AirWaterIce <----> BarrierReef
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 53

Thread: Coralline Algae

  1. #1
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323

    Coralline Algae


    An old liverock of mine covered in red, purple and green coralline algae.


    Almost everyone first getting into the hobby is obsessed with having coralline growing all over their rocks. They buy all sorts of additives like Purple-Up etc to try and promote it to grow in an attempt to add a bit of color to their tank. It isn't until they find themselves having trouble looking into their tank due to the glass being completely covered with coralline that they find their love for coralline turning into a dislike putting it in the category of a "nuicance". So what exactly is coralline and what exactly is it's purpose? Does it even have a purpose? let's take a closer look at it and see what we come up with.


    What is Coralline Algae?

    Put simply, coralline algae is a type of algae that has a calcerous based skeleton. A more scientific definition coming from The Encyclopedia of the Earth is, "Coralline algae are calcifying red algae, which have a hard skeleton resulting from the precipitation of calcium carbonate within their cell walls". Coralline can grow in waters as shallow as a few inches deep to depths as deep as a couple hunderd feet and is pretty much found anywhere in the world meaning, that it will grow in warm temperate climates as well as in places where it is very cold. They come in a wide array of colors like purple, pink and green we typically see in our aquariums, to yellow and even blue's from what I have read. In addition to that, coralline will grow under very intense lighting as well as under very dim lighting which is why you will see tanks that are running either high wattage metal halide lighting (for example) covered in coralline algae as well as you will see the same thing happeneing in tanks that uses low wattage VHO's or pc lighting. Coralline also falls under two major groups:

    Articulated - These are the branching type of coralline that is somewhat flexible in nature (ie like joints of your fingers as described by Boomer) and grows almost like certain plants or trees similar to cedar or bamboo (just to give a few comparable examples). This type of coralline you typically don't see in an aquarium.


    Non-Articulated - These are the crusty type that we typically have in our aquariums that grow on the surfaces of the glass, rocks, or on pretty much any surface in our tanks if you let it.



    Image Copyright Malcolm Storey, 2008, BioImages - Virtual Fieldguide (UK). Some rights reserved.
    Image is of one of the many types of articulated coralline algae's you will find in the wild


    The Importance of Coralline Algae


    So, does coralline algae have a purpose or is it just one of those things you can either do with or do without? Well, to our surprise, coralline actually is very important to the oceans and even to our aquariums. Let's take a look at a few of these things...

    Food Source - Certain marine life feed on coralline algae which include things like sea-urchins, chitons/curbs, some crabs, some snails etc (just to name a few). This is one of the reasons why you will see people suggest adding a sea-urchin or two to an aquarium where coralline has gone crazy in an effort to try and control it somewhat.


    Micro habitats- The group "articulated coralline" we discussed earlier actually forms microhabitats in the wild for invertebrates to hide in which protects them from being preyed upon by fish. According to wikipedia, it was discovered that in Canada, certain invertebrates like sea-urchins, chitons and limpits would suffer 100% mortality due to fish predation had they not had the "knobby and undercut coralline algae" to protect them.


    Reef Structure - The non-articulated coraline algae we typically have growing in our tanks are very important to reef structure. Without it, the reefs would have a hard time forming an actual structure as it is the coralline that actually "cements" the reef structure together. Pretty cool!!

    Coloration - One of the most appealing attributes of coralline is the beauty and coloration it adds to our tanks (ie if it is kept under control and not allowed to take over every single surface area in our tanks LOL). Thanks to coralline, we don't have to look at dull brown or grey rocks, but rather rocks covered in the pretty shades coralline comes in. I think this is where the fascination hobbyist have with coralline comes from.

    Out of our aquariums - According to the Encyclopedia of the Earth, coralline algae is used for various economic purposes such as a soil conditioner, treatment for acid drinking water, animal food additive and pharmaceutical products. Bet you dodn't know that!! Well me either till I read it LOL!


    How Coralline Makes It's Way in to our Aquariums


    Un-fortunately, unlike other "algae's" coraline will have to be introduced into the tank and will not just grow on it's own like diatoms seem to do...Go figure!. There are several techniques and methods people go about introducing coralline into their aquarium which includes the obvious, adding liverock which has coraline growing on it already or adding coralline scrapings from someones tank, the ocean or where ever into your tank. The best way to go about this proceedure (ie adding coralline scrapings to a tank) would be to turn of your skimmer and everything else in the tank besides your pumps that you use for flow. Once you do this, toss the scrapings in the tank and allow the flow to spread it everywhere. After a few mintues, you can then turn back on your skimmer and pumps when you feel the scrapings have been evenly distributed around the aquarium. I have personally done this at one point to seed one of my aquariums which worked like a charm. I obtained the coralline scrapings off of rocks, broken glass and even shells found in water as shallow as 3-4ft deep.


    What Does Coralline Require To Grow?


    To promote the growth of coralline algae, you will need to have really good water chemistry. What this entails is having your calcium, alk and magnesium all in balance and as close to NSW as possible. Calcium should be kept in the 420 mg/L range (give or take a little), alk around 9 dkh, magnesium about 1200-1300 and salinity around 1.024. In addition to this, it is said that coralline doesn't do well where phosphates are present as well as nitrates so you will want to make sure that these levels are kept minimal (like 5 ppm at most to O) if at all possible. Coralline algae almost acts more like a coral than an algae as it requires basically the same thing's as corals do to thrive and grow including light. Speaking of light, as I mentioned earlier in the article, coralline will grow under either high intense lighting or low lighting. All that lighting will determine is which type (and even possibly color) of coraline will grow in your tank as some prefer low lit aquariums whereas others prefer more intense lighting.



    A prime example of good water chemistry displayed in Charlie's tank. Note the great coralline growth!


    Summing it up

    Having coralline growing in our aquariums is one of those things you can either love or hate. In my personal opinion though, where our aquariums are concerned, unless you have certain organisms like sea-urchins that require coralline as a food source, then I don't think it something that you necessarily need in order to have a successful aquarium. I look at it as just one of those things that adds a bit of color to our aquariums which is something we all desire...To have a tank that is visually appealing. Too much of it though, and it can become a nuicance and can actually take a way from the beauty of your tank making things look even more un-natural in some cases. To add to that, the fact that coralline uses calcium, alk and mag to grow, will mean that you will have to make sure you stay on top of testing your water regularily so that if any adjustments need to be made in your dosing of calcium, alk etc, that they are adjusted in an effort to ensure that you always maintain good water chemistry as your corals will require these same trace elements as well to survive. The last thing you want to do is to rob them of these things.

    So with that said, having coralline growing nicely in your aquarium can be viewed as a good sign that your tank is pretty healthy and has ideal water chemistry so don't think of it as a bad thing or a curse. All this means is that you are doing things right and it will be totally up to you from there if you will allow it take over your tank or you control where you have it grow.
    Last edited by Krish; 03-14-2011 at 08:05 AM.
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  2. #2
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    Just another little write up I did on coralline algae that will promoted to an article on the homepage for a bit. We will use this thread to discuss it. If anyone wants to add pictures (I know Sid has some really nice shots of a plate type coralline) you can also add them here. Also, if anyone has anymore info they could add it would be nice as well. The article is just basically my thoughts once again so it may not be complete.
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  3. #3
    Copepod
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    6
    Rep Power
    0
    What is the cause of Corlline dye-off?? My reef is going through some dye off. Is this a bad sign or warning of poor water chemistry?

  4. #4
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleReefer View Post
    What is the cause of Corlline dye-off?? My reef is going through some dye off. Is this a bad sign or warning of poor water chemistry?
    It could be a number of things that causes coralline to die off. Have you recently changed your lighting? I know with me, I went from 260w pc's to dual 250w metal halides and my rocks lost alot of their color. Water chemistry was still great, but it took forever for them to regain a bit of the color and it still never really came back like it was. Some coralline prefers alot of light where as others like lower light. Hopefully we can get someone more experienced to chime in on this, but from what I have heard/read somewhere, is that coralline tends to like the bluer side of the spectrum. If your bulbs are due for a change as after a period of time, they start to lose their spectrum (or rather it shifts a bit) could also be the cause. Then there is water chemistry. You have to make sure that all of your parameters are in check. Maybe do a test on calcium, mag, and alk and see what you get. If all read well, take a peek at your phosphate and nitrate levels as it is said that coralline doesn't grow well where excess nutrients are present.
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  5. #5
    M.I.A

    DTECH07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, WA
    Posts
    1,096
    Rep Power
    78
    I like this one, again short, sweet, and to the point. I was at first trying everything to get Purple or Pink and it seemed it just was'nt working and had me think I had poor water quality. Then one day i notice the Purple but a lot of green and relized (after more research) that I had it for some time. So i keep my viewable cleaned but the rocks, back of tank, and sand go untouch. Thanks again krish for on time info.

    Dtech07

  6. #6
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    Quote Originally Posted by DTECH07 View Post
    I like this one, again short, sweet, and to the point. I was at first trying everything to get Purple or Pink and it seemed it just was'nt working and had me think I had poor water quality. Then one day i notice the Purple but a lot of green and relized (after more research) that I had it for some time. So i keep my viewable cleaned but the rocks, back of tank, and sand go untouch. Thanks again krish for on time info.

    Dtech07
    You are quite welcomed man...I have SO much to still learn in this hobby, but I'm trying to share the little I do know. I'm hoping that I can atleast set the stage to where those more experienced can chime in and add to it. I consulted Boomer on the "articulated" coralline algae which he was very helpful in explaining to me. I'll have to shoot Sid a pm now to tell him to add some shots of a type of coralline algae has growing that I never knew grew that way. Pretty neat looking! Almost looks like a coral. On your tank, you know when I first set up my tank years ago, my coralline started out as a bright green color. I though it was a nuicance algae at first then eventually it started to turn and eventually ended up purple. Pretty neat! I have heard from somewhere (once again would need someone to confirm) but have heard that alot of the time coralline starts out green then changes color from there. If you look at the first photo of one of my rocks, if you look good, you will see some of the green coralline on that rock. Wasn't much, but it did have some. I've ever read that coralline can be white. Haven't see it in any tanks yet, but would probably would look kinda cool especially the blue's that it comes in as well.
    Last edited by Krish; 03-13-2011 at 08:46 PM.
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  7. #7
    Love my Nikon
    Airphotog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    537
    Rep Power
    0
    Nice writeup Krish. I started my nano on the 3rd of January and have tons of pods and new coraline growing on the Tunzes.

  8. #8
    M.I.A

    DTECH07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, WA
    Posts
    1,096
    Rep Power
    78
    Hey krish here are some of the COLORS you were speaking of. There's White, Green, Red and some Blue/Blackish on the this piece.



    Dtech07

  9. #9
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    Quote Originally Posted by Airphotog View Post
    Nice writeup Krish. I started my nano on the 3rd of January and have tons of pods and new coraline growing on the Tunzes.
    Nice!! That's a good sign!! Sometimes you get lucky like I did with a box of nice rock to set a good foundation. That rock you see in the first picture was in my 75 gal and I got that rock with a bunch of others similar. Pretty neat!!


    Quote Originally Posted by DTECH07 View Post
    Hey krish here are some of the COLORS you were speaking of. There's White, Green, Red and some Blue/Blackish on the this piece.



    Dtech07
    Nice!!! Thanks for adding that! Gives you a bit of a visual as to what the white looks like!
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  10. #10
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    On a side note, I went back and edited the "articulated" coralline algae's definition. I had consulted Boomer on it initially and he took his time to explain it to me and me like an idiot left the definition kinda vague so I went back and fixed it some so that you could get a better idea of what it is like. As Boomer put it, it's similar to how your fingers are where they have joints along the way that allows it to be somewhat flexible and bend. The word "articulated" is not just subjective to this type of coralline, but a tons of other things like tree's as I mentioned earlier and even a light fixture as Boomer used in an illustration when he explained it that really brought it all together. Here is the image he used to give you a better understanding.

    Last edited by Krish; 03-14-2011 at 08:25 AM.
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  11. #11
    M.I.A

    DTECH07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, WA
    Posts
    1,096
    Rep Power
    78
    That does make mre sense of it better. I'll have to do some research of wht we don't or maybe can't develop the "branching" Colalline, it would add a totally different aspect to a tank and would create a nice haven for marine life. Thanks krish and take care

    Dtech07/Darryl

  12. #12
    Amphipod

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Everett, Washington, United States
    Posts
    77
    Rep Power
    0
    Here are a few pics of my "plating" or what some call "cup" coraline algae. I have yet to see anyone else with a tank that has this extremely dark, purple, plating coraline. Seen a few with the lighter pink/purple stuff. This stuff is just nuts though.





    The type of coraline that flourishes in a system seems to depend greatly on your source of light. Mine is a 4x24 t5ho with (2)ATI Blue Plus, (1)ATI Purple Plus, and (1)Aquablue Special.

    My standard encrusting purple coraline grows at a snails pace, while the plating stuff goes ballistic.

  13. #13
    Dazed and confused
    Gort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Renton
    Posts
    227
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by BackwerdsMan View Post
    Here are a few pics of my "plating" or what some call "cup" coraline algae. I have yet to see anyone else with a tank that has this extremely dark, purple, plating coraline. Seen a few with the lighter pink/purple stuff. This stuff is just nuts though.

    My standard encrusting purple coraline grows at a snails pace, while the plating stuff goes ballistic.
    May I get a coralline scraping from your tank please?
    Last edited by Gort; 03-15-2011 at 05:38 PM.

  14. #14
    RF STAFF
    Krish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nassau, Bahamas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    25,426
    Rep Power
    323
    Quote Originally Posted by DTECH07 View Post
    That does make mre sense of it better. I'll have to do some research of wht we don't or maybe can't develop the "branching" Colalline, it would add a totally different aspect to a tank and would create a nice haven for marine life. Thanks krish and take care

    Dtech07/Darryl
    No problem Darryl!!




    Quote Originally Posted by BackwerdsMan View Post
    Here are a few pics of my "plating" or what some call "cup" coraline algae. I have yet to see anyone else with a tank that has this extremely dark, purple, plating coraline. Seen a few with the lighter pink/purple stuff. This stuff is just nuts though.





    The type of coraline that flourishes in a system seems to depend greatly on your source of light. Mine is a 4x24 t5ho with (2)ATI Blue Plus, (1)ATI Purple Plus, and (1)Aquablue Special.

    My standard encrusting purple coraline grows at a snails pace, while the plating stuff goes ballistic.
    Wow!! Nice stuff man!! Looks like a bunch of polyps!! Thanks for adding them!!
    Hidden Content


    Come Join Us
    Hidden Content



    Have you helped a fellow reefer today??

  15. #15
    M.I.A

    DTECH07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Lakewood, WA
    Posts
    1,096
    Rep Power
    78
    I like that shelf look that's really nice.

    Dtech07

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •