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FAQs about Green Macro-Algae Identification 1

Related Articles: 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, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Green Macro-Algae ID 2, Green Macro-Algae ID 3, Green Macro-Algae ID 4, Green Macro-Algae ID 5, Green Macro Algae ID 6, Green Macro Algae ID 7, Green Macro Algae ID 8, & Green Macro-Algae 1Green Macro-Algae 2Green Macro-Algae 3, Green Macro-Algae 4, & 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; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: a plant for Paul to id  I just had to do some research myself. Here's a nice link that id's this algae well. http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/2003/julia/   -  Pam  <Thank you for this input Pam. Bob Fenner over in HI>

Alkalinity and Algae ID 4/12/04  Hi crew,  <howdy>  While Ca level is in the range of 400 ppm, and PH between 8.2 to 8.3, alkalinity has been low for some months (in the order of 6-7 dKH). I added Kalkwasser and C balance daily and did 15% water change weekly. Situation remained same.  <not to worry... it's fine if it stays steady. Coral growth will be better than in tank that spikes higher and is not steady>  My tank is 100 gal, with 100lbs of live rock nearly all covered with coralline, a bit of white spots though recently. There are 14 fishes, many are small ones and kept for over a year. The big ones are a blue face, a juvenile imperator, a pacific blue and a purple tang.  <Ughhh... a horrifying quad of fishes for a mere 100 gallons water. It is sad/disappointing to hear. Please do look up their adult sizes on fishbase.org if not our site and ask yourself if you/we can expect them to reach a full lifespan/size in a tank that is smaller than their cumulative adult potential length. Please (!)reconsider here my friend and get these bruisers thinned out or into a larger tank sooner rather than later. If it looks like they will not outgrow the tank after a few years, that's because they are stunting/developmental retardation. Not good. Rather sad>  Water parameters normal - NH4, NO2, NO3 and PO4 all close to zero. Other equipment include a protein skimmer which is working fairly well (1/3 cup of dark skimmate per day),  <also good to hear about its consistency rather than volume. No complaint here>  5 x 54WT5H0 tubes, a chiller, and a overhead filter. I use tricarbon based pelletized carbon, PH rock and right now bacterial to provide biological filtration.  My questions are :  (1) why alkalinity is low and any means to raise it?  <perhaps its the nature of your source water (not buffered or hard/mineral rich enough>  (2) There appears not much natural growth of macro algae.  <because of the unnaturally concentrated fish grazers in the tank. You will never have macroalgae here. Consider adding a refugium with Gracilaria and growing it for them to recycle nutrients>  The only species is the featherlike one shown in the photo which I transplanted from the overhead filter. Can you advise the name of the algae please.  <it looks like the nuisance genus Bryopsis. Do a keyword search on our website form the index page at wetwebmedia.com using the Google search tool. You will find a lot I the archives about controlling this algae. >  Regards, TFChow 
<best of luck. Anthony>

Algae ID Howdy Crew, <Hi there> Thought I keep you guys busier than you need to be! <Is that possible?> My new reef tank is spreading all sorts of algae I guess mainly seeded from my live rock.  One type of algae (attached) in particular is spreading like forest fire.  It's growing on my live rock, substrate, and mainly dominating my dead rocks.  I've searched and it looks like Ulva?  I'm not sure.  Will it go asexual on me?  Should I leave it be or should I be doing some gardening to keep it under control?   <It is Ulva... 'Sea Lettuce', you lucky dog! A great green algae to culture, have in ones system... for food, nutrient accumulation... looks! Will not "go sexual" (actually will sporulate... no big deal). Would definitely leave it be, share your wealth with other aquarists... At some point, "conditions" will change in your system and this species will be supplanted by others. Bob Fenner> Thks for your time.

Halimeda getting white - going sexual 3/11/04

A spontaneous mermaids wineglass  8/31/05 Hey all,  The other day I was looking at my tank just for a daily observation and noticed tiny green spikes coming out of the sand... I waited a week and the spikes grew about an inch and started a fuzzy ball on top. Now they are in excess of 3 inches with a small saucer on top. I was looking in the reef aquarium handbook and it says it is mermaids wineglass algae. the spikes/ stalks grow in groups is this really wineglass? Aaron- <Could be. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm Bob Fenner>

Dictyosphaeria colony, big green thing   2/13/06 Gentleman, Can you identify this hunk of green algae growing at the base of my reef ? Should I remove it ? Thanks for your help. Tom. <Likely a Dictyosphaeria colony: See here http://wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm Up to you to keep or (carefully vacuum, remove rock, scrub... to prevent spreading) not. Bob Fenner>

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>

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 Paul
<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>

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>

Plant life Hi Bob, I just found FF and your column. Wow...it's a goldmine! I have a plant, growing on a piece of live rock. It has flat leaves that are kind of round and segmented. It is very dense and has some white "buildup" of some sorts on some of the leaves. It had some of this when I bought it last week and appears to be increasing. Any idea what it is? What kind of plant I have? I know I didn't give you much to go on, so any suggestions at all are welcomed! Barry >> Well, it sounds like some sort of encrusting or biomineralizing green... my best guess is a species of Halimeda... and they do get "crusty" under the some conditions (high calcium, alkalinity)... a good thing and good organism. Bob Fenner

Not So Mystery Marine Algae  Over the past two months I have noticed the growth of three transparent very dark green/blackish growths on my live rock. They seem about the size of a marble. I find it resembles a type of pod. What if anything could be growing inside? They is no movement but is very slowly growing in size. <Very likely some sort of "Valonia" algae. Please see the "Green Algae", "Algae Control" sections on the Marine Index part of our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for images and information on the control of these life forms. Bob Fenner> Thanks !!! Walt

Marine Algae/Feathery I.D. Robert I have a question about alga in one spot of my tank. I looked on the FFE site and wet web media of course, and haven't what I was looking for. My reef tank is great , I was wondering what kind of alga looks feathery. Un fortunately I am colorblind but I think it is green I think) It is growing next to the Caulerpa I have in my tank. This stuff looks like a bunch of little feathers. <Derbesia as a genus is very common in captive reef systems... and feathery in appearance> I have a purple tang and haven't seen him pick at it, but I feed him regularly so he probably isn't really looking for anything else. My tank is totally encrusted with coralline and looks great. Is this just a nuisance alga? Should I take out the little bit that is in there or leave it? <Nuisance... yes, as in not very palatable to common algae eaters...> ps I just finished your book for the second time and am adding it to my collection. thanks and take care <Ah, glad you're enjoying it. Do consider depriving these nuisance forms of nutrient... and growing desirable macro-algae that will produce chemicals to further limit its growth. Please read the "Algal Filtration" and FAQs sections on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for the particulars. Bob Fenner>

Green Balls? Valonia... Bob, I have written you in the past with some different questions and would like to say thank you again for your past advice. I have some new things that I would appreciate your advice on. A real quick low-down on my system is 125 gallon aquarium with a Sea Clone protein skimmer (I know that I could do better here), two Emperor filters, VHO lighting, 1 inch of live sand and roughly 70 pounds of live rock. I currently have two green dragon wrasses, a six line wrasse, a Foxface, and two orange diamond gobies. I have two toadstool leather corals, some green button polyps, and a couple of mushroom anemones. My aquarium was having some problems in the beginning and I suffered a few losses before realizing that the well water that I was using was using me to have high phosphates. I proceeded to purchase a RO Filter and have made quite a few big water changes, even more small water changes, and am continually topping off the water with the new water that I am making. My phosphate levels have dropped slightly but for some reason I cannot get rid of them completely.  <Good progress so far... the phosphates are "cycling" in your system... and re-cycling...> They are currently measuring at 2.0 ppm. <Yikes... I'd grow and toss some Caulerpa algae here... sort of like the use of biomass accumulators (e.g. Hyacinths and wastewater) to gather and remove nutrients from solutions> I don't over feed so I don't think that this is the problem. Before purchasing the RO Filter my leather corals would hardly open up. Since purchasing the RO Filter, my leather corals are almost always open and seem to be growing. I am happy for this but have had some bad luck with trying to add any new inhabitants. In the past few months I have tried adding a Naso tang, yellow tang, Kole tang, and lastly an Emperor angel all at different times and have watched each one get sick and die in a week or so.  <As an indicator, wait on any new livestock till the phosphates are below 1.0ppm, better 0.5ppm...> I think what that died from was ich or velvet. I have done all the environmental manipulation that you suggested but wasn't able to save any one of them. The loss of my emperor angel really bothered me because it was my favorite fish. It used to eat right out of my hand but for some reason I could not keep it from getting sick. I was able to treat in a hospital tank a couple of times but each time I put it back in the main tank it would eventually get sick again and eventually died. My original fish are still alive and don't show any signs of anything. For this reason I don't think that I have a parasite problem so much as that the water quality wasn't good enough to keep these more delicate species alive. <Hmm, no... more likely you have a "toxic tank problem"... that you are salvaging bit by bit...> One thing that I do have in my tank seems to be some uncontrollable green algae. For some reason I can't keep this under control and I think these little green balls that came with my live rock may be causing it. Originally there were only a few little green balls on some pieces of live rock but have recently noticed that they have spread to many other rocks. <Yes... likely Valonia... see the "Algae", "Green Algae", "Pest Algae Control" sections and associated FAQs pages archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> They have almost encrusted this one rock. Finally, here are my questions. What are these little green balls and are they the cause of my green algae problem? Does the presence of the green algae contribute to the high phosphates and do you think this may be the reason why I haven't been able to keep some of the more delicate fish? Again, I want to thank you for any insight you may offer. Gianluca <Green algae group, Valoniaceae... not a direct contributor, but a recipient, user of nutrients... not toxic per se... read the many related sections on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Algae like a bristle Hello, Bob Over the past month, an algae I've never seen before has spread all over my tank. Please see a picture, which I send you. Do you know these algae? They look like a bristle, they are hard, sharp and brown and purplish red. They covered many places on my rocks. My Yellow Tang nibbles them a little. Are they good or bad? <Does look like, description fits the nuisance Greens of the genus Bryopsis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm Please read here and the links, FAQs about this area on WetWebMedia.com Not toxic, problematical other than intrusive, undesirable from the standpoint of taking up space, light, nutrients you might want to provide to other life forms> I would be very thankful for your answer. I wish you Happy New Year. With regards Krzysztof Tryc, Poland, Warsaw <Thank you my friend. And to you, yours. Bob Fenner>

Algae ID Hello Mr. Fenner. I hope you are having a great holiday season. I wanted to write (though I know you get so many letters and it is impossible to remember them all) and give you an update on my Neon Goby who is in quarantine for ick along with my green Chromis and mated clowns. Their two weeks of copper is up today. I'm going to run a Poly filter in there and some activated carbon as well. They now have three more weeks to go. My Goby looks awful. His black body is rather gray and his blue stripe is very faded. He has tannish splotches all over him. I am guessing that it is just scars. <Sort of... distress coloration, markings from treatment> He is eating well and swimming around when I am not in the room. :) I have one question to ask of you. I hope that is OK. I have an algae growth happening in the main tank. I'm not sure what it is. I have an attachment of a picture in this email. The pic doesn't show the color very well. It's kind of a yellowish brown. <I see it... looks like some sort of filamentous green... kind of bleached out> I do have a refugium that I started a few weeks ago (20gallons-main tank 75gallon) that has a 3" sand bed, Caulerpa and live rock. Light on 24/7 64watt outdoor HD light. Is this just part of the tank recycling, or is a bad guy like hair algae that I need to go after? <Just a temporary nuisance. I wouldn't sweat it> Are you able to say what it might be? <Mmm, not any more than I have. Do you have a microscope?> Thank you so much for your help!!! I am reading all of your algae links right now, but it's hard not knowing what kind of algae I have. :) J. <Concentrate on any general algae situation, though this is most certainly a Chlorophyte... Bob Fenner>

Feather dusters, hitchhiker id, bubble spewing powerhead One of the Shaving Brushes that I got in a mail order Thursday has a clump/blob/coil of yellow/orangish stuff that looks like a string of pearls. It is hard to the touch and is imbedded at the base of the green, right above the calcareous tube. The "pearls" are about 2-3 mm in diameter with an equal sized space between each and the next one and the "pearls" are held together with a strand of the same color. Do you have any idea what this might be? I have no digital camera or I would send a photo. <Could be a sex product or colonial invertebrate species of some sort...> Please advise about placement of feather dusters. I put them in the tank and this a.m. they are all laying down, rather than standing up, but are all open. One spewed out a bunch of cloudy puffs this morning. It didn't leave any mucus trails, just cloudy puffs, 6 or 7 of them. Does this signal trouble? <Not necessarily... but do take a look at the images on WetWebMedia.com re these polychaete worms... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm should not be just laid on the bottom of your tank> Finally, billions of bitty bubbles are shooting out of my fully submerged, 1 week old, AquaClear 402 powerhead. It is located in the back right corner of my 46 gal bow front, below and slightly to the right of my SeaClone protein skimmer. In the back left I have an AquaClear 300 hang on filter. I turned off the protein skimmer and the powerhead is still shooting out tiny air bubbles is spurts, about every 10 seconds. I have no coral - unless it is slowly developing on the LR, but I haven't seen any yet. Do I need to stop this bubble shooting? If so, how do you suggest? <Please use the search feature... on the bottom of the homepage of WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ inputting your search terms... and read through the many FAQs re "tiny bubbles" and your gear. Bob Fenner> TIA for your help. Jeanne

Clownfish and Bubbles! I have an 80 gallon reef taken that has been set up for almost two years now. One of the occupants of almost all that time is a Sebae Anemone. Actually I believe it is a Long Tentacled Anemone that was misidentified by the internet store I bought it from. Several months ago, I added two tank raised Percula's. Up until a few days ago, the Percula's could not have cared less about the anemone, which has grown to a substantial size. Recently though, they're wilder instincts have kicked in, and now they will not come out of the Anemone, even to eat! <Sometimes it takes a while for them to take to an anemone.> Additionally, there is some nipping and chasing going on between them. <Probably working out who is who in their relationship. Clownfish developed into males and females. The females grow larger and are generally the meaner ones.> Anything I can do to encourage them to eat? <Offer a greater variety of foods, but no real worries. They will not let themselves starve to death.> Will they be able to share the one Anemone? <If they become a pair, yes.> On a fairly consistent basis I have bubbles that grow from the rock. Not your ordinary everyday air bubble. Rather bubbles that start the size of a small marble and grow to about golf ball size. They are greenish, almost like algae was growing on them. <They are in fact algae themselves.> I opened on once, and found it to be empty. <That is what you thought. The inside of bubble algae is filled with hundreds of spores for reproduction.> The material it was made of had the consistency of cellophane, though apparently when they pop either something eats them or they dissolve as I have never found one just lying on the bottom. Any idea's what this could be. <It sounds like bubble algae. Please search www.WetWebMedia.com for bubble algae or Valonia.> Your consideration is appreciated. <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Algae information Hi Didilly Ho Neighbor, I have located some pictures and a name for a plant/algae that may be residing on some of my live rock (if I have identified it correctly). It goes by the scientific name of Acetabularia ryukyuensis. I used that name on the WetWebMedia search but had no results. Would you be able to point me toward some information on this type of life? Thanks in advance, <Mmm, well, do know the genus (from the western Atlantic species)... this Japanese one I have no experience or knowledge of... a search: http://research.kahaku.go.jp/botany/seaweeds/GreenAlgae/kasanori.html might be worthwhile. Bob Fenner> Andy Weaver

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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