Do people do salt water planted tanks? And questions on coral...

Rocky998

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Im not looking at getting a saltwater tank but I was just thinking... In oceans there are kelps and seagrasses. Do aquarists replicate these enviorments by planting saltwater tanks? Also do those plants work like plants do in freshwater by taking things like ammonia out of the water?

And with corals... I understand that corals really are animals and they do have mouths and intestines but can they also suck nutrients from the water LIKE a plant can?
 

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There are some tanks like this, but generally not. Reefs and things like kelp forests are not the same habitat and so for those sorts of algaes it's often a matter of conflicting environmental needs between corals and the algaes. Some macroalgaes are workable in reef tank conditions and they are frequently used as a nutrient sink in sumps and refugiums, but again they are often kept away from contact with the corals to avoid problems (some macroalgaes will grown and/or choke out corals given the opportunity). In one of my tanks I do keep macroalgae in the same tank with corals, but it has to be carefully maintained and I would never recommend it to a beginner.

Seagrasses are another matter. Their collection is prohibited in many places so they are not generally seen in the trade for the hobby. In some places it is legal to collect damaged seagrass that has washed up on shore. I lived in such a place once and tried it - it was extremely hard to get the damaged pieces growing again, and every attempt I made eventually failed even if I had some initial growth. In my case the problem was likely water temperature; my indoor environment kept it too warm even with an unheated tank.

And with corals... I understand that corals really are animals and they do have mouths and intestines but can they also suck nutrients from the water LIKE a plant can?

Most corals have symbiotic algae living in their tissues that performs photosynthesis and feeds the coral. For some that's all they need to survive and they will not eat even though they have a mouth and digestive system. Others do better being able to periodically eat in addition to the photosynthesis.
 
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Rocky998

Rocky998

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There are some tanks like this, but generally not. Reefs and things like kelp forests are not the same habitat and so for those sorts of algaes it's often a matter of conflicting environmental needs between corals and the algaes. Some macroalgaes are workable in reef tank conditions and they are frequently used as a nutrient sink in sumps and refugiums, but again they are often kept away from contact with the corals to avoid problems (some macroalgaes will grown and/or choke out corals given the opportunity). In one of my tanks I do keep macroalgae in the same tank with corals, but it has to be carefully maintained and I would never recommend it to a beginner.

Seagrasses are another matter. Their collection is prohibited in many places so they are not generally seen in the trade for the hobby. In some places it is legal to collect damaged seagrass that has washed up on shore. I lived in such a place once and tried it - it was extremely hard to get the damaged pieces growing again, and every attempt I made eventually failed even if I had some initial growth. In my case the problem was likely water temperature; my indoor environment kept it too warm even with an unheated tank.



Most corals have symbiotic algae living in their tissues that performs photosynthesis and feeds the coral. For some that's all they need to survive and they will not eat even though they have a mouth and digestive system. Others do better being able to periodically eat in addition to the photosynthesis.
Thank you for the very informative reply!
 

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There was a thread on here a while back that showed a bunch of marine tanks that were full of different types of marine algae. They were basically saltwater plant tanks and were quite stunning. I'm not sure where it is but one of the mods might be able to find it for you.

You can also check YouTube for marine algae tanks and see if anything shows up. But the marine plant/ algae tanks were pretty impressive and have more yellow, orange, red and pink algae than freshwater tanks have red plants.

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Yes marine algae do help to remove ammonia, nitrite and nitrate but not many people keep marine algae. I used to keep a number of marine tanks and they all had different types of algae in them. I used Caulerpa species in coral and fish tanks to reduce nitrates and house amphipods (Gammarids) and shrimp. And I had a number of temperate (cool water) tanks that had local marine algae species.

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The symbiotic algae in corals can use nutrients from the water but most tanks have more fish and nutrients than the algae can deal with. So while they do remove some ammonia from the water, they aren't normally able to keep up with the amount of ammonia produced by the fish in the tank.
 

Essjay

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There was a thread on here a while back that showed a bunch of marine tanks that were full of different types of marine algae. They were basically saltwater plant tanks and were quite stunning. I'm not sure where it is but one of the mods might be able to find it for you.

This thread?

 
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Rocky998

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Wow that is really stunning... So algae can be used for planting saltwater tanks? Super cool! In freshwater algaes are pest plants and we always try to rid of them
 

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Marine algae don't actually get planted, they grow on rocks. I used a cold chisel and hammer to chip pieces of rock off bigger rocks. The algae I wanted was on the piece I chipped off.

Sea grass do grow in beach sand in the water but they all look like Vallis and aren't red, brown, yellow or other colours.
 
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Rocky998

Rocky998

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Marine algae don't actually get planted, they grow on rocks. I used a cold chisel and hammer to chip pieces of rock off bigger rocks. The algae I wanted was on the piece I chipped off.

Sea grass do grow in beach sand in the water but they all look like Vallis and aren't red, brown, yellow or other colours.
Thats pretty darn cool
 

Colin_T

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I'm amazed more people don't try keeping marine algae. They have nice colours, interesting shapes, and aren't that hard to grow. They even provide habitat for all sorts of little interesting things.

The main thing is to avoid sudden changes in temperature and salinity. I used to take water from the beach where I collected them, and fill up a tank with that water, then put the algae in the tank. That way they didn't suffer temperature or salinity stress and fall apart.
 

eatyourpeas

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This tank is just about to be one year old, and the red macros are now growing on their own. It is a great way to export nutrients, and I do not have a refugium.

Please excuse the reflections and the diatoms. I have been traveling a lot and they provide food for the critters while I am gone.

1655051089119.jpeg

1655051118947.jpeg
 
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Rocky998

Rocky998

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This tank is just about to be one year old, and the red macros are now growing on their own. It is a great way to export nutrients, and I do not have a refugium.

Please excuse the reflections and the diatoms. I have been traveling a lot and they provide food for the critters while I am gone.

View attachment 161261
View attachment 161262
That's a beautiful tank! All the colors!
 

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