~ What Causes Coraline Algae To Disappear? ~
by Eric V. Van Der Hope

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What Causes Coraline Algae To Disappear?
by Eric V. Van Der Hope
Copyright 2005 ReefKeepingBasics.com

The disappearing of coraline algae can be attributed to several factors . . .

Here are some of these factors which will be explained in more detail throughout
this article:

Water, Magnesium, Calcium, alkalinity, lighting, strontium, salt, kalkwasser and
a variety of other things.

The first thing that's conjured up in one's mind when they hear of algae - is the
undesirable kind! The stuff that 'takes over' our tanks!

However, coraline algae or macroalgae, is an attractive yet delicate species that
is very useful in dissolving organic wastes within the tank and is also part of food
for a variety of little critters.

This form of algae is a very desirable and provides an important part of your tank

There are many types of algae - some good - some bad. They all have different
functions within the closed tank environment as they do in the enormous oceans
of the earth.

The simplest way I've grown to appreciate algae is that it's an excellent indicator
of how 'sound' your mini ocean environment is doing.

For the most part, there are just a few simple elements that can contribute to good
algae - your water, the artificial light that functions as a substitute for the sun and
the nutrients within your tank.

The coralline algae is an encrusting, colorful display of reddish purple material on
the various rock introduced into the tank. It provides a very eye-pleasing display
that is a natural occurrence in the real ocean and provides the same kind of benefits
such as being an excellent food source for a variety of fish and invertebrate.

There however, other elements that can contribute to the growth or disappearance
of this beneficial algae.

It's important to make sure that the water, magnesium, calcium and alkinity are
all in check within the tank system. If tank parameters do not meet up to less than
ideal conditions, the chances that the coralline algae will decline increases which
could also result in certain species that are undesirable within the tank system.

Your lighting has an effect on the growth of your coraline algae. Too much light can
be a hindrance and actually promote other undesirable species. The lack of light
could substantially prevent further growth of the coraline algae. As this can be a
source of food for some inhabitants of the tank - a noticeable disappearance of this
algae will occur.

Strontium levels within the system is also important. There should be traces of it
in your tank. Strontium can be found as an additive in a variety of things - most
important - in salt mixtures. Oceanic salt appears to not have Strontium in it and
as a result, individuals have seen a major difference when they switched to a brand
that has Strontium as an ingredient.

Dosing the tank environment with kalkwasser can help the stability of your system
but if not maintained at adequate or stable levels, will affect the growth of the
coralline algae.

A good way of introducing coralline algae into the tank is through the introduction
of premium live rock which 99% of the time will have a good amount of coraline
algae. Different types of coralline algae will be introduced as a variety of colors will
be evident. The algae will appear in shades of pink, dark purple, red, green and
the like.

If the tank environment can be kept in a stable condition, then the chances of
preventing coralline algae from disappearing will increase.

Here's a 'wrap-up' of what should be carefully monitored by the aquarist:

1. Maintain as stable an environment as you can making sure levels of magnesium,
calcium, strontium, alkinity, kalkwasser and other trace elements do not alter

2. Adequate lighting - it has to be balanced, of high quality and should be "on" for
the right amount of time.

3. Introduce healthy 'live' rock that has good coralline growth. This will encourage
further growth of this beneficial algae.

4. Maintain a balanced yet adequate nutrient levels within the tank. Getting the right
balance and being moderate will be the key to success.

Something that can often be neglected is the abundance of 'algae eaters'. Keeping
these fish and invertebrate in check will limit the disappearance of the coraline algae
as well.

Algae can have a proper place within the tank environment. It depends on how well
balanced the tank environment is. As a result, this will ultimately determine the
aquarist's success within this hobby.

Eric V. Van Der Hope is the Publisher and Author of "The Reef & Saltwater Fish Keeping
Cheat Sheet" - A Newsletter For The Serious Reef Keeping & Saltwater Fish Hobbyist.
Would You Like to Discover Exactly How to Build A Perfect Aquatic Life Environment For
Your Marine Fish Pets . . . Without Having to Do It the Hard Way! Then sign up to his
complimentary newsletter valued at $79. The latest project he is working on is a book
entitled: "Reef Keeping Basics - Successful Reef Management". Further information:
http://www.reefkeepingbasics.com or http://www.reefkeepingbasics.com/Forum

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