Coralline Algae

When maintaining an aquarium, a lot can change over a small amount of time without your notice, until someone who hasn’t seen the aquarium in a few months exclaims about it’s progress.

Coralline algae has helped to age our tank, giving it more of an established look. You don’t really notice it as much from day to day until you start comparing pictures. Below you can see the tank in the beginning has no coralline algae. It almost looks sterile!  At three months it starts to form in a few places on the back wall of the aquarium.


Coralline algae is an encrusting red algae that are usually some shade of pink or red, but can span the range of colors. This algae not only gives a tank color, which makes it more pretty and interesting, it also helps to prevent other types of algae from growing.

For people that are in the business of selling live rock, having coralline algae growth on live rock makes it more valuable. It is not only more appealing to the buyer, it helps to seed a new tank with coralline algae growth. Also, the more interesting the color, the more aquarists will pay.

Coralline algae requires good lighting and good water parameters, as well as nutrients to grow. We have all these things, and with a good salt mix, our coralline is getting all of the nutrients it needs. We have also been dosing our aquarium for KH, which the coralline, as well as all of the corals and invertebrates use.

After 7 months our tank’s coralline algae has really exploded. Our coralline algae is more of a purple or blue color, rather than red or pink. The horizontal line at the back of the aquarium where the algae doesn’t grow, is how far down our water level falls when we do our water changes. Apparently, our coralline algae doesn’t like to be outside of the water.

Because the coralline algae in our tank isn’t a very contrasting color to the live rock, it is hard to tell how much of the algae is actually growing on the rock. As of right now though, it seems to love growing on the glass and plastic parts of our tank.

It’s hard to believe what can happen in such a short amount of time. Only 7 months and our tank has become anything but boring, and is changing and growing so fast we sometimes hardly notice.

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