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Old 04-13-2012, 01:56 AM   #1
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live plants in reef tank?

So I have a hard time keeping my nitrates below 20ppm guy at the lfs told me to grab some live plants and they would help reduce nitrates so I grabbed some and placed them in areas away from the corals. Should I keep the plants are no?
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Old 04-13-2012, 02:18 AM   #2
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Yep you can. They won't affect your tank negatively at all and are beneficial.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:36 AM   #3
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With few exceptions, the "plants" we put in reef tanks are not plants, but rather macroalgae. Some of the most common varieties are chaetomorpha (chaeto for short), caleurpa, gracilliara, and halimeda.
It's actually possible to do a lushly plants marine tank. My refugium is very heavily planted and is fun to observe in it's own right!
Couple things to note with macro in the display tank.
One, they will absorbs nitrate and phosphate and store the components in their tissue. As they grow, you trim and remove portions. When you remove a chunk of caleurpa, you are exporting the excess nutrients that the caleurpa has collected. Hence, nutrient export. The algae themselves simply perform nutrient uptake. Which brings me to the next point.
If certain macro algae are not trimmed periodically, they have a tendency to cease asexual reproduction (runners, shoots, and just general spreading) and begin sexual reproduction by releasing primitive gametes, or spores.
When a macro algae sexual event occurs, the parent algae dies and releases all of it's stored nutrients back into the water.
So, if a chunk of caleurpa has been collecting nitrate and phosphate for 6 months, goes sexual and dies, in addition to spores all over and the caluerpa taking over the tank, it has just dumped 6 months worth of nutrients into the tank over night.
You can recognize sexual events before they occur, however. Caleurpa turns white. Halimeda becomes fuzzy. Just research the type of algae. I don't think Chaeto has a sexual event.
Anywho, I happen to love macro algae and collect it. I have Caleurpa (three varieties), Chaeto, Halymenia, Halimeda, Mermaid's fan, shaving brush, and pinecone.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:26 PM   #4
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Any tips or advice on the shaving brush. I want to add one in my tank.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:59 AM   #5
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I had a few for several weeks, but they spawned and vanished. Nothing since.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:00 AM   #6
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Caleurpa, gracilliara, halymenia (not to be confused with halimeda) all have done extremely well in my fuge.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDracor
I had a few for several weeks, but they spawned and vanished. Nothing since.
So if I limit it to one in my tank I shouldn't have spawning. Is that correct?
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:34 AM   #8
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I wish that's how it worked! Calcareous macro algae such as shaving brush will generally reproduce asexually by sending runners. But if conditions are either a) not ideal or b) perfect, they may go sexual and release gametes into the water.
The rational for a) is that "if conditions may lead to my (parent plant) death, I need to get my genes out there NOW!" For b) its more "Hey, this is a great place for my species! Go forth and be fruitful!"
I don't know why mine sporulated, exactly, but with macro algae being such primitive orgamisms, the strain of releasing gametes nearly always kills them. So until I know more, I am now sticking to easier varieties such as I listed before.
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