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FAQs about Brown/Phaeophyte Algae/Kelp Identification 1

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 ID 2, Brown Algae ID 3, Brown Algae ID 4, & Brown Algae 1, Brown Algae 2, Brown Algae Behavior, Brown Algae Compatibility/Control, 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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Identification'¦ Lobophora variegata 9/6/07 Hello Crew <Hi Lynn, Mich here.> I never thought I'd be writing you good people, and here I go. <Alrighteee!> I have three specimens that I am unable to identify. I have attached a couple of pics of the first one on this email. <I see.> I am concerned that this first specimen may be a nuisance, as there patches of it growing now on many pieces of my LR. The texture of is that of velvet. <Looks like Lobophora variegata to me, and yes I would try to remove it. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm > The tank has been running for 3 months. I have added only 120 lbs of Fiji LR to the tank, an ornate goby, some hermit crabs, <I personally avoid.> a few assorted snails, a sand sifting star, <Will decimate the life in your sand bed and then likely die from starvation.> and some mushroom corals. I do a 10 gallon water change every week, and on the fourth week, I change 15 gallons. <You never mentioned your tank size.> Would you offer a suggestion as how I can go about researching for identifying species? <Start with what you suspect it might be and use appropriate adjectives, can be quite difficult if not outright impossible sometimes. You can always send images here for ID.> Thank you for your help
<Welcome! Mich.>
Lynn Vangsnes

Weird brown ???   1/15/07 Dear WWM, <Jan> Thanks for all of your help. <Welcome> I have this strange brown stuff (I think a type of algae?) growing to two areas in my 72G reef tank.  Both areas are at the top of the highest points of the aqua structure. <Don't know what I did to your pic... It did download last night, but won't open today... Oh, here it is!> At the location shown in the photo, I had to move a fox coral as the brown stuff was encroaching on the coral and causing it to shrivel up.  The coral has recovered in it's new location. <Good> At any rate, I would like to remove this stuff.   <I would> Any ideas on what it is and how to remove it? Thanks for your help! Jan Harrison <Appeared to be a member of the Lobophora genus  when I saw it... best manually extracted... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brnalgcomp.htm  And send along the/an image if you have time. Bob Fenner>

Algae cups Hi Bob, I have a curiously spontaneous whitish cup-like growth on my live (Fijian) rock (picture enclosed). That picture was taken in early December, and each of the individuals (about 3/4" to 1.5" across in the picture) has grown profusely since then (the two groups pictured are now colonies about 4-5" in diameter). I have now taken to referring to them as 'potato-chip-coral', but I really have no idea what it is; would you please take a crack at identifying it for me? I'd like to share it with my friend Paul, but it would be nice to know a little more about it so that we needn't indulge too much in trial-and-error to propagate it. I have noticed that this creature, or creatures (if a colony), shows a fine diaphanous cilia along the outermost ridge that extends 2-3mm, and its body is not particularly fragile (it's reasonably flexible---similar to watercress Caulerpa IMHO---and oscillates in the current opposite my sump-return near my overflow box). It seems to be very happy within 2" of the surface lit by 4 VHO Actinic White fluorescents, and has spawned at least two other colonies within my 55gal tank since I began watching it. I have other less-zoomed pictures if you're curious. Thanks for your attention, -Tyler <It is a type of macroalgae called Padina. -Steven Pro>

Macroalgae identification?? Hey Bob, Any ideas what sort of algae this is? <Um, no image... maybe place on a site, send the URL> I assume it is helping in filtration and not harmful at all. People seem to be looking for algae species that Tangs, Angels and Rabbitfish will not eat, and they will not eat this stuff at all. My fish seem to enjoy playing in amongst this algae and I was hoping you may know what it is. My LFS buddy wants me to chop some off for his tank as it grows fairly quickly in my system. He says he can't grow it and that surprises me because he is the one I usually go to for help. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Here are a couple pics. Thanks Rob Huss <Bob Fenner> [Unable to display image][Unable to display image][Unable to display image]

Re: macroalgae identification? well if you are referring to the background of the tank it is just an off the shelf plastic backing for tanks, the tank itself is my tank that I purchased from Elmer's aquariums in Monroeville PA.  <Oh! I know the store. Nice folks (Gary the owner let me give a pitch to the staff downstairs a few years back). Nice effect in the setting.> My question still remains do you have any clue what type or species of macroalgae that is on my site, been having no luck finding out anywhere. <Addended the last message and resent... this is assuredly a Brown Algae of the genus Sargassum. Bob Fenner>

Re: macroalgae identification? Well Bob here is an address to my site, you now have your very own page for questions I have for you enjoy! Thanks Rob Huss http://pages.zdnet.com/holeinone1972/92gallonreeftank/ <Nice site... will post link on WWM... and really like the image on your HP of the corner tank... the backgrd... is this a product you bought or something made? Bob Fenner... oh, and this Phaeophyte (brown kelp) is a Sargassum species, perhaps S. japonicum>

Brown Algae The water parameters seem to be all right. However a lot of brown algae is growing on my rocks killing all plant life. It is not diatoms (little brown dots) this stuff is thick and dense. What is causing it to grow and how do you prevent it from growing? <Check out Bob's algae articles on www.wetwebmedia.com. Go to the search page and enter 'slime algae' (be sure to check the 'search WetWebMedia.com' option) -Lorenzo>

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 alga? Sargassum 2/6/03 Anthony, I shot another pic of the plant on live rock, I think it's a better image than the last, but Ill keep- trying! <thanks bud... still fuzzy but I do believe I can rule out Paddleweed. This organism looks like a brown alga to me and may simply be sprouting Sargassum> I also figured out how to convert pics into the "Tiff" extensions you asked me about on the DIY Refugium, do ya still want some shots in that format? <if possible and convenient... but a full-size jpeg is fine too if the image is clear enough (saves memory/space for both of us)> When does the new book become available? <amazingly despite late additions of text to the editor yes... extra pages from us windbags!) it looks like we will be very close to our projection (made last summer!): Now set for late March/April latest> (Very nice website at readingtrees.com by the way!) <thanks kindly... one of the editors on the book (Christine Gonzales) designed the logo and color palette... I screwed up the rest <G>> Anyway, back to the plant ID, I've been digging some of the plants off the rock, (like a dandelion in the yard) popping the whole plant off & put some of it in the refugia. With that, I'll catch ya later, in your debt & at your service!                          Scott
<In your stead, I'm short and furry. Anthony>

Mystery Macroalgae Howdy Folks, could I trouble you for an Id of the following algae? <Sure- Scott F,. with you today...> Seems like some sort of Kelp, at least that is what it reminds me of.  The main stalks seem bumpy, almost thorny looking.  I hope the picture is clear enough.  Will a Tang eat it, or if not, what will? Thank you.  Paul. <Well, Paul, it looks to me to be a Sargassum species, possibly S. echinocarpum. It's actually a very attractive macroalgae; I would not regard it as a nuisance, myself. It does grow fairly rapidly, and can help harbor some diverse, yet beneficial creatures. It's possible that some tangs, such as the Manini, or "Convict Tang", Acanthurus triostegus, or some Rabbitfishes,  might chew on it a bit. However, this is a  fairly "tough" macroalgae, and I have not seen tangs do much with it in the tanks that I've seen them both reside! It's easy enough to extract manually, if you really hate it. Personally, I'd consider myself fortunate to have this cool macroalgae and enjoy it for the diversity and utility it brings. Take care! Regards, Scott F>

ID  8/12/05 Hi Crew- <Howdy John, Ali here> I'd like to thank you for the great site and valuable information it provides! <Thank you friend> I discovered your site a few years ago and my tank has under gone a fantastic transformation in the following years! <Awesome!> My reason for writing is because I have some odd/unusual growth in my tank (pics provided).  What ever it is sprouted up about 2 months ago and seems to be spreading-it appears to be harmless so I've left it alone. Let me give you the specs on my tank.  I have a 55 long with a 5-8 inch sand bed and roughly 90lbs live rock.   Have 30 gallon refugium and 20gal sump.  On main tank I have 440 watt VHO system and on refugium I have 120 watt compact fluorescence.  For filtration I have Aqua-C Remora Pro and a little hang on the back Penguin (run activated charcoal in it). For live stock I have 1 dusky Jawfish, 2 Clarkii Clowns and 1 Lunare Wrasse (it was a present from my wife who wanted more color in my tank) and I have an assortment of snails and tons of Pods and Mysis.  Also, have Green Star Polyps and 10 stalks of Xenia, which started of as one little branch 6 months ago! Again, thanks for the great site! John McCloskey <Ah, it sounds like a very nice little set-up you got there John. The organism in question is indeed Scroll Algae (Padina sp.) Unfortunately, this algae usually ends up dying during liverock shipment (very sensitive to shipping), however it does have the potential to be a hardy yet attractive algae once established. Keeping your calcium/Alk stable will go a long way in keeping it happy. Good luck and we wish you success!! - Ali>

Unidentified Growth (Sargassum polyphyllum?) - 04/29/06 Dear WWM Crew, <<Greetings Kym>> Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful resource.  I have truly enjoyed the untold hours that I have spent reading and rereading through the many articles and FAQ's posted on your website.  The wealth of knowledge contained here is just amazing. <<Indeed, much here (there) for the finding...happy you find the researching enjoyable>> My question, today, pertains to an unidentified growth in my 90 gallon reef tank.  I have checked through the website and through numerous books, as well, and have not been able to determine what it is.  I believe that it is some type of algae or plant. <<Me too>> It began growing out of my colony of green button polyps.  It is attached to the rock and has grown very quickly.  It is a single piece, brown and flat with a slight curl at the edges.  It has extended outward in very wide fingerlike protrusions and has small white bumps sparsely and erratically scattered across the surface and along the edges.  The feel is somewhat rubbery. <<Describes as/looks like a Sargassum, possibly Sargassum polyphyllum>> I have noticed, as it has grown larger, that my polyps have been declining. <<The algae is likely just shadowing/brushing across...>> I'm wondering if, perhaps, it is exuding something toxic. <<A possibility...algae compete for space just as corals, fish, all marine life>> Would you please examine the pictures that I have attached and see if you can identify the growth and tell me if it is something that I should completely remove from my tank? <<It's not going to "nuke" your tank, but if it looks like it is beginning to decline/decompose you'll want to remove it...and if you don't like the effect it is having on your button polyps then by all means, pull it out now <grin> >> Thank You,
<<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>


New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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