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FAQs on Marine Algae Identification 29

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Algae? Yep 12/31/09
<Hi there>
I am here again looking for your great knowledge. I'm just curious what this growth would be(in picture)? It is "rubbery" in texture. It started growing out of nowhere.
<Mmm, almost assuredly a Phaeophyte, genus Lobophora. Please see here:
and the linked files above possibly, re control. Bob Fenner>

Red Veins, and not licorice 11/20/09
Hello Crew. I have started seeing these red vein looking things Growing on my glass the past week and at first I was thinking it was some kind of worm.
As the week went on they did not move or seem to grow in size but I would see new ones show up every day. Today I found one on one of my coral frags and am now concerned. The Frag ( Pic included ) is about 1" x 1" and it has the largest of the vein growths on it. I have searched all week since I noticed them and I have only seen one forum that refers to the same thing but they never found out what it was.
My Tank is 125gal with 55gal Refugium. My levels all test good phosphate .04 Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, PH 8.4, Salinity 1.024, temp 80F.
Is it something I need to get rid of or is it nothing to worry about.
Please Help I am at a loss as what to do.
Thank You Ed
<Is either an algae (my first guess) or possibly a type of sponge (second)... but would need better pix (more acuity, resolution) and maybe a microscopic exam to be more sure. I wouldn't do anything to "remove" at
this point. May well "just cycle" out on its own. Check WWM for nutrient limitation... competition for same. And we'll be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Blue Green Algae/Cyanobacteria... Mmm, nope 11/14/09
Hi Everybody!
I have looked through the archives for identification of an algae that I am having a problem with in my tank. I do believe it is Cyanobacteria but, would like a confirmation (see attachment).
<A nice pic!>
It's not slimy like other Cyanobacteria I have encountered before. It's slow growing and rather hard to remove from rock. Could this be anything other than Cyanobacteria?
Tank parameters: ph-8.3, nitrate-20ppm, phosphate->.02ppm, salinity-1.025. Currently running activated carbon and a skimmer 24-7 in addition to weekly water changes to help combat the problem. This tank has been established for two years. Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge.
<Glad to share. Am almost certain this is Lobophora variegata, a "brown"/Phaeophyte. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm
and above for input on control, etc.. Bob Fenner>

Algae problem help 11/3/09
Hey crew,
<Hello Alex, sorry for the slow response.>
I'm having a problem getting this algae under control. I also hope you can give me an id on what it exactly is also, but anyways my tank has been running for approx 2 years without any problems until now.
<Likely a form of Cyano.>
Problems started about two months ago and have yet to show any signs of slowing down. I have a 40 br and I use ro/di water and phosphates/nitrates/nitrites/ammonia/silicates all test out as undetectable.
<Can be used up as produced. 0 really means nothing so long as the algae it there.>
I have a flame Hawkfish, a yellow wrasse, and a blackcap Basslet as fish, various soft/LPSs/sps corals and 6 or so Astrea snails, 6 Cerith snails, 8 margarita snails, 10 or so blue leg hermits, and 5 Nassarius snails, I
recently added 4 turbo snails to help combat this algae as well.
<Too much for a 40, the tang especially.>
On Thursday I actually set up an Aquaclear 70 and set it up as a fuge with Chaeto to help get this thing under control.
I have a red sea max Prizm skimmer/ ac 70/ and Rena xp2 canister filter as my protein skimmer/ filtration and I have sort of run out of ideas on what I can do to further combat this algae.
<How often is the canister cleaned? Can be a big source of fueling factors.>
I tried a sea hare but it died within a few days so that idea is out.
<Typical really.>
Also my bulbs are only about 3 months old, I have a current nova extreme pro and I don't think the age of my bulbs would be an issue.
Thanks for all your help and insight!
p.s. Sorry! i forgot to attach the picture on the last email!
<No problem, do see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. All you need to know it there! Welcome, Scott V.>

Nuisance Algae ID Help -- 11/03/09
I'm hoping you guys can help me ID this algae and most importantly tell me how to get rid of it. We've literally tried everything and nothing seems to eat it either. We've tried Sea Hares, Multiple species of urchins, different tangs and Rabbitfish as well. It is coarse and grows quickly. It covers rock and corals within a matter of days. We've been removing it mechanically to save the corals but it always comes back.
<Mmm, well... need to look at a bit under a 'scope to tell to Division... this looks like a Phaeophyte macroscopically, and there are some that are unpalatable to most tropical marines... I would go the route of competition, nutrient limitation myself here. Please read here:
and the linked files above... Do you have a refugium? A DSB? Measures of ORP? Read re and we'll chat further. Bob Fenner>

Red rock - 10/25/09
Hey gang,
<Howdy Rod!>
Great site!
Short question about a possible algae problem.
RIGHT: live rock that was all red when I bought it. The red hasn't changed.
<Looks to be an encrusting Red... coralline>
LEFT: live rock had some red when I bought it which turned to a darker red/maroon.
<Likely a type of BGA/Cyano>
LEFT: live rock appears to have some 'brighter' red matching the rock to the right (in addition to some coralline coming out).
<Mmm, can't tell>
The one on the left was purchased when the tank was setup. The one on the right was purchased 1 month later. All my levels are delicious, however I overfed my fish for a good two months.
Doesn't seem to match any of the long-haired algae I found- because there is no long hair. The closest image I saw was on
Is it cyanobacteria and should I panic?
<Likely the softer, slimy bit is... and no>
Was it a mistake to buy a 10lb rock
covered in it?
Photo attached.
Thanks in advance,
<Only time can/will tell... best to read re Cyano control... work towards its management. Bob Fenner>

Cyano Bacteria -- 10/20/09
I have a 75 gallon salt water tank 3 power heads different levels protein skimmer etc.
Healthy live rock and 2 anemones and a bubble coral. Several tangs and a wrasse.
<Whoa, several tangs is way to much fish for a 75 gallon tank, in the long run it will be bad for the tangs, in the short run though these messy eaters will likely over extend the filtration capabilities of your tank.>
Anyway I noticed some darker almost maroon likens forming on the rock within a couple of days there was a furry algae and then my Naso tang went from totally healthy to not eating one day and dead the next.
<It does sound like Cyano bacteria, often caused by a combination of nutrients and or low flow.>
Local aquarium said he thinks I have Cyano bacteria and I should get a product called Chemi Clean?
<No, I would not recommend Chemi Clean, it is basically an antibiotic that will kill the Cyano bacteria and potentially also the denitrifying bacteria that keeps your tank running. Please read up on Cyano Bacteria, and address the causes rather than the symptoms.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >
What do you think?
<All posted above.>
<You're welcome, keep reading,
Josh Solomon.>

Help with... Is this coralline or regular algae? 10/14/09
First off I would like to thank everyone at WWM for their knowledge, experience and guidance for aquarium hobby/enthusiast. The website is incredible and dare I say a " Bible" to marine biology.
<I won't disagree with the connotations; am hopeful not to offend other's sensibilities though>
Now for my question. I cruised the boards and FAQ`s about coralline algae but could not find an accurate answer for my question. I currently have a 2 year mature 55 gal fish and anemone setup with a 20 gal sump. I recently upgraded my lighting (4 months ago) to 4 65watt pc Actinics with 2 175watt MH 10k. This made a big difference in health for anemones and keeping away nuisance red and brown algae. I have been trying to help my small samples of purple coralline spread throughout the tank and live rock.
<High, consistent alkalinity, proportional Ca and Mg? You may not have the "seed" (spores) or said Rhodophytes here...>
This has not been successful and what I have now is a Fluorescent green color coating my LR.
<I see this>
This is not slimy or hairy, it is not calcareous like the hard purple and red corallines but appears to be spreading all over. I have also noticed that where the purple coralline dies off the green moves right in. The lighter the LR the brighter the green is.
<Yes... conditions are favoring it over the Coralline...>
I would like some feed back regarding this. I have been told coralline is only red, purple and sometimes brown, not green.
<Red to pink, purple...>
Will the MH bleach out the coralline, the areas that red and purple seem to do better is out of the light and kind of in the shaded spots of the tank.
I have attached an image and would like some expert feedback if at all possible. I am grateful for your website and look forward to your shared knowledge
<There are encrusting greens (Chlorophytes)... this may even be a Cyanophyte mostly... But as long as you're fine with the appearance, your livestock are healthy... Bob Fenner>

Turf, alg. ID, control 10/8/09
Hi, I am fairly adept at reef keeping and know what causes algae and the various remedies for that problem, however, my 55 gal. has developed what I believe is Turf algae. I don't over feed and have a phosphate reactor. This just recently seemed to appear coinciding with adding Oyster feast for my LPS. Here is a pic of what I have and any suggestions on eradicating it are appreciated.
<Ummm, need more information to give a more specific response... but, this looks like it could be a Cyanobacteria/BGA... rather than a "green" (Chlorophyte) "turf algae"... Read through here:
and the linked files embedded and above... for ideas on what you might do, the sorts of data we're looking for. Bob Fenner>

Re: Turf ... read please 10/9/09
Hi Bob, your response puzzled me. The pic is real clear showing short, bristle like hair that can not be scrubbed off, I have tried. With all due respect, I know what Cyano bacteria is and this is not.
<Mmm... I assure you, I "took" three college courses in Phycology (gen., culture and seminar)... and have done a bunch of algae articles, presentations... NOT to mention who knows how many hours fighting
Thallophytes and the Monerans that are BGA over the years... There ARE blue-greens that indeed look just like this... The only way to discern the various Divisions (eq. to animal Phyla) is via microscopic examination... and to lesser extents, storage food and other analyses...>
You say you need more info but didn't say what info. If you tell me what you want to know I will send it along......Thanks
<... Do please peruse where you were referred to. B>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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