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Macro Algae And Their Benefits In Aquarium

Growing plant like structures in saltwater tanks is something really exciting for aquarists and the best that can help in this formation are macro algae. There are many types of macro algae that will grow into plant like structures adding color and attraction to your aquarium. Halimeda, Caulerpa, and other large celled algae are helpful additions to a saltwater aquarium and they also provide many benefits on their own.
They are photosynthetic and provide great food source for tangs, angels, and other herbaceous animals. Macro algae reduce the available levels of phosphates and nitrites/nitrates and are hence regarded as an excellent form of natural filtration.

These macro algae provide covering and shelter to small fishes that feel secure resting into places like this hence creating a safer condition for fishes reducing stress. Some of the macro algae are also known to provide a very positive environment for advantageous inverts like copepods and amphipods to develop and reproduce. The use of “algae filters” has become popular in the past few years for its natural way of filtration.

Their building involves just growing macro algae in a sump area beneath the aquarium or in a side mounted refugium. It aids in elimination of impurities in the display aquarium, so that unwanted species of algae will not grow. Many aquarists use this part not merely to grow macro algae, but also to hold live sand and live rock and grow amphipods and copepods that come in live rock. These small crustaceans can be used to nourish delicate fish. For best outcome, lighting should be provided for an extended period of time because plants only convert carbon dioxide while lighting is accessible. During the dark hours, plants use oxygen and release carbon dioxide that can result in a decline in pH, and proper shielding agents need to be engaged. Unnecessary growth should be trimmed and removed as obligatory.

Compared to corals, macro algae require quite low intensity of light so if you are tired of the rising electricity bills, you can switch to macro algae. They are hardy, and easier to maintain especially for folks new to this hobby.

Here are the preferred conditions for growing macro algae:

• Salinity: Some macro algae are very easy to salinity changes while others are not. Keeping your salinity stable between 1.024 and 1.026 is the safer rule you can follow.

• Calcium: 350ppm-450ppm as some macros can devour just as much calcium as most corals. This mostly applies to algae that have a calcified structure.

• Magnesium: about 1100ppm-1200ppm.

• Ammonia and Nitrites: Zero

• Nitrates: An ideal set-up would be to have enough Nitrates in your tank for the algae to consume and leave almost no Nitrates in the water for other forms of spiteful algae. As that level of precision is very hard and time consuming to get, you can also settle for a stable amount around 5-10ppm.

• Phosphates: Higher levels of phosphates are best, between 0.5 and 1.0ppm is typically finest.

• Flow: This can actually depend on the exact type of macro algae. As a common rule, moderate flow is good.

• Lighting: this also depends on the precise type of macro algae you are about to grow as there is difference in requirements. But as a general rule they need moderate lighting levels (say 2 to 3 watts per gallon of 6500K to 8000K lighting) very similar to freshwater plants that also require moderate lighting levels.

• pH: 7.9-8.2

• Temperature: mid to upper 70′s is ideal. Most can handle some temp changes as well without any problem.