Chaeto algae going sexual?

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1971roadrunner

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Recently I've been doing research and started a build on a Chaetomorpha algae refugium to help lower nitrates, feed my mandarin etc... I keep hearing that this algae is the least likely, (or does not go sexual in an aquarium) to go sexual and wreak havoc though I cant find much ageeing info on this, if this were to happen, what exactly would be the contributing factors to this occurring. I would like to prevent this from happening before it may, so any information would be greatly appreciated. FYI, all the water parameters are good and the fish are very healthy. Thank you.
 

Jake98

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Filamentous type algea (Chaeto), are generally short lived and grow rapidly, often leading to rapid successional generations, thus they rapidly uptake nutrients this is why they are often used in refugium in fish tanks. When conditions are good the algae will almost exclusively reproduce asexually. When the water quality is good and their is an abundance of nutrients asexual reproduction is the fastest, and results in a high amount of new offspring. Algae use the "if it aint broke dont fix it" philosophy, the parents genetic make up works fine in the current conditions so why change it. Chaeto and most other filamentous type algae reproduce asexually primarily in two ways. Simply put the parent plant releases spores, these spores latch onto a substrate and begin meiotic division growing into a new plant. The other way is if the thallus (body of the alga) is split, the fragmented portion will again grab onto a substrate and begin to grow another genetically identical plant.
Now unlike many aquarium fish in which generally reproduce (sexually) when conditions are favorable algae have developed the opposite strategy, they reproduce sexually in poor conditions or when conditions are unfavorable to asexual reproduction! This is done to increase the dispersal distance of the offspring from the parents, lowering conspecific competition. Also it is a way to help "improve" their genetic make up. In theory the fittest individules in the poor conditions will have the highest fecundity rates. Thus passing thier genetic make up of higher resistance to whatever the poor condition was onto their genetically identical offspring via asexual reproduction when conditions viable for asexual reproduction.
Because we all diligent fish keepers the water quality in our tanks is generally very good never really warranting sexual reproduction in Chaeto. It would be a pretty unlucky occurrence to have the right unfavorable conditions for the right length of time for the Chaeto to undergo sexual reproduction, another reason it is commonly used in aquariums.
 
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1971roadrunner

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WOW, that really blew my hair back! That's absolutely fascinating and gives me confidence and new ways to look to proceed. My chaeto will be tumbling gently as planned however one ?, would you include any other types of algae in the refugium or any other advice to give? Thank you from myself and my 2 mandarin and hopefully someday 4.
 

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Their are many different types of macro algae, chaeto will be the easiest to come by though. Their are many species of Caulerpa will work well but many are much more likely to reproduce sexually than Chaeto is, also some are are illegal in certain states. Caulerpa taxifolia is one such illegal species as its extremely invasive. Ulva is also used and is interesting to look at. If you are going to be able to see your refuigum than I would recommend searching for pictures of different macro algae to find the one you like best. If its hidden from view use whatever you can get your hands on, adding LR rubble is a good idea as well. Honestly though, Chaeto by itself can work very well.

And no problem im glad to help out.
 
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