Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #164


Caulerpa is pretty easy to grow and shouldn't cause many problems. The
easiest form appears to be the "herringbone" leaf variety. It needs lots of
light, though. Consult any reference on keeping corals and light-sensitive
invertebrates for details. But I did okay with a mix of Triton tubes and
actinic tubes.

There are a few things worth bearing in mind, though. Caulerpa die-offs
*do* occur even in the best tanks, and if a lot goes at once the filter can
be compromised. Die-off often follows massive pruning, so the best thing is
to trim a little every few days. Extra minerals in the water aren't really
needed, good sea salt is quite complete. Similarly, the algae don't need
CO2 injection as they use the carbonate from the water. Low nitrate and
phosphate levels are probably helpful.

Caulerpa roots into sand or around rocks. Once established an impressive
fauna of invertebrates develops: copepods, gammarids and isopods, small
annelids and planarians, and so on. This provides an ideal grazing site for
fish like sea-horses and mandarins.

Obviously, you can't keep the algae with herbivores like tangs and
rabbit-fish, but damsels seem to do little harm. Boisterous fish like
triggers probably won't help establishing clumps. Although somewhat more
difficult, the cactus alga Halimeda is worth a try. The other algae, like
Shaving Brush and Sargassum weeds are usually very difficult.

All the best and good luck,



From  Neale Monks' Macintosh PowerBook, at...

Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD
Internet: N.Monks at nhm_ac.uk, Telephone: 0171-938-9007