Chaeto went from harvesting bucket loads for 3 years to dying in a few days time ... ideas?

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Tim Olson

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Also if you mix caulerpa in one will grow then stop then the other will grow then stop. I have 2 types of caulerpa and chaeto. For some unknown reason to me one will always dominate for awhile then die back and the others will take over then die back. Right now it's in a chaeto dominant cycle but I see my prolifera is starting to send out more runners. Also I'm no botanist but I believe that algae prefer ammonia over nitrates, do you think that maybe your ammonia started to get processed elsewhere in the tank before it reaches the sump?
Interesting ... A few days ago I added some Caulerpa to the Chaeto in the fuge to see how it did. As of this afternoon it's doing OK, but not great. Also the Chaeto is holding on for now.
 
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If you pull your Chaeto does it pull/snap apart or does it just break easily? If it breaks easy then dose Iron. It will consume Iron quickly especially if you have a lot of it.

When my Chaeto is growing well I will harvest this much every month. If I leave it too long then my Iron levels will drop and the Chaeto will become week and pull apart easy. You want your Chaeto bright green with thick walls that snap and not break apart.

20220312_184848.jpg


Also could be your lighting. I never had good luck with the red/pink/blue lights. I just use a daylight bulb over it and it grows well.
Wow, that's awesome!!! Before the crash my Chaeto "looked" like that, but was not thick enought to hold up like you show ... that's incredible.

Based what your advice, it looks like my system has low iron. So I have a couple of questions;
  • How do you measure your Iron concentration, since I've heard it's hard to measure.
  • What iron supplement do you dose? Yesterday I bought some Brightwell Ferrion, is that good?
  • How much do you dose? I have a 5 gallon fuge for Chaeto. Yesterday and this morning I dosed some Ferrion to what should be, according to their calculation, about 0.10 ppm Iron.
Thank you for your insight :)
 
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Wow, that's awesome!!! Before the crash my Chaeto "looked" like that, but was not thick enought to hold up like you show ... that's incredible.

Based what your advice, it looks like my system has low iron. So I have a couple of questions;
  • How do you measure your Iron concentration, since I've heard it's hard to measure.
  • What iron supplement do you dose? Yesterday I bought some Brightwell Ferrion, is that good?
  • How much do you dose? I have a 5 gallon fuge for Chaeto. Yesterday and this morning I dosed some Ferrion to what should be, according to their calculation, about 0.10 ppm Iron.
Thank you for your insight :)

I used to just notice it was always low on my ICP but never paid a lot of attention to that until my Chaeto started to go downhill.

I picked up the Hanna Low range Iron tester which works well.

While testing I did observe I had 0 levels of Iron.

I started doing the two little fishies one because it has Iron and Manganese together.

Once that was gone then I switched over to the Red Sea Trace part C. That has your Iron and other metals.

I honestly haven't tested for some time now because my Chaeto is growing well and I dose the Red Sea weekly.

I would suggest getting the Red Sea part C and start dosing regularly and within a couple weeks to a month you should notice a difference in your Chaeto(given everything else is fine).

Let me know how it goes.
 
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I used to just notice it was always low on my ICP but never paid a lot of attention to that until my Chaeto started to go downhill.

I picked up the Hanna Low range Iron tester which works well.

While testing I did observe I had 0 levels of Iron.

I started doing the two little fishies one because it has Iron and Manganese together.

Once that was gone then I switched over to the Red Sea Trace part C. That has your Iron and other metals.

I honestly haven't tested for some time now because my Chaeto is growing well and I dose the Red Sea weekly.

I would suggest getting the Red Sea part C and start dosing regularly and within a couple weeks to a month you should notice a difference in your Chaeto(given everything else is fine).

Let me know how it goes.
Thank you, that's very helpful!

I'll look into the Hanna Low Range Iron Tester and Red Sea Trace Colors C.

I sure hope it works, since I'm down to about 5% of what I had before, and it's not healthy.

:)
 

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Thank you, that's very helpful!

I'll look into the Hanna Low Range Iron Tester and Red Sea Trace Colors C.

I sure hope it works, since I'm down to about 5% of what I had before, and it's not healthy.

:)

If you're going to start dosing then maybe change your light as well if things don't turn around in the next couple of weeks. You'll be surprised what a $3 6500k bulb will do.
 
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If you're going to start dosing then maybe change your light as well if things don't turn around in the next couple of weeks. You'll be surprised what a $3 6500k bulb will do.
Thanks for the light suggestion.

I'm going to my Reef Store today and see if they have the Hanna Low Range Iron checker, to see if I'm dosing too much.

As of this morning, the Chaeto is somewhat improved, but still in rough shape.

Also, I love your build thread. Pretty awesome!
 
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My macros never came back when they crashed. I filled my sump with soft corals and stopped trying to grow algae.
Bummer ... but the soft corals sound like a great idea.

Also, I don't think I mentioned before, but I have a Mandarin Dragonet, so I've been depending on the Chaeto to supply it with copepods and amphipods. Luckily he also eats frozen Mysis shrimp, so hopefully he'll be ok.
 

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Thanks for the light suggestion.

I'm going to my Reef Store today and see if they have the Hanna Low Range Iron checker, to see if I'm dosing too much.

As of this morning, the Chaeto is somewhat improved, but still in rough shape.

Also, I love your build thread. Pretty awesome!

You'll be lucky to find it anyway other than Hanna's site. Probably because it isn't a common checker they sell. I had to buy mine direct from Hanna.


Thank you! It's been a lot of works these past couple months but finally getting there.
 
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Bummer ... but the soft corals sound like a great idea.

Also, I don't think I mentioned before, but I have a Mandarin Dragonet, so I've been depending on the Chaeto to supply it with copepods and amphipods. Luckily he also eats frozen Mysis shrimp, so hopefully he'll be ok.
Pods will still breed in the sump without macros. Growing pods outside of the system is also pretty easy.
 
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Pods will still breed in the sump without macros. Growing pods outside of the system is also pretty easy.
Good point and I may end up there depending on how the recovery goes.

Before the crash the Chaeto refugium (5 gallons) was teeming with Amphipods, which the Mandarin loves. He's also pretty large ~3.5" and has a big appetite.
 

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Is the low range iron checker useful?

At https://www.hannainst.com/hi746-iron-low-range-checkerr-hc.html it says:

SKUHI746
Range0 to 999 ppb
Resolution1 ppb
Accuracy @ 25°C/77°F±20 ppb ±5% of reading

Doesn't that accuracy figure mean it can't give a reading low enough to be useful for the iron concentration we want?
 

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Is the low range iron checker useful?

At https://www.hannainst.com/hi746-iron-low-range-checkerr-hc.html it says:

SKUHI746
Range0 to 999 ppb
Resolution1 ppb
Accuracy @ 25°C/77°F±20 ppb ±5% of reading

Doesn't that accuracy figure mean it can't give a reading low enough to be useful for the iron concentration we want?

Yes, that is correct. However, Iron levels drop very fast in my system. I tried many test kits and could never get a reading other than 0(this includes ICP as well). I started dosing enough to get a reading of 1 ppb, which technically is way more than normal but within a week of not dosing my reading would be back down to 0. Dosing this gave me a baseline of where my system needs to be at. I dose that amount weekly to maintain the levels my Chaeto needs to stay healthy.

Also, as noted by many that Iron levels can be elevated without issues. Hobbyists used to throw nails in their systems. ;)
 
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