Norm 06/09/03 12:00

Hello fans of garf.

One question I get from our customers almost daily is how can I get my coraline algae to color like it does in Sally Joe's tanks. The answer comes in four stages, lighting, supplementation, grunge and the most important ingredient..........patience.

Coraline algae loves actinic blue actinic light and hates white light. To give your coraline a boost, increase your blue light and decrease your white light. Coraline grows best deep in the ocean where only blue spectrum light can penetrate. When starting a reef tank, allow the blue actinic bulbs to run 24 hours a day for two weeks.

Gradually introduce white light one hour a day while reducing the actinic blues one hour until they match. How long you run your bulbs depends on the bio-load(corals, fish, invertabrates and coraline algae.) Twelve hours a day for a heavy bio-load, eight hours or less for an average or light load. Watch your animals, they will tell you if they are happy by the way they color and polyp extension.


Garf recommends the use of Sea-Chem products only for supplementation. If you are starting a reef tank and following Sally Joe's bulletproof reef system, don't supplement for the first three weeks. The trace elements in Instant Ocean Salt will provide all the nutrients the coraline algae needs during the start up period.

If you have an existing tank and want to boost the coraline algae growth, begin using Sea-Chem supplementation following Sally Joe's recommended dosing. Once again, garf is in no way affliated with Sea-Chem, we do not sell their products, we simply know them to work and be consistent in quality.

And now we come to my personal favorite subject..........Grunge. Grunge, grungy, just the word sounds grungy.

How in the world could something called grunge be worth anything? If you want a healthy reef tank, chalk full of life giving little organisms, you can do no better than adding garf grunge to your tank.

At start-up, three pounds per ten gallons of tank capacity will provide your tank with everything it needs to develope into a healthy beautiful reef tank. If you have an existing tank, one pound per ten gallons will be sufficient. Grunge contains crushed coraline algae made from rocks sent to garf from all over the world. Bio-diversity is one of the keys to a happy reef tank.

Patience my reef friends, patience is the one thing I cannot sell you. If you follow Sally Joe's bulletproof reef system and are using garf's man-made zero impact Aragocrete reef sculptures, you will see coraline algae covering your rocks in about three weeks.

The initial growth will appear as a lime green coating. After about three months you will see your rocks turn pink, then purple. Naturally, the degree of coloration will vary from tank to tank.

Have any questions? Have any suggestions? Please e-mail me at attn. Norm or call us on the support line at 208 344-6163. Always happy to receive suggestions about what you would like to see on my site.

Thank you garf fans.



Coralline algae is one of the most important things to grow on tank raised live rocks. Coralline algae can not grow in a system until you introduce it by adding live rocks. The more types of Coralline that you introduce the more types you will find growing on your tank raised live rocks. In our research lab we have experimented with several different methods to aid the advancement of coraline growth. We have noticed that new coralline algae starts to seed itself in the first month and it usually is found on the bottom base rock where the lighting is not so bright. This may have something to do with the fact that all our tanks are started by adding GARF Grunge, which has an abundent mixure of small pieces of coralline algae.

The most important thing to do so you can have great group of PINK and PURPLE coralline algae is to add some great captive raised strains to your reef! GARF GrungeTM is the very best source of hardy coralline algae.

Many times peole have called and asked why they do not have multi-colored coralline algae like we have in our reefs. I ask them what kinds did they plant in their reefs? Often they say that they did not add any.

I always say that it is like plowing a field and waiting for corn to fall from the sky:) You must plant some or you will just grow weeds. GRUNGE has the best strains we have collected since 1973.

The badly damaged coralline that came from the mistreated live rock you statred with is NOT the strains that you need.

Several colors of Coralline algae can be grown on the same tank raised live rock. Calcium is one of the most important things to add to your live rock growing tanks. Calcium levels in your live rock grow out tanks should be kept at about 400 mg/L at a specific gravity of 1.024. We have found that by using SeaChems Reef Builder and Reef Advantage in alternating doses in our make-up water we have had no trouble keeping both the calcium and alkalinity at the proper levels for rapid coralline growth. This simple method of treating our make-up water also keeps the strontium level in our grow out tanks high enough for the coralline algae to thrive.