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Bubble Algae question


Jakesaw

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I have found and removed Bubble Algae from 3 different Frags.  One had a single bubble.  Another one, I let get to around 5 bubbles.  Found the algae on a new coral this morning.  2 or 3 Bubble Algaes heads. 

 

It's not a big deal right now, as I'm removing them and only had 1 Burst upon removal and I was sure to rinse the material out in separate water before returning to tank. 

 

My tank is small and I can see / manage all my frags right now.  But that will not always be the case.

 

1) Is this something I should spend much time worrying about?

 

2) What happens if you let a bubble algae grow out of control for a while?  curious.

 

Thanks

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Valonia can be really difficult. It thrives in clean water. Don't worry about popping them when you remove them, that's parroted BS on the internet. Remove what you can as it can cover everything rapidly. I've got a bad case of it right now that I'm just starting to get a handle on after much elbow grease. 

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1 hour ago, Jakesaw said:

1) Is this something I should spend much time worrying about?

I like to think of most worry as a misuse of imagination.  So no.  🙂 

 

1 hour ago, Jakesaw said:

2) What happens if you let a bubble algae grow out of control for a while?  curious.

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies… rivers and seas boiling… 40 years of darkness... earthquakes, volcanoes... the dead rising from the grave... human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

 

Either that or nothing happens. 😉

 

The question is always how "susceptible" your tank is to the algae?  

 

A brand new tank with no corals, where there's nothing consuming ammonia other than bacteria will be relatively high-risk vs the alternative tank where good space is at more of a premium and where there are more potential predators of those algae propagules you release.

 

If your sources of frags don't respect you enough to sell you clean frags, then running a UV filter while you stock your tank isn't the worst idea.  (Maybe switching to more respectful vendors too.....be as choosey as you can be where livestock is concerned.  Shopping only on variety or price can be risky.)

 

My own tank has always had bubble algae come and go....I've almost never lifted a finger against it.  IMO and IME it's nice looking and one of the least-likely to be invasive, and pretty easy to control.  (All algae are "catastrophic" when allowed to get out of control....this is an owner's issue more than an algae issue IMO.)

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Tank is coming along, and I like the place I found to buy Frags.  Just had a nice sale and I was able to stock up on the cheap, and all the corals I've gotten have been healthy.  

 

Owner is also helping me get my tank parameters where they need to be

 

 

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The Duncan up top is only closed b/c I knocked him into sand during Tank maintenance / Bubble algae removal.  Favia had a bunch stuck around the edge in sand.  

 

Clownfish asked to be seen too!

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3 hours ago, Jakesaw said:

I have found and removed Bubble Algae from 3 different Frags.  One had a single bubble.  Another one, I let get to around 5 bubbles.  Found the algae on a new coral this morning.  2 or 3 Bubble Algaes heads. 

 

It's not a big deal right now, as I'm removing them and only had 1 Burst upon removal and I was sure to rinse the material out in separate water before returning to tank. 

 

My tank is small and I can see / manage all my frags right now.  But that will not always be the case.

 

1) Is this something I should spend much time worrying about?

 

2) What happens if you let a bubble algae grow out of control for a while?  curious.

 

Thanks

 

Noob reefer here too, but just had same issue on some fairly new frags a couple weeks ago. We noticed a few bubbles pop up -  but I went with someone's recommendation and manually removed them with tweezers out of the tank - since they were all on frags. I then dipped the frags in 50/50 hydrogen peroxide (3%) / tank water solution to kill the algae. frags looked terrible after I put them back in tank but after 48 hours was like no problem... 

 

Frags have been growing steadily since then and no bubble algae has popped up since. Trying not to jinx it, but that episode taught me to dip all new frags in H202 and then a dip in Revive for hitchhikers as well - not just the Revive like I had been doing. 

 

There are lots of threads on dipping in H202...

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8 minutes ago, emmysnewtank said:

but I went with someone's recommendation and manually removed them with tweezers out of the tank - since they were all on frags.

Good move.  Probably better to do without removing them from the water to minimize stress.

 

11 minutes ago, emmysnewtank said:

I then dipped the frags in 50/50 hydrogen peroxide (3%) / tank water solution to kill the algae. frags looked terrible after I put them back in tank but after 48 hours was like no problem... 

 

Frags have been growing steadily since then and no bubble algae has popped up since. Trying not to jinx it, but that episode taught me to dip all new frags in H202 and then a dip in Revive for hitchhikers as well - not just the Revive like I had been doing. 

 

There are lots of threads on dipping in H202...

😬

 

There are lots of threads on lots of crazy ideas...even more videos. 😵💫

 

There are more "miracle cures" than there are problems. 😉 

 

Remember:  You nailed it with the work you put into removing the algae from the coral.  The peroxide had nothing to do with anything

 

THAT is what other noobs need to know.  👍

 

(Be gentle and mindful in dipping your corals....it's not good for them, and not all corals tolerate it the same.)

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14 hours ago, mcarroll said:

 

There are more "miracle cures" than there are problems. 😉 

 

Remember:  You nailed it with the work you put into removing the algae from the coral.  The peroxide had nothing to do with anything

I actually removed the frags from the tank and THEN removed bubbles...definitely easier to see all the tiny pieces of algae and tweez/scrub off.

 

I am a noob, but disagree with the above that the H202 had nothing to do with the algae removal...or at the very least its return to tank. After the peroxide dip, the plugs literally bleach out white - so every bit of algae on them dies off. I actually dipped a zoa and a gsp frag that were covered in film algae at the same time (they were not opening because the algae was clearly bothering them). All of that film burned off as well w the dip.

 

Since the peroxide dips, those frags are clear of algae and no bubble algae has shown back up either. I'd guess if I just manual removed and no dip, the bubble would have come back as there is no way for me to see every microscopic piece.

 

@Jakesaw Do the peroxide dip. you won't be sorry...

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1 minute ago, emmysnewtank said:

 

 

@Jakesaw Do the peroxide dip. you won't be sorry...

Will do if / when I see them again.  But I don't think I'd let peroxide get on the Polyp. Just coral skeleton or frag plug. Would have covered all my corals but the recent Favia cleaning. 

 

I did siphon a bunch of the sand from where it was sitting and put fresh sand on top.

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36 minutes ago, emmysnewtank said:

I am a noob, but disagree with the above that the H202 had nothing to do with the algae removal...or at the very least its return to tank. After the peroxide dip, the plugs literally bleach out white - so every bit of algae on them dies off. I actually dipped a zoa and a gsp frag that were covered in film algae at the same time (they were not opening because the algae was clearly bothering them). All of that film burned off as well w the dip.

Remember I was talking about the bubble algae...the subject of the thread.  🙂 

 

And I was precise in the wording of my compliment.  You nailed the solution (getting rid of the bubble algae) with mechanical removal.  Peroxide had nothing to do with your success vs the bubble algae.  There are no microscopic bits to worry about the way you did it.  Folks who unknowingly go after algae with a toothbrush or any kind of scrubbing action pretty much regret it every time....green algae like bubble, hair, bryopsis, etc. are designed to spread via propagules.  (Not saying peroxide is an invalid tool to use in some specific situations either...only that it was not related to your success vs bubble algae.)

 

Further (since you brought it up), the only thing you want to remove at all is the pest algae.  

 

The rest of the "film" you saw die off is actually composed of reef organisms that you want.  Sometimes this layer is referred to as "periphyton".   Arguably, this is the magic ingredient that makes "live rock" live.  Periphyton loves to eat pest propagules such as algae spores.  Settlement is much more difficult in this environment vs bare substrate.

 

Bleaching the whole plug or rock with peroxide is undesirable for this reason....and is regressive and unnecessary in most cases such as yours.  Bleaching makes a nice clean, almost ideal, area for pest algae to settle later....thankfully in your case that hasn't happened, but if you read around it happens frequently post-bleaching.

 

 

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I know they can be a pest in aquariums but I find bubble algae fascinating. Here’s one I picked out of the ocean. This is one single cell, the largest single cell organism known. The cell wall is so tough it fells like it’s made of plastic.

 

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Before even worrying about removing it, it's good to figure out what kind of Valonia you even have - there are many species. Some species are solitary and get enormous (like V. Ventricosa, what @DevilDuck is holding and is likely the largest single celled species on the planet) and you really don't have to worry about them at all - they are totally benign, don't rapidly spread, and look really interesting. These type can grow for years and years and look super cool - I've got one I've been growing for about 3 years now that I just leave alone and is about 1.5" across. Some of the smaller colonial species can spread really fast and be a nightmare, while others spread slow and out compete most other pest algae.

 

I've never freaked out over valonia before and always take a wait and see approach. If I see one all by itself, I just leave it be. If I see more than 3 or 4 together, I typically just keep an eye on them for a few weeks. If that 3 or 4 together is only maybe 5 or 6 after several weeks, I just let them grow and do their thing. If that 3 or 4 becomes 6 or 8 over a week or two, they get pulled out.

 

That said, if you are buying frags that are coming on super clean bright white plugs that have bubble algae on them, it's probably not benign and you should probably change who you are getting coral from. If it was coming on plugs that were sitting in a system for months and have coralline and other crap on them, then sure - it's not a big deal. But, fresh cuts should be perfectly clean.

 

Not my usual photo quality since my camera is dead, but here is the "good" valonia that I have. It's not bothering the zoas, I just blasted the rock to get the zoas to close up so they weren't covering half of the bubble!

 

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4 hours ago, DevilDuck said:

I know they can be a pest in aquariums but I find bubble algae fascinating. Here’s one I picked out of the ocean. This is one single cell, the largest single cell organism known. The cell wall is so tough it fells like it’s made of plastic.

 

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Did some digging...

 

I had one about the same size in my tank several years ago.....it lasted so long that Coraline algae grew over about 1/3 of the surface....it looked like continents "growing" on a globe.  😄 

 

Didn't really have any other bubbles at the time either...not even other algae growing.  It appeared out of nowhere (as usual IME) and eventually went back where it came from.  👍

 

Here's a photo from 2010:

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For size reference, that's an old-school ORA plug under the birdsnest....1/2" diameter.

 

I have a movie I took later in the year (about 12 months later) where the Hydnophora coral above it had finally shaded the bubble completely...the coralline had grown a lot more and the bubble itself turned completely transparent.

 

Here's cap from that vid:

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Last item on bubble algae:  A German (bu English language) reefing book I have from the 90's called Bubble Algae "the jewel of the reef". 😉 

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Think you can leave them to grow or are you still seeing new bubble algae pop up around the tank?  

 

If it seems done spreading, I think I'd consider leaving these....perhaps even sliding that rock where you can see it better.  😁

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29 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Think you can leave them to grow or are you still seeing new bubble algae pop up around the tank?  

 

If it seems done spreading, I think I'd consider leaving these....perhaps even sliding that rock where you can see it better.  😁

Hasn't returned anywhere I've removed it from.  That rock is in back tank b/c was never meant to be a feature piece.  Grabbed it for coraline algae source, and to fight DINOS.  I don't really have real estate up front after my 40 % frag sale where I  grabbed a bunch of corals and stuck em in sand.   

 

I'm going to keep an eye on that grouping for a little bit.  If they grow in number, I'll knock em off like I did the others. 

 

I've got one other random DINO rock that I can't see with a sponge on it.  It accidentally was placed  under my Clownfish's main rock and I don't intned to re-arrange him again to retreive it.  

 

Interesting hobby I got myself into!

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  • 1 month later...

Corals are all thriving - just found new bubble algae on base of Candy Canes that are growing out nicely.  May hit it with Hydrogen peroxide when I pull and remove bubbles.  

 

Bubble Algae - I knock it back, but it seems to still be in my tank like whack a mole!

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ReachTheSky

Getting some in my 2.6g Pico. They grow in really annoying spots and are difficult to remove. Got an Emerald Crab a while ago but he's being lazy and hides all day/night. Thinking of getting another 1-2 more crabs to mow them down.

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I removed my B/A tonight.  There was more than I had thought - and had to hit it 2 x before putting back in tank.   Removed em all big and small - then used a dropper to put some Hydrogen peroxide on the stony base + long thorough saltwater rinse.  It's back in tank now and the candy Cane heads are fully open with feeders extended right now.

 

Hopefully they are gone for good on this frag. 

 

I've gone back and forth on emerald crab.  May some day get one, but From what I've read - they do eat Bubble Algae, they break some of the bubbles as they eat them, which spreads spores in your tank.  The issue is a work in process for me,  I'm still actively in the removal battle when it shows up. 

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19 hours ago, Jakesaw said:

I've gone back and forth on emerald crab.  May some day get one, but From what I've read - they do eat Bubble Algae, they break some of the bubbles as they eat them, which spreads spores in your tank.  The issue is a work in process for me,  I'm still actively in the removal battle when it shows up. 

I had to pull mine out reciently, as it shreded my frammer coral... lucky for me its the most estabilished coral in my tank with like 18 heads, so losing one was not a heart breaker. I ended up having to cut the dead head off, but i do have a gold torch several inches away which scared the hell out of me.... 

 

I caught it in the act too going "nomnomnom" on it.  

 

I can totally understand now why people say all crabs are evil except the ones you boil and eat with hot butter.  

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1 minute ago, Naekuh said:

I can totally understand now why people say all crabs are evil except the ones you boil and eat with hot butter.  

I like my crabs, they annoy me when they flip a coral frag or small rock in the sandbed .  Hardest part for me is that I have added a Talbot Damsel fish that does the same thing to my sandbed corals.  So when something is flipped over, i don't know who to be mad at anymore  :angry:

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12 minutes ago, Jakesaw said:

I like my crabs, they annoy me when they flip a coral frag or small rock in the sandbed .  Hardest part for me is that I have added a Talbot Damsel fish that does the same thing to my sandbed corals.  So when something is flipped over, i don't know who to be mad at anymore  :angry:

I have female clown that likes to throw the entire sand bed upside down next to her hosted dunkin coral whenever something gets near it (Astrea Snail for example). All that sand lands on my Acan next to it also.   lol.

 

I also got a Orchid Dottyback that declared war against my toadstool and always dumps sand on that too.   😤

Every morning i wake up, i have to blow sand off these two corals at feeding, especially the toad as i don't want it go shedding because it has sand ontop of it.  

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52 minutes ago, Naekuh said:

I also got a Orchid Dottyback that declared war against my toadstool and always dumps sand on that too.   😤

Every morning i wake up, i have to blow sand off these two corals at feeding, especially the toad as i don't want it go shedding because it has sand ontop of it.  

Glad I'm not alone. 

 

I knew there was a reason I came to this site.  Group therapy

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