Starting Mangroves

Discussion in 'Reef Cleaners' started by grubbsj, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. grubbsj

    grubbsj Gigas Clam

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    I'm planning to use the following Refugium/Sump combo as just a refugium to support a new 120g display tank, this refugium will get 1/2 of the tank overflow and drain to the sump (old 75g tank)....

    Photo of the refugium setup before taking down the tank:
    [​IMG]

    Sketch of the refugium and how it was used with the 75g tank:
    [​IMG]

    What I'm thinking is that in the equipment section will be used to support Chaeto and the refugium side would have 4" of fine sand and house the mangroves. Thinking that they would root in the sand... but at 16" deep I cannot start a propagate in the sand and keep the grow tip above the water line.....unless there is much more sand or I build a stand upon which the sand is placed... for a long term solution what would you recommend...???

    You can see the refugium - sump plan for the 120g in this thread: http://www.3reef.com/forums/filters-etc/equipment-room-not-48562.html
     
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  3. gazog

    gazog Kole Tang

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    That is what I did, I built a PVC stand that hangs from the top, then I put some egg crate over that on which I put a plastic shoe box filled with sand on to raise them up out of the water. seems to be doing the trick. I will post pictures later if I get home at a decent hour.
     
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  4. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    They can sprout under water and then grow out. The only thing with planting them in the sand is that there will come a day when you will need to trim the roots back. When the roots grow throughout all that sand, it will create some cloudiness when you remove them for trimming, (plus you won't know when the day comes), that is why we recommend growing them hydroponically. You can do this by floating them by poaking the propagule through some styro. If you do this, misting the tops is a good idea to remove salt spray, (or in the case of the black mangrove salt excretions). Last thing we want is for someone to ruin a pump by grinding it with sand, or stress their fish out, but they are actually pretty good at dealing with sandy water, it gets cloudy on the reefs too, and they are built to take it.
     
  5. grubbsj

    grubbsj Gigas Clam

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    gazog, I like that idea, the eggcrate can be used to support the styro and give stems support...

    John, How thick a piece of styro would you recomend using, is 1/2 sufficient? If I can leverage gozog's idea, then would you recomend any sand in the refugium side?

    In the 75g sump, I will leverage the area to host a plenum, so the only need for the sand was to support the mangroves....

    Thanks...
     
  6. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    yeah a half inch is fine. DSB are pretty good at nitrate removal, plenums work too. I think a mix of all three would be good, but if you see nitrates go to zero and phosphates remain, you can boost the macro's filtering efficiency by dosing nitrates. (I know this sounds counterproductive and dumb but wait...). Macro absorbs nitrates and phosphates at around 20:1 - 14:1 ideally. If nitrate is zero and phosphates are at .5, you can get good results by getting nitrate up to like 10ppm, and then both will rapidly drop to zero. (Don't do it the other way around though). Not something you will likely have to do, but something good to know if you have a lot of your filtering removing nitrates, (plenum, rock, DSB), without working on the phosphates.
     
  7. lunatik_69

    lunatik_69 Giant Squid

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    What ever you do, dont plant the Mangroves in refugium mud. They wont survive. I have had Mangroves for a while and I've had them in mud, sand and floating with a styro-foam disc. I want to say that they work best when they're roots are exposed and not buried. Just my 2 cents. Luna
     
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  9. grubbsj

    grubbsj Gigas Clam

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    I have the room for sand in other places so bear roots it is....

    So, with a plenum, live rock, Coil denitrator, Phosphate and Carbon reactors & water changes....the Red/Black Mangroves are desired to assist in managing the silica...and they look cool sticking up out of the refugium...do I have to worry about not having enough nitrates/nitrites for them to thrive?
     
  10. lunatik_69

    lunatik_69 Giant Squid

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    Heres a thread that I posted not to long ago. Has great info.

    The mangrove ecosystem Mangrove ecosystems, called "mangals," are very unique. The roots of the mangrove provide ideal habitat for fish and invertebrates such as large game fish, groupers, snappers, archer fish, shrimps, crabs, lobsters, sponges, oysters, and corals. Many juvenile stages of these and other fish develop in these mangrove "nurseries," before moving out into the ocean. Larger animals, including, crocodiles, sea turtles, manatees, snakes, birds, deer, and raccoon also find mangals an ideal habitat. The intricate root systems of the mangroves help to protect coastlines during hurricanes and other tropical storms.
    Mangrove ecosystems are declining, mostly due to human interventions such as increased populations along coast lines, pollution, and cutting of the mangroves for timber and to clear land for palm and sugar cane plantations.

    Special adaptations for a saltwater environment Mangroves have special adaptations that allow them to conserve water and regulate their salt levels.

    Water conservation The leaves of the mangrove have three characteristics that help conserve water:
    <IMG onmouseover="if(this.width >= 400) {this.style.cursor='pointer';}" onclick="if(this.width >= 400) window.open('http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/1121/20040513154558/www.peteducation.com/images/articles/no_mangrove_ill.jpg','Image','toolbar=no, directories=no, status=no, menubar=no, scrollbars=no, resizable=yes');" src="http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/1121/20040513154558/www.peteducation.com/images/articles/no_mangrove_ill.jpg" onload="if(this.width >= 400) {this.alt='Click here to see the orignal image';}" border=0>
    1. Cuticle: The leaf is covered by a cuticle, which gives it a shiny, almost waxy appearance. The cuticle helps keep water in the leaf.
    2. Stomata: The underside of the leaf has tiny pores, called "stomata. These allow for the exchange of water and carbon dioxide. If necessary, the plant can constrict the openings of the stomata to conserve water.
    3. Orientation: Many plants orient themselves to take full advantage of the sunlight. Mangroves differ in that, if necessary, they can tip their leaves upward to decrease their exposure to the sun and limit the loss of water through evaporation.
    Lowering salt levels Different species of mangroves have varying ways to regulate their salt levels.
    • Secretion: Some mangroves have small glands on their leaves that can actually secrete excess salt, which can be washed away by the rains.
    • Exclusion: The roots of some plants are specially adapted to allow for the passage of water into the plant, but at the same time excluding salt from entering. The Red Mangrove has this type of "salt pump."
    • Sequestration: Using a third process, some mangroves can allow salt to accumulate in older leaves, and when the leaves fall off of the plant, the excess salt goes with them. Some mangroves also sequester salt in their bark or roots.
    Reproduction Red mangroves have pale yellow flowers, which are pollinated by the wind. Some other species of mangroves are pollinated by insects. Red mangroves reproduce by a process called "vivipary." The seeds that result from the pollination of the flowers start to germinate while they are still attached to the tree. The seedlings, which are called "propagules" (sometimes termed "tuber" in the aquarium industry), remain on the tree until they are ripe. They then fall from the tree and float in the water, for up to a year, until they have contact with a suitable substrate. A propagule is approximately 6 to 8 inches in length and looks similar to a candle.

    Mangroves in an aquarium
    • Acquiring your mangrove: If you wish to include mangroves in your aquarium, give careful consideration to their origin. Purchase plants that were grown in nurseries, not harvested as a detriment to their ecosystems. Check that they come from a nursery with the correct dealer certificate issued by the state in which they were grown.
    • <IMG onmouseover="if(this.width >= 400) {this.style.cursor='pointer';}" onclick="if(this.width >= 400) window.open('http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/1121/20040504152836/www.peteducation.com/images/articles/p_90185red_mangrove_tuber.jpg','Image','toolbar=no, directories=no, status=no, menubar=no, scrollbars=no, resizable=yes');" src="http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/1121/20040504152836/www.peteducation.com/images/articles/p_90185red_mangrove_tuber.jpg" onload="if(this.width >= 400) {this.alt='Click here to see the orignal image';}" border=0>Planting the mangrove: The propagule can be planted in an open topped aquarium, illuminated sump, or refugium. When adding a mangrove propagule to your aquarium, you can plant it directly in the sand or gravel, use a rubber band or tie to attach it to the top of rocks or driftwood, or allow it to take root in the water with no substrate. The roots will quickly take hold in either a sand substrate or in live rock. When planting a mangrove propagule, be sure the growth tip and any leaves present on the plant are out of the water. If you have a canopy over your aquarium, simply plant the tuber towards the back of the aquarium, so it will eventually grow through the area where the plumbing is located.
    • Transplanting the mangrove: As with many other plants, moving a mangrove can stress it and cause its leaves to wilt or drop off. If this occurs, place the plant in tap water under strong light. When transplanting a mangrove from freshwater to saltwater, it must be done in increments. Over the course of several days, gradually increase the salt level in the water. Also, be sure there is sufficient magnesium in the water (see Nutrients, below).
    • Filtering capabilities: Mangroves can help lower nitrates and phosphates in the aquarium. If you are including mangroves in your aquarium as part of your filtering system, it is best to set up a separate mangrove filter. This can be a 10-20 gallon tank that is placed next to your aquarium and connected to its water circulation system. For small (10-30 gallon) aquariums, you will need to have approximately one plant for every gallon. If you have a larger aquarium (50-200 gallons), the attached mangrove filtering tank will need about 1 plant for every 2 gallons of water. The number of plants needed, of course, depends upon their size.
    • Lighting requirements: Mangroves do not need intense light. Light from a sunny window may be sufficient (do NOT place your aquarium in direct sunlight). A supplemental light source such as a fluorescent fixture with two or more grow bulbs with a light spectrum in the range of 6000°-8000°K (Kelvin rating of degrees), or the light from the side of a metal halide fixture can also be used. Allow at least 4 inches between the leaves and the light source to prevent heat injury.
    • Temperature and humidity: In areas of low humidity, such as winter in northern climates, mangroves should be misted daily. Since they are tropical plants, they prefer warm temperatures and do not tolerate freezing.
    • Nutrients: Red mangroves need adequate amounts of magnesium in the water for their "salt pumps" to work. If magnesium levels become too low, the plants can develop "salt stress," which can cause yellowing of the leaves and shriveling of the leaves and branches. At a specific gravity of 1.025 (normal sea water), the magnesium level should be 1,000-1,300 ppm.
      Mangroves receive most of their nutrients from the aquarium water and fish food, and do not need to be supplemented with fertilizers. Use a commercial trace element supplement that contains iron, manganese, and potassium weekly, especially if the aquarium has a large number of mangroves.
    • Pest control: Mangroves may become infested with mealy bugs, scales, white flies, or mites. If grown in an aquarium, pesticides cannot be used to control these pests. In these situations, control options include purchasing insects that will eat these pests, or removing the pests by hand.
    • General care: The general care for the mangrove plant includes wiping excess salt from the leaves with fresh water a few times per week. Mangroves absorb nutrients from the water in order to grow. They export the unneeded nutrients and excess salt through their leaves. It is important for nutrient control, that when leaves drop from the plant that they not be allowed to decay in the aquarium. Tannins from the decomposing leaves may also turn the water yellowish brown, although small amounts can be removed with an activated charcoal filter.
    • Pruning: The Red Mangrove grows very large and tall in nature. To prevent excessive growth in an aquarium, simply trim the growth tip of the plant as necessary with a sharp scissors. In time, the plant will alter its growth, and remain short and bushy. In fact, you can manipulate the growth of your mangrove much like you would a Bonsai Tree.
      Do NOT cut or damage the roots of seedlings – it may kill the plant. A wayward root can be trimmed on an older plant.
     
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  11. grubbsj

    grubbsj Gigas Clam

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    Lunitak 69, I actual have your thread booked marked. This summary is the reason I believe that it is proper for me to be using mangroves...

    Not that I have room for 100 mangroves in the finished system.... to get started I'm considering 10 of each Red & Black....
     
  12. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    I have been able to do it both ways. I think they grow quicker when buried, but become a pain that way. But the styro ways is the way to do it. Unless you are planting in the display, then fishing line is great alternative.