Coralline algae growth

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Coralline algae is not growing to your satisfaction

If you are encountering this problem rest assured there is a solution.  The article is short but its content will indeed resolve your issue.  There are four major factors which impact coralline algae growth:
1.    The age of your tank
2.    Calcium levels
3.    Phosphates inhibit calcification
4.    Your lighting  

Now let’s briefly explore each of these 

1.    The age of you tank
Even with optimal conditions you shouldn’t expect to even a dot of coralline algae in the first month after completion of the nitrogen cycle. This hobby requires patience and although there are many ways to rush Mother Nature all too often the results aren’t what you intended. If you are breathlessly awaiting the appearance of new coralline growth, stare at the plastic sections of your tank because that is where you are going to first notice its growth.

2.    Calcium levels must be maintained.
Strive to keep it between 300 and 450 ppm. To all you LPS & SPS freaks out there please bear in mind this is written for the masses. Note well: the statement was ‘maintain’ calcium levels not simply achieve a calcium level. Calcium is nature’s key building block and the organisms within your tank are consuming it to some degree each and every day. Coralline algae like many of the other inhabitants of your tank need ample calcium levels to grow. Run your tests until you know ‘your’ tank’s consumption rate and dose accordingly. Bear in mind the addition of one chemical often impacts other chemical levels so if you want to be safe use an ionically balanced two part product.    

3.    Phosphate retards calcification by more than 90%.
Please don’t take this as a precise percentage.  Numerous marine biologists with far more technical expertise than I have conducted true scientific experiments which have yielded varying results. There is plenty of great research illustrating the exact figures and testing methodologies. It is actually very interesting reading albeit confusing to the even advanced hobbyist. How much phosphate is bad? Let’s keep this simple a little is a minor problem, a moderate amount is trouble, and high levels yield a very significant decrease in calcification. How do you reduce phosphate levels is another topic which would be a great addition to this forum.

4.    Your lighting has an impact upon coralline algae growth. Standard fluorescent and incandescent bulbs are not sufficient for good coralline growth. Virtually all other lighting power compact, VHO, T5, or halides all work well. If you examine your rock carefully you will notice that significant coralline growth on the shaded sections of the rock.

You can certainly read countless articles on the ‘best’ conditions for coralline growth but if you pay attention to these four factors you are virtually guaranteed success. I have often been asked how do you get coralline that thick and wide spread? My reply is how do you stop it from happening!


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