Undesirable Algae in Closed Systems

This is the topic that is the biggest stumbling block for everyone. We're told that the reef is a "nutrient poor" environment. Compared to our aquariums it is. It's hard to call the reef one environment, since there are many different zones of different reefs in different j localities around the world (see chapter 1, Reef Zonation). In general, the further out from shore, the further out in the open ocean that a reef occurs, the more nutrient poor it will be. Land runoff and the waste from birds and other animals associated with the land nutrify the water closest to shore. The natural flow of water

and the sweeping action of waves also tends to nutrify the near-shore waters by depositing there the decaying plant and animal debris broken and transported from the outer reefs.

For this reason, reefs occurring close to shore or around islands near a large continent tend to be fairly nutrient enriched. These coastal reef, reef flat, and lagoon environments just happen to be where many of the corals and colonial anemones (zoanthids and corallimorphs) we keep commonly occur, which improves their suitability for our closed aquarium environments.

The decision about what kind of marine environment you wish to create depends heavily on the quality of the water with respect to dissolved nutrients. There is no moral judgment to be passed here. Optimal results for one environment are not optimal for another, that is all. For example, you can decide to maintain a tank full of many species of algae. The water in this aquarium may appear relatively nutrient poor because of the water purifying or "scrubbing" ability of the algae, but the algae themselves mav

* J t . " / o j contain large quantities of nutrients. These can be released back to Caulerpa can quickly overrun an the system by the algae both before and after they decompose.

aquarium unless it is kept under control through regular pruning. , r j C Deibeek. 1 he primary locus on nutrient control for home aquarists is management of undesirable algae. The plague of filamentous algae and cyanobacteria, the "slime'1 or "grease" algae, is something that takes all the pleasure out of reef keeping, and it imperils the creatures we keep. The plant nutrients that we must control include phosphate, nitrate, and silicate.

Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

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