News / Company News / Alternate Sources of Algae for the Refugium (10/20/2006)

Alternate Sources of Algae for the Refugium

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What's a refugium to do without Caulerpa?
As the USDA has restricted the importation of Caulerpa taxifolia(pictured right) due it's classification as a noxious weed, we have had to source other Macroalgae alternatives for use in the hobby. The ever-growing issue of invasive species has led the state of California to take additional steps in the effort to protect its environment and has prohibited the importation of any Caulerpa species altogether.
As a substitute to Caulerpa species, Chaetomorpha has become the macroalgae of choice. It is easily cultivated and also provides the benefit of rarely 'going sexual' (a term used to describe the often toxic release of gametes by an algae into the aquarium water). With the change in seasons however and subsequent decrease in growth rates and production, the availability of Chaetomorpha from domestic sources will become more limited. Additional alternatives we offer are Red Kelp, Red Grape, Sea Lettuce, Maidens Hair, Shaving Brush, Halimeda and Red Grassularia. We normally have a number of varieties in stock at any given time. The Red Grassularia, a naturally occurring marine algae, makes an excellent food. Digestion is much more complete and uneaten portions do not decompose in the aquarium. In fact, we feed it exclusively in-house to our own herbivores.