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Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?
Pandora's box of algae! 3/25/13
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.
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
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...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: algae and live rock quarantine, alg. cont. 7/14/12
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!
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.
<And you, BobF>
Re: algae and live rock quarantine 7/16/12
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.
<And you. B>
Caulerpa and Xenia 10/26/11
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?
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
Caulerpa is taking over my life. Caulerpa Control
Caulerpa and 24/7 or RDP -- 06/12/09
Caulerpa gone wild!! 6/7/09
Algae: Caulerpa serrulata Control in a Cuttlefish
Re: Algae: Caulerpa Control in a Cuttlefish
System, and a Very Cool Link: 5/6/2009
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>
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: 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
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
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.>
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>
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>>
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>>
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>>
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 Â½ 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 >>
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