About The Author

Photo by Chau HoMy interest with keeping tropical fish began at an early age growing up near the Florida Everglades in South Florida. With a bucket and net in hand, I would often spend entire afternoons with my brother, wading through alligator and snake infested waters in search of freshwater tropical fish for our small aquarium at home. As I grew older, I started snorkeling and collecting marine fish and invertebrates from tide pools and near shore reefs. The fish were way more colorful than the freshwater varieties available to me and the amount of invertebrates available were interesting and fascinating. This was in the early 80's when marine aquariums were not as popular in the United States. About the time when reef aquariums and live rock began to gain in popularity, I was now living on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. The fish species were not as colorful as on the east coast; the water was not as clear, but something else was abundant, marine macro algae were growing everywhere! The warm nutrient rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida are full of a wide array of fascinating and colorful marine algae. At first, most of my interest was with growing various species of Caulerpa. I soon however, began experimenting with growing other more colorful and challenging varieties including both brown and red algae.

My first attempts at culturing marine macro algae were marked with some frustration and failure, but I continued learning and experimenting until I was able to successfully grow several species in the aquarium using natural sunlight and collected seawater from the Gulf. I was once told by a reputable pet store owner that macro algae was difficult to keep alive for any length of time in captivity. We began selling and trading it to a local aquarium shop mainly as live food for tangs and angel fish. During this time, keeping coral in captivity was rare as well. This was years before the refugium became popular as a form of filtration. 

Most of the information contained in this publication is related to both my personal experience and observation. Let me first say that I am not a biologist, but an avid aquarist with many years of experience maintaining saltwater aquariums. Most literature available on marine plants today is technical and often requires advanced knowledge to understand. In addition, the majority of books on the subject are mostly field guides for students and lack detailed information on aquarium use. The purpose of this publication is to offer a simplified guide for the identification, use and culture of marine macro algae and plants in the aquarium.

Russ Kronenwetter is the owner of Gulf Coast Ecosystems, a wholesale and retail supplier of ornamental marine algae in Florida. Russ was a pioneer in the industry and has introduced many unknown species of macro algae to the aquarium trade over the past 25 years.

Copyright 2024 GCE All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced in any form by any means without the expressed permission of the author. All images are the property of Gulf Coast Ecosystems unless otherwise noted and should not be reproduced or distributed without permission.

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