Aquarium hobby usage
Chaetomorpha is especially common in saltwater aquariums because it can be used for removal of nutrients, especially nitrates. Aquarists will commonly house this alga, perhaps with others, in a refugium. Once it has grown to a significant mass, a chunk of the algae is removed to be thrown out or donated to another aquarist, taking the nutrients it has absorbed out of the system. Chaetomorpha is preferred over other macroalgae such as Caulerpa because it is less likely than Caulerpa to undergo sexual reproduction in the aquarium. It is also easy to remove because it will not attach to rocks or substrates. In a study run by Casey Campbell, it was shown that coal bed methane is filtered by chaetomoropha, and is made for livable for Daphnia magna, and more research is being done it to its large scale use. In addition to nutrient export, chaetomorpha is known to host beneficial amphipods which can subsequently be used as a food source for corals and animals that may reside within the aquarium.
Chaetomorpha can, alternatively, be replaced by an algae scrubber. Due to the scrubber's increased photosynthesis (filtering) ability, the algae scrubber will usually kill the chaetomorpha if used in the same aquarium system.
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