Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Marine Algae Identification 7

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 1, Marine Algae ID 2, Marine Algae ID 3, Marine Algae ID 4, Marine Algae ID 5, Marine Algae ID 6Marine 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 2, 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

Red Algae or Sponge ID Well Bob, nothing I do with these photos seems to work! Here is my last attempt to send these to you for ID. I am stumped about what they are and really wanted to know. Below is the original message and your invitation to email directly to your address. Jeanne  Hey there Bob and Anthony, et al First, I hope to see you at IMAC again this year. I really enjoyed our pizza lunch with Dick Hilgers! Bob, how did your wife do in the marathon last June? <Mighty fine... her first and she came in and wasn't really tired! Di's trying to enter the New York...> Ah well, on to the question... I've searched WWM and the algae site, but without an actual name it is hard to find things. What is this stuff and is it evil? Thanks, Jeanne <Isn't evil, not an algae... see the "little mouths?" Methinks this is a sponge. No worries. Bob Fenner>

Re: White Hair on Live Rock Thanks Bob for replying so swiftly... I don't know how you keep up! <I key quickly, get up early, and don't have a day job> Honestly, I think that you are right (being an algae). I've been struggling with my phosphate levels because I was naive enough to add a liquid Zoe formula to my tank when there wasn't enough inverts to absorb it. Now others are feasting! I think that I will take the safe route and siphon it out. Thanks again, Missy <Thank you, BobF> Red algae Is red algae a good type of algae to have growing on your live rock?...does it later turn into the purple or pink coralline algae? <?... Coralline algae can be red... is what you have encrusting... short, hard, stuck on the rock? Please read over WWM re algae types, identification... encouraging encrusting red growth. Bob Fenner>  

Algae??? I hope you can open the attachment and it is the correct size as you requested. <Is there, but small> I've never attached a file before.  If you can view my attachment, you can see a yellowish coating on my liverock.  It has spread very rapidly all over the liverock and is now in my live sand.  There is no hair or any other growth, other than the yellowish tint on almost all liverock. Is this some type of algae?? Is this something I should eliminate from my tank?  If so, what do I use to eliminate it? <Is very likely a diatom "scum"...> I have a 24 gallon nanocube with moonlights.  The lights stay on almost 10 to 12 hours a day.  My parameters (PH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) are in the normal range.  The water temp stays around 79 to 80 degrees. Thank you for your reply. Lila <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Algae Problem - ID? Dear Wet Web Media! I LOVE you guys!! Thank you so much for founding and maintaining such a wonderful site! Thanks in advance for your help in identifying these weeds in my tanks. I searched and searched on your site and internet photos before I e-mailed you, for there are both a beneficial algae (turtle weed) and pest (blue green) that has pictures both looks like and unlike what I have.   I took many pictures and I uploaded it on my website as not too blow up your mail box.  <<Thank you!  But, where's the link?>> Main tank - they are spreading everywhere, and I bought feather algae in the sump trying to compete for nutrition to reduce their spreading, doesn't seem to work.  Nano cube - there seem to be 2 different type, some have fern like "leaves" and some are just like the ones from the main tank. I can't even see my rocks anymore!!  <Joey, I wouldn't worry too much about the fern type plants (can't recall the name of them right now), they can always be pruned back. The green hair algae you have is a mess though. Don't know how big your tank is, but I would get at least one Sailfin Blenny (Lawnmower Blenny) for your main tank. These guys do wonders for hair algae. Also do a Google search on the Wet Web, keyword "algae control". You definitely want to keep your nutrients down. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks a lot!! I look forward to hearing from you  <You're welcome> 

Algae Hi Bob  <James for Bob today> I have a 55 gallon fish only tank it has been set up for about a month. I read through all of your articles and I am still a little confused. I have a lot of rust looking algae growing of my rocks and glass. I have cleaned it off and it just comes right back. Should I be cleaning it or just let it grow. Is it good or bad algae. Any help would be great.  <The brown diatom algae you are describing is fairly common in new set ups. Yes, I'd clean it off the glass, but it should soon go away. Poor lighting can lead to this also along with silicates in your tap water if that's what you are using. James (Salty Dog)> <You're welcome>

Purple Plague! Monkey Hair/Mung? >Hi Gang, >>Hi Brandon. Marina this morning. >I have attached a picture of the purple plague menacing my tank. Hopefully this picture will work. >>As a jpeg, it came through "beautifully". I understand your consternation. >To recap, this mystery algae is purple, has the consistency and texture of a cotton ball, and is driving me crazy. No one is really sure what it is. My levels are all at 0. >>Your *measurable* levels, and since I'm stepping in the middle here (and you didn't include previous correspondence) I'm not sure what levels you're talking about, exactly. >I have a huge Beckett protein skimmer, and I've added about 1 Clibanarius hermit for every 2 gallons of tank water. I have great circulation with 2 Tunze stream pumps and a Sea Swirl. They haven't made a dent. What is it, and how do I get rid of it? Thanks! >>Brandon, I may be WAY off base here, but I have to tell you, when I saw the photo the first thing that popped into my head was "monkey hair!". I've only heard of it a few times, and only in reference to diving in Cuba's pristine waters. I do not remember where this was observed off the island. So, I did a Google, and didn't get many hits. What I did get was reference to this "monkey hair", most notably observations in Chesapeake Bay, then one other Mike Maddox found for me on algaebase.org observed in Japan, and they call it "mung". Icky stuff.  Alright, so, here's what seems to be the thing with this stuff - it appears to be seasonal. I honestly have no idea how you can control it (beyond the obvious nutrient control measures) OUTSIDE of manual removal. At this point I think you should get Julian Sprung's book "Algae: A Problem Solver Guide". It's slim, but holds very good information, and may be very helpful. As a last resort, maybe you can set up a test system, put this crud in it, and treat as though Cyanobacteria (many use erythromycin on Cyano with excellent results). IF this works, we've nailed the culprit, if not, I hate to say that I've exhausted my immediately available resources. Beyond us, I suggest maybe Reefs.org or reefcentral.com. Maybe when Bob returns he can offer some insight. Marina

Purple Plague Follow-up >Marina, I contacted TwoLittleFishies, and was told that Julian Sprung would love to look at it! >>Dang, touching celebrity! >If you can also pass it along to Bob, that would be great. >>Absolutely can do, though I may need a reminder. >The more great minds the better. I purchased Sprung's book on algae, and the closest I can come is a red hair algae called 'Asparagopsis'. It says Diadema urchins can help. I've read that they can harm some corals. Any thoughts on a Diadema urchin in a tank with lots of very rare LE SPS frags? >>Brandon, I'm not the best person to ask about the urchins, I'm going to ask the Adams, Scott Fellman, Anthony Calfo for opinions on it. In the meantime, is this plague affecting these corals at all?  Did I give you these links previously?  http://www.vsv.cape.com/~harharb/news/mung.html - Pylaiella.  Marina  >Marina, Thank you for your answers. Hopefully Bob will know something when he gets back. I really don't know where to turn or what to do about it. My luck...If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all...:( >>Brandon, I once had an employer tell me exactly the same thing. Bob won't be back till almost the middle of April, but I think you've pulled the brass ring (or my finger) getting attention from Mr. Sprung himself. Do please let me/us know what comes of it, ok? Marina

Post Purple Plague - Others Chime In >Marina, I contacted TwoLittleFishies, and was told the Julian Sprung would love to look at it! If you can also pass it along to Bob, that would be great. The more great minds the better. I purchased Sprung's book on algae, and the closest I can come is a red hair algae called 'Asparagopsis'. It says Diadema urchins can help. I've read that they can harm some corals. Any thoughts on a Diadema urchin in a tank with lots of very rare LE SPS frags? >>Alright, as I said I would, I sent this out to some other crewmembers who I felt might have more definitive/knowledgeable opinions on this whole thing. First things first: Adam Blundell says (regarding the mung itself) "Why control it? It is worth big money where I live. I'd keep growing it in the refugium and selling it to local stores. That stuff is awesome. Adam Blundell" >>I double-checked, as I thought he might be joking, but he is not. So, to address the Diadema urchin (which I didn't think would be harmful, but then you said "rare frags", and I thought I'd better get some other opinions.  Adam Cesnales had this to say: "Not much to add, except that Diadema urchins are generally quite safe. Concerns over their spines impaling the tissue of LPS corals is quite overstated (especially for smaller specimens). These urchins really are quite nimble! Other urchins are risky in my experience, even the popular "tuxedo" urchins. Do encourage him to be conservative in adding Diademas unless he is prepared to give them away. They grow large quickly! One per 50 gallons if they are small, reducing it to 1 per 100-150 gallons when large. Adam Cesnales" >>And there you have it. Watch the dailies, as I've got another message from someone with a similar problem to address. Marina 

One Man's Mung is Another Man's...... Mung? >Hi gang: >>Hello. >I'm being plagued with the same nuisance algae described as 'mung'. In case it helps with identification/treatment, I can add this bit of 'wisdom': I used to have a problem with green hair algae, and after taking the steps described by WWM, this problem was virtually eliminated. >>WWM in action, YEAH! >The thing is, this 'mung' stuff jumped into the newly available niche... >>Cripes. >...and like the original aquarist reporting this stuff, who listed his 'levels at zero', my phosphates and nitrates are undetectable. But this stuff still thrives, primarily epiphytic, and gunks up my 'display' macroalgae. >>"Epiphytic".. fascinating. Perhaps you might wish to contact Mr. Sprung TwoLittleFishies as well. >It causes less problems in my refugium (some growth along the surface of my bed of Chaetomorpha) and shows no presence whatsoever in my main reef... >>Thank goodness. >...where either it can't grow or my tangs are willing to scarf it down. I'd dearly love to have someone identify something that favors this junk and would leave my other macros alone. >>Well, it seems that if YOU could provide us the genus/species of tang that puts the serious mack down on this stuff, you'd be helping Brandon/others! Did you happen to catch today's follow-up of the mung thing/thang/thung?  >Chuck >>Marina 

Mungies, Rejoice! Asparagopsis - Not Mung! >Marina, Good Friday afternoon to you! >>And a good Friday evening to you (just finished my homemade chili verde). >I received a response back from Julian Sprung regarding my 'Purple Plague' mystery algae. It was indeed Asparagopsis. Mr. Sprung told me that very few animals feed on this algae. >>I think it's great you've got a definitive answer as to what you've got, and there's at least ONE other fellow who may be *quite* happy to hear as well. >After doing an internet search for Asparagopsis, I found an article by a gentleman named Michael Janes that owns a reef shop in Arizona. >>Oh man, this is getting good.. but let's read on, shall we? >He had the answer I was looking for. The article was solely on Asparagopsis, and what a menace it is. Mr. Janes then stated that one certain snail, Turbo fluctuosa, actually prefers this algae. >>It's getting even BETTER! >I ordered about 25 for my 125G reef tank, and they immediately gravitated to the red algae. They are doing a stellar job of cleaning it up. >>Hot dayumn!  >Ah, the oceans truly are magnificent, with a predator for every algae! >>Indeed, my friend, indeed. >Thanks for all the assistance. >>You are very welcome, I'm glad for what little I did, MORE happy that you've found a solution. >Brandon Wilson >>Oh happy DAY! Marina

Mystery Algae, Watch Your Attachments! Hi Gang, <How goes it?> Attached please find a picture of the mystery algae that has been troubling me so. It is purple, and it has the feel of cotton balls. Because of it's color and texture, no one seems to be quite sure what it is. Can you I.D. it? How do I get rid of it? I purchased about 50 Clibanarius crabs thinking it is Cyanobacteria. They aren't making a dent. I have good circulation, with two Tunze streams and a sea swirl providing current. I have an oversized Beckett skimmer to remove proteins. My levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are 0. What should I do, as this is causing me much distress and keeping me from fully enjoying my tank. <Picture didn't come through, so try re-submitting or looking it up on www.algaebase.org. As usual, good preventatives are a high pH (~8.5, make sure it stays that high at night!), aggressive skimming, frequent large partial water changes, chemical phosphate removers, carbon changed frequently, and making sure your source water has no nutrients> Thanks. <Anytime - M. Maddox> <Editor's note: the photo was sent as a .lnk attachment, no program I use knows what to do with this.>

Cyanobacteria Hi Gang, I am having a terrible time with what I believe to be Cyanobacteria in my 125G reef tank. It is purple, and feels like a cotton ball. I would assume it is Cyanobacteria, even though it is purple. I can't seem to get rid of it no matter what I try. I've got two Tunze stream units and a sea swirl to give great circulation in the tank, my levels are all zero, and I do weekly water changes of 10 to 15%. I bought about 50 Clibanarius hermit crabs to eat the Cyanobacteria. I still can't get rid of it. I pull out what I can as well. Any thoughts? <Doesn't sound like Cyano to me by your description. You don't mention if you are using a skimmer. Keep in mind in a tank your size, total flow rate should be a minimum of 1250gph. Also consider the use of PolyFilters or Chemi-pure. Here is a link that should help you out. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm . James (Salty Dog)> <You're welcome> 

Algae or Cyano? Good evening crew. I hope this email finds you well and happy! <Recuperating Well anyway, You have Justin> I have looked over your site (almost non stop for about 3 years as a matter of fact!) and have learned soooo much, something new and interesting every day! However, I have a recent development (problem) and have gotten confused. So I have to, once again, bother you fine folks for the answer to this simple question (I'm sure) and possible fixes. <Will do what I can> Quick history. I got a 200 GAL tank with all equip and critters 3 weeks ago. Can't set up the main tank yet until I get the floor reinforced and finish the trim/flooring in the basement (wife's restriction terms ;-) ).  So am currently keeping the LR/Corals/Fish in the 75 GAL sump using: Livestock: Yellow Tang (Bob) Mated Percula Clowns LTA 2 BTA Purple Pseudochromis Pink Spotted Shrimp Goby (LOVES his frozen Mysis shrimp) Blue Devil Damsel (I know, just haven't found any takers yet and he came with the tank) Yellow Tail Blue Damsel (same as above! HA!) Brittle Starfish 2 Fighting Conchs LOADS of baby Bumblebee Snails Few Red Legged Crabs Approx 50 Lbs of Live Rock Equipment: 75 GAL Acrylic Tank Ebo Jager Heater AquaC EV-180 Skimmer with Mag 9.5 pump 1 MaxiJet 600 Powerhead (pointed at sump output for turbulence) 192 W PC Lights on approx 14 hrs a day Bare Bottom FEEDING: Feed 1/2 cube frozen Mysis (rinsed no packing "juice in water) and chopped krill 2 times a day Phyto culture solution approx every 3 days (~ 1/2 cup) Levels: Temp: 82 F pH: 8.2 SG: 1.025 ALK: 3.54 meq/l Calcium: 235 ppm Nitrate: .2 ppm Nitrite: 0 Amm: 0 Hardness: 9.9 dKH <Ok good job so far nothing seems too out of place..> I have attached a picture of what's taking over my tank. I apologize, but it doesn't look much like the pictures of Cyano OR Green Algae. If it helps you any, it forms thousands of tiny bubbles during the day when the lights are on and is overtaking some of polyps, and Leather corals.  <Yes That is most definitely Cyanobacteria, a nasty algae/bacteria combo> What I'm thinking is shorten the photo period down to around 10 hrs a day and drip Kalk at night. Think I am on the right track? Any other suggestions? <I would shorten the photoperiod to only when you view or watch the fish, and leave a light on in the room. Also I would turn up your skimmer to pull the maximum, and maybe hook a refugium up with Caulerpa or some other macro algae to take up the nutrients the Cyano is feeding off of. If you can blow and vacuum the Cyano up and out of the tank. Test your water for phosphates and silicates and do a few water changes, this should help this problem. For the corals and polyps its overgrowing use a small powerhead and direct the flow near the polyps using your hand and blow it gently off, or simply use a soft toothbrush to ease it off. otherwise you might hurt the corals.> Thank you so much for your time. Wish me luck in getting the BIG tank up in the next month. <Good Luck and hope this helps> Tom (The Tool Man)
<Justin (Jager)> 

Trying to Identify Macroalgae Bob, Trying to identify this algae, can't find it anywhere. I'm sure it's a member of the Caulerpaceae family. Can you identify just by looking? Regards, James <Maybe C. taxifolia. Need bigger pic, but please don't send.... am out of time. BobF> 

Algae Question Hi, I was hopping that you could help me identify a type of macro algae. I found it at That Pet Place and I was thinking of using it in my refugium. It was labeled as green needle algae. It was growing on pieces of live rock and it looks like grass. I've searched the internet and your website to get more information with no luck. Would it be a good algae for nutrient export? I am currently using Chaetomorpha and I am not happy with it. It constantly settles to the bottom of the refugium and is a pain to trim since it just gets everywhere.  <Mark, without seeing a pic it is hard to identify but I'm thinking it is Maiden's Hair (Chlorodesmis sp.). Do a search on that and see if it helps. James (Salty Dog)> 

Green Algae ID 2/11/05 Sorry to bother you, could you answer the green algae id question on http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=19&thread=26343&tstart=0&trange=15  Thanks in advance. Sylphid <It is a species of Pencillus. Anthony> 

Red Grape algae - Botryocladia 2/3/05 Dear WWM, <cheers> Your site is extremely helpful; I am a daily visitor. <thanks kindly... please do tell others of us> I have been trying to identify the species of macroalgae I recently purchased.  I believe it is pictured on page 61 of your recent book, Reef Invertebrates (paperback edition).  Could you please identify this species. <Botryocladia... also mentioned elsewhere in the text (see plants and algae chapter). Thanks, Pat <do also check for info on algaebase.org  Kindly, Anthony>

Coralline Algae 24 Jan 2005 Aloha WWM crew, <Aloha Richmond, MacL here with you this morning.> I was wondering if the color crust on my turbo shell is coralline? <That would be an affirmative.>  If so, could any of the algae on my rock in picture 2 be coralline?  <EEK I didn't see picture two, just picture one but I'm guessing that it could be. Coralline is very hard to the touch an actually hard to remove.>  How can I go about in promoting coralline growth and detour the others from competing with it?  <Coralline generally shows up on something, on the sides, on the rocks etc. It needs calcium to flourish.> The 3rd picture is a old empty turbo shell that has brown hair like algae and some kind of brown fuzz rug on it. Is this type of algae anyway good and how do I go on about of getting rid of it if it comes a problem? <Honestly I would pull it out right now and pull all of it off. That algae is terribly difficult to get rid of and it won't hurt the empty shell to just pull it out of the water.> Currently I quarantined my blue tang, yellow tang, 2 yellow tail damsel, fire damsel and clown fish because the tangs had a little outbreak of ich. The tank has been running with only 4 brittle stars, 4 Turbos and a cleaner shrimp. It's been a little over a week and my pod has 4x its population but then these brown hair started showing up as well.  <No tangs to eat it would be my guess. As soon as they go back it should all disappear but you don't want to let it get ahead of you.> I've also notice some of my pods are turning red or maybe this is a stage in growth? I saw one of the red pods attached to another pod then two more pods attached on to the red pod...eventually the other 2 let go but I don't know what happen to the pod with the red pod on it.  <I've never seen one that has red on it but its not out of the realm of possibilities.> Lastly, I was thinking about removing the filter trays and just left my sand rack and use the filter as water current to move the water, is that a good idea? I figured that those filter only trap poop and other debris and I could just buy a separate carbon pouch if needed.  <I'm assuming you have lots of live sand and live rock in the tank to work as your filter instead? Should be okay if so. Lots of circulation is important to the tank.> 

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: