Macroalgae is one of the most effective ways to naturally export nitrate and phosphate from your saltwater aquarium. You also gain the benefit of creating prime habitat for copepods and other micro-crustaceans and because macroalgae is photosynthetic, it will absorb CO2 as it grows which reduces acidification and helps stabilize pH. Needless to say, macroalgae is incredibly beneficial for your saltwater aquarium. 

Algaebarn Macroalgae and Phytoplankton

Algaebarn is one of the leading aquaculture companies that specialize in producing clean macroalgae, pods, and plankton for saltwater aquariums. Chaetomorpha specifically is one of the most popular types of macroalgae and Algaebarn puts forth a tremendous effort to not only grow healthy chaetomorpha but also maintain clean cultures so you're not at risk of introducing serious pests into your tank.

How Clean Is It?

Pests can be especially problematic among Chaetomorpha because the tightly woven "strings" create a great place for these pesky critters to hide and hitchhike their way into your aquarium. When sourcing macroalgae from a local fish store or traded amongst hobbyists, it's incredibly difficult to control the pests because the algae is typically grown in shared systems where anything from ich to hair algae could be woven or resting amongst the algae.

Algaebarn keeps their Chaetomorpha in dedicated closed systems and when harvested for shipment, the macroalgae is physically cleaned and inspected to be visually free of pests. While there is always some level of risk because of tiny spores and eggs, by and large, Algaebarn is one of the cleanest sources of macroalgae available to hobbyists.


How Much Chaeto Do I Need?

Chaetomorpha can grow quite fast when given the appropriate nutrients and light so you really don't need much more than a golfball size portion to get started. Before long, you will find yourself harvesting the algae every few weeks, making room for more growth. Remember, when macroalgae runs out of space, the growth slows down which means it's no longer pulling the maximum level of nutrients. Harvesting your macroalgae is important to maintain steady nutrient export.

At the end of the day, you just need to provide a suitable amount of space to achieve the level of growth you desire. Larger tanks typically require larger refugiums or macroalgae reactors to keep up with their level of nutrient input. Increasing or slowing down the growth of the algae via the photoperiod (how long the light runs) can help dial in the level of nutrient export you need to accomplish.   


How Do I Grow Chaetomorpha? 

Chaetomorpha is technically algae and in many ways, it could be considered almost bulletproof.  Most hobbyists will grow chaetomorpha in a refugium area or dedicated macroalgae reactor. Be sure there is a measurable level of nutrients and use a full spectrum light to support photosynthesis and the chaetomorpha will do the rest.  Harvest the chaeto when it has filled out the growing area leaving only a baseball size portion behind.  

Chaetomorpha does require various elements to stay healthy and the addition of special additives may help to keep your chaetomorpha healthy, especially in situations of considerable growth.  Brightwell Aquatics Chaetogro is an excellent source of minor and trace elements that may become depleted over time and helps to keep your macroalgae in optimal health.

Chaeto does not have roots or any kind of anchor so it will simply grow suspended in the water column or resting on the substrates. Having some level of flow to flush away debris is ideal and turning the Chaetomorpha manually helps increase light exposure to all sides. You can also direct flow through the grow-out chamber in such a way that allows the entire clump of chaeto to tumble which works great for achieving outward growth in all directions. When left to simply rest in a chamber without being turned over, only the top layer receives light meaning that is the only part of the Chaeto that grows.  This is why macro algae reactors that are column-shaped and lit from all sides can achieve faster growth.