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FAQs about Blue-Green Algae Identification 1

Related Articles: Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Green AlgaeGreen Algae 2Avoiding 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, Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: BGA/Cyano ID 2, BGA/Cyano ID 3, BGA/Cyano ID 4, & Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Green Macro-Algae ID 1, Caulerpas, Green Macro-Algae 1Green Macro-Algae 2Green Macro-Algae 3, Green Macro-Algae 4, Chlorophyte Behavior, Chlorophyte Compatibility/Control, Chlorophyte Selection, Chlorophyte Systems, Chlorophyte Nutrition, Chlorophyte Disease, Chlorophyte Reproduction/Propagation, Marine Algae ID 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae Control FAQs II, Marine Algaecide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Cyanobacteria "come" as slimes, free-floating unicellular and colonial forms, and attached varieties... In red, blue, black and green colours

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Identification 10/15/08
I am trying to find out if this pinkish/red stuff is a type of algae or a sponge & how to get rid of it. It started on my egg crate & is moving to my frags.
<Looks like a form of BGA. Read here for information on ridding yourself of this stuff: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm. Welcome, Scott V.>


Re: Identification 10/16/08 Thank you for replying. <My pleasure.> It is not Cyano. It is about the color of coralline algae. <I still do believe Cyano to be the ID, the color is just in the name; comes in many forms.> This is what it looks like dry. http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t135/BibleSue/IMG_0351.jpg  http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t135/BibleSue/IMG_0352.jpg This is what it looks like right after pulling it off. I don't have large amounts since I took everything out & scrubbed it off the egg crate & picked it off the corals Sat. night. It is already starting to grow back. <Indicative of BGA.> http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t135/BibleSue/IMG_0353.jpg  http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t135/BibleSue/IMG_0346.jpg
<A 'quick' jaunt through the Marine Algae ID FAQ pages (there are 25 of them!) will show you similar forms of BGA. A microscope of moderate power will tell you for sure, the BGA will lack discernible nuclei. Anyway, the eradication plan is the same either way. Scott V.>

Algae ID   7/5/08 (2 photos attached) Hey gang. I trust you all had a good 4th (assuming you celebrated it). <Ah, no... not really. Not into this type of rah rah so-called patriotism. A real patriot would be out doing what they could to bring about the overthrow of the current regimes at the fed., some State levels.> I'm sorry to bother you kind folks again, but I'm having trouble identifying some type of brown algae that has taken a foothold in my tank. Here are the tank spec's: 65 gallon tank, ~70 pounds of live rock, 20 gallon sump and 6XT5 lighting. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all 0, specific gravity 1.025. Top off done daily with 0 TDS RO/DI water and 10% water changes every weekend (is it Saturday already?!). It also enjoys candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach. Wait, that's a different questionnaire. Never mind....... Anyway, I'm sure just as the same with all algae's, excess nutrients are feeding it, but I have yet to find this type on your website. I'm sure it's there somewhere, but I've looked over countless pages the past week and haven't found a photo that resembles it. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time. -wuf <Very likely this mulm is mostly a BGA... If you look under a scope of moderate power you'll be able to see... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bgaidfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae ID 7/6/08 Thanks for the response Mr. Fenner. <Welcome... wuf!> I don't think this is BGA (Cyanobacteria). It doesn't come off the rock easily at all, and isn't THAT fast of a grower. <Mmm, neither of which are salient characteristics...> Attached is a link to an animated gif that shows 8 weeks of growth on a frag, and you can see the algae starting to grow during that 8 week period. http://samwolfe.com/photos/acro.gif <Interesting> Sorry to be a bother. -wuf <Not a bother. Do know that it is impossible to ID Thallophytes, Cyanophytes by simple macro-viewing... Again, a simple look/see will reveal whether much of this life lacks nuclei... a definitive difference twixt. Please do read where you were referred to. BobF>

Diatom Bloom...  BGA 3/20/08 Hi Crew, <Hello there.> I seek your advice once again. Recently I've experienced what appears to be a diatom/Cyano bloom. <It is what it appears to be.> I have a 90 FOWLR. The recent change I've made was switching from 110W PC's to the Nova Extreme Pro T5 HO (324W). I'd like to start introducing polyps, xenia, etc to start into the reefkeeping life. <Great!> I started seeing this bloom around the time of this lighting switch, but I'm not sure this is the root cause based on the readings, which indicate I should be looking for issues with water parameters and nutrient export. <Exactly, while the lighting has spurred the growth, there are underlying causes that need to be addressed.> I've tested Phosphate (0), Silicate (0), Nitrate (.25), and pH (8.2-8.3 with lights on). I'm using Salifert test kits, so I believe these are reliable numbers. <Yes, these test kits are good. Do be aware these numbers can be deceiving, nitrate and phosphate can be used up as they are produced, allowing BGA growth and yet still yielding low numbers when you test. The proof is in how the tank looks.> I employ an AquaC Urchin skimmer, a 3gal refugium w/ a DSB and Chaetomorpha (which is growing and being trimmed), and 30% water changes every other week. I've attached a few pics of the sand as well as the growth on the rocks. With a diatom/Cyano, I was expecting to see this develop in more stagnant areas, but the pics are where my powerheads are hitting the rocks pretty much head on and is where the growth is thriving. <They idea behind not allowing stagnate areas is to keep detritus in suspension to be exported via your filtration (mechanical/skimmer) or processed by live rock and its inhabitants. The nutrients that cause the outbreak will be spread throughout the tank, causing growth all over. It merely originates from the stagnant areas more than others.> I'm a bit confused on this and I'm wondering if this is really a Cyano/diatom issue or something else. <Nothing else, BGA it is.> You're help would be greatly appreciated, especially if I need to be testing or looking for something else. Thanks again <Welcome, a link with related FAQ's to help you learn how to control this outbreak. Good luck, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm

Red Algae Control, Input From A Querier 1/27/08 I noticed this picture on page four of your algae ID section: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Algae%20and%20Plt%20Pix/BlueGreenAlgae/redstuff.JPG Mr. Fenner identified it as red slime but it looks like red hair algae to me, a different beast. There is a large thread over on ReefCentral about this particular algae, "Red Nightmare Algae" or something like that. The biological control listed in that thread is "true Mexican Turbos" and they work very well and are quite efficient. No other snail seems to eat this stuff. I would advise anyone dealing with this algae not to load up too many of the large Turbos as they are quite efficient. Five in my 75 totally eliminated this algae (except in deep crevices) in a few days. I would hate for someone to put 20 snails in their tank and starve them. <Good advice.> It seems this algae doesn't need much in the way of nutrients to survive and grows equally well under high lights and low lights. It has even taken to growing in my macro algae (which is not currently growing very fast). I hope you find this information useful. Thank you for the service you provide. <Thank you for sharing. James (Salty Dog)><<Is this yet a Cyanobacterial species? Likely so. RMF>>  

Red Slime Algae?? 12/26/07 You guys are awesome and I greatly appreciate everything you are doing to help me! You are so quick on your responses as well! Thank you. <Happy to help.> I'm not sure if I have red slime algae or not. I just started my 55 saltwater tank almost 2 weeks ago. I have a 55 high tank. Wet/dry system with bioballs. Protein skimmer, (2) 96 watt aquarium lights. One I believe is 10,000 actinic. The other is a growth light. Pinkish color. I bought the set up used. The guy will not help me too much. As you can tell I am new to saltwater. Experienced freshwater. My ammonia is 0. Nitrites 0. ph was 7.7. I added a ph up and now it's 8.0. <Start with some water changes, your ph is still on the low side. Water changes with a good quality salt will remedy this. Also do invest in a carbonate hardness test kit if you haven't already.> My temp is 78. I bought 20 lbs. of Fiji "cured" live rock. I know I need a lot more. I am starting slow and working up to 60-90 lbs. I don't want to shock my tank or lose a lot of money all at once. <Very difficult to kill off live rock. It will be easier on your end to get your rock now and cure together. Even cured rock will likely go through a curing process once moved and placed in your tank.> I picked a few pieces that looked very pretty because it had a lot of purple and red coralline growth on them. That's what the LFS told me it was. Now I am hearing more about this red slime algae. My rock has red colored growth on it! <Not necessarily BGA (red slime) just because its red.> It's a dark burgundy. Included is a pic of the main rock. <Appears to have some BGA.> There are a few others with the same stuff on it. Just not as much. It had this on it when I bought it. If it is Red Slime, wouldn't they treat that and not sell it? <Not always.> I just added 6 snails, and 3 very small hermit crabs because I am going through the brown algae cycle. (that's what they told me). <Same cause and problem. The cleanup crew will be of little help, you need to treat the source of the nutrients fueling it. I suspect a new tank with curing rock, needing water changes.> They also told me to keep my lights on 12 hours a day due to the live rock. It was just today that I added the snails and crabs. It was after the fact that I started seeing pics of the red slime. I have no fish or inverts yet. Just the snails and crabs. Please tell me if I should be worried. <No, this is normal growing pains of a new tank. It won't hurt anything you have except the aesthetics of the tank.> I am already sick to my stomach and so scared to add any fish. <I wouldn't until you have all the rock you want, unless you plan to cure any additional rock outside your tank.> Thank you VERY MUCH for all of your help! Raesunrae <You are very welcome. Sleep easy and read the following links and related FAQ's regarding your situation, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm

Oh yeah!

Red Fuzzy Coralline? '¦Not likely, perhaps another Rhodophyta -- 08/26/07 Hello crew! <Hi Dave, Mich here.> I have been researching your site and others trying to figure out what is growing in my 90-gallon reef. <OK.> I have a red feathery/fuzzy substance growing on a lot of my rocks, snails and hermit shells. <OK.> I was wondering if it was a type of coralline and harmless in my tank. <Only guessing without a pic.> I am very familiar with Cyano and I don't think this substance is it. <OK, One of many possibilities off the table.> It is very difficult to scrub off, and grows in high flow areas unlike Cyano. <Still leaves a plethora of possibilities.> I read a similar query asked by another gentleman on your site. The reply to him was that it was coralline, and that he should drop some vinegar on it to see if it bubbled to be sure that it was. I tried this experiment on my substance and it did not bubble. <Then it is likely not coralline or any other calcium based organism.> The other gentleman described it very well, in my opinion, by saying it appears to look like patches of red mold. <Many nuisance algae come to mind, red turf algae or red hair algae such as Polysiphonia, Asparagopsis, Anotrichum barbatum, Gelidium pusillus, or perhaps a beneficial organism such as a red tree Foram (Homotrema rubrum) Your expertise would be greatly appreciated. <A photo might help here.> Thank you all for this amazing site! <Thank you for your kind words!> Dave Kansas City, MO. <Mich Gouldsboro, PA.>

Re: Red Fuzzy Coralline? '¦Not likely, perhaps another Rhodophyta... BGA   8/28/07 Mich, <Hi there Dave.> Thank you, for your quick and very helpful response! <Welcome!> I have been researching your suggested algae species and I am continuing to have problems identifying which is growing in my tank. <Yes, does not look like what I was picturing in my head with out the photos.> I hope that they attached picture of the red substance growing on my glass magnet might help you take a better guess at what it is. <Mmm, pics are helpful. Is not a red tree Foram and likely not many of the algae I suggested previously, is a nuisance alga, likely a Rhodophyte, but beyond that I can't tell. Perhaps RMF will comment on the dailies page.> <<Is highly likely Cyanobacteria... a quick look under a few hundred power microscope would show the absence of nuclei, organelles, the distinctive circular DNA if higher powered... Please read on WWM re BGA... RMF>> This is the way it appears everywhere in my tank, (rock, hermit shells, powerheads) short, red, and fuzzy. <No fun. Perhaps some improvements in husbandry would help? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm > Thank you for your time, <Welcome, wish I could be more helpful. Mich> Dave Mmm, think I forgot to move an image into the emails with images folder... re: fw: re: Red Fuzzy Coralline? atten: Mich <No worries... was there somewhere. Found, posted> Also He stated earlier: It is very difficult to scrub off, and grows in high flow areas unlike Cyano. <Is almost assuredly BGA... B>

Cyanobacteria... specifically? 7/6/07 Anyone know specifically which species/genera of Cyanobacteria we see in our aquariums? <There are at least dozens...> Are they any of the same ones scientists are studying to figure out what causes the conversion of reef communities from coral- to algal-dominated (i.e. the Tolypothrix sp., Schizothrix sp., Lyngbya sp., etc.)? Thanks, Sara <At least the two genera are found at times. Re: studies on the issue you state, I know naught. However, a visit to a large library with computer search capabilities should reveal such if so in a short while. Bob Fenner>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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