If you decided to use a refugium for filtration of the reef tank than you most likely know how you want to stock it. But, if you’re still in the planning stages or are looking to ramp up the efficiency then this is the article for you! In this post, we are going to discuss one of our favorite macros – Chaeto!
Chaeto is one of the best macros to keep in a reef tank! It is one of the hardest working nutrient filters we know of. However, to grow this alga successfully, certain conditions must be met. In this article, we are talking about those needs are and how to best meet them. So, let’s jump right in!
Does Chaeto need to tumble?
If you already have chaeto in the reef tank system, you may have heard it needs to tumble for proper growth. But is tumbling truly necessary? Well, the answer to that question really depends on the system. This post will go over what signs to look for that may show the seaweed is not getting what it needs.
Rotating or tumbling chaeto can have benefits. By turning it weekly, you can ensure each side of it is exposed to the light as evenly as possible. Tumbling the algae weekly by hand will also help to ensure even growth. It will also maintain a ball-like shape more easily. This is important because tiny microorganisms need a dense clump of tangles to seek refuge in.
If the chaeto is left too stationary, then it becomes long and stringy. But this can be beneficial for sheltering larger but more vulnerable animals. When the mass of chaeto is small, it tumbles more easily. But when it becomes larger, there is typically too much density for it to tumble freely. Chaeto has no roots, so it is easy to separate and move around the system.
How do you make Chaeto grow faster?
The only way to make chaeto grow faster is to find the right balance of nutrients, light, and water flow. It is a simple but complex recipe! Finding the right balance between light intensity and photoperiod will depend on the reef tank itself. In tanks with high densities of fish and higher nitrates, a longer photoperiod can help to reduce wastes.
There is also the method of using a reverse photoperiod to stabilize pH swings. You may also need to consider investing in specific lighting for the refugium. We recommend the Innovative Marine ChaetoMax LED fixture. The ChaetoMax fixture is slim enough to fit in most under tank sumps. It is also designed with a color spectrum that will maximize plant growth.
How many hours of light do you need for Chaeto?
For best chaeto algae growth in your tank, you should aim for no more than 16 hours of light. Chaeto thrives in light, so if it is exposed to a good light source, it grows quickly. Refugiums seem to run perfectly well if they receive between ten to twelve hours of light. Some reef keepers leave their lights on 24 hours a day with no reported harmful effects. Again, if there is a desire to prevent those drastic pH swings, the reverse photoperiod is your best bet.
Chaeto uses photosynthesis to convert light into energy. This process is what allows chaeto to filter the reef tank system. Good light quality allows it to grow better and will be more effective in its filtering duties.
Does Chaeto need a dark period?
As we touched on above, chaeto needs some time in a dark cycle for best growth results. You should aim for about 8 hours of total darkness within a twenty-four-hour period. Again, some reef keepers are having good results with constant light. However, our goal is to mimic a natural coral reef ecosystem as well as we can. Chaeto is not a seaweed that grows in regions of arctic daylight. There is not a lot of data to support one photoperiod or the other. So, this does seem to boil down to a matter of reef keeper’s preference.
Can Chaeto grow without light?
Simply put, Chaeto needs light to survive. The growth of chaeto is directly dependent upon the amount of light it is exposed to. If the algae are left in darkness for too long, they will begin to decay. When seaweed decays, it will rerelease the nutrients it has consumed. In a reef tank system, this will disrupt water parameters rapidly.
Does Chaeto grow with LED light?
Growing chaeto under LED lights will help to accelerate growth. As we mentioned above, specialized LED fixtures for macroalgae are the best way to promote strong growth. Red light spectra will also help to improve the growing process. Chaeto grows best in the blue and red-light spectrums. Full-spectrum lamps may also work, although not as well as a primarily red diode LED light fixture.
Why is Chaeto turning white?
If your chaeto is looking white in color, it may not be getting enough light. You can adjust the light intensity and photoperiod and see if this has an effect. If poor lighting is corrected in time, then the algae may return to its healthy green color. However, we never want to make abrupt or drastic changes to lighting intensity or photoperiod. Lighting must be adjusted slowly and gradually.
Why is my Chaeto dark green?
If the chaeto is looking darker green than usual, it might have nuisance algae growing on it. The conditions that chaeto loves are also shared by all algae. Macro will outcompete filamentous algae for nutrients in the reef tank system. However, the key factor in this situation is going to be water flow.
There needs to be a strong flow of water so that debris doesn’t settle on the chaeto. Tumbling and turning the chaeto will also help to combat this problem. You may also want to look at adjusting your light levels to ensure the algae is getting enough exposure. But, this is typically remedied by increased water flow in the refugium.
Why is my Chaeto Brown?
There can be several factors to consider if the chaeto is turning brown. This may be from detritus or a diatom bloom in a newer system. If the nutrient level in the water is not suitable for growth, the color of the seaweed itself will be brown rather than green. If the brown is a coating and brushes off or comes off when tumbled, then it is a diatom or detritus issue.
Chaeto is a great type of macro for the reef tank system. We hope this article has helped answer some of the questions you might have! Tumbling can be beneficial to the chaeto in the reef tank as it allows each side of the clump to get light exposure. This is especially important to do in the beginning when you start cultivating the algae.
Along with tumbling, you should make sure that you are providing the stable reef tank ecosystem. You can do so by ensuring that there is a sufficient level of nutrients in the water. Other factors are light exposure and good water flow. Regular dosing of live phyto helps to feed the pod population that takes up residence in the fuge. So, don’t forget the OceanMagik!