The moment you start cycling an SBMarine tank; Algae become a permanent element of an ongoing process that will balance and then stabilize the conditions inside it. From pseudo-algae to micro-algae, then to macro-algae and ultimately calcified algae... They all interact with water chemistry, nutrition of zooplankton invertebrates and fishes, elimination and/or recycling of organic waste. They also provide shelter to a vast array of beneficial invertebrates and fishes.
But what more do they offer that is vital to all marine life ?
In the Ocean, life in the food chain begins with Phytoplankton that provides energy, vitamins, trace elements and.... Prebiotics
Yes Prebiotics: fibers that a human or fish cannot digest but are digested by Probiotics in our digestive system. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that constitute the fauna (microbiota) in our gut. Prebiotics and Probiotics go hand in hand... there are more bacteria in a human being than there are human cells and we assume the same is true for fishes.
What is the difference between GOOD and BAD bacteria ?
Bad bacteria feed off junk food: sugars and fats
Good bacteria feed off good fibers: Prebiotics
The result of the good process yields many chemicals useful to the well being of our stomach and gut.
It is vital to understand that Good and Bad bacteria can communicate chemically with the brain: telling it what you want to eat...
No need to add that the result is the same with humans and fishes: bad diet = bad health...
A well documented example with fishes are Bloodworms: they are excessively rich in fats and feeding large quantities will result in fatty degeneration of the liver in fishes; it is fatal. If you take into account some commercial staple foods then the list of junk food grows fast... More recently manufacturers have improved the quality of dry fish foods... But there is nothing like the real thing in many cases.
You see recent exhaustive studies of Marine Algae have identified a vast amount of species that are Prebiotic starting with many Caulerpas... but all families of Algae contain species that are Prebiotic: Green, Red and Brown Algae.
This is where a Marine Biological System becomes an invaluable ressource to Marine Aquarists: and guess what...
a plethora of Marine Algae are also beneficial to human consumption...
How sweet it is !!!
We take for granted that fishes can find proper sources of Probiotics in a well balanced Marine Biological System
Throughout their complete life cycle: 'Pods find all their sources of nurishment here. Amino acids, saccharids/polysaccharids, trace elements, fibers, chitin, etc... They also find all necessary types of algae: pseudo-algae, micro-algae, diatoms, etc... They are never starved so all that healthy nurishment is passed on to fishes and other life forms.
By keeping the tank balanced: in eliminating pollutants and bad algae that constitute their diet... 'Pods create an environment where TRUE ALGAE can proliferate (real algae cannot develop in polluted waters). In turn these beneficial algae eliminate NITRATES which are harmful to Corals... This is when the tank becomes stabilized. Seen above Caulerpa verticillata gradually replaces the ever so ugly green hair alga on aquascaping...
It takes about a year to fully cycle a tank and get it stabilized. This one is halfway there. But even at this stage it could display Anemones, a wide variety of molluscs, crustaceans and some soft corals.
Three Genus are represented here: Rabbit Fish - Angel Fish - Surgeon Fish... All three consume Algae but all of them consume Algae in a different manner... They all have different mouth and dentition configurations... some will grasp long GHA while others are incapable of eating them unless they have been trimmed to the base... Some are grazers, some are nippers/pickers, some are less specialized... And they will all starve if these requirements are not met !!!
In a fully stabilized tank: Calcified Algae start developping. Conditions are then considered satisfactory for many Stony Corals... some Large Polyped and some Small Polyped.
All Clownfish are Plankton feeders in the wild.... as well as in captivity where a Marine Biological System meets their requirements. Here this couple is facing the current which brings drifting Zooplankton directly to them !