Chaeto: at my wits' end

Pistondog

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Raise the chaeto to the top of the fuge to maximize par. A little flow is all you need, per your bucket test.
Perhaps there is still some vibrant bacteria munching on something.
If Vibrant bacteria has had a constant food supply, it might still be around.
Vibrant is algae eating bacteria, mb7 is not.
I dose mb7 monthly and harvest 1/2 the chaeto at the same time.
 
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Coug92

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I had the sam problem you are experiencing. I was using triton method and could not keep my Chaeto alive. I also used Vibrant and Micro7 which could have been the problem. I finally gave up on the triton method and just start dosing ATI 2 part and carbon. Now my sump is clean and nutrients are under control and corals are exploding in growth.
 

Pistondog

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Triton is not the problem, unless misused. I've been running it for 3 years now.
I suspect the vibrant bacteria hang around as long as there is a food source. Isn't that their function?
 
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Dan_P

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I'm hoping someone can point out something I'm not seeing here. Main problem is the same as many other threads about chaeto dying, but I'm starting to think the reason is something that I don't/can't test for and dose/remove.

Any chaeto I put in my RSR 170 DT sump consistently dies a slow death, first turning white/clear in spots and then into a soft brown goopy mess. I'm running Triton, though the daily dosage is small since my corals are still small. Tank is around 1 year old and nitrate and phosphate are stable ~10ppm and ~0.1ppm respectively, tested with Red Sea Nitrate Pro and Hanna ULR. I've tried dosing chaetogro. I've tried dosing iodine. I've tried adding a small powerhead in the fuge for more flow, and removing it for less flow. I've tried an 18w red/blue Luxbird grow light, a 75 watt 5k flood, a 120 watt 5k flood, and a Kessil H380. I've tried 6h, 8h, and 12h photoperiods on each. Result is always the same, chaeto dies slowly.

Recent ICP tests have shown somewhat elevated tin and low iodine, but otherwise nothing strange. Been doing weekly 15% water changes for the tin, and dosing iodine did nothing for the problem, as I mentioned above.

However, I throw the same exact chaeto in a 5gal bucket, no flow, no water changes, no chaetogro/iodine dosing, simple 18w red/blue grow light or 75 watt 5k and it will grow fine as long as I periodically dose nitrate and phosphate. Sometimes I even forget to top off the bucket for a week and it's all good...

Any idea what's going on? Chaeto is by far the hardest organism to keep alive that I've ever kept in a reef tank, and I feel like that shouldn't be the case...
There are two type of Charto on the market. Check out the differences

 
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merickson45

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Try this experiment. Take the same tank water into your bucket and see if it will grow there. If it won’t, then it’s your tank water. If it does then you may just be messing with it too much lol

I actually already tried this, a couple water changes ago I swapped out around 90% of the bucket water with DT wastewater...bucket chaeto still doing fine.
 
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merickson45

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I’m curious as to what your feeding habits are like.

I feed a pinch of Ocean Nutrition Reef Flakes with an auto feeder every morning, and 1/4-1/2 cube of either Marine Cuisine, Mysis, or Brine Shrimp in the evening (alternating, not all three every day). Also 1 scoop of Reef Chili more or less every other day (occasionally I forget).

In case it helps, here's my fish stock: 2 PJ Cardinals, 1 Oscellaris Clown, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, and 1 McCosker Flasher Wrasse.
 
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merickson45

merickson45

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Raise the chaeto to the top of the fuge to maximize par. A little flow is all you need, per your bucket test.
Perhaps there is still some vibrant bacteria munching on something.
If Vibrant bacteria has had a constant food supply, it might still be around.
Vibrant is algae eating bacteria, mb7 is not.
I dose mb7 monthly and harvest 1/2 the chaeto at the same time.

I will try, I'm running a bit low on chaeto atm after all these attempts. I'll have to grow out what I have left in the bucket. Might be a little while before I can try again.

As for the Vibrant, there's definitely been algae consistently present in the system. Apart from the chaeto I also have had a little brown hair algae in the display here and there, and other micro algae in the fuge. So if it's true that it can stick around for a long time given a food source, I wouldn't be surprised if it's still in there.

Thanks for the clarification on the MB7, I must have misunderstood what it contains.
 
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John08007

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I am in the same situation, in the past mine grew very fast and later melted away. I moved away from the refugium for several years and have now tried it again. I never realized chaeto needed those specific nutrients and have added the chaeto grow along with a very large led grow light. I changed around my homemade sump so that the chaeto is in the 1st chamber to give it max water flow. It's been about a week now and no melting so far.

I am thinking, if you have nitrate and phosphate then you may need more chaeto grow, maybe you are still low on a nutrient.
 
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merickson45

merickson45

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Here's some pics of the sump (total mess due to recent chaeto death) and one of the DT. I added the Ulva yesterday as an experiment after removing most of the chaeto. The black acrylic baffle is a mod I added a while back in the sump to contain algae growth to the refugium chamber. Let me know if you'd like me to take any more pictures.
 

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Dragonsreef

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From the pictures id put my money on it being a flow problem, i see a lot of settled detritus. In the bucket theres no detritus deteriorating and fouling out the stagnant water. Try a bigger return pump to get more water exchange through the whole fuge and maybe a bigger power head to increase circulation inside the fuge.
 
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Pistondog

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Here's some pics of the sump (total mess due to recent chaeto death) and one of the DT. I added the Ulva yesterday as an experiment after removing most of the chaeto. The black acrylic baffle is a mod I added a while back in the sump to contain algae growth to the refugium chamber. Let me know if you'd like me to take any more pictures.
Raise chaeto to surface on egcrate or live rock and get one of these:
COB LED Grow Light Full Spectrum, CANAGROW 100W Waterproof Grow Lights for Indoor Plants, Plant Growing Lamp with New Technology, Natural Heat Dissipation Without Noise
 
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merickson45

merickson45

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From the pictures id put my money on it being a flow problem, i see a lot of settled detritus. In the bucket theres no detritus deteriorating and fouling out the stagnant water. Try a bigger return pump to get more water exchange through the whole fuge and maybe a bigger power head to increase circulation inside the fuge.

Yeah, the powerhead is currently off, was on until yesterday. But I would still get detritus settling in the corners even with it on. I'm currenly using a Sicce 2.0 return pump, which is right around the Red Sea recommended flow rate for this tank. Would you recommend doubling the flow rate, or more?
 

N1gh7m4r3

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I feed a pinch of Ocean Nutrition Reef Flakes with an auto feeder every morning, and 1/4-1/2 cube of either Marine Cuisine, Mysis, or Brine Shrimp in the evening (alternating, not all three every day). Also 1 scoop of Reef Chili more or less every other day (occasionally I forget).

In case it helps, here's my fish stock: 2 PJ Cardinals, 1 Oscellaris Clown, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, and 1 McCosker Flasher Wrasse.
I probably should have put everything in my first post, but was still contemplating your situation. So as far as the feedings how has that changed from when you did get the cheato to grow? You’ve ruled out the vibrant ( for the most part) by using tank water ( unless of course the bacteria is imbedded into your rock, I’d wait for an opinion from more established reefer) Have you modified your filtering process since the first time you got it to grow? Ie skimmer, filter socks, or roller mats? If you have any of these are they placed before your fuge? I’m thinking you’re starving the cheato but take that with a grain of salt as I’m very new, and see what some of the saltier guys think. If that is the case depending on how you dose, if it’s manually dose the cheato directly, and if you use dosing pumps then I don’t know for sure but maybe you could use some sinking pellet food where the cheato is for it to get the nutrients it needs. All of your lighting solutions should be viable, and almost any flow should work as well. Unless maybe you’re doing that old school method of return pump going at +10x tank volume. But that’s just my two cents.
 

Dragonsreef

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That return pump should be enough the water just looks too still. You want the top of the water moving and the cheato should have enough flow to be turning over. So maybe a bigger powerhead or try mounting it to the glass closer to the surface
 
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merickson45

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The current powerhead/pump I've got in there won't stick to the side, so I can't really do that very easily. I think I'll order one of these and give it a shot with the next batch once it grows out a bit: Sicce Syncra Nano Circulation Pump
 
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