I’ve been following lots of small tank, nano tank, and macro algae posting accounts on Instagram, so when I saw Bry_the_algae_guy post about a contest/challenge to aquascape a fishbowl in a way that is macro algae dominant and featured, I figured what a great way to connect with others and learn! As a total newbie to cultivating macro algae and aquascaping, this seemed like a good “starter” project to apply what I’ve read on various forums and articles to “real life”.
This contest is running February 18 to May 18th, and the rules include posting one progress picture, starting with a pic of your empty bowl, per month, with a final pic of your macro algae fish bowl project on/by May 18th. My entry was the first #macrobowlcontest entry:
- “Coral Reef 4pc VARIETY PACK Live Macro Algae Plant Refugium Marine Saltwater” , from 333aquatics . This was the best, by far. I received calurpa prolifora (the super common kind that is an invasive species in some areas, but easy to grow), Gracilaria hayi (or “red bush”), Gracilaria parvispora (“red ogo”), and a thicker branching species that I haven’t identified. Each piece was carefully glued to a plastic plug and ready to me to put in my aquarium! Fortunately for the fishbowl and 5 gallon seahorse tank (under development), but unfortunately for my preferred aesthetics, pieces were falling off… so I “planted” the detached pieces in the fishbowl and 5 gallon.
- “Gracilaria Hayi Macro Algae Red Bush Reef Aquarium” from dllndvlle – this seems to be a sub-species or variety, it was definitely different than the g. Hayi from 333aquatics. There were a few small pieces and I put them all in the macrobowl. One succumbed to cynao bacteria last week.
- “Macro Algae Variety pack Plant Refugium Marine Saltwater sump” from starwindaquariums. This macro algae was shipped via regular 1st class priority mail, during the middle of the ice storm. No heat packs and it’s amazing that it didn’t freeze. It arrived as a ball of unidentified macroalgae, definitely chaeto dominant with some red ogo, and at least one or two other species I can’t identify. This was the only macroalgae with organisms in it, and the amphipods and worms were all dead and fell out as soon as I put the compacted ball in my 29 gallon tank. I took a chunk with chaeto in it and put it in the back refugium area of my 29 gallon, put a chunk of red algae in shade under one of the rocks in the display portion, and placed a few pieces of unidentified red macro in my 5 gallon tank. I put no macroalgae from this purchase in my macro algae bowl.
- I added my own feather and grape calurpa
To ground and center the bowl’s aquascape, I chose my best piece of live rock (that I bought when “rebooting” my 29 gallon earlier in 2021). Two hermit crabs hitchhiked on it and didn’t die from the sudden exposure to cold water (this tank seems to stay at around 68″ F and I’m not sure if I should put a heater in it). I arranged the macroalgae as best I could, and on the advice of csmiller1313, bought the NICREW Aquarium Internal Filter for $12.99
For maintenance I’m adding five drops of Chaeto-Gro macro algae fertilizer every day, a milliliter or so of MicroBacter7 (for beneficial bacteria that will keep the red cyano away and help filter), and some random reef vitamins with buffer in them. I will probably add a full spectrum light, since the one that I bought I’ve learned has too much blue and needs more red spectrum.
Now that it’s all set up, comes the maintenance and hoping that the macro algae grows. Last week I dealt with an outbreak of red cyano bacteria (which I treated chemically over the weekend, necessitating a large water change and pruning the feather and grape calurpa (which were caked in the red slime particularly bad).
Enjoy some recent pictures of this “macro algae bowl in progress” below:
My most recent Instagram update, before treating it with ChemiClean to remove the red slime algae: