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Algae ID please

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by xerxes, May 5, 2009.

  1. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    I'm hoping someone will be able to help me ID my mystery algae.

    This algae ranges in color from light green to dark green, and in some areas it has turned almost a rust color (though the rust colored areas do not seem indicative of dying patches). It feels gelatinous, soft, and slimy as slimy gets. Its filaments look like fine strings of green beads - visible in the picture - and they move like anemone tentacles in the current.

    I've had this for some time now, letting it grow out for a better ID match. It only seems to be growing on the wood hardscape and filter parts... not bothering even my most algae-susceptible plants.

    The tank it's in is well established and heavily planted. The only other algae issue is some spot algae that periodically appears on the glass and damaged foliage.

    I've referenced the Aquarium Algae ID blogspot as suggested in other algae ID threads and did not find a match.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm going to guess a macroalgae -- perhaps Maiden's Hair. I honestly don't know if Maiden's Hair can grow in fresh water.
     
  3. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    I haven't been able to find any good photos of Maiden's Hair, so I'm not sure how the two compare. I would agree, however, that the mystery algae is something I'd expect to see in a SW aquarium. No SW is in proximity to this tank, and I assure you that the algae is having no difficulties thriving in my freshwater tank!

    Any other suggestions?
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    *edit* Double post. Delete if you like.
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Some sort of Cladophora spp. would be my first guess. It looks marine because some kinds of it are marine. Not all clado spp. are so well behaved as marimo balls. On a long shot, and partially out of my own interests, have you been dosing NaCO3 or anything else containing sodium in to the water column?

    -Philosophos
     
  6. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    Freshwater Cladophora species, as I understand it, are normally coarse in texture and more hair-like in structure. Also, I don't think I've ever heard of a freshwater Cladophora descibed as 'slimy'.

    The tank gets weekly 40% water changes, and is dosed after each one with the Tropica Plant Nutrition solution. I am also using pressurized CO2.
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't think I've seen any professional evaluations on the comparable texture of various algaes, my self. Clado can look like that; check out photos on algaebase.org. I'm not positive on the ID, but I can't think of anything more likely based on what I've seen.

    -Philosophos
     
  8. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    I've looked through [what I think are] all the clado photos at algaebase.org and I still don't think I found a match - though some of the photos did not show too much detail, so it might have been in there.

    Until I figure out it's true identity, and based on my observations of its growth in my tank (see first post), is this likely an undesirable algae?

    Here's a couple more shots from today:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    I am wondering of this is, in fact, some kind of cyanobacteria.

    Thank you Wikipedia for this site on cyanobacteria. Without a macro lens or an electron microscope, it's hard to say for sure, but the mystery algae's filaments look similar to the strings of vegetative cells discussed in the Cell Types section. Whether or not small variances in these vegetative cells (if that is what they are) - which I think I can barely detect by eye - represent akinetes and heterocysts, I don't know.

    The site also mentions that the cyanobacteria color morphs range from blue-green to rust to black.

    Picture excrpt from above site:
    [​IMG]

    Finger shot - out of water:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ah, now the close-up helps. It's not from a microscope, but it makes it easier. I'd agree; some sort of BGA, Nostocaceae family at very least, if not nostoc spp. I spent a while reading on BGA algae a couple nights back with your latest photo in mind; couldn't nail yours down precisely, and there were some look-alikes.

    I'd say it's pretty enough to want to keep. Algae, on rare occasions, can be very attractive in FW systems. Try trimming it for appearances maybe?

    -Philosophos
     
  11. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    I think this is looking too complex a structure to be a cyanobacteria now...

    I've been able to get some pictures of it under a scope.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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  13. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Wow, nice microscope. I can't say that I've seen any algae form that way; usually anything hanging off tends to branch. It may still be cyano; some types do get that complex. I might try to hunt down an ID on it later tonight.

    -Philosophos
     
  14. paludarium

    paludarium Guest

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  15. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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  16. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    Well, from the pictures and very short descriptions I've found for various Batrachospermum species online, I think my mystery algae lines up.

    However, Batrachospermum info seems quite scarce online! Can anyone give me a rundown on this algae? Any observations of it in aquariums? I suspect one might find some info on Batrachospermum (also known as freshwater 'red algae', I understand) in a freshwater algae text...
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, it's a red alga, then it's likely a Batrachospermum sp.
    the other genus might be Sirodotia(but it's not definite which this is, part of the above genus or a separate genus- see Necchi et al, 1993) .

    Actually a rather pretty alga.
    I've found i growing near here in streams, quite nice looking.

    It's very rare in aquariums.

    It's seasonal, grows on rocks in high flow streams with high aeration, fairly rich nutrients, requires high light, 10-11 hours or more etc.
    Looks more like some plants than algae.

    Like BBA, real info is scarce. Robert Sheath has some references in a few text.
    Gelatinous sheaths cover some species, and why few critters will eat Red algae.
    (see Craigie, 1990 for more).

    Try Sheath and Hambrook 1990 (and 1987 for herbivore on red algae) also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. xerxes

    xerxes Junior Poster

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    Thanks Tom.

    I find it strange that this algae would be so rare in aquariums given that the preferred conditions you described are not unusual.

    The 90g it's in gets 4WPG of compact fluorescent light (the red algae gets direct light) and the lights are on for 10/day. The only filter on it is an Eheim 2217 which produces a fairly good current when the plants aren't completely overgrown. I do weekly 35-40% water changes and dose Tropica Plant Nutrition and pressurized CO2. It's basically a shrimp-only tank and I wouldn't expect any of the inhabitants to eat this algae. The only aeration - of oxygen - comes from the plants and what little exchange occurs via surface movement; the water surface is never broken by bubblers or other power heads/filters so that as much as possible of the dissolved CO2 is retained. Temperature is normally between 74.5F and 75.5F.

    I can't think of any other parameters that would make the environment unique...

    It may be worth noting that the CF bulbs have not been changed for a couple years. I've been putting that off because I'd like to replace my CF lamp with a T5-HO lamp (haven't decided yet between 2.4WPG or 3.6WPG with the T5-HOs). Do you think that change might adversely affect the red algae?

    Since this algae is quite pretty indeed (and saves me the trouble of attaching moss to the places the algae is already growing) and is in no way bothering any of my other plants, I'd like to figure out what property/properties of the tank which it likes so much so I can keep it happily growing.

    Thanks for all the input everyone - I'm very excited about this algae in my tank (gosh, how often can you say that?)!
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Culturing specific attractive species is often hard, I think cooler temps will help more than anything, that's fairly cool water.

    Algae, unlike plants, often have several stages and can reproduce via several gametophytic stages and sporophyte stages, and to make it worse.........the stages often are isomorpghic, you cannot tell the difference and have to watch the cells to see and tell the difference as they go from one stage to the other.

    Lots of sore eyes and time watching algae in a microscope.
    I now have a video camera and digital screen:cool:

    You might have monogametangia and tetrasporaotphytes but I'm not sure which.
    Read up on the papers, there's virtually nothing about culture in the lab, mostly preservation etc(use Excel and a little CaCO3).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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