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FAQs about Brown/Phaeophyte Algae/Kelp Compatibility/Control

FAQs By Genus: Dictyota, Lobophora, Sargassum

Related Articles: Brown AlgaeAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald 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, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Brown Algae 1, Brown Algae 2, Brown Algae Identification, Brown Algae Behavior, Brown Algae Selection, Brown Algae Systems, Brown Algae Nutrition, Brown Algae Disease, Brown Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Marine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae, Marine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae,

Keep pruning~!


New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Dictyota Algae - Rabbitfish      3/1/19
My tank is being taken over by this invasive plague. Researching online it seems this algae will be consumed by S. Doliatus, Two Barred or Scribbled Rabbitfish. The issue I am having is finding this fish. It seems everyone only brings in S. Virgatus and they look very similar. Do you think this fish will eat Dictyota?
<Likely to some extent; yes>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dictyota Algae - Rabbitfish       4/18/19

Wanted to let you know I ended up getting a Gold Spotted Rabbitfish instead. It's been in QT and I have been feeding this fish the Dictyota from my display.
Literally devours it in seconds. I am a bit concerned though about the potential to eat coral. From my research and readings it seems like this specific fish tends to be a Zoanthid eater. Any experience around leather corals, clams, etc?
<Not usually a problem; problematical>
Is this fish really more prone to eating coral then some of the other rabbits?
<Not as far as I'm aware; no. Siganids aren't "coral" eaters period; they may nip; but rarely do much damage.>
<W. B>

About Brown Algae Problem/Algae Control 9/30/10
<Hi Amey>
I am a marine aquarist from India, I have 30g FOWLR tank since 8 months. I am facing a huge brown algae problem since beginning, all the parameters of my tank water are stable
<What is stable? Actual measurements are much more meaningful to me.>
but still it is growing day by day. Now recently I saw a little hair type tentacles on rocks plus 2-3 brown leaf's also. Please help a solution.
<Reading here and above articles/FAQs found in the header should give you the help/information you seek. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm>
Thank you..
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Brown Algae Problem/Algae Control 3/11/10
<Hello Mark>
I have a brown algae problem that is slowly but surely covering my coralline algae. Do you know what the cause of this algae is and how I can eradicate it?
<I sure do. Read here.
I have attached a picture so you can take a look.
Thank you for your help - much appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Best Regards,

Stopping the dreaded Dictyota in its tracks (nuisance macroalgae control>  9/1/08 Hello Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I am having a problem with Dictyota algae in my 250g reef system. It is not that the algae is completely taking over - it is growing quite slowly due to my low levels of nutrients (nitrate and phosphate are zero, big refugium, powerful skimmer, DSB). <Oh, darn- a healthy, stable system! Seriously, though- consider yourself fortunate, as this can be one of the absolute nastiest macroalgae to deal with. Of course, if you're trying to grow the stuff, I can understand that you might be a bit frustrated!> My pH is quite high (8.4) (Kalkwasser dosing with pH-controller) day and night and I only seldom dose iodine or trace elements, I do an 8 to 10% water change every week. <Great husbandry!> It would not be a problem to siphon the algae out every once in a while. Some parts of the Dictyota do, however, stay attached to the surface of the live rock and sometimes these parts begin to crawl up on my corals' bases. <Yup- seen that before!> It has reached a point where I have to scrape off some coral tissue together with the algae to prevent the Dictyota from slowly crawling further up on my corals. <And so the invasion begins...PLEASE be very careful here. I have seen this algae literally take over some beautiful aquariums. Even the smallest fragments, as you are discovering, can form new aggregations, smothering sessile invertebrates in the process. I'm going to talk a bit about this species in one of my MACNA presentations in Atlanta next week. I'm not a fan of this algae!> Thus, I was thinking of adding a Siganus doliatus/virgatus or a Naso tang to my tank to help with removing the algae from the coral tissue. I know that both fish are said to be among the few to eat Dictyota, and I have read your articles and FAQs (besides reading the daily FAQs ;-) as well as other sources on Dictyota elimination. Due to the small size of my system I would prefer one of the Siganids, my only concern is that due to the noxious nature of this algal family they might not eat it. So my question would be what you would recommend in my case? Which would be the better route to go? And if the Siganids - which species? Thanks in advance & best regards, Alex <Well, Alex- you asked...I am a bit skeptical about these fishes feeding on Dictyota. I have not seen a situation personally in which these fish-or any others-dine on this stuff with any degree of regularity. Sure, a specimen may develop a taste for the stuff, but I'd think that to be the exception rather than the rule. As you surmised, Dictyota is not particularly palatable to fishes. I am also not a big fan of the Siganidae. However, if I had to try one, I'd go for the so-called "One-Spot Foxface" (Siganus unimaculatus), which is about the smallest member of the family regularly available to the trade, topping off at about 8 inches. It's still a big, clumsy, aggressive, skittish, relentlessly active fish, IMO. It is known for producing copious amounts of organic waste, and is also capable of causing damage to corals and clams because of it's relentless grazing habits (gee-can you tell I'm NOT a fan!). Oh, yeah- I forgot to mention that it also possesses venomous spines, creating a potential threat to the hobbyist. All in all, I'd recommend keeping your Dictyota in check by either manual extraction (best accomplished by removing the affected rock/coral from the aquarium and removing the algae in a separate container of tank water. Yes, it's tedious, but I feel it's the most efficient, reliable way. However, please don't take my word and personal experience as the gospel. I have heard other hobbyists claim that the fish can help. If you like the fish, and can accommodate it and it's behaviors- go for it. However, if that is a potential problem, I'd continue with the tedious but effective practice of manual extraction. Hope this helps a bit. Good luck in your battle! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Dictyota - Rabbitfish or Naso? Dictyota- The Algae from Hell (Cont'd)  9/10/08 Hello Scott, <Hello again!> thank you for your answer & wishes - so the prospectus of getting rid of the algae is not very good... I had already read numerous scientific articles regarding the vast array of herbivore deterring secondary metabolites of this genus but had hoped that there was some animal liking the stuff (or at least eating it with disgust - I wouldn't mind). But it seems that in this case the cure could be worse than the disease - if that is possible. <Oh, it can be...> Best regards to all of you & keep up the good work, Alex <As an interesting side note: After my MACNA talk on algae last week, an attendee shared that he utilized a Scopas Tang (Zebrasoma scopas) to eat this stuff! Go figure...and ugly Tang with a beautiful appetite! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Please help me ID and get rid of this Brown Algae   8/22/07 Hello. I've been trying to id this brown algae in my tank so I can figure out how to get rid of it, but haven't found any pictures that look like this algae. <Mmm... not a brown, but a Red: Peyssonnelia sp. An encrusting Red. Class Rhodophyceae, Subclass Florideophycidae, Order Gigartinales, Family Peyssonneliaceae.> Hoping you wonderfully knowledgeable reefers can help. :) I have some dark brown algae growing in circular patterns on my rock. Attached are 3 pictures of the same algae. What concerns me, is how much it has grown in 6 weeks. I looked at an old picture, and 6 weeks ago, there were a couple spots on one rock that were about the size of the tip of my pinky finger, and now they've grown into one spot about 2" in diameter. I thought this algae wouldn't be removable because it looks fused to the rock, but with some work, I completely was able to remove one circle about 1.5" in diameter. Came off in very small pieces. I thought it was slimy, but when I started pulling off pieces, it actually looks and feels like seaweed / kelp. My tank is pretty new....has been up and running for 4 months. My parameters are good, and I feed once a day and try to only give enough food that the fish can consume within 5 minutes. I use RO/DI water (SpectraPure MaxCap) with 0 TDS, and faithfully do bi-weekly water changes (10%). The sand bed looks good. It's just some good size patches of brown algae on the rock. No hair algae or any other type of nuisance algae. I had a small spot of bubble algae and turned the lights off for 3 days about a month ago and it disappeared and hasn't come back, but turning off the lights didn't do anything with this algae. Any idea what this algae is and what is the best option to get rid of it? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above> If I work on pulling it out manually, or using a toothbrush, will little pieces of it that might not make it to the skimmer, create an even bigger problem by spreading it around the tank? <Maybe...> Just FYI.... I recently added a second power-head to add some flow. (25x turnover now). I run my T5's for 10 hours a day, and the 150w MH only runs for 4 hours a day (only softies right now). All bulbs are only 4 months old. My parameters: Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia are all 0. Phosphates are .1 PH 8.1 Alk 2.9 Temp 82 going up close to 84 when MH's are lit Calcium 330 5 small fish in a 53 gallon tank. (2 small Perculas, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Pygmy Possum Wrasse and 1 Tailspot Blenny) Thanks! Pam <Mmm, a few possible approaches here... Nutrient limitation... the growing of competitive species... Greens likely... Read on. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help me ID and get rid of this Brown Algae  8/23/07 Thank you Bob. I'll start going through the links on the page you sent me. It looks more brown to me, than red, <Perhaps the photo itself has some artifactual color influence here> in person...but I know in the photos I sent, it definitely looks deep red. Any chance this could be Lobophora? <Mmmm, not much...> It's not lifting up at the edges at all, but maybe it hasn't gotten to that stage yet? <Bingo...> If it's definitely a red algae, any way that's best to remove it, or is manual removal the best option? Thanks, Pam....also an avid diver! :) <Actually, I'd enjoy it... likely increasing light intensity alone would disfavor either a Red or Brown/Phaeophyte, over a Green... Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help me ID and get rid of this Brown Algae   8/24/07 Hey Bob. Thanks again for the quick response. Hmmm...hadn't thought about increasing light intensity. I thought the opposite, that algae would grow more, with more light. <Mmmm, think about how the various Divisions (the botanical equivalent of zoological taxonomies Phyla) are semi-arranged... with some found/predominating more/less bright et al. environs...> Right now, my four 24w T5's are lit 10 hours a day, and one 150w MH's is only lit for 4 hours a day (all softies and LPS in my tank right now). What would you suggest slowly increasing the hours my MH is lit and would you increase it by an hour a day, an hour a week?? <I'd try a few more hours per day... increase to perhaps 8,9...> I don't find the looks of this algae very appealing, and if it didn't spread, I'd be fine, but seeing how much it has spread in 6 weeks, scares me. I'd much rather see more coralline on the rock than this ugly algae. I do have one red macroalgae that popped up on it's own that I love. Looks like red lettuce or something. Really cool looking. I see one sprout beginning elsewhere too. Just curious.... what made you rule out Lobophora ? <A few things... one is that this and most browns don't do well in captive systems unless they are administered iodine/ide/ate... in quantity, regularly... Another, that it does not look "soft" as this genus almost always appear in aquariums... and lastly, the very distinctive "ring-like" growth of Peyssonnelia...> I know you're an expert reefer.... <Oh... I can be wrong... am almost a few times daily...> so I completely trust your judgment. <Mmm, please, don't> Lobophora was just the closest thing I could find to what I have. Had no idea if it was actually that or something else. Thanks again. Pam <Can be determined pretty easily twixt being a Phaeophyte or a Rhodophyte... do you have access to a simple microscope and simple chemical tools? Bob Fenner>

Dictyota: Nasty Nuisance or Attractive Algae?  -- 05/07/07 Hey WWM, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> First off I want to thank all of you for all the knowledge posted on this site. It's been literally a life saver for a lot of the contents in my tank. <We're thrilled to bring it to you each and every day...We really have some special volunteers here who do a remarkable job!> I've got a couple questions for you all about some algae (from what I've seen and read) it's scientific name is Dictyota dichotoma from what I've found around the web. I'm wondering how this stuff affects the rest of my tank. I have it placed in the upper middle part of my tank, sitting on top of a large chunk of live rock. The photo is attached. <Unfortunately, I could not open your pic, but suffice it to say, I do have some pretty strong opinions on Dictyota! Although it is quite attractive, and grows relatively quickly, it can become a horrific nuisance if left unchecked, IMO. It can grow over large tracts of open space in your tank, potentially smothering sessile inverts and other macroalgae. If you want this stuff, do carefully "prune" it to keep it contained to the area in which you want it. One warning, however: even the smallest fragment of this algae, if left in the tank, can drift to a new location and take hold. I've literally seen aquariums taken over by the stuff. My best advice for pruning it: Remove the rock on which it resides, and pull off the unwanted fragments outside of the aquarium. Swish the rock carefully in a bucket of system water to wash away all of the remaining fragments, and then replace the rock. Not trying to spook you about this algae, but you need to be aware of its potentially explosive growth potential, If you do want it, Dictyota is a very attractive algae.> I also wanted to just check and make sure that my setup will do the job for what I have, since I'm writing you. I've got a 95 gallon tank, my pump circulates the water about 10 times per hour (900 gph). The pump is in a sump which I plan on converting to a refugium. I also have my protein skimmer mounted on the refugium with a custom made acrylic cover over. I've got some Red Gracilaria and some Chaetomorpha coming in soon as well. <All sounds in order!> I've got two hood lamps, one is fluorescent 50/50 (6,000k, actinic 03). The other lamp(s) are as follows; two 65w actinic, one 7,200k, one 10,000k, and a strip of LED moonlights. All lights on the second hood are power compact except the LED Moonlights. The power compact hood has  legs that prop it up about 6" from the top of the water level. The glass cover over the tank is about 1"-1.5" above the water line. <Sounds nice for many of the less light-demanding photosynthetic creatures we keep in our systems. I have always liked compact fluorescents for the wonderful aesthetics I think that they bring> This is what's in my tank.... 100 lbs of Tonga Live Rock Chile Coral Elegance Coral (which just recently died I came across this web site  trying to save it, it was about volley ball size, a real bummer) <A tough coral to "save"...has some specific requirements which you'll want to meet. Do research here on WWM and other sources for the needs of this coral.> Mushroom Rock Assorted Polyps (about 7 small) Two Yellow Tail Damsels Twin Spot Lionfish Six Line Wrasse Flower Anemone 3 Hermit Crabs Coral Banded Shrimp Red Flagweed White Sponge (covers the rock with the mushrooms on it) There's also a few sponges that I can't identify <All part of the fun in keeping a reef system.> Any advice on my set up would greatly be appreciated. This site has helped me tremendously and being able to send in a question makes it that much better <I am a firm believer in regular, frequent water changes (like 10% weekly, or even two 5% water changes per week.> Oh and one last thing. I left my Elegance Coral's skeleton in my tank, I'm considering filling it with polyps or mushrooms will there be any problems with that? <If the coral died, as the tissue decomposes, it can seriously degrade water quality. Be sure to remove it and keep up on regular maintenance and keep your protein skimmer working. Once you remove and clean the skeleton, it can certainly be used in the future as a substrate to mount your other corals on.> Thanks all!
<My pleasure, Matt! Regards, Scott F.>

Dictyota control and Rabbitfish  - 05/02/07 I am a loyal reader of the WWM site, and have gained a tremendous amount of expert advice and guidance, paying no more than a couple of mouse clicks and some key strokes. For that reason, I feel obligated to share something that I have come across, hoping to give a small piece back to the WWM community. <I/we thank you> I have a 125 Gallon reef tank, with 2 bubble tip anemones (was one, split a few months back), 1 large branching Acropora , 1 large Montipora , 1 orange plate coral, 1 green open brain, 1 clam, several branches of frogspawn, and other assorted small corals.  Also swimming are 2 Solomon Island Black Perculas , 1 royal Gramma , 1 Kole Tang, and 2 clown gobys. About 6 months ago, I started to get an algae bloom of what I would later learn was the dreaded Dictyota .  Unaware of its nature, I tried to remove the Dictyota , but this only made things worse, spreading like wildfire around the tank.  I was removing tons of it every week, but I was only managing to keep it short, it was covering about 2/3 of the visible rock in the tank.  I only managed to keep corals from being choked out by siphoning off chunks of the Dictyota that surrounded each one 2X a week. I did my research on line, where urchins, diadema , and sea hares were all rumored to eat the stuff'¦.they didn't.  The owner of my LFS said that he knew no way of ridding the tank, short of a 2 month lights out period (that would not be so good for the corals). Naso tangs were also rumored to eat the Dictyota, and in fact on ate some at the store so I brought him home.  He started to eat the stuff, but then after one day, refused to eat anymore, and he died a couple of weeks later.  If seemed to me that he may have died from eating the algae, which I hear can be noxious. Not wanting to kill another fish, I decided on a last resort, something I had seen written somewhere obliquely on a posting.  I bought a two-barred Rabbitfish .  He didn't eat anything for the first two days in the tank.  On day three, I saw him nibbling a little on the algae.  Over the next three weeks, I saw him actively swimming, and nipping only once in while.   Yet his belly seemed full, near bursting.  It has now been only a month, and the Dictyota is all but completely gone.  I cannot believe I have my tank back.  I still am in shock that 8 months worth of frustration is over.  It seems impossible to me that this tiny wonder of about 3 inches ate what must of amounted to 8 lbs of algae or more. With the algae gone (hopefully never to return), I now have a hero of a fish, who instead of dining on Dictyota , will enjoy a life of Nori , greens, herbivore preparations, and protein. I am not sure if you have a forum for this, <Oh yes... both for Rabbitfish Selection and Brown Macrophyte control> but please share this with your readers.  Searches for info on the subject brought about frustratingly pessimistic analyses.  I want to let people know that Dictyota can be defeated, and all it takes is a three inch lawnmower called the two-barred Rabbitfish .   Brant Goldsmith <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Dealing With Dictyota - 04/27/07 Hi Crew, <<Hello Tim>>    Thanks for taking my e-mail today! <<Quite welcome>> I have a primarily SPS reef tank that has been pretty successful for almost three years now.  However, in the past few months I have experienced problems with my AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer.  I am sending it to the manufacturer to get fixed. <<Ah, very good...Jason Kim is a great guy and will take good care of/will treat you right>> Since the problems, I have experienced a slow but steady outbreak of brown algae (Dictyota sp. as ID from your website). <<This alga requires iodine...if you are dosing iodine; the removal of the skimmer may be allowing a sufficient surplus now to feed the Dictyota>> It should also be noted that I have a refugium with Chaetomorpha spp algae to export nutrients. <<Excellent...am a BIG fan of vegetable refugiums>> Once I get my nutrient export (protein skimmer) in control I want to try and combat this alga (I do 20 percent water changes weekly so I don't think it will take too long). <<Maybe so>> It grows in a relatively low lying morphology and is rather hard to crop. <<Isn't that always the case? [grin]>> Is there a species of snail, hermit, fish, etc. that has a taste for this brown algae? <<A Naso Tang is a good choice, if your system is large enough...else you might try a Salarias or Atrosalarias blenny species>> I haven't seen anything this specific on your site. <<Hmmm...I'm pretty sure both of these are mentioned somewhere...maybe for a different species of brown alga>> My goal is to crop out as much as I can by hand and then let the rest slowly die off from predation and lack of nutrients (when the skimmer is fixed). <<Sounds like a plan>> Thanks for the help! Tim

Lobophora variegata Control - 4/26/07 Hello, <Hi Dan> I have a terrible outbreak in my 75 gal SPS tank of Lobophora variegata. <Ah yes, the dreaded 'brown wafer algae'.> I've been reading all of the e-mails on WWM about it, and there isn't a lot. I have read about a Naso tang, but my tank is a 75 gal, so I would have to get rid of him after a while. I also don't know if he would be able to even eat it all, seeing that it is growing very thick on every inch of my live rock <I wouldn't get the tang.> (I have a lot of live rock, and it has been a problem for about a year). Next I have read about urchins, I bought one and it doesn't touch the algae. It is a short spined, purple one, and that could be the problem. The huge long spined ones <Diadema sp> apparently take care of this algae, right?? <Supposedly, but there aren't any guarantees. In addition, they grow very quickly and tend to knock things around in your tank.> So... I figure I could get an urchin at the same time as the Naso, and hopefully they could wipe it out before they get too big.<I wouldn't go this route.> My next question is what does this algae eat? <Nutrients in the water.> I finally got my nitrates and phosphate down to zero <Good, a step in the right direction.>, and the stuff is growing just as strong or stronger than it always has. <Probably reading zero, not only from your efforts, but because you've got a large amount of algae in there aiding in the process. Continue to keep nutrients low through good export practices (and nutrient competition) and the Lobophora should start to decline. If I was in this situation, instead of purchasing animals that aren't guaranteed to eat the algae and might not be suitable for my tank, I'd prune/trim back as much of this nuisance algae as I could with tongs, tweezers, whatever it takes. It's painstaking and time consuming, but it would help. You don't mention a refugium. Obtaining and stocking one with a favorable macrophyte would be very useful in creating the nutrient competition I mentioned earlier.> Thanks a lot for any help, Dan Kowalski <You're welcome and good luck to you! --Lynn>

Brown Algae control (need more info) 3/7/07 <Hi Fred. GrahamT here.> I recently set up a 55 gallon saltwater tank with 60 pounds of live sand, a Fluval 404 and about 20 pounds  of Florida aquaculture live rock. Its only inhabitants are 2  3-stripe damsels, and a brown algae problem that will not go away. HELP !!!! <Would like to, but you didn't mention any test results, nor how long your system has been setup. I would assume this is new-tank-syndrome; i.e.., algae-bloom. It should subside after cycling. If I am correct in my assumption that you are still not fully cycled, you may be interested to know that the trade has moved away from using live animals to cycle new setups. ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcyclefaqs.htm ) . Also of note, is my (personal, yes) disdain for using canister filtration on such a small system. Unless you plan to add a large amount of live rock, and use the canister empty and mostly for circulation, then I think you will be disappointed with it. -GrahamT> Fred Taylor Thank you for your reply. <Welcome.> And yes I do intend to get more Live Rock for the system. I would have to agree that the tank hasn't fully cycled. Again, thank you and I'll check back if I need to.. <Please do! Good luck, too! -GrahamT>

Lobophora variegata   2/24/07 Hello, I have a 75 gal. SPS tank with a very bad outbreak of Lobophora variegata. I have lots of live rock, and the algae has covered it with many layers, to where there isn't much rock even showing. About every month i pull out as much as i can, but it never slows down. I finally got my nitrates and phosphates down to zero, because that is standard procedure with any algae, but no luck. What does this stuff eat?? <Mmm, what eats it you mean?> I have read on WWM about Naso tangs, and long spined urchins eating this stuff. Is there anything smaller that will do the trick. I would appreciate any help, or if you could tell me where else to look. Thank you, Dan Kowalski <None nearly as effective as these. I would work the continuing nutrient deprivation angle... and culture some purposeful competitor (likely a Red or Green macrophyte)... in a lighted sump... and deprive this algae of Iodine... Bob Fenner>

Lobophora variegata   1/30/07 Hi I have just broken down a tank which had been overtaken by Lobophora variegata. I wish to re use the rock but do not have time to cook the rock or use chemical means. As I need to get all my livestock back into a stable system as soon as possible( it is being held temporarily through this tank change) the rock is now out of the aquarium and I am looking for a sure fire way of killing off this algae. We have very cold temps up here in the northeast right now and I was wondering if this tropical species could be killed by subjecting to the elements. <Very likely so> I realize these algaes can be pretty resilient and the last thing I want is the algae to go into a state of dormancy just to return down the road. do you think this would work or do you have any other idea's. TIA, Liam. <I would avail myself of a purposeful predator of this Phaeophyte... Please see WWM re.... Biological/Algae Eaters of Browns... Bob Fenner>

Dictyota Algae Control 1/23/07 Crew, <Jeff> I've been struggling with Dictyota in a 29 gallon for a while. It has invaded every inch of the tank - as I mistakenly allowed it to spread before I realized how invasive it is - and outcompetes my zoanthids unless I dedicate a substantial amount of time to manual extraction. I've been toying with the idea of adding a long-spined urchin. Is a 29 gallon (with roughly 30 lbs. of live rock and a 1/2" sand bed) too small for a small long-spined urchin? If not, how long could I house the urchin in the tank before it outgrew it? I'm pretty confident I will have room for a large tank in 2-3 years. Thanks for all your help and the website. <Jeff, rapid growth of this specie of algae usually indicates a high nutrient level in the water.  When nutrient levels are low, they can be out-competed by other species of algae (Caulerpa, etc) more suited to a lesser nutrient content in the system.  It may be difficult to find an animal that eats this specie of algae as they contain some very potent anti-predation chemicals.  I don't believe an urchin will help you here as most graze on hair algae.  Do read here and linked files above for more help on eliminating this algae by means of nutrient control. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm I'd consider a small hang-on refugium to propagate Caulerpa algae.  James (Salty Dog)>   -Jeff
Re:  Dictyota Algae Control 1/23/07
Thanks, James. <Welcome.> I will light my refugium - running just for pods with a DSB at the moment - as you suggest. Out of curiosity, would the 29 gallon tank be too small for the long-spined urchin? How long might it fit comfortably? I am generally interested in this species as an aquarium resident. The Dictyota consumption was an ancillary benefit suggested by one of Anthony's posts. <You can keep the urchin in a 29.  I'd try and get a small specimen as they can get rather large in time.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -Jeff

Naso Lituratus alternative for algae control   12/27/06 Hi, <Hello there> I have some kind of kelp like macro algae growing all over my live rock in my reef tank. I was considering using Naso Tang (Naso lituratus) for controlling it since it is competing with my corals, but since my tank is only 75 gal, and I know that Naso will outgrow it sooner or latter (plus possibly damage corals) I am hoping you can suggest an alternative fish (preferably or any other solution). Tank mates are 2 Percula Clowns, Yellow tang (eats every other kind of algae except that one) and cleaning crew : several Cleaner and Peppermint shrimps, snails, hermits and brittle stars, plus assortment of soft and hard corals. Tank setup is 75 gal main display, 20 gal sump and 10 gal refugium (swarming with variety creatures and Caulerpa). <... well...> Here is the picture of the algae, and I was hoping you can identify it. <The image didn't come through... see WWM re.... needs to be a jpg, bmp of small size, attached...> It came on a live rock (which I believe came from Fiji - according to Marine Depot). While I am able to remove it from most of the rock, and I do like to use macro algae for Nitrogen/Oxygen control, it is now getting to less accessible places among the corals where I can't reach it or I can damage the corals. Thanks, Mladen Covic <The choice of biological control is determined on the basis of the type, especially Division of algae involved... If this is a BGA there are not many predators to consider... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above... I would consider a Salarias, Atrosalarias species here myself as a first try. And a look/see under a microscope at what phyletic level this pest is for sure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Naso Lituratus alternative for algae control  12/30/06 Thank you for your reply and I am sorry for any kind of misunderstanding and for image not coming through (though it was jpg, "only" 57K and attached). <We have (ongoing) issues with our webmail service... I would not be surprised if the difficulty were on "our end" here> I hope I can have another shot at your answer while providing more details and trying the attached picture again: <Sure, and did come through... a brown algae right?> First, it is a brown macro algae, of the kelp type. Leaves are brownish green, 1-2" long, 1/4-1/2" wide, with dark brown spots on the surface, ragged edges under magnification. Leaves are spreading from well formed brown-green stem, 1/8 in diameter, covered with dark brown, 1/32" long, protrusions. After several weeks of growth (reaching 4-5"), this plant starts developing spherical "fruits" (up to 1/4" in diameter, lighter brown-green) along the stem, close to the top. Now, on your page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgcomp.htm, you have a picture of some algae ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Algae%20and%20Plt%20Pix/Brown%20Algae/Sargassum. jpg) that you have identified as Sargassum hystrix. <I think you are correct> It looks quite like my algae, though that picture shows little detail. In that articles on that page, it is mentioned that it should die off after 6 months. <Usually does w/in this time frame> If my algae is Sargassum hystrix, I find that extremely hard to believe since this plant has some kind of risom or root that has survived scrubbing when the live rock was collected and shipped, 3 weeks of my curing of the live rock, and my very meticulous scrubbing of the rock after the curing. <Mmm, can originate (and proliferate!) from a single surviving spore... doesn't need rhizomous material...> And the algae is blissfully growing, despite my pruning, for almost 6 months now. And every time I prune it (sharp "pointy" bone cutter) I try to cut to the rock (which I usually do) and the algae sprouts again from the same spot, probably from the tiniest  piece of that root that was left buried deep in the rock. <Heeeee! Sorry for my amusement> As for the Blennies, that you have suggested, can they really eat this type of macro-algae. <Mmm... some species... but not likely much of the ones offered stock in the trade, no> From your site, I would think they would go for "finer" filamentous and green algae. Is there any specific Blenny that goes after the "big" algae? <Well... not likely to find any such for sale... You could search for the distribution of this Sargassum, and use Fishbase.org... sorting by the area/geography... to find potential predators... but...> I hope I am not taking too much of your time by asking you to help me again. <Oh no... this is an enjoyable, intellectual (even fun!) exercise for me... Why I choose to engage others...> Your site has been extremely helpful to me and the amount of the accumulated knowledge on it is extraordinary. One thing however, if you don't mind me giving you a suggestion, can make these pages even more helpful. I have noticed that many people, when contacting you with their problems, are sending you the pictures that are illustrating their problems or accomplishments,  and when you publish their questions and your answers, those pictures are often omitted. <Ahh! We/I do post all that are sent, that we "get"... often they get lost in the shuffle (the Crew doesn't move the original post to where they'll be noticed (are lost in the responding process), or there is some "issue" with/twixt our web-mail server (as with your original effort)... What improvement I'd really like to make is to re-visit and make available the 22k or so images on the site that are mine, in larger sizes... ala sites like Fishbase... but we must need generate more revenue to hire someone to do the likely re-scanning, spiffing up, sizing, making pages, linking... for these... And going forward, to do the same with folks image-work sent in... with much more information//fields possible... like the site where the image was made, size of the individuals shown... A friend is working on the likes of "banner ad" JavaScript... so, perhaps in 07...> Providing those pictures, either inside the article, or as follow to link, would be extremely beneficiary since it would help us cut on repetitive problems by recognizing our stuff on someone else's picture and/or provide the basis from which we can formulate more specific questions or comments. <Totally agreed> Of course if there is an issue with the storage space or the time and the effort required for the maintenance of those pages and files, I will understand. <Used to be that the cost of storage and bandwidth was an issue... the costs for these has greatly diminished in recent years... it's the time/labor of going back at this point, along with the "mystery" issues of email, graphics not getting to/through us that is limiting currently. Thank you, Bob Fenner> Thank you again, Mladen Covic <Oh! And I do encourage you to consider a Naso species for eradicating this Phaeophyte... it will likely do so... and in very short order!>

Algae killing my corals   5/26/06 Hello, I'm moving in a few days and will be tearing down & reassembling the tank. Right now I have time to do what will be necessary to kill/remove these algae (if possible). This is what it looks like: http://www.botany.ubc.ca/people/rob/plate4.html (pictures b & c). <Mmm, looks like some sort of Dictyota species...> This algae hitch hiked on my Walt Smith Fiji live rock from 1 1/2 years ago. I have been trying to keep it in check by weekly plucking. however, when I pluck, a few errant leaves drift about and reattach to anything they land on including corals (even the fleshy parts), sea cucumber, sand & shells ( I guess that's everything except the fish). Attempts to further pluck always leaves a small portion attached that re-grows even when I use a course bristle brush. It is slowly taking over my tank and becoming impossible to remove from corals because the method of removal will kill the polyps or scar the affected creature. This coral grows best under high water flow but will grow anywhere there is light. The only thing helping the situation is my urchin who scrapes the rock clean where ever he passes but he only comes out at night so his aid is minimal and so far I've found nothing else that has an appetite for this plant. I don't know what to do. Each weeding session is taking longer and becoming less effective. All other aspects of my reef keeping have been successful and all the water quality tests are outstanding. I'm at a loss; I hope you can help me. Joshua Mansinon <Do you have room for a Naso species Tang? This is my first choice in control organisms for Phaeophytes as this. Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae killing my corals (attn Bob Fenner) I swear I'm not doing it!   5/27/06 Bob Thank you for the quick response. Unfortunately I don't have the room for a Naso Tang, my tank is only 40g so size is a factor. Do you know of any other creature that can help? <Mmm... well, there are a number of mainly other fishes and gastropods that do... but of animals that are readily available in the trade to try... perhaps a Salarias or Atrosalarias blenny, Mithraculus crab, even a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)...> Is there any thing that I should try while the tank is broken down? Any little tip would help, I'll try them all. Thanks Joshua Mansinon <Favoring other macroalgae species (greens and reds) (Culturing them in a lighted, tied-in sump/refugium) and stopping the dosing of iodine/ide/ate compounds (brown kelp/algae need) will likely limit this Dictyota overpopulation. Bob Fenner>

Scroll Algae Problem - 09/26/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Ugly brown scroll algae is taking over my tank... does anything eat it? <<Hmm...if a Padina species it is rather calcareous...an urchin perhaps>> What should I do? <<Would be rather drastic, but you could remove the afflicted rocks and scrub with "fresh" water...or remove/replace the rock altogether>> Thank you, Dan Kowalski <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Lobophora control- I found the answer! Nasos    6/14/06 Hi Bob: <Paul> After 1 year of searching for the control of a serious outbreak of Lobophora <Brown Wafer Algae for browsers> I have finally found the answer.  No it is not pulling out by hand (been there, done that) nor is it some exotic sea urchin (I've tried many different species).  No, the answer is as simple as the common Naso Tang. <Heeee! I have some pix of "intertidal" Naso lituratus in Hawai'i... yes, with their heads out of the water, munching on "Limu" brown/Phaeophyte algae on the shoreline...> I read recently that someone had success with a Naso tang clearing out Lobophora within 1 month.  It works!  I purchased a blonde Naso Tang last week and he has not stopped working on the Lobophora since.  I think the reason why many reefers are reluctant to try the Naso is for fear that if they don't do the job, they are stuck with a fish that will eventually get too big for their tank.  I myself only have a 90 gal tank. I was willing to take the chance rather than see all my rock continue to me smothered with the Lobophora.  There are plenty of small Naso Tangs on the market, you just have to look around and be patient until you find one that's not too big.  I was lucky enough to find one around 3" from head to tail.  I figure I will get a good year or so before he may have to relocate.  I am confident that by that time, there won't be a piece of Lobophora in sight.  In fact, in the past week he has cleared out about 25% of it and is working on the rest every day. By the way, he shares the 90 gal reef with a 4" Yellow Tang and a 2" Hippo Tang.  I am sure you will have fun with that one! <Can be done... particularly where one or more is "occupied" as here> Neither of these tangs will touch the Lobophora.  The Naso tang, which apparently has a diet that consists of mainly brown algae in the wild, loves this stuff. I hope you will post this email. <We post all> It may help out many frustrated reefers that are plagued with this algae.  I have even seen some posts with reefers resorting to pulling out all there rock and scrubbing it. Good grief! Thanks again Bob for all your help on other issues throughout the years.   <Thank you for sharing, writing so well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Plant or Algae? I have attached a picture of some sort of plant or algae (I think its a plant) growing from my live rock in my 75 gallon tank. I have searched several places on the web and cannot identify the plant/algae. I have pulled a little of it out but it is very hard, like a plant and it just breaks off.  <we use the term "plants" generically in popular aquarium literature but there are very few true plants. Most indeed are algae and that is what you have. Two species in the image here: the fan shaped specimen (right/bottom image) is Padina. The leafy species is not quite so clear but is likely another brown algae like the Padina and may very well be a Sargassum species. (regardless of color). The Padina you can leave alone... is not tough to maintain. The Sargassum or like "plant" is an incredibly fast grower and will need regular pruning. Still... they are both beautiful. You got some nice live rock> It is getting close to getting out of control and my yellow tank will not even look at it.  <few herbivores for a small tank will> I was wondering if I should get something to eat it, or just pull the excess out.  <trim regularly> It is growing in several different places in my tank and I don't want it to get any further out of hand. I just setup a 20 gallon refugium and was wondering if it would be a good addition to it?  Yes! Very fine and much better than Caulerpa> Thanks in advance. <my pleasure, kindly Anthony Calfo>

Brown Wafer Algae: Lobophora and like species I have on a couple of my LR some algae that look's exactly like the algae on this page: http://www.globaldialog.com/~jrice/algae_page/lobophora.htm It began to grow at the same time coralline started (aprox. 2 months back)... I was wondering if you 'aqua-maestros' have any idea (and I'm sure you do)  on what this is and what steps should I take do get rid of it. My tank is 6 months old, all water param.s are ok, I use Kalkwasser for all evaporation and a RO unit... Thank you. <The "brown wafer algae" Lobophora is fast growing but not at all palatable to most herbivores. Some Diadema urchins will eat it, and if your tank is over 100 gallons, then a Naso tang may control it for you. Else, manual extraction is called for (Ughhh!... no fun). Best regards, Anthony>

Got Weed? Awesome site!! Very comprehensive and informative. I wanted to forward you a picture of some rock in my tank and a pretty bad infestation of Sargassum hystrix. Check it out and let me know what you think and what I should do about it. I have been pruning but it grows as fast as I prune. Thanks! <Prune faster! This is really what I would do... You could "cut down" by using iodine/iodide less, and less frequently... but might well restrict other desirable metabolic activity. Just remove more of it on a regular basis... A gorgeous stand/batch, and nice photo as well! Bob Fenner> Adam

Question For Ya (re Sargassum, brown algae growth) Would this be considered undesirable? The funny thing is it has totally overgrown the one rock and is limited to this rock with the exception of a few stray pieces. I know this is supposed to die off in 6 months, should I just wait it out and enjoy the diversity?  <I would> Take the rock out and scrub it? Or just prune as it grows? I know you will say personal preference, but wanted to make sure. I am tending to lean towards pruning. Thanks! Adam <I would prune and enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Brown algae 2/8/03 Hey beer drinking buddies how is it hanging? <low and to the left... thanks for asking> I think I have some Lobophora variegata growing in my tank can't seem to rid myself of this algae nor have I seen it anywhere else besides my tank.... <actually rather common... this rubbery brown alga> nothing wants to eat it and when remove it grows back... <yep... that about sums it up <G>. Actually... urchins will graze it. Try a short-spine black urchin from Florida or a Pacific Tuxedo urchin (Mespilia)> I am going with a new skimmer trying to eradicate nutrients!... <a good idea, but not as immediately gratifying for control of this algae> any ideas on how to smoke this turkey??... <dry it well first... rolling papers versus bowl are your call> Or should I  spend some time with some extra aggressive skimming? <oh, ya.... that too> thanks again I will tip one for you later <rock on my brother :) > PS Anthony I love the coral prop book. and I already have the invert book on order cant wait for the release <thanks kindly, my friend. Look forward to sharing a brew in the future. Best regards, Anthony>

Scroll Algae (10/24/04) Dear WWM crew. <Steve Allen with you tonight.> All is mostly well thanks to you guys'¦ I still have one more algae problem and a water quality issue though! Algae problem: No more hair algae! Yea!!! Lots of Scroll algae! Boo! They were pretty when only a few 'scrolls' opened, but I have 4 other kinds of algae that are prettier that came with the live rock and this one is the second most aggressive. <Are you certain of your ID. Are you referring to the species Padina? I've not heard of this one being a problem. Some folks grow it on purpose.> The tang leaves these alone and only goes for the hair and Nori (on a clip). Are scroll algae considered nuisance algae? <As above, not generally.> Water quality issue: My pH is between 7.9 and 8.1 in my tank vs. 7.9 in freshly mixed salt water after 24 hours! <Are you using r/o water? Do you buffer it? Quality fresh-mixed saltwater usually had a pH of 8.2 or higher? Very strange if true? What is the pH before you add the saltwater?> I recalibrated my Hanna instruments pH meter twice and that's still the reading. <Do you have an LFS who can test for confirmation?> Hagen test kit gives me a KH of 130mg/L for freshly mixed salt water after 24 hours and 70mg/L for what's in my tank!<Something is eating up your buffer.><<Likely the profuse algal growth. RMF>> Very low--does not respond much to Kalkwasser or Seachem reef builder! <Again, strange. Can you think of what might be consuming this?> Don't know my nitrates because my test kit ran out and I'm waiting for my kit. It was <10ppm a month ago. <What about phosphate? Any phosphate will promote algae growth) Temp is between 78.5F and 80F. Salinity is 1.025. Calcium is between 380ppm and 400ppm and the same for both. I'm ready to do a 55% water change. Occupants show no sign of stress--includes feather dusters and cleaner shrimp and snails. Any comments or suggestions'¦. I know I overfeed, but my nitrates have never been high. <Check phosphates.> The LFS guys tell me they had a problem with their reef display until they replaced their 4' DSB with ¼ inch crushed coral. <Many folks are succeeding just fine with DSBs, though a little deeper than yours might be better. Is it aragonite?> Something about the sand under the live rock accumulating crap and getting mucky! <Should not be an issue if properly maintained. Do you have a cleaner crew to pick stuff off of the top of the sand before it can "sink in?"> My bed is 3-4.5 inches deep. The bubbles don't penetrate past the top 1' or so. Thanks! Narayan <Hope this helps.>

Urchin saves the day - eating Dictyota 2/2/04 Hello again Anthony, I wanted to give you an update about our Dictyota problem. Our urchin is now eating it. :) <outstanding to hear. I do love those urchins> We could not be more happy to see the right upper half of the tank free from this plague. Slowly the little urchin is going to town on it. Mark took a picture of the urchin to the SeaBay meeting but he never got the chance to show it to you. <Awww... no worries. DO send it here if you like> We are now sure it must be a long spined urchin. I hope he keeps up eating the Dictyota. If it eats all of micro algae will it be happy to eat any coralline algae? We don't want it to starve. <hmmm... tough to say. If so, I don't think it will survive on it. Fortunately, they will scavenge food bits. Offer an algae based frozen food and likely it will be fine (2-3 times weekly) after the nuisance algae is gone> Sincerely, Clair & Mark Dawson <best regards, my friends. Anthony>

- Kiss my Sargassum!!! ...or at least remove it - I am about 60 days into setting up a 55 gal reef tank.  About half of my 85lbs. of live rock is completely covered with Sargassum algae.  I am not particularly fond of its looks, and was wondering if I should try to remove it in order to grown corals later on. <In the mean time you can use it as a great nutrient export method by periodically removing large amounts of it. If you think it's ugly, then by all means, get it out!> If I remove it and encourage the coralline algae to grow and cover the rock surface, will it eventually prevent the Sargassum from returning?   Thank you,  Randy <Once it's all removed and hasn't grown back, I wouldn't expect it to return at a later date unless you reintroduce it. Good luck! -Kevin>

Nuisance Dictyota Algae 1/7/03  Anthony- I hope it is OK to write to you here. Amy told me it would be better to write to this address with my question. If I messed up I do apologize.  <no worries my friend... very welcome to e-mail here or any addy I have (readingtrees.com , yahoo.com, etc). Its nice here though as answers can be shared/archived for the benefit of others. Very sorry for the delay by the way... I left for the Colorado Rockies on Friday when you e-mailed and just got back>  I have a question about a Dictyota problem we are having.  <Arghhh! Can be pretty to look at, but becomes a nuisance>  Some back round about my tank as follows: 125 gallon, 2X250 watt radium's. Euro-reef skimmer and a 45 gallon refugium. Ammonia nitrite nitrate all test zero and our ph is 8.2 during the day 8.0 at night. Alk 11dkh and CA 375. We keep the temp at 81 degrees. A 4" DSB and 140 pounds of live rock.  We have a mixed reef that I know you will not like to hear about. Sorry about that.  <heehee... no worries. Just try to focus/group better animals (more natural/biotopic or akin/"amiable" species) when possible>  We get preached about it all of time but I am not going to change it no matter what my husband or Amy tells me. Sorry. You can chew me out if we meet soon.  <you are safe :) >  About the Dictyota. It has spread all over the rocks. We pull it out daily and mess with the skimmer so that we can get a least 1/2 cup of dark stuff each day. We have tried every animal we can think of to eat this and nothing has.  <indeed... it can be highly invasive, is noxious and not readily controlled by herbivores>  A Longspined urchin was put in two weeks ago with the hope of it eating the Dictyota but it only eats the coralline. Do you have any suggestions?  <hmmm... odd. Diadema urchins are one of the few that are likely to control it. They are also one of the least likely urchins to eat coralline. De send a pic or recheck the ID of your urchin. I wonder if its a Diadema?>  We are afraid for our LPS after reading about this algae in your new book.  <being an educated consumer gives you the freedom to shop anywhere... including the less knowledgeable places. Great stuff to be found even there (and often so) as long as you have done your homework. Don't give up on that LFS just yet :) >  Thank you for any advice you can give. I hope my husband and I can meet you at the SeaBay club this month. Kindly Clair  <outstanding!... be seeing you soon :) Anthony> 
Nuisance Dictyota Algae 1/8/03
Anthony- Thank you for the reply. I am going to look on-line and in my RI book to make sure I have a long spined urchin. I'm pretty sure we do but I will check to be safe. <yes... all good. Or do send us a small digital pic :) > I think you might have misunderstood me in my last e-mail. I am not worried about my local fish store, I was worried about my LPS (large polyp stonies). <Ahhh... yes. My fault dear, I read too fast and see now <G>> I am sure I remember reading that Dictyota will harm them if the algae grows on the skeleton. <very very true. Its quite a nuisance> I have two bubble corals and a frogspawn that has the Dictyota on it. My husband has been pulling it off weekly but it is upsetting the frogspawn. We are not sure if the algae is upsetting it or having the algae pulled of it so often. <other than nutrient control to starve it out, and help from diadema... there is little else besides manual extraction. This is just the sort of "harmless" organism that needs to be screened in a quarantine tank when all new corals, rocks, plants, etc are brought in> We will let you know what we find out about the urchin.  Kindly, Clair <best regards my friend... see you soon! Anthony>

Cladophora prolifera predation/control Hi all could u tell me is there anyway I can get rid of Cladophora prolifera algae and is there any inverts that will eat this stuff. It is starting to get out of control <This algae is consumed by various invertebrate groups and fishes: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&q=cladophora+predators Bob Fenner>

Nuisance Algae Counterattack! I figured out what the nuisance algae is. it is Lobophora, the brown algae. I found it on your site finally. Knowing this now, what is the best way to control this?? <A "tough" algae like this will require a more aggressive grazer, such as a Long-Spined Urchin, IMO. Yes, you'll need to watch out for potential collateral damage that these animals can cause, but the combination of dedicated grazers and continued attention to nutrient export should do the trick in time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lobophora (Brown Wafer Algae) Eating Urchins Trying not to bother you guys, but time to go to the experts. <MikeD here and not an expert, but a long time urchin aficionado> 75G FOWLR DAS H99 in-tank sump/skimmer Lights - 2x40W NO (today replaced 9 month old 50/50, and 11 month old full spectrum with Coralife 50/50 and 10000K)<It was time> NO2/NO3 0.0 pH 8.1 Believe I have the nutrients under control, using RO/DI and have a good size patch of Halimeda that I crop.<Sounds good> Lobophora is taking over my tank. After agonizing over what urchin to get, settled on a Blue Tuxedo after seeing a monster size Long Spine. Well, after watching the Blue Tux eat coralline for a week and going out of it's way to not even touch the Lobophora, it's now decided to spite me by packing around pieces of it.<It's not spiting you, but rather, like many short-spined urchins, camouflaging itself to escape notice of fish predators, such as triggerfish.> Talked to the LFS and they are willing to exchange for a Diadema. Diadema questions: -how realistic a Diadema will eat Lobophora?<It depends on whether it is obtainable or growing on irregular surfaces that the urchin can't easily adhere to.  Flat, open surfaces will almost always be preferentially grazed due to the ease with which the tube feet can hang on.  Many will learn to go to the surface of the water to be hand fed, should you so desire.> -they're ~5" diameter now, how big, how fast?<This depends upon available food within reach, the type of food and the water chemistry.  Urchins were long used as "miner's canaries" to monitor water parameters before the advent of cheap, easy, reliable test kits, proceeding to shed their spines as water conditions deteriorate long before most fish show adverse reactions.> -how does a Long Spine's appetite for coralline compare to a Blue Tux?<Again, it depends upon what's easiest to reach, although if it helps any, the Long Spine's aren't usually camouflagers.> -can they be exposed to air (transferring to quarantine)? For short periods. The waste discharge hole (anus) in the top usually prevents trapped air bubbles.> -if the Long Spines a bust, how do I handle the Lobophora?< Pruning with tweezers and shears is what I usually resort to.  Foxfaces will usually remove ALL vegetation to an extent that makes most tangs look like carnivores.> Mark in snowy Edmonton, Alberta,<Brrrrrrrr>

Dictyota Hi Crew <Joe> I am at the verge of tossing all my live rock in the trash. I have had a Dictyota outbreak in my 90 gal for a while now. I bought a small Naso that wiped it out but as we know the Naso was too big and now resides in a 200 gal. I have an ev120 skimmer and a 30 gal sump with macros growing. I do 10/15 gal water changes weekly with 0 TDS. I don't know what to do. <Re?> Joe Culler, <You could kill off this brown algae by placing your LR in the dark for a few weeks... Bob Fenner>

Lobophora variegata control  9/28/05 Hi Bob: Lobophora variegata slowly but surely getting out of hand in my 90 gal- one year old reef. I am surprised that I cannot find much info on how to control it or better yet, eradicate it.  Very little info, including on WWM.  I read some comments on the addition of urchins but nothing concrete.  Can you make any specific suggestion?  Manual removal has been nearly impossible. Thanks. Paul M <Manual removal is the preferred route to go... look into some long tongs, scissors, siphon... Bob Fenner>
Re: Lobophora variegata predators  9/29/05
Bob: Since we don't use tongs and siphons on the ocean reefs to keep this stuff in check, <Nor glass boxes...> I assume there must be a more natural predator. Any other thoughts? <I really like the futo maki at Kamagaki market down towards Kealakekua Bay... wish we were going by there on our way to Two-Step to go diving... before they're all sold out... about noon.> Thanks again. Paul <Mmm, a few tangs, Rabbitfishes... Here's the bit on Google: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-43,GGLD:en&q=predators+of+lobophora Bob Fenner>

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