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Types of Algae and how to take care of it

Nuisance algae is caused by excess nutrient in the marine aquarium. Figure out why your nutrient levels are high and you will solve your nuisance algae problems

Bubble algae

Bubble algae is very common in saltwater tanks and reef aquariums that use live rock. The most common and effective predator for this marine algae is the mithrax crab, or the emerald crab as it is more commonly known. This docile crab will eat the bubble about 50% of the time and has a docile nature and poses no real threat to other tank mates like some crabs often do. There is no known saltwater fish that eats bubble algae.

it is important to remember that you should never pop bubble algae or try to remove the bubbles on your own. If you do pop it, it will spread throughout your tank very quickly and become an even bigger problem.

Bubble Algae

Hair algae

Hair algae is probably the most common and most frustrating saltwater aquarium algae to deal with. It is also one of the main reasons why beginning aquarists leave the aquarium hobby. Green hair algae starts in small patches, but can become a large problem very quickly, covering every inch of rock in your aquarium. Green hair algae grows because nutrients are entering your aquarium faster than it is being exported. If you already have this algae growing in your aquarium, you may want to evaluate your aquariums filtration, your bioload, how frequesntly you do water changes, and what you are adding to your aquarium in terms of water quality, food, and additives. Equipment such as refugiums, protein skimmers, reactors, and other filters are good ways to slow the rate at which these nutrients are entering your system, but the BEST way to remove nutrient is through water changes. You must do water changes not only to reduce waste from the water, but to also replenish elements that are necessary for your corals and fish to grow.

Hair algae specifically grows from excess food and waste rotting in the aquarium, which releases ammonia and nitrate into your system. Algaes use these nutrients to grow. To stop growth you must remove the nutrient. The most effective way that I have found to kill the hair algae and then export the nutrient was to cover my aquarium with a black towel so that no extra light could come through and i set my timers so that the lights only come on for 1-3 hours per day. After a few days the hair algae becomes week enough to brush from the rocks.At this point you should brush all of it from the rock and do a 75% or more water change. I used this technique and have not seen hair algae for quite some time now. However, anytime you do a water change that big, you run the risk of shocking/killing your inhabitants. If you do attempt it, make sure that the water you are going to be putting into the aquarium is ro/di mixed with high quality salt or sea water and that the temperatue is the same as the water you are taking out.

Green hair algae is also the food of many aquarium fish. Some of the common fish that are used to eat hair algae are the tang and blenny, specifically the Blue hippo and yellow tang are great algae eaters in 4ft or larger tanks, and for smaller systems, the lawn mower (also known as the algae blenny), or the Bi-color blenny will feast on green hair algae. Along with these fish you can employ urchins, many crabs such as the common blue leg, sally lightfoot and emeral mithrax crabs, and/or a variety of snails to quickly devour the algae from the rocks and decorations.

Green Hair Algae
Diatom Algae

This brown film algae is a common saltwater aquarium algae that usually covers the inside glass and gravel of the saltwater fish tank. This rarely gets out of control and what little does grow can easily be taken care of with snails. The astrea and nerite snails will do a great job of eating any diatoms is your tank.

Coralline Algae

This type of algae is pink or red in color. This type of algae is NOT bad for your tank. It is actually a good sign that your tank is doing well.

For more information on why algae may be growing in your aquarium, please read the short article on: Why algae may be growing in your reef aquarium

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  1. Why Algae May Be Growing In Your Aquarium | Reef ChronicleMay 1, 2009 at 11:21 amReply

    [...] types of algae and how to remove them from your fish tank, please take a few minutes to read the Types of Algae and how to take care of it article. You will find there are many easy things you can do to help with your algae [...]

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