Chaeto: at my wits' end

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merickson45

merickson45

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I will add that I've had it tumbling before and it still died. However, I've also always had detritus settling out in the corners of the sump, so maybe it wasn't enough flow? I'm not sure if I'll be able to find a flow setting where the chaeto isn't getting blown away and I don't have detritus settling, but I'll give it a go.
 
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John08007

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I will add that I've had it tumbling before and it still died. However, I've also always had detritus settling out in the corners of the sump, so maybe it wasn't enough flow? I'm not sure if I'll be able to find a flow setting where the chaeto isn't getting blown away and I don't have detritus settling, but I'll give it a go.
I wouldn't be concerned with the detritus being in the corners. Worse case in your situation it will break down in time and add additional nitrate and phosphate for your chaeto.

You had an icp test, everything was in the green? Was anything low at all? Not sure if you mentioned it, do you test alk?
 
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merickson45

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I was able to hack a temporary solution to get some better flow going. The small pump I was using is now hanging by the power cord to the right of the sump and everything is gently circulating over to the left. Added egg crate to stop big pieces from making it to the return pump. Will continue dosing chaetogro and see how it goes...

PXL_20210909_043305961.MP.jpg
 

REEFERADDICT01

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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...
 
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merickson45

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I wouldn't be concerned with the detritus being in the corners. Worse case in your situation it will break down in time and add additional nitrate and phosphate for your chaeto.

You had an icp test, everything was in the green? Was anything low at all? Not sure if you mentioned it, do you test alk?

Mentioned this above, ICP test showed everything ok except tin somewhat high (doing 15% weekly water changes for that) and iodine was pretty low.

My parameters are quite stable day to day and week to week:

Alk: 8.5dKh
Ca: 430ppm
Mag: 1300ppm
NO3: ~10ppm
PO4: ~0.08ppm
pH: 8.3
Salinity: 35ppt
 
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Brew12

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I'm glad I'm reading this thread. I went out and bought some vibrant last weekend after hearing great things about it. Good to know that it will kill off macro. Anyone know how long after dosing vibrant, I can add back in macro or if at all?
I used Vibrant for over a year straight and was able to add chaeto successfully around 1 month after stopping.
 

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Looks like a pretty good setup, even before the new flow pump. You said that you tried Kessil h380 before? Why not use that again? I think there something to the blurple spectrum that helps it grow faster.

also I tuck it doesn’t necessarily need to be tumbling over but whatever schmoo you had in the first pictures need to be removed until you get it chaeto growing. If left untouched I found that it will melt the colony.
 
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merickson45

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Looks like a pretty good setup, even before the new flow pump. You said that you tried Kessil h380 before? Why not use that again? I think there something to the blurple spectrum that helps it grow faster.

also I tuck it doesn’t necessarily need to be tumbling over but whatever schmoo you had in the first pictures need to be removed until you get it chaeto growing. If left untouched I found that it will melt the colony.

I am open to trying the H380 again. The only issue I had was that it got quite hot and would raise my system temperature by around a degree overnight, which I didn't like. I think the small, enclosed space in the sump area creates a little mini oven. Overall I get the sense that it is way overpowered for such a small refugium/sump area.

I'm currently keeping an eye on the marketplace to try and pick up a Kessil H160 or AI Fuge, since I think they would provide more than enough light at the right spectrum and would be more appropriate for my size sump.

Until then, I also have a Luxbird 18w and an IM ChaetoMax that I could set up together. Nowhere near the output of the H380, but would provide decent lighting with a more tuned spectrum. I think I'll leave the 120w equivalent 5k flood in for a week or two and see how it goes, if no change I'll consider swapping it out.

By schmoo, do you mean the detritus or the microalgae growing on the bottom/sides? Once I put the flow pump mod in, a lot of the detritus got blown away. I did not scrape down the glass though to get rid of film/microalgae.
 

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I am open to trying the H380 again. The only issue I had was that it got quite hot and would raise my system temperature by around a degree overnight, which I didn't like. I think the small, enclosed space in the sump area creates a little mini oven. Overall I get the sense that it is way overpowered for such a small refugium/sump area.

I'm currently keeping an eye on the marketplace to try and pick up a Kessil H160 or AI Fuge, since I think they would provide more than enough light at the right spectrum and would be more appropriate for my size sump.

Until then, I also have a Luxbird 18w and an IM ChaetoMax that I could set up together. Nowhere near the output of the H380, but would provide decent lighting with a more tuned spectrum. I think I'll leave the 120w equivalent 5k flood in for a week or two and see how it goes, if no change I'll consider swapping it out.

By schmoo, do you mean the detritus or the microalgae growing on the bottom/sides? Once I put the flow pump mod in, a lot of the detritus got blown away. I did not scrape down the glass though to get rid of film/microalgae.
I was using an H380 until it failed and switched to an H160. I keep it around 8" over the water and I feel the H160 grows chaeto better than the H380
 

truetricia

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Mentioned this above, ICP test showed everything ok except tin somewhat high (doing 15% weekly water changes for that) and iodine was pretty low.

My parameters are quite stable day to day and week to week:

Alk: 8.5dKh
Ca: 430ppm
Mag: 1300ppm
NO3: ~10ppm
PO4: ~0.08ppm
pH: 8.3
Salinity: 35ppt

So I've always struggled with chaeto as well, so I'm not going to pretend to have great advice, but the most success I've had is with a larger starting chunk of chaeto. I have no idea why it makes a difference, but a bigger amount of chaeto seems to do better than a small one. It may have to do with outcompeting other algae for nutrients, or simply anecdotal success for me. Either way, you may want to try adding some other algaes. I've also used sea lettuce too, which algae barn tends to have in stock more often than chaeto.
 

vintage detritus

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Unfortunately I'm in California, where I believe Caulerpa is illegal :-(
Last I checked, maybe a year ago, only seven species of Caulerpa are banned in California. Prolifera , among the most commonly used in refugiums, remains legal (Except in San Diego, where all Caulerpa sp. are banned). I think the Department of Fish and Game has website identifying the banned varieties. Reputable on-line vendors will tell you if the particular species is legal where you live and will not ship if it isn't.
 
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merickson45

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So I've always struggled with chaeto as well, so I'm not going to pretend to have great advice, but the most success I've had is with a larger starting chunk of chaeto. I have no idea why it makes a difference, but a bigger amount of chaeto seems to do better than a small one. It may have to do with outcompeting other algae for nutrients, or simply anecdotal success for me. Either way, you may want to try adding some other algaes. I've also used sea lettuce too, which algae barn tends to have in stock more often than chaeto.

Thanks, I will try to grow out the chaeto I have in a bucket then add a whole bunch at once.
 
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merickson45

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Last I checked, maybe a year ago, only seven species of Caulerpa are banned in California. Prolifera , among the most commonly used in refugiums, remains legal (Except in San Diego, where all Caulerpa sp. are banned). I think the Department of Fish and Game has website identifying the banned varieties. Reputable on-line vendors will tell you if the particular species is legal where you live and will not ship if it isn't.

Awesome, did not know this, thanks for the info!
 

WheatToast

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Awesome, did not know this, thanks for the info!
To my knowledge, the species of Caulerpa that are both legal in California and somewhat common the aquarium trade are as follows:
Caulerpa prolifera
Caulerpa brachypus
Caulerpa serrulata
Caulerpa lentillifera
Caulerpa chemnitzia
(was once known as Caulerpa peltata)
Caulerpa cylindracea
Caulerpa paspaloides


Here is a website with the illegal species (here, it says there are nine):
https://www.newportbeachca.gov/home/showdocument?id=1218
 
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I am open to trying the H380 again. The only issue I had was that it got quite hot and would raise my system temperature by around a degree overnight, which I didn't like. I think the small, enclosed space in the sump area creates a little mini oven. Overall I get the sense that it is way overpowered for such a small refugium/sump area.

I'm currently keeping an eye on the marketplace to try and pick up a Kessil H160 or AI Fuge, since I think they would provide more than enough light at the right spectrum and would be more appropriate for my size sump.

Until then, I also have a Luxbird 18w and an IM ChaetoMax that I could set up together. Nowhere near the output of the H380, but would provide decent lighting with a more tuned spectrum. I think I'll leave the 120w equivalent 5k flood in for a week or two and see how it goes, if no change I'll consider swapping it out.

By schmoo, do you mean the detritus or the microalgae growing on the bottom/sides? Once I put the flow pump mod in, a lot of the detritus got blown away. I did not scrape down the glass though to get rid of film/microalgae.
Tried keeping it at a lower setting to prevent temp spike?

also make sure that the top layer is just good chaeto, not the schmooish kind of stuff.
 

Glenner’sreef

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Iron is, imo, a much more important trace element than iodine when it comes to chaeto. Have you checked to make sure that isn't low?
IN my refugium days, I used Kent Iron and it greened up my cheato nicely but the volume gene was nowhere to be found. Look, I believe that by now if someone had the magic recipe that would make “every” reefer a successful cheato grower, we would have heard about it by now.
 

Mywifeisgunnakillme

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IN my refugium days, I used Kent Iron and it greened up my cheato nicely but the volume gene was nowhere to be found. Look, I believe that by now if someone had the magic recipe that would make “every” reefer a successful cheato grower, we would have heard about it by now.
Yeah i agree, but the discussion is nice.

One thing i do is just put a few different macros in the refugium. Seems like they take turns dominating each other. And i'll harvest more of one than another to keep a balance i want based on what combo lets water through it more or less, what combo traps more or less detritus, and what macro is not have nuisance algae trying to take hold in it.

20210908_124326.jpg
20210908_124342.jpg
 

Glenner’sreef

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Yeah i agree, but the discussion is nice.

One thing i do is just put a few different macros in the refugium. Seems like they take turns dominating each other. And i'll harvest more of one than another to keep a balance i want based on what combo lets water through it more or less, what combo traps more or less detritus, and what macro is not have nuisance algae trying to take hold in it.

20210908_124326.jpg
20210908_124342.jpg
Your “ wife’s not going to kill you “ when you’re providing enough salad for the entire neighborhood!! Lol :) congrats!
 
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