Using Macroalgae (aka Saltwater plants) as a natural way to eliminate nitrates is super easy but Macroalgae has a second function - Fish Food!
Scroll Down to See our Large Selection of Saltwater Plants for Sale
When you add saltwater plants to your reef tank, you are bringing more nitrate eaters to the buffet. What you have to understand is that the nuisance algae we hate in our tank is compromised of MILLIONS of small single cell organisms that together look like nasty green slime algae on the walls of your saltwater aquarium, however if inspected under a microscope they are actually very tiny organisms that can live independently of each other. This is extremely important when fighting algae invasion. When you add ONE large MACRO algae plant you off set the balance of available food for the micro algae. The macro algae gets the food first and colonies of the MICRO algae begin to die. The larger MACRO algae needs more nitrates to live then the micro algae therefore the bioload of nutrients is used to support the nutritional needs of the MACRO algae first and the MICRO algae starves. Due to the reduced nitrates available, nuisance algae is starved out and will naturally be reduced.
There are so many saltwater algae types to choose from - the application is the most important consideration to begin your quest for adding algae in the saltwater tank. Macro Algae can be housed inside (planted in your tank) or outside of the display tank (in a refugium).
If you are considering algae for simply its aesthetic value than adding plants like stem plants like shaving brush plants, halimedia & mermaid fan are great options for planting macro algae within the tank.
If you want macro algae to reduce your nitrate load, then Chaeto (aka Chaeto Algae and Cheato) as well as Caulerpa Algae (like Grape Caulerpa, Prolifera & Mexicana) are fantastic options for a sump or refugium but they will need a separate light source. Chaetomorpha Algae and Caulerpa can become invasive quickly and can smother slower growing corals if removal is not part of your weekly maintenance plan, hence the use of a sump or a refugium.
Red Grape Macroalgae is a sweet red algae that will brighten up your tank and provide a valuable service. It works great as it will attach to rock & it grows lush and beautiful.
A Beautiful example of Macroalgae in a Saltwater Aquarium - Red Grape Saltwater Plant - BOTRYOCLADIA SP
Chaeto (aka Chaeto Algae and Cheato) as well as Caulerpa Algae (like Grape Caulerpa, Prolifera & Mexicana) are fantastic options for a sump or refugium but they will need a separate light source. Chaetomorpha Algae and Caulerpa can become invasive quickly and can smother slower growing corals if removal is not part of your weekly maintenance plan, hence the use of a sump or a refugium.
Fish have been munching on algae longer than we have been eating lettuce! Fish enjoy the Lettuce of the Sea, Ulva which resembles green sheets of lettuce. In addition to sea lettuce, they love the red algaes in the saltwater aquarium, like Ogo and Gracilaria.
AquariumDepot has a large selection of macro algae for sale on a consistent basis. Some species are seasonal however we carry a large selection of Aquarium Plants for sale year round. On occasion, we also offer Macroalgae packs which include a good starter kit for your refugium and ship free to your door.
Using salt water plants to out-compete the nuisance saltwater algae is a strategy also seen often in nature.
Refugiums also exist in nature – we see them in them demonstrated in the Florida everglades and the negative impact that the near removal and destruction of the Everglades in 1940-1950 when a large developer attempted to fill the Everglades and build a massive city in its place. Without the macro algaes in the everglades, the Florida water ways would not have enough filtration and animals and reefs would have been destroyed. The everglades not only filter the water but also provide shelter to the largest biodiversity animal population in South East United States