauna for such a setup? (I do mean micro, I'm down for brittle stars, isopods, and the such. I prefer inverts over fish.)
  5. How much does the ph in macro tank swing at night? And what would this affect? 

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king aiptasia

some others can add more to what i'll say.

 

Many algae that are not sold are reliant on tidal motions in the ocean and require unusual flow patterns not replicated easily at home. Many algae grow in fairly active environments with a lot of flow and tons of nutrients and when kept in tanks they gradually run out of nutrients and get overtaken by other algal organisms. You will have to read of each species habitat to know how well they might grow in tanks algaebase is a good resource for this

 

try getting animals like grazing polychaetes that will chew on algae and continue to breed in the tanks (easier said than done). Many marine snails can't breed effectively in our tanks so I don't recommend them as much for your sort of project but there is a few. Asterina stars may be something to consider, without fish and polyps to limit them copepods and ostracods will grow in larger quantities and often do become grazers of microalgae, not sure if you are going to install a filter.

 

Check out my tank thread in my signature if you want to see a really super bare bones setup. You are looking for something more algae based, be mindful a lot of species no matter how hard you try will keep fading out, it is frustrating but a lot has to do with those high flow environment I mentioned and a big part in the wrong fertility of the water, and the rest a gigantic mystery.

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ZekesReef

SeaFriendlyreef did a video recently on someone dedicated to macro set ups.

There's a bit of info on his website here however you may be able to track down the instagram.

Limited experience with macro but decent lighting, lowish flow, moderate nutrients do well. Similarly to corals dosing may need to be implemented depending on load. Good luck!
 

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growsomething

Macro algae needs macro nutrient dosing.  The flow needs are also different from a fw planted tank.  I've had a fw planted in the past that needed no dosing as yours does.  I'm not sure you can do that with sw macro.  All I do in my nuvo 10 is nsw changes 1x/mo. but there is no macro.  You could do a photosynthectic gorgonian/ricordia tank with microfauna and no dosing with regular w/c.

For the needs of macro, listen to this podcast interview with tigahboy:

https://reefnewsnetwork.com/rnn148/

 

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growsomething

There is no sw walstad method, but maybe you will invent one 👍🏼

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Pjanssen

check out @Tigahboy contest thread.

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king aiptasia
2 hours ago, growsomething said:

There is no sw walstad method, but maybe you will invent one 👍🏼

id be very curious to see the appearance of that

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Broseff

Thanks for all the links so far everyone!

 

I'm still trying to figure out the purpose of flow in relation to the growth of macros.

 

I know in a freshwater tank flow helps to circulate nutrients, clear detritus off plants, and promotes gas exchange. But I haven't seen much of a reason for it beyond this. In my freshwater tank I have no flow at all with slow/medium growing plants that have low light needs and they've done just fine (some even flowered). The tank supports shrimp (which recently had babies that are growing just fine) and snails. 

 

So, I would hope the same could be done in saltwater. I know that macroalgaes are not true plants and thus behave differently in some aspects, but I'm assuming macros that need little flow (with slow to moderate growth) might do fine with no flow. Unless there's something that I'm missing? Replicating a macros natural environment to a T doesn't seem necessary, as not all natural conditions are for the purpose of growth. 

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Broseff
12 hours ago, king aiptasia said:

Check out my tank thread in my signature if you want to see a really super bare bones setup. 

I checked it out, is there no flow at all in that tank?

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Broseff
26 minutes ago, Tigahboy said:

I'm following you on instagram and most tanks have more tech than I want to use in my setup (ideally just a light, maybe something to create flow). Are there any macros that might pair well with Gracilaria Hayi or Red Ogo that have similar (or very few) needs? 

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king aiptasia
49 minutes ago, Broseff said:

I checked it out, is there no flow at all in that tank?

not at all, it is just a screw in led at the only source of power going to the tank

 

Valonia grows fine in that, i dont have access to much macroalgae to test for now but if i do ill tell you what else can handle it

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Broseff
40 minutes ago, king aiptasia said:

Valonia grows fine in that.

Good to know that Valonia can grow like that, they literally give that stuff away at store near me. 

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Tigahboy
2 hours ago, Broseff said:

I'm following you on instagram and most tanks have more tech than I want to use in my setup (ideally just a light, maybe something to create flow). Are there any macros that might pair well with Gracilaria Hayi or Red Ogo that have similar (or very few) needs? 

Chaeto? 😄

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Broseff
1 minute ago, Tigahboy said:

Chaeto? 😄

I thought that Chaeto needed lots of flow? Since it can grows so dense.

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Subsea

Because you picked two compatable Red macros and green is a bright contrast, I suggest Caulerpa  Prolifera.  It reminds me of corkscrew Vallisnera.

 

All macros can withstand a wide range of environmental conditions.  In the IndoPacific reefs, pH fluctuations from 8.6 to 7.7 are recorded on individual reefs.

 

keep your asterina starfish out.  In my systems, they have attacked every macro they can find.  They don’t ear it all like the urchins, instead they eat biofilm which protects macro surfaces.

 

low level light is much better than too much light.  You really want to slowdown growth if you will not have strong flow to remove exudates from macro.

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Broseff
9 minutes ago, Subsea said:

keep your asterina starfish out.  In my systems, they have attacked every macro they can find.  They don’t ear it all like the urchins, instead they eat biofilm which protects macro surfaces.

 Really? I have a single asterina right now and it spends a lot of time on the glass. 

 

Are there any inhabitants that you recommend that would eat nuissance algae (specifically anything that grows ont he glass) but would leave the macros alone?

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Tigahboy
52 minutes ago, Broseff said:

I thought that Chaeto needed lots of flow? Since it can grows so dense.

I was more joking but chaeto is pretty hardy. Hair algae? 

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Broseff
7 minutes ago, Tigahboy said:

I was more joking but chaeto is pretty hardy. Hair algae? 

I was definetly thinking about some "nuissance" algae. Hopefully I can find someone willing to share or if I can buy some somewhere. I'd like something pretty though, hair algae isn't too bad as like a filler. 

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Mr. Awesome

Not sure why everyone is saying you need high flow. I have experience with different species of macroalgae doing great in a 30g with a HOB filter. 

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Broseff
31 minutes ago, Mr. Awesome said:

Not sure why everyone is saying you need high flow. I have experience with different species of macroalgae doing great in a 30g with a HOB filter. 

Any recommended species?

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growsomething
33 minutes ago, Mr. Awesome said:

Not sure why everyone is saying you need high flow. I have experience with different species of macroalgae doing great in a 30g with a HOB filter. 

The desire is for a no-flow tank.  If he pulls it off it might be a first 👍🏼

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growsomething

Fyi, walstad is no flow, no additions, and few if any water changes.  The substrate,  plants, and fauna perfectly balance

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Mr. Awesome
1 hour ago, Broseff said:

Any recommended species?

For such a small tank, in addition to your G. Hayi, I'd say Codium (the bushy kind, not the tall-growing kind), Hypnea/Ochtodes, Botryocladia...really anything except Caulerpa and Sargassum, as they would require too much pruning. 

 

Check out https://www.live-plants.com/ and their guide: https://www.marineplantbook.com/

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king aiptasia
6 hours ago, Broseff said:

I was definetly thinking about some "nuissance" algae. Hopefully I can find someone willing to share or if I can buy some somewhere. I'd like something pretty though, hair algae isn't too bad as like a filler. 

where do ya live?

 

8 hours ago, Broseff said:

Good to know that Valonia can grow like that, they literally give that stuff away at store near me. 

be careful transplanting valonia, the popped bubbles usually can't regenerate if put in a new environment, keep them intact and let it spread naturally for the first couple months otherwise it just doesn't grow

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