What causes Bubble Algae??

Salty Brother

New member
Other than corallin, this is the only other algea I have. It is really annoying and I cant seem to get rid of it. All my params are perfect, and when I do remove some I dont pop them. So what causes it, mabye I can get it to go away.
Patrick :)
Along with the Red Sea Sailfin and Nasso, add Scopas. I have attempted to pick off bubble algea, and on occasion one would get away and float through the tank. My Scopas has eaten the bubble algea. If I can only be sure that as he grazes, he will also eat bubble algea.
Bubble algae are caused by lighting, nutrients and bubble algae spores. The spores were probably on the live rock. The lighting is a side effect :) of trying to keep photosynthetic corals. So the only thing left is nutrients. Try to grow macro in your sump to out-compete the bubble algae for nutirents.

Note - from my experience, bubble algae are less iron-limited than many other types of algae. Which means that if you want to have macro in your sump out-compete the bubble algae, you may need to add iron supplement to make sure that the sump macro grows better.
When equipment begins to show rust is when I normally see it overrun. Check all components for any signs of rust, from hose clamps to screws that hold your canopy together. If it is continually growing, you must be unknowingly feeding it. Check your source water with a TDS pen and see if that is the cause.
I've performed my own experiments on the particular "brand" of bubble algae that I have.

I kept a rock that was partially covered with it in a 10g tank, pure water, loaded carbon filter, completely dark for 5 weeks and it didn't even phase it. Even most of the mushrooms on the rock started bleaching and dying, but the bubble algae was still green and healthy looking.

Spores cause bubble algae. Good filtration, some emerald crabs, a rabbit fish, a uv filter, a good pair of tweezers, and a lot of persistence gets rid of it.

If your rocks are completely infested with it, it is easier to set your rock outside, let it "die", and reseed it with clean "live" rock than it is to get rid of it while in the tank.
I have had the following experience with bubble algae and supposed remedies:

9 months in total darkness: no effect

4 emerald crabs (in with bubble algae most of those 9 months): ate it ONLY when ALL other algae was gone

rabbitfish: never touches it

sailfin tang: eats it occassionally only when a bubble is floating free

So, don't buy any fish for the sole purpose of getting rid of the bubble algae unless you see that individual fish eating it.

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6989803#post6989803 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ReeferAl
So, don't buy any fish for the sole purpose of getting rid of the bubble algae unless you see that individual fish eating it.

I guess I should have also specified that it is a foxface rabbitfish. It seems to only prefer a certain size...not too small, not too big. It is pretty much usless if you purchase it for the sole purpose of eliminating bubble algae.

Also agree, the emerald crabs are sporadic bubble algae eaters that will eat it if they can get it off of the rock. Supposedly, the emerald crabs with red coloration in their arm joints are the "true" algae eating crabs. Those are the only ones I've ever bought.
So what should I do, I obviosly cant buy a foxface, I dont trust the emerald crab. Im going to buy a phosphate test kit, but still, what do I do?
I have read of people puncturing the bubble algae while siphoning exactly where each bubble algae is being punctured. Probably the least expensive thing you can try.
I had a small outbreak of bubble algae in my 120G that I battled for a couple of months just to keep up with it. Like many I don't trust many crabs least of which is the Emerald. My problem got solved when I got my Vlamingi Tang. That thing will eat anything green. Cleaned every bit of algae other then coralline in a matter of days.

The guy at the LFS where I got it has another one that he refuses to sell for the same reason. Whenever he gets algae be it hair, brown or bubble on a piece of rock in any of his tanks he just puts it in with his Vlamingi and within a day the rock is clean. Vlamingi might be an expensive solution but they are great to look at?
My emeralds eat it like its candy. I have no algae left anymore. Highly reccomend emeralds, adn have never had any problems with them.
sorry, i can't help, but i can join your club.

what started as one little valonia has blossomed into a true mess. frankly, i have no idea what to do. it's really beyond the point where simply removing them will work...it's everywhere.