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What Causes Coraline Algae To Disappear?

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This article may be republished in printed newsletters, electronically or on web sites free of charge provided that proper attribution is given to the author and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. E-mail notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required.
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What Causes Coraline Algae To Disappear?
by Eric V. Van Der Hope
Copyright 2005 ReefKeepingBasics.com

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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 environment.

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 drastically.

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.

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Eric V. Van Der Hope is the Publisher and Author of the book "Reef Keeping Basics - Successful Reef Management" as well as the editor of the popular and informative newsletter "Reef Keeping Basics - the eZine/Blog" - 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 simply visit his website and learn how you can:
http://www.reefkeepingbasics.com/
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