Reef Aquarium Pests

As with most hobbies there are some things that are definitely undesirable. Keeping a saltwater reef aquarium or [tag-tec]saltwater fish only aquarium[/tag-tec] is a most fulfilling hobby, but irritating problems can occur.

For example, outbreaks of filamentous green algae, brown/black/red smear algae, [tag-tec]glass anemones[/tag-tec] and bubble algae (sailor’s eyeball algae) are four of the major culprits. These problems can develop into major headaches if proper action during setting-up and the following care and maintenance are not taken.

The really annoying part is that glass anemones and [tag-ice]bubble algae[/tag-ice] can be decorative at first. In fact, an unwary and inexperienced aquarist might be pleased with his new additions.

These problems usually arrive with new corals, or, rather, on the rocks the new corals are attached to. Live rock can also introduce them.

A major cause of [tag-self]algae problems[/tag-self] is low water quality, that is, water that has too high levels of nitrate and phosphate. It has been reported that filamentous green algae, smear algae, and glass anemones do well in the presence of nitrate and phosphate.

To make bubble algae (sailor’s eyeball algae) even more annoying, it is said that to do well it needs high quality water. So if they appear in your tank, definitely take control action, but at least be pleased that your water is good.

I have dealt with bubble algae successfully. I have also waged war with glass anemones, but have found that, once the war is generally won, occasionally control action is needed when another pops its unwelcome head up.

The answer to these problems is the proper setting up of a tank from the start, and ongoing care and maintenance.

These reef aquarium pests may never invade your tank at all, but it is probable that one or the other will appear. Be aware, and be prepared with the necessary knowledge to take remedial action.

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5 Comments
  1. We have a small white blob with a dark circle in the middle, many. It seems as if they are eating the seal, silicone or rubber in our tank. I am trying to figure out what they are, and get rid of them Thank you for any hints. Annie

  2. Hi, are these attached to either the rock or the glass in any way or are they free moving animals?

    If there are attached to the rock by what appears to be a stalk, has numerous tentacles and is off white in colour then they could be aiptasia (glass anemones)

    If they are not attached to a rock in any way and are free moving then it would be easier if you could somehow let us have a picture to the gallery so that we can help id it for you.

    I have never heard of one eating sealant before though!

  3. aiptasia war is taking large toll on me. I have even broken apart reef and started a high calicum tank with pepermint shrimp. I’m still not able to gain. I also believe that stress from me being in tank alot may have killed prized blue hippo, and sizable yellow tangs, also just lost fox face. have been keeping water clean, and nitrate low. I still need help desprately!!!!!!!!

  4. Hi, I am doing some graduate research on flatworms in the marine aquarium trade.

    I would love your input on a survey I created that is going out to aquarists all over the country.

    Please check it out at the this link.
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=tHdxBtKxI5_2fbbWrqOswQ9g_3d_3d

    Thanks,
    -Drew Lynford
    Elmont New York

  5. I have a problem that is effecting or infecting my reef tanks. Tiny little creatures that look like star fish and that grow only to the size of my finger nail on my little finger. For a long time I mean years only 3 or 4 would be seen now for some odd reason there are hundreds. anybody know what they are and how to get rid of the them?

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