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FAQs about Calcareous and Coralline Algae 3

Related Articles: Coralline Marine Algae, Red Algae in GeneralCalcium and Alkalinity ExplainedAvoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Coralline Algae 1Coralline Algae 2, Coralline Algae 4, Coralline Algae Identification, Coralline Algae Behavior, Coralline Algae Compatibility/Control, Coralline Algae Selection, Coralline Algae Systems, Coralline Algae Nutrition, Coralline Algae Disease, Coralline Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Red Algae in General, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae Identification, Red Algae Behavior, Red Algae Compatibility, Red Algae Selection, Red Algae Systems, Red Algae Nutrition, Red Algae Disease, Red Algae Reproduction/Propagation, Marine Macro-Algae, Use in AquariumsCalcium and Alkalinity Marine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Encrusting red algae in N. Sulawesi.

Coralline Algae Turning Black      3/25/19
Hi WetWebMedia Crew,
I really need your expertise. In the last year or so the coraline algae in my 14-year-old reef tank started to develop black and gray patches and I can't figure out what do about it. Have you seen this before?
<Yes; usually some "other" algae (BGA) involvement; but have seen evidence of bacteria, sponges.... Can tell by sampling, looking through a microscope. Mostly occurs in "older" systems, ones w/ nutrient limitation/s.>
I came across another hobbyist on Reef2Reef with the same unsolved problem, and posted pictures for comparison, but that's the only information I could find. I've attached two pictures of one of the patches (taken two months apart) and a third picture that shows how the edge can sometimes be white, versus a diffuse yellow. The black patches feel the same as regular coralline, and go straight through the coralline structure. The red coralline algae is unaffected, and potentially a light pastel purple variety.
In case it's helpful to know a bit about my tank, it's a 14 year-old reef tank (46 gallon) with soft corals, invertebrates, and two small clownfish.
I run an Ecosystem 60 filter (chaetomorpha algae & mud), and have Current Marine LED lights (switched from florescent about 2 years ago).
Parameters today: Ca 420, dKH 8, Mg 1270 (using Salifert test kits), SG 1.025, 76 degrees F, pH 8.2 (with pH meter). I normally keep the calcium a bit lower, but in the last few months I've been maintaining higher levels in hopes of encouraging faster coralline growth.
<All good, but... Do you have measurable HPO4, NO3? What would I do at this point? A series of weekly large water changes (50% or so), with pre-made, stored water.>
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and of course for all the great information I've found on your site over the years!
<Hundreds of Kbytes please... for file size; not Megs. Bob Fenner>

Coralline Algae 24 Jan 2005 Aloha WWM crew, <Aloha Richmond, MacL here with you this morning.> I was wondering if the color crust on my turbo shell is coralline? <That would be an affirmative.>  If so, could any of the algae on my rock in picture 2 be coralline?  <EEK I didn't see picture two, just picture one but I'm guessing that it could be. Coralline is very hard to the touch an actually hard to remove.>  How can I go about in promoting coralline growth and detour the others from competing with it?  <Coralline generally shows up on something, on the sides, on the rocks etc. It needs calcium to flourish.> The 3rd picture is a old empty turbo shell that has brown hair like algae and some kind of brown fuzz rug on it. Is this type of algae anyway good and how do I go on about of getting rid of it if it comes a problem? <Honestly I would pull it out right now and pull all of it off. That algae is terribly difficult to get rid of and it won't hurt the empty shell to just pull it out of the water.> Currently I quarantined my blue tang, yellow tang, 2 yellow tail damsel, fire damsel and clown fish because the tangs had a little outbreak of ich. The tank has been running with only 4 brittle stars, 4 Turbos and a cleaner shrimp. It's been a little over a week and my pod has 4x its population but then these brown hair started showing up as well.  <No tangs to eat it would be my guess. As soon as they go back it should all disappear but you don't want to let it get ahead of you.> I've also notice some of my pods are turning red or maybe this is a stage in growth? I saw one of the red pods attached to another pod then two more pods attached on to the red pod...eventually the other 2 let go but I don't know what happen to the pod with the red pod on it.  <I've never seen one that has red on it but its not out of the realm of possibilities.> Lastly, I was thinking about removing the filter trays and just left my sand rack and use the filter as water current to move the water, is that a good idea? I figured that those filter only trap poop and other debris and I could just buy a separate carbon pouch if needed.  <I'm assuming you have lots of live sand and live rock in the tank to work as your filter instead? Should be okay if so. Lots of circulation is important to the tank.> 

- Questions: Is It Coralline? Or Is It Cyanobacteria? - Hello. I've started the hobby for about 6 months. Now I have: 2 yellow tail damsels 1 fire damsel (mean little buggah, constantly fighting with or getting picked on by one of the yellow tail) 1 clown fish 1 yellow tang 1 blue tang 1 cleaner shrimp 4 brittle stars 4 turbo snails I recently notice a bunch of white critters on my glass...the fire damsel has been picking on these for awhile since I got him. And now the pods are everywhere which I'm assuming is good? <Yes.> During the whole time I started I don't have a sump nor skimmer. my first water change was a month ago...since then I do a 5 gallon water change once a week or more depends. As of now, I notice red pinkish patches on my rocks. The patches aren't very thick... just a very light covering. I was thinking it was Cyanobacteria (something I shouldn't want?) My cousin said it might be coralline algae and the only coralline are on the tips of my turbo snails (I could be wrong) or the water I've been getting. And I don't know what I've been doing to promote coralline. <It happens [or not] on its own... in presence of adequate calcium.> I do however have a killer green algae farm growing on the right side of my tank just for my tangs just until I can put together more rocks to start on coral.  If it is coralline, is it possible for one color coralline changing to another color? <Not usually. A quick note: in the future, please don't send along such large images. They clog our inbox and then block other's email from coming in. Thanks... cheers, J -- > 

Coralline not growing???? Hey Anthony, <Mmm, seems to be out and about so...> I'm having a heck of a time trying to get Coralline to grow in my tank. I have read every article under the sun and have tried just about everything. My tank is a 90 gallon that has been set up for about 10 months now and doing well. 125 lbs of live rock with 3/4" of live sand, good circulation and good lighting (for coralline anyway) (2) 10K 65 watts on for 9 hours a day (2) Actinic 65 watts on for 14 hrs a day. My top off and water changes are from a Deionization unit (For about two months now) My Alk. 3.5 Calcium is 500 all others are in check. <Calcium is too high here... likely part of the problem... I'd let this drop to about 400 ppm, perhaps raise alkalinity a bit> I do two water changes a month using Tropic Marin salt. I have tried using Sea Chem's Reef Complete and Reef Calcium. After reading your book and articles) I also tried dosing with Kalkwasser. The only problem is my calcium levels went up to around 600 so I have not used anything in over a month. (My tank never really seems to need any calcium supplements. I guess with the bi weekly water changes it stays fairly high) <Sounds like it> So it makes adding supplements tough. I have also removed half of my blue leg hermit crabs to a quarantine tank. (I have about twelve remaining) after reading articles that they might be related to my coralline problem. <Yes... these do consume corallines> I have even tried GARF grunge. Thanks again for any advice you might offer. I truly believe without the help from you and this site I would have packed it up by now. <You may have other competing (algae) or predators of coralline in your system that are not obvious... at any length, all else you list is fine. I would lower the Calcium and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coralline not growing???? Thanks Bob, I have done a few water changes. It has brought my calcium levels down to around 450. But now my Alkalinity seems to be dropping also? <Maybe, by dilution...> It is down to about 2.5 I have tried adding just the part A to correct the problem but it doesn't really seem to raise the alkalinity? <Strange... are you "shaking the bottle?"... I might test the solution itself... or use another source> (I have been conservative about adding it each day in fear of over-correcting the problem) I was reading one of your articles (below). Do you think I should try baking soda (my PH is around 8.4) to bring it up or should I do a couple of more water changes to try to balance things out again? <I would try the baking soda w/o worry... it will not boost pH beyond what you're seeing> Sorry about all the questions. I might be over-thinking this. The more I read the more confused I'm getting. Thanks Again!!!!! <No worries. Bob Fenner> If alkalinity were less than 4 meq/L (11 dKH; the most common situation in zone 4; shown in Figure 5), I would advise correcting this problem by adding an alkalinity supplement until you have moved into the target zone (or zone 1).   For systems with a pH of 8.2 or above, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a good choice.  For systems with a pH below 8.2, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is a good choice (though use some baking soda too if the correction is a large one and the pH gets too high; that is, above pH 8.5 or so). In gauging how much to add, here are some rough guidelines: Baking Soda To raise 50 gallons of tank water by 1 meq/L will require about 16 grams of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate; sodium hydrogen carbonate).  Since a level teaspoon of baking soda weighs just under 6 grams, then 1 teaspoon will raise the alkalinity in that 50 gallons by ~0.4 meq/L (~1 dKH).

Red coralline VS Cyanobacteria Hi guys, hope you are all well. <Hi and thank you we are all well and happy.> I am in the process of upgrading my tank after a near total loss, so I let the tank sit with minimal maintenance for several weeks (which did good- the corals I have left all have come out in full). <Sometimes less is more.>  I have had red-slime problems in the past, and I would siphon it out and blow it off the rocks with a turkey baster.<That is a good practice but I would use the baster first then siphon it out.>  I cannot blow this red stuff off the rocks, its hard to  brush off with a toothbrush (even with toothpaste-:)) it "feathers"  off the rock (like tree fungi), and is nearly the same color as Cyano.  Is  it red coralline? <It is absolutely coralline algae.  If you want to be sure take it out and put it into some vinegar.  If it bubbles then your are in business.> Thanks for being there to answer oddball questions! <Not a problem! MikeB> James

Bubble algae v Coralline Hi all, I have noticed that some of my bubble algae (I kind of just let it ride, doesn't seem to hurt anything) has coralline growing on it. Will the coralline eventually kill the bubble algae? If so the seems like a pretty easy way to control it. Anyone that has had this battle happen please let me know who wins. <Hmm, interesting question.  I don't think either really 'wins'.  The coralline doesn't seem to hurt the bubble algae, and vice versa.  The bubble can usually still get large and reproduce even with coralline on it.  I have had tanks with this type of situation and, left unchecked, the bubble algae will spread rampantly.> Thanks, -Ryan  

Coralline Eating Snails Hello saltwater fellows. I've searched many forums including this one for a way to rid my reef tank of thousands of pest saltwater snails. I've read countless articles on how beneficial snails can be to a saltwater tank and I have several of the good kind in all 4 of my tanks. However, I have infected my main reef tank with a saltwater snail that eats coralline algae, yes eats coralline, not dead coralline but healthy vibrant coralline algae. My tank is several years old, is well established and has virtually zero bad algae, at one point all my rocks, back and sidewalls, feather duster tubes were completely covered with coralline algae. Heck all of my snail and hermit crab shells were covered in the stuff, I had to chip the coralline out of the pump heads. About 3 weeks ago we added some fully cured rock to the tank for some additional aquascaping. The rock had the pest snails seeded in it. By the time I noticed something was wrong I had thousands (yes thousands) of them. The come out after the lights go off and cover the rock and walls of the tank. Most of the ones I net out of the tank are 1/32 to 1/8 of an inch in diameter. For the past 2 weeks I've spent hours every night pulling out pieces of rock and picking them, and netting as many as possible off the sides of the tank. They only populate the surfaces that have coralline growth on them. They've stripped half of my tank barren of coralline algae, as well as completely removing it from the shells and tubes of my snails and feather dusters. Is there anything on the market that will kill snails without harming corals or fish? After two weeks of spending 2-4 hours a night hunting these snails, only to see them come back stronger each night I'm at my wits end. My six-line is about ready to burst from the amount of snail eggs he must be finding. After believing for so many years that no snails eat coralline it's amazing to find one that multiplies so fast and seems to only eat coralline algae. Even if you don't believe that a snail eats coralline algae please let me know of any produces you've come across that kill snails. Sincerely, Sam >>>Hi Sam, Very strange indeed, I've never encountered such a snail. I CAN tell you that there is nothing you can add to your water to poison them while not killing everything else in the tank. There are wrasses that enjoy eating snails of this size, but they are the larger variety (hogfishes and such) and may not be compatible with your tank. If you don't have any small shrimp, I'd consider this option. Sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck Jim<<<

Lights for coralline algae Hello,         I have recently been looking into hydroponics supply stores as a source of lighting for my FOWLR tank. I just want enough light to allow my coralline algae's to flourish. << Color is probably more important than quantity in this case. >> Would the bulbs used in hydroponics be suitable for marine aquarium use? << Sure, but at any LFS you can get blue moon actinic bulbs for regular light fixtures, which is what I would recommend. >> For whatever reason the fixtures and bulbs etc. are a lot cheaper than those found in the local LFS. << For coralline algae you really want to focus on higher Kelvin rating, blue light type of bulbs. >> Thank you. <<  Blundell  >>

What does live rock need? Hi Bob, LR supplement:    I have LR with sponges a lot of other goodies; I have no idea what they are all called.    I will like all these goodies including CORALLINE ALGAE to spread to the rest of my tank, on sand stone and dead rock what supplement/additive do I require to achieve this? << None.  I'd say lighting is important, but otherwise they will all grow and spread with time. >> Thanks Mohamed. <<  Blundell  >>

Coralline algae disappearing fast I returned from being away for a week and I notice a sharp decrease in the amount of coralline algae (that's what the LFS said was growing on the LR--bright purple, but not "scales" as I've seen in pix) on my live rock. the tank (55gal) has been established for 6+months and the coralline algae has been flourishing--spreading to LR that had none, as well as to the shells of many snails. today I noticed that the purple growth has been picked clean from much of the LR and is disappearing in small patches from other LR. also, most of the coralline has disappeared from the snails' shells. I suspect a couple of hermit crabs that I've recently noticed are sporting a huge (relative to their size) claw. >>Sound right to me. I would probably remove those crabs. Any urchins in the tank? What is your Ca level?>> livestock--one percula, one yellow tang, about a dozen hermits, a couple dozen snails (half bumblebee, half bahia). recent changes--4 wks ago installed 4 VHO's--2 actinic, 2 10000K. (the actinics are in the back part of the hood, and nearly all the coralline is gone from the "back side" of the LR--any correlation?) >> The lighting change could have something to do with it. 2 wks ago--added 3 powerheads on a tsunami wave timer. thanks ken baker

Re: coralline algae disappearing fast Ca is 315.  I will start (slowly) increasing using 2-part system. alkalinity is 8 dKH.  I will raise that to about 10 before I add Ca.  phosphate is .15 ppm.  just added a bag of phosphate remover pellets. >>That all sounds good! Try to figure out where the phosphate is coming from.>> no urchins, and I will eliminate the large-clawed hermits. thanks!

Wants help with coralline algae Hi Bob, <Hi Sharon, Bob must be hugely busy as always so you got me tonight  MacL> Thanks for all your interesting answers to everyone's questions. I have always found what I needed to know by reading about problems other people have had. However, I'm really stumped this time and would appreciate your help. <Lets see if I can help you.> I have a 75g marine tank with about 100lbs live rock, running with 2 power heads and a protein skimmer. Water change 15% every week, with 1 oz. carbon in the skimmer. Lights are 2 power compacts, total 400W (1/2 actinic) - on for 12 hours a day. Corals are leathers (Staghorn and toadstool), pearl bubble, pulsing xenia (pulsing like crazy), zoanthid, 2 open brains, green star polyp, a few mushrooms. A bubble tip anemone (got that before I found your website!) All corals plus the anemone really happy and growing, anemone recently split. Fish all happy and active - blue damsel, Chromis, mandarin, ocellaris, six line wrasse, firefish, Dottyback, watchman goby. Some blue legged hermits, red legged hermits, Astrea snails. One urchin. A very active spaghetti worm, never seen the worm but the tentacles are really long - fascinating to watch. Recently my beautiful purple coralline algae has started to turn very bright white in patches. It started in one section of the tank, and is now moving. The rock turns white over a few days, then goes back to dark green within a short period of time. The white then appears somewhere else. I have rubbed it to see if it is on the surface but it doesn't budge. There is some kind of green filament algae in patches which I pull off now and again if it gets too long, and there is a bit of green and purple algae growing on the substrate which I siphon off where possible during water changes. Nitrates 0, ammonia 0, salinity 1.024, alk 9dkh, calcium. one test says 350, another says 500. I took a water sample to my LFS and they said everything tests fine. <Did they do a calcium test do you actually know how much calcium is in the tank.> Have you any idea what is causing the algae to go white. The store said maybe the calcium level is too high and its attaching to the rocks. There is nothing precipitated in the water. Please tell me what you think is happening to my beautiful rocks. Many thanks, <I believe that anything stressful could send it into bleaching mode, usually though its light that does it? perhaps doing a water change with the lights on?> Sharon Bleaching Coralline? Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> Thanks for all your interesting answers to everyone's questions. I have always found what I needed to know by reading about problems other people have had. However, I'm really stumped this time and would appreciate your help. <Hope we can be of service!> I have a 75g marine tank with about 100lbs live rock, running with 2 power heads and a protein skimmer. Water change 15% every week, with 1 oz. carbon in the skimmer. Lights are 2 power compacts, total 400W (1/2 actinic) - on for 12 hours a day. Corals are leathers (Staghorn and toadstool), pearl bubble, pulsing Xenia (pulsing like crazy), Zoanthid, 2 Open Brains, Green Star Polyp, a few mushrooms. <Sounds like a cool tank!> A Bubble Tip anemone (got that before I found your website!) <Oooh!> All corals plus the anemone really happy and growing, anemone recently split. <Can't argue with success!> Fish all happy and active - Blue Damsel, Chromis, Mandarin, Ocellaris, Sixline Wrasse, Firefish, Dottyback, Watchman Goby. Some Bluelegged hermits, Redlegged hermits, Astrea snails. One urchin. A very active spaghetti worm, never seen the worm but the tentacles are really long - fascinating to watch. <They sure are...> Recently my beautiful purple coralline algae has started to turn very bright white in patches. It started in one section of the tank, and is now moving. The rock turns white over a few days, then goes back to dark green within a short period of time. The white then appears somewhere else. I have rubbed it to see if it is on the surface but it doesn't budge. There is some kind of green filament algae in patches which I pull off now and again if it gets too long, and there is a bit of green and purple algae growing on the substrate which I siphon off where possible during water changes. <Sounds like some form of nuisance algae...Are you using aggressive protein skimming and a water change schedule> Nitrates 0, ammonia 0, salinity 1.024, alk 9dkh, calcium. one test says 350, another says 500. <That's a big range...I'd try yet another, more accurate kit to verify> I took a water sample to my LFS and they said everything tests fine. Have you any idea what is causing the algae to go white. The store said maybe the calcium level is too high and its attaching to the rocks. There is nothing precipitated in the water. <Well, calcium is but one requirement for coralline algae to thrive. Magnesium is important, too. Changing light levels and current patterns are also contributors. "Light shock" as a result of decreasing water levels in the tank can be a factor. Do consider checking for magnesium. Perform regular small water changes with a high quality salt mix.> Please tell me what you think is happening to my beautiful rocks. Many thanks, Sharon <Well, Sharon. I think that you could investigate some of the other avenues that I've suggested here. Hopefully, they will yield some information that can suggest a cause. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Supplements, coralline algae and carbon 9/20/04 Hello WWM Staff,  My name is Jim. I have a 90 gallon reef tank that is 8 months old. I have a UV, Protein skimmer and wet/dry (Removed bio balls).  I use the following Seachem supplements as per GARF website. (3) TBS Reef Plus 2X week (3) TBS Reef Complete 2X week (3) TBS Reef Calcium 2x week (1) TBS Reef Advantage Calcium makeup water 2nd and 4th weeks (1) TBS Reef Builder makeup water on the 3rd week. My Question is. I am having a tough time getting coralline algae to grow. My LFS sold me Seachem Reef Kalkwasser. They told me that would bring down my Phosphates and help grow coralline. <Hmmm.. did you test for Phosphate?  Did they?  What was the result?  What are your Ca, Alk, Mg, Po4, Salinity, temp, lighting and water movement.  All of these will affect coralline growth.  What is your water change routine?  All of the listed additives are perfectly fine, but they should be dosed according to the demands of your tank (determined through testing), not a "standard recipe".> The problem I have is I'm not sure if I should stop adding the calcium supplements listed above and use the Kalkwasser in there place and in what amount? <If proper water changes are carried out (20% a month or so), Kalkwasser is usually the only supplement needed.  It will supply calcium and alkalinity in a balanced fashion.  All other "trace elements" will be supplied through water changes.  If you make the change to Kalkwasser, do be sure to continue to measure Ca and Alk to be sure you are meeting your tanks needs.> Also do u suggest using any Activated carbon in a reef tank. Thanks for your help! <Carbon helps keep the water clear and will remove the noxious defensive chemicals produced by corals.  I personally don't use carbon often, but it has it's place.  Please do use small amounts and change it frequently rather than large amounts left for long periods.  Also, rinse it well before use.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Supplements, coralline algae and carbon follow up 9/21/04 Thank you for the quick reply. I do a 10% water change twice a month using Marin Topic salt. If I am reading your reply correctly I should do away with all those products and stick to water changes and Kalkwasser? <In my opinion, yes.  Tropic Marin salt is excellent and with your water change schedule, it will provide all you need.  Calcium and alkalinity are the only exception, and Kalk should take care of those just fine.  The bottom line rule of thumb... if you aren't testing for it, don't add it!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

What's better for calcareous algae; halides or VHO? Just a quick question/observation to any of the sharers of tried and true knowledge: It seems that at each LFS I visit, MH-lit tanks all have a massive amount of calcareous algae while some of the LFS have established NO-lit tanks with none.. I recently got rid of a popular 36" 2x96w fixture (which started some growth) and built a VHO system for my 58g that will total 285w from 3 VHOs( 1-aquasun, 1 actinic 03, 1-actinic white---all URI). Is there something special about MH that VHO/PC can't give a reef tank? << Intensity.  So in other words, no.  They are a point source of light, which most people like.  And they give off a ton of light, but that can be countered by many VHO or pc bulbs. >> Is it possible to get the same "established" calcareous algae in a newly setup tank with VHO as a MH tank? << Without a doubt.  In fact, I think your VHO will grow more calcareous algae than would a halide set up. >>I know it depends on water quality (e.g. Ca levels, etc), but back to the original, is MH just plain better? Would it be wise to abandon the idea of sole VHO lighting and use two 36" VHO actinics along with a 150 or 175w MH around the marketed color of 10KK ;)? << I debate this all the time.  I think two VHO actinics with a 10k halide are the best, but certainly not necessary. >> Pardon my ramblings, and Thanks! <<  Blundell  >>

Why is my coralline algae turning white? Hey guys at WetWebMedia, << Blundell this afternoon. >> Your FAQ are a great help, but I cant seem to find all my answers there. Well here it goes. I have a 55 gallon AGA fishtank running for about 1 and a half months now with a Amiracle SL 150 wet/dry filter, and Eheim 2217 , a SeaClone 150, (2) AquaClear 402 and 1 MaxiJet 900  powerheads. a Coralife 48" double light strip with a total of 260watts (2 actinic and 2 10k bulbs) by the way I run the lights for 10-12 hrs a day. << Little light on lights, little heavy on mechanical in my opinion. >> 3 days ago I put in 50lbs of LR from Walt smith, I mean really amazing rock with turquoise green and red coralline algae but after 3 day the red has started to turn white the green seems to be turning white too but at a much slower rate.  << That is somewhat to be expected.  When coralline dies, it goes white.  It is hard to keep it all growing from shipment.  The real key is about 6 months away, then we'll see how your rock looks.  By that time, it shouldn't be white. >> Honestly, I haven't check any levels in the tank accept the temp is at 78 and the salinity at 1.023 . I have no fish in the tank and the rock was cured from Walt smith, or at least I believe so , but regardless there basically finishing up to cure in the main tank which again never had fish in it. What do I do to help keep the rock red and green?, why is it turning white?, should I do water changes? at what rate? In addition some pet shops tell me my skimmer is bad, is this true? I want to eventually add corals. << I wouldn't worry much about water changes, if you don't have fish, and you aren't feeding the tank.  Right now, I would just wait it out.  I would probably not run a skimmer at this time, until you are feeding the tank and have a need for one. >> Finally, can you explain to me if I should by a calcium reactor or can I maintain calcium levels by using "reef calcium"? << You definitely don't need a calcium reactor.  Especially at this stage.  The are helpful in fully stocked stony coral tanks, but you are a long ways from that.  I would save the money until you really need one. >> Thank You, Richard Layliev (Beginner Marine Lover) << Blundell, long time marine lover >>

Quick coralline Q Greetings Crew! A thought occurred to me when I was doing my weekly water change and pondering temperature maintenance in these warm summer months.  I have no idea what the answer is so I decided to ask the oracle of all aquarium knowledge (aka WWM crew).   In a marine aquarium that has coralline algae growing like wildfire over everything (like mine), does it affect the in-tank pumps and powerheads if they get coated with coralline algae?  I am thinking more along the lines of overheating rather than impeller performance (I clean mine monthly). Once again, I thank thee for thy divine wisdom regarding the upkeep of Neptune's creatures. -Ray <As you seem to surmise, not much trouble if the coralline is only coating the outside of these devices. Water is the standard for specific heat, conduction... Bob Fenner>

How to grow coralline algae? 7/10/04 Hi Mr. Anthony Calfo, my name is Hengky and I'm from Indonesia, <its a pleasure to hear from my friend> I have a problem. Can you help me solve my problem, I read from many BB, that their bottom glass are become cover by coralline algae in about half year or at least one year, but I can't do that, in fact my condition is much worse, my coralline algae are disappearing or tear down, and many of my LR are start to turn to dull, why this happen? <this is usually because of a deficiency in calcium and alkalinity, or from inconsistencies in supplementing them (often by high spikes and far falls)> Please help me how to boost coralline algae growth, my KH are 9-14 and my calcium are 450-500. <Yikes... these ranges are too wide and too high. You do not need to be at the high end of each range as is sometimes recommended by extremists on BBs. It is not helpful, necessary or even safe. You will get much better coralline and coral growth from moderate and steady levels.> I maintain calcium with calcium chloride and KH with sodium bicarbonate. <please do consider avoiding the use of calcium chloride as a daily supplement (use calcium hydroxide "Kalkwasser" instead). CaCl is only meant to be a quick fix or temporary calcium supplement... but if used daily in a tank without very large regular water changes, it accumulates in time (chlorides) and can skew your water chemistry badly. My advice is for you to do a large water change to dilute it and start using a different/better calcium> Phosphate 0, nitrate 10 ppm, this is a FOWLR system, the tank is about 900 lt. The lamp is 2x20 watt Philips actinic, 2x40 watt Coralife 20.000 Kelvin and 2x20 watt Hagen Power Glo. So every time I changes some of my old LR (because it already lose all the coralline), the new LR are become dull again in about month or two. I heard that I need magnesium also to growth coralline, is that true? <some truth, yes... Mg should be about 3 X your Calcium levels. So if your Calcium is 400ppm... then magnesium will be fine around 1200ppm> Thank you for your help. <best of luck, Anthony>

OTC algae attack packs How's it going over there? <Hi Sean, MacL here.> I was wondering if the algae attack packs which they sell (which include scarlet reef crabs, turbo snails, and dwarf red tip hermit crabs), would eat the beautiful coralline algae found on live rock. Do you think it is worth adding algae attack packs to aquariums with live rock? <I can only tell you that from my experience they will eat coralline algae.> Sean F.

Coralline algae whitening Howdy Crew, << Hi there, Adam here. >> I'm having a problem with coralline algae turning white and disappearing. << Often times a low alkalinity problem. >> My tank has been up about 14 months and parameters are as follows: 38 gallon glass tank, 45 lbs. Fiji LR, ~50 lbs. live sand, SG 1.025, pH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10 - 15.  Temp 79 degrees.  60 watts lighting total, 1 30-watt fluorescent and 1 30-watt actinic blue, on about 10 hours a day. << That doesn't sound like much light.  That may prevent coralline from growing, but would not explain the current coralline bleaching. >>  I also have a AquaC Remora with the MaxiJet 1200 upgrade running 24/7.  There are three additional powerheads (two Maxi-Jet 1200's and one Maxi-Jet 600) placed about for circulation.  I do an 8-gallon water change every 3 weeks. Occupants are two Peppermint Shrimp, one Percula Clown, one Royal Gamma, 6 or so turbo snails, and 6 - 8 small hermits.  I don't have any coral nor do I intend to keep any, hence the anemic lighting. << Makes sense. >> I was told the lighting would be enough to sustain live rock, and I believe it since the rock and coralline did fine for the first year (and even expanded to cover the powerheads and Remora pre-filter box), the problem has only been in the last couple months and seems to be getting worse.  All of the livestock has been in the tank for about a year with no obvious problems. Could the problem be a lack of calcium? << You guessed it.  The two things I would check for happen to be two items you didn't list.  Please check your calcium and alkalinity.  These two items are usually supplemented in a reef tank, to replenish what is being taken out.  However, if you don't have corals, then you can usually keep them up by water changes. >> My Peppermint Shrimp are doing fine and molt regularly, usually about once a month (often shortly after the water change).  If it's calcium, how do you recommend dosing it?  I'll need to get a test kit for it (I have no idea what my current level is as I only test the "standards" I listed above).  Do I have to worry about dosing calcium throwing off any other parameters (i.e., will this require I test a dozen other things to make sure nothing gets out of whack)?  Or maybe I'm way off base and it's something else entirely.  << I like adding liquid calcium and Kalkwasser to my tank.  You really shouldn't have to test for a bunch of other stuff.  You can (and I recommend) testing calcium, alkalinity, and pH.  Those three things can change with additives.  But please, don't use additives until you test first.  It's possible (and probable) that you have plenty of calcium, but with low alkalinity it isn't useable. >> Thanks in advance, and thanks for keeping the best aquarium resource I know of running! << Wow, thanks, how this works out for you. >>  Us mere mortals appreciate all you do. -Mike Gorman <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Coralline Algae Growth Hello Crew! <Hello, Ryan with you today> Just can't seem to find the answer to these in the FAQ's (sometimes TOO MUCH good information to find a specific question). <I know!  It's a bit overwhelming at times> 1.  I have an open brain coral that I feed meaty treats (shrimp, clam, squid) 3 times per week.  I noticed that it has 3 mouth-like structures that I put the food directly into and it gets sucked in.  I have to stand guard else my ever hungry clowns will snatch the food up.  Is it necessary to feed each mouth?  Can I just feed one or two of them and the nutrients will get shared to the entire organism?  The third is a little hard to see/reach and this direct feeding method is the only way I have found to feed it without others in the tank (clowns, shrimp) snatching the food for themselves. <The more each mouth eats, the better the entire colony will grow.  Corals grow in a very deliberate way; To make the most of a certain environment.  This said, I would either move the brain so that you can feed the entire thing, or make the extra effort.  As for snatching, it's highly frustrating.  Will a fish feeding just before will keep them distracted long enough?> 2.  On my live rock, I have tons of coralline algae growing.  Colors of purple, maroon, red, green and pink. On my glass, pumps and base rock (tufa), I only have one shade of purple growing.  I would really like a mix of colors.  Any ideas on how to encourage this process or why only one is spreading from the live rock to other areas? <One is outperforming the others at this given time.  What's your calcium level?  Some varieties of coralline won't grow unless high calcium levels are met.  It's just a matter of luck, time and patience.  Perhaps you could graft the variety you like to unclaimed territory before the more aggressive types have the opportunity?> Thanks a lot.  You guys are a real credit to the hobby and I would be lost without you (or it least I would not have such a wonderful tank). <Great to hear!  Hope this helps, and good luck- Ryan> -Ray

How do I slow down coralline algae growth? 4/14/04 Hi there, I have a well established 75 gallon reef aquarium (going on 9 years now).  I never seem to win when it comes to algae.   I battled diatom problems for years, but now coralline algae is haunting me.   It grows on the acrylic so fast that it is becoming quite the pain to keep off.  I've already given up one side of the acrylic to the coralline, plus the bottom 3 inches.   Is there any way to slow down the coralline algae growth?  Is there a better way to remove it than Kent Pro-Scrapers?  Today I became so frustrated I used a putty knife to try to get the stuff off!  Help!   <Wow!  As I am sure you know, corallines thrive in high calcium, high alkalinity conditions.  Unfortunately, the conditions that favor coralline algaes also favor coral heath.  Limiting Calcium and/or alkalinity in order to limit corallines would certainly not be in the best interest of your corals.> I know some people work very hard to grow this, so here's some system info: 75 gallon acrylic Highly oversized wet/dry 1100 GPH submersible pump Sea Swirl oscillating return Venturi protein skimmer Knop C calcium reactor 2 96 watt power compacts 12hrs/day 2 175 watt 10K metal halides 9hrs/day Hang-on refugium with a power compact running the same time as the main lights 1/4 HP chiller set at 77 degrees F w/Medusa controller I do a 25 gallon water change about every 3-4 months using Kent salt.  I add Kent strontium/molybdenum and iodine sporadically, and Kent Coral Vite and Essential Elements even less frequently.  I don't test anything besides the specific gravity when doing a water change.   Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Mark <Other than staying ahead of it, I am afraid that I don't have any good advice.  Some urchins are good coralline grazers, but they are going to graze where they want to, not where you want them to.  Also, they tend to be quite destructive and in the long run, the little bits of coralline they liberate in their grazing activity will fuel more growth elsewhere in the tank.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Coralline Gone? (4/13/04)  My lighting in VHO. I have two blue, and two white all pushing 110wtts a piece. <What is the duration of the photoperiod?> The coralline seems to be growing on the glass in little spots now. But, rock in places is a little grey still. Will the purple come back? <Dose with calcium or Kalkwasser, and keep the photoperiod at least 12 hours a day, and you should see it coming back. M. Maddox>

More coralline growth please. I need it now and I need it fast! - 3/31/04  I ordered life rock from live aquaria and it seems like it's really taking a long time to grow coralline algae or really anything at all. <Is the tank fairly new??> it is still brown, green, and white. I had the live rock for six weeks. <Hardly enough time for coralline growth, my friend. One thing that I can tell you from my experience is that it usually takes a well established tank (aged) before rapid growth occurs. Also, lots and lots of patience. Nothing happens in fast forward in reef aquaria except deterioration and destruction. Please look at our FAQs on coralline algae for more information. Also there are some things you can do to speed up the process slightly. Here is some info I have gleaned from GARF and other sources: The answer comes in four stages, lighting, supplementation, GARF'S grunge product (lots of coralline diversity) and the most important ingredient..........PATIENCE.  COOK BOOK METHOD FOR GROWING CORALLINE FASTER  Use Instant Ocean TM (most any salt mix will work but this is the one I use)  Use 2 - Triton And 1 - Blue Moon 40 watt bulb per 55 gallons (Or basically more actinic lighting)  Use a phosphate removing filter  Use carbon  Treat tank with Sea Chem - Reef Plus TM. Reef Complete TM, and Reef Calcium TM  - 2 times usual dose three times a week - These are liquids are added to the reef water.  Use Sea Chem Reef Builder in make up water every other time you add make up water. We use two teaspoons per gallon.  Use Sea Chem Reef Advantage in make up water every other time you add make up water. We use two teaspoons per gallon.  Add lots of types of coralline to start - Just like putting seeds in the garden  Calcium is one of the most important things to add to your live rock growing tanks. Calcium levels in your live rock grow out tanks should be kept above 400 mg/L at a specific gravity of 1.024. We have found that by using Seachem's products we have no trouble keeping both the calcium and alkalinity at the proper levels for rapid coralline growth. This simple method of treating our make-up water also keeps the Strontium and Magnesium level in our grow out tanks high enough for the coralline algae to thrive. We are certain other products will work fine, but these products are inexpensive and are proven to work. You must keep the Phosphate level in the live rock grow out tank very low. Protein skimming is important in the grow out tanks because it controls phosphate. Make-up water can be a source of phosphate. You may need a reverse osmosis or deionization system if your water source is high in Phosphates. Feeding is the most common source of high phosphate levels. We use a phosphate removing filter in tanks that are not producing coralline algae fast enough.>  I followed there directions that was sent with the rock.  <Instructions for what? Acclimation?> I was wondering if it's going to change and if yes how long will it take or does it sound like it's dead  My tank conditions are  1.a Coralife 96 watt light  2.my calcium is at 450ppm  4.my ph is 8.4  5.my nitrate is at .25meg  6.I have a wavemaker  7.two whisper filters  <Sounds fine. You are well on your way. Now a little patience, maybe some of the above will help. Be sure to test often and watch just in case the system becomes unstable as you will be pushing the limits of reef water chemistry. Hope this helps. ~Paul>

Spurring coralline algae 3/28/04 Hi Folks <how-D> Once again, spending a late night browsing your great site. I am in need of some quick advice.  I have a 250 FOWLR with about 280 lbs of live rock.  I would like the rock a bit more purple but cannot seem to keep the level above 300 with my Tropic Marin Salt.  I do 15% weekly water changes and supplement tropic Marin calcium.  I do not like to use powders but will if need be. Any recommendations as far as brand?  Do I even need purple rock?   <coralline covered rock is mostly a (popular) aesthetic preference... but does afford protection/convenience from nuisance algae growths> I have angels, a Naso and some wrasses. Help me out if you would, Thanks a ton, Matt <trust me... get your self a 4 month supply of SeaChem's Reef Calcium and you will see amazing improvement in that time period with natural pink/purple corallines if you use it as directed. Best regards, Anthony>

-Coralline crappin' out- Hi there, Your site totally "rocks" - no pun intended. <Ahh, live rock jokes, I'll let that one go. ;) > I'm newbie had a question regarding my live rock. I set up my 25 gallon tank with filtered seawater from Scripps in San Diego (is this good? I tested the specific gravity and it was a bit high ~ 1.025). <Actually, natural sea water is at least that high, if not higher (1.0265). The trend in aquarium keeping has been to have a lower level, which in a reef aquarium is not desirable.> Then went to the store and got 2 pieces (12lbs) of "cured" live rock which was mostly purple.  Placed it in my tank, added some aragonite, and then 5 damsels <Whoa, in a 25? Watch your ammonia, even though you have live rock in there.> (the guy said it would be okay to add them together)... today (3 days later), the cloud has settled, I've shaken off the dust on my live rock, and it's losing its dark purple. I see little white "tree-like" things starting to grow on the rock and the rock is turning brown. <The white is some of the purple coralline algae dying off. Having some coralline die is a pretty normal occurrence when buying rock.> One baby damsel is also having issues, it's not dead yet, but just lying on its side at the bottom (bad). Is everything ok? <Test your ammonia, nitrite and pH levels.> What should I to fix? <You can't treat the fish for anything b/c we don't know what it is. Just leave it be I suppose, and remove it if it kicks it.> I'm only running a Backpack with protein skimmer and built in bio filter. Should I also run the fluorescent lights constantly?  <No longer than 12 hours.> Also, because the fish were so stressed out, I stacked one live rock crooked on top of the other to provide more "hiding/cover" places for the fish... is this bad for the live rock? <Nope. I think you're in good shape other than the slight overstocking with damsels. Keep an eye on the potentially dieing damsel, since it may get/be sick and get everyone else sick as well. The coralline algae die off is not a big deal, if you want it to grow and flourish, you'll need to test and adjust your calcium and alkalinity regularly. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks, any help would be appreciated.   Steve Put Your Toe in The Water! On to That DSB & Coralline >I don't exactly ever remember in the past 7 months if the nitrates were as low as 10ppm except when they first started to rise.  This tells me that my DSB has never really kicked in.  It has been a steady slow rise to where they are today.  Is there anything I can do to help things along?  Is time the only thing that will tell? >>Hmm.. I'm wondering about the DSB itself.  I would think it would have kicked in by now.  Is it at LEAST 3" deep (for sand)?  If it's not sand size grains, and maybe more on the order of 1-2mm grains, then it would need to be 4"-6" minimum (this would work well with the sand, too, just be sure to have sufficient sandsifting animals to avoid compaction).    >On another note, what else can I do to help my coralline algae grow?  My calcium at last check was at 375, alk at 4.5 and pH at a "balmy" :-) 8.4.  I add a tsp of Kalk almost every night.  Once again is this just a time thing?  Patience? >>I'm not the best person to ask about calcium and alkalinity, but your calcium level seems to be in a good range, between 350-400.  If I recollect correctly, you want your alkalinity to be on the high side, though I would think that 4.5 meq/l IS on the high side.  Very perplexing.  Here's a link to a discussion on such: http://reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=29957&highlight=correct+alkalinity Randy Holmes-Farley is also a chemist by profession, so his information can be counted on to be pretty good. http://www.reefs.or/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=24550&highlight=correct+alkalinity Also.. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/no2002/chem.htm Marina

Coralline algae (10-28-03) Hi guys,<Howdy, Cody here today.> Your website has been such a great resource lately, thanks for taking the time to make it available.  My question is: there is someone on eBay selling coralline algae scrapings saying that it is a way to seed a tank.  I was under the impression that this type of algae always grows in the presence of live rock, but that it would not grow until a tank is established for a long while.  Any help would be appreciated. <If you have some LR with coralline on it should grow with time as long as you have the proper lighting, calcium… If you don't have any present in your tank you could buy a piece with some on it and it will quickly grow.  I would recommend you just buy some LR with it on it as that is a much safer way than getting it shipped to you.  Cody>Thanks.

Lucky sum ma ma or too much coralline? - 7/21/03 Hello "CREW" or whomever happens to be in today;-) <It's me Paul. Sorry for the delay> I have a problem with way too much coralline algae growth in my 125 gal reef. <Lucky bon of a sitch!> Unlike others who are trying to get it to grow it's in overabundance in my tank, so much so that it's hard to see all of the beautiful things I've paid good money to look at! <You realize everyone will have stopped reading this response by now due to their jealousy....=}> It's frustrating because I clean it off... and it comes back 10 fold!  I have urchins.. they don't seem to do anything... I don't even notice any of it gone on the rocks that they feed on it grows back so quickly.  I'm wondering if you have any other suggestions for removing it?  It's been an ongoing battle, and some say you can never have too much coralline but I tend to disagree when it obstructs the views of my fish and inverts! <Well, I use an old credit card or student ID card to scrape the walls clean. If it is glass you could razor it...... carefully.>  I don't even add supplements... I stopped in hopes that the coralline would stop reproducing, but it's been 6 months and it's still growing like it always has. <Give us the recipe. What is your PH, Calcium level, Alkalinity levels, type of lighting, how long is your lighting on, How old are your lights, salt type, water change method, anything else you think might be pertinent. What kind of urchins are we talking about. I hear Pencil and Pincushion are pretty good at chowing coralline. There aren't any real snails or crabs that can help, that I know of. Do you add anything with strontium in it?>  Please help soon, I'm starting to have nightmares about being completely encrusted in coralline!!!!!!(well, not literally, but it is driving me crazy!;-) <Again, this is a hard one, as I am under the impression one can never have too much coralline algae. I would scrape what you can off the viewing areas, leave the back glass (acrylic) alone. Fight the battles you can win and leave the rest.... Sorry to be of so little help. Let me know if you find something that works so as I can spread the word.....Bwahahahaha! Seriously, scrape it and leave it for the urchins to eat. Soak any mechanical parts (power head parts etc...) in vinegar and rinse well before placing back in the aquarium. Good luck, and thanks for letting me poke a little fun. Take care -Paulo>

Could Coralline Be Harmful? (3/13/04)   This is something I've wondered for years, but have never seen discussed. If the bacteria in live rock need to be refreshed with water/nutrients at all times in order to do their thing, what possible benefit could there be to having the LR. covered by coralline algae?   Seems to me it would serve to "suffocate" the bacteria and reduce their prevalence in the rock. (Of course, coralline algae itself does remove some nutrients from the water, so I guess it could be viewed as poor man's live rock.) <Having seem coralline from behind on my glass, I can assure you that it is rather porous. It is clearly not some sort of impenetrable barrier like glass.>   Can water actually travel directly through coralline algae's body cells? <No need. Plenty certainly passes around the cells.> Perhaps the bacteria eat the underside of the C.A. if needed, in a parasitic/symbiotic relationship. <Am not aware of such a relationship.>   In other words... If a tank has 100 pounds of live rock, with about 40% of the LR.'s surface area covered by C.A., is that equivalent to only having 60 pounds of live rock?   I suppose this number depends on just how porous one's live rock is; i.e. whether or not water can fully travel through the rock from the non algae-encrusted side(s). <Again, not a solid, impermeable encrustation. Look at it with a high-powered magnifier.>   C.A. obviously also removes calcium from the water, hurting stony corals.  <I'm quite certain the stonies extract calcium at a much higher rate that the coralline does. That's keepers of stonies measure calcium and supplement as needed.>  I don't mean to give any reefkeepers heart attacks with these questions, but I really think C.A. might be an example of something that is too good to be true, and its effects ought to be studied very closely. <I'd say there's sufficient practical experience to suggest that there is no harm. Research would be nice, but there's almost certainly no funding available for such a project.>   Chris R., New Orleans <Interesting questions Chris, but I wouldn't worry much about this. Steve Allen.> Question on Coralline Bob, <Msieu Moore> I was a regular user of a website that allowed folks to ask you questions on their tanks.  That site has now merged with Dr. Forster and Smith and they don't offer that service.  Since I saw your name associated with another site I thought I'd take a chance and shoot you a question.   <Glad you found us... WetWebMedia.com continues as our archive> My coralline algae is looking like someone sprinkled sugar on it.  I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not but I'm hoping you've heard of it and might have a reason for the cause. Thanks for your time. Keitt Moore <Likely either calcium is out of balance with magnesium (should be in a ratio of about 1:3) or your alkalinity is low. Do test for all, and adjust accordingly. Bob Fenner>

Coralline algae growth and cleaner shrimp breeding- 2/4/04 Hey guys, was wondering if the steps to coralline algae growth is as follows: rock turns a slight green w/ "web patterns", then spots of pink, and then purple......the purple stage seems to have the same "webbing", but comes off later, looks like it sloughs off which reveals a darker purple underneath....this happens in the course of a month......calcium is 420ppm....just wondering. <Well, not having watched the stage carefully, I would have to say that at a glance this was the stages my live rock went through. Not too sure though> 2nd query of the day is: has anyone successfully raised cleaner shrimp? <We have at the Monterey Aquarium> Lysmata amboinensis.....my two shrimp in my 55 are always gravid, which they release the larvae in succession. <Correct> I managed to sieve some with my net the last time, <Beaker them out to prevent damage to the larvae> but they only lasted 3 weeks in a 5 gallon refugium that I setup for them. <Sorry to hear> I fed them marine phyto, but to no avail....any recommendations? <We have had success with Selcon and quality phytoplankton enriched brine nauplii. The have a long larval period of about 1 1/2-2 months long before they look like miniature versions of the adults> They're gravid again.....they seem to be after they molt (every three to four weeks) <Sounds about right>............otherwise the larvae will be fish fodder :( <Good luck. Great question! ~Paul>

Algae in FOWLR 2/5/04  Good morning, just a quick question regarding algae growth. I have a 220 gallon FOWLR system with about 150 pounds of live rock. When I purchased the rock it had nice purple, red, violet coralline algae. A few of the pieces had a very very dark red color. This dark red, almost black looking seems to now be growing on the majority of the rocks and over top of the other more colorful encrusted algae. This growth I speak of looks slimy yet is hard. Is there anything I can do to promote other colors and types? I don't have any blue actinic in my power compacts, would this make a difference?, is this a good alga or is it telling me something is wrong with my system?  <Different coralline algaes will dominate depending on many factors including lighting, current, calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity. Increasing the current and maintaining calcium and alkalinity are the most important factors in promoting growth of a variety of corallines, but on may still dominate. Adding some actinic light may favor a different type than you have now. I don't think anything is "wrong", but do test the calcium and alkalinity. Both of these parameters are often ignored in FO tanks, but should be maintained if good coralline growth is desired.>  One thing I should mention is that I have in the past dropped the salinity in the system to fight off Ich. I've since moved it back up.  <A drop in salinity could have contributed to the die off of some corallines. Hyposalinity is hard on live rock all the way around because it is very stressful on all of the inverts living in/on the rock. I like hyposalinity very much, but it should be used in quarantine.>  Last question I do have a clown trigger in the tank, if I was to get some turbo snails to help eat the algae is it likely the trigger would eat the snails. Thanks for the help. Joe  <This may be hit or miss. I would give it a shot with a couple of snails and see if the trigger behaves before adding more. Best regards. Adam>

- Coralline Algae Not Growing - Hi crew, thanks for all your help in the past.  I just passed my one year anniversary on my 55 gallon reef/ 30 gallon sump with "fuge".  Things are pretty good and I'm getting more sophisticated in knowledge and husbandry. So far I have two fish, flame angel and tomato clown both doing great.  One corkscrew anemone who has doubled in size, a couple of mushrooms and some clean-up guys.  My question has to do with why my coralline just won't grow. Tank specs: Temp = 77.9 SG = 1.025 PH = 8.2 - 8.3 Calcium = 400 Alk = 2.8 meq/l Magnesium = 1200 ORP = 297 - 327 (8 hour swing) Nitrate = 2.5 Phosphate = .125 Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Lighting = 3-4 watts per gallon VHO CPR BakPak = 1/2 cup per day output Kalk drip = 3 gallon DI top-off every two days with 3 tsp of Kalk covers daily demand. Iodine = 1 tsp per week Water change = 10 gallon per week No other supplements, I feed very sparingly.  My coralline just won't grow, I had read that some hermits eat coralline so I moved them all into the "fuge".  Also quite a bit of slime algae growing in sump. I ordered an ozonizer to install into the venturi of my skimmer hoping to get ORP up around 400 Mv. Also ordered some red Gracilaria macro for sump. Are there any parameters or things I need to tweak or am I missing something completely. <Hmm... Kalkwasser alone will do nothing for you alkalinity, which is low based on the numbers you provide. You need to work at improving that number and that will improve calcium uptake by the coralline. More about calcium/alkalinity here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm > Kind of at a loss here, I read the GARF stuff, still no results. As always thank you in advance for you help  Mike <Cheers, J -- >

Coralline Algae and Acrylic Aquariums 1/14/03 Hi Bob or Crewmate, <Hi Joseph. Adam here tonight.> I haven't even received my custom acrylic tank and I'm already fretting over scratches.  Bob, in his book The Conscientious Aquarist recommended acrylic tanks over glass.  I just started reading The Reef Aquarium and Delbeek and Sprung suggest that acrylic tanks are more suitable for fish only because cleaning the coralline algae off the walls will scratch the acrylic due to the calcium. <A question for the ages!  Some folks swear by acrylic, some swear at it!  Acrylic is a better insulator, is clearer, is lighter and is more shatter resistant, but scratching can be an issue.> Just how much of a problem are scratches with an acrylic tank?  If I am careful and use the proper tools to clean the tank, will I be able to enjoy watching a marine environment in my home for many years without seeing obvious scratches on the acrylic panes?  Even though I am willing to invest substantial time, energy and money in setting up and maintaining a reef aquarium, I am not willing to do this if, after a few years, I am seeing a scratched viewing panel first and a reef second.  I would just as soon fill the 145 gallon tank up with freshwater and goldfish.  Thank You,  Joseph Rouse <There are a few tips for keeping acrylic tanks scratch free.  First, clean it often to prevent heavy build up of coralline (a cleaning magnet is a great aid here).  Second, be very careful to use acrylic safe tools and don't trap any sand or grit in the tool.  Lastly, just be generally careful in how you work in the tank, place rock, etc.  There is no doubt you will get some scratches, but under water they are nearly invisible and shouldn't detract much from your viewing pleasure.  Best of luck!  Adam>

Coralline Algae & Salt Quality (12/21/2003) Hi Guys or Gals, <Steve Allen tonight> Thank you so much for all you do.  You are greatly appreciated. <our pleasure> A couple of quick questions. I have a 250 gallon FOWLR that I am trying to grow coralline algae in.  A lot of the tank is purple but I would like to have more.  How long should my power compacts be on? Currently I have 2 72 inch 96 watt bulbs on about 5 hours a day. Is that long enough? <depends on what other things you want to grow in there. Corals require a lot more light. Gradually increasing the duration of your light period over a couple of weeks to 8-12 hours would probably help. Remember that coralline doesn't like too much light either.> I am using Tropic Marin Bio Calcium but cannot get a reading over 320? <Is there something else in your tank using it up. Are you using a good brand of test kit such as Salifert, LaMotte or Hatch? Make sure your alkalinity and pH are within acceptable limits. Do look at other ways of supplementing calcium. Here is a good place to start for learning how to encourage coralline growth: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs3.htm > Secondly,  I am very concerned about a conversation that I had with the local Fish Store.  They told me Tropic Marin is the worst salt on the market and I should not be using it.  Do you agree?  Is there a list of available salts with their "ratings"?  Is there a consequence to change the salt you are using when your fish are used to your current mix? <I have no idea where your LFS guy goes. Tropic Marin has an excellent reputation and most of the crew think it's the best. Instant Ocean is almost as good. I use that because no LFS around here carries Tropic Marin. There is quite a bit of controversy over salt mixes right now. Do search WWM under "salt, quality" to learn more. What did your LFS recommend? I can tell you that I had a lot of bad experiences with Red Sea before switching to IO. There should be no harm in gradually switching brands. The way I did it was to start using the replacement in the water changes.> Your help would be greatly appreciated, Matt (Hope this helps Matt.>

- Questions about This and That - Thanks for all the info thus far, and I guess this ich outbreak has given me time to worry about other stuff. I have about 200lbs of Florida live rock and I'd say it's adjusted well. The coralline algae even started to spread the first couple months of introduction, but I haven't monitored or added any calcium since then. But now I'd like to encourage growth. About a month ago my ca levels were at 210 and alk at 12 (Salifert test kits) so I bought some Kalkwasser figuring that while my tank was fallow I'd have time to adjust and experiment with additives so I began adding the Kalk. Putting 2tbls in a gallon jug and adding half the saturated solution, pH would jump about 0.1. I'd usually try and add about half a gallon of the saturated solution twice a day. I'm not sure if I'm right for this but I would add more water to the gallon jug used previously and cap it for later use, there was more undissolved Kalk in the bottom. Well after a couple weeks of steady dosage I've only tested an increase of ca levels to about 230-240 (alk still 12) and no more. But strangely I've noticed a couple small blotches of coralline growth on my back glass.  I'm afraid to up the daily dose because of the pH increase. I've thought of using calcium chloride additives and have even went so far as to buy two bottles (LFS store recommended calcite and aragonite by NatuReef) but haven't used them yet. I know its a quick fix but needed a recommendation first. I know I could do a large water change but my instant ocean mix has only tested to have a ca level of about 300. And the water change I would have to do would take a lot of salt and money. <You think you will save money with other additives? Doesn't make sense to me - any route you choose will 'cost money'.> Another thing related to coralline and calcium. Is the fact that I have a fish only with no DSB or refugium. <Neither of these have much to with calcium or coralline.> So I typically allow algae to grow all over the back and sides of my aquarium. My ideas on this are that they remove nutrients that need to be removed. <As long as you harvest this algae out from time to time, that should work to some extent.> But coralline is much more attractive, but my question is does coralline algae have the same benefits of nutrient removal as others, and will increased coralline on the glass improve nutrient uptake the same? <No.> I do have a cs12-1 EuroReef protein skimmer, use well water, and do not have much of a clean up crew. I need to purchase more animals for this, but I have a harlequin tusk at the LFS waiting for me and I'm afraid that he will demolish anything small I use for algae removal on my rock. So I plan on purchasing the larger turbo snails and I'm assuming these snails will consume algae on my rock and glass. I apologize for all these questions but they are all kinda related because if the coralline isn't effective for nutrient removal then ill need the algae growing on my glass right? <Or do more frequent water changes - with a skimmer the size of the one you have and regular water changes, you should have much of a nutrient problem.> So I would need a cleanup crew full of hermits and crabs that would only clean the rock, or does it really matter? <Only if it matters to you - a need to see the rock clean and pristine.> Will having not much algae of any kind growing equal bad water quality? <Not necessarily.> thanks Brandon <Cheers, J -- >

Why is Fiji coralline algae so PURPLE? Greetings again, esteemed fellow wet-heads. I'm about to set-up a larger reef tank, which will focus on "Indo-Pacific" livestock, especially those from Fiji. So that I can make life as comfortable as possible for all future inhabitants of the tank, I'm trying to find out what environmental factors make Fiji live-rock coralline algae so predominantly PURPLE? I'm not merely jazzed about the color -- my hope is that creating a tank which favors purple corallines from Fiji would benefit other creatures from the same neighborhood (duh). Is there some special combination of water quality, lighting, and water chemistry (trace elements? calcium characteristics? oxygen?) that makes Fiji live-rock so purple? <Wish I knew... have not seen discussed this particular issue> My instinct is that, in addition to the above criteria, WATER DEPTH (i.e., resultant lighting spectrum) plays a large part in favoring "the color purple." Hypotheses: Does Fiji live-rock get unusually high "actinic" radiation? UV? Or is the surrounding water rich in some specific mineral? <Don't think so on these counts. Have been to the areas where the companies collect most all the LR in Fiji... it's large, open, shallow (wading depth) seashore to the open Pacific (along the Coral Coast in Viti Levu) for the most part... Perhaps their greater care in cleaning, shipping LR has something to do with it... and there is notably a dearth of hermits, Parrotfishes in and about these collecting areas... maybe this has something to do with the propensity for corallines> My existing tank has provided consistent growth of a VARIETY of coralline colors, which is encouraging but means I need to fine-tune a bit before embarking for Fiji. THANKS in advance! - Bruce Mewhinney <Look to using a system of checking, providing adequate to excess biominerals AND alkalinity to boost your encrusting algal growth... Bob Fenner>

Pink Coralline algae turning white 11/4/03  Hello, Any ideas on why Pink Coralline algae would turn white?  Thanks. Teddi  <the list of possible reasons is very long. Common causes though are inconsistent Calcium and Alkalinity levels, lack of water changes (only monthly or less often), light shock from new lamps or a water level drop (as with water change) with lights mistakenly left on (Yikes! bad - bleaches corallines)... temperature shocks too. Many possibilities. Anthony> 

- DSB and Coralline Algae - I don't exactly ever remember in the past 7 months if the nitrates were as low as 10ppm except when they first started to rise.  This tells me that my DSB has never really kicked in. <I would agree.> It has been a steady slow rise to where they are today.  Is there anything I can do to help things along? <See if you can cut back on the amount of food you put in the tank. Perhaps hold off on the large water change - need to have nitrates to kick start the sand bed.> Is time the only thing that will tell? <In the end, yes.> On another note, what else can I do to help my coralline algae grow?  My calcium at last check was at 375, alk at 4.5 and ph at a "balmy" :-) 8.4.  I add a tsp of Kalk almost every night.  Once again is this just a time thing? <Yes.> Patience? <In bulk supply. Cheers, J -- >

Coral / Algae Id and care WWM Crew, <Hi there> Could you please provide an identification of the material that is encrusting this rock (the "bumpy" purple and green stuff)?  I first thought that this was coralline algae, but after searching your id pages and others on the web, I do not know what to think. <Looks like an encrusting Red (coralline) and some sort of green algae to me as well.> I would like to also the care for this particular material.  We think that it is very attractive It came in on our LR, but as you can see on the lower left hand portion of the picture, the material is receding, and on the top of the rock, it is bleaching (turning white).  On another piece of LR that did not have as much of this material on it, it is almost gone. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs> Setup: We are setting up a Oceanic 75 gal. mini reef tank. The equipment currently in the tank are 2 MaxiJet powerheads,4-65W PC Coralife (2-10000K and 2-actinics),Prizim Pro skimmer, Oceanic w/d sump (bio balls removed - put skimmer in the "old bio area" - the output of the skimmer goes into the refugium with has LS and red Gracilaria growing - reverse photoperiod of about 12 hrs.- which then overflows into the pump area to be returned to the main tank), Eheim power canister filter (with floss and activate carbon in it) and a UV sterilizer (not on) in a separate loop. We currently have about 60 lbs. of LR (LR is Fiji (45%) and aquacultured from FL (55%)) and 45 lbs. of LS. The sand bed (mix of sand and LS) in the main tank is 3" of fine sugar sand (a little medium fine aragonite mixed in). The tank is about 8 weeks old. <This is "very young"... and has a direct bearing on the vacillation in the encrusting algae you are experiencing... You need to maintain biomineral and alkaline reserve levels... over time... to grow all> The tank was cycled with the uncured LR and LS. For the past 4 weeks our water tests have shown ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0,and a temp. of 80-82F. Within the last two weeks we have been testing alkalinity and calcium. The current results are KH 11 dKH, GH 40+dkh (got tired of dropping reagent - is this possible or do I have a bad test kit?), and CA of 255. I know that I need to increase the CA levels. <... please have a read on WetWebMedia.com re these materials> I have been adding small amounts of Kalkwasser to increase the CA, but from reading your website, I would guess that I am close to a precipitate snowstorm. Therefore I need to do water change to lower the alkalinity so that I can raise the CA -- Do I understand this correctly? <Partly> We added the PC lights about 3 weeks ago (before only ambient lighting and 1 48" NO Coralife flour.). Over the last two weeks this material (referred to above) on the LR has been receding (mainly the dark and light purple, and dark and light green algae -- the pink coralline seems to be growing well within the last week (after we started supplementing the Ca - small spots on the glass, on the dead rock, and a little on the sand). Is the receding material due to the water quality issues (low Ca and high Alk.) and/or acclimation to the new lights? <More the former> Or is this too much lighting for this tank? Or some kind of disease? <No on both counts, your system is "settling in"... you need to settle on a regimen of testing and whatever supplementation you're going to utilize. I encourage you to look into simple two part systems (Wilken's/C-Balance, Stark's ESV...) and stop the yo-yo'ing with Kalkwasser. Bob Fenner> Thank you in advance for your assistance!

-Weeds!!!- Hello there, I am running a 450 litre reef tank with about 60 kilos of live rock, no sand (to speak of), skimmer, controlled injection of ozone and a wet/dry with bio-balls. 2 x 150 MH on for 10 hours a day. pH range between 8.0 and 8.2 (v stable), ammonia, nitrate and nitrite nil, winter temperature range between 26.5 and 27.5 c. <Sounds good> Fish inhabitants are Flame Angel, Mandarin, Yellow Coris (canary), small Kole and Purple tang, pair of Percula clowns, purple Blenny. Invertebrates are boxer shrimp, hammer LPS, mushroom LPS, Elegance LPS, a Duncanopsamia axifungia, one large Sarcophyton, one Lobophyton, 6" maxima clam. I feed all corals that will take it and fish well but carefully.  This setup is 16 months old and still maturing.  Current phase is experiencing quite heavy growth of Caulerpa Bryopsis which keeps getting a dusting of rust coloured "stuff" which makes it look quite scummy.  <Ew> I have two questions, 1./  Why has the Bryopsis, which seems to be reducing in overall volume, started to be covered in the rust coloured stuff (probably algae) <Sometimes it can get covered in competing algae, there's likely some sort of nutrient problem going on.> and 2./ How do I encourage coralline to start to dominate and get rid of this stuff. <Best way to get coralline to go is to make sure that you have introduced plenty of different species and to keep your calcium and carbonate hardness levels high. As for the algae problem, check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and run a phosphate test. Good luck! -Kevin> I an getting really sick of weeding every second week! Thanks and regards, Michael

Cultivating Coralline Algae... Quick question. I have upgraded lighting and everything. <Excellent! Mo' money, mo' money! LOL> I am trying to see if I can get coralline algae to grow as it does in most pictures I see everyday on the net. Along with the light upgrade I also us some to part solution from two little fishies it is called C Balance and it is used as directed but still not much of a coralline increase. The lights consist of two T12 Coralife 40 watt antic 03 bulbs and two 96 watt 50/50 smart bulbs. Is it the power compacts that are killing the coralline algae? <Nah...Highly doubtful> I am having a almost perfect outcome for my fish and corals but not coralline algae. I even have amphipods growing and everything but no coralline algae. <Give it time. Coralline species require calcium, magnesium, and stable water chemistry...If you are maintaining good water conditions, you'll see it soon enough. There are corallines that adapt to a variety of current/light conditions, so be patient. If you are dead set on jump-starting coralline growth, you could use a calcium gluconate supplement, like Sea Chem's "Reef Calcium", which can really grow coralline like crazy, provided the other conditions are acceptable to it's growth. Keep in mind that overall husbandry needs to be excellent when using this "sugar-based" calcium, or it can help contribute to nuisance algae blooms as well...> I have a plate coral (had for seven months) and a goniopora(5 months) and a frogspawn (two weeks) are they taking to much calcium or is it the lights it is a 55 gallon and other than the corals I have a 2 inch tomato clown and a coral beauty. Please give me some help with this I am at a lost And thanks for the helpful years of WetWebMedia it is a great place and source of information for the rookie aquarist. <I'm glad that you enjoy the site! We love bringing it to you every day! Check out this link for more on corallines: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lime Green Coralline - 9/10/03 Is there a type of Lime green Coralline Algae? <Absolutely.>  I have something growing on my rock that appears to be somewhat translucent lime green, hard like Coralline Algae, but it usually grows in darker corners and doesn't seem to be looking for light. <Could be a sponge, but more likely a coralline of some sort. There is a lime green coralline algae. Found on live rock from various places. I can't give you a specific name off the top of my head at the moment. Here is something I found from a chat with Albert Thiel "Green coralline is probably some form of coralline overgrown by a form of diatom whose growth is promoted by the presence of silicates. There are very few green coralline algae although I have run across several species. Most hobbyists do not see them in their aquariums though, or rarely is maybe a better way of putting it."> Will this take over my tank? <If you're lucky, but likely will wax and wane with lighting regime, water changes, and water parameters>   Should I be concerned? <Not at all! Be thankful!> Thanks for your help. You guys have a great web site and have been a great help. <your inquiries help for the betterment of all. Our webpage is a collaboration. So.... thank you. -Paul>

Missing Coralline - 8/20/03 Thanks a million!! Oh, you're welcome> I was hoping you would say that. By the way, yes, it is 180 litres, not gallons (40 US Gallons I think). <Woohoo. I'm observant. Heheheh> Typically though, I got home last night and noticed the coralline algae is starting to disappear! <there is a very good chance that this didn't happen in one day. Probably was happening for the last few days if not over the past week.> I noticed, after searching through the website that a few people have had this problem. <Usually calcium and/or other constituent minerals are missing, the tank is fairly new, or there is a coralline predator.> I just have to source the additives now. <Careful with adding additives. Be sure to test for anything you add. Too many bad things can happen in a hurry. I would recommend changing the water twice a week if possible. That usually will ensure proper balance for all minerals and keep the tank clean and healthy. A very good methodology, me thinks. -Paul> Thanks again, Rob

Coralline and limpets (not biscuit) - 8/7/03 Bob: Well after trying to figure out what I can't grow coralline algae in my tank, I think I have finally identified a suspect. <Oh?>  I have a few of those odd little creatures known as limpets and according to an article by someone named "Steneck" http://academics.smcvt.edu/dfacey/AquaticBiology/Coastal%20Pages/Limpets.html These things only eat coralline!! <Not necessarily true. I have a "shield" limpet and he, so far, seems to definitely favor algae. I have coralline growing without issue. Not say that some will and do eat coralline, I am just defending these interesting creatures with a purpose.> It really makes sense now because I could see little patches of coralline one day, only to wake up the next morning to find them vanished! <Hmmm. What type of limpet? Do you have an ID yet?> All water parameters, Ca, dKH, etc. are all perfect - no phos, no nitrates, etc. <Excellent!> I guess I'll continue to let them battle it out (I refuse to attempt to remove one of the limpets for fear of damaging him) and see who wins - right now, it's no contest! <I really admire this decision. Coralline will grow if your parameters are as you say- So you can enjoy these very interesting creatures for what they are and grow coralline at a later time. A great attitude! A tip of the bottle to ya's for being a Conscientious Marine Aquarist! -Paul>

Coralline Quandary I have a question about a friend's tank. First let me describe the tank. He has a 180 gal with about 40 gallons of sump space. It has a protein skimmer, Chiller (keeps tank at 80 degrees), four five foot VHOs, wave timer etc.. The water tests 450 calcium, 8.2 PH, alkalinity is 8dkh all the other standard tests are fine. His problem is he has no coralline algae growth. He doses with calcium on a regular basis and no mater what type of calcium dosing method he has tried he still has no coralline algae. He has used Kalkwasser dripped, added calcium chloride, two part types. Many types and many brands of various dosing methods. All the store locally keep selling him products That are going to get his coralline growing. I told him to add magnesium. What are your thoughts? <Well, I agree with you that magnesium is an overlooked aspect of coralline culture. However, there are a lot of other potential aspects that can be overlooked...Lighting and current come into play, too. Corallines can adapt to lots of conditions, but they tend to do better in lower light conditions. It may also be worthwhile to try calcium gluconate (found in Sea Chem's "Reef Calcium"), which has been touted as a good coralline growth stimulator. Like everything else- you need to balance it out with sound nutrient export mechanisms and good husbandry techniques...> Thanks! Best Regards David P.S. I just got the reef invertebrates book LOVE IT!! <Will pass the word on to Anthony and Bob! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Show me the coralline! Hi, I have been using WetWebMedia for quite some time but this is my first question. <Great, hope I can be of some help!> I have a 37 gallon tank (30.25x12.5x22.75high)that has been running for some time.  Its loaded with live rock and I started it about 6-7 months ago.  My main objective with this tank is to get some great coralline algae growth and to then put some small butterflies in it.  I read all the articles on alkalinity, calcium, pH and water chemistry so I think I have that in control.  I have been getting some coralline algae growth.  I need to upgrade my lighting which right now is 2 20 watt NO fluorescents run off of an icecap ballast.  Ok, here is my question - to get optimum coralline algae growth, would I be better off using NO, VHO, or PC , and for whichever type you recommend please give me the watts that I should use for that particular type of light on this 37 gallon tank.  I will implement your suggestions. <I'd go with either a VHO or a PC hood with at least 2 full length lamps (24" in your case) for optimum coralline algae growth. You could also install a couple more NO's instead. There are many different species of coralline algae that all grow under different lighting scenarios, so it's really just a matter of getting the right algae in there. Upgrading your lighting to PC's or VHO will help, as well as buying several small chunks of live rock that have different colored coralline algae on them to help seed the tank. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks in advance for your reply! Best Regards, Craig

Brittle star and coralline algae question... I've poured over your site and the net for a little bit of brittle star ID.  I was hoping you could direct me to a website that has a nice thumbnail listing with pictures.  I've tried http://home.att.net/~ophiuroid/home.html, but that didn't work either. <I suppose you've checked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm. Although I had no luck locating a site either, the Modern Coral Reef Aquarium volume 4 has excellent information and species descriptions w/ pictures.> I have 3 brittle stars all black or grey colored.  one was sold to me as a midnight crawler.  I plopped em in before I became a daily reader of your site as I am now 'enlightened'.  I'm lucky enough to have a job where I'm online 90% of the day (and I still can't find that precious ID site)  I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to read all your faq's (I'm beginning to think it's impossible to read them all).  I pulled my green brittle star (damned assassin took a sally lightfoot crab and an emerald crab).  he paid a heavy penalty.  I'll spare you the details. <I hope that means you returned him to your LFS, otherwise there's no reason to kill it for your mistake.> ok, one more easy question for you, o great and mighty aqua gods! <lol> what are the benefits of coralline algae.  does it soak up nitrates and/or phosphates? <Not to any practical extent.> does it release much needed oxygen into the water column?? <Well, it is an algae so it would.> are there any other benefits that you know of?? <It's really purdy. It is harder for hair algae to get a foothold on it, so it is an excellent thing to have your rocks covered with.> I can't imagine there are any detriments, are there? <Well, if you have enough growing it will deplete your calcium and alkalinity levels. This could be a problem if you don't test for them.> I thank you in advance for your replies and for previous replies welcoming me into the brotherhood (and sisterhood???) that is....aquaria...my new love.  <Haha, enjoy! -Kevin> hopefully I won't need too much therapy later.

Coralline Disappearing? Hi Folks, <Hi Louis, Don today> Mr. Nervous here again.  I have a 55 gallon salt tank that has currently cycle very nicely with about 30-40 lbs of LR from  Florida.  Things have started to proliferate on the rock including green algaes.  Don't know if you would consider them Macros, but I don't think so.  No real developed leaf structures.  Maybe really tiny ones.  They are more grass like.  All chem levels at this point are perfect at 0 with Nitrates at 10ppm, temp at 77 deg f, pH = 8.2..  These reading have been constant for at least a month.  I have a 4+ inch deep sand bed of Southdown sand from Home Depot with 20lbs of Gulf live sand, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch, spread over the top of the Southdown Sand.  Seaclone style skimmer in sump producing very light gunk and not a whole lot, but definitely bubbling over the cone.  No fish or coral at this point.  Still waiting to add another round of LR 30+ lbs this week and have it cycle.  Lighting is a Coralife 4 X 65W PC fixture, 2 actinics and 2 10,000K's.  Actinics on 12 hrs a day, 1 hr before the whites and 1 hr after the whites, whites on for 10 hrs. <All sounds good with the exception of the skimmer> Here is what I am nervous about now.  I believe from what I read that it is normal for coralline purples to suffer a die off initially but is the whitish\pale greenish powdery residue all over the LR and tank dying coralline?  The stuff seems to be increasing in quantity everyday and I am getting nervous and worried.  There is piles of the stuff on the LR and at the base of the LR on the substrate.  What can you suggest or tell me? <Coralline die off is to be expected but the coralline just lightens and turns white. This die off does not produce any 'piles' of material. Is the material you are describing loose? Sounds like detritus to me. If so, I would siphon as much as you can and use a small power head or turkey baster to help get the stuff into the water column so the mechanical filtration (skimmer) can remove it. You can try a sponge or poly type material in the sump to help trap the gunk. Just keep these clean. More water movement in the main tank may be necessary as well. Adding an assortment of snails should be OK now and will help with the cleanup. How are your water changes? You should be doing 10% a week at least. Better, 5-10% twice weekly.> I am ordering a Seachem calcium test kit as well as the Seachem alkalinity/ph test kit in hopes of uncovering some info and giving that to you as well.  The entire calcium/ph/alkalinity thing is really confusing and I am having trouble understanding your article content on the website, otherwise I would not be bothering you with this.  I have been adding some Seachem Reef Buffer but don't know if that really matters.   <This product will buffer pH and raise alkalinity. I would use it sparingly, if at all, until you can test the levels when the new kits arrive.> Thought the Southdown Sand would be helping in the buffering department.   <Yes it does> Is it bad that it is covered by the light covering of a much coarser live sand from the Gulf of Mexico?   <Not necessarily> Is the coralline die off just something I shouldn't worry about and let time tell?   <Yes, a natural occurrence and as you start to balance the alkalinity and calcium at beneficial level, it will come back. Balance is best reached through regular water changes with aerated, aged water, although you can use supplements as well. Patience> Is the powdery substance that is building up something else and not dying coralline? <As above> Thanks as always, <Hope this helps, Don> Louis

Culturing Coralline Thanks Scott, <You're quite welcome!> Are there any products on the market that are easy to use for the enhancement of the coralline algae. <Well Stu, there are a number of products that you can use to achieve good coralline growth, among them, some form of calcium supplementation. You could either use Kalkwasser (administered per your aquarium's requirements, verified by testing), or perhaps, a product like Seachem's "Reef Calcium", which is comprised of calcium gluconate, a form of calcium that has proven to grow coralline like crazy!> And the removal or reduction of the green algae. <Well, as we indicated previously, green algae and other "nuisance" algae tend to go away, or stay under control, with strict attention to nutrient control and export techniques. See this link:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm  > I have seen the calcium reactors in the sump at the LFS and the coralline algae on the rocks is so bright and abundant. Can this same look be achieved from supplements rather than the expensive setup of the calcium reactor and co2 cylinders? Stu <Healthy coralline growth is just one side benefit of calcium reactor use, not to mention good alkalinity and calcium levels in the tank. As mentioned above, with the careful administration of calcium supplements or Kalkwasser, you can accomplish the same thing. Reactors provide a less labor intensive method, however, but it's really a matter of what you want to do, and- most important, what you can afford. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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