Kelp from beach in aquarium

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kingoftheHiLLpeople

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I live in Santa Monica. I find kelp in the ocean all the time... I want to create a kelp biotope sort of thing. Can I use wild kelp in my aquarium? Or is this a horrible idea? Thanks!
If i know kelp like i think i know kelp - i dont at all but it seems like it would depend on the type of kelp. What is the water temp?
 
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If i know kelp like i think i know kelp - i dont at all but it seems like it would depend on the type of kelp. What is the water temp?
I mean those gigantic long brownish yellowish ones. I don't know the temp rn but I will look it up tonight. Sorry I'm just headed out haha
 

kingoftheHiLLpeople

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I mean those gigantic long brownish yellowish ones. I don't know the temp rn but I will look it up tonight. Sorry I'm just headed out haha
I known it was quite an undertaking for monterey bay aquarium to grow and maintain their kelp forest.
 

Jay Hemdal

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I known it was quite an undertaking for monterey bay aquarium to grow and maintain their kelp forest.
They use natural light, wave generators and natural sea water - more like a little bay than a closed system.
Jay
 
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I live in Santa Monica. I find kelp in the ocean all the time... I want to create a kelp biotope sort of thing. Can I use wild kelp in my aquarium? Or is this a horrible idea? Thanks!
You need kelp with the holdfasts intact, not just the stipes that have broken off. You likely need permits for it as well.
I tried to grow some smaller species with a chilled tank, wave generator and metal halides - I got some growth but not longer than a year or so.
Jay
 

kingoftheHiLLpeople

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They use natural light, wave generators and natural sea water - more like a little bay than a closed system.
Jay
I was just about to tag you Jay! When we toured (maybe 3-4 years ago) we were told that they struggled initially with the kelp. Or at least i couldve sworn we were told that.
 
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I was just about to tag you Jay! When we toured (maybe 3-4 years ago) we were told that they struggled initially with the kelp. Or at least i couldve sworn we were told that.
I recall that they’ve had to restock fairly often. California Science Center also tried giant kelp, but they are inland and had even more trouble with it.
Jay
 

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I live in Santa Monica. I find kelp in the ocean all the time... I want to create a kelp biotope sort of thing. Can I use wild kelp in my aquarium? Or is this a horrible idea? Thanks!
Probably not the greatest idea for several reasons:
1. Brown macroalgae (like kelp (Laminariales)) are generally much more difficult to keep alive than their green and red macroalgae counterparts. For instance, giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), one of the most common and famous kelps of the North Pacific Coast where you and I are, dies when separated from its holdfast, which is common in washed-up individuals. In addition, brown macroalgae prefer very intense lighting and intense, surge-like flow; the only place I know that grows live Macrocystis pyrifera in captivity is the Monterey Bay Aquarium using a massive surge machine and direct sunlight (though this helps the kelp grow about 4 inches per day, requiring frequent pruning; trimmings end up in the touch tanks alongside locally collected algae).
2. Our local marine life is highly regulated; recreational harvesting of macroalgae in California is limited at 10 pounds a day for recreational harvesters, at least outside of marine protected areas. Sea palm (Postelsia palmaeformis) is the only illegal brown macroalgae to collect.
https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Kelp/Recreational-Harvest
3. A California coastal biotope would be a coldwater/temperate setup, likely requiring a chiller. The temperate range of Macrocystis pyrifera is 50 °F to 68 °F which should probably be suitable for most other native species.
4. Cleanliness of the algae (unwanted hitchhikers, pollution, etc.) might also be an issue, though I have not looked into this much.

There still are a few brown macroalgae, including some that grow in California, that might to well in our tropical tanks, though of course with care taken to choose appropriate lighting, flow, etc. Dictyota quickly comes to mind, in addition to others like Padina, blue scroll algae, Lobophora, and Sargassum muticum (invasive in California, tolerates warmer temperatures) which I grew for a time before I let my water quality slip. However, as these do not belong to the order Laminariales, they are not technically kelps.
https://www.marineplantbook.com/marineplantbookbrownalgae.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/
https://www.carolina.com/algae/dictyota-living/153354.pr
 
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WheatToast

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On a somewhat unrelated note, the red macroalgae Botryocladia and Haliptilon (now classified as Jania) are sometimes erroneously called “red grape kelp” and “smooth kelp” respectively in the trade, despite not being true kelp. These are easier to care for and Botryocladia is very common in the trade; Haliptilon is a coveted rarity that sometimes pops up on eBay.
 
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I live in Santa Monica. I find kelp in the ocean all the time... I want to create a kelp biotope sort of thing. Can I use wild kelp in my aquarium? Or is this a horrible idea? Thanks!
I tried Florida seaweed and it fell apart.
3 weeks ago was in florida again and brought back mangrove from beach and those took off and flowering
 

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Kelp will fall apart at even slightly warmer temps. I keep my temperates at 64 deg.
@WheatToast mentioned hitchhikers, yes there are a lot of them, in fact most of my critters came from kelp.
But you do not need most of the aforementioned to grow kelp, UC is doing a study and growing kelp in 55g drums right now at Alta Sea. In fact just recently, some of my kelp I had collected started growing new growth in my refugium. ( I collect once a week a few bits for some of my inverts) While most of my kelp get chomped on, I didn’t want to give this one up. Then my fuse blew in my chiller overnight and I lost so much. But more to the point. If you have something that would munch on it, you can put a bit on a clip, but don’t leave it too long, as soon as it starts to feel like wilted lettuce then it's time to pull it. But it is a great source of plankton and zooplankton, some will survive (copepods, microbrittles, isopods) others won't in the warmer temps.
 

kingoftheHiLLpeople

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Probably not the greatest idea for several reasons:
1. Brown macroalgae (like kelp (Laminariales)) are generally much more difficult to keep alive than their green and red macroalgae counterparts. For instance, giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), one of the most common and famous kelps of the North Pacific Coast where you and I are, dies when separated from its holdfast, which is common in washed-up individuals. In addition, brown macroalgae prefer very intense lighting and intense, surge-like flow; the only place I know that grows live Macrocystis pyrifera in captivity is the Monterey Bay Aquarium using a massive surge machine and direct sunlight (though this helps the kelp grow about 4 inches per day, requiring frequent pruning; trimmings end up in the touch tanks alongside locally collected algae).
2. Our local marine life is highly regulated; recreational harvesting of macroalgae in California is limited at 10 pounds a day for recreational harvesters, at least outside of marine protected areas. Sea palm (Postelsia palmaeformis) is the only illegal brown macroalgae to collect.
https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Kelp/Recreational-Harvest
3. A California coastal biotope would be a coldwater/temperate setup, likely requiring a chiller. The temperate range of Macrocystis pyrifera is 50 °F to 68 °F which should probably be suitable for most other native species.
4. Cleanliness of the algae (unwanted hitchhikers, pollution, etc.) might also be an issue, though I have not looked into this much.

There still are a few brown macroalgae, including some that grow in California, that might to well in our tropical tanks, though of course with care taken to choose appropriate lighting, flow, etc. Dictyota quickly comes to mind, in addition to others like Padina, blue scroll algae, Lobophora, and Sargassum muticum (invasive in California, tolerates warmer temperatures) which I grew for a time before I let my water quality slip. However, as these do not belong to the order Laminariales, they are not technically kelps.
https://www.marineplantbook.com/marineplantbookbrownalgae.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/
https://www.carolina.com/algae/dictyota-living/153354.pr
Great call on the hitchhikers. Picked up a few pieces the last time i was in california - actually that same monterey trip - pretty gnarly clingers on there as i remember.
 

WheatToast

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Great call on the hitchhikers. Picked up a few pieces the last time i was in california - actually that same monterey trip - pretty gnarly clingers on there as i remember.
+1. I once had a pretty amusing experience shaking a piece of Sargassum muticum at Monterey Bay in a water-filled bucket to release a shower of brown and green idoteid isopods (harmless herbivores). Elsewhere, I have had nasty “sand piranhas” (Excirolana chiltoni) crawl out of kelp to bite me :(.
 

kingoftheHiLLpeople

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+1. I once had a pretty amusing experience shaking a piece of Sargassum muticum at Monterey Bay in a water-filled bucket to release a shower of brown and green idoteid isopods (harmless herbivores). Elsewhere, I have had nasty “sand piranhas” (Excirolana chiltoni) crawl out of kelp to bite me :(.
Yes!!! Those lil buggers are gnarly! And where there is 1 there seems to be a ton!
 
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California Science Center also tried giant kelp, but they are inland and had even more trouble with it.
Jay
OMG, CSC has many troubles, the least of, is the fact they are 15 miles inland. Their view of husbandry is in the stone age. The only reason their big tank works is because of it is naturally lit and has a big surge pump. All of their smaller DT's are a wreck! The word "flow" is not in their vocabulary.
I am sorry for the mini rant, You probably know people that work there, but that place needs a serious revamp.
 
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