Aquarium Algae Control: Bubble Algae, Dinoflagellates, Bryopsis and Turf Algae - Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 (miss Part 1? click here) in our Aquarium Algae Control video series where we help you identify and tackle some of the peskiest algae that can grow in your aquarium.
Now we went over this in the first video but I think it is important to say it again. The first part of battling any nuisance algae is to make sure your water parameters are in check. Using pure RO/DI water, performing regular water changes, not overfeeding and using an efficient protein skimmer will help minimize all algae problems.
Bubble Algae is actually kind of cool looking if you ask me but is one of the hardest algae to deal with in your tank. Bubble Algae grows quickly and it is important to remove it right away before it has time to spread. When removing this algae do not pop the bubbles as this will release spores that will then spread throughout your tank. Careful removal with a turkey baster or outside of the tank, then rising with saltwater is best.
Thankfully this algae can easily be kept out of your tank with proper quarantine practice and inspection of any new frags or corals because it is easy to see and identify. Emerald crabs, Foxface and other Rabbitfishes are widely known to eat bubble algae and might be a good addition if you find bubble algae growing in your tank.
Turf Algae is somewhat similar to Green Hair Algae as it is a generic term that refers to wide variety of species that look alike. The coarse, wiry mats of algae seem to sprout right out of your rocks and can really be difficult to remove. Even a heavy scrubbing outside of the tank can prove ineffective against this algae.
Controlling nutrients along with a clean-up crew helps to prevent this alga from getting out of control. Urchins and Emerald Crabs are your best choice. If you find it growing heavily in your tank, it is probably best to remove the rocks or frags and clean them outside of the tank. This is the one of the instances where an algaecide or peroxide can help but is best treated outside of the tank and be sure to do your research first.
Macroalgae can really help out in reef tanks in terms of nutrient control. The trick here is getting it to grow in the right place, such as your refugium, and keep it out of your display. Bryopsis is a pesky macroalgae that if left to grow in your display, can be unsightly and out-compete corals for real estate.
Cleaner crew animals are not all that effective at controlling Bryopsis so manual removal at the first signs of this algae is important. Nutrient control via water changes and filter media is also important to slow down the spread of this algae.
Unfortunately, just like turf algae, if this stuff is left to grow wild in your tank it is likely you will need to remove and clean the infected rocks outside of your tank.
One remedy that has proven to work for Byopsis is elevating your magnesium level to 1700-1800ppm with Kent Marine Tech M. It is recommended to raise your magnesium level by no more than 100ppm daily and keep the level elevated until the broypsis is gone but just be sure to be careful and research first. Elevated magnesium levels can harm other corals and animals in your tank if not done properly.
Dinoflagellites are unique and can easily be confused with Diatoms or even cyanobacteria. It is brown, stringy, and produces air bubbles that get trapped up in the filaments. Dinoflagellates can be a real pain if they get out of control. A cleaner crew will not consume these and manual removal is your best choice.
Many hobbyists remove and treat infected rocks outside of the tank; usually to the point of killing and cleaning the rock completely. Nutrient control helps prevent an outbreak so be sure to maintain water parameters accordingly. Because they are photosynthetic, blacking out your tank for a few days has also been reported as an effective means of control.
Have you ever seen a tank with a slight green haze or cloudiness in the water? This is probably because of a Green Film Algae bloom. I have seen this algae in just about every marine aquarium I have kept and the key to preventing this algae is nutrient control. It is easily removed from tank surfaces but without starving it of nutrients, the algae will quickly grow back.
Blacking out your tank and controlling your phosphates and nitrates will help reduce the growth of this algae. Microfauna such as copepods feed on this type of algae and a refugium can also help for this reason in addition to help controlling nutrients.
For the most part, nuisance algae is one of those things were an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By maintaining proper water parameters, keeping nutrients under control, practicing proper quarantine and observing your tank closely you can easily prevent any one of these algae from becoming a problem in your tank.
Continuum Aquatics offers a natural solution to combat and prevent algae problems. The Bacter Clean-M helps to naturally reduce and eliminate algae by using microbial cultures and enzymes to break down waste and dislodge algae for easy removal.
Remember, Algae is a natural part of the ecosystem in your tank and will surely exist but maintaining a proper balance is the key to success.
If you are experiencing a frustrating battle with nuisance algae, our trained team of aquarium experts is here to help. I want to send a special thank you to the online reefing community who provided a majority of the tank footage and photos you have seen in the video that accompanies this post. For all those who contributed, Marine Depot appreciates your help and support!
Until next time, take care and happy reefkeeping.