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FAQs about Caulerpa Algae In/Compatibility/Control 2

Related Articles: Caulerpas by Bob Fenner, A closer look at Caulerpa - Common aquarium species and their care by Adam Jenkins, Green 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: Caulerpa Compatibility 1, Caulerpa Algae 1, Caulerpa 2, Caulerpa 3, Caulerpa 4, Caulerpa 5, Caulerpa Identification, Caulerpa Behavior, Caulerpa  Selection, Caulerpa Systems, Caulerpa Nutrition, Caulerpa Disease, Caulerpa Reproduction/Propagation, Other Green Algae, RefugiumsGreen Algae Control 1Marine 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

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16
I have always loved the look of Caribbean reefs and would like to include vegetation in my 220 gallon mixed LPS/soft coral display tank. I also love watching the antics of tangs and am planning on including a few in this build. I have read several posts noting that tangs have kept Caulerpa (C. mexicana and C. prolifera, specifically) growth in check. However, most articles don't mention biological/herbivore controls and simply say "Don't do it". Do you have any thoughts on this?
<Some species, individual Tangs will eat "some" Caulerpas; but not all of either>
Are there similarly hardy and palatable plants I should be considering instead?
<Ah yes; for looks there are MANY choices, for function, Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha species are faves. These are gone over quite a bit on WWM if you care to delve into the subject>
Thank you for your time?
<Welcome? Bob Fenner>
Re: Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16

Bob! Thank you for the quick response and my apologies for the errant question mark.
<Heee! Figured it was an error>
I have searched through the WWM faqs and articles (for which I am eternally grateful) and haven't noticed/understood the answers so I apologize if I missed the appropriate posts.
<No worries; let's see if we can get you the information you're looking for here>
I was looking into the gracilaria in the DT but I'm a bit concerned the tangs would over-graze it.
<Yes to this. Need to raise elsewhere... like an illuminated sump, refugium, and only add to the main/display tank what you want consumed>
Assuming moderately high LED lighting for corals in a 72 x 24 x 30 tank, how much established Gracilaria would be recommended to persist, assuming 3-5 tangs (Likely candidates are Hippo, Yellow, Sailfin, & Convict)...
<As stated, raise macrophytes that are palatable elsewhere. NOT in the main tank>
and am I correct in assuming live is usually preferred (by the fish) over freeze-dried?
<Generally yes; though algae consuming fishes will learn to, eat dried algae with gusto>
I've also looked at Chaeto but are there forms that wouldn't trap detritus or which grow more...leaf like?
<Not so much as "spaghetti" like>
What about rooted Sargassum or anchored Halymenia?
<These and other purposeful algaes can be grown, used for a range of ornament to food... The browns/Phaeophytes, like Sargassum are a bit harder (than reds, most greens) to culture... Need/use quite a bit of iodine (ide-ate actually)>
There seems to be too little applied information available...or I'm just not finding it.
<Useful data, intelligent anecdotal info. is about; but not easily found. There are some good books, specialty websites like Advanced Aquarist, Reefs.com, ReefBuilders... to ask at (bb's) and read archives. Do send along specific questions!>
Thank you, again, for all your input!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Pandora's box of algae!    3/25/13
Greetings crew!
Been a while since I have been on your board (work and life keep me from  browsing).
I am wondering if you have any insight into my problem.  In 12+ years  of reef keeping, I am stumped and am turning to you (who helped me start out on  the right foot) for help.
I have a 120g reef with MASSIVE algae issues!  The grape Caulerpa escaped my refugium and is now running wild throughout my system.  This is  a relatively new problem and really started up when I moved into our new  house.  I really have not changed anything since the move (actually  less bioload due to 3 fishy deaths (old age), adequate skimmer (AquaC  EV-240), canister filter (Fluval FX-5), regular water changes (25 gal every 2  weeks with canister media change).  The only change was switching to LED  lighting from Halide/CF, but algae was big problem before that change.  I  am beginning to think it is a water issue as the only change is I have gone from  city water to well water.
<May be>
I am currently running a dual RO system with two vertical DI  filters (from The Filter Guys).  The color changing resin always  completely changes within a week or two of changing,
and I have an inline meter  to monitor quality.  Currently my readings are 36ppm pre-resin, 0ppm  out.  (just ordered new filters and resin as it has been a while).  I  have an old hand held TDS meter and measured the output at 63, so I am not sure  which is more accurate.
I have a phosphate reactor in place as well.  Water circulation is  about 25x with two powerheads on 20 second alternating wave timers.
The bioload is relatively low with one clown (lost my first fishy, the  female, a few months ago after 12 years of having her), a purple tang, a  cardinal, 6 line wrasse and a blue Chromis.  Lost the mates to the  Chromis and cardinal and am not adding more fish until problems resolve.   Various hermits, a brittle star and a fire shrimp.  Got about 150 pounds of  LR in the tank with another 20 or so in the refugium
<Have you changed out any of the LR over the years?>

All water tests are coming up normal (nitrate, nitrite, phosphate,  silicate), my pH and alkalinity are a little off but then again I let  my calcium reactor run out of CO2 and don't know how long it has been  empty.  That will be fixed soon.
I am beginning to think it is my water supply.  I tried testing the RO  water for silica and phosphate, but they came up at zero.
<Likely good readings>
This is getting frustrating to the point of wanting to quit the  hobby.  My reef was immaculate and beautiful for YEARS prior to this.   Most of my corals are thriving as well (mix of SPS, LPS and softies) and my  three bubble tip anemones are looking beautiful and actually form bubble  tips!
Any ideas?  Are there any ways other than manual removal (get handfuls  out with each water change) to get rid of this algae?
<Caulerpa (racemosa likely in this case) can be very trying... You might try biological predators (see WWM re for the genus)... or a tear down, eradication of what you can see, pull and scrape from the rock>
ANY advice or things to check that I have not done already is more than  appreciated.
Thanks in advance
<Mmm, start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpacomp.htm
and on to the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

algae and live rock quarantine    7/13/12
Hello there,
I have a 120 gallon tank with aragonite sand and about 100 pounds of base rock...no life...set up about 3 weeks ago. I bought a nice 10 pound piece of Pukani live rock
<Know the young gal it's named after>
 and placed it in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with the intention of using it to seed my future reef, after 4 weeks of observation. In the past, when my base rock was live and in a prior tank (years ago), it was infested with every type of Caulerpa and bubble algae known to man and so my intention this time is to avoid these algaes in particular...hence the quarantine. I know it’s impossible to avoid every pest every time, but these I really don’t want in my tank because they can turn a relaxing hobby into a frustrating laborious affair!  Well, 3 weeks into my quarantine, my rock has sprouted both Valonia and feather Caulerpa...hahaha!
 Just have to laugh! It also has some type of algae that looks like  individual flat top stools (the type you sit on) with tiny thorns, which may be a form of Racemosa but it’s still too tiny for me to accurately identify. So what to do? Is it basically futile to keep these things out?
<Mmm, at this juncture, you could go the biocide route... I'd use chlorine bleach if so. Read here re SOP: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm
and the linked FAQs file>
I mean, I will definitely pick and scrub this stuff off and leave in quarantine an extra month but what if it sprouts again?
<"Only takes one spore">
Where does it end? Do I throw out a 90$ piece of rock with a ton of life...worms, pods, feather dusters, brittle stars etc?
<I'd isolate the live part... see if you can find, scrub off (outside the holding system) and rinse any pest part away>
The next piece will likely be the same! Should I clean it up and just place in my tank and accept that I will likely have some algae issues I will have to deal with? I thought this was suppose to be fun...a big sarcastic “ha”!
<Is one approach...>
Thanks much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: algae and live rock quarantine, alg. cont.     7/14/12

Hi Bob,
I now believe I have also identified Bryopsis hypnoides on this rock, and suspect that the little mushroom-like "stools" that I mentioned sprouting are Caulerpa nummularia, though they're still too small to be sure.
<Yikes! "When it rains...">
Also, when I first purchased this piece of rock I had placed it into my main system for the weekend with the intent to "seed" my tank.
<... including w/ the algae>
 I had planned to incubate all future fish and corals, but thought it was unnecessary for the rock. After some more reading online I decided I should pull it out and quarantine which I did. This was about 3 weeks ago. Now getting to yesterday... the day after I wrote my first email to you, I noticed nearly all my base rock in the main system is sprouting the Bryopsis !
Life is amazing!!! It was only in there a couple of days but it was enough to spread all kinds of spores! I guess the good news is there is nothing alive in there besides the Bryopsis, so I have options.
I'm not sure I understand how to "isolate the live part" and yet kill the algae with chlorine. How do you isolate feather dusters, brittle starts, tiny snails, pods etc which are a part of\in the rock?
<Can't be done...>
Is it reasonable to think one can avoid the likes of Caulerpa, Bryopsis, Valonia etc altogether... or is it essentially futile and you just have to deal with them as part of normal maintenance?
<More or less the latter>
 I mean if all this stuff is on just one single rock, how do people with 100s of lbs of rock avoid it?
<They don't really. Some are lucky... others have predators that help>
I would forget this rock and get another, but this could get expensive, and realistically I will probably get something in the tank anyways, if not now then through some spore that sneaks in with a coral in the future, and doesn't show itself until after quarantine.  Am I right?
Finally, given that my main system is empty, the rock is not alive with anything besides bacteria and Bryopsis, if I drain the tank and fill with tap water, would that kill it and any other algal spores I may have inadvertently introduced?
 If so, how long should I run it with tap water
before refilling with saltwater?
<I'd actually add bleach... let run for an hour, dump, rinse>
Please excuse the long winded questions,
Thanks for the help
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: algae and live rock quarantine    7/15/12

Hello again Bob!
<Hey Dave>
Thanks very much for the added info. Hope you don't mind more follow-up, but I'm interpreting mixed messages, probably my personal miscomprehension.
Seems you're in agreement with me that complete avoidance of pest macro algae is unlikely unless lucky, and that spores are likely to be introduced in the future anyways with new additions, what would ultimately be the benefit in sterilizing the tank besides delaying the inevitable?
 Would I not be better off forgetting any restarts with bleaching and just accepting the algae in my tank as something to be managed? Do you see why this is confusing me?
<I do... and would very likely forego the bleaching as well>
PS Is a bleach/water mix safe on the tank silicone joints and running through my pumps?
<Is not "that" harsh... Have used it many times, was part of our service company and many others S.O.P.s>
PSS Yesterday I came across an online "pamphlet" referring to the effort in eradicating Caulerpa from some man-made saltwater lake (forget the name) and they said that tests showed chlorine ineffective, but salinity below 10 ppt resulted in Caulerpa dying...so technically tap water should work for Caulerpa, I just wasn't sure about Bryopsis.
Thanks again,
<And you, BobF>
Re: algae and live rock quarantine    7/16/12

Thanks Bob,
Have already scraped all the visible Caulerpa off with some dental instruments (!).
<Use a stiff tooth brush and rinse as well>
The Bryopsis I left alone as there's too much of it and it's already in the main tank. Will watch for anything yet unseen for a
couple more weeks and proceed to "seed" the tank as originally planned.
Really appreciate the advice.
Take care
<And you. B>

Caulerpa and Xenia  10/26/11
Dear WWM,
<Hi Charles>
I'm trying to figure out why my entire colony of Pulsating Xenia is dying.
The only thing out of the ordinary (water quality - husbandry) was that about three days prior to the Xenia starting to show signs of distress ( less active pulsing and "fluffy-ness )
<How long have you had the Xenia before this started happening?>
I did a large pruning of the Feather Caulerpa I have. (some in the main tank and some in my refugium ) I know that Caulerpa release a Toxin when pruned / broken, but since I always run carbon (Chemipure elite) and did a water change right after the pruning, I didn't think it would be an issue.
Now, my Xenia are all retracted and the "feathers" are literally becoming goo. This is about 1 week after the pruning...
Could this be a result of the Caulerpa pruning, or should I not be pointing fingers at the algae and keep trying to track down another cause?
<Not likely>
All my water parameters haven't changed, lighting, feeding, nothing ...except my Xenia are turning to goo. (not the stalks, just the feathery fingers)
<Including parameters in email is helpful; check pH, iodine level or maybe even fish culprits that might be nibbling on Xenia behind your back. Lots of useful info here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniiddisfaqs.htm>
Sincerely, Charles Paskey
<Happy Pulsing, Michelle (Fichecake)>

Holy grape Caulerpa crew!... Caulerpa Control 4/28/2010
I have a 55 gallon reef aquarium that is absolutely infested with grape Caulerpa.
<That can happen when it gets away from you, but it isn't an insurmountable problem.>
It's a standard all glass 55 gallon aquarium, light fixture is a 216 watt t5 HO 48" fixture, Emperor 400, 2 maxi Jett
1200's. Chemistry runs in normal reef specs.
The grape Caulerpa is growing in all the live rock, in it, out of it, on it, you name it. It is planting itself and popping up everywhere in the live sand.
<No surprises there.>
I used to pull it out by hand now it has adapted and started to matt out.
<Manual removal is still the only real viable option. Reach in and start pulling it out be the handfuls.>
It's a standard soft coral reef. A big piece of colt coral that has fragged off several time some assorted mushrooms that's really about it. I am about to move so I am going to have to move the tank too.
Should I just take the corals to my LFS's and get store credit take the left over live rocks out kill the infestation of macro off and re-cure the live rocks and save the fish in a smaller tank for the time being?
<That is more a matter of what is easiest for you.>
I am really at a cross roads of what to do because the grape Caulerpa is literally choking out and cover up coral.
Or do I cut the corals and glue them to new rocks? Help please! Should I just learn a life lesson about macro algae and start over give my coral and live rock to my LFS's fir store credit keep the filtering equipment and power heads and light. Put the fish in a little aquarium for now??...start over as a "Conscientious Marine Aquarist"?
<I had a similar situation with my tank after a long business trip. The trick to removing it is to get rid of all the green parts - the holdfasts ('roots') will not regenerate new algae.
Just reach in and pull it out by the handfuls. Rip out as much as you can get to. For the parts that are stuck in the rocks, a toothpick is useful for working them out.>
<You can read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algcontfaq2.htm >

Caulerpa is taking over my life. Caulerpa Control 10/25/2009.
<It isn't nearly as daunting as you think!>

<Hi Linda.>
I am writing to you after extensive research and reading of your suggestions on how to deal with a massive amount of Caulerpa prolifera.
The first entry on your Caulerpa page shows a picture of the same thing I have. It was so beautiful when it appeared on live rock in my 30 gal BioCube and so I left it there. Big Big mistake.
<I keep it in my tank as well. The key is to remove some each and every week, or it will get away from you.>
It is all over every rock and has worked its way up into my corals where it is very hard to get to. I have read all that you have posted and the reason I am writing is that this tank is much smaller than other people have written about. I have tried a sea hare(did not eat any) and a very two spot bristle toothed tang who, if I got the really dense parts off, would clean the trailers in small areas down to the rock. But there is so much that he couldn't do it all. My local fish store has graciously offered to take some of my rock and put it into their tanks with Foxface and some other algae grazers. I am going over there today to see if the Foxface has eaten any. They ordered a very small one that could go into my tank for a little while but I have already had to relocate the two spot tang to our 55 gal. I did make note of the suggestion that some Nudibranchs would eat prolifera. I tried to research Elysia tridachiella but didn't find a source or a definitive picture. I really want to find a natural and less labor intensive way to rid my tank of this hideous unwelcome guest.
<In the end, manual removal is the fastest and most efficient way. You only need to remove the green parts. The hold fasts, or 'roots' can remain.>
My tank contains: purple tree corals, several mushrooms, red flower pot, candy coral, fox coral, daisy polyps(which are suffering the most as the prolifera has worked its way all up inside despite my efforts to keep it out), frogspawn, trumpet coral, yellow polyps, and giant green polyps. My fish are: two small percula clowns (under 2"), tail spot blenny, two spot blenny, carpenters flasher wrasse, Citrinis clown goby. This tank is over two years old and has been very successful. Before the Caulerpa took over my flower pot was stretching out to 3" in length and the mushrooms and tree corals have provided me transplants for the 55 gal. reef tank.
<Caulerpa is a noxious algae. It WILL make room for itself either be overgrowing or by chemical warfare.>
I did have one sad event when I mistakenly over treated for red slime. I had two tomato
clowns and two blue damsels(all the other fish I mentioned are the new inhabitants) that didn't survive even though I did a 20 % water change. Before that happened one of the damsels was consistently laying eggs on the glass and then she started laying them on the rocks under the larger mushrooms. All this to say that the tank seemed to be very balanced and I didn't have any problems with alkalinity, ph, calcium or salinity. Then... the Caulerpa changed everything. The last two days I removed over two cups of the stuff, which I have been doing for months. When I do that all of my corals are much happier. But I lost my sea hare after this last massive pruning and I am wondering if the Caulerpa is releasing the toxic substances you spoke about.
<Likely so.>
As I read in your advise to others this stuff has a big effect on everything. Please help me find the right
species of invertebrate that can help me clean my tank. Yesterday I went to another store here and they have added a refugium to the center filter chamber of their BioCube. I would love to do this to my tank but I know that until the prolifera is gone it would take over that chamber in a nanosecond. I want to have my life back and not have to spend hours a day fighting this. I love my tanks they give me so much joy but that is seriously diminished when I look into an unwanted sea of green. please help,
<First, any fish or invert can help keep it in check, but unless you have shoals of algae eaters, they will never remove all of the algae. Manual removal is the best and only sure way to get rid of it.>
<Reach in and start pulling out as much of it as you can easily get to.
You want to remove all of the green parts, the 'roots' can stay behind. If any as wedged itself into cracks or crevasses in the rock, you can usually work them out with a toothpick or other small pointed object. It may take a while and some patience, but you will win.>
Re: Caulerpa is taking over my life. Caulerpa Control 10/25/2009.
It isn't nearly as daunting as you think!

Thanks Mike,
<Hi Linda.>
I will continue to manually remove as much as I can but I am pleased to say that the Foxface in my local fish store has been amazingly successful at cleaning the rocks I took in there.
Because the prolifera is on every rock and the back wall of my tank I am going to take as many rocks as I can to the very efficient Foxface.
<Between that and manual removal, you should be fine.>
I am concerned about releasing any more toxins.
<The toxins can be remedied by regular water changes and the use of carbon.>
I think this will be a safer way for me. I am wondering if you think I could bring the small
Foxface home or should I try lettuce Nudibranch for long term maintenance. I am leaning towards the Nudibranch because I think I don't have space for the Foxface in my 55 gal. once he is too big for the BioCube.
<I agree.>
I do have emerald crabs in both the BioCube and the 55 gal. I forgot to mention but they don't seem to care about the prolifera.
<Generally, they do not.>
I have to say that the amount I have in my tank right now requires more removal than once a week but if I continue to get rocks cleaned at the store this should be greatly diminished.
<It will, just keep removing and you will win.>
Thanks again for your suggestions and information.
<My pleasure.>
Help! tank overtaken by travel/laziness SW Maintenance, Caulerpa Control 8/25/2009

<Hi Keith.>
I have always loved your site and it is my number one place to visit when it comes to my tanks.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I have had a 30 gallon semi reef tank (polyps, mushrooms, leather coral, anemone) with 50 pounds of live rock, a cardinal fish and a clown fish.
I have two 10 gallon sumps, one has a large protein skimmer and heater, and the other has enough Caulerpa to fill a gallon size milk jug or so.
I have been in and out of town and have had someone feed my tank each day. I have gotten behind on water changes and let's just say the tank isn't going to make the front of any magazine covers to say the least.
<No surprises there.>
Caulerpa has gotten into the main tank and over taken half the live rock.
<Daunting, but not insurmountable.>
I have more aiptasia than I have ever had. There is probably 60 or 70 individual ones I can see when I look in.
<Several methods of getting rid of these>
To top it off, my 29 gallon main display tank developed a crack near the top I noticed a few hours ago. Luckily, I had a 29 gallon corner tank that was empty in a spare room.
<Just not your day is it?>
For the last few hours, I have slowly gotten all the contents moved to the new tank. Through the process, I washed about half the sand and kept the other half. I also added about 20 gallons of RO water and have
my salinity correct.
<By washing the sand, you likely damaged some of your biological filtration. Do keep an eye out for ammonia spikes.>
I am not really sure how I can get this tank back to a respectable aesthetic level?
<Time to roll up the sleeves.>
What steps should I take to fix this issue?
Just so I don't seem lazy, he is what I think I should do, but want to double check with you first.
1. I probably need to take out each piece of rock and brush it down with an old toothbrush in a bucket of salt water and then quickly dip it in some RO water and then put it back in the tank? I know it will not get rid of all the aiptasia/Caulerpa, but it would be a start.
What is the best process of doing this? Should I dip it in RO water after brushing it and then put it back in the tank?
<For Caulerpa, the easiest thing to do is reach in and grab it out by the handful. Just get all of the green stuff out. The 'roots' are not roots, so they will not grow into more algae.>
2. Since I already have so much aiptasia, I would think it is time for a Nudibranch, which should have a field day with the aiptasia, but I know removing them can be a pain and it is a dangerous creature to have
in the tank if it starves. I know red leg hermit's are good, but I don't think they could make a dent in it. would a peppermint shrimp make a dent in it?
<Not a fan of Nudibranchs - only a few eat aiptasia. Peppermint shrimp can help provided you actually get a peppermint shrimp.>
<I'm a fan of injecting them with Kalkwasser paste. It kills them quickly>
3. I know I need to get my water levels back to normal. How often should I do water changes in the next few weeks? I know from a previous article on your site, that two 5 percent changes per week is a good idea to go by. Should I double that up until I see some progress?
<10 - 20% water changes one a week works well. You can go to 30 - 40%  once per week as long as you split it into two water changes.>
From reading your aiptasia page
I am definitely going to get a peppermint shrimp, but what else would you recommend?
<I'm a fan of the Kalkwasser method.>
Any other ideas or suggestions. Sorry for getting lazy, I know ya'll have taught me better than that J Keith

Caulerpa and 24/7 or RDP -- 06/12/09
I've been read to article in WWM about lighting and Caulerpa. But it still not answer my question, so please help me about this question :
1. lighting 24/7 or RDP is still have a pro and cons, but if i do a 24/7 will the Caulerpa still going sexual?
<Mmm, not likely>
Is there really no answer why Caulerpa going sexual?
<Stress... mostly. And time going by... likely together>
2. Right now, my refugium is light for 24/7 and already running for 3 week, the Caulerpa mexicana and racemosa is growing well and not a sign to decay or going sexual. Is this a good sign or not a guarantee that this Caulerpa not going sexual?
<No guarantee>
3. Assuming later the Caulerpa already fulfill my refugium, then to prune it we must take it from the root and not cut the upper part of the Caulerpa, question is do i just searching the root that attach to the rock and pull it.
<Pinch/crush at the base... every week or so, along with other maintenance...>
4. If the branch is very long and connected with each other and if we pick it out to be scrap, it will be all of the Caulerpa to be scrap. Then how to solve this problem, do i cut it or what?
<Use your fingers... with clean hands, gloves even better>
Thank you very much
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Caulerpa gone wild!! 6/7/09
G'day crew
<Hello Leon>
I do apologise for posting twice in one day but I have done a lot of reading and seem to be hitting a brick wall on this next question too, so I am hoping that one of you may have come across a potential solution in your travels...
About a year back I had some C. taxifolia get loose in one of my tanks (hitchhiker on some live rock). Unfortunately I was very naive at the time and was quite fascinated with how it grew and spread. Only problem was that it didn't stop growing, and just kept spreading!
<Yes, a very invasive algae that can reproduce in nutrient poor waters.>
I cannot tell you how many times I've pulled bits of rock out and plucked, snipped, tweezed and scrubbed to try and get rid of it, but it just bounces back every time. Can you recommend an organism that would assist in controlling it? The herbivores/omnivores in the system include a stromb snail, Trochus snail, toothed cucumber and numerous Nerites and hermits.
They do a great job of keeping things clean, but none of them will touch the Caulerpa. I've even tried feeding it to some tangs which I have in another system, but they simply ignore it.
I have read up (a lot of it on WWM) about the virtues of lawnmower blennies (and to a lesser degree bicolour blennies) as algae-eaters, however the literature seems to suggest that they are more partial to filamentous algae. Would either of these be of any use?
<Won't touch the stuff.>
If not, are there any other species you think are worth considering? Or are there any other solutions you could recommend short of removing all the colonised material from the system entirely?
<There are a few Nudibranchs that feed on C. taxifolia. One in particular is Berthelinia chloris. Do look/read here.
Thanks, as always, for your insight.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Leon (Brisbane)

Algae: Caulerpa serrulata Control in a Cuttlefish System: 5/6/2009
<Hi David.>
I am currently having EARLY issues with this type of Caulerpa.
<Not at al uncommon.>
My tank is 68 x 24 x 20 with sump, I skim, use ozone, phosphate reactor and uv unit.
It used to be a reef setup with fish, I believe my 4" Sailfin must have been the reason I didn't have this problem before.
<Likely so.>
Anyway, I received a batch of Sepia Bandensis eggs which subsequently hatched, now 3 months on are in the main tank.
<Neat! Please do write\share your experiences with this uncommon species.>
So I removed all the fish at this point. Since I did this the Caulerpa has gone mad!
<Not uncommon either.>
I think perhaps in my eyes its worse that it actually is but still, it bugs me.
In my tank I have 6 Bandensis, 30+ hermit crabs, 10+ turbo snails and tons of babies, 4 lettuce slugs, 3 serpent stars, 1 blue Linckia and a sea hare.
<You do realize that the crabs will soon be on the menu.>
I think the lettuce slugs ARE sucking some of the leaves dry but doing nothing to control, and the Seahare doesn't do anything with it.
My question being, as manual removal is a PITA and will get increasingly more difficult as the Bandensis reach adulthood, is there any readily available alternative to graze on it? I know Foxface and tangs are good
but that's just not an option.
<Sea Urchins have been known to munch on Caulerpa, but are not likely keep up with the growth. I think your only real option is manual removal.
I had excellent success removing grape Caulerpa from my system by reaching in and pulling out handfuls of it, then netting any stray bits floating in the water.>
HELP :-(
<You can read what we have posted here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpacomp2.htm >
<My pleasure>

Re: Algae: Caulerpa Control in a Cuttlefish System, and a Very Cool Link: 5/6/2009
Hi Mike,
<Hi David.>
Is it the tuxedo urchins that have been known to graze?
<Any of them will, but again, with the growth rate of Caulerpa, they are not likely to keep up with it.>
I figure if I get one or two, between them, the lettuce slugs and my manual removal, we may at least be able to keep it at bay.
Certainly worth a try - You could add more Lettuce Slugs.>
Re the hermit crabs, Bandensis don't eat them. Octopus' on the other hand
<Ahh ok.>
As for my cuttles, I do have a log going on here
http://www.tonmo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15778  not sure if you'll be able to publish that link on your site but if you or the guys and girls at WWM fancy a glance, it's a really good site for cephalopods.
<Am very familiar with Tonmo - an excellent site.>
I will let you know how I get on with the dreaded Caulerpa!!!
<Please do.>
Before I go. After my cuttles pass, Foxface and Zebrasomas are best for this type of Caulerpa?
<They are regarded as the best Caulerpa eaters.>
Many thanks
<My pleasure>

2/17/2009 Attack of the green menace. Grape Caulerpa ruining my setup. Please help I have a 75 gallon reef with 300 watts of MH lights. 29 gallon refugium and 20 gallon sump including skimmer and heaters. Soft corals and sps as well as everything in between. My issue is Grape Caulerpa taking over the whole setup. I don't mind it in the refugium, but it is running rampant in the main tank as well. <If it is in one part of the system, it can spread to another easily enough> Unfortunately there is about 50 pounds of Fiji live rock that really started this problem due to the macro being embedded in the cracks and crevices. IT is now consuming the entire tank. Zoos are being choked out and it is on basically every rock in there. I have been reading some of the other posts concerning this same issue and i am learning that i am more or less screwed. <No, but you will have some work ahead of you.> I have tried unicorn tangs and they just can not put a big enough dent it the situation to make it worth while. <Nothing is going to eat Caulerpa fast enough.> I am truly afraid that my only option is starting over. Is this true? <No> Is there any saving the rocks that have literally hundreds of zoos and mushrooms attached that are now covered in this menace? <Yes> I am willing to try anything to fix it considering how much i have into my tank. It has been going for about a year now and has reached the point of no return. I do not have any green water syndrome so i do not think it is reproducing as i have read elsewhere, it is just spreading at a ridiculous rate. Any thoughts or ideas appreciated. Clint <Hi Clint, One thing you do not mention is your water testing results. Something is definitely amiss if it is growing completely out of control. Unfortunately, if it has gone this far, you are going to have a fair amount of work ahead of you. Manual removal is your only real option. Put on some gloves, reach in and start pulling out handfuls, use a net to catch any stray 'grapes" that float away, or they will start new colonies. When you have thinned it out as much as you can, gently pull it away from the rock. If there is any in a tight crack or crevasse, a clean, unused toothbrush, or even a toothpick works well to get it out of there; you want to remove as much 'green" as possible. Don't be too concerned if you leave some "roots" behind, they aren't roots, they are just used to hold the algae on whatever it happens to be growing on. What has worked for me in the past was to take the rocks out one at a time and clean them in a bucket full of SW. If it is truly as bad as you say, you will probably never be rid of it completely, but you can thin it down substantially and control it. Best of Luck, MikeV>
Re: Grape Caulerpa ruining my setup. Please help Follow up "Attack of the Green Menace" 3/12/2009
<Hi Clint>
I am now going to do a complete overhaul of my set up and would like to get a few more tidbits of advice before I go in deep.
<Sure thing>
I am planning on taking out all of my corals that are not attached directly to my live rock and put them in my nano cube while I do the cleaning.
<Do make sure that the water parameters in the nano cube are very stable.>
My smaller fish can hang out in there as well, and I plan on putting my larger fish in my 29 gallon refugium for the time.
My first question is, should I fully clean all of the Caulerpa from my refugium before I start the main tank?
If I do this will I need to let is sit for a day or more to let all of the nitrates I stir up reduce?
<Should not be necessary.>
There are other forms of macro in the fuge that are not Caulerpa and I figure that they will clean it up enough to house some fish for a few days.
<Shouldn't take that long really.>
My next step is to take out all of the rock one piece at a time and pick off every bit of Caulerpa with tweezers and toothbrushes with the help of a very nice friend of mine.
<Save yourself a lot of time in the beginning. Take out as much as you can with the rock in the tank - You can gently pull it off of the rock. Do not worry if some "roots" (actually holdfasts) remain behind - the algae will not grow back from these.>
Each clean rock will go into a holding tub with a heater and power head until all is done.
<Only do this for rock where the algae is deeply embedded in cracks and crevasses.>
Then I am going to replace all of my sand in hopes I can get rid of any that has rooted and may form new runners.
<Not necessary, algae does not "root" >
Then I am going to add 50% new water and 50% from the tank.
<Again, do make sure all the parameters are the same.>
After adding new sand and replacing my rock how long should I wait to hook the fuge back up and return my inhabitants?
<As soon as the conditions in the tank are stable.>
I know that some will have to be returned immediately due to them being on my live rock directly and am just hoping for the best with them. I have checked all water parameters that I can and all are ideal. What do you feel could be an issue that would cause this menace to go as crazy it has?
<Algae only grows when the conditions are right - enough light CO2 and nutrients. Try reducing the amount you are feeding and increasing your water changes.>
My light cycle is only 8 hours with twin 150 MH pendants, I have a protein skimmer that does a pretty good job and am turning the tank over 22 times an hour with the help of a sump pump and
Koralia power heads.
<Sounds good, again, try reducing feeding and increasing water changes.)
The last issue I see is my xenia have spread up my glass from top to bottom and they will be exposed to air for a bit. I am going to work fast and try to displace the water somehow to keep them covered, but how long can they be out of water without fully melting and dying?
<Not very long at all and will sink the water quality. A massive 50% water change should not be necessary.>
Thanks for any and all help. If possible I would like to do this on Thursday so I would be much appreciative if you could advice me before then.
Much Respect.

Risk of spreading calupera from equipment? Oh, yes  12/19/08 I just shut down one of my tanks last night ( a 24g JBJ)....now cooking the rock for a few months to kill off caupera racemosa that appeared on some rocks and took hold...(grape calupera). I had a stealth heater in the back of this tank....no algae or anything on it....today, I rinsed it off with tap, wiped it off, rinsed and repeated again and I am now using this heater to heat my freshly mixed saltwater in a tub. Do I need to worry about this heater actually contaminating the newly mixed water with calupera spores that could later appear in my main tank? <A remote possibility... Had your Caulerpa sporulated? That is, in the parlance of hobbyists, "gone sexual?"... Turned your system water all green?> I'm feeling rather paranoid (VERY paranoid, actually) about calupera <Can tell... you're not spelling the genus name correctly> right now...just really don't want to have to deal with it again after just having to tear a tank down because of it. FYI, the outbreak was still rather small, and nothing had gone "sexual" or whatever.... <Ahh!> just some calupera appearing on some of the rocks. not a ton of it even, just a light amount of growth beginning to spread from rock to roc. THANKS! <I wouldn't be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Caulerpa Quandary (Moving Macroalgae)  9/17/08 Hi guys, <Scott F. in today!> Since you have always been so helpful before, I though I would try you with my latest dilemma. <Hope I can help keep the streak alive> I have a 150l marine reef, which has a very healthy growth of Caulerpa. I am about to upgrade to a 300l new tank, with a sump and refugium. I want to put the Caulerpa in the refugium with some miracle mud. <Hmm...I'm a bit hesitant to recommend Caulerpa. There are numerous pitfalls to its use- ranging its tendency to release its sex products into the aquarium, to its aggressive growth. It is also thought to release noxious exudates that may actually inhibit stony coral growth. Better to use a less noxious, yet equally prolific macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, which can accomplish the same nutrient export as Caulerpa, without any of the drawbacks.> However, this Caulerpa is overtaking the tank, and depriving some of my corals of light. <Not an uncommon story. I really would steer clear of Caulerpa for casual use. Best if you are keeping it in a dedicated planted marine aquarium, where you can let it do it's thing, or at least prune it to your liking without the aforementioned coral issues.> I would like to take it out, and keep it growing for a few weeks until my new tank arrives. <You could...or you could simply use this as an excuse to replace it with a less noxious algae! Are you detecting a trend here?> Do you know of a simple way I could look after this algae,, keep it healthy and growing, just for the few weeks until I take delivery of my new tank. I Have purchased a light for the refugium, which I could start using now? Many thanks Lesley UK <Well, Lesley- I would do exactly what you are considering: Keep the macroalgae in an aquarium or other vessel of tank water, and light it consistently. Simple as that, really. Keep in mind, however, that the disruption to the stable conditions that the Caulerpa is enjoying now might trigger a sporulation event, and you could lose some or all of it during this process. Of course, this macroalgae grows very quickly, so even a greatly reduced population of this stuff should rebound with surprising speed! Best of luck to you- please do consider Chaetomorpha as an alternative, however! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Stocking Questions for a 55g Reef -- 09/09/08 Thanks so much for the very helpful reply! <<Quite welcome Allison>> It will be a while before any new additions, sadly, due to the nasty Caulerpa I mentioned! I'm currently searching the green algae control articles on WWM. <<Mmm, this will likely require persistence with manual extraction. Do be careful not to 'tear' the strands apart when removing as this releases more noxious chemicals from this single-cell organism>> Thanks again for all you do! Allison <<Happy to share! EricR>>

Caulerpa out of control 6/16/08 Hi guys and gals, <Stormy... now I'm singing the refrain... one of my fave "olde" songs...> I think I made a big mistake. I've a 72g bow that's doing great - everyone happy. I started a 28g nano specifically to cultivate pods for the MT, and it is also now doing well - can see lots of pods. Problem is, how to get the pods to the MT without introducing calupera? <Shake and bake... well, something like this... rinse them out into a Caulerpa-free environment... wait a while (weeks), net out... dump the old water...> I introduced it because I thought at a later date I'd add some seahorses and they could "hitch a ride." <"Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride..." It's an all-musical WWM response extravaganza AM!> So, what fish would you recommend I add to the 29g nano that would happily eat the calupera but leave the pods alone? <Mmm... none> On another note, in my MT, I've some ugly looking "rubbery fingers" that are growing on my rocks. Any idea what this could be so that I could research further? <A pic please... too many poss. Maybe Neomeris?> Thanks so much in advance, you've helped me many times before. Enjoy! Stormy <"Thank you for the times..." Bob Fenner>

Killing Grape Caulerpa  2/22/08 Hello Crew! <Kirk> I was hoping you could help me out with a question about grape Caulerpa. I picked up some rock from a fellow reefer a couple months ago and it had a few shoots of the stuff on it. I didn't think too much of it thinking it would just add to the tank diversity. <If, it stays w/in controllable concentration/size> Well after reading some of the horror stories I've decided to get rid of it since I have noticed it starting to spread quite a bit already. I have pulled the rocks that had any on them from the display and scrubbed as much off with a toothbrush as I could but there were a lot of small bunches of it deep in the recesses on the rock that I couldn't get to. I have put the affected rock in a darkened area of the sump (after thoroughly rinsing with clean water to prevent contamination from the scrubbed sections) and was hoping that by depriving the remaining Caulerpa of light for a period of time that it would die off and the rock could be placed back in the display without losing the beneficial non-photosynthetic organisms. <Takes... a long while... several weeks> Here is the actual question, there is a little bit of ambient light that gets to this part of the sump from the refugium but it is very dim and indirect, do I need to cut off all light completely or should this be enough to starve out the Caulerpa? <All a matter of degree...> I could completely darken this section but it would take a little work. Either way, how long would you recommend keeping this rock dark to be sure that no algae remains? <Months... alternatively, you might consider probable predators... see WWM re> I got the idea to keep the rock dark from a couple threads in the FAQs but could not find anything about duration. Any 'light' you could shine on this (sorry couldn't help myself) would be most appreciated. Thanks, Kirk <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Killing Grape Caulerpa  2/23/08
Thanks Bob! I don't have any problem with keeping this rock dark for an extended period of time. I would much rather do that than spend money buying new rock, curing it and wasting the valuable resource I already have. <Still need to switch some out, add new every year or so... See WWM re... even a pitch on a response today on the Dailies, one of EricRs resp.> As far as predatory species, I love the idea and have used peppermint shrimp for aiptasia control but all I can find is contradictory info on what will eat this stuff (even here on the wonderful WetWeb). <Yes... no guarantee...> I would rather not risk the lives of sensitive creatures such as lettuce slugs and sea hares in the hope that they might eat it, and it seems like tangs are a hit and miss (mostly miss) proposition for eating the grape Caulerpa, so I'll stick with the dark, I just needed a general idea of the timeline. Thanks again to you and the crew for all the time and dedication you put into this great website! Kirk
<Welcome Kirk. BobF>

Caulerpa prolifera, bad exp. related     2/16/08 Hello Crew, After reading many of the WWM Caulerpa prolifera links and FAQ's I would like to share my experience with this macroalgae. Tank: 29 gallon - BioWheel filter, 3 powerheads bounced off walls and moved 1-2 times/week, Fluval canister - carbon and sponge media rotated weekly. Water parmeters test normal - Ammonia 0, Nitrates always under 10, Salinity 1.023-.025, Temp - 79-80 F. Do not dose - weekly 4-5 gallon water changes with Instant Ocean salt. Excellent LFS test my water for other parameters that I do not test for and all are within normal range. (Because I don't dose, I don't regularly test for Calcium, phosphates, other trace elements - rely on the water changes and the LFS for tests every 1-2 months). The inhabitants are 2 false percs., a mating pair (4 clutches of eggs since Dec. '07) and they have been the only 'fish' inhabitants for 2+ years. Until recently, I had 4 hermit crabs (some 2 years old as well) and an emerald crab, happily there for almost a year. Tons of purple coralline everywhere, about 25 lbs live rock, several forms of red macroalgae, 3 thriving colonies of brown polyps and one lone mushroom (Ricordea) - polyps and mushroom also 2+ years in this tank. Several other types of macros - mostly red and not nuisance (Identified on your site - thanks!) Now to the Caulerpa prolifera - On January 2, 2008, I added a handful of the weed into my tank, along with a properly acclimated cleaner shrimp from my trusty LFS. The shrimp very sadly died within 48 hours - like it was being poisoned. I did water changes immediately and did not want to introduce another shrimp or any other creature. Within 10 days, my emerald crab was MIA and now presumed deceased. I am down to 2 hermit crabs. Polyps and mushroom are shriveled up and only partially extend after the water changes. Thankfully, the clownfish seem fine - still producing a clutch - but not like they were prior to the introduction of the Caulerpa prolifera. After reading everything I can find on your site and from the countless hours monitoring the health of my little tank, I think the Caulerpa is killing my inverts. Plan to carefully remove all of it today, followed up with even more rigorous water changes and increased carbon. I'll keep you posted on the progress. With a 29 gallon tank, the Caulerpa may be too great a risk - simply not enough water volume to handle any toxins released - even with water changes. Any thoughts on this matter? <Is a possibility here for sure> The recent problems in my tank brings me to another question. I do not have a protein skimmer because of the low bioload and frequent water changes and because the original inhabitants have been thriving for so long. <Mmm, would help> However, recent events have changed my mind - scared me, really and I'm going to purchase an HOB/HOT skimmer. Choices are the Tunze Nano or Aqua C Remora Nano (rated for 25 gallons). There are many reviews on your site - any personal preferences? <Both are excellent here> Do you think the Aqua C Nano is sufficient? <Yes, likely so> Is the Aqua C Pre-bubble box required? <Might be... try it w/o and see> (I don't plan to add anything else except 2-3 hermits and a cleaner shrimp if and when the polyps unfurl/things get healthy again) Thanks for this site and all your work. Cheers, Kellie McIvor <It will likely take a few careful vacuuming/water change procedures to rid yourself of the Caulerpa... but I'd proceed. I do encourage you to skim out the weedy bits, turf them into your garden and not down the sanitary sewer... if yours discharges more/less directly to the sea... as this noxious weed can be too-easily transplanted in this fashion. Bob Fenner>

Re: Caulerpa prolifera 2/17/08 Hi Crew, <Kellie> Thanks so much, Dr. Fenner. <Just Bob, please. I have no doctorate> Here's a quick follow up to the Caulerpa situation. It's been 24 hours since removal of Caulerpa and water change plus carbon. So far a few of the polyps have opened up a little bit - tentacles unfurled but not at full 'blast' - more than they have in past few weeks. I take this as a positive sign and will continue with aggressive water changes. <Good> Skimmer should be here in a few weeks so hopefully this is the beginning of the end of this Caulerpa drama. A cautionary tale for small tanks, perhaps. Will keep you posted of the changes over the next few weeks if you are interested. Don't want to burden an already swamped site but this might be of interest to those with similar issues. <Thank you for your input, resolve to share> Also, as someone who lives 2 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, I really appreciate the warnings this site gives about proper disposal of used water/algae/general tank gunk. Although I cannot fathom how the creatures live in such cold waters. Amazing world, eh? <Ah, yes; quite a planet> This site and your book have been real lifesaver. Thanks for the reply and all the Crew's hard work and patience. Cheers, Kellie <And to you. BobF>

Re: Caulerpa prolifera control, Aqua-C...  03/14/2008 Hello Crew, <Kellie!> Another quick up-date on my 29 gallon tank. Happy to report that the frequent water changes and the addition of an Aqua-C Remora skimmer have made all the difference in the world. <Yay!> Polyps have never looked better - beautiful colour, fully extended and the lone Ricordea mushroom is huge now. The skimmer has been pulling incredible gunk every day. Also added a Chem-pure filter bag in my canister filter (with floss) and removed the Bio-wheel. The Caulerpa pro. pushed my tank to the edge but it was obviously not as healthy as I thought to begin with. I don't think my ramped-up water changes alone would have saved my tank from crashing. Skimmer has made all the difference. I resisted a skimmer for 2 years because I felt my weekly 20% water changes and very low bio-load did the trick. I was so wrong! All marine tanks need skimmers, especially smaller tanks! (Converts preach the loudest.) Thanks for your advice and expertise. Cheers, Kellie <Won't argue... Cheers, BobF>

Re: Caulerpa control in a 46gal tank 1/6/2008 Dear Crew: <Ronde> Thank you for your reply and suggested reading, it has helped quite a bit. I have also read the SCCAT recommendations as well from the link on your site. If I were to do as they state and freeze the rock for 24 hours after removing the algae (supposed to freeze it as well for 24 hours before putting in garbage as well) what do I need to do prior to putting the now frozen rock back into my system? <Mmm, defrost, rinse...> Will I have to recure it? <Possibly> I assume after 24 hours most of the life in the rock will be dead. As I have many pieces of rock should I remove them all at once or stagger the removal and risk recontamination of the rock? <All have to be processed simultaneously to remove the spores... and even then, there is still a very good chance that some material will remain to re-start all. Bob Fenner> Ronde

Feather algae will it be a nuisance?   10/25/07 Yes. Hey Everyone! <Hi Ryan, Mich here.> Been a while since I asked a question so here goes! I recently moved, and in the process of moving, the bottom of my aquarium broke out, <YIKES!>  and so bought a much larger aquarium (33 to a 90) <So not all bad! Heehee!> Anyway, while the new tank was cycling my corals were being babysat in my father-in-laws reef. I recently brought a few of my corals home and on a mushroom rock was a type of feather algae. I'll include a picture as I'm unsure of the species. <Looks like Caulerpa taxifolia.> Will it be a nuisance? <Yes.> It seems to grow fairly fast, <Yes it does.> and if I need to get rid of it, will anything eat it, <Some tangs, if hungry enough.> as opposed to picking it off? My advice: Start picking! And try to remove in as large and intact of pieces as possible to avoid further spreading.>  My father-in-laws tank is quite grown over with the stuff. <I'm not surprised. I just had a discussion about this tonight with ScottF. This stuff is way too easy to lose control over IMO. Once it gets into the display it can be a real pain to eliminate. I would be diligent with its' removal.> Any info would be much appreciated!<More info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerparepro.htmhttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpacomp.htmGood luck! Mich> ~Cheers! Ryan

I am asking again. Will you PLEASE put something else in this box. I don't even want to refer people to this page. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpaalg.htm Caulerpa taxifolia, one of the best species of the best genus of algae for marine aquarium use. How about something like this for an alternative: Caulerpa taxifolia, Excellent for nutrient export but not without problems. OR Caulerpa taxifolia, Excellent for nutrient export but not problem free. OR Caulerpa taxifolia, Excellent for nutrient export but can create it's own set of problems. This stuff is a PITA IMO. I have gotten it into the main display and what a headache! At least give people a warning... not that half will read it anyway but surely there will be some who do! Thanks,
<Have no time... Will post this. B>

C. taxifolia, hysteria test  -- 07/08/07 Hi there, I was referred to your site regarding C. taxifolia. <Okay...> You state that it is possibly the best for home aquarium use. It possibly is, but, it is the most invasive plant in the world, it is outlawed in many countries because of its horrific reproduction and its ability to escape and enter waterways and destroy them. <... along with?> A 1mm piece that escape will cause wide spread disaster. <Call in the government... they'll save you... Not> Many people use your site, and as I have looked at it I agree it is most informative, I ask of you to do a little research on taxifolia and possibly warn people against its use rather than its use. It is truly an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Carpe diem <Seize the carp?> Cheers, David <Release nothing to the wild... RMF>
Re: C. taxifolia  7/10/07
Sounds like you really don't care. Means sieze the moment. <Nihil agis, nihil moliris, nihil cogitas, quod non ego non modo audiam, sed etiam videam planeque sentiam.... Don't stay ignorant your whole life. B> Carpe diem Cheers, David
Re: C. taxifolia-- 7/10/07
I don't understand, I am a commercial aquaculturist, and let you know of what I and most countries around the world to be a huge threat, and yet you resolve to sarcasm. <Mmm, the better part of valor?> Have a look at what happened to West Lakes in South Australia, and many other places around the world, and then tell me that your site promoting taxifolia is correct. Carpe diem Cheers, David <I have an advanced degree in fisheries... and am well-aware of the threat... The family is banned in our State (California)... we/WWM run a public service announcement, have links to agencies that warn folks re release... And I do apologize if ALL I'm coming off is as sarcastic... I would like to begin again as it were, and posit that humans are the greatest scourge on this planet... that their numbers and distribution should be severely curtailed... that they not be allowed to reproduce willy nilly, out of hand... After all, it's not the Caulerpaceans that are "getting around" but the human vectors responsible. Big government and apathetic, hysteria/faith/dogma driven populaces are much more of a threat to the environment... Let's see, what to finish up with this time...? I call on you to not have children. BobF>
Re: C. taxifolia-- 7/10/07
Ok Bob, you win, I try for learned discussion, you go for sarcasm. Sweet, be well. <Ubi dubi ex flagellatum... Where in doubt, I whip it out... It's a free for all. TedN> Carpe diem Cheers, David
Re: C. taxifolia-- 7/10/07
Carpe diem Cheers, David <Duke, duke, duke, duke of earl, duke, duke, duke of earl... (words from Idi Amin as he's leaving the gang plank... "Let's see, cut your head off at noon"...) duke of earl... As I go through this world, no one can touch the duke of earl... and you, you are my girl... and I... oh my... Oh my..... Ooooh oohh, oh oh... > Caulerpa... keep it under control  6/23/07 Hello Crew, I have a small (55g) marine (FOWLR) tank with a fairly heavy bio load and ever since we set it up we've had a very heavy forest of Caulerpa growing in one end of the tank. The growth was so lush we often had to cultivate it to keep it from taking over the tank. <Good practice... keep it regularly pruned> 5 weeks ago I added a BioBak skimmer and a separate Maxi-flow power head, just to increase circulation. Coincident to this the Caulerpa started to die off by breaking into small, 1 inch pieces that drifted around the tank until we scooped them out. <Good, scoop it out, pinch it off till there are no whitish, breaking pieces.> The power head corrected a dead spot in circulation where the Caulerpa centered, so my question is which is more likely: The current disturbed the plant -- or the skimmer took the plant's nutrients from the water? Or .. a third option? Thank You, Allen <These and the fact that the Caulerpa may be poisoning itself with a sort of bio-feedback metabolite reaction. Bob Fenner>

Re: Caulerpa   6/24/07 Thank you for the response, but this may be one of those cases where we are looking at the same thing from different angles. I liked the Caulerpa and want it back. <Ahh, I see... and apologize for my usual brevity... it is my desire to be understood... I do understand this now... and my response is still the same... Akin to your suggestion that an influence here could be (and is likely) nutrient limitation, the cutting back of this population will go a long way to ensure its survival in this setting> I didn't intend for two things I did for the benefit of one part of the bio-cycle to turn around and damage another part of that cycle. If I caused this, then the correction is to reach a balance of sorts: I can reposition the power head, leaving a smaller dead sport or I can cut back on the skimming in order to leave more dissolved organics for the Caulerpa. BUT ... I don't know if either of those is most likely to be the problem and I'm not sure how I could combat the plant poisoning itself. Maybe what I should be asking is if there is an FAQ on cultivating Caulerpa rather than removing it? Thanks again, Allen <Well-stated... I would encourage you to move part of the Caulerpa to another/isolated system for possible recolonization should you lose the current/resident one... and STILL to reduce the overall biomass, by about a half here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Getting rid of Caulerpa, elbow grease -- 06/16/07 Hello Crew, <Hi.> I have an algae problem, but it's a bit different than in most of the FAQ's I'm reading. I actually have Caulerpa macroalgae (I think it is Caulerpa prolifera) taking over my reef tank. It is a 29 BioCube system with a skimmer and a phosphate filter pad, activated carbon, bicolor blenny, etc. etc. all of the things recommended for limited algae growth, but this stuff is taking over. I have to remove it by hand once a week <That's some great export of nitrates. Exactly what you want to have in a sump/refugium.>, and can't get it all off of the rock because wearing gloves sort of limits your dexterity. I am a light feeder, I have 3 small Chromis, 1 sixline wrasse and the bicolor and I give a small pinch of food morning and evening, and it is all gone in under a minute. The actinic lights are on about 9 hours a day and the main lights for about 5-6. Phosphate and nitrate are low. Any suggestions for getting rid of this friend-turned-foe? <While there are a few animals that eat Caulerpa if alternative food is not available, removing it mechanically is the easiest solution here, because your system is not too big. If you have problems wearing gloves, use a pair of tweezers or tongs. Remove any new growing pieces as soon as you see them. In my experience many macroalgae strangely dislike too much MH light, but I do not want to generalize that. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpaalg.htm and the linked FAQs. Cheers, Marco.>

Livestock question ID Suspect Caulerpa taxifolia no Photo   2/20/07 Hello crew <Hello again Wayne!  Mich here.> Had a quick question on the Caulerpa that's exploded in my refugium.  Pic attached.   <I don't know why, but I can't see the picture.  The webmail is showing there is an attachment and the size is 80 kb, which seems appropriate.  However, I'm not seeing an attachment or a photo, I'm not sure what the source of the problem, but other crew members are also unable to view any photo/attachment.> <<I couldn't either... RMF... troubles with our webmail server... which are hopefully being corrected>> I've tried to only keep Chaetomorpha because I didn't like to risk of spreading Caulerpa into my display. <Wise in my opinion.> Is this Caulerpa taxifolia?  If yes, is there risk of this spreading into my display? In your opinion should I keep or trash?   <If there is a possibility that it is Caulerpa taxifolia, I would remove it.  The Caulerpa species as a whole can be quite noxious and aggressive.  Once established, it can be quite difficult to remove.  I would not take the risk especially as you already have the more desirable Chaetomorpha.>   If not Taxifolia, please help me ID.  Is it a keeper? <Sorry.  I can't help you here without a photo.> Thanks for your help!
<Anytime, -Mich>
Re: Livestock question ID Suspect Caulerpa taxifolia no Photo   2/20/07 Thanks Mich <You're quite welcome.> Don't worry about the pic...I removed the suspected C taxifolia.  After doing more research I figured better safe than sorry. <I think you are wise here my friend.> Thanks again. <Always a pleasure.  -Mich> Wayne

Aiptasia Control, Caulerpa 2/14/07 Dear Crew <Brenda here> I recently purchased some Caulerpa attached to a small piece of live rock which I placed into my new refugium. After a little while I noticed that the live rock is covered in Aiptasia. So my question: should I try to combat the Aiptasia by adding some hermit crabs, or would it be better to try and detach the Caulerpa and chuck the rock into the bin? I'm not sure if this is possible since the Caulerpa is very fragile (the bubble variety).    <If you decide to remove the rock, it can always be added later as 'dead' rock.  It will take some time before it becomes live rock again, but at least it's not a total waste.  As far as which method is best to remove Aiptasia, it seems the jury is still out on this.  Some hobbyists have luck with one method where others have had no luck.  Here is more information on Aiptasia control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm    I think you will be fine removing the Caulerpa, it should reattach soon.  There is more information here on Caulerpa:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpafaq2.htm Thanks! Dan <Your welcome.  Brenda>

New LR Caulerpa control... pre-emptive strike? Nah... violence is the last refuge of the incompetent... Yes Georgie-buoy, am talkin' to you   2/13/07 Hello Bob, First off I would like to tell you that your books have helped me tremendously over the years, I have grabbed every one I could find! I recently  set up a 90 gallon reef aquarium, 1 week ago to be exact. My tank has a mix of Marshall Island LR and Tonga Kalani, and Tonga branch rock, and about a 2"   aragonite sand bed that rises to three inches in the rear of the  display. <Mmmm, you may want to increase... or decrease these depths a bit... Please see WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm the linked files above> The rock was hand picked by myself and put in curing vats for  5 weeks with heavy circulation, a turn over rate of 14 x an hour and  heavy protein skimming. The display has no trace of ammonia, nitrites,  nitrates, or phosphates and has a turn over rate of about 12 times an  hour. Calcium is at 450, dKH is at 12, aquarium temperature is kept between  78 and 80 degrees F. The lighting system on this 90 gal tank (48 x 18 x 24)  is 2 x 250 watt 14 K metal halides that run 8 hrs daily and 2 x 96 watt power  compacts 7100 k that run 12 hrs daily. I also run 4 watts white moonlighting on  this tank every night. The lighting system is fully automated and the tank for  all intents and purpose is running very smooth, there is quite a bit of life  already stirring in it. My big question for you now that you know most of the  info on this aquarium is; On the Marshall island live rock there are a lot of  sprouts of what appear to be Caulerpa sertularoides, or Caulerpa  taxifolia, the only other photo on wet web media that I saw that resembled  what I have is Caulerpa mexicana but I have a feeling its one of the  two previously mentioned. <Yes... at least not C. mexicana> I plan on keeping SPS corals in this aquarium and I am  worried this particular algae growth might become a problem. Should it be left  alone in the aquarium to grow and be pruned? <I'd engage bio-warfare some time hence> it isn't terrible looking stuff, or  should I strike now while it is in its infancy? <Nah... not likely to do much good at this point> Any advice you have on this  dilemma would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Brian  Crenshaw <BobF>

Ongoing... sand... Now, Caulerpa, other algae comp.   2/14/07 Bob, Thank you for responding so quickly. <Always include prev. corr. pls> I will do something about that sand bed. I had a couple more questions for you regarding the same  tank and algae. Is there another type of algae that resembles the structure of  feather Caulerpa, perhaps one indigenous to Marshall island? <A few...> You mentioned  engaging bio-warfare, using what? <Chemicals... akin to terrestrial plants... interfering with the germination, growth of others near, under them...> I am going to put a large yellow tang in this  aquarium, would it be able to take care of the algae without negative affects? <Likely to some degree... depends on the species of algae (some are unpalatable to noxious...) and the particular Yellow Tang... what else it has to eat...> I  am also putting in 10 Nerite snails, 10 Trochus snails, and 10 blue leg  hermit crabs. I read somewhere that Caulerpa algae is fairly toxic to the  animals that ingest it, <Some species, varieties... there are such properties in many other algae, species...> so I want to make sure that I take care of it before I  stock the tank with animals that might be hurt as a result of nibbling. Right  now the algae is only on one rock in the aquarium, and of course the one rock is  my favorite one! Murphy's law in effect! I am hoping I won't have to remove the  rock entirely from the display, it has a lot of other wonderful "Critters" on it  as well. Thanks again, Brian  Crenshaw <I would not be concerned at this juncture. BobF>

Genus name Caulerpa confusing... like this title. Seahorse tank use   12/31/06 I am wondering if I could impose on you to clarify a seemingly endless argument on the use of Caulerpa prolifera.  Often I read about Caulerpa pros and cons. It seems there are several suggestions that Caulerpa prolifera is great for  a seahorse tank. <Mmm... remember the ancient Egyptian measure or moderation, "Ma'at"...> I remember reading that they have a slime that can be problematic to ponies. <Yes> I have been setting up a sea horse tank attached to my reef tank.  I have Caulerpa prolifera in my sump and tons and tons of organisms.  Can I use the prolifera in the seahorse tank? thanks for any info you can offer Cathy <I would seek out other algae to use here, OR be careful to keep this species of Caulerpa trimmed back (weekly) to just a few strands. Bob Fenner>
Re: genus name Caulerpa confusing  1/2/07
Sorry thanks so much but I still do not understand why.  There is lots of room for Caulerpa prolifera of which I have tons and  a small bunch of Chaetomorpha of which I know you prefer.  I use the Caulerpa in refugium.  Should I actually remove the bunch? <Mmm... well... the genus/family has largely fallen out of favor due to its propensity for rapid growth... and production of allelopathogens... But the species C. prolifera is one of my faves... is less toxic... A Halimeda species would be beautiful/similar... and less noxious... I would just keep the Caulerpa trimmed back myself...> I would love to read more but can't find the specifics. thanks for any info you can send. Cathy <There's a bunch written about the genus in books... not that much on the Net. Bob Fenner>
Re: genus name Caulerpa confusing   1/3/07
Thanks I will search out info in the books Cathy <Do seek out Hans Baensch Marine Atlas Volume 1 (I believe... or maybe 2)... He has the most exhaustive presentation there on the Caulerpaceans I have come across. Can be found on Amazon.com... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Caulerpa takeover, biological controls  11/21/06 Dear Crew: <Hey Paul, JustinN here with you> I want to introduce an herbivore in my 75-gallon reef aquarium to combat an outbreak of Caulerpa racemosa.   <Mmm, I believe this to be one of the Caulerpa sp. that is typically less than palatable to most herbivores.> I've heard that a tang or rabbit fish may be my best choice but I am concerned with the small size of my tank.  I may want to introduce a juvenile fish and remove it before it outgrows my tank.   <Can be done, but its better in my opinion to get something you would prefer to keep, and could happily live its life in the settings.> I understand that the juveniles of some species will not graze on Caulerpa.  A Reefkeeping article ( http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-05/hcs3/index.php) states, "filamentous algae will require a juvenile rabbitfish while Caulerpa species and other tougher, meatier algae will require adults." - What species of juvenile tang or rabbit fish will graze on Caulerpa? - What Caulerpa-grazing tang or rabbit fish have the smallest adult size and can best tolerate a small tank? Thanks very much, Paul. <While your tank is considered the borderline for such Zebrasoma sp. such as Yellow Tangs, my recommendation would be for a rabbitfish, such as Siganus vulpinus. Assuming you don't have an overly aggressive set of tankmates, it is my belief that this fish would make a wonderful addition to your tank, and may provide the biological control you are looking for. Do note, however, that manual extraction may continue to be necessary, as there is the possibility that either species will not consume the Caulerpa. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Re: Caulerpa   11/8/06 Hey lads, grape Caulerpa is running rampant in my tank.  Short of pruning it got any recommendations for controlling it?  55 gallon so tangs seem out of the question.  All the best, Chris <Ya tangs in a 55gallon aren't going to work...pruning seems to be your only option...or you could lower the nitrates and dissolved organic material (that may help). good luck, IanB>

Pruning Caulerpa - 10/04/06 I was wondering on my Caulerpa racemosa at what intervals do you recommend pruning it and how. <<Hmm...depending on growth rate, every couple weeks to monthly.  Caulerpa is a single-cell organism so you don't want to cut/tear it apart if possible as this breaks the cell wall and releases toxic chemicals/metabolites.  Try "pruning" the Caulerpa by removing whole strands at a time>> I understand the dangers with it from your the Reef Invertebrates readings but I got some from a friend and the benefits thus far by far outweigh the risk. <<Can be very useful/beneficial if one recognizes/allows for its inherent risks (Keep lighted 24/7 to preclude a sexual event...take care not to break the cell walls)>> However it grows FAST! <<An indication of excessive organics in your system maybe>> To prune should I pull it all out of the fuge and cut it? <<Nope...thread apart and remove individual strands>> How often? <<As needed/as it fills the space>> How much? <<A third to half the volume>> Can I from time to time put some on a veggie clip for the tangs for some variety? <<Mmm, I wouldn't...possibility for it to become established in the display system (can be very hard to eradicate).  It's also very likely the tangs won't eat it any way...is not particularly palatable>> Thanks Jeff <<Regards, EricR>>

A Tale of Two Dead Naso Tangs - 09/17/06 Hello, <<Good Morning>> I am writing you and talking to anyone else I could think off. <<Wise not to limit yourself to a single source of information/advice/opinion>> This past week I lost a pair of Naso tangs. <<Sorry to hear...>> I am devastated over this for a number of reasons, but mostly because I can't find an answer to why they died.  Before I ask you to give some thoughts on what you think might of happened let me give you as many details and variables I can. <<Thank you'¦always helpful>> The tank is a 350 gallon fish/reef tank.  I keep a variety of angels and tangs, clowns and damsels.  There are also inverts like shrimp, snails and crabs.  There are not a lot of corals at this time but the idea for the tank is to keep a number of corals with larger variety of fish not usually kept in a reef. <<I see...and researching re to assure/maintain compatibility I'll assume...>> There are a few LPS and SPS corals along with a few soft leathers. <<Mmm...with "variety of angels"?>> I do have to be very careful in what corals I choose because of the types of fish. <<Ah yes!>> The larger of the tangs was a Hawaiian Naso the other was a smaller Red Sea blonde. <<Hmm...ever considered a "biotope" display?>> I know typically these species are not kept together but they have done very well often swimming side by side and staying together at night.  The tank has ample swimming room and the aquascaping is such it gives the fish room to swim in a big circle. <<Excellent>> The tank has been established for 4 years.  Only up until last year I started to get into corals having spent the money to have a dedicated electrical circuit for the lights and pumps. <<Reef setups are indeed "power hungry">> Prior, the power options didn't allow me to have the right lighting.  I now run 3 10K 250watt HQI de's with PC actinics.  The tank gets a weekly water change from RO/DI water and top-off is from the same unit.  I dose manually calcium and dKH supplement as needed, parameters are checked weekly. <<Very good>> The only issue I have which is not serious is slightly elevated nitrates. <<...!  I don't know your definition of "slightly", but even so, chronically elevated nitrate can/will have effect on your livestock (and what about ammonia/nitrite?...these were/are checked as well?).  This may be a clue to the two Naso tang's demise>> I use a refugium with grape <Caulerpa> and Chaetomorpha macro algae. <<Mmm, another issue (clue?) here in my opinion.  Grape Caulerpa is very noxious, even toxic to fish (many herbivorous fishes won't eat it for this reason).  Combining it with Chaetomorpha in a refugium means the alga are constantly waging war (alga compete just as corals do for space on the reef), releasing chemicals/toxins to inhibit and/or kill each other.  Such constant and powerful chemical warfare (Alga rates at the top of the list with some of the nastiest corals for aggression/noxiousness) can't be "good" for a system.  Not to mention the loss of usefulness/processes for having the algae in the refugium in the first place due to the "energy" expended on warfare>> The Chaeto is fed to the tank where the angels and tangs feast. <<Hmm...wonder the possibility of the Chaetomorpha being "tainted" from close exposure/battle with the grape Caulerpa...>> The nitrate levels are elevated, but don't cause any issues with nuisance algae, the Acropora and Montipora orange cup coral are growing and doing well so I use that as a measure since the nitrates don't seem to cause any other problem. <<I agree it would seem the corals you mention would show deleterious affects from elevated nitrate before the fish would...but I'm still very curious as to your actual nitrate reading(s)>> I do understand the bio load may be a little high causing the elevated nitrates, however I go to great lengths to make sure the water quality and environment stay optimal.  Of course the tank has a large skimmer on it which is cleaned 1-2 times per week. Ok, with that overview here is what happened over the last few weeks.  About three weeks ago I noticed the RO unit was not producing any RO for the top-off. <<Raw RO water for top-off?  Not recommended...>> The unit being in place a little over 6 months I thought it might just need to be cleaned and didn't need new filters or membrane replacement. <<Not likely, no..."should" get a couple to several years out of the membrane, even with this size tank...life of the filter cartridges will depend mainly on your source water/how often they are rinsed clean>> The water source is well water.  After rinsing the filters in tap water and putting the unit back together it did start to produce some RO however the TDS was > then 0 and could not produce enough for a water change. <<Again... I need specific measurements to really be of much help>> At this point I called the company to discuss my options. <<A good move>> They agreed that the membrane should not have to be replaced but agreed to send me a filter kit and new membrane anyway.  The unit is a 100gpd. <<As is mine...>> I skipped my weekly water change that week waiting for the filters. <<Um...not seasoning/maturing/buffering your water before "and" after mixing the salt?>> I received the filters and they forgot to ship the membrane. <<Mmm...>> I waited until that weekend to install the filters.  After the filters were installed, the unit still didn't make RO for my water change. <<Strange...perhaps you should remove/gently rinse the membrane...install a "flush" kit>> Bottom line, by the time I got RO back online it was almost 3 weeks without a water change. <<Shouldn't have been a problem>> I didn't think this was that critical as I checked params and everything seemed to be ok. <<Would agree>> I started to cut back on feeding slightly which is usually done twice a day, every other day. <<I don't agree with this, fish should be fed daily...preferably multiple small feedings.  If feeding daily causes secondary issues with your tank then reevaluate your maintenance/husbandry practices/stocking levels...but don't jeopardize the fishes long-term health by "cutting back" on proper and adequate nutrition>> I target feed the fish to make sure everybody gets enough without over feeding the tank.  They get mostly pellets soaked with Vita-Chem. <<A good product...and New Life Spectrum pellets I hope!>> That is supplemented with frozen Mysis and the macro algae. <<Ah good, variety is key...and the more the better>> During this 3 week period, I added 2 fish to the tank one of the fish was a replacement for a small saddle back puffer that jumped out the tank some time ago, <<Jumped!...?  Was this fish stressed/harassed by other fish?  Perhaps another clue here as well.  Could be the puffer was stressed to the point of releasing toxins (jumped to escape its own poison?) and the tangs are merely victims of the long-term affect...and hopefully the "only" victims>> and the other was a mandarin dragonet.  This is my first time keeping a mandarin but given the size of the tank and amount of pods I see I thought I would try to keep one. <<Sounds reasonable to me as well considering the "mature" nature of this tank>> During this time I also took a handful of the spaghetti algae about baseball size and tossed it in the main tank during the lower feeding period.  Also something I have done many times before.  Now the blur of events I have been going over and over in my mind trying to figure out what happened.  I can't say exactly when during this period but, I did notice the larger Naso hiding a little bit.  He was still feeding and there were no other signs of problems.  I kept an eye on him and noticed during the last week that he had seemed to have a sunken stomach, stopped feeding and was staying at the top of the tank in a vertical position.  Shortly after the larger Naso started to exhibit this behavior I noticed the smaller Naso also with a sunken stomach. <<Were these fish treated with a copper-based medication at any point prior to this?  Tangs treated in this manner will sometimes suffer from loss of digestive microbes in their gut, preventing them from digesting food/assimilating nutrients.  Another thought is the behavior of these two fish is similar to those afflicted with internal parasites, though many times such afflicted fish show absolutely "no interest" in food>> I began to feed the tank everyday in the morning and later in the day, both tangs showed interest and slightly picked but were not near their normally aggressive feeding behavior.  Their breathing also seemed slightly labored.  The large Naso was the first to die, the smaller died yesterday.  Neither fish showed any signs of marks, spots, no physical changes outside of the sunken stomachs.  Before disposing of the smaller tang I lifted the gill flap and used a bright light to examine the gill.  The gill was bright red and showed nothing abnormal.  Both fish had labored breathing towards the end but again didn't have any other visual indications. <<May have been secondary to the stress of/weakening by  malnutrition>> No other fish in the tank currently show any signs of abnormal behavior and continue to feed normally.  I have done 2 water changes last week once the RO produced enough water hoping to save a least one of the tangs. <<Not likely the issue...and possibly an additional stressor (bouncing water parameters), especially if the new salt mix is not allowed to mature/complete its chemical processes before adding to the tank>> The smaller did appear to be swimming around better the day before but refused to eat. <<Never good>> As of now I am suspecting the following; The RO unit; is it possible the filters contaminated the water some how, either the exhausted filters or the new filters? <<I'm doubtful of this>> Did adding the puffer or mandarin bring something in the tank? <<More of a possibility, yes>> BTW all my fish come from 2 places that I trust and know.  I never have any problems with their fish or corals. <<Fortunate>> Did the puffer release toxins in the water? <<Possibly>> The previous saddle back was there for a year and never had any issues.  Is it possible that something was in the macro algae the tangs ate? <<Another possibility I think, yes>> Again, the Nasos eat this algae all the time and can eat a baseball size amount in a day. <<Possibly a matter of toxic accumulation>> Lastly, I dose the tank weekly with only Kent dKH supplement.  The product is added to my sump which is connected to the refugium. <<If tested/added as needed this should not be a problem>> I was thinking maybe the macro algae could have contained concentrated levels of this? <<I don't think so>> Other fish ate the algae, but mostly the Nasos. <<Could be telling>> Lastly, the tank has Euro-bracing and is open.  The stand is over 4 feet high, the tank total height is around 7-8 feet. <<Cool>> This was done because of the kids and placement of the tank.  It is of perfect viewing in a standing position. <<Indeed>> I thought I'd mention this in the event something got into the tank that's unknown? <<Anyone been "cleaning" around the tank?>> I do find bugs every now and again in the sump that must be attracted to the lights. <<Yes>> The only other thing that I thought of was this past weekend my wife had some people over to clean the house.  I was not around but always give my wife strict instructions that the cleaners stay away from the tank.  They were new people, so I don't know if something was introduce through their cleaning? <<Weren't the tangs displaying symptoms before this?>> Sorry for the long email, <<No worries my friend, I appreciate the detailed explanation (hmm...wonder if I can make an article out of this some how?)>> <Likely so. RMF> but I am at my wits end on this and can't begin to explain how I feel.  I have been in the hobby a very long time and have never seen anything like this before.  Please help... <<Well Patrick, I have been in the hobby more than 30 years myself, and "have" seen this before.  Unfortunately, knowing the exact cause is usually very difficult without a necropsy of the fish.  I do have some thoughts/theories as I've stated>> Thanks and regards, Patrick Mundt <<My pleasure to assist.  Do give thought to separating/choosing a single macro-algae (my vote goes to the Chaetomorpha) for the refugium...and do take a look on our site re using RO water for top-off as well as making/mixing with salt for water changes.  Cheers, Eric Russell>>
Re: A Tale of Two Dead Naso Tangs -- 09/18/06
Eric, <<Patrick>> Thanks for the response. <<Quite welcome>> You do however raise more questions, and also cause me to ask you to further explain some of your answers :  ) <<Certainly>> To address some of your concerns, the RO water is made with salt a day before the water change.  Nothing is added to the water outside of Tropic Marin Salt. <<An excellent salt (would use it myself were it not so expensive), but, raw/newly mixed saltwater is very irritating to your livestock...I recommend you make it up far enough in advance to give it a few days to a week to 'mature'>> The nitrate levels are not 0 but range between 10 - 30 ppm. <<Too high for the fishes (should be less than 20), and WAY too high for the corals (should be less than 5)>> This is tested using only Salifert test kits. <<A good line of test kits>> I put the grape Caulerpa in the fuge about 2-3 months ago.  Both types of macro algae have grown much better since adding the grape?  Don't know why. <<Hmm...likely coincidence...feeding off the source of your high nitrates>> I only feed the fish the Chaeto.  I do remember having to remove to grape that was tangled with the Chaeto before feeding that day.  The first puffer I had was a great tank mate, very interesting and didn't bother anything.  Other fish left him alone he never appeared stressed never saw anyone bothering him.  In regards to his jumping out of the tank, I have moon lights on the tank as well, and it did appear odd to me to wake up for work and find him on the floor. <<Indeed...not a fish that comes to mind when you think 'jumper'>> I thought the combination of lights and perhaps him going after something to eat caused his death. <<Don't know...but seems unlikely to me>> Usually the puffer finds a perch and sets up for the night.  To the medicating the tank;  Last year after being begged by a fellow aquarist I agreed to take a powder blue tang from him that was harassing his fish.  Big mistake! <<Indeed...a difficult/problematic species...probably best left in the ocean>> The fish came with a gift and before it was over wiped out half my tank. <<No quarantine mate?>> As I mentioned before I have 2 very reliable LFS, I have not used a second tank in years. <<A ticking time bomb...>> Anyway, the Odin. or other parasite moved very fast and as a desperate act I medicated the tank with Malachite Green (I'm sure this is not spelled right <<corrected>>). <<Yeeikes!  Dangerous stuff...very toxic (must be measured very carefully)...tends to kill the 'good guys'>> Anyway, one of my LFS sources assured me they have medicated their show reef tank with this stuff with great success. <<(sigh)>> So to answer your question, yes the tank was medicated but this was a long time ago and the tangs in the tank died from the parasite, the medication did get rid of the parasite and didn't kill any of the corals.  The feeding of every other day was suggested to me, all the fish in the tank seem a litter over weight, (I think), even the 2 Nasos were very thick and clean.  I do think they should eat every day, but I think they have gotten used to this. << <grin> Would 'you' get used to eating every other day?>> I have had a small passer that has grown into an adult with great adult colors and has been with me since I started this tank. So what do you think the downside of this may be? <<Can only wonder how much 'better' the fishes would be with daily nutrition...>> Next, having read through your site, I must have missed the RO part, why not use RO for top off? <<Raw RO water lacks any buffers/earth elements...these are pulled/drawn from the tank water to reach equilibrium each time raw RO is added, creating instability/ a seesaw effect on your water chemistry>> I figured the weekly water changes would replace anything the RO is missing for top off no? <<Likely it does...but buffering the top-off water to reduce fluctuations in water chemistry is a better solution and will reduce the associated stress on your livestock>> TDS of the RO was approx > then 150. <<A properly functioning RO membrane should give you a reduction by a factor of 10 over the reading from your tap>> Based on what you have said, I think I will remove the grape macro algae. <<Super!>> After this email, I think I am leaning more towards the algae causing the problems as I know tangs more then other fish have to be handled with care in regard to diet. <<Important to al fishes...the more varied the better>> Please let me know what you suggest for the water change water. <<I think I have...but if not clear, just give a holler...>> I am always looking to hear other experienced advice... <<As am I my friend>>   Thanks, Patrick... <<Be chatting my friend, Eric Russell>>

Feeding tangs/angels   9/16/06 Hey.  I have a quick question about properly feeding tangs and angels.  I have a 55 gallon reef with lots of Caulerpa (three different types from what I can tell), covering close to 100 lbs of live rock.  I have a flame angel and purple tang that feed off the rock constantly.  Other than providing some protein in their diet such as Mysis shrimp, do I still need to supplementally feed them? <Though they don't appear malnourished... I still would...> I occasionally give them sea veggies dried seaweed.  They seem to like it a lot more than the Caulerpa growing on the rocks, but is it necessary?   <Might be... Caulerpaceans aren't palatable to all...> Can they get all their nutritional requirements from the 3 types of Caulerpa growing in my tank or should I continue feeding them the dried seaweed as well?  Thank you Jon <I would. Bob Fenner>

Trying to Carve a Statue with a Toothpick - Maddening Caulerpa Infestation Hey all, I am at the point at which I am considering leaving this hobby. I no longer enjoy looking in at my tank, because all I can see is a jungle of Caulerpa. It kills everything, grows over it. It puts its roots through the mantles of my clams and the flesh of my corals. Just recently I had to snip away a part of my maxima's mantle to free it of "the root of all evil" (Caulerpa = all evil). I have a 4-5 inch thick layer of the stuff on all of the rock, the bottom 2" completely white (starved of light). Just last night, by flashlight, I removed 14 pounds of this aquatic demon. I swear, I am going to start calling people "Caulerpa" as an insult. I hate nothing more than this vile weed. I have set up a series of buckets filled with fresh water to kill whatever I pull out, to watch it deflate pitifully like a wretched little raisin. This brings me great joy, watching it suffer. Please, someone, anyone, help me! This is my final plea. There is a slug, Oxynoe viridis. I need that slug. It lives on a diet of solely Caulerpa racemosa, and is the answer to my numerous prayers. I have tried everything else short of tearing down the tank. Ripping the damn stuff out is futile. To control it by ripping it out, even aggressively and in such a small tank as mine, is like trying to use a toothpick to carve a statue. Once again, I ask you all, HELP! I know that all of you are accomplished aquarists, and hail from various places in the world. Someone receiving this email, somewhere, might just be able to locate a (or several) Oxynoe viridis. Find one for me, and I'll send you a bunch of Caulerpa. :-) Thanks in advance for finding the slug that will save my tank, Mike Giangrasso -  WWM Crewmember <My advice is to sell this rock to any of a number of people that will actually value it for its plant life forms/coverage...  And replace with new rock (cure for a couple of weeks). It's good to replace rock periodically as it is... and this is an effective solution that is more reliable than months of hopeful natural predation/control.  A fast and furious fix ;) It will give you a chance to stack again/better (as with needing to build the rockscape away from all walls... do avoid the reefscape touching glass/walls... severe impediment to water flow overall and all that leads to) Kindly, Anthony> <Good advice... and along those same lines... I see Walt Smith took mine and started his "Fiji Gold" (named in honour of the bier there) supplement line. <VBG> B>  Caulerpa mexicana outbreak 28 March 2005 Hi,  <Howdy!> Just an update (as requested) about the Caulerpa outbreak which had taken over my 5' x 2' x 2' for at least two years and was smothering everything, growing back quicker than I could pull it out. Identified as C. mexicana I think. Followed your suggestion six months or so ago. Took all the living rock out and pulled off as much algae as possible, even down to picking bits out with tweezers. Put the rock back and after two months there was slight re-growth which failed to take hold. Not a single strand of the d**n stuff now. Thanks guys.  <Great to hear.> 

Substitutes for Caulerpa 7/11/05 Hiya,     After pouring over the FAQs, I've decided against  Caulerpa. To me, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits. I was wondering what  else I might be able to put in the tank I'm setting up for my tang and other  veggie-munchers to munch on that aren't so potentially deleterious. Thanks your help, Marianne <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Caulerpa toxicity! 7/9/05 Hey Anthony, <M. Maddox here today - not as good, but a lot cheaper! ;)> I need your help!!! <Mental or physical?> I just recently added Caulerpa racemosa to my new refugium.  I know that you're not a big advocate of Caulerpa for nutrient control. <Not at all - and I've seen it take over tanks, smothering everything in the process>   I've been careful pruning this algae without actually breaking off dead strands.  Unfortunately, when I stepped out last night, the an entire handful of Caulerpa floated into my pump! When I got home, I found pieces of Caulerpa everywhere in my main tank. I tested the water and found that the Ammonia level hit 1ppm from 0. <Good god.  100% water change time!> I've NEVER had any other reading than 0 for ammonia.  I did a 25% water change last night and checked my reading several times afterwards and the ammonia level fell to 0 again. <I would another, larger water change to be sure - ammonia is BAD>   I also tried to remove every little piece of Caulerpa from my tank.  I also placed a bag of carbon in my sump.  Do you think that the shredding of this algae caused the ammonia spike? <Yep>   Also, what else can I do to reduce the toxins released from this Algae?  More water changes? <More/larger water changes, carbon, Poly-Filter (the one by PolyBioMarine)>   I'll carefully test the water for the next few days.  I'll also remove the algae and go for an algae like Chaetomorpha. <Good idea> Thanks Nilesh   <You're welcome - M. Maddox>

What Will Munch Caulerpa? 8/17/05 Hello Bob, <Actually, Scott F. in tonight!> First of all, I'd like to say I appreciate your site and am thankful for the help you've given me in the past. I try doing the research myself as I realize your time is valuable.  That said, I've read the algae control FAQ's and the Algae ID'S.  The algae ID section noted that Razor Caulerpa was very hard to get rid of and not very palatable to most fish. <That's correct. Many fishes will not touch it.> So I read the algae control FAQ'S and didn't find Razor Caulerpa specific questions (most just read algae).  I did read that lawn mower blennies do a great job of controlling algae but I wasn't sure if that applied to razor Caulerpa. <Not in my experience. It's simply too tough for these guys. In fact, I think that the Lawnmower Blenny is highly overrated as an algae eater...A great fish with a fun personality, but not all that great at consuming algae, IMO.> So my question is, "What will eat the Razor Caulerpa?"  I have a 55 gallon tank with a hydor20 canister filter and a power head for water circulation.  There is no media in the canister filter. I top my water off with water from my planted discus tank (remember that question?) and have some mangroves in lieu of protein skimmers and about 4" on aragonite #00 and 50 lbs of live rock.  For lighting, I have two 65 watt 50/50 Power compacts.  I've never had anything die on me except an octopus after about four months.  The water is very clear and everyone seems happy except me because of Razor Caulerpa, which I fear will overtake my tank.  I have about 20 Blue Mushrooms, a Blue Sponge, 1 large Yellow Gorgonian, Sun Polyps (they've released spores that matured into little Sun Polyps throughout the tank), a small Orange Starfish covered in what appears to be orange thorns (not sure what kind it is), a mated pair of False Percula Clowns, a Mandarin Dragonet, and a Pajama Cardinal.  Everyone except the Mandarin (I've seen him eat formula 1 in addition to the pods all over the glass) has been in the tank for over a year.  The only mineral supplementing I do is adding one of those little white cubes whenever one runs out which is about every two weeks.  I scrape lots of red and green coralline algae of my glass weekly.  Back to my question, what will help with my Razor Caulerpa problem?  Any advice is much appreciated.  Thank You. <Well, short of manual extraction, there are not a ton of fishes that will eat the stuff. Some Zebrasoma Tangs will do the job, but you need to have a system that suits the Tang's long term needs. And, Tangs are individuals; some may never touch any Caulerpa at all! You just cannot be certain. I'm afraid that manual extraction is the best bet in dealing with this algae.> p.s. I did have a Moorish Idol die on me, but it wasn't my fault.  I casually told my wife I'd love to get one someday and one day I came home to see a Moorish idol lying on its side.  She bought it for me while I was at work and it was dead a half hour after I got home. I wanted to yell at her because I've advised her against buying stuff without proper research on my part many times but her smile at the thought of the wonderful surprise she thought she was giving me overcame the urge to yell.  Still it was very sad to think the Moorish Idol was pulled from the ocean to die in my tank.  I think she learned her lesson from that (we lucked out on the orange starfish being harmless so far, that was her surprise also).  auughhh <Well, it is certainly a tragedy that these fishes are available to the causal hobbyist, but here intentions were certainly good. I guess we all need to educate our spouses and significant others on the suitability of some animals for captive life, and the unsuitability of others. It's a good practice for us, for the environment, and for the hobby. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Attack Of The Caulerpa!  Reefer Forced to Take a Hands-off Approach 10/22/05 I'm hoping someone has a solution for what has me ready to abandon my many years of marine aquarium keeping. <<uh oh...sounds like trouble...>> The Caulerpa housed in the refugium has migrated to the main tank and is threatening to completely take over everything. <<Not uncommon...this genus of macroalgae is known for its invasiveness. One of several reasons I prefer Chaetomorpha for refugium use.>> Unfortunately, I had hand surgery earlier this year and with my hands in casts was unable to stop the progression in time. <<Ouch! Hope things are getting better.>> My tank is sixty gallons and I have, live rock, which is being completely taken over, six small to medium fish and a few corals. I think because of the small size of the tank that a fish big enough to eat this Caulerpa would not fare well, if this is even a possibility. <<Mmm...maybe>> Since, my hands are still recuperating does anyone have a solution to this problem? <<Enlist a friend to help/contact an aquatic service... EricR>>

Grape Caulerpa 11-16-05 Hey Crew, <<Hello>> We have some grape Caulerpa growing in our 50 gallon reef. It's growing fast, too!! <<Always a bad idea to add Caulerpa to a display, unless you want it to look like a planted freshwater aquarium.>> What can we do to get rid of it? It's real hard to pull it out  manually, as it is stuck to the rocks. <<Pull out as much as you can by hand and find a suitable vegetarian to add to your tank. I never suggest adding a fish to fix a mistake in your tank, but a rabbit fish will do wonders for you.>> <<And likely be too large for this system, if not immediately, then in very short order.  I suggest using this animal only very short term.  MH>> Any fish or critters?? 50 gallon reef DSB 100 lb live rock 3 Chromis 1 Clown 1 Pseudochromis fridmani SPS Ricordea Xenia Emerald Crab Ca 425 Alk. 9.2 Mg 1350 Phosphate .05 Nitrate...undetectable Any advice is greatly appreciated. Ronnie NYC <<TravisM>> 
Dude... DUDE!  Re: Grape Caulerpa 11-19-05
Hey, <Hello> I didn't add it, I am aware that this stuff is crap. It grew on it's own... <That happens.> Is a rabbit fish the same as a Foxface? <Yes> Thank you for your time Dude. <<The "Dude"...?  MH>> <No problem.> Ronnie <Travis> 

A Solution to Caulerpa?   1/30/06 Hi everyone, <Mike G> I have a lot of Caulerpa in my tank and I read on your site that the lettuce nudibranch will take care of that.   <Hmm... not in my experience. I've found that the only way to get rid of the blasted stuff is to pull it out by hand, 5 minutes a day, day after day after day. Lettuce Nudibranchs tend to focus on the filamentous Algaes  - Caulerpa is really too tough, I'd think. In any case, none of the several Lettuce Nudibranchs, Sea Hares, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Snails, or crabs that I heard were supposed to eat the stuff would actually eat it, in my experience. There is one species of sea slug - Oxynoe viridis - that will take care of the stuff, but don't count open finding one any time soon.> My question is, will it harm anything else in my tank? <Aside from filamentous Algaes, nope.> I have:  a bubble coral, bubble tip anemone, frog spawn, flaming scallop, <For the record/readers of this in the FAQs - Not a wise choice. Flame Scallops are next to impossible to keep alive for an extended period of time. A waste of money and life to purchase one.> orange cup coral, rock anemone, crocea clam, orange linckia that has lost 2 legs, (why?) <Linckia tend to lose their legs when very stressed or diseased/starving. Again, not a wonderful choice. It could also be the case that something assisted the star in removing the legs, though I'd say that is much less likely.> and polyps. <Zoanthids, I assume?> Maroon clown, firefish, cleaner shrimp, a scooter blenny, a lot of little white starfish  (I don't know what kind they are) <Asterina sp. - identifying the exact species would be outstandingly difficult. Harmless, interesting. Reproduce via fragmentation. No cause for alarm.> and a lot of snails.  Thanks for your help. <Good luck.> Kris <Mike G>

Caulerpa Invasion - 02/18/06 Dear crew member, <<EricR here>> I have a nuisance algae in my tank which (after searching this site and Algaebase) I believe is Caulerpa nummularia - there is also a photo of it on your site, under the heading Marine Algae ID 9.  The email is entitled Algae ID 12/17/05.  It is the photo on the bottom left. <<Yes, I see it.>> The thing is, there doesn't seem to be an abundance of information about it out there - or at least, with my amateur research skills, I can't find it. <<Hmm...a Google search re seems to bring up quite a few "hits"...though only working through them will determine if there is any useful information.>> What I do know is that it spreads like bird flu and seems impossible, short of a tank tear-down, to eradicate. <<All the Caulerpa species can be very difficult to remove once entrenched.>> Do you think a tang species might eat it? <<Maybe...but I think a Foxface would be a better choice.>> I don't know if it's toxic or not.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. <<Have a look here, I think you'll find it of interest:   http://reefshow.com/html/modules.php?name=AvantGo&file=print&sid=144 >> Thanks, Melinda <<Regards, EricR>> 

Algae identification and removal 02-05-06 Hi, <Hello> I have a large amount of what appears to be Caulerpa growing in my tank. Today while fumbling through your archives I read that some Caulerpa can give off toxins, which surprised me. <All algae can actually> So I looked through all your algae identification pages, and I found nothing. <Surprising> A close match is Caulerpa racemosa, but I don't think that is it. <Is what this looks like to me> I will be attaching a picture of it. Just in case it did not go through, which it may very well not, I will give a quick description. As all Caulerpa it is based on a vine. On the vine "bubbles" shoot out along the vine. Unlike Caulerpa racemosa, there are two bubbles on opposite sides of the vine, then go up 1/2cm the vine and there are two more "bubbles" on opposite sides of the vine and this continues. So my questions are what is this? And is it a danger to my tank? <In large (relative) quantity, possibly> By the way my yellow tang will not touch it, this leads to my theory of it being undesirable. If I need to remove it what is the best way to do it. Remove it all at once? <If you want> Or remove it over the period of a few days due to the possibility of releasing excessive toxins into the water? <Oh! If you want to remove it entirely, try to take it out all in one go... along with a water change, use of carbon...> Sorry for the lengthy question? <No worries. Bob Fenner>
Thanks much,

Water Noise vs. Flow Rates - 06/30/06 Hi! I am looking for a solution to eliminate noise from the overflow. <<A very common venture>> I tried everything and I started to believe a silent overflow is a myth. <<Hee! Indeed!  At least at the "higher" flow rates>> Now there is a way and it would be to dramatically reduce the flow rate. <<This is what I always advocate.  There are other things you can do to help...such as aspirating the return lines, submerging/adding ells to the termination ends, etc. ...but reducing flow probably makes the single largest difference.  Few hobbyists (if any) need to push 1500gph or more through their sump.  Much easier to deal with a sub- 1000gph flow rate here...employing other methods for increased flow in the display as/if necessary>> I have reached the point where it's either that or get rid of the sump and install an external skimmer. <<Mmm, let's work on quieting that overflow...>> Right now the skimmer is in the 1st chamber of the sump.  There is already good circulation in the display (15X per hour) from 2 Tunze Stream 6100 with a multicontroller. <<Excellent!  Reducing flow through the overflow/sump should not be an issue then>> I do a 5% weekly water change.  Most of the sump (25 gal) is in fact a fuge for plankton/pod production and macro-algae. <<All the more reason to keep it>> Display is 90 gal reef with 150lbs Fiji LR and sugar fine 5" DSB.  In these circumstances do you see any long term problems involved in having a flow rate from the return pump of only 6X per day instead of 6X per hour? <<Mmm...if I understand you, this would equate to just over 20gph (540gph divided by 24hrs).  This is slower than I like, but I think a flow rate of 200gph-300gph would be fine...and easily dealt with/made quiet>> If I may ask at the same time a bioload question. <<Sure>> I am thinking of some change and would like to know if this is too many fish. <<Okay>> Is this a heavy bioload with my set-up, would I be on the edge? : -2 Ocellaris -5 to 7 Chromis viridis -1 clown goby (Gobiodon histrio) -1 mandarin -1 Tailspot blenny (genus Ecsenius) -1 yellow tang (Z. flavescens) <<This would indeed fill you up.  I would like to suggest you forego the mandarin.  This tank isn't really large enough (refugium or not) in my opinion to be able to provide the necessary nutritional needs for this fish for the long term.  I would also suggest you keep the number of Chromis to 5, until you see what (if any) behavioral/environmental issues develop>> Lastly, would an Ecsenius blenny (like the Tailspot) be helpful to control Caulerpa growth in the display? <<I doubt it...the Combtooth blennies are more "filamentous" algae feeders.  The tang will probably be more useful for this purpose, though there's no guarantee of that either>> And what about a tuxedo blue urchin (Mespilia globulus) for that same purpose? <<A neat critter...and likely a worthwhile addition...but it too will probably go for your hair, and most assuredly your coralline, algae first.  You best bet re removal of the Caulerpa is manual extraction.  If you can manual reduce it enough, the tang might be able to keep it in check for you.  I guess you'll know better than to add this to your display next time, eh! <grin> >> Many many thanks! Dominique <<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

More Caulerpa taking over 8/27/03 Hello again, I have a 215 mixed reef/fish with a 55 gallon refugium. the refugium has a 4-5 inch sand bed with a plenum and is filled with Caulerpa. I have read through the FAQ's and decided to try and remove it since due to its negative potential. Can I pull it out all at once. My tangs would eat it all) <yes... but do a large water change or two in the ensuing week to dilute any potential exudations. The first one right after the extraction> What type of macroalgae do you recommend using. <Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha are excellent. Ochtodes is quite good too> I mainly use my refugium for nutrient uptake and somewhat for providing phytoplankton. <Hmmm... the phyto is not nearly so helpful as zooplankton for feeding corals. You will get more zooplankton with Chaetomorpha spaghetti algae> If you could recommend a few safe types of macroalgae that are readily available, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks Steve <do check out our coverage on refugiums and macroalgae in our new book Reef Invertebrates. Quite extensive. Kind regards, Anthony>

Sawblade Caulerpa overload 8/27/03 Dear Sir's : Thanks for you great web site. The information you impart is invaluable. <always welcome> I have a 80 gal reef that is overgrown with Sawblade Caulerpa. I'm upgrading to a 150 gal tank. Many of my corals are attached to live rock which is invested with the Caulerpa. I will be removing all rock and placing it in 30 gal can with no light until the Caulerpa is gone. <yikes... its not necessary to be so extreme. Caulerpa can be controlled by limiting nutrients and raising Redox... no need for you to kill other desirable symbiotic life forms with light deprivation> The rock with the corals will be picked as clean as possible before being put into the new tank. <too laborious... but if you wish> Is there a way to control the growth of the Caulerpa in the new tank? <as per above> Are there species of fish or invertebrates that will eat it and control its growth? <not many... Caulerpa are quite noxious. Grazing predators are rather hit or miss. A few snails eat it well (some Turbo species)... and really one of the very best creatures is the Diadema urchin. Fishes are unreliable... or at least, pot luck> I've read that the Foxface Rabbit fish is a good choice for this. <they are good algae grazers overall> I have also been told there are Nudibranchs and Sea Urchins that will also control the Caulerpa. Is this true and if so which species? <yes... the latter being excellent, the former moderate - Elysia crispata - the lettuce nudibranch> I was planning a deep sandbed sump with Caulerpa for filtration but after reading your articles I'm not so sure now. What would you suggest? <Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha instead> I have used live rock with Caulerpa in my sump in the 80 gal tank with great success as far as water quality goes. My local fish man suggested the sand bed for the new tank. <agreed... many benefits to a DSB> Thanks for any information, and for your great service to the aquarium community. Sincerely: Paul Clampitt <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa Suddenly Dying (and Killing Fish) 10/3/03 I recently had a major problem involving the Caulerpa dying in my Ecosystem mud/Caulerpa filter and I'm hoping you can shed some light on what might have caused it and how to avoid a similar disaster in the future.   <this is a common problem/story heard... much of it repeated in our archives at wetwebmedia.com Please do take the time to read the FAQs for information beyond which I can provide here> I've had my Ecosystem Hang-on 60 filter up and running for 2 months now. Everything seemed to be going very well.  The Caulerpa (grape variety, C. racemosa I think) was growing nicely and I had removed all of my previous filtration (canister and skimmer) and relying solely on the Ecosystem filter.  The animals all appeared to be very healthy and I hadn't suffered any losses for many months. <you should know that Caulerpa is not your only option for refugium algae for vegetable filtration. Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria are far better choices (stable, efficient, utilitarian, etc.) without all of the baggage associated with Caulerpa. You should know that Caulerpa can be a blessing or a curse... it is very efficient (as a vegetable filter medium) yet very precarious and labor intensive. It is also one of the most noxious/toxic genera of macroalgae to other desirable life in the tank as you have learned. What's more... C. racemosa has been demonstrated to be one of the most toxic of an already noxious genus. Really... do read more on the subject my friend. Perhaps you would enjoy the comprehensive coverage my good friend Robert Fenner and I provide in our newest book, "Reef Invertebrates". Truly the most up to date coverage of refugiums, plants, algae, live sand, etc> Then suddenly Friday morning (9/19) a problem occurred.  My damsel was belly up dead at the bottom of the tank and my tang and clown were lying on the bottom breathing very rapidly, looking like they would soon follow the damsel.  The motile inverts (shrimp, crabs, cucumber, and snails) were alive but behaving strangely.  The sessile inverts (hard and soft corals and clam) appeared normal.  I checked the Ecosystem filter and found that all of the Caulerpa had shrunk back and was dying or already dead.  When I picked the Caulerpa up it was stringy, limp, and fell apart. <this colony went "vegetative", either by improper pruning (never cut or break Caulerpa fronds... but pull entire strands out and thin the colony only. They are single-celled organisms that sap and leach their contents (yikes!) if pruned harshly. Otherwise, it may have gone vegetative by lack of pruning... Caulerpa species have varying life cycles of 3- 6 months... after which time they reproduce and give up the ghost so to speak. Often results in minor catastrophes as you have experienced> The algae growing in the main tank, however, appeared fine, including a different species of Caulerpa (sawtooth variety, I don't know the species).  All of this happened over night in less than 8 hours as everything appeared normal the night before. <yes... a common albeit undesirable occurrence> I moved the tang and clown to my quarantine tank, and within 10 to 15 minutes they had perked up and were swimming around.  They are now doing fine.   <ahh... good to hear> I removed the Caulerpa from the Ecosystem filter (it had all died) and added a bag of carbon to the filter path in case the problem was caused by some kind of toxin.  All of the inverts survived without being moved, but my Coral Banded Shrimp lost his two large legs. I have no idea what triggered this event.  It had been two weeks since my last water change.  I haven't changed anything (source of water, type or brand of additives, type or brands of foods) since long before I changed to the Ecosystem filter.  In fact, all of my top up water, additives and food for the last month have come out of the same bottles/batches/containers.  We did not have any power outages or any other interruption of the filter pump or lighting, which has been on 24/7 from the beginning.  What happened here?  Why did the Caulerpa die?   <a vegetative event by the Caulerpa. I must admit that I am somewhat of a critic of Caulerpa because it is too easily promoted and embraced by aquarists without proper information/education on how to handle it> What was killing the fish: low oxygen, pH crash (I didn't think to check this at the time), toxins released by the Caulerpa?  Please help. <low oxygen from the sudden decomposition of its mass... and some toxins from the Caulerpa no doubt. I have about 30 pages on my desk regarding experiments done using toxins extracted from Caulerpa used to kill fishes!> Sorry for the length of this email but I wanted to be thorough enough for you to provide me with some useful information.   Thanks, Scott Ginaven <this is a well-documented occurrence... read on/abroad my friend. I also will take this opportunity to state my regret that proponents of mud systems do not better educate consumers on the merits and dangers of using Caulerpa, while offering other alternatives. Caulerpa can be a boon or a scourge. I personally find it to be too demanding for casual aquarists. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Caulerpa finesse/control 11/11/03 I have had the pleasure of listening to Anthony Calfo speak at the Rocky Mountain Reef Club meeting. <it was a wonderful time for all... I had a lot of fun and saw many beautiful things> I did not ask how to get the C. serrulata with minimal damage. I have had it about 8 months an do not want it to mature. Garie <no worries... Caulerpa is just as easily a boon if it is duly maintained. Conduct regular water changes to both dilute and reconstitute the seawater in your system (weekly 10-20% is much better IMO than monthly 30+%). Use carbon or other chemical media (Like PolyFilters) faithfully to maintain proper water clarity and to also temper the noxious accumulations of various organisms in your display... and lastly, be sure to systematically thin fronds of your Caulerpa to interrupt its life cycle (3-6 months for 40+ species in the genus) and hopefully stave off acts of sexual reproduction (you can also help this by running lights 24/7 over your Caulerpa in refugia to keep in stasis). The thinning will also encourage more growth and utilize the macro as a good vegetable filter for nutrient export). With kind regards, Anthony>

Need advice finding a Caulerpa racemosa predator To Bob or Anthony:     What type of animal would you suggest to help aid me in keeping Caulerpa racemosa in check within my aquarium? I know it shouldn't be in the main tank in the first place, but I made a beginner's mistake, and now must try to rectify it. I have tried Elysia sp. sea slugs in the past, but they always seem to disappear mysteriously (perhaps getting sucked up into the intakes of my pumps). I remove it by hand, but I find I have to do this QUITE a bit! I also thought that a type of tang might be the answer, until I did some exploring on your website which suggests that this is not the case. Any thoughts or suggestion? <Actually... a Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species of tang would be my first choices> It is starting to get out of control, which has me VERY concerned. I do like to feed (to maximize the growth of "cryptic" organisms within my tank), using DT's phytoplankton (I intend to switch in the very near future to BioPlankton). Any thoughts or suggestions?  Thank you for your time. <Try a/the tang first here... And if this doesn't "do the trick", we'll discuss the next tier of controls. Bob Fenner>                                                                                                                                     Lucas Grathwohl

Bob, already have a Ctenochaetus sp. tang for Caulerpa control, but it doesn't help too much To Bob Fenner at Wet Web Media:     This is Lucas Grathwohl again. I read over your first email regarding Caulerpa racemosa control (about using several sp. of tangs in hopes they will eat it). <Most Bristlemouth tang species are more keen for filamentous types, even diatom scums... I would add a smaller (or much larger) Zebrasoma species if it will fit> Truth is, I already have a Ctenochaetus sp. (Kole) tang in my tank, but it doesn't seem to help in the control of this "weed". It will occasionally rasp at and chew on some strands, but buy and large leaves most of the Caulerpa alone. I don't think it would be wise to try another sp. of tang, seeing as I already have one in the tank. As you know from my previous email, I also tried in the past (on two separate occasions) a Elysia sp. sea slug, but these did not help either (seeming to disappear in a matter of weeks). In the past, I wrote to Dr. Rob Toonen about the problem (actually having more to do with Bryopsis), and he recommended a Sea Urchin, which I added (I believe it to be a Diadema sp.). It by and large has done its job well, with just a few patches of Bryopsis here and there. <There are a few algae eating urchins per se...>     As far as skimming and filtration go, I use a Remora skimmer by Aqua C, and in the overflow compartment I have hung with a lettuce clip some Polyfilter, which allows water to pass through rather than over the material. Lighting is a JBJ Formosa fixture with 4x65 watt lights (three 10k and one blue). Water current is provided by two Marineland 660 powerheads, one AquaClear 300 filter (with no medium or foam inserted), and the flow from the Remora. All equipment is plugged into a "Power Center" wavemaker/light-timer from Energy Savers, which provides for switching of the powerheads, a dawn/day/dusk/night cycle, and powering all other equipment. Trace elements are provided by "Balance blocks" by HBH enterprises (I use the big brick supplement and place it in the AquaClear filter). I also perform weekly five gallon or so water changes using Coralife sea salt and R.O. water. R.O. water is re-constituted by using Bacter Vital and "Funky Old Reed Mud". I also like to feed (to bring out the cryptic organisms within the rock). I have used DT's plankton, along with ChromaPlex and ComboVital. In the very near future I plan to switch over entirely to BioPlankton. <Of these I would definitely drop the "vital" products (they're not) as these are likely contributing much more to the Caulerpa problem than not>     Any suggestions? Thank you for your time P.S.: I also have some Halimeda algae in my tank, which is doing fine also, but it is not the plague that the Caulerpa is. Hopefully any other solutions you have will not do damage to this plant. <Do you have use for/tolerance for some hermit crabs? There are some of these that are good at picking out Caulerpas... but my first choice is switching out the tangs... or mechanical (groan) removal. Bob Fenner>

Waves And Weeds...(Water Movement/Caulerpa Control) Hi again,  a few other things to add, I've seen this advertised SCWD Wave machine. Tee shaped device that oscillates flow from left to right without electricity.. $39.99 Can you tell me more about it? <Well...It is a unique device that essentially "oscillates flow from left to right without electricity..!" Honestly, it's a great little device. I'd use it externally 'cause it's butt-ugly, and you don't want it in the tank, but the thing rocks!> I've seen the plans before about a device which was home made.  Using a clock motor to turn a bar with a hole drilled in it inside a housing.  As the bar turned water was directed to either one or the other outlet to provide a sinusoidal wave like out-put.  Does this device sold on the web have the same idea? <Not sure, to be honest. I've never personally used one or taken one apart (I'm a Sea Swirl man, myself) How good is it actually?  Can you tell me more?   <A really innovative idea. A number of my fish-geek friends use them, and really like the results> Also, I have some macro algae I believe to be green grape Caulerpa but no grazing fish.  As this sporulates and pieces die will this be a big problem by adding more phosphate to my system? <Well, I suppose that absorbed nutrients will be released, but it's usually the sexual products and cellular material that lead to degraded water quality following one of these events> Do you suggest I remove it?  I'd like to get a Tang to eat it, but I have some very very pretty red macro algae that grows on my rocks and I'm worried a Tang may eat all of my lovely algae while pruning the grape algae.  What do you think? <Well- you won't have much control over what the tang eats. Manual extraction may be the way to go...Not easy, but it may work> Another thing is about the lights.  I can't seem to find any glass shop here that knows about UV blocking glass.  If I home made a lamp how can I UV protect it.  I'm quite concerned and don't want to risk damaging my eyes.  Thanx again. Greg <Well, Greg- I'd consult the manufacturer of the light bulbs to see what to use here, if it is necessary at all...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Remedies for controlling Caulerpa racemosa? 1/11/04 Napalm or Flamethrower? <G> To Bob and/or Anthony: <howdy my friend> My name is Lucas Grathwohl and I have written to you before about the plague known as Caulerpa racemosa. <arghhh... a tough one. Allegedly the most toxic of its family. Very noxious and not readily consumed by the best herbivores (for good reason)> I inadvertently put some into my main tank, and it is know growing at epic proportions. <you mean like the vegetation in in the cinematic interpretation of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"... the classic: "Apocalypse Now!". If so... we may need to re-enact the final scene with fighters and napalm. What's that I hear in the distance?... Wagner's "Flight of the Valkeries"? Oh, sorry... just a cell phone ring-tone.> I fear that it will soon overtake my entire tank, making the keeping of corals and inverts. all but impossible (due to the overgrowth and shading). I will get right to the point: can you give me a detailed list of remedies that could/will work on this pest? <yes: 1) manual extraction and a water change. 2) a water change, then manual extraction... then another water change. 3) napalm and a flamethrower> I have tried Elysia sp. sea slugs in the past (I believe they were the right species) but these did not work, disappearing in a matter of weeks. I have also tried the Tang approach, but this is not very practical, either. <it has been demonstrated to be mildly to very toxic to many grazers who knowingly avoid it. Prolonged grazing of it by some fishes leads to death> I know Bob has mentioned hermit crabs, but he did not mention any specific species that might work (I already do employ some "blue leg" hermits within my tank). <they only graze microalgae... not macros here> I do manually pull the stuff out, but this gets to be a BIG chore, not to mention the fact that the stuff grows right back in a matter of days, anyway. <persistence my friend> Is there some magic bullet that will work, or am I doomed to have to completely start over from scratch? <neither. Simply manual extraction, diligence and perhaps some large Turban snails and/or urchins> I don't really want to do this (seeing as this hobby is expensive enough already), but if I need to, then so be it. I have written to Bob Goeman's in the past, but all I get is the manual removal approach. <I agree... trust the words of wisdom/experience> If you can provide any remedies/answers, I can be reached at XXXX@mn.rr.com. If any biological avenues do exist, then could you by chance also direct me to some vendors who sell such specimens (and by vendors I mean people who will go through the trouble of positively identifying their livestock by species name, etc.). Thank you for your time. <best of luck> P.S.: I did add a Foxface Rabbitfish a few days ago (out of desperation and idiocy), and this of course has yet to yield any results (if any). Do you happen to know of anyone who could use a Foxface? <do look up your local or regional aquarium society. Many have forums on the big message boards like reefcentral.com  Anthony>

Green Water & Caulerpa (1/19/04) Dear WWM Crew, I have been reading a lot on Caulerpa and its use in refugiums.  I understand why and how the Caulerpa can have a catastrophic outcome.  My question is once the Caulerpa has gone sexual and started to turn the water green, then what?  Is fish loss inevitable?? <Not necessarily.> Will the entire system need to be sterilized?? <No> Instead of me listing off a hundred questions, could you please list what steps need to be taken once this event takes place??  Thank You, so much!!  And I will certainly spread the word "Friends don't let friends buy Caulerpa"  Amen!! <There are still many who swear by Caulerpa (other than racemosa). There are ways of preventing crashing. These are abundantly discussed in the WWM FAQs on Caulerpa and other subjects. As for what to do if it is crashing, removing the dead stuff, performing large water changes and using PolyFilter and carbon will mitigate the consequences. If you are really worried about this possibility, then I would suggest Chaetomorpha instead.> Sincerely,  Jen Marshall <Hope this helps, Steve Allen>

Mystery Blob And Caulerpa Control! Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I'm unable to identify this strange black hard jelly like blob that has grown in my tank. It is approx  5' long and has grown down the back of the rock , with only a ½ inch showing on the top , in the light. <Well, I don't have access to my reference library right now, but I'll go out on a limb and suggest that you're looking at some kind of sponge here...A glance at a copy of "Reef Invertebrates" by Bob and Anthony might yield some ideas here...> Also, is there any way to stop this leafy Caulerpa growing so wildly, despite my attempts to cut it back. It seems to grow very quickly. The tank parameters are almost zero nitrate, phosphate,   380 calc, 9 dKH.  Many thanks Mark  -  Scotland <Well, Mark, the absolute best way to limit Caulerpa, short of physical extraction by you, is to employ herbivorous fish, such as tangs or Rabbitfish. Of course, this "biological control" will only be appropriate if the tank is sufficient to support a tang! Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here. Your nutrient levels are low, but these macroalgae are resourceful! Really, manual extraction and herbivores are the two best methods, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> P.S.  I love your website , the more I read it the more I want to know more about my reef -- and its all there to read.

Eliminating Caulerpa From A Display Hi, <Hi there. Scott F. with you tonight!> We have reef tank with an Ecosystem sump that we are changing from Caulerpa to Chaetomorpha.   <Yaaayyy!!! Good call!> The problem is that the Caulerpa got into the main tank (Caulerpa Taxifolia - or feather Caulerpa).  It attached itself to a 25lb piece of Marshall Island rock and we can't get rid of it.   We removed the rock and scrubbed with a toothbrush and it just came right back - stronger than ever.  Removing it all with tweezers is impossible as it has invaded the crevices of the rock.  This rock is at the base of our reef - so removing again would be really hard.  Will darkness kill the Caulerpa (dead enough so that it won't return)?   <Probably, but at potentially greater cost to the other photosynthetic plants and animals in your system> We could move all corals to the other side and cover that rock with black plastic for a month if it would work. <I suppose that would work. On the other hand, as long as you keep it "contained", that could be an acceptable outcome, too-right? If you can keep the stuff contained to the point where it won't threaten to overrun more desirable sessile life forms, than maybe you can live with the Caulerpa.> Our tangs and algae blenny won't eat this stuff.  Any reef safe way to destroy it would be appreciated! Doug   <Unfortunately, Doug, total eradication of this, or any macroalgae species is a difficult proposition at best. On the other hand, if you simply don't want this stuff in your system, you could either remove the rock entirely from the system and replace it with another rock, or you can remove it and "chip away" the sections of the rock "infested" with the Caulerpa, and then replace the rock into the display...But you never know-this macroalgae could come back if even a single holdfast or runner remains. In the end, you may be better off just learning to live with it. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Too much Caulerpa? 5/3/04 hi again crew. <howdy> first off, some good news.  thanks for the advice re: nicotine on the fingers from a couple of months back.  i think that was what was causing my sudden fish death syndrome.   <it's amazing how easily contaminants are carried into the tank... aluminum from underarm anti-perspirant, acetone from ladies (or men's - Doh!) painted fingernails, petrol products from under finger nails, etc> since then, I've bought a grabber and latex gloves, and haven't suffered any losses in quarantine (knocking on wood aquarium stand :) <excellent to hear... and it protects you from pathogens too!> I'm up to a Rabbitfish, 6 green Chromis, and a brittle star.  all seem to be healthy and happy.  well, i used to have 7 Chromis, but i think it got sucked through a pump (i was away on vacation). anyway, to my question.  I have tons of green grape algae.   <Arghhh... this is believed to be the most toxic/noxious of all the common Caulerpas. Do be careful> to the point where it's literally like a forest around my live rock.  i had figured that the Rabbitfish would have cut it back, but it seems to love prime reef (no veggies there).   <many fish will not eat this/other Caulerpas because of their noxious composition> it loves the formula 2 (basically, enriched Nori) i give it, but just doesn't seem to graze.  i think it's a baby and scared (it's about 3 inches, and has it's spines up and hides most of the time). i don't want to stop the formula 2, because i know it's a staple in their diet, and i don't want it to just eat the prime reef if it's so young. <correct> so, should i get another herbivore to "teach" it/trim back the algae?   <not likely or recommended> I know having too much Caulerpa is not the worst problem to have... <on the contrary... there are serious risks with it... toxicity, vegetative events, etc. We describe this at length in our Reef Invertebrates book and there is quite a lot on this topic in the WWM archives. Do a keyword search with the Google.com search tool from the home page for Caulerpa and see much> also, both the Chromis' and the Rabbitfish are listed in Scott Michaels book (500 marine fishes) as feed 2-3 times a day.  isn't that a bit excessive?   <good heavens no! These are fish that feed on plankton and algae, respectively, almost constantly in the wild. Small frequent feedings are best> i feed once per day, and think that's too much. <perhaps the quantity at one sitting os too much... but not the frequency.> thanks in advance-- rob <best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa and Xenia newbie <Hey Angela, Mac here> Ok so, I got the mix n' match special for IPSF.com which included 2 types of Caulerpa (Long and Short Feather Caulerpa), as well as their tang heaven. <Nice mix.> My question: I don't have a refugium and wanted to include these macroalgae directly in my tank for food, as well as some greenery.  <Sounds good.> I've been doing some reading on the site and so far most people with Caulerpa have it in a refugium with the lights on 24/7 to avoid the plant going "sexual"-which I assume can wipe out the tank. <It can be such a problem.> My lights are on 12 hours a day; will this cause an eventual toxic situation? <It possibly will go toxic, but you can watch it closely.  You watch for signs of it turning white and can clip off that portion, which will stop it from turning sexual.>  I don't have a reef tank just FOWLR. <The big questions is what kind of fish do you have in your tank.  Some tangs and larger angels will eat the Caulerpa.> Is there a particular type of Caulerpa that are more dangerous than others, or are the types I have ok? <Personal experience here, the grape went sexual very quickly on me.> If not I'll remove them immediately. On that note, as part of my IPSF.com shipment I got a "freebie"- a slow pulse which I believe is a Xenia.  <Sounds like it.> It was pulsing about an hour ago, but it was near the bottom of the tank and wasn't attaching to anything-it sort of fell to its side. Moved it near the top of the tank (good current but not too strong as its unattached). I think the move really stressed it out. It stopped pulsing and all the branches are open and drooping. I guess its dying. <Maybe not, it could be just traumatized.> The tank is a 90 gallon with 6-20 watt full spectrum fluorescents and 2-20 watt actinic blue bulbs. Ph is 8.4 during the day, ca 450, salinity 1.023. Thanks so much -Angela <Good luck, Mac>

Growing Caulerpa Thanks again Scott, <Glad to be of service!> Sorry to fire all these questions at you but it seems you have be the best source of information on marine life there is. <We're thrilled that you enjoy it!> I have to have my daily fix of WWM, as they say you learn something every day and this is most true with your site. <Sure is- we learn constantly, too!> Anyway, just a very quick question today. I have a load of Caulerpa racemosa in one of my two sumps (the one with the DSB in it). I wish to move all this algae to another more reachable, shall we say-sump. This sump has no sand or substrate at all in it. Does this matter for the growth of the algae for NNR? Many thanks again. Simon. <Well, Simon- sand is not a necessity to propagate this macroalgae. Nutrients are absorbed from the water column. However, you may want to provide some rock pieces for the runners to attach to. This stuff grows with very little encouragement needed on the part of the hobbyist! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Caulerpa articles? 8/28/04 Hello, I have found a couple of references to an article that Anthony was writing regarding Caulerpa and it's negative impacts when used in large amounts in refugium.  I have not been able to find the article.  Do you know if he ever uploaded the article?  Thank you. Brad J <I never did finish the article my friend... but do have a few dozen pertinent references you can run down if you have access to a good library (University type). I'll have to dig our these references if interested. Else I do hope to tackle that piece in the near future. Anthony>

Algae Problems, looking for a predator for Caulerpa sp. Hey guys!  You rock!! <We think you rock too DJ> I have a 75 with a DSB sump, fish and some polyps, everything is doing great except for some Caulerpa serrata in the display and it just grows and grows (not out of control mind you, there is a minimum of excess nutrients, all levels are zero with the DSB). <Sounds wonderful.> I prune a lot of it during each weekly water change to keep it away from the polyps, but I don't really like ripping it out as it has latched on to the sand and rocks pretty well and I don't like disturbing the inhabitants (the tank is about a year old, there are all sorts of Mysid and Gammarus running around this algae, the polyps have been spreading from rock to rock, so I don't want to move any of that).  <Sounds great actually.> Is there a natural predator of this type of algae that I could obtain or should I just bite the bullet and rip it all out from the display? <I do recommend pruning it and pulling most of it out as necessary if it begins encroaching on the other corals, but if its not harming anything what you are doing seems to be sufficient.> Any other suggestions would be welcome, obviously my tang and the urchins wont touch it. <I'm not sure what type of tang you have but my purples and Naso went wild on the stuff. The Vlamingi's also enjoy chowing down on it. In all honesty its one of the Caulerpas that lots of people wish to keep so you might consider pulling some of it and seeing if the local club members or local fish store might want to trade or purchase it from you. Good luck, MacL> Thanks for all the great advice!

Controlling Caulerpa Hi folks, long time no write. Hope you are all well. My 5 x 2 x 2 is going well for fish and corals. Unfortunately it's also going well for a small feathery 'Caulerpa'. << That is great!  You want it to do well. >> All water parameters are fine ... no detectible phosphate, nitrate below 5 ppm, ph 8.2 - 8.4. << I'll bet that Caulerpa is keeping the phosphate and nitrate down. >> Bit of a problem keeping the calcium level up but it's within acceptable limits and the only really calcium greedy inhabitant (medium sized clam) is growing rapidly. 2 x 250W halides on for about eight hours a day. Regular water changes with RO water. About 130 lbs of living rock. I've been pulling handfuls of the 'Caulerpa' out for months (tanks is just a year old) but the d*mn stuff is winning, overgrowing all the living rock and smothering polyps. The only place it doesn't grow is under a huge leather coral and at the ends of the tank . lack of light I guess. So, my questions. * Can I do anything about this unsightly weed (other than turn the lights off for a long time  .. I put a piece of living rock covered in the stuff in the unlit sump and it took three months for the weed to even begin to disappear.)? << Yes, learn to love it!  I'd rather have Caulerpa than coral in my tank.  But if you want to get rid of it, then manually pull most of it out, and add a Kole tang. >> Try adding some herbivores if you don't have any already (i.e. tangs, lawnmower blennies, hermit crabs etc.) * If I replace my living rock with new fully cured stuff can I put the weed covered rock into the sump (now lit with T5s) and overflow chamber without worrying about the weed spreading back to the main tank. << For the most part, but it isn't a weed, it is a great addition to a healthy tank. >> Will this retain some of the benefits of the well cured, well established rock? << Yes. >> I would set up a refugium where the Caulerpa can grow separately.  There is no easy answer to the question.  In a nutshell "yes" it will spread back to the main tank.  Don't replace your live rock just yet.  Try and remove it by hand and then put some herbivores (vegetarians) in the tank. << I don't think it will return to the main tank. >> * Is starting again my only option? If so I hope to do a 'one day' change round using well cured living rock and retaining most of the water from the tank. By this time the established rock may be in the sump, depending on your answer to the point above.  I really don't want to give up any of my fish while I change over and my quarantine tank (3 x 1.5 x 1.5) really isn't big enough to hold them plus corals for more than a few hours. I estimate that about 25% of the current living rock has no 'Caulerpa' on it so can stay in the main tank. << I wouldn't do a starting over phase.  I would add herbivores and slowly replace rock, or do nothing at all. >> Don't give up just yet.  Remove as much as you can by hand and add some tangs to the tank.  Good Luck!!!     O.K. I just read your PS.  It is called Caulerpa mexicana.  Here is my recommendation.  Remove as much as you can by hand.  What kind of tangs do you have?  I find a Kole tang works the best.  Red and Blue legged hermit crabs will also help.  Don't give up.  Your tank is too big to go through the trouble to redo it in one day.  Keep me informed if you can. MikeB Thanks very much for your help. << Holy cow, MikeB already answered this, and I completely agree with him. >> Brian <<  Blundell  >>

Algae Problem Dear Bob, We have a Caulerpa prolifera problem, too much!!!!!! We have a small 75 liter Sea Horse tank with live rock and some coral. Are there any natural ways of dealing with this problem like tangs, crabs etc? We are concerned that the tank is too small for tangs. Are there any smaller species? Hope you can help...... Regards, Rod & Andrea Connock >>>Hello Rod, Your tank is indeed too small for any tangs, even the smaller Zebrasoma species such as the yellow tang. I assume, from the fact that you have it in your display, that you like the looks of it so long as there isn't too much of it. Going on this assumption, the only solution in your case is to manually harvest it. Letting it grow too much will also cause it to go sexual and crash, causing a massive influx of organics in the system. If you want to be rid of it, you can pull it all off manually, and keep with it every time you see it pop up. Introduce more grazers, crabs, urchins, etc and eventually you should be rid of it. Keep in mind too, algae needs light and nitrogen (or phosphates) to grow. It's growing because you are providing it with so much food. Lose the Caulerpa , and you may see other problem algae take it's place. Keep nutrient export in mind at all times. Right now, it's your Caulerpa to a large degree. Easing up on the feedings will help as well.   Cheers

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