Macro Algae : Frequently Asked Questions On Marine Plant Orders ecosystems


I just placed an order, when will it ship?

All orders received before Tuesday 10:00 am EST will ship the same week. If we are out of stock, we will notify you via email with an approximate shipping date.

Do you ship to other countries?

We only ship to the US, which includes Hawaii & Puerto Rico.

I just received my order, what should I do?

We use poly bags to ship all orders, these bags can be safely floated to acclimate to your aquarium water. We recommend placing everything in  a quarantine tank or similar container with aquarium water from your system. Open the shipping box and carefully examine the marine plants. Do any of the stems appear transparent? If so, when the plants are acclimated and ready to be placed in their new home carefully remove any transparent material as it may break down in your aquarium and release organic compounds. Remove all shipping water from the bags and do not add to the aquarium. 

There are strange things attached to the plants and algae.

Many species of macroalgae and segrass are shipped with some hitch hikers, so make sure you carefully examine everything before adding to any aquarium or refugium. White or orange blobs are typically tunicates, sponges and sea squirts and are quite harmless, as they are readily eaten by many fish and invertebrates.

There is a strong smell coming from the bags and box.

There is typically a mild sea smell after opening the styrofoam lid. This is normal as many species of marine algae have a distinctive odor. Also, In some cases there are some critters that might not have survived the journey, which is why it's important to sort out the contents prior to adding them to your aquarium. In addition, seagrass lives in an anaerobic sand bed which can also have an odor. 

Help, my new plants aren't growing!

Patience is key, especially with mangroves, halimeda and seagrass. When added to a new environment, marine plants and algae will have to adjust to a change in salinity, water temp, ph, etc, which can cause some of the algae to die back, this is normal, but should be minimal. Monitor the algae the first couple of days and simply remove any plant material that appears transparent and doesn't retain its natural color. When the algae begins to grow again it will be white at the tips, this is normal and is an indication of daily growth. Red macro algae, such as gracilaria can become brittle and may fall apart at the tops of it's stems during shipping, simple pruning will ensure it adjusts to it's environment.

How do marine plants grow?

They need light to thrive, 3-4 watts per gallon, full spectrum bulbs ranging from 5000K to  10000K is fine. The major and minor nutrients required by macro algae are: nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, sulfate, iron, manganese, thiamine, biotin, and vitamin B12. Most of all these elements are available in salt mixes or by adding trace elements. Iron and iodine can be added to the makeup water to keep levels acceptable. Some plants are very tolerant of changes and can adjust to most any environment, such as caulerpa. Caulerpa has a very high tolerance to poor water quality and seems to grow well as long as their is sufficient light. Water changes are the key to providing your plants with everything they need to grow.

What is nutrient dosing?

In some marine macro algae dominated systems, there are simply not enough nutrients to sustain growth (nitrogen, phosphate, iron, etc.) This is true of seagrass planted aquariums which need large amounts of nutrients to thrive. The addition of Nitrates or phosphates should only be administered in a closed planted system and is not recommended for refugiums. There are several freshwater supplements available, as well as our own lab quality mix. It is believed that adding iron also aids in the growth of macro algae and marine plants. This can safely be added weekly to any system lacking this nutrient.

What does sporulation or "going sexual" mean?

A topic of much discussion is sporulation, which is the die off and associated reproduction cycle of macro algae. This can happen if a drastic change in it's environment occurs, such as the depletion of essential trace elements, water temp, salinity or ph. This phenomenon  can be avoided by  keeping conditions as constant and stable as possible. Another way is to keep pruning the tank of new growth. This will become necessary anyway as the algae matures and overgrows it's environment. Some algae loss and die off should be expected as macro algae does not live forever.

Gulf Coast Ecosystems, 814 26th St. West, Bradenton, Fl 34205 941-225-9465