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Algae Identification Thread

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
An algae identification thread
How about an identification thread for marine algae? Member Keeshcarm had asked about one and I thought I would give it a shot. It is not the intent of this thread to give advice on the algae, just to help to identify it. While the species shown may not be the species you have it will give you an indication of the look of the algae and possible help you to search for the exact species you have. Be aware that you may never be able to get down to the exact species but hopefully this I.D. thread will help you to identify the genus and possibly family and therefore the care needed.

Whenever we set up a tank it seems that there are at least a few different algae that hitch along with the live rock. Some good some invasive but always part of the biota out in the vastness of the ocean we are trying to replicate. There are reefers that will do anything to get their hands on as many and varied types they can do add to their displays, then others that will do anything to keep it out. Won’t take up sides here but will try to go out to the net and pick up some photos and descriptions of some of the ones we see more often than not. I will also attempt to give credit for the pictures in a way that does not go against any of the rules of for posting here. So here we go!!

Lets start off with one of the more common and invasive of the algae we see, that being Caulerpa sp.
A quick note on the law…….
United States Law: It is illegal to import or transport Caulerpa taxifolia aquarium strain across state lines including internet sale (Federal Noxious Weed Act, 1999; and Federal Plant Protection Act, 2000). I suggest you do some more research on the laws regarding the transport and sale of Caulerpa sp. Especially our California friends.

Caulerpa taxifolia

Caulerpa mexicana

Caulerpa prolifera

Caulerpa racemosa

Caulerpa serrulata

Caulerpa sertularioides

Caulerpa brachypus

Caulerpa racemosa var. peltata

Caulerpa nummularia
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hair algae, for the most part another of the invasive varieties. With the noted exception of Chaetomorpha.

Derbesia sp.

Bryopsis sp.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Now let’s show some of the bubble algae.

Valonia macrophysa

Ventricaria ventricosa

Botryocladia uvaria
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Here are a few of the turf algae.

Ulva rigida

Chlorodesmis species

Gelidium pusillum
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Some of the Calcareous algae. These are algae that grow on limestone or in soil impregnated with lime. They will uptake calcium from the water and use it to grow.

Coralline Hydrolithon boergesenii

Peyssonnelia sp.

Mesophyllum mesomorphum

Codium edule

Codium vermilara

Halimeda macroloba

Halimeda tuna

One of my favorites Neomeris annulata

Penicillus dumetosis
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Red algae.
Gracilaria curtissae

Halymenia sp.

Scinaia sp.

Galaxaura fastigiata


Nemastoma sp.

(Meowzer suggestion)


This list is not all inclusive but to be used as a guide to some of the more common algae that I have come across in my reading of hobbyists posts for identification. If anyone wants to PM me with some that should have been included I can do some editing and include it.


Edited by spanko - 12/22/10 at 7:45am
post #7 of 24
I don't see anything that looks like my mushroom like thingy

Great thread Henry...I sure hope the pics stay this time
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well this thread seems to have made it through the upgrade!
post #9 of 24
Nice work Henry!!
post #10 of 24

Red Macro algae?

This grew from a piece of live rock in our tank, and is growing rapidly. It looks like some type of red macroalgae to me, but I haven't found any pictures of it anyplace. It's beautfiul looking in the tank, but I want to make sure its ok.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Looks like Gracilaria to me.
post #12 of 24

I really think this thread should be "stickied", thoughts?

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

I think it is isn't it?

post #14 of 24

I don't believe so. It took me a while to find it last night, but I was having some computer issues.

post #15 of 24

And now today it shows up as a "Recommended Thread". I hate my computer! Santa needs to deliver my Mac early!

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Did you find the algae you were looking for?

post #17 of 24
Originally Posted by spanko View Post

Did you find the algae you were looking for?

Yes. I love this thread. I used to have it bookmarked until my computer crashed.

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

If you run across any ID's in you moderator travels please post them in the thread or get them to me via PM and I will edit the appropriate area to add them to. 


post #19 of 24

Here is one!  Anyone know what this is and how to control it?  photo.JPG

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Caulerpa serrulata would be my guess here. Control is difficult if you want to get rid of it entirely. If you want to keep some then aggressive pruning is the method.

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