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Maintenance Day: Getting Rid of Pests & Algae


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Today is maintenance day on my saltwater aquarium. I’ve discovered a few unwanted pests in the tank that I want to get rid of.

Hydroids, these pests can start irritating corals as they tend to ‘attach’ themselves to the coral.

Bubble algae, these shiny green bubbles look cool, especially when there’s a cluster of them. However, this algae, like all types of algae, can take over a whole tank. When the bubble pops it releases trace elements that will form new bubbles anywhere in the aquarium.

Vermetid snails, these are very common in reef aquariums. They feed using a very long string, usually inches long, that they let float through the water column waiting for something eatable to get caught on it. The problem is that these stings can tangle around and irritate corals, causing them to close up and eventually starve to death.

Pulsing/pumping Xenia, this is not really a pest or algae. It’s a very hardy and invasive coral. They are quite fun to the eye, as they are constantly pulsing their polyps trying to catch food from the water column. This soft coral (meaning it doesn’t have a skeleton) grows extremely fast and tends to release polyps throughout the tank so it can form new colonies on different parts around the reef - taking ‘real estate’ from other corals. I try to limit their spread by keeping them on a separate rock in the aquarium, but as mentioned above, their polyps float throughout the tank occasionally.

Lastly, Asterina Starfish. Lots of people refer to these as ‘baby starfish’. They may look cute, but they form a big threat to corals inside an aquarium. They reproduce fast and are capable of eating entire coral colonies. Again, these are very common in saltwater aquariums.

What pests are you currently trying to get rid of in your freshwater or saltwater aquarium?

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