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FAQs on Marine Algae Identification 1

Related Articles: Avoiding 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: FAQ ID Visual Guide, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae ID 3, Marine Algae ID 4, Marine Algae ID 5, Marine Algae ID 6, Marine Algae ID 7, Marine Algae ID 8, Marine Algae ID 9, Marine Algae ID 10, Marine Algae ID 11, Marine Algae ID 12, Marine Algae ID 13, Marine Algae ID 14, Marine Algae ID 15, Marine Algae ID 16, Marine Algae ID 17, Marine Algae ID 18, Marine Algae ID 19, Marine Algae ID 20, Marine Algae ID 21, Marine Algae ID 22, Marine Algae ID 23, Marine Algae ID 24, Marine Algae ID, 25, Marine Algae ID, 25, Marine Algae ID, 25, SW Algae ID 26, SW Algae ID 27, SW Algae ID 29, SW Algae ID 30, SW Algae ID 31, SW Algae ID 32SW Algae ID 33SW Algae ID 34SW Algae ID 35SW Algae ID 36SW Algae ID 37SW Algae ID 38SW Algae ID 39& 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

Some Questions About Inverts >Hello, >>Hello. >How are you? >>Well.. I'm up! <grin> >Bob, Marina, Whoever can help - HELP! >>Marina this morning, we'll see how helpful I am. >Sorry for screaming at your inbox. I know that you are sick of me by now.  >>Who, me? Naw.. we'll let you know. >I did find the answer to why my xenias were disappearing - Peppermint Shrimp! Thank You for that one. >>'Twasn't me! >On with the show (of my stupidity)! I have a few for you, questions that is. >>Alright. I'm always up for a good show, but remember, if it's a show of stupidity, you have some VERY stiff competition.  >The first is what are the white coiled up things that are on my hairy mushrooms?

>>Guts. >Pic is not that great, but when I try to remove the "growth" with tweezers it is attached pretty well. >>I don't see any growths that are not a natural part of the animal. It looks pretty healthy in this first shot. >Comes off in small gooey tufts? Part of the mushroom dying? Let me know. >>Hhmmm.. something digestive, then. Sometimes they'll 'regurgitate' wastes. Again, I see nothing abnormal or to be alarmed about with the animal in this first shot. >Next is the clear part of another couple of mushrooms - it used to have color and now I can see strings/worms/ guts inside?

>>I'm thinking that would be the third attachment, showing what appears to be the underside of a Ricordea or similar? (I am NOT the one to go to for invert/coral identification!) In this attachment, it appears that some tissue is going necrotic (dying). I have one opinion (fianc?) that says, "Chemical warfare injuries - allelopathy." I can only say that this whitened area does appear necrotic. Is something touching it? Close proximity to Sarcophyton or similar? When it comes to allelopathy and proper placement of non-motile inverts, I would suggest contacting Anthony, one of the Adams, or Scott Fellman for your best answers. On to the little starfish that could.. >Weird sight, what is up with that? >>See above.  >Last but not least is the star fish ID. My LFS said they were "feeder" stars, and not likely even a true star. >>Huh? "Feeder" stars? I've not yet heard of such a thing. It appears to be a sandsifting star that's lost some limbs and is regrowing them. >Closest match was a pic of the underside of an Asterina? But not sure. Check out all the pics (small JPG's) and see what you think. Thank You in advance for all the help, and the wonderful web site and books! >>You're welcome. I think it could be an Asterina spp., but this is without Googling. Try Googling sandsifting stars and see if you come up with anything similar. Don't be swayed so much by color, as there is great variety, but more on shape and appendages, other "hard" physical traits. In any event, I believe it's a sandsifter of some sort, and hopefully it prefers detritus to the stuff we like to keep when we use DSBs. Marina

- Slime on my gravel. BGA? - Hello Crew, First let me say you have a wonderful site!  I have learned so much browsing the various faq's. I have this slime like substance in patches on my "gravel."  I scooped out 3 patches a few days ago with a bowl and now it has returned with 7 or so patches. I think that it might be BGA but wanted a second opinion. <That's what it is. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > Thanks much.
<Cheers, J -- >

- Tiny Bubbles? Sounds like BGA - Salutations! I noticed what might have been in a related topic regarding bubble colonies growing in what could best be described as a biofilm on just about everything that is not moving. A little background: Reef setup - 55G Ozone, Kent Marine EX Skimmer Wet/Dry Filter setup Chiller UV Sterilizer (probably redundant) Phosphate Trap 2-175W MH, 2-48" VHO Actinic, 2-48" VHO 50/50 Water Chem: NO2:0, NO3: <20ppm, NH3:0, pH: 8.4, Calcium: >400ppm, REDOX 322mv It is stocked with most coral (SPS and hard), inverts, several clowns and a tang. Fish are mostly happy (but I have seen times where the fish appear to dart around franticly), hard corals don't open up all the way, but I think that is just a feeding issue, SPS are happy and growing. My question is that I notice a huge amount of bubbles that form in what resembles a slime algae on the rocks and even some of my inverts (crabs mostly) that are most unsightly. <Sounds like Cyanobacteria - Blue/Green algae.> I've tried lowering the air output of the Ozone to the skimmer thinking that might help, but no joy. While it doesn't appear to be hurting anything, it would be nice to get things more .... appealing. <With the amount of light you have, this stuff is going to grow at will. Work on improving the circulation within your tank so that it has a difficult time settling down. More on BGA here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > Thanks <Cheers, J -- > Need to Know  >Hello,  I have a question about a growth in our tank. It is attached to one of our rocks and looks like a very small black pearl (for lack of a better description). It is black but seems iridescent. We actually have two of these little balls growing. They look completely smooth and very shiny changing from black to blue depending on how the light strikes them. Any ideas? Thank you for your help, Mary  >>Hi Mary, I'm sorry, but not even knowing if your tank is fresh or salt water, let alone what other inhabitants you might have in it, none of us can hazard a guess of any sort. Please give us this additional information, sent along with the original message, and we'll do our best. Marina  -Algae ID - Hi I have a 4 month old live rock tank with a small hippo tang, a Kole tang a cinnamon clown and a royal Gramma.  Water parameters are great and all fish are healthy. There is some algae growing that I don't recognize. It is a little on the hairy side and it is a bright reddish/orange. It doesn't grow everywhere and it really isn't a nuisance. The tangs don't eat it. Do you know what it is?? <Could be BGA, could be Bryopsis, but hard to be 100% certain. I'd classify it as a nuisance algae that has yet to become a nuisance.> Joe <Cheers, J -- >

Algae ID 10/20/03 I have searched all over to find something that looks like this but to no avail. Have you any ideas? I think it is some form of algae. It has grey "arms" with dark brown stubby bits which would be polyps on a coral - growing well near the surface of the tank under the T5s. Came with some coralline LR and has grown several arms in the last week of about 1-2" long in a sideways spreading habit. What is it? What do I do with it? <its a Red algae (Rhodophyte) of the genus Laurencia or perhaps Halymenia. Tough to tell from the unclear image and small nubbins of a specimen. Generally harmless although any macroalgae can be a nuisance if the nutrients are high enough in the system. Do a search at www.algaebase.org and see if any pics look familiar to you. Anthony>

Ambiguity... (10/17/03) I have some kind of grass growing on my work. Does anyone have an idea of what it is. Thank You Brian <Ananda here tonight, feeling totally clueless about what you're dealing with...whether it's freshwater, saltwater, or brackish, or what your tank specs are, or knowing anything about your tank, or if you might be talking about a pond, instead.... Please email back with some details, and a photo if possible (preferably in jpg format). --Ananda>

-Algae ID- These are showing up in patches on my liverock.  I am running the ecosystem and it has been up since June, using Caulerpa as the main macro.  Any clue what it is? <It looks like Cladophora sp. macroalgae. Looks nice, if it starts getting out of control, just about any surgeonfish or urchin should readily chow down on it. -Kevin> Thanks!

-Algae ID part 2- Is there some fish or Urchin that you can recommend? <If you have a large enough tank, a Naso tang would likely chomp it. Long spine Diadema urchins are great as well, but require lots of algae growth to survive and get pretty darn huge. You may also want to try a common Caribbean pincushion urchin, they may help. Good luck! -Kevin> It is starting to grow with some pace.  Thanks!

Unknown Algae ID - 8/29/03 I was online tonight trying to figure out exactly what kind of algae I have growing in my tank.   <do look over algaebase.org for such explorations... wonderful site> Right now, I can count five different kinds, two of which I know the identity (hair algae and Caulerpa).  Of the other three, one is suspected to be the dreaded Bryopsis (pic attached, you'll notice how it's attacking a really cool coral...and ticking me off ...still can't seem to get a good pic of this on the web) <no need... it is clearly Bryopsis to me> and the other two are an unknown red algae, which I believe to be really good macros.   <hmmm... the two red algae pics you sent are of the same leafy growth (no grapes). The red unknown algae sent is Halymenia> One is grape-like, of which I have found limited information. <if red grapes... it is Botryocladia. If green grapes... it is a variety of Caulerpa racemosa perhaps> The other is a really cool jagged-leafy variety, although the leaves just get longer...they aren't really leaves at all...couple of pics attached of this)   <indeed... it is Halymenia> "new" tank recently transferred so lots of stuff going on here. Kind regard, Misty <do consider our new book Reef Invertebrates... it has over 40 pages of 400 dedicated to plants and algae, and is heavily illustrated. Best regards, Anthony>

- Algae ID & Chat Forum Problems - Hello, <Hello, JasonC here...> I am very new to this hobby (6 weeks).  I did quite a bit of reading and studying before buying and starting my tank (75G).  I added my live rock about 4 weeks ago and my starter fish (2 damsels, 2 clowns).  Earlier this week I noticed a very dark green growth on my live rock.  It looks like normal coralline algae, no stems or 'wispy' things, looks like a thin coat of moss.  It is not anywhere else in the tank, not on base rock or glass. Do you know what this may be? <Uhh... a green, encrusting algae?> The reason I ask is it is quite unsightly against my bright green and red live rock. <You might experiment with some different snail types to see which one might eat it.> Also, as a side note I am unable to register a userid for the chat forums. When I type in my registration information and click submit it brings me to "page not found".  I know you must have a website guy separate from the crew, but couldn't find the address on the site. <We are aware of this problem and working on a solution as quickly as possible.> Thank you very much for your time,  Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Algae ID - 8/13/03 Hi.  Hoping you could help an amateur identify two "growths" on some LR. The attached picture shows the two items I am referring to.   <the green species does have the unique look of the dreadful Caulerpa racemosa algae> I believe the green/grape like plant is Caulerpa but I'm not sure what the red thing is (on the right side of the pic).  Can you advise?  The pic is not the best but maybe you can tell regardless. <alas no. But let me suggest that you pull the specimen/rock to the front of the glass to help your camera with the range> Thanks for the great website!  When does the reef book come out? <Thanks for the kudos and interest. The text was released at the end of June actually! Please do see reviews of it on Amazon.com or any of the big message boards. We have several distributors in/near you:  foryourfish.com (NY); thehiddenreef.com (Philly); championlighting.com (PA); and the Brooklyn Aquarium Society (BAS) was talking about a group buy I believe. You can also buy signed copies off of us if none of the other outlets suits you> I've been looking for it at the B&N here in Manhattan, NYC for weeks now. Mark <we have not approached B&N yet. Just Amazon as expected. kind regards, Anthony>

Algae ID. Hola Gang, could I trouble you for another algae Id? <Looks like Bryopsis> Is this one a problem? <It can be, at least in your case it appears to be only in one spot (and pretty nonetheless!)> What will eat it? <Some tangs, algae/lawnmower blenny, bi-color blenny, Diadema urchins, and Elysia nudi's.> One pic is a close-up, the other is the algae as a whole. <BTW, nice pics! I'd pull out as much as you can and a few big turbo snails may be able to take out what's left. If it starts becoming widespread, check out the algae FAQ's for reasons and solutions.> Thanks. Paul

Stability Is The Key... Hey guys, I had two quick questions.  First, what temperature should I keep my tank, which houses a Humu and a damsel. <I like a temperature of 76- 80 degrees Fahrenheit...Stable temperature is more important than any one specific number, IMO> My other question is that I have some sort of reddish dots/algae on the glass that I am not able to scrape off successfully, do you have any clue to what it is?  I do 25% water changes weekly.  Thanks a lot, Jon <Well, Jon- it sounds like some sort of algae or diatom...Hard to be specific without seeing it. However, it's a safe bet that, if you continue to exercise good husbandry (such as the water changes, with high quality water), and utilize various nutrient export processes, than this possible nuisance algae will go away. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Algae bloom/diatom bloom: HELP Dear WWM Crew, <Howdy> I have a 29 gal Eclipse III system with Aqua C Remora Protein skimmer added 2 wks ago. 2 1/2 " Live sand in bottom, 35# of gulf of Mexico live rock with sponges, anemones and assorted growth on it and 10# of Fiji live rock that was pre-cured. Also, 3 green Chromis swimming around happily, fed flakes 2x daily (one ground pinch each time) and a yellow gorgonian and a Condylactis. I feed the sponges and invertebrates every other day... one day with DTs and the other with Cyclop-eeze according to pkg directions. Also have 3 various hitchhiker crabs and 5 or so snails... and let us not forget the 2 mantis shrimp hitchhikers that I now have to get rid of.. <Oh, let's not forget them!> I also have a max 400 powerhead for water movement. It has been 10 weeks since I set this system up and things have been added and subtracted over that time, but now I have this red, slimy and long algae/diatom all over the front half of my tank's sand. <Actually... you have this red, slimy, long Cyanobacteria/Blue Green Algae all over...> It is covering small parts of my live rock and my gorgonian. I have tried in vain to remove it physically from the tank, (vacuuming, pulling pieces of it out, cleaning it off the gorgonian) but it keeps coming back. The protein skimmer hasn't helped at all. My LFS says it is something I just have to go through as part of the tank finding it's balance, but I have to tell you that it is driving me nuts!!!!! <Mmm, sort of agree with the LFS.> I have attached 2 photos to give you an idea of what I am referring to. Could you please identify what this is and tell me how to get rid of it. <Sure. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the attached files re...> thanks in advance for your kindness. Truly if it wasn't for you guys, I would have given up by now. I have not tried so hard to do something with such limited to negative results and persevered this long before... and I am 40 years old! <A youngster! More fun and trials ahead!!!> I hope you have some help. Thanks again, Diane B <Bob Fenner>

Small Blue Patches II They appear in the mass of hair algae (on top), about as big as a pin head in slightly irregular shapes. I thought when I first saw them that I had crumbled plastic in my tank. The color blue reminds me of a pool liner. As I am getting rid of the algae, I am noticing it less. I will try to provide a picture, but it is very small. <Nothing is coming to mind from your description. A picture would be great if you can send one. -Steven Pro>

Algae URL Hi Guys; I found a link on your site to a very useful algae identification page, and I have lost the link. The page had a black background and pictures of just about every type of algae. Do you have the URL by any chance? I have looked around your site and can't seem to locate it again. <Yikes... is this freshwater, marine, pond? Have you tried the search tool on the WetWebMedia.com homepage or indices? I just did and the pages come up> In addition, maybe you could try and ID what I have... they are green bubbles that are shiny and look almost like blown glass. Is this bubble algae? Will this become a nuisance? Thanks! Ed <Please see the Marine FAQs pages re. Bob Fenner>

Re: plant ident. (actually marine algae) Hello my friends! I just wanted to share a link with you( and the public) on different types of algae. It's a great site to identify those algae that pop up in our tanks! Have fun! http://www.globaldialog.com/~jrice/algae_page/algae_gallery.htm Pam <Very nice. Thank you for this. Will post at the top of the Algae Id area. Bob Fenner>

Re: plant ident. II You smart man, Mr. Anthony! Here is my Brown Macroalgae (Sargassum hystrix) pic! I got it here: http://www.globaldialog.com/~juice/algae_page/sargassum.htm <it is what it is, my dear <smile>: a unique macro and your excellent description made short work of it. But thanks for tweaking the ego (I can hear my friends groaning already!). Kind regards, Anthony> Thank you! Pam

Re: plant ident. (marines) Hello again guys, <Good evening> Can you tell me where to go to find a good identification site for marine plants?  <nope... but I know of a great book...hehe. Seriously, Airlife books, "Marine Plants of the Caribbean" is packed with plant photos. A great little reference> I have something growing all over my tank but have no idea what it is. I guess I could draw and scan it over to you again, but I'm feeling a bit lazy tonight, know what I mean? Okay, short description: Long vertical growth, deep amber in color, oval leaf with point at tip, and at each stem joint, there are little round 'something's', buds,.......... I don't know?  <sounds like a brown alga for sure... perhaps a Sargassum species...do web surf this genus> If you want me to draw it, I'll do it in the morning! Thank you for your help guys! Pamela

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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