FAQs on Marine Algae
Related Articles: Avoiding Algae Problems in Marine System,
Control, Marine Maintenance,
Nutrient Control and Export,
Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit
Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae
Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth
Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs,
Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown
"Algae"/(Cyanobacteria), Diatoms, Brown
Related FAQs: Algae ID Visual
Guide, Marine Algae ID 1,
Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae ID 3, Marine Algae ID 4, Marine Algae ID 5, Marine Algae ID 6, Marine Algae ID 7, Marine Algae ID 8, Marine Algae ID 9, Marine Algae ID 10, Marine Algae ID 11, Marine Algae ID 12, Marine Algae ID 13, Marine Algae ID 14, Marine Algae ID 15, Marine Algae ID 16, Marine Algae ID 17, Marine Algae ID 18, Marine Algae ID 19, Marine Algae ID 20, Marine Algae ID 21, Marine Algae ID 21, Marine Algae ID 23, Marine Algae ID 24, Marine Algae ID 25, SW Algae ID 26, SW Algae ID 27, SW Algae ID 28, SW Algae ID 29, SW Algae ID 31, SW Algae ID 32, SW Algae ID 33, SW Algae ID 34,
SW Algae ID 35, SW
Algae ID 36, SW Algae ID 37, SW
Algae ID 38, SW Algae ID 39, & Marine Algae Control FAQs 2, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae,
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Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Re mystery "algae changed (and another question),
blenny and Chelmon 2/20/2010
A couple of months ago I wrote to you with regard to a mysterious
unwanted organism (photo attached). You felt it was most likely a
cyanobacterium, despite it's only appearing as a discrete
clump approximately a quarter inch at most, and my lack of water
parameters that would be favorable for cyanoBACTERIA.
<The material on the outside is almost assuredly BGA, under
though? Best guess is some sort of sponge material>
The clumps only had the reddish color on the outside, the inside
being a translucent pale yellow, very easily compressed.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to gain access to a microscope
as you suggested. (I'd be happy to
mail you a sample....) The reason I am writing again is that it
has changed it's appearance; at the same depth in the tank,
all the clumps are now entirely the inner color of very pale
yellow, no red exterior. Sorry, I cannot get a good picture of
its new appearance as it is so translucent now. It grows on rock,
sand, and on macroalgaes equally.
To recall the parameters of my tank: I have a Red Sea Max 65
gallon tank, lights on nine hours daily. Salinity is 35 ppt,
temperature 80 degrees, pH 8.4, alkalinity 2.5 mEq/l, calcium 395
- 400 ppm, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphates all at zero ppm.
The tank is now nearly at seven months in age. I have a three
inch Tomini bristletooth tang, four one inch azure damsels, a
three inch scooter dragonet, and just added a one inch Tailspot
blenny. Additionally, I have a scroll coral, a just starting to
grow chalice (Oxypora sp.?) fragment, a rescued piece of
Pocillopora that seems to be regenerating, two very healthy
pulsing Xenias (one white, one brown), a Kenya tree coral, a
clump of Parazoanthus gracilis, numerous encrusting unidentified
polyps, a long polyp toadstool coral, clove polyps, and a green
devil's hand coral.
There are about six small unidentified hitchhiker crabs, four
hermits, six assorted snails, plus a Sally Lightfoot that I
bought, a skunk cleaner shrimp, a peppermint shrimp, two small
horseshoe crabs, and two brittle stars. Also, there a good number
of filter feeders such as tube worms, a tiny cucumber, two
species of Vermetid snail, and several species of sponge
(hitchhikers all) doing well, and several types of macroalgae. I
feed a small amount of frozen brine shrimp twice a week to
supplement the damsels' and tang's diet, and 5 ml of
DT's phytoplankton daily. I am
keeping the calcium and alkalinity at current levels with
Brightwell Aquatics two part calcium and buffer supplements.
The only thing that is unwanted are these clumps of (?). They
remind me of tribbles. If it weren't for the color change,
I'd assume you were right about them being cyanoBACTERIA
clumps. But now I really am wondering. I am
at a loss as to what factor has changed; the only change is that
a couple of months ago I started adding calcium (when I added the
Another minor question; the Tailspot blenny seems to like being
around the devil's hand soft coral; but as a result it
isn't opening its' polyps. It will start, but then the
blenny comes to visit and they close again. Is this going to harm
the coral if it keeps up?
Any ideas as to what to do?
<Mmm, either remove the Blenny or reconcile yourself to likely
Is there some sort of "home" he might be attracted to
other than the coral?
<Try rearranging the rock would, adding some "tube
There are plenty of holes, nooks and crannies already with all
the live rock base....
<Then likely not>
One last question which I think I know the answer to - would I be
foolish to add a small Copperband butterfly? I know it would
likely eat the feather dusters, but might it be happy with just
them if I feed a decent diet (feel free to suggest on that
score)? I do not want to lose corals....
Thanks in advance for all the advice. Sincerely, Seth.
<See WWM re Chelmons, their compatibility etc.>
P.S.: Let me know if I can mail you a sample of the mystery
clumps, I just removed as much as I could, but can never get them
all so there will be more... You can have as much as you
<Heeee! No thanks. Bob Fenner>
a new algae? 2/11/10
Do you recognize this algae? Also from Sulawesi....
I have two photo's more but this one is the most nice
Hope to hear from you
<Don't know, but is a gorgeous Rhodophyte of some sort.
Unidentified Single Loop Tube, ID and growing
Rhodophytes sans essential nutrients 2/10/10
I am a hardcore believer in researching and not taking the easy
So believe me when I say I invested, not wasted, hours looking up
more information about the little critter I have attached a photo
of. First the facts I have a 75 gallon FOWLR tank with 80 lbs of
live rock and the following stock:
Niger Trigger (temporary until I feel his new home is well
he's only two inches long).
Chocolate Chip Star (not my idea received as a gift/rescue).
Tiger Cowry (Same as above).
Twenty Hermits (Blue leg, red leg).
10 Nassarius Snails
10 Various other snails
I have a AquaC Remora Pro Skimmer
And four stage UV filtration system
First, what can I do to make my red macro, both pictures
<Need/s some/appreciable Phosphate and Nitrate among other
Whatever you're doing to absolutely exclude, remove these
needs to change>
It is turning clear and does not seem to be increasing in size at
all. Second I only have two of these green loopy thingies, which
I am sure is their proper name, should I removed them?
<Mmm, no... unless you're concerned re their
proliferation. Are types of bubble algae... See WWM re>
They are bright green and there does not seem to be any
tentacles, nets, fans etc., coming out in light or in the
I attempted to get the best picture but the largest is not even
pushing half an inch and they are almost transparent. Any help is
appreciated. I am very grateful for the wonderful resource your
site is to me consistently. Thank you. Thomas Mathews Horne
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
name of algae 2/8/10
Dear WWM crew,
Still puzzling with this algae. It was taken in North Sulawesi.
Is it a Udotea?
<Mmm, no... am pretty sure this is Lobophora variegata. Please
There is few to find of this algae beside your site. Thank you
for your perfect site! Very often I'm returning to your site
to look for my algae puzzles..
Thanks you for answering my question.
Greetings from Holland
<And you! Bob Fenner>
Hair Algae? Making Me Crazy/Algae Control/Jack Daniels
If You Please 2/4/10
I know you here it over and over but all of you are awesome.
I have never seen a sight with so much information and so
helpful. I use your sight constantly. I started my first
saltwater tank in May and now have 3 tanks.
My daughter and girlfriend and I love learning and caring for all
of our new friends. The tank I need help with is our oldest one
(only 9 months). It is a reef tank, 75 gallons with a 30 gallon
sump. We have 4 actinics, 2 halides and at least 100 lbs of live
rock. I check chemicals at least twice a week and always top off
with RO. Ammonia and nitrite are always zero, pH is generally
8.4, alkalinity 8-9, CA 400-440 and temp 79-82. I battle nitrate
now and then but in general it is around 5 almost never above 20.
The tank has been pristine (I am probably one of the keepers you
talk about that can't stop messing with the tank) but I am
now waging war against some type of hair algae, I think. It grows
rapidly on any live rock that has light exposure that doesn't
already have a coral or anything living on it. I
have checked phosphate repeatedly but the test kit I have is very
hard to tell color difference on.
<Yes, generally phosphate is absorbed by algae as soon as it
forms. You likely wouldn't get a reading unless it was
forming faster than the algae can absorb it.>
It seems like it is always at the lowest color. Yesterday I added
a phosphate reactor and Phosban to the system. Whatever it is it
creates a mat of brown particles that form in a mat over
everything. It is concentrated more on the fibers of the algae
though. I use a bulb syringe daily to break the mat apart and
clean the rock.
<Mmm, go here, look anything similar to the pics? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>
The filtration removes them to the first particle filter which I
change. In 24 hours it is all back and the hair gets longer. I
looked at the brown seed like particles that form the mat under a
microscope and they appear to move. It is green and brown and has
what appears to be eye like spots. Is this algae or some type of
worm and is it related to the hair or two separate issues?
<May be pods of some type.>
It is making me crazy and ruins the appearance of the tank.
Will the phosphate reactor solve the problem?
<Unlikely, a protein skimmer would do more for you here than
anything else. You do not mention the use of one so I'll
assume you do not have one. It appears you have excess nutrients
in the water and with the presence of good
lighting as you have will accelerate the growth. Steps to
eliminate/control the problem can be found in the links
I have attached a photo of the algae. You can see the brown green
particles on the left under the clam in the algae.
<Not really resolved enough for me to see any detail, but it
appears to be nuisance algae.>
The algae is dark green with a bluish streak at the center of the
filament. I have read tons of your articles and Bobs book on
invertebrates. I can't find anything that specifically
addresses my issue. Help!
<See/read all related info contained in the links above and
implement the advice. This problem is not going to go away
overnight, as it didn't start overnight. It will take time
and patience. James (Salty Dog)>
<<Mmm, no... this is a Chlorophyte... Likely Bryopsis. Read
and the linked files above. RMF>>
Re Hair Algae? Making Me Crazy/Algae Control/Jack
Daniels If You Please 2/5/10
Wow you guys are amazing. Super fast response.
This is the picture on the FAQ you sent me that looks most like
what I have.
Here is another photo from my tank. Sorry couldn't get a
Is this Bryopsis or Derbesia. I couldn't tell from the
<Yours or the FAQ picture? Mr. Fenner believes what you have
Read FAQ's here for help/advice.
Are the pods what new hair is growing from?
<No, and it was just a suggestion. Without actually seeing
it/them makes it nearly impossible to ID.>
Should I continue the attack on them?
<On the algae, yes, implement what you have read and read
OK so a few more facts for you and then what I think my game plan
should be. If you could just tell me if I am on the right path
that would be great.
I do run a Super Skimmer. It produces about 3 inches of Skimmate
<Cleaning the riser/reaction chamber every couple of days will
increase efficiency of the skimmer.>
I also use a UV sterilizer that dumps into carbon media.
I have a Sohal, a Kohle <Kole>, two Percula Clowns,
Foxface, Bicolor Pygmy Angel and a Niger Triggerfish. All are
small less than two and half inches. I also have 3 shrimp and a
Tridacna. Corals are Pulsing Xenia (over taking the tank)
Frogspawn, various mushrooms and elephant ear.
<Too much load for this system which in turn promotes excess
nutrients, and most of your fish will need larger quarters in the
I feed once a day 1 cube of Formula 2 and one cube of Formula B.
I used to feed twice but have been trying to limit nutrients for
over two months.
Should I feed less? They devour it in 2 minutes and still seem
hungry. I am worried they aren't getting enough.
<I wouldn't feed two cubes at once. Spread it out over
three daily feedings.>
Should I switch them to flakes? Is this less nutrient input?
<Would be less nutritional. Frozen foods will generally
produce more waste in the water unless rinsed in a net prior to
feeding. You might give the New Life Spectrum Pellets a try. A
very nutritional food with little waste, is all I feed.>
Rest of my plan, yes or no?
Switch out my actinics -- 9 months old.
<I would not use this lighting for now, especially with four
of them in a 75 gallon tank. Actinic lighting peaks in the mid
400nm range and can promote algae growth. There is enough blue
present in your MH lamps to promote
photosynthesis for other light loving animals. If anything, cut
it down to one or two actinics.>
Do I need to switch the halide bulbs also?
<I don't know, they are generally effective in the rated
Kelvin temperature for a year.>
Decrease halide time from 8 hours to 6. (actinics run 12)
<Halides are fine, I'd decrease the actinic photoperiod to
a couple of hours before the halides come on and turn back on for
a couple of hours just before the halides turn off.
Remove the rock -- again! And scrub in RO.
<No, do not do this, you will be killing other life present in
Continue to blow off the pods daily with a bulb syringe.
What about raising the light unit higher? It is about 8 inches
above the tank now.
Continue to use the phosphate reactor.
<Might as well, you bought it.>
Is this enough or should also try the pH increase and the ferric
<????. PhosBan is a synthetic ferric oxide.
Leave pH alone and read/act where you were sent.>
Again thank you!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
|Re Hair Algae? Making Me Crazy/Algae
Control/Jack Daniels If You Please 2/5/10
<You're welcome, Chris.>
Are you guys funded by sponsors, donations or both?
<A little of both, and I believe some may come out of Bob's
wallet. What say you, Bob? We are strictly a non-profit
organization, the crew's time is donated, no paychecks given
<<Not money from me, but perhaps its equivalent, time,
effort. Most of the incoming monies are from commercial sponsors
who believe in what we do (educating, inspiring their present,
future customer base); and most outgoing is for content;
principally our on-line 'zine. RMF>>
I would like to contribute to your cause if you are donation
<Great, and will be appreciated. Go to this link, scroll down to
the bottom of the page where you will
see a donate tab.
James (Salty Dog)>
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner