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  #1  
Old 12/18/2007, 06:51 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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My tips for good chaeto growth

I can tell you one thing, it took me months to figure out how to maximize my chaeto growth. Alot of things you read are just not right and can lead to it being unhealthy, dead, or having very slow growth.

Things i have learned

1. too much light is not good. contrary to belief.......intense lighting is not needed for optimum growth and can even slow growth or totally kill it. I've played alot with different bulbs and distance from bulb to water. The best bulb i have found so far is the cheap 20 watt 6500k bulb from walmart with an 8 inch clipon reflector from homedepot. The bulb can be no closer then 9 inches from the water/chaeto. I recommend 10-11 inches for the best growth It is best to start it further away and slowly move it closer till you get the results you are looking for rather then frying the chaeto and killing it.
2. depending on your water conditions you may have to suppliment iron. for me this was one of the turning points for mine. I use the kent iron. I would dose at 1/2 to 1/3 of what is recommended on the bottle until you see growth take off. I then stop dosing until i see a noticeable decrease in growth.
3. it likes flow, but it doesn't have to be extreme flow. mine gets around 500-600gph over the top portion of it. the bottom doesn't get much direct flow.
4. Pruning is key, but don't over do it. I would say do medium to large prunings and let it go for about two weeks or until it starts filling it's space back up. I would not prune more then once a week for sure.
5. Lighter color isn't always necessarily bad. Usually lighter color comes from rapid growth or too intense lighting. If you use the bulb and reflector i suggest above at the distance recommended you will get a medium green color on the top portion directly under the light and on the edges and underneath it will be deep green.
6. It may not grow well in a newly setup tank because there aren't alot of nutrients. In this case keep the size of the chaeto ball small so that it doesn't starve itself.
  #2  
Old 12/18/2007, 06:54 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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btw, these are just my observations and hopefully they will help alot of you have the success i've had. the space i grow mine in is about 16 inches by 12 inches and in a month I throw out, give away, or even sell about a 5 gallon bucket full to the top in about 4-6 weeks.
  #3  
Old 12/18/2007, 10:44 PM
MMM33732 MMM33732 is offline
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Interesting. Ill have to keep all that in mind. So you really found 6500k to be the best? Perhaps I should move mine up. I recently got a new ball of cheato and already over 2/3rds has died. Its a 26w 6500k about 2 inches over the water.
  #4  
Old 12/19/2007, 12:11 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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2 inches is way...........to close i was still killing mine when it was at 6 inches. I also prefer the 20 watt 6500k bulb from walmart over the 26, but if you move the 26 watt bulb atleast 10 inches off the water it will be fine. You may need to dose iron as directed in my first post to get things started as well.
  #5  
Old 12/19/2007, 01:18 PM
MMM33732 MMM33732 is offline
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Why exactly does the iron work? Does that cause the cheato to grow mainly off of the iron instead of the phosphates/nitrates?
  #6  
Old 12/19/2007, 01:41 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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read up!

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/aug2002/chem.htm

by the way, i've never had any side effect dosing following the guidelines i originally posted. I have a cleaner shrimp, two rbta's, about 12 fish, a few scarlet hermits, and a good number of snails. Multiple type of coral - SPS, LPS, and softies.
  #7  
Old 12/19/2007, 10:38 PM
MMM33732 MMM33732 is offline
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Well you've got me convinced now. I'll be buying some iron tomorrow.
  #8  
Old 12/21/2007, 01:10 AM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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Great write-up.

My opinion/observation
That lighter green color is what you should be after. it is actively growing. Dark green chaeto usually doesn't do much, just sits there and looks pretty.

BTW, i really don't think you can give it too much light. i had a greenhouse aquarium. The chaeto was getting full sun (way brighter than any CF) I was pulling out over 5 gallons of the stuff each week. (it was the light green shade)
  #9  
Old 12/21/2007, 03:14 PM
Lucky-rc Lucky-rc is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Triterium
Great write-up.

My opinion/observation
That lighter green color is what you should be after. it is actively growing. Dark green chaeto usually doesn't do much, just sits there and looks pretty.

BTW, i really don't think you can give it too much light. i had a greenhouse aquarium. The chaeto was getting full sun (way brighter than any CF) I was pulling out over 5 gallons of the stuff each week. (it was the light green shade)
me too, I have had the same 6" ball of deep dark green cheto for ? 2 yrs. at least it has not changed in color or size at all. I thought it was due to the M/H lights so I threw it in the overflow
Almost no light (just what reflects off the walls of my house)
I left it in there for 3-4 months no change in color or size.???

Lucky
__________________
Fast women... Expensive hobbies... Whats left?
  #10  
Old 12/21/2007, 05:30 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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btw, i don't think i posted that i run my fuge lighting reverse from the display tank and it gets about 14hrs of light per day.
  #11  
Old 12/21/2007, 07:36 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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I just set up a tank today. (first one I've had for 1-2 years). I have a 10,000K and 6,500K 400 watt MH. I tested the ballast with the 10K XM bulb and i really like it.

So what's the relevance of this? This will be a planted tank. Just light, power heads, heater and no plumbing. I'll try the chaeto under a 400watt 10,000K bulb and see how it goes. I'll post back if anyone is interested in the results.
  #12  
Old 12/25/2007, 06:46 PM
Mavrk Mavrk is offline
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Hmmm, iron. I know that people use it for mangroves, but didn't think about that for chaeto. I bet that is my issue. Thanks for the tips.
  #13  
Old 12/25/2007, 06:50 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Triterium
I just set up a tank today. (first one I've had for 1-2 years). I have a 10,000K and 6,500K 400 watt MH. I tested the ballast with the 10K XM bulb and i really like it.

So what's the relevance of this? This will be a planted tank. Just light, power heads, heater and no plumbing. I'll try the chaeto under a 400watt 10,000K bulb and see how it goes. I'll post back if anyone is interested in the results.
there is no doubt that you may be able to grow chaeto under more intense lights..........but what is the point? I grow it under a 20 watt bulb. 1/20th the wattage and I highly doubt it is even possible to grow it faster unless you were to dose fertilizers of some sort which.....you would not want to do in a reef aquarium. I'm not sure why you would want to use up so much electricity on a planted tank, but I wish you luck and hope everything grows with excellent results. I'm sure there are many there are many approaches to growing macro/chaeto, but these are just my experiences trying various bulbs, distances to the water, and a reef safe dosage of iron over many months and a good amount of failure. My tips are just a guideline to get started obviously and results will most likely vary depending on water conditions and tank maturity.
  #14  
Old 12/25/2007, 11:25 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by oct2274
there is no doubt that you may be able to grow chaeto under more intense lights..........but what is the point? I grow it under a 20 watt bulb.
Good for you, but wasn't the point of this thread about "tips for good chaeto growth". If you read my post in another thread, you would have seen that I agree with you on the energy aspect. If fact, i think you don't need a refugium or any macro at all. All salt water tanks are different from each other.

You are completely missing the point about chaeto! IMO, having a ball of chaeto that DOESNT grow is a very good sign (in most cases). Your goal should NOT be to get rapid chaeto growth. Your goal will vary (depending on what type of SW tank you have), but focus on water quality and your corals/fish (NOT the algae).

If you want to talk about optimizing chaeto growth, by all means lets do that. In my greenhouse system, I have had a volleyball size ball of chaeto completely fill a 20 gallon aquarium in one week using ZERO watts of light!!! In fact, at that time, the whole tank (400+ gallons) was run on under 200watts (and that was for water movement. No electricity for lighting or heating.


Quote:
1/20th the wattage and I highly doubt it is even possible to grow it faster unless you were to dose fertilizers of some sort which.....you would not want to do in a reef aquarium.
If you take your thinking to the next level, you will see where you got confused. I have a "Planted Tank"!!! Guess what that means? Im not going to treat it like an SPS tank. Im not going to treat it like a FOWLR tank. I'm not going to treat it like a softie tank. Im not going to treat it like a FO tank. Im going to treat it like a..... Planted tank!!!

So guess what the requirements for a planted tank are. Lots of light (for the algae im growing) and, yup, you guessed it.... Fertilizer. I add fertilizer to my tank. New concept for you, i know. BTW, i could argue fertilizing an SPS tank as well. I've done it and my SPS growth doubled. I know you are wondering how that could be, but this requires a bit more understanding of what algae is really removing and what coral needs for rapid growth.

I know a lot about algae. I studied them in college. I've grown chaeto in lots of different lighting setups (probably at least 20). Guess what my observation regarding chaeto and light is? More light, more growth. More nutrients, more growth.

My suggestion.... Forget the fuge and do more water changes.

In fact, if you are worried about wasting electricity, get rid of your tank all together.

Last edited by Triterium; 12/25/2007 at 11:31 PM.
  #15  
Old 12/25/2007, 11:32 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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haha, ok. sounds like you just came in here to make trouble i'll let you do your thing and the rest of people that are here that run reef tanks can take my advise if they so choose to do so. They probably aren't here to run a planted tank as you are. If adding fertilizer doubles sps growth i would highly recommend posting that here on the sps forums, they would love to hear of something that can increase sps growth and not have any side effects - including unwanted algae growth.
  #16  
Old 12/25/2007, 11:40 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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I just don't like misinformation being spread.
  #17  
Old 12/25/2007, 11:52 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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My advice to SPS keepers:

Focus on water quality. If you have high nitrates, phosphates, or other chemicals, but little chaeto growth, this is when you should be concerned.

If your water quality is good, who cares if your chaeto is growing. Focus on maximizing coral growth, not chaeto growth.

I will give you one example of when fertilizing an SPS tank is good. I had a friend with a beautiful SPS tank which had high phosphate levels. The tank was starting to get hair algae. The chaeto and caulerpa in his fuge wasn't growing. Why was the hair algae growing, but not the macro? Without getting into a biology lesson, we needed to add nitrates to the tank. Nitrate and phosphate levels were tested daily. Nitrate was added over a 2 week period. Nitrate levels in the water were never detectable, but phosphate levels slowly declined. Macro growth was rapid and hair algae disappeared. Hope that makes sense.
  #18  
Old 12/25/2007, 11:53 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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it's far from misinformation...........i've tried many bulbs and combinations. this isn't for a planted tank, i'm sorry you don't understand that part. This thread was created for reef users with sumps/fuges that are using small energy efficient bulbs to get good growth. I've given this same info to other people locally and they have seen a change for the better as well. I can't argue with you on what it takes to grow algae in a planted tank......why? cause i don't own one and i'm not posting on a planted tank forum. I'm not even sure why you even posted here cause it was quite obvious in my original post this topic wasn't for a planted tank with high output lighting systems. If it would make you happy i would change the topic of the post saying "How to grow chaeto economically in a reef tank with a fuge and small PC bulb", but I can't cause the thread is past the age of being edited. I was trying to be helpful and appologize if in some way that aggravated you.

Merry Xmas!
  #19  
Old 12/26/2007, 12:06 AM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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If you want me to point out all the misinformation in your original post i will.

After reading your #1, If i was an uninformed reefer with a 96w PC over my fuge, and little macro growth, i'd think.... Crap, i have too much light. I need to get a low light system. When, in fact, the 96W would probably be far superior to a 20w PC.

And by FAR, my favorite sentence in your original post........

"Usually lighter color comes from rapid growth or too intense lighting"

lol, this is basically what i said. Intense lighting causes rapid growth. Rapid growing chaeto is light green.

Think about that sentence of yours for a bit....

  #20  
Old 12/26/2007, 01:43 PM
oct2274 oct2274 is offline
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I can tell you always have to have the last word, I know what I said. From what I've found there is a fine line between rapid growth and actual decline in chaeto health with my setup. I never said that lighter color was bad anywhere, actually I put that I place my particular light at a distance that gives me a medium green color directly under the light. When you place my particular light with that particular reflect closer to the water the chaeto's color gets lighter the closer you get till there is a point where it stops growing and beyond that where it actually kills it. Again this thread was just to help people get started, if they have other equipment Iím sure they will be competent enough not to follow my instructions. Why? Because it would not pertain to them. The topic does not say "Definitive solution to chaeto's health no matter what the light source" You are trying to compare it to other scenarios - apples to oranges. If people use the equipment I have suggested, or are looking for a cheap way to get started, my pointers will get them off to a good start. You are trying to discredit me, poke holes in my findings, etc. Why? I posted the exact equipment I used and what I have found for best growth with that equipment. I never said other lighting would absolutely not work anywhere as far as I know. I'm sure you'll have another comeback, but I'm done responding to your posts. You are trying to discredit my findings when you aren't even using/talking about the same equipment as I offered as a solution. Arguing is pretty pointless, especially when the things you are talking about have nothing to do with the setup I've posted. I hope people find this thread if they are looking for a cheap lighting solution for their fuge to grow chaeto and I hope it works as well for them as it has for me and multiple other people. If they have other equipment I think they'll have the common sense to experiment with that equipment and hopefully they will post their findings for that equipment to help others as well.
  #21  
Old 12/26/2007, 03:52 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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Thanks for the last word.

I think i have made my point.
  #22  
Old 12/26/2007, 04:51 PM
Mavrk Mavrk is offline
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Re: My tips for good chaeto growth

Quote:
Originally posted by oct2274
The best bulb i have found so far is the cheap 20 watt 6500k bulb from walmart with an 8 inch clipon reflector from homedepot.
Is that the "Daylight" Bulb like the one Marc mentioned he used to use in the following article?

http://www.melevsreef.com/fuge_bulb.html

That is what I am using and don't get great growth. But I think iron might be my issue like you mentioned.

Mine is a few months old, so I figured I might change it soon. I tried to find another one at Lowes, but they don't carry them anymore near me. Might have to try HD (I dont' have a Walmart near me). I admit that I could not remember the spectrum, only that it said Daylight. So there may have been other 6500K lights there.
  #23  
Old 12/26/2007, 06:23 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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Mavrk,
Your lighting is probably not the reason why your chaeto isn't growing. There might just not be nutrients or some other factor. If you have a bulb that others have had success with, there's a good chance the restricted growth is caused by something else.

I have seen both 5500K and 6500K spiral compacts marked as "Daylight" at HD. Both will work fine for chaeto.
  #24  
Old 12/26/2007, 07:11 PM
ReefNAZOut ReefNAZOut is offline
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oct, what is the area of refugium you are covering with that light? I am curious because I am running a 96 watter coralife fixture with a 6700k bulb and I would love to get by with just a 20 watter to save on my ever expanding electrical bill.
  #25  
Old 12/26/2007, 07:19 PM
Triterium Triterium is offline
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You will be fine with a 20 watt. Coverage depends on the reflector, but will easily cover 12"x12". More with a better reflector. The spiral compacts are nice, but perhaps you could get a cheap 6500K T5. It would get better coverage and still be low-wattage.

If you are really worried about 75watt difference, perhaps get rid of the refugium all together. They are overrated. Some of the best reef tanks ive seen don't have a refugium. Some don't even have a sump. HTH
 

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