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Broseff

Macroalgae Ecosystem?

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Broseff
1 minute ago, Mr. Awesome said:

Halimeda takes up calcium like corals, but water changes should provide enough calcium. If you're not doing water changes, you can add it. I'm not too familiar with the Walstad method, but does it include dosing nitrate and phosphate? 

Freshwater systems don't normally dose nitrate or phosphate. I dose macro nutrients and micro nutrients (trace elements).

 

I've heard dosing Chaeto Grow and Nitrates/Phosphates is best for macros. I saw a video by inappropriatereefer recently where he talked about getting rid of some nuissance algae, he said he had to keep his nitrates at a specific level (not 0) so other things would grow faster than the nuissance algae.  

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Mr. Awesome

Yup, sounds like you've got the right idea. I dose nitrate using sodium nitrate and phosphate with trisodium phosphate. For a macro only tank (I dose to my reef+seagrass tank and am afraid of raising potassium too high), you can just use the cheaper potassium nitrate (Stump remover) and potassium phosphate (Seachem Flourish Phosphorus). 

 

 

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Broseff

Where's a good place to get seagrass? I think seagrass and something that sifts sand/is a detrivore (bristleworm?) will keep my sandbed clean. 

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Mr. Awesome

Floridapets was always my go-to, but they've been out of stock for several months. Aquaticusplants has it. I'm not aware of any place that sells the smaller genus, Halophila. If you're planning on a 3 gallon, seagrass might not work out, as it grows tall and shoal grass, the smallest species other than Halophila sp, needs at least a 2" sand bed. 

 

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Broseff
6 hours ago, Mr. Awesome said:

Floridapets was always my go-to, but they've been out of stock for several months. Aquaticusplants has it. I'm not aware of any place that sells the smaller genus, Halophila. If you're planning on a 3 gallon, seagrass might not work out, as it grows tall and shoal grass, the smallest species other than Halophila sp, needs at least a 2" sand bed. 

 

Would a 2 inch sandbed be a problem or just unappealing aesthetically?

 

My FW is around 2 inch in the back and slopes to be less than half inch in the front. 

 

I was thinking of getting some Hairbrush algae and figured I'd set grow seagrass in the same area. It'd probably just be a section depending how I scape everything. I'm waiting to get the tank and I'm testing something things in smaller setups. 

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Mr. Awesome

Yeah, just unappealing. If you're fine with a 2" sandbed in a small tank, go for it! 

 

Another thing to keep in mind- seagrasses really need a fertile sand bed, but that should be pretty familiar coming from the freshwater planted world. My seagrasses really took off when I added mud from a Florida grass flat. Plant tabs don't seem to cut it for some reason.

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Broseff
1 hour ago, Mr. Awesome said:

Another thing to keep in mind- seagrasses really need a fertile sand bed, but that should be pretty familiar coming from the freshwater planted world. My seagrasses really took off when I added mud from a Florida grass flat. Plant tabs don't seem to cut it for some reason.

Is it actual mud? Seagrass may grow better in mud because of its physical qualities, the roots may grow easier with mud as its medium in general (I'm sure nutrient dispersal is a factor too). Some plants struggle to grow in sand because of how compact it gets. 

 

Which is another good point with seagrass.

 

I'll probably just keep an eye out for something that will help keep my sandbed clean. 

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Mr. Awesome

It is mud. You could be right about the roots growing better in mud, although I remember seeing thriving seagrass growing in sand while visiting Guam. What do you mean by keeping the sandbed clean? Something to eat detritus from it?

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Broseff
46 minutes ago, Mr. Awesome said:

It is mud. You could be right about the roots growing better in mud, although I remember seeing thriving seagrass growing in sand while visiting Guam. What do you mean by keeping the sandbed clean? Something to eat detritus from it?

I don't doubt that seagrass can grow straight in sand. I've had plants grow in sand, gravel, rocks, etc. But somtimes when plants have weaker roots  do better in less compacted substrates (mud, dirt, some eco substrates). It can also depend on how old the sandbed is, it might have built up nutrients which encourages root growth. I'm sure it's any number of things. 

 

I just want to prevent detritus from building up, not like there will be much of it. But, yes eating detritus would be good. I have amphipods right now. I also heard mini brittle stars eat it, I've had some before, but they were so little I never saw them unless they were hanging out on my macros. 

 

I'm hoping to keep a CUC of amphipods, micro species of starfish (assuming they won't kill my macros), and a dwarf hermit (because I want one more than I think it will be helpful). 

And I'm sure I'll need maybe a snail. Bristleworms might be helpful? 

I also want aiptasia just cause they're one of the only anemone species small enough to fit in the tank. And they'll survive without flow. 

That's probably the only fauna that I would keep unless I find some other inverts that would be helpful/look cool. 

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Mr. Awesome

Sounds interesting, I can't confirm but everyone says bristleworms are great detritus eaters. 

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king aiptasia
11 hours ago, Broseff said:

I don't doubt that seagrass can grow straight in sand. I've had plants grow in sand, gravel, rocks, etc. But somtimes when plants have weaker roots  do better in less compacted substrates (mud, dirt, some eco substrates). It can also depend on how old the sandbed is, it might have built up nutrients which encourages root growth. I'm sure it's any number of things. 

 

I just want to prevent detritus from building up, not like there will be much of it. But, yes eating detritus would be good. I have amphipods right now. I also heard mini brittle stars eat it, I've had some before, but they were so little I never saw them unless they were hanging out on my macros. 

 

I'm hoping to keep a CUC of amphipods, micro species of starfish (assuming they won't kill my macros), and a dwarf hermit (because I want one more than I think it will be helpful). 

And I'm sure I'll need maybe a snail. Bristleworms might be helpful? 

I also want aiptasia just cause they're one of the only anemone species small enough to fit in the tank. And they'll survive without flow. 

That's probably the only fauna that I would keep unless I find some other inverts that would be helpful/look cool. 

Aiptasia are very easy to keep without flow, but they and cnidarians in general will make it hard to keep copepods and ostracods in the future if you ever want to go through that route. Detritus is a pretty complex process, I'm in the process of writing about this, but essentially theres a lot of different types of detritus. Eurythoe worms, the most common bristle worm as they are called is first and foremost a scavenger, it prefers to eat the high protein remains of animals that died, or the part digested remains of high protein foods, they can essentially survive off feces if it is the right kind of feces. Brittle stars are similar. but both animals produce waste of their own and there is wastes that other animals such as snails produce that neither scavenger eats much of. here comes in the next levels such as sand eating sea cucumbers and marine oligochaetes, they eat the bottom of the barrel snacks, unfortunately small cucumbers and oligochaetes can not be purchased and need to be found, after them there is a myriad of small animals that have very specific types of detritus they eat and you'll find they work quite slowly, and inevitably there is some degree of mucky fragments that will be deposited for a while. i was never able to get any marine oligochaetes this time around so the detritus in its later stages becomes purple congealed blobs in my tank, its an unusual look but the amphipods seem to like the extra habitat

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king aiptasia

other tanks may get a thin layer of tan, brown grey or even green powdery , simy or clumpy muck at the bottom, it is something you'll find even in natural marine environments with low flow

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Broseff
9 hours ago, king aiptasia said:

Aiptasia are very easy to keep without flow, but they and cnidarians in general will make it hard to keep copepods and ostracods in the future if you ever want to go through that route. 

How so? 

The last time I had a reef tank I had no trouble keeping pods.

 

Also, all that info on detritus is super helpful! Any idea why it eventually clump up instead of fully desolving?

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king aiptasia
14 hours ago, Broseff said:

How so? 

The last time I had a reef tank I had no trouble keeping pods.

 

Also, all that info on detritus is super helpful! Any idea why it eventually clump up instead of fully desolving?

you need enough space so they can avoid the traps, yours isn't going to be very big making it a more risky environment for your average copepod or ostracod

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Broseff

Image result for gravity flow quarium 

Anyone have thoughts on these self cleaning tanks? I used something similar when I was testing things out for my FW ecosystem. The idea is that the rocks are held above the bottom (by like half an inch, the bottom is inclined) by a grate, detritus and stuff would fall to the bottom, and when you pour in new water detritus flows through the tube and out the tank. 

 

It kinda works. Maybe it would work to clear out some detritus. Idk, I tried it for like 6 months with FW. I use these things as humidity chambers for plants now. I saw someone do something similar for a pico jar. You use sand with these, but large chunks of gravel works. Thought I'd set up something smaller to run at the same time as I try out the 3 gallon. 

 

I set up the 3 gallon, just waiting for the water to clear up and cycle. It came out as like 2-2.5 gallons of water. about 2-3 pounds of rock, and 2-3 pounts of sand.

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Mr. Awesome

IMO detritus isn't something you need to worry about at all. I know plenty of successful tanks, for example Greg Hiller's reef tank, that ignore detritus. Just part of the ecosystem. 

 

 

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Broseff

Doesn't detritus increase nitrates? and/or contribute to the growth of nuissance algae? 

 

I'm sure I could ignore it for awhile, so long as bacteria and the macro's kept up by uptaking the nutrients, but I'm sure there has to be a tipping point where: 1.) there's more detritus being created than broken down, or  2.) where the detritus is breaking down faster than nutrient are being taken up. 

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Mr. Awesome

I'm not sure anyone's done a study on this, but people say detritus is inert, meaning it doesn't release nutrients. To support this, I have about an inch of it in my refugium and have to dose nitrate and phosphate for the plants and corals weekly, or else it will hit 0. 

Can't speak about the growth of nuisance algae, but I doubt it for the reason above. 

 

 

 

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Broseff
3 minutes ago, Mr. Awesome said:

I'm not sure anyone's done a study on this, but people say detritus is inert, meaning it doesn't release nutrients. To support this, I have about an inch of it in my refugium and have to dose nitrate and phosphate for the plants and corals weekly, or else it will hit 0. 

Can't speak about the growth of nuisance algae, but I doubt it for the reason above. 

 

 

 

I've never heard anyone say detritus is inert, I've heard people say it makes great fertilizer. Can you point me to a link?

 

If detritus is made up of decaying plant matter, waste, and/or decaying food it's defenitly not inert. It may break down and then become inert (some organics are inert for awhile and break down/release nutrients later), but it should be relaeasing nutriets as it breaks down. Some things release different nutrients as they break down too, which is why I suspect detritus (depending on what it consists of) would contribute to the growth of nuissance algae. 

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growsomething

It is generally considered inert after being processed, the term used is "ash", but can become compacted, or cause rocks or sand to become compacted and anaerobic, causing old tank syndrome.  

If it is well aerated ash/processed detritus, it supposedly doesn't happen.

Here's one biologist's opinion:

 

"The amount of food necessary to maintain a large well-stocked aquarium is quite significant. However, most of that food is not used by the organisms that it is meant for, it either is either converted into dissolved nutrients or it is converted into feces. Both of these materials must be removed from the aquarium or converted into some harmless product. That conversion is almost entirely the done in the sediments, and it is done by cycling food over and over through various animals and microbes until there is either no nutritional value left in it or it has been totally converted to soluble gases that leave the system."...

"with each pass through the cycle, the amount of nutrient available for algal growth would decrease.  Or, it would if no more was being added by feeding"

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-06/rs/feature/index.php

 

Also, here are interesting detritus threads from a member here, @brandon429:

 

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/old-tank-syndrome-is-vanquished-in-reefing-now.801247/

 

 

 

Then there are the opposite tanks, Jaubert plenum and cryptic zone tanks you would probably be interested in looking up!

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king aiptasia
15 hours ago, Broseff said:

I've never heard anyone say detritus is inert, I've heard people say it makes great fertilizer. Can you point me to a link?

 

If detritus is made up of decaying plant matter, waste, and/or decaying food it's defenitly not inert. It may break down and then become inert (some organics are inert for awhile and break down/release nutrients later), but it should be relaeasing nutriets as it breaks down. Some things release different nutrients as they break down too, which is why I suspect detritus (depending on what it consists of) would contribute to the growth of nuissance algae. 

it breaks down slow, in some cases geologically slow and you may not have enough nutrients released to be able to even detect it. some bacteria today are still eating detritus that has been buried since the dinosaurs time

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mcarroll
17 hours ago, Broseff said:

I've never heard anyone say detritus is inert, I've heard people say it makes great fertilizer. Can you point me to a link?

There is lots of research on detritus: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C47&q=detritus+reef&btnG=

 

In short it serves as a mineral reserve....it's a crucial reserve of phosphate in particular.  But it's a bit of a smorgasboard.

 

What there is not in detritus is labile (soluble) major nutrients like N and P.   Bacterial action sees to those almost as soon as an organism dies.

 

Check out:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022098102000357

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Broseff

This is a lot to take in, but definetly super helpful! 

 

This is really helping me figure out what's important and what's not when balancing things out. 

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Subsea

Consider using Caulerpa Prolifera and Bortacladia as two colorful ornamental macros in your 3G system.  Prolifera reminds me of Corkscrew Vallnisnaria.

 

https://www.marineplantbook.com/marinebookbotryo.htm

 

https://www.marineplantbook.com/marinebookprolifera.htm

 

Russ Kronwetter has more hands on practical experience with Seagrasses, Macroalgae and Mangroses.  Check out his free guide.  

https://www.marineplantbook.com

 

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Tamberav

I find algae will grow will debris settles on the rock if its not getting enough flow, clogging pores and what not.

 

Paul B tank is 50 years old now and he removes debris, at least sometimes. He has that reverse under gravel filter which pushes it out of the sand and into the sump, and uses a diatom filter now and again to polish/remove crap in the sand and all his rocks are elevated. He states he doesn't have old tank syndrome because of these methods. I do think 50 years is definitely proof of something. 

 

Debris is probably less of an issue in the sump simply because it is not clogging up the rock or sand but I still vacuum it out a few times a year. 

 

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