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FAQs about Seahares, Suborder Anaspidea, Stocking/Selection

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Related FAQs:   Seahares 1, Seahare Identification, Seahare Behavior, Seahare Compatibility, Seahare Systems, Seahare Feeding, Seahare Disease, Seahare Reproduction, & FAQs on:  Seaslugs 1, Seaslugs 2, Seaslug Identification, Seaslug Behavior, Seaslug Compatibility, Seaslug Selection, Seaslug Systems, Seaslug Feeding, Seaslug Disease, Seaslug Reproduction, & Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3 Nudibranchs, Nudibranchs 2, Nudibranch Identification, Nudibranch Behavior, Nudibranch Compatibility, Nudibranch Selection, Nudibranch Systems, Nudibranch Feeding, Nudibranch Disease, Nudibranch Reproduction, Berghia Nudibranchs, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail ID 3


Domino damsel in distress... Whamba jammeda along w/ an Aplysiid in a 29 cube    7/7/13
Hi. I purchased a domino damsel about three days ago from the pet store.
My tank is already cycled and its about four months new and its a 29g biocube.
<Yikes... this Dascyllus is mis-placed here... Gets too large, too mean to house w/ other fishes in small volumes>
I have a fire fish that's been living in it for about three weeks already and he's doing fine and also a scooter dragonette. I also have a small red leg hermit crab and emerald crab and two snails. I also purchased a sea hare
<Umm, what species? You should find out ASAPractical. See WWM re... Read here:
and the linked files above re coldwater, too large specimens mis-sold in the trade for tropical use>
 the same day as the damsel because I have a ton of algae.
<... see WWM re this as well>
This morning I noticed he had some white spots on him..ick I am sure..and I just wanted to know if he would be hardy enough to shake it without having to remove him to a quarantine tank because I am not medicating my tank with my live rock in there. What do you think I should do?
<Read for now... Add Cryptocaryon to your WWM list>
 I know they are pretty hardy and he's still eating like a pig but I am not sure if it will get worse or this is just a stress related thing from moving the rocks around..I also added two new pieces of live rock the same day I got the damsel.
<You've added too much, too soon here... and organisms that don't fit in such a tiny space>
All the
crabs and fire goby and scooter look fine ..its just the damsel. Thanks for any advice.
<Keep reading... Write back w/ specific questions after. Bob Fenner>

Sea Hare Dead/Sea Slug Health 8/21/10
Hello WWM crew!
<Hello Adam>
I'm not sure this is so much a question as a warning. I recently introduced a sea hare to my 72 reef for hair algae control. It was doing wonderfully for a week and then turned up dead. I thought it might have gotten too close to my Sebae so I bought another. This one I watched closely. Less than 24 hours in I noticed that both of my fairly large (3-4") cleaner shrimp appeared to be cleaning him at the top of the tank near the glass. Apparently they were killing him.
<Mmm, very unlikely.>
30 minutes into their (cleaning) he dropped to the bottom of the tank where there was a free for all eating him. I had not seen cleaners do this before and thought it was interesting.
<My thought would be that the shrimp irritated the Sea Hare causing it to drop to the bottom. Sea Hares of this genus are capable of releasing a 'purple ink' when disturbed which can cause problems in closed systems.>
Needless to say I am now looking for a new hair algae cleaner. Perhaps a pin cushion urchin? And thoughts?
<Sea Hares can be very difficult to keep long term, my suggestion would be a Tuxedo Urchin.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Adam Thompson

R4: Vacation - Power Failure - Nuclear Holocaust, and Aplysia sel. -- 09/26/08 Doh! Sorry, Eric. I was reading a post by Neale and I guess his name was in my head. <<LOL! He writes some informative and memorable posts for sure'¦I should be flattered to be confused with... No worries Andy!>> Thanks for your help (again). <<Always welcome, mate>> I am not wavering--I am committed to going fishless for 4-6 months. <<Great!>> I was looking in my sump and tank this morning and saw lots of pods crawling around, so I am very happy. <<These will recover quite quickly with the improved conditions. And I know you said you were not feeding the tank, but these critters (mainly Amphipods and Mysids) are very predaceous, to the point of eating their own. I have found that a few shrimp pellets every day or two tossed in to the sump and refugium can go a long way towards boosting populations>> I also opened up my fuge to take a look and boy oh boy has my Chaeto grown since the crash. <<Ah'¦no doubt>> My 30g fuge was jam-packed, side to side, top to bottom, with Chaeto. I thinned it out by about half (I usually trade this to my LFS for store credit, but they are such a pain to deal with . . ..,I just decided to chuck it). <<Excellent'¦but too bad about your LFS'¦some folks are just short-sighted>> I set my light cycle at 6 hours for the MH and 8 hours for the actinics (usually I run 9 hours and 11 hours, respectively). <<I see no reason not to go back to your normal schedule'¦is closer to a 'normal' tropical cycle too>> The Astraea Snails I added are doing a good job of eating the algae that's accumulated on the glass. I was thinking of adding a Caribbean Sea Hare to this mix, as I have had good success with them in the past. <<Mmm, okay'¦then perhaps you already know to be cautious of getting a 'temperate' species'¦often sold as 'tropical'>> My skimmer is still pulling a decent amount of skimmate, so clearly dissolved organics remain. <<Don't ya just love skimmers!>> Take care. Andy <<And you my friend. Be chatting, Eric Russell'¦(not Neale [big grin]) >>

R5: Vacation - Power Failure - Nuclear Holocaust -- 09/26/08 Eric-- <<Andy>> I want the entire FAQ's for today to have the heading "Vacation - Power Failure - Nuclear Holocaust", so I'm going to respond to you yet again ;-). <<Ha! We're well on our way!>> Actually, I believe it was you who taught me long ago to feed my fuge/sump with shrimp pellets, and I have been doing that since you taught me and since the crash (what I meant by not feeding the tank was, I'm obviously not doing what I normally would if there were fish/coral in the tank). <<Ah! Excellent>> I am well aware of the problems with the sale of sea hares. I have read such warnings here and in Calfo's/Fenner's Reef Invertebrates. <<Indeed>> The Caribbean ones are easy to distinguish from Aplysia californica, which unfortunately is what most of my LFS sell. <<And many others>> Whenever I see them on display, I make it a point to tell the owner that he/she shouldn't be selling Aplysia californica to anyone that doesn't have a temperate tank--they look at me like I'm speaking a foreign language. <<Not uncommon, I assure you>> I even had one self-professed expert LFS owner say "Really? They come from California?" <<dismal'¦>> Sadly, one of the more reputable vendors, That Fish Place, sells them and notes in their specifications that they come from the Indo-Pacific, which is clearly false. <<Perhaps you could send them a note re>> As I'm sure you know, the Caribbean varieties aren't as big or interesting looking, but that's no reason to buy them. << The Sea Slug Forum states that Aplysia californica has been reported to reach more than 30' in length! Aplysia morio can grow to about 18' though I don't think it is a regular in the trade'¦the smaller species you refer to is probably Aplysia dactylomela which grows to about 6' and is a much more appropriate species for reef aquaria use>> I will put my lights back up to a normal schedule and let the greening of the tank continue! <<Enjoy the adventure!>> Thanks again. Andy <<Cheers mate. EricR>>

Sea Hare Question (Should We Even?) -- 06/25/08 Good evening Crew (or good whatever whenever you read this). <<Hiya Andy>> I am confused about Sea Hares. <<Oh?>> I have some green hair algae that have cropped up in the last few months on my base rocks. I purchased a Kole Tang thinking that he/she would take care of it, but doesn't seem interested. <<Mmm, yes'¦it is my experience that most fishes (organisms et al) acquired for 'algae control' rarely ever do so to the level of our expectations'¦or do so only for a short time. It seems to me they quickly become acclimated to/tend to prefer the prepared foods offered in captivity. I've had my best luck by employing multiples of herbivorous fishes; in my case, five Tangs from four genera and a pair of Rabbitfishes (it's a 'big' tank). By doing this, not only am I providing a broader palate of appetites/tastes, but I think there is also some 'instinctive stimulus' to consume the available natural alga growth 'before the other guys' get to it. Unfortunately, the space requirement of these particular herbivorous fishes (Tangs & Rabbitfishes) precludes such methodology for many hobbyists>> My blue legged hermits seem interested, but I'd need about 100 of them to make a dent. I have tried just about everything to limit algal growth short of shutting off my lights for 3 days <<And is but a temporary measure>> --limit my feedings, <<But hopefully not to the detriment of your livestock>> employ a fuge with Chaetomorpha, <<Excellent>> limit my photoperiod, <<Of no practical value re the nuisance alga, in my opinion. I would not do this>> do weekly water changes, <<Mmm, in some instances this can actually 'fuel' the alga growth. Do test (both the make-up water, and the tank water before and after the exchange) to ensure you are not adding more fuel elements (Ammonia, Nitrate) than you are taking out during these weekly water changes. You may actually find two or three weeks apart to serve you better here. Aging the new water for a couple days, then adding a small amount of tank water (for the available bacteria/nutrient consumers) and aging a couple more days, may also be of benefit>> use RO/DI water, <<Very good but have you tested your salt mix?>> yada yada yada. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, silicates test 0, <<Am sure you are aware these may well be present but rapidly utilized/stored by the alga/other organisms to levels below what the test kits can register>> pH is 8.3, SG is 1.026, Temp is 79-81, calcium is 420, Alk is 3.5 mEq/L and magnesium is 1200. <<All good'¦>> I've been reading on Reef Central about all these great successes with Sea Hares. <<Mmm'¦>> So I research them on WWM, only to find out that most of the Crew that has addressed them doesn't think they are a good idea because of the potential to unleash Weapons of Mass Destruction. <<Though a possibility, I am of the opinion that this is a small concern unless the animal is attacked'¦and even this I consider unlikely, with most of the organisms/fish species associated with and kept in captive reef systems. My issue with using these animals is that effective or not (mostly not, in 'my' experience) at consuming the nuisance alga, they most always die (usually to disappear without a trace) in short order. Even in systems with a seemingly abundance of food, it seems they just don't get the nutritive requirement needed to survive>> I pulled out my copy of Reef Invertebrates to find out more, and although that book does have an entire section dedicated to these animals, it shows pictures of all the ones that are BAD for the tropical tank, <<Indeed, some 'temperate' species are collected and sold as 'tropical' animals'¦obviously another reason some don't survive captivity>> and no pictures of the ones that are recommended for the tropical tank <<Can't speak for Bob and Anthony'¦but I'm guessing there's a reason for this>><Mostly that these animals rarely eat much of the types/species of algae aquarists have/want them to... RMF> so even if I wanted to get one I'm scratching my head trying to make heads or tails of what's available. <<I see>> One fish store near me sells a "frilly sea hare" whatever that is--no scientific name listed (see attached picture). <<Looks like Aplysia californica to me'¦not tropical, and to be avoided for such reef systems>> That Fish Place sells a Blue Dot Sea Hare (Aplysia sp.), <<Possibly A. dactylomela'¦a tropical species>> a Flying Sea Hare (Aplysia parvula), <<Seems to be a small species (6cm) from the Philippines>> a Caribbean Sea Hare (Aplysia sp.) <<Possibly A. morio (a large black Sea Hare from the Caribbean), but more likely A. dactylomela again>> and, last but not least, just a regular old "Sea Hare", listed as Aplysia californica hailing from the "Indo-Pacific" (this store is supposed to have marine biologists on staff . . .). <<Mmm, see my earlier comment re this species>> I have a fairly peaceful 110g tank, except for my female Gold Stripe Maroon Clown that drives everyone crazy and is too fast for my net (to take back to the LFS) but maybe gullible enough for a #22 Caddis Fly. <<I have removed more than one troublesome fish using this methodology (a very small 'barbless' hook on 2lb monofilament and baited with a small piece of shrimp). This is especially affective for aggressive bullies that rush to the food first>> I run an AquaC EV-180, a 10 gallon sump, and a 30g fuge, and have about 110lbs of live rock. Any thoughts on whether a Sea Hare is for me and, if so, what specific animal should I be looking to use in a tropical tank? <<One of the tropical Aplysia species noted earlier may well do the job for you (like everything'¦no guarantees/certainties). But before you make the purchase, consider what you will do with this animal once the nuisance alga is gone (assuming it eats it'¦and doesn't just die/vanish). The decision to try is yours'¦and I too have 'heard' the success tales'¦but honestly, I am skeptical of these animal's true utility, or even suitability, to the hobby>> Thanks so much. Andy <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Sea Hare Question (Should We Even?) -- 06/25/08 Thanks for your insight, Eric! <<Happy to share>> Here are the answers to your question: 1. By "limit feedings", I meant that I am very careful about the amount of food I am feeding--only enough for the fish to eat in a minute or two--and I am careful about what I feed--rinsed frozen Mysis, New Life Spectrum Pellets, live black worms, and Cyclops-Eeze flake. <<Excellent choices'¦and I like to expand my selection a bit further with frozen glass worms, frozen krill, frozen plankton and even the occasional pinch of quality flake food (e.g. - Ocean Nutrition) and of course some type of alga supplement (Two Little Fishies) as well as frozen rotifers, frozen Cyclops-Eeze, or similar for my non-vertebrate charges...all supplemented with the occasional splash of vitamins/HUFAs. Heck, my wife complains the reef tank eats better than we do'¦but the fullness of body, color, and vitality of my fishes speaks for itself>> 2. I have tested my RO/DI water and my mixed salt water (Reef Crystals), and both show 0 ammonia, nitrates and phosphates. I mix my salt water in a Rubbermaid trashcan and let it sit for several days before use (with a heater and power head). <<Okay>> 3. My lighting is 2x250W HQIs (14,000K) and 4 65W power compact "royal blues" (will be switching to actinics soon), and by limit photoperiod I mean that my HQIs are on for 9 hours, with my royal blues on for 11 hours. <<This is shorter than I like, though in all fairness, probably fine>> I have a good relationship with my LFS, so if I do decide to get a Sea Hare, I'm sure they will let me return it once its job is finished. <<Very good>> I'll let you know if I pursue this course of action and the results. Andy
<<Please do! Eric Russell>>

45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/13/08   4/22/08 Hey Scott, <Hello Michelle.> Um...I bought a brown sea hare. <It sounds as though you already know the issues with this!> My LFS did not say that there were more than one species (they only had several of one kind in stock) so I don't know the specifics, only that it is smooth, brownish-green, is eating my brown algae and looks like a Hippo. And was duly named thus. I've sent a similar picture I found on the web, only mine is not as red because he eats brown algae instead of red. <I have no first hand experience with these guys, but am hesitant to recommend you try to keep it. Your tank is on the small side if the inking does occur and they are better suited to a reef setting.> But according to my LFS dude it is a peaceful sea hare with no problems in a peaceful tank (My LFS did not mention a thing about the inking. I'm glad my tank is peaceful.) I do not anticipate too many problems there, but I found out how to deal with it if it happens. <Good, be prepared.> I kind of don't understand about adding calcium and checking phosphates though. Is this something I should be doing on a regular basis now that I have the sea hare? <At least test calcium, Alk and nitrate every few days. This also assumes ammonia and nitrite are 0 and your salinity is good (1.025-1.026).> My main problem is that the sea hare seems to have a habit of coming to the surface. Is he trying to crawl out or is he just enjoying a breath of fresh air? <Likely just crawling around, looking for a place to go.><<Mmm, no... looking for an appropriate habitat. RMF>> Also, he appears to have taken a liking to the heater. Is this bad? <It can be. If your room temperature is high enough your heater may not be coming on at all, nor need to. In this case the heater is just another obstacle for the slug to crawl over. With heat radiating from the heater he should stay clear. One advantage of using a sump, remotely locating the heater.> To update my fish list, I have also added a copper-banded butterfly and a fire shrimp, since my LFS does not get in skunk cleaners over half an inch to an inch long. My fire shrimp hides a lot, which I hear is typical. <Yes, they do. I am sorry to tell you, but a 45 gallon system is too small for long term success with the butterfly.> The butterfly is thriving. I've been feeding (and seeing him eat with quite an appetite) frozen brine shrimp, and I got him supplements of sponge (since I have no live rock) which I'll be giving him twice a week. He appears to be at ease with his tankmates. He hides some, but I think he's still just acclimating. I've been thinking for a little while about some yellow or star polyps (only fluor. lighting); will he eat those? <He may, some do, some don't. Unless you have extra fluorescents you will have little success with these. The standard lights that come with a tank are just not enough for even low light corals.> I will soon add the Firefish and Banggai. The pajama cardinal is off the list and if I still have room I will add the royal Gramma, unless he's too aggressive for the copper-banded butterfly and sea hare to handle? <They can be aggressive. With your current stock I would call it good after the Firefish and cardinal. I believe in conservative stocking!> Thanks so much for the help, Michelle <Welcome, best of luck to you, Scott V.>

Uhh... inappropriate. A. californica

Infected Tank??? Aplysiid sel.   4/1/08 Hi Bob, <Cynne> Hope this finds you well. Once again I have encountered a question regarding stock. The tank is the same as I described before. I now have 90 % of the Scorpions on frozen food, as well; I have followed your advice and purchased the Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer with Mag 3 pump. I also have increased to a 4-6 inch sandbed with some aragonite. The Scorpions are so much fun :) I cannot believe that I enjoy them even more than the seahorses. <Both have/exhibit interesting behavior for sure> I no longer have the starfish; I sacrificed him about 2 months ago for a CopperSafe ich treatment (entire tank). I had to choose between the $17.00 starfish or the $1000.00 fish. I have since changed all filter media, changed 100% of the water in 25% intervals over a couple of weeks and rebuilt the biological with rock rubble from the LFS. I also continue to run poly filters and charcoal in the Aqua Clear. My question is I recently purchased a sea hare. I have always wanted one, but was afraid of inking. <Mmm, not an issue with many... tropical species. Unfortunately there is a current rush of selling large, non-tropicals...> I have searched your site but am still unsure as to what I have. According to one of Anthony's replies, I found that any Sea Hare with tassels is Carnivorous? <Mmm, no... not a sure characteristic> The pet store said this one was a Herbivore and they weren't sure regarding toxins. I also found one currently running on EBay and according to the seller; this guy isn't toxic http://cgi.ebay.com/NANO-Hairy-Sea-Hare-Reef-Aquarium-Live-HAIR-ALGAE_ W0QQitemZ290207618335QQihZ019QQcategoryZ66788QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQ_ trksidZp1638.m118.l1247QQcmdZViewItem. They also advertise this as a Nano size, Yet he looks a lot like the one on your FAQS page 2nd photo. <Mmmm... is this Bursatella leachii? Am thinking so... get's a bit large for nanos, but is tropical...> I bought him in NC, I am desperately hoping he is not a cold water species. He is fat bodied brown to green in color with black splotches. He also has baby blue specks all over the body and head, as if someone splashed paint on him, and he is tasseled. Please help I can get whatever food he needs. I just need to know what to expect. The fish do not mess with him at all and all intakes on filters and power heads are covered. Thanks again for all your advice!! You guys are great!! Cynne <Do see the Net (Google images et al.) for pix, ID... BobF out in Borneo>

Re: Infected Tank??? Seahare ID   4/4/08 Hi Bob, Thanks to all of you once again for quick response and intelligence beyond compare. You pegged it!! Bursatella Leachii he is. I could not find him on your site, and the internet was still a little contradicting. So what to feed? Life expectancy? Toxicity? Thanks Again Enjoy Borneo!! Cynne <I know naught other than what can be found on the Net also... did collect/culture Aplysia californica years back... but this is about all of the group. BobF, done diving and headed back tomorrow>

Sea Hare/Systems 2/28/08 Hi <Hello> I was thinking of purchasing a sea hare, however I am a little concerned with the fact they produce poisonous ink. If none of the other fish provoke it could it still ink? <Possibly, and can release the ink upon their death.> What would happen if it was to die would the ink be released? <Could lead to the death of other inhabitants. I very good chemical filter is needed to remove this compound if released.> I have a 180 gallon reef tank with a Clown Fish, Yellow Tang, Hawk Fish, Sleeper Goby, blenny, and various corals and a few different kinds of shrimp. Would this be a good set up for a sea hare? I have an abundance of algae. <Adam, these animals are very difficult to maintain and I would discourage you from getting one. It will eventually die and cause problems for you.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Adam

Aiptasia & Sea Hare comp.... & Bio. alg. contr.    2/3/08 Although our 55 gallon FOWLR has been doing fine (fish growing & happy, no death, stable water) I have three nickel sized Aiptasia and some hair algae. Can/will the sting of an Aiptasia injury or kill a Sea Hare? <Won't be the best combination but certainly not the best solution for both problems. For the Aips see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm. And the causes of the Hair Algae must be addressed first. The Sea Hare will just be recycling the nutrients the algae use. Read on Nutrient export etc. Olly>

Re: sea hare, stolen image/s (we don't post), coldwater animals misplaced in tropical settings   2/1/08 probaly <?> not eaten sense it was larger then all the fish in my tank about 3 inches. I am attaching a picture of what it looked like but mine was greenish tan <... this is a "lifted" as in stolen image of an Aplysia californica... a cold water animal... Misplaced if this is what you have. Please, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seaslugcomp.htm and the linked files above. Don't write us, read. Bob Fenner>

Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomela) And 'Ink Scares' In A Take-All Battle Against Hair Algae! -- 01/28/08 Thanks for the great site; it's really helped me understand my reef aquarium. <<A collective effort'¦we're pleased you have found it of use>> I have a 55 gallon reef setup with a Major Hair Algae problem. <<I trust you have perused our articles/FAQs re'¦>> I've had the setup for about 2 years and since getting some new corals, mushrooms, and additional pieces of live rock 6 months ago, hair algae has begun to take over and I'm considering desperate measures to get rid of it. <<Mmm'¦if the pest alga was not a problem before, obviously one or all of the additions have upset the 'balance' of your system. Perhaps your filtration methodology is now insufficient for the bio-load. Or perhaps the new rock introduced a contaminant (Phosphate). All speculation at this point, I must admit>> *Background info: My nitrates, phosphates are continuously at zero. <<Likely not just consumed by the algae/corals faster than can be detected>> Perform bi-monthly water changes at 10%. <<Monthly changes of 20% might be called for/of use here>> I reduced lighting from 12 hours to 8 hours (but now my BTA and corals don't seem as full or bright). <<Indeed Others may, but I never recommend reducing the lighting photo-period just to battle nuisance alga>> *Livestock: Mated pair Maroon Gold Striped with BTA, Lawnmower blenny, yellow Tang, random soft leather corals, 2 open brains, one large closed brain, green bubble coral, green torch long tentacle coral. <Quite the 'reef garden' eh>> Inverts: 15 Turbo Snails, 15 Nassarius snails, 10 Nerite Snails, 3 Emerald crabs, 20+ hermit crabs (blue & white legged), Sand sifting cucumber, Caulerpa and Macro algae. <<Caulerpa 'is' a species of Macro Algae and mixing species of macro algae can be as problematical as mixing corals re fighting for space, allelopathy, et al>> *Hardware: Lighting: T-5 HO: 2 Actinic, 2 10,000k; Protein Skimmer, <<Might also be time for a bigger/better skimmer>> 2 powerheads, <<More 'flow' will also be of help re the nuisance algae, and coral health in general>> Filter, <<This will be a large source of your problems if not attended/cleaned 'at least' once a week to prevent buildup of decaying organic material. And if you're not already, consider adding some chemical filtration (carbon/Poly-Filter)>> with No sump, temp kept at 76F. Now after taking some rocks out and manually pulling out hair algae they've started to grow back!! Grrr! <<Indeed'¦ You need to find/address the 'source' of the nuisance algae>> It is completely overrunning my blue and purple mushroom patches and I don't know what to do... <<I've listed a few avenues of investigation>> I'm considering adding a Spotted Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomela) or similar one available after seeing before and after photos of them eating hair algae. <<Can be quite efficacious re, but is not a panacea. You will still need to address the source of your nuisance algae issue>> My issue: I'm away for a day or so and can't monitor my tank in case of an INK issue with the Sea Hare. Will the Ink kill my livestock if I can't do an immediate water change? <<The 'Ink' may well prove fatal in small closed-systems, but this will not likely be an issue. Unless attacked (I don't see any problems with your current stocking list), these animals are quite content to just roam the tank and graze. I have kept several of these fascinating creatures over the years and have never experienced any problems with 'inking'>> Are there any other non-toxic sea hares or animals I can add to get rid of the hair algae? <<Aplysia species are the most efficient at this that I am aware'¦though these will also vary among individuals in their 'effectiveness'>> Could you please provide other reef suggestions to solve this problem? <<I have made a few'¦but finding the 'source' is key here>> Thanks for your help. *Please email me your response or notification that you've responded. <<We always do>> I'll be anxiously waiting... <<Do read/re-read on our site re nuisance algae, its sources and methods of control. Start here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm ) and follow the associated links at the top of the page>> Thanks! <<Cheers, EricR>>

Re: Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomela) And "Ink Scares" In A Take-All Battle Against Hair Algae! -- 01/30/08 Thanks for the reply! <<Very welcome!>> Follow up question: My fish guy says the Sea Hare may eat red algae and he's not sure about it eating Coralline growth on live rock. Does it eat Coralline? <<This has never been a problem in my experience'¦these creatures generally feed on 'filamentous' algae>> I've attached some pics of my algae infestation. <<Yes, I see'¦not so bad as some I've witnessed, and even experienced myself. I must also make mention'¦that lovely Sea Apple you have is of more concern/poses a greater risk of poisoning your system than any inking issue with the Sea Hare>> Thanks a lot guys! <<Great gals here too'¦ Happy to help, EricR>>

Sea hare sel., comp.  12/30/06 OK, so after moving my tank (150g Berlin, 250lbs live rock, light bio-load) I had a huge outbreak of long green hair algae. Covered everything. Tried cutting back on the light, but I only achieved making it's color less attractive. After reading all I could, I decided I didn't want to go with scraping, chemical, etc....but add a natural solution. When weighing out the pro's & con's of such grazers, I settled on a sea hare, <Mmm, what species?> as it seemed to be the most voracious grazer. I wasn't so worried about it dying, as my tank is quite healthy and there is much for it to eat....... but with such a nocturnal creature, how on earth would you know if something that you rarely (if ever, lately...) see? <Mmm, the results of their night-time foraging?> Also, in a 150g, how much pollution/death could I be facing if I do not find the body? <Could be appreciable depending on the species, size... your filtration, maintenance...> 250lbs of rock is a pretty sizable pile to dig through. Thanks in advance, my briny friends!   -Pat <Do take care to try a tropical species (not a cool/coldwater one), that is, and stays small-ish. You have read here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the linked files above? There are other "biological means" to consider... Bob Fenner>

Sea Hare (Dolabella auricularia) question 2/3/05 Hi, We have a local reef club and are thinking of making a group order for the Dolabella auricularia from Blowfish Aquatics. They are supposed to be great algae eaters (will even eat Cyano).  <Good... becoming voracious when large! Although effective, the tremendous appetite of these critters becomes a problem when they deplete the available algae.> The owner of Blowfish says that several have released ink at one time in their tanks with no harm to any fish, etc.  <It is possible that ink release is completely harmless, but keep in mind that your LFS's system is probably at least many hundreds of gallons and may be elaborately filtered. Would this still be harmless in your home aquarium... I don't know. In any case, if you are desperate to solve your algae problems and want to risk it, I would advise running carbon continuously while you have this animal, and be prepared to move them around from aquarist to aquarist as they deplete available food from each tank.> However, we can't find anything on the web that says they do or don't produce deadly toxin when scared or when they die. Before we order, we are hoping you can advise us.  <See this article by Dr. Rob Toonen: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2004/invert.htm and note the interactions listed for various animals that come in contact with the ink. Also note that the size of the system used for the testing is not specified.> Thanks for any help you can provide! <Hope this helps! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Sea hare?... pass 4/12/04  Hi There  <howdy>  My LFS has sea hares they are selling for which they claim is algae and Cyano control. I have heard before that the sea hares can consume Cyano.  <some do>  These dudes are real ugly rock like critters. Do they really help control red algae/Cyano??  <its likely a moot point. The few sea hares that make it into the aquarium trade are typically temperate species (cool waters). They are naturally short lived to begin with. Not a safe or recommended choice IMO. Furthermore, they would be treating the symptom (Cyano) and not the problem (nutrient control). Focus on the latter my friend... we have many recommendations for this in the archives. Do a keyword search from our home page at wetwebmedia.com for "Cyano", "sea hares", "nutrient control", etc. Anthony>

Waging war on hair algae Bob, <Mike G here> I wanted to get your thoughts on introducing a Sea Hare to take care of some painful green hair algae? <Sea Hares are wonderful consumers of hair algae. It may aid you in physically removing algae, but will certainly not solve your problem single-handedly. They are messy eats, and minute particles of Hair Algae WILL get released every time they take a bite. Also, their feces will contain partially digested hair algae, and possibly hair algae spores. A sea hare would be a wonderful warrior in your battle against hair algae, but you need to also eliminate the problem that is causing the algae in the first place.> I've had the aquarium up 8 years and have never had a battle like this with hair algae - I feel I'm starting to lose the battle. <That's a very common feeling when one is pitted against hair algae. I had problems with it when I first started my tank (15g). It was completely eradicated by doing 2 gallon (10%) water changes every other days and by adding a refugium of 25% of my water volume (5g) to my system.> It's been going on 8 weeks now. I've seen 2 Sea Hare species for sale: Aplysia punctata & Dolabella auricularia. Fosters & Smith rates Aplysia punctata as extremely delicate/expert with serious negative affects from possible ink secretions. Aplysia punctata isn't found on WWM. <I recently purchased a Sea Hare to control my Caulerpa problem. The only species available was Dolabella auricularia. I can assure you that he does a goodly job on Cyanobacteria, Bryopsis, bubble, and pretty much any microalgae he comes across. I think that if he were to come across hair algae, he would eat it with gusto. Of course, he does not eat Caulerpa. It figures.> Dolabella auricularia is mentioned twice on WWM and a seller of it praises its traits without a mention of any issues with the species. I know it also secretes ink as well, but what about hardiness? Would you pick one over the other & how toxic is the ink? <Mine has "inked" in my tank twice now...either time with absolutely no negative effects. Granted, I do run a skimmer that is quite large for my tank (CPR BakPak), and I did a 10% water change as soon as it inked. Upon researching hares, I have found that Aplysia produce a considerably more toxic ink than Dolabella. I think a Dolabella would be the way to go if you decide on getting a Hare. As a side note, the hare toxins can be easily removed with carbon and a water change.> For back ground, I've been following all the algae reduction husbandry: All water changes & evaporate top-off done with buffered/aerated RO water from Kent Maxxima Hi Silicate (changed out all membranes 4 months ago), 30% water changes every 2 weeks (every one now), thaw, rinse & strain food prior to feeding, careful not to overfeed, 1800+gph turn over, over-powered skimmer (AquaC EV120), 45gal refugium w/ DSB & Chaeto, 520w PC lights that were recently changed, phosphates reading zero, but running PhosGuard as precaution. The green hair algae is still kicking my tail. I think I've narrowed down the original cause to a partially blocked line on my skimmer, which started the outbreak 12wks ago and then was fueled by a continuing die off of all my turbo snails (past email). About 6 weeks ago, 20 Turbos went through QT for a month - lost about 3 in QT. At the time, I thought it was just a natural/unlucky die off. Since they've been introduced into the main tank I've lost about 18. Originally, only the new ones seemed to go. My old ones are covered in coralline algae, so they were easy to tell apart. Now the old ones are going too, seems like one every 4-5 days and that's just the ones I can see. My 30+ Cerith & 40+ blue legs seem completely unaffected. My two "indicators" - RBTA and Hippo tang couldn't be better. I brought the Turbos in to help combat algae problem - now I think they're fueling it. I'm to the point now of thinking about taking all the Turbos out & putting them into QT. Any thoughts? <Certainly. If I were you, I would remove all of the turbo snails, as they do not seem to be doing anything more than providing nutrients for an algal bloom. It sounds as if your refugium is completely adequate, so you can't really expand on that. What really ended my hair algae infestation were 10% water changes every other day. This may be extremely difficult for you considering your tank and refugium sizes. However, It may very well be worth a try. You may also want to look into a high quality phosphate reducer. Lately, more and more people have been reporting success with PhosBan. It really all depends on what you think would work best in your situation.> I've been scrubbing the LR manually with a toothbrush & then immediately doing a water change to try and remove as much of it as possible. Last week I thought I delivered the final blow by spending 4 hours and manually scrubbing every single piece of my 180lbs of LR, one at a time, always submerged, in a bucket of saltwater from the tank. I used 3 separate buckets of saltwater to keep the algae export as high as possible. I certainly staggered it, but it looks to be getting back up. With the toothbrush method, do you think I'm doing more harm than good by spreading it around? My thought was that dislodging it and removing some though the filter & water change would be more effective than just letting it grow unabated. Any other advice? <I think that you are only spreading it more when you scrub it off the rocks. You are releasing minute particles into the water, which can easily find new places to lodge and form new "colonies" of algae.> Since I've been way too involved in algae recently, I wanted pass on a personal observation that the most productive hair algae remover in my tank is my Foxface Lo (Siganus vulpinus). After watching my tank for hours, he is certainly outperforming my robust lawnmower blenny and seems to be getting the better of my spineless clean-up crew. I've seen him wipe out 3 long sprigs of hair algae in a 90 second window. I just haven't seen him get much press for that on WWM or anywhere else and besides, he's a gorgeous fish and I haven't seen a single negative trait from him (having slightly venomous spines probably doesn't help him, but I'd find it hard to see how I'd get stuck by him). Just wanted to sing the Rabbitfish praises a little. <Rabbitfishes are well-known and wonderful herbivores. Glad to hear yours is working out for you.> BTW - wanted to get your thoughts on a sump/refugium I've designed and am thinking about having built. Especially concerning transition methods from one chamber to the next. I've attached the layout. As a note, the PVC return pipes in the refugium will be covered by a 6" DSB & the 2" ball valve into the refugium is designed to support complete gph control through the refugium. The overall design goal was to maximize the efficiency within the footprint & have an uncluttered/clean appearance. All my aquarium equipment is in the mechanical room below my office, so space isn't an issue. My current sump/refugiums were born from a series of upgrade bolt-ons over the years. Restricted water flow through the refugiums, wasted water volume due to in-line plumbing spacing & general clutter were the reason for the potential new sump. <I see no problem with your design for your sump/refugium.> So sorry for the length of the note - I just realized how long it is. Obviously, I'm excited about the hobby and can't express the gratitude in having the joint knowledge of WWM available to me and other enthusiasts. Get to me when you can & feel free to break the note up if it makes for easier reading.

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