View Full Version : Murderous Semi-complex Algae From Hell

03/17/2017, 02:03 AM



Fine, branching, grotesque red stuff. It has holdfasts that it seems to grow back from, making it impossible to eliminate manually. It grows all over my rock. It grows hideously all over my desirable macroalgae. It grows on the shell of the snail Snaredevil and may soon puncture his internal organs, killing him.

It's been like this since January. All I can do to keep it at bay is brush it off with a toothbrush and rinse the plants every other week, but it just comes back with a vengeance.

I've been too embarrassed to post these images until now.

Is there no hope?

03/17/2017, 02:39 AM
I have this stuff. It grows in my lit sump, but can't survive in my ATS or reef.

My suspicion is that it's spectrum and flow driven. My sump has cheap LEDs with more red than the main tank. It also has lower and continuous flow vs. the DT with surges and pulses.

My main tank has intense herbivore predation though (rabbitfish and tangs) so no algae can survive.

My ATS tank is full of macro and micro but this red stuff doesn't survive in there. The green hair algae is dominant.

so.. add more flow, shift to a bluer spectrum and add a tang? I know that's not the best advice for a macro tank, but... that's my experience.

03/17/2017, 03:42 AM
Very interesting input! (And I'm glad I'm not the only one with this curse!)

Not sure if flow would help. It's true that the flow is kinda moderate, but it's not opposed to growing directly in the path close up to the pump.

The blue light would probably help...I don't like it, but I know using white light could definitely be to blame.

I don't want a tang...do you think a lettuce nudibranch or several would do any good?

Ron Reefman
03/17/2017, 06:14 AM
Not 100% sure here, but I have the red algae that you show as a 'vine' with the small red bubbles or balloons attached to it. It's never been an issue in my tank. And when I put some in my DT the tangs eat the bubbles like crazy but leave the stiff vine.

However, the fine hairy red stuff is a different algae. At least I'm pretty sure it is. I've never seen it associated with my red bubble algae.

Good luck.

03/17/2017, 03:34 PM
It is a different thing...the botryocladia is there intentionally. But the fine red stuff grows on top of the botryocladia and pretty much everything else except the sand and the soft coral. :(

03/17/2017, 04:43 PM
It might be the same stuff that was in the movie War of The Worlds. :clown:

Michael Hoaster
03/17/2017, 10:23 PM
That's cotton candy algae. It can really get out of hand. I got rid of mine combining manual removal and snails. Remove the big pieces, then place snails on the remaining short growth. Once the snails get a taste for it, it is doomed. I like Ceriths. They reproduce and as they do, you get lots of different sizes to keep your prized macros clean.

Ron Reefman
03/18/2017, 05:27 AM
I just collected a good size Decorator Crab or 'Sponge Crab' while at the beach the other day. It has a big white with orange spots tunicate covering it's carapace. I was a bit unsure about it because it is fairly big, about the size of a silver dollar. Also I was unsure of it's eating habits. But I have a local only tank and it could always go in there. However, I put it in my display refugium and it immediately started working on some of the hairy algae I've had an issue with. Over the last 2 days that's all we've seen it do as it goes from one place to another checking out the algae. It might be a bulldozer in a tank full of small corals and frags, but in my display refugium it is a perfect new house guest!

I was surprised at how fast it can get around in the tank and then this morning I walked up to the tank and it was at the upper tip of a 16" tall Gorgonian and it jumped off and gently floated down to the sand. The tunicate on it's back has been hollowed out so it fits perfectly. And they have hooks on their back legs that hold onto it. So when it jumped, the tunicate opens up a bit at the front and works like a parachute for the ride down to the sand!

03/18/2017, 12:33 PM
That crab deserves its own thread with pics and video. Maybe call it "extreme sports crab"

03/31/2017, 08:41 PM
We need a subforum dedicated to that crab. Name it and teach it more tricks lol

Ron Reefman
04/01/2017, 04:15 AM
That crab deserves its own thread with pics and video. Maybe call it "extreme sports crab"

We need a subforum dedicated to that crab. Name it and teach it more tricks lol

I'll consider naming it. It lives in the display refugium with Hannibal the 5" to 6" long Hawaiian Red Reef Lobster. Frankly I'm amazed that the crab is still alive. I reached in the tank to remove a frag of neon green branching leather the crab had cut loose and the lobster darted out from the rock cave nipped my finger... and drew blood!

I'll be interested in what the crab will do next. The tunicate that he carries on his back is dying and only about 50% as big as it was and I knew that would happen. I think he's cutting the leather coral to use as a replacement. But so far he's holding on the what's left of the tunicate.

Here is the crab while the tunicate was still healthy:

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/20170319_091746_zpscg6pi3rr.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/20170319_091746_zpscg6pi3rr.jpg.html)

Here is Hannibal the lobster (and part time finger remover):

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/PC050028%20R1_zpsljnedzdm.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/PC050028%20R1_zpsljnedzdm.jpg.html)

Maybe now we should get back to the OP's issue with the pick cotton candy algae!

04/01/2017, 10:14 AM
Spot feed the tunicate?