Refugium question

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cubbyman60

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Hey all,
I have a question that I am going to try to articulate, so please bear with me. I have been noticing elevated nitrates in my tank, although the corals all seem to be doing pretty well. In addition to decreasing feedings, I have added Chaeto to an area of my sump. (As an aside, I have done this in the past without success. But, I bought a new grow light and the chaeto is flourishing.)

So my question basically: when do I begin to remove it for optimal results. I understand that by removing portions of the chaeto you are permanently removing the nutrients bound in the cheato from the system. However, the nuance of the question is which is a better nutrient control method- a smaller mass of cheato pruned frequently or a larger mass left to grow.

As an example: which would be a better nutrient removal method.
Scenario 1) a large mass of cheato growing well. I would think that having more algae would consume more nutrients as a larger mass would require more nutrients to grow.

Scenario 2) Constantly removing small parts of the chaeto.

Personally, I would think having more chaeto mass would remove more nutrients. So, allowing the algae to grow would be a more effective means of nutrient consumption.

Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.
 
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Joeganja

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Well you want there still to be some nutrients in your tank. For example many people notice with sps coral they like to have some form of nitrates along with a bunch of other types of corals. Most of the reason people harvest it is due to space. It takes up a lot of space and most have to take anywhere from 10-50% out but you want it to outcompete either the algae in your main display or be enough to take out the nutrients that you bring in fish waste, food, etc.
 

PurduePete93

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I'm new to running a Refugium myself, but my understanding is your scenario 2 is the right one. You have more nutrient removal with the growth of the algae than it just sitting there and you need to make space for the rapid growth. If it's packed in, growth will be limited.
 

PurduePete93

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Again - no expert (I.e. Would love more posts) but the way explained to me is that scenario 2 removes more because it has larger growth rate and it's the only growth of algae that drives nutrient removal
 
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Brew12

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Yes, scenario 1 will remove more nutrients if you have the space, flow, and lighting to support.
You need to trim it back if any of the 3 becomes an issue or you risk the chaeto dying and releasing those nutrients back into the water.
You will also need to keep it trimmed back if it becomes too efficient.
 
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cubbyman60

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Again - no expert (I.e. Would love more posts) but the way explained to me is that scenario 2 removes more because it has larger growth rate and it's the only growth of algae that drives nutrient removal
Yes, scenario 1 will remove more nutrients if you have the space, flow, and lighting to support.
You need to trim it back if any of the 3 becomes an issue or you risk the chaeto dying and releasing those nutrients back into the water.
You will also need to keep it trimmed back if it becomes too efficient.


Thanks for the responses....let the debate begin!
 
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