FAQs on Marine Algae Identification 36
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 30, SW Algae ID 31, SW Algae ID 32, SW Algae ID 33, SW Algae ID 34,
SW Algae ID 35, 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,
Narrowing down algae identification
I was hoping you could point me in the right direction. You've
helped me recently battling a Cyanobacteria invasion. Right now, I
do not have any obvious Cyano on the sand or rocks, it's been dwindling
and have not had to siphon the sand in a week or two. I would
guess there is still Cyano in there but just not enough to be obvious.
The pink Fiji sand is not making it easy to tell. The tank is 55
gallons and I'm still changing about 7 gallons of water a week.
Ammonia and nitrites are 0. Nitrates are either 0 or a tiny smidge
above depending on who you ask to read the test kit and what kind of
light they are using. I've added a medium Aquafuge 2 with 20
pounds of live sand which gives me a small DSB ranging from 4 inches at
one end sloping up to 5 inches at the other end.
<Ahh, these should help in time>
I have CPR's 24 watt PC light fixture on it and some Chaeto that is
growing plus a few critters. I'd like to give a shout out to CPR
for making a well done product. All of the display tank lighting
is now LED's with the latest addition being a pair of TMC AquaRay
Aquabeam 600 "reef white" Ultima's on one side of the tank where the
other side has the pretty nice but older LED fixture meant for corals.
<Very nice indeed>
I have to do a quick touch up with magnetic scrubber on the glass maybe
once a week. There are still just one Coral Beauty, the Lyretail
Hawkfish and one Blue Green Chromis.
What I have now is best described a pink translucent fuzz growing on the
tops of the rocks, the backs of snails and on the tops of the power
heads and tubing. The fuzz is 1/16th of an inch tall. It is
growing out of either dark green/brown/red looking "plugs" depending on
how you look at them so in reality, the pink fuzz is most likely green
or brown but made to look pink because of the lighting. It is some
very tough stuff, you can not scrub it off with a tooth brush.
Snails eat it.
I've included a picture. There is also a similar looking photo on
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgidf23.htm "Re: Algae ID...
time, past, for a scope -- 07/08/08 " but I can't tell the
The higher up in the tank you go, the more there is. It is some
type of algae for sure which means I've still got work to do on nutrient
control but....is it some sort of Cyano or is this just what has pushed
the Cyano out?
<Can't tell from looking here; but I would just keep on the path you're
set on... this too will go in time. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Narrowing down algae identification
I had a feeling identifying with a description and a questionable photograph
would be a challenge.
<Heeeee! Oh yes... see WWM re algal IDs... had a few courses in
phycology/algology in college... have to look/see under a 'scope, test for
storage food type/s, light capturing pigment type/s.... Can't tell by
colour, gross appearances>
A friend of mine does bird watching and I asked what kind of bird was in the
back yard. She looked and said it was a LBJ.
<Lyndon B. Johnson? "Believe me or I'll tan your hide!">
I'd never heard if that and asked what it stood for. She responded "Little
Brown Jobbie". You need something like that for algae.
I'm going to watch the fish now. The tank is increasingly looking
like a patient in the ICU with lots of tubes, wires and plastic machines all
neatly organized and humming along with a bill that will make your hair
stand on end. Enjoy and have fun today.
<Thank you Paul. You as well. BobF>
some algae ID please 12/3/12
Hi. 3reef seems stumped and I was directed here.
Linking a pic and a video (photobucket) for reference.
This stuff followed a Cyano outbreak. The tank is over four years
Param.s are solid and nasties are 0 (measurable) though they are
probably tied up in this growth.
Calothrix was suggested but it doesn't really fit the description, it's
not as stringy. iodine test showed no starches
Haven't been able to ID the source. Changed all filters in all
stages of RO/DI (even though was 0 TDS) to be safe. Have added a
green clown goby.
Otherwise, no additions in a very long time.
it's slimy, disintegrates when you take it out of the water, almost
<Have seen this sort of mass/mess many times in wholesale LR curing
operations... and under a scope; it's a mix of Dinoflagellates, some
browns (Phaeophytes), Cyanophytes, and other Monera, Protistans... >
The directory of pics
Some highlighted pics and a video
Thank you!!! Any help appreciated.
ID is most important, tips for getting rid of it appreciated too.
<Dumping all the water out, rinsing off most the biomass, doing what one
can to restrict nutrient availability, using competitors, algal
predators... the usual assortment of techniques gone over and over on
WWM. Bob Fenner>
Help identifying and treating this stuff … ? algae
I have a 250 red sea max that has been running for the past 6 months.
Lights have been changed to LEDs. I upgraded from a 30g Biocube.
Original inhabitants were a yellow and blue tang. I added in a few
mushrooms, xenia, bubble coral, and frogspawn 3 months ago. They have
all been doing well. 4-6 wks ago I added in a hot pink bubble tip
anemone (small about 1.5 inches in diameter) and a few fish (glass
cardinal and a pair of orange and black clowns-after quarantine).
Now my tank is covered in a web like substance that I suspect is some
kind of algae.
<Yes; most likely Dinoflagellates; though could be a considerable amount
of diatoms, even blue-green/Cyanophytes>
I may have gotten a little excited about all the new fish and may have
fed them a little more than I normally do. I feed them formula one
pellets and a very little bit of brine fish. The anemone gets a tiny
piece of shrimp that I cut up. I got a goby and 4 more Turbos to try to
control it, but it does not seem to be working. The stuff looks like
spider webs. It seems like its getting worse. At first I read about
worms that may do this but it is too extensive and it has bubbles all
<Not worms; but the only way to discern what groups of algae are here is
The sand looks a little better after adding the goby, but the sand it
kicks up seems to make the rest of the tank look dirtier as it sticks to
Please let me know what I did wrong,
<Mmm, not likely much... this is a sort/path of "maturing" of a new/er
how to fix it and prevent it from happening again.
<You've a bit of reading... Start here:
and on to the embedded links... the linked files at top>
My poor bubble coral went from being a pretty white to a brownish color.
I assume this is due to the algae growing in/around it. Will it change
pH 8.4, KH107.4 (added buffer), nitrate 0,phosphate 0,
<... your corals, other photosynthates need measurable NO3 and PO4>
sp gr 1.025-.026, 80 degrees...
Thanks in advance. I had a beautifully clean tank full of coralline. I
am hoping to see it again.
<Get reading... write back if your options are not clear. Bob Fenner>
sorry of the pic is large sending email from iPhone.
<Tis fine size wise, but poorly resolved>
Anyways, I'm having trouble with a very light/lime green fuzzy/hairy algae.
(I checked your algae id page couldn't an id) I've dealt with the normal
dark green algae before and this seems to different. Number one it is very
easy to just brush away, number 2 my phosphate and nitrates cease to exist.
<Likely being taken up by the life here, including this algae>
I have recently within the last month -2months changed out my t-5 bulbs
since I've had the others for a year. I know that new bulbs can sometimes
cause nuisance algae. But this just seems to maybe be something else. Any
<...? Yes; read here:
and the linked files where they pertain... You/I can't tell what algal group
is involved here w/o microscopic examination... this may be a
Green/Chlorophyte, a Blue/Green/Cyanophyte, or.... color alone is not
I also do 10g water changes weekly (75g mixed reef), I've turned the lights
off for 2-3days with a water change. Just seems to keep coming back.
Also am getting a Nasty dark brown algae in my sand, not red slime!
<"Many roads..." lead not only to Rome, but to understanding of nuisance
algae issues... Read on! Bob Fenner>
Orange spots ID... new SW tank
Hello! I have a saltwater tank with live rock and live sand and T5's. I added a
few snails and hermit crabs to the tank roughly a week ago and yesterday I
noticed a lot of Orange spots on the sand and on the rock. Do you know what this
<... likely an algae of some sort; but this can only be a guess given the info.
presented. Bob Fenner>
Thank you, Andie
Re: Orange spots on sand; algal ID f' 10/25/12
Thank you so much!!
<Don't be concerned re these (likely) Diatom algal colony growths... they're
part of the process of breaking in a new system. BobF>
algae identification 10/1/12
Hello WWW Crew,
I was wondering if you could help me identify the following algae. I
searched de web, it looks very similar to Chaetomorpha, but not exactly.
<Mmm, can't make this out well enough other than to state that it appears to
be a filamentous green/Chlorophyte...
I see by your contact info. below that you're associated w/ a
university; do you have access to a copy of "How to Know the Seaweeds" by E.
Yale Dawson? I'd ask a reference librarian in your school for help here, and
a professor for use of a dissecting 'scope for a closer view.
Javiera Echenique Berton
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
|Re: algae identification
Thank you for the help!! I will look for the book.
<Real good. Nos vemos. BobF>
|Help! Ich? Prelude to disaster, now
Bob, hm, wonder if there is a root cause in the "algae"...having ignored
this problem due to managing the disease but now giving it more focus...
Can I trouble you to review the attached pictures/video of the "algae" in my
You will see: flakes that slough off and rest (grow?) on nearby PVC pipe,
the pest growing on substrate and rocks, short/stocky filaments waving in
the water column.
I am having difficulty identifying what this could be - algae, diatom,
cyanobacteria all seem doubtful. Any thoughts?
<Could be any/all of these>
I assumed that nuisance algae issues were occurring due to the / crypto-pro
dosing and didn't pay much more attention to them over the last few months.
<The Cu should have killed all off... one last time (for now!); "don't treat
in display systems". B>
algae ID 7/20/12
<Good morning Dave.>
Could anyone hazard a guess on the identification of the 2 little buds
of algae on my rock, and the 3rd similar one between the Neomeris and
Halimeda? They are very tiny, and at first I thought it was a Caulerpa
nummularia, but now am wondering if it’s actually an Acetabularia.
<Can be a tricky distinction from a single picture.>
There is no sign of a rhizome, and each one seems like a separate “plant”,
however the two close ones have a very short “stalk”, while the other
has a longer stalk.
<Lack of rhizomes eliminates the Caulerpa.>
There are several on different parts of the rock which also have a longer
stalk. Just trying to decide whether to let it be or start scrubbing!
<From the picture and description, I believe you have an Acetabularia
sp. I'd let it be.>
Unknown Saltwater Plant???
I noticed this specimen growing in my Reef Tank about 3 Days ago....
I believe that it is a plant of some sort.....
I have no idea what it is, where it came from, or obviously if it is a
positive thing or should I remove it as quickly as possible.....
<A very small piece likely hitch-hiked in.>
I know that the pic is not the best, but I have included one.....
<Appears to be a species of Caulerpa. I am fairly certain it is C.
racemosa based on the circular fronds and rhizoids; a more defined
picture would eliminate any doubt.>
BTW - The tank has been up for 2.5 Years... 50 Gallon Sea
Clear System II.... SG is 1.025, Zero for Nitrates, and unable to
get a reading for Phosphates.... Water Temp has been a little high
at 78.9 F....
I have not introduced any new inhabitants for at least 3 Months, or Live
Rock for approx. 9 Months.... No Refugium.... Protein
Skimmer, External Rena Filter XP4, and Power Heads
for moderate flow
Any help would be appreciated.... Any ideas???
<I would remove it but that's your call. Read more on Caulerpa--
| Re: Unknown Saltwater Plant???
Just wanted to Thank-you for the quick response....
I will yank the offender ASAP....
<Sounds like a plan, be sure to remove all of the rhizoid.>