FAQs about Red Algae/Rhodophyte Identification
Related Articles: Red
Algae in General, Coralline Marine
Algae Problems in Marine
Control, Marine Maintenance,
Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit
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"/(Cyanobacteria), Diatoms, Brown
Algae, Algae as
Related FAQs: Red Algae
ID 1, Red Algae ID 2, Red Algae ID 3, Red
Algae ID 4, Red Algae ID 6,
Red Algae ID 7, Red Algae ID 8, & Red Algae 1, Red
Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red Algae in General, Red Algae 2, Red Algae 3, Red
Algae Behavior, Red Algae
Compatibility, Red Algae
Selection, Red Algae Systems,
Red Algae Nutrition, Red Algae Disease, Red Algae Reproduction/Propagation,
Algae, Marine Macro-Algae, Use
in Aquariums, Algae as
Food, Marine Algae ID 1,
Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae,
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
algae ID 11/27/17
Your site was recommended to me for algae identification.
This is a pic of it, its relatively rigid, grows quite well via sporing, breaks
off sort of like lettuce, not Ulva and is of a high calcium content, not quite
as rigid as capensis.
I found it diving ages ago and it reproduces well in my tank. Any help would be
great, thank you.
<This looks to me to be Peyssonniella inamoena. Matte Red Crust Algae.
Mottled red and orange usually. Roughly fan shaped growths. Nice specimen and
pic. Bob Fenner>
Question / ID 1/6/15
Attached? Is a photo of some rock I recently purchased. A friend told me to e
mail you and see if you can ID the red growing on it.
<Oh yeah; a Rhodophyte; perhaps a Fauchea species... useful and beautiful.
SEE/READ on WWM re...
red macro algae? coral? sponge?
Hi Crew - first, thanks for an extremely useful website - whenever I
have a question that I cannot find an answer to - your site is one of
the few places that offers exactly the right answer.
I have 60gal reef tank that I have been VERY patient with. I
started it up 9 months ago and just bought my first corals last week.
This was in part as I was fighting a diatom bloom initially, then a
seemingly endless Cyano problem until recently. The major reason
for the Cyano die off/control now, was switching from an algae scrubber
to a properly rated skimmer, and using only foods with low P content.
This has helped immensely and I got to the point of being comfortable
putting corals in. Coralline growth has become markedly more
prolific since then too.
Now my question is this: while fighting the various plagues (including a
300+ Aiptasia outbreak - thank god for berghia nudis), I noticed a
really pretty hitchhiker on some of my live rock. So this started
growing during a time when even though my kit readings were essentially
non detect, but the presence of Cyano/green hair indicated that I had a
surplus N or P issue. At first I thought it was a type of coral,
and then considered sponges - but then someone on a forum suggested that
it is likely a red macro algae - rhodophyte of some form?
<This is my guess as well (or a Foramiferan)... I didn't see (under
magnification of your photo) any pores/openings... that would be present
in Corals, Poriferans>
It is a soft tissue, plate-like structure that is now roughly the
size of quarter (with about half a quarter "depth" to it).
There is a second larger example growing at the back of my tank, out of
reach of a decent photo - that specimen is roughly two inches wide, an
inch high and an inch deep.
Any thoughts? Is it more likely a red algae? Finally - this
is the important bit: is it good or bad?
<Much more good than bad... mostly as an indicator of healthy conditions
here. Not toxic>
Should I be considering removing it, or if my water chem. is truly coming
around, should this guy just die off/starve anyway? Any thoughts
would be greatly appreciated. It's really pretty and I'd prefer to
keep it if it isn't doing any harm...
and image attached for good measure too.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
|Re: red macro algae? coral? sponge?
Well that's good news then! Thank you so much for the speedy and
reassuring response - you guys are the best!
<Ah, welcome Mark. BobF>
Hi crew, I purchased this piece of LR from my LFS a couple of
weeks ago, specifically for the red algae growth which was less
than 5mm at the time.
They didn't know what it was (big surprise, right?) so the
sold it to me for much less than what I believe its worth!
Anyway, the reason I bought it was to grow and harvest for my
Foxface, but I would need to id it first. I believe its a type of
Gracilaria, which would make it a beneficial feed for my fish. Am
Its unlike Gracilaria I've had before, the kind I have had in
the past has grown like a bush with thin stalks. These are
flatter, not calcified, but just as red as any Gracilaria
I've ever seen. Any thoughts on what species it is?
<Mmm, not one of the hundreds of species of Gracilaria, but a
Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgae.htm
and the linked files above>
|Red Algae?, ID, 8/14/08 First off, thanks for
all the info that you have on this site to help us stupid people
out. <Not stupid, just in need of some direction, we've all
been there.> You have helped me out of several issues. Not sure
what I have here as I cannot find a pic on the site. First the
basics, 65 gallon reef tank with live rock and a 25 gallon mud
filter system that has been up and running for over 2 years now.
Only 2 fish a maroon clown and a damsel. Regular water changes with
RO water being the source and regular chemical maintenance.
Lighting is fluorescent on for about 8 hours a day. This
"algae" started in one area and I tried physical removal
which seems to have caused a multiplication of this growth in large
quantities. I have included some photos please advise if you can
identify and what treatments you recommend to slow or cease its
growth depending on the situation. Thank you in advance for your
advice. Chris <Is a species of Botryocladia most likely. I have
this in my own tank, does spread but does not seem to be aggressive
as Valonia. Same control as any other algae, nutrient control,
water changes and manual removal. I usually try to snip off large
clusters at their base with scissors or a razor when I do water
changes. It just takes some time and discipline to get it under
|Red algae taking over 30g reef
4/27/08 Hi there, This is my first time asking a question on
this site although I've referred to it many times...amazing
resource! <You are a stranger here but once. Welcome> I have
a 30g reef tank that has been running for just over a year. I have
about 50-60 lbs live rock, 1" aragonite sand base, a Bak Pak
skimmer, 2 MJ900 PHs, and the lighting is 4x39 watt T5HO. I have a
variety of corals, mostly softies (zoos, mushrooms, leathers, GSPs)
plus a Platygyra brain coral and a frogspawn. Most of the corals
are doing pretty well. Lots of coralline on the glass and starting
to cover a good portion of the rocks now. Critters include feather
dusters, hermits, a variety of snails (Nassarius, Astraea, Cerith
and Nerite), a serpent star, a cleaner shrimp and 2 fish, a Pygmy
angelfish and a Falco Hawkfish. Until just recently I also had a 6
line wrasse but he went carpet surfing despite the egg-crate on the
tank :-( I do biweekly 5 gallon water changes, my SW is made with
DI water and Reef Crystals. <Sounds/reads very nice> My
problem is a nuisance red macroalgae that is taking over my tank. I
can't seem to find any pictures online that resemble this stuff
close enough to make an ID. It's driving me nuts.....shading
and bothering some of the corals and catches lots of detritus. I
yank out as much as I can but it grows on everything, including the
glass, the powerheads as well as the rocks. Interestingly, some
rocks in the tank seem to be more affected by it, while others are
relatively clean. <A clue... what sorts of properties here would
favor the algae? Or disfavor it on the others?> I have 4 rocks
that came from Tampa Bay saltwater and they do not have any of this
stuff on them. I don't know what I can do to get this stuff
under control; my tank is too small for a tang, and none of my
current critters will touch it. Was thinking of Turbos or maybe an
urchin but I'd really like to get an ID on this stuff before I
make any bad decisions involving a critter. Pic attached.....thank
you for your help! -Brooke <Is almost certainly a
"true" Rhodophyte... my guess is on the genus Fauchea, or
of its Order. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/redalgae.htm
and the linked files above re Control (Compatibility). Bob
Fenner> Brooke Longval Marine Ecosystems Research Laboratory
Graduate School of Oceanography Narragansett, RI 02882
|mystery growth -- 03/20/08 Hi, <Mike> I
have searched in vain for something to help me ID this red growth.
My clowns seem to like it and it's off in a corner of my reef
and growing slowly. Any ideas? Mike <Is a Rhodophyte, a Red
Algae... perhaps a Rhodymenia... Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/redalgidfaqs.htm and the linked files above.
Please help ID this: Nemastoma - 2/24/08 Hi
WWM crew, <Good evening, Mitch!> I noticed some type of
growth from my live rock in the last few weeks, and wanted to see
if you had any thoughts as to what it may be. <Okay> I
first thought it was a macro algae, <Heeee! First impressions
are often correct!> ..but it looks more like an animal, with
its sheen and what looks like cell structure. Tank (180) is doing
great, SPS growing well, all levels good. I am thinking this is a
good thing, just have no clue what the new life is. <It's
a red algae called Nemastoma, and I think very pretty! Please see
the FAQ/photo at this link under the title 'Red Algae IDs
8/2/03' for comparison:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgfaqs.htm > Thanks for your
<You're very welcome! Take care, -Lynn>
|ID please: Rhodophyta - 1/5/08 Hello Crew,
<Hi Kelsey!> After much searching, I have not been able to
figure out this "weed" that has been growing rampantly in
my tank. First, tank specs: The tank is a
24"x24"x20"h lit with 250W HQI. I have a refugium,
skimmer and closed loop with an OM 4-way and carbon running in a
reactor. The Live Rock was ordered from Fiji in April uncured. I
cured the rock in bins and set up the tank in July. I have been
manually removing as much as possible but this stuff is everywhere.
<Yikes!> Any help as to what it is good or bad, and what the
proper control for it would be greatly appreciated. <It looks
like a Rhodophyte of some variety. I saw a couple of photos of
Acanthophora spicifera that looked similar
(http://www.sms.si.edu/irLspec/Acanth_spicif.htm), but there are
other possibilities as well (Hypnea, Laurencia, Chondria). All are
known to be around Fiji. Bottom line is that in your case, this
species is invasive and you need to get the upper hand on it!>
Is there any biological control or just manual removal? <Best
thing to do is track down/eliminate the root cause of the rampant
growth. Make sure you've got your nutrient level under control
and employ aggressive manual removal. Please see this link, as well
as, related links at the top re:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm .> As
always, thanks for your insight and time. <You're very
welcome! I know what it's like to fight an invasive algae. It
can be frustrating and time consuming, but with enough
determination you'll get through it!> Houston, TX
<Take care --Lynn>
|Red / Purple/ Maroon Hair Algae? Nutrient Control
11/15/2007 Hi WWM crew. <Hello Jurgen, Mich with you
tonight.> I've been reading and your site for a while now,
and has given me tons of information when I was setting up my first
reef tank. <Glad you have benefited.> It's been almost a
year now, and it seems to be doing great. <Happy to hear!>
But now, I need some expert help and guidance myself. <OK.>
I've got this annoying algae growing in a few spots. It started
to appear in some very high flow areas at first (sump return area,
on the rocks in front of my closed loop outlets) but in the last
couple of weeks I see it appear in some other random spots on my
rocks. It's not growing very fast, but it is slowly but surely
growing. <Happens.> so far, nothing seems to make it go away.
<Nutrient control is usually the key. Some suggestions here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm > my water parameters
seem to be all right. <Vague.> - 90-gallon tank, with 29g
sump. - EV180 skimmer - plenty of random water movement using an
oceans motions device and some small MaxiJet placed inside the
tank. - 8 x 54W T5 lighting; 4 bulbs (two actinic, one aquablue,
one actinic+) on for 8 hours a day, all 8 (two more aquablue and
two more actinic+) on for 5 hours) - do a "reasonable"
water change every weekend, sometimes (depending on my schedule)
every other weekend. - only use RO/DI water that tests at 0 -
nitrates tested <5 mg/L (Hagen Nutrafin kit) - phosphates tested
undetectable (Salifert kit) - SG is 1.025 - temp is steady at 78F
24/7 All my corals (LPS, SPS, zoas, mushrooms) seem to be doing
just great. <Good.> I barely have any hair algae at all
(lawnmower blenny starved to death unfortunately) <Very sad.
I'm sorry for you both.> The only algae that I seem to be
able to grow is this nasty purple stuff, and some bubble algae,
which my emerald crabs won't eat either, but that is not as
annoying right now. <Keep on top of the Valonia, it can become
problematic.> none of my herbivores seem to even look at it
either; <Not surprising.> I have a few scarlet hermits, a few
blue-legged hermits, Cerith and Astraea snails (I believe one of
the Astraea had this red hair on the shell when I got them, getting
it into my tank that way) <Many possibilities.> emerald crabs
don't look at it, Tomini tang doesn't look at it...
<OK.> I don't feed very much, and not very often. three
to four times a week, one cube of frozen food (nicely rinsed first)
and some live brine every now and then. <The brine have little
to no nutritional value.> some pellet food every now and then,
but more as a snack, nothing to fill them up with. <OK.>
I'm attaching two images, I hope you can help me out and point
me in the right direction to get rid of this stuff, before it takes
over the tank. <Looks like red hair algae, possibly
Polysiphonia.> PS: yesterday, I threw two things in my sump,
<Hmm, hopefully they were things that belonged there!> just
in case it might help, as I don't think that it will hurt at
this point. - a bag of Kent Phosphate sponge (the ceramic type
media) will replace that one tonight with a new batch. - a 100ml
bag of Purigen (will leave that one in there until it starts to
discolor) Best regards, Jurgen. <Please next time use proper
capitalization, i.e. "I" not "I" Cheers,
Gracilaria Questions, species IDs 9/6/07 Hi
Crew, Let me start off with the obligatory "you guys rock"
complement (because you do). <Haha thanks> I've asked you a
handful of questions since I started reefing and have always been given
solid advice. I always feel a bit intrusive about asking another
question, but I promise I looked high and low for the answer to this
one. If I never see another scientific paper again, it'll be too
soon. I'm hoping others will find this question useful to them.
<:-)> So here goes. What's the difference between Gracilaria
parvispora and Gracilaria Pacifica? <Not much. They're very
similar and both have the same common name "Ogo." They branch
a little differently and are each more common in different areas
(Gracilaria parvispora is from Hawaii).> Is one better for tangs
than the other? <I highly doubt it.> I'd like to switch the
macro I use for nutrient export over to Gracilaria <probably a bad
idea> (currently using Chaeto) but not sure which to go with (or if
it even matters?) I plan on feeding some of the extra growth to my
tangs and blue-faced angel, who all eat tons of Nori at the moment.
<Aquaculture of this stuff is difficult. The mariculture farms that
grow it float baskets of it in ocean water.> I know Indo-Pacific
Reef Farms is always highly recommended, and they seem to be the only
ones that carry G. parvispora, but it's really expensive!
<Hmm... G. parvispora is common. It's eaten by people too. Try
looking for "Ogo."> Every other online dealer I've
found carries G. Pacifica at reasonable prices but no G. parvispora in
sight except for at IPSF. Should I save my money or is there a reason
to splurge on G. parvispora? <Unless you're going to eat it
yourself, I see no reason to insist on G. parvispora.> Also, any
quick tips on growing? I plan on putting it where my Chaeto currently
is, which sees about 1200gph tumbling in from the display above-very
turbulent and bubbly. For lighting I'm currently using a 32W 6500k
fluorescent screw-in about three inches from the water's surface.
It has a good reflector, and I run it on a 12 hour photo period. In
case you ask, I have a clear acrylic lid between the light and the
water so it doesn't splash up. <See above. I wouldn't even
bother trying to grow it in a home aquarium.> Best to you all,
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner