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FAQs about Green Macro-Algae 2

Related Articles: Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Green AlgaeAvoiding 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: Caulerpas, Green Macro-Algae 1Green Macro Algae 3Green Macro-Algae 4, Chlorophyte Identification, 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; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Valonia macrophysa, Elongated Sea Pearls. St. Thomas. 

Halimeda gone sexual 6/3/03 Good morning: <Howdy> Overnight my Halimeda seems to have been attacked by red and green spots (in the terrestrial world I would call them spider mites) turning the plants white and the water has gone cloudy. <what has happened is that they have gone from being vegetative... either from a stress (newly acquired, or recently stress from a temperature or salinity change, e.g.)... or from a period of vigorous growth without adequate pruning which has allowed the colony to go sexual/mature> No fish currently in residence as they are in ick quarantine but my polyps remain as do the crabs, snails and LR. Should I be ripping the Halimedas out of there and what could be attacking them? <the bleached colonies are dead. New colonies are likely to sprout in the tank within months. Remove the dead matter and conduct a large water change. Use fresh carbon too> Thanks as always for your assistance. Charlie <kind regards, Anthony>

Algae ID 5/30/03 Can you tell me what this might be growing on my live rock? I have to remove some every now and then to keep it under control. Is it some type of sea grass?  Thanks <is definitely not a seagrass or other true vascular plant. Its an algae, although the ID is tough to make without a clearer pic. Do the strands look filamentous? Or instead, are they narrow and crisp/water-filled? Do  send a close-up if you can. Best regards, Anthony>

Shaving brush algae questions- 5/30/03 (The algae, not the item you use with soap and a razor...!) What kind of lighting does the merfolk's shaving brush need? <moderate to bright... roughly 4-5 watts per gallon over 18" of water or less> Also, how deep should the substrate be to support the "stem"? Thanks! <sink the "root ball" so to speak down at least 2-3" in a 5+" substrate minimum. Best regards, Anthony>

Size of Penicillus,  Rhipocephalus,  related taxa <cheers, Peter> I am curious as to the maximum size of the "striped" algal taxa like Penicillus and Rhipocephalus. In my reading,  I have noted reports up to 1 meter,  but in my personal experience have never seen any representatives of the striped taxa nearly that large. <agreed from the perspective of my travel/diving and aquaristic endeavors> My interests are not for aquarium growth,  but for comparing fossil algal taxa to recent striped forms.  I am looking for a recent example which might have a stipe approaching 10-12mm in diameter and a stipe length of as much as 20cm.  Can you help at all? Peter Giles Senior Appalachian Geologist <alas, Peter... I wish I had an addy for the Littlers for you. We can perhaps dig one up when Bob returns from NY. In the meantime, have you consulted their works? http://www.seachallengers.com/index.cfm?catID=5 really outstanding: http://www.seachallengers.com/index.cfm?catID=5&itemID=280 and for great natural history books in general the home page: http://www.seachallengers.com/ best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Re: Sump Baffles Thanks for the quick reply Bob.  Forgive me for referring to you as "he" in the previous email, I didn't imagine you would be the one to reply. <No worries. Understandable> It just sounds a little rude!  I have an algae question, hopefully you get the image attached to this email. <Mmm, nothing attached>   Could you identify it?  (I just got a digital camera so it may not be the best picture, I need to get used to it.)  The algae is in a tight clump, sticks up about 2 inches from the rock at the highest point..  It kinda reminds me of grass on a putting green, not real long but thick/dense.  You could point a powerhead at it and it would not move.  Let me know if the picture didn't make it, I can resend it. <Maybe Chlorodesmis sp., please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm> thanks again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Algae ID & Marine Magazines Bob: Thanks for your quick reply to my query below.  I cannot believe THE Mr. Fenner got stuck with that mundane question!  How about algae ID? Attached is a picture from my 55 of two types.  From your site, I believe the greener one (top left) is of the Halimeda species, yes? <Yes> Any idea about the other? <Perhaps a Udotea sp.> Also, on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/aqlibfaqs.htm someone asked for a recommendation and you mentioned  the magazines AFM, FAMA and TFH. AFM I already have (that's the one you appear in with the outdated picture of you, right?), TFH I will look into, but has anything changed about FAMA's " very uneven" content and lack of knowledge? <Not much... if anything, with the death of its founder (Don Dewey), there has been a further loss of direction, presentation of factual, current material. The folks running the magazine are by their own admission "not aquarists"> I am not sure when you answered that question, so I guess I am basically looking for a marine fish magazine recommendation update.  Thanks, Rich. Ps:  I currently own your book, TCMA, just received Anthony's BOCP V1, and am anxiously awaiting the new RI book.  If you need me to transcribe anything from these books to your site, or to do any other "aquarium beginner" task (did that spelling and grammar volunteer ever work out?), I would be glad to help out! <Thank you for your offer. Don't know exactly how Zo (managing editor) is working out making sense of Anthony and I's writing attempts... hope to see/edit the "final" beginning of next month. Bob Fenner>

The grass is always greener... >Hi there, >>Hello, Mike. >I have a specific question about algae and the substrate in my 150g FOWLR.  The tank is about 4mo new and everything is perfect water quality-wise, fish and snails, crabs, shrimp very healthy, including coralline algae and a few critters doing well on the LR.  I have had a short green grass-like growth of algae covering a lot of the substrate for a few months now.  The fish and crabs of course love to eat it, so it's growth is in check and as I've read some of this algae is beneficial so I've left it.   >>Actually, this is not an "of course" situation.  Far too many folks end up with undesirable species of algae, micro or macro, which, to their dismay, nothing will eat.  Therefore, it is of no benefit.  You, however, clearly have something that is beneficial.  Don't get rid of it. >I'm not sure if it's microalgae but some appears to be "leafy" which I guess is a macro kind.  What is your take on this, and should I leave it grow as is or should I mix the gravel around and vacuum it, etc?   >>See above.  I say keep it there. >So far I haven't vacuumed the gravel at all, but I was planning to do a bit of that (once I get a python).  I have about 1.5" of CaribSea aragonite, lighting @10hrs/day with 2x140W VHO (one 10k, one actinic), temp 75F, pH 8.1, sal~1.023, alk 4meq/l, ~0 nitrates, and I drip Kalkwasser at night to maintain ~390ppm Ca.   >>If you're using the aragonite, then I'd suggest that, shallow though it may be, it's become something of a nutrient sink which allows this beneficial algal growth.  I would suggest deepening the bed, to around 3", this will help you gain the benefits of a deep sand bed, which you should NOT vacuum. >I have a good skimmer (Tunze), it doesn't pull that much but I don't have many fish.  Haven't used carbon yet, would you recommend that? >>No, not at all.  I, myself, have recently learned that many activated carbons can leach phosphates.  This leads to my basic philosophy here, If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!  It sounds as though your setup is golden. >Thanks!  Mike >>You're welcome!  Marina

Halimeda plant I currently have a good sized Halimeda plant within my 135gal reef tank. Short of listing all the variables of my tank, this plant has been in there and steadily growing from just a nub for the past 8 or so months.  All of a sudden, pretty much overnight, most of the entire plant turned white and lost all pigmentation.  In reading various articles on this, I do see that this is something that does happen, but my question is should I remove the entire plant, or let it break down the calcareous skeleton that was left behind.  It appears that right now, it has not had any noticeably harmful effects to my tank or its residents, but it did kick my skimmer into full action. <I would suspect a parameter change that affected the Halimeda and increased skimming, maybe not the Halimeda itself. Regardless, I would test tank params completely including calcium, magnesium, alk, pH, ammonia/nitrites/nitrates.  Usually calcium/alk related, perhaps photoperiod, or perhaps a nutrient/ammonia spike or low Redox. How long are lights on? Should be about 12 hours. You'll need to test to resolve any possible problem. I would trim back to base and resolve any parameter out of norm. It will probably grow back.> I have yet to test the levels of things, and if I notice a rise in anything unusual, I would obviously take care of it at that time. <Better do this ASAP> Please let me know any recommendations on this one.  Thanks. Andy <Hope this helps, Craig>

Bubble Algae/Valonia/Dictyosphaeria Dear Sirs,  I have several bubble shaped attachments to my live rock that are slate gray to black in color.  They stay attached for one to three weeks then vanish (maybe somethings hatching).  I have a one hundred fifty gallon mostly live rock with a couple of flower pot corals and a leather.  Fish are damsels.  The bubbles have been around for as long as I had my tank which is eleven months.  Whatever they are, they were not introduced by the coral as the corals have only been in one month. Any ideas?  Thank you for your time and considerations in this matter.  Respectfully, Anthony L. Franchetti <Hi Anthony, Sounds like Valonia, AKA bubble algae. They are probably really very dark green (depending on your light) and may reproduce on light and variety. Best to vacuum out whole and with contents of broken cells. This is very common.  Craig>

Don't Burst My Bubble...  3/14/03 Hi,<Hey there!  Phil here!> I have a 120g reef system that has been set up for about 4 months.<Good good good!>   Everything is going great.<Very good, as you can see I'm in a good mood!>   I have noticed that around the tank I regularly see more and more green translucent "balls".<Ohhh... the infamous "Bubble Algae".  Mithrax crabs feed on this algae.> They are shiny, immobile, and seem to grow at a gradual pace.  The largest one is probably 1/4" in diameter.  There are dozens of them in the tank...some seem to grow solo, others seem to grow in clusters.  Any idea what they are?<Mithrax crabs are the best way to remove them, if they "pop" it means they are spreading...> Thanks, Jeff <Hope this helps...  read here for more www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and here www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm Best wishes... Phil>

Re: Live rock "bubbles" Yes, this appears to be the Valonia macrophysa.  What can I do?  Is this detrimental to the system?  I will do a partial water change this morning, but need to know if this will take over my live rock and be harmful to the system.  Thanks for your help.      Michele <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: bubble Hi! There's an Emerald Green Bubble on my live rock. Any Idea what this is? Thanks                                  Steve <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm Look like one of those near the bottom? Thought so. Please see the related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) for more. Bob Fenner>

Algae ID - 2/17/03 One more ID if y'all don't mind, the stuff (algae) in this picture is trying to grow in abundance, but I've been doing my best to allow it to grow on this one rock area (not manually ripping it out!) Looks kinda cool! Thanks for the Scott in Denver   PS. I've been trying to get a clear shot of the broad-leafed plant for Anthony to ID, accidentally may have got it clear enough for him to ID in this pic! <cheers, Scott. The green algae in the center is very problematic Bryopsis species. A true nuisance that is not easily limited in growth by nutrients not eradicated by grazers. It actually bores into carbonate matter including the corallums (skeletons) of live coral! The other brown algae still looks like it may be Sargassum. Kindly, Anthony>

Bubble ID 2/17/03 Hey Gang! How's it going? Well I hope! Quick question for Anthony, (or anyone that can ID this bubble algae(?), <Correct... Valonia or a like genera> I've read that these bubbles are BAD news. <Correct... never rupture these cells in the tank... they may be in a reproductive/spore state. Simply tie a toothbrush to the end of a siphon and siphon them away while scrubbing to suck juice from ruptured cells> The larger bubbles are fairly easy to siphon off the rocks, but the groups of smaller bubbles grow very tight & compacted in areas about the size of a half dollar in a single layer, and are harder to remove. Is there a critter available that'll eat this stuff? Thanks for the help, Scott In Denver <An enormous amount has been written about bubble algae in the WWM archives and abroad on the Internet. There are few foolproof predators (some tangs and Mithraculus crabs help but are not without their own dangers/aggression). Frankly, the strong growth of all of these algae you've shown us (bubble, Bryopsis, Kelp, etc) is suggestive of nutrient control problems current or pending in your system. Do consider if the skimmer has been working well enough and if feeding/water changes are appropriate. Else, it could catch up to you down the road. I also forgot to mention in your other e-mail today that Elysia crispata (Lettuce Nudibranchs) can help control Bryopsis algae. And the thin bright green algae in this messages picture is Neomeris... a very handsome and desirable species. Best regards, Anthony>

Valonia by another name - 2/10/03 My 55 gallon tank has a new algae problem bubble algae this is the newest problem in a long list of algae problems.  It seams when I get 1 problem fixed the next algae pops up. <Seems that way sometimes.>  I do not know quite what to do. <Definitely a few things to check. First, be sure to use a good source water (R/O or DI water) for your water changes and top off. Also, be sure you are making changes within a proper timeframe.  Weekly vs. one big monthly. I would be sure to check for silicates and high phosphate and nitrate in my make up water also.> My LFS employees all know me and my tanks problems by name. <LOL>  What is the best way to control bubble algae? <Frequent water changes if possible. Do not crush the "cell" of the Valonia as it is known to release millions more spores into the tank. Check out the following link that could be of some assistance to you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm Also do a search on WetWebMedia site with the key word being "Valonia" and see what comes up there. Remember to address the "cause" of the algae, not to just eliminate the "effect". Good luck.>

Halimeda Turning White? Hi, can you help me out with this question?  My Halimeda is turning white. What does this mean?  Thanks. Mike <Well, Mike, as you probably know, Halimeda is a calcareous algae, which takes calcium from the water much as corals do. This algae will turn white during part of its life cycle, and drop its platelet-like "leaves" during this phase, in many cases. This is quite normal, in my experience. Remember, Halimeda is responsible for producing lots of aragonite material in nature, so there's nothing wrong with the "leaves" remaining in the system, in my opinion, should they fall. Also, I have noticed that the leaves will turn white in the dark, and then return to their normal green appearance when light returns to normal levels during the day. Sporulation (part of the reproductive life cycle) with this macroalgae does occur, but I'll bet that this is not what you're seeing. If you maintain normal "reef" levels of calcium in your system, you will enjoy long-term success and continued growth with this macroalgae. Just don't give up on it, and you should be successful with it. Under the proper conditions, this is a highly prolific and desirable macroalgae! I love this stuff! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Algae and Light Ok, greetings to all <Good evening! Scott F. with you tonight> Yet one more question from the man who should of found this web site before buying the tank.  I have an overcrowded (very) 55 gal bowfront marine tank with a magnum 350 filter.  We had very extreme algae problems for the first 8-9 months it was set up.  This was probably due to gross overfeeding, I want my fish to look like me!  After having the front of the tank covered with algae every day for months I finally quit the constant feeding and established a very regular schedule of feeding and maintenance, including monthly carbon changes, vacuuming biweekly and 10% water changes biweekly.  The next few months saw a steady decline in algae but it still leveled off at a point where I had to clean the glass twice a week.  So the next thing I decided to try limiting was the light.  I put it on a timer and reduced it to 4 hours a day.  The algae disappeared completely but I had almost constant high levels of nitrate >80.  Now I have increased the light to 7 hours a day and the nitrates are staying down <5 and the amount of algae on the glass walls is negligible although it does still grow on the rocks.  Is this method of controlling algae acceptable?  It is a fish only tank and they don't seem to care. <Well- I sure won't argue with regular water changes and use of activated carbon. Are you also using a protein skimmer? If not, do consider adding one to your system. A properly operating skimmer can be your best defense against algae problems, as well as organic buildup. As far as photoperiod (how long the lights are on)-in a fish only setup, that's purely subjective; just be consistent. There will always be some algae to scrape!> One more and I'll stop for tonight.  If you get stung by a lionfish does your reaction get worse each time? Someone told me that and its got me frightened! :)  I am starting to fear the lion. Thanks a million. Bryan Flanigan <I have not heard that one before, but anything is possible, I guess. Allergic reactions, etc., are all very real and very dangerous possibilities. In my opinion, the key is simply to not get stung the first time! Use caution whenever working in a tank containing a lionfish. Take care!>

Lighting Suggestions and Hair Algae Troubles Greetings gentlemen! I am ordering replacement bubs for a 100 gallon tank housing live rock, soft corals and mushrooms. Eventually, I intend to add a bubble or maybe a brain coral. I am currently running 420 watts VHO with 1 actinic, 1 50/50 and 1 Aquasun. I would like to achieve more of a blue look when I replace the lights but I also want to keep the critters happy. 1) Would 2 actinics and 1 AquaSun be acceptable and yet allow some flexibility with adding the new corals that I mentioned? <This sounds like not enough daylight to me. I like a lot of actinic light, more than most people, but I never use more than half actinic to half daylight. If it were me, I would stick with your current selection, one of each, or consider adding another actinic, four lamps total.> 2) What do you think is the best combination for this situation? <I am guessing this is a five foot long tank, 3 140 watt 60" lamps for 420 watts total. I am also going to guess you are using an IceCap 660. You could get yourself another set of end caps and rewire to use four 110 watt four foot lamps. That way you could use 2 actinics, 1 white actinic, and 1 AquaSun.> I am also having a massive hair algae problem accompanied by diatoms. This has been a problem since I first set the tank up. The hair algae grows very close to the rock and nothing will eat it. I only have three fish in the tank and most evenings I feed one cube of mysis shrimp. <Sounds ok> I do vary the diet with small pieces of squid, clam, Formula 2, and silversides, but always in small amounts. No supplements except for B-Ionic. Alk is 5.2, Ca is 280, and pH is normally 8.3. <Your calcium is too low, but probably suppressed, at least slightly, by your elevated alkalinity.> Temp is a constant 79 degrees. Tank is slightly more than one year old. I use RO/DI water for all changes and top-off. <Good! Be sure the maintenance of this unit is up to par; prefilters and mixed resin DI cartridge replaced on schedule.> Lights are on for 10 hours a day. <If anything a bit too short.> Oh, I currently have a T1000 skimmer (trash) and next week I am replacing it with a Euro-Reef. <With either try to make it produce a cup dark skimmate daily.> Believe it or not, I do 20 gallon water changes weekly with aged Instant Ocean. <Very good> 3) Can you help me solve this algae problem? <Nothing you mentioned sticks out, but rest assured nutrients had to come in somewhere. This stuff does not grow in a vacuum. It has to feed on something.> I'm game for doing whatever is needed to solve this problem. <If you cannot starve it out with your new skimmer in about a month, I would be tempted to take all the rock out, give it a good scrub in saltwater, and make a near 100% water change. This is drastic and can be very dangerous/catastrophic if done incorrectly. All the new water must be well aged and adjusted to match exactly for salinity and temperature. You have to remove all the livestock and basically reacclimate them as if you were moving them to a new/different tank. This is not to be taken lightheartedly, but can be done relatively safely. Let's hope the new skimmer and possible new cartridges on the RO/DI work.> 4) I am also hoping that a lighting change with less white light and more blue light will help my situation. Do you agree? <Probably not> Thanks so much for providing this invaluable service. Dave D <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Green Algae and Heat troubles Howdy to whomever tonight! <Steven Pro at your service.> Ok, the refugium is up and running, my mangroves are going dormant still, and I have two more problems: green algae and too much heat. The green algae is covering the glass and rocks. My readings are all zero (nitrates are barely there, and going down), but my phosphates are in the 0.8 range (SeaTest) <This is to high. I cannot remember, but I thought you were using an RO unit.> and all the filters, carbon, and water changes have not improved this. (The "batting filter that is blue/white, a green phosphate filter media, and carbon with phosphate removal particles.) The new (two weeks) Aqua-C is putting out dark green gunk, but not enough. <You will get the hang of this and soon enough the skimmer will starve out the algae.> Still working on this, trying to find the sweet spot. Water changes have not helped much. Every time I clean the glass, the stuff reappears. I have taken out all of the powerheads due to new system with the plumbing all around the top, but is seems there isn't enough flow. We have a Mag 18 return pump going up to the main tank. <This should be more than adequate for your tank.> Should I add on back in, near the front, to "blow off" the algae on a more constant basis? <I would leave the powerheads out for now.> And hope that the green is skimmed out? <It will in time.> Problem with heat: my tank goes from 78 to 84 or even 86! <I really do not like that temperature swing.> Low 60's outside the house, low 70's inside the house, but the tank heats. We left the lights off today, to see if that was the problem. Nope, got to 84. This seems to happen UNDER the tank, where the refugium is. Is this heat from the Aqua-C EV 180? Or the Mag 7 for it? Or even the Mag 18? <Likely the pumps> We open the cabinet doors, and it feels like jungle air - moist heat - comes out. This can't be good. Your suggestions so far, and the many "conversations" we have had, all have helped tremendously(!!!) and I am hoping that you can work that wonderful magic once again, so my fish and brand new corals have a hope of surviving! I'm still afraid for the Devil's Hand - hasn't put out the polyps in a long time, even with a "spot" aimed almost right at it. I'm hoping that I do not have to put in a powerhead, what do you think? -Cathy in Texas <>< <You may want to install a small fan in the cabinet to blow out the heat and cool things off. -Steven Pro>

Re: Some pest algae pix... from COZ! Bob, The Neomeris annulata algae, the stuff with the individual, bright green rods extending from a white crunchy (calcareous?) base - is that stuff particularly destructive/rambunctious, etc? I just have a few stems of it in my main aquarium - now wondering if I should eradicate? <Oh... sorry re... not really a pest at all... that is, Neomeris doesn't grow wildly, displace other life, produce toxins... that sort of negative thing... it got caught up in the Valoniaceans in the batch. Sorry re. Bob F>

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