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Caulerpa prolifera

A distinctive dark-green, flat bladed algae that resembles turtle grass. The blade often proliferates to extend upward forming a new blade hence it's name. A hardy algae that once established grows very well in the aquarium. Prefers sandy bottoms and ledges in shallow turbulent water. (source -

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Fast growing, hardy algae that may be illegal in your area featured

Comments Many aquarist keep this in their refugiums. It grows quickly and thick but unlike chaetomorpha it doesn't collect detritus as readily yet still provides the same habitat for important infauna.

I use it in my display tank. I have kept freshwater planted tanks for years, and one of the things I missed when I started doing reef tanks was the bright greens and swaying motion of the plants. I can get that with this algae and it still reduces nutrients in the tank. Many fish love to hide inside of it and my scooter blenny is always over there picking away at the tons of life that make it their home.

There are drawbacks to keeping this algae. The algae grows very fast and must be harvested from time to time to keep it out of corals or areas of the tank where you don't want it. I simply use the same trimming techniques I used with plants. I have a pair of long handled scissors that I easily snip the runners with and then remove by hand. It actually only takes a moment to do.

Another draw back is that I don't get the benefit of converse lighting. When kept in a refugium, the algae can be lit at the opposite times as the tank, the process of photosynthesis produces oxygen and will also increase the pH. Thus helping two tank parameters that often change at night.

Because this algae grows so fast it has become an invasive species in some oceans. For that reason if you live in certain areas, California, and Florida to name just two, it might be illegal to own. I live in Arizona, so there's no chance of it getting into the waterways and spreading since we have no oceans here in the desert.

Caulerpa can provide a good hitching post for a seahorse tank.

Liked about it 1. Attractive.
2. Hardy.
3. Provides a great place for infauna to grow.
4. Another hiding place for fish.
5. Doesn't collect detritus.
6. Toxic so algae eating fish don't eat it.

Didn't like 1. Grows quickly and must be trimmed back. This isn't a big deal and takes only a few minutes.

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By tcamos
Sep 23, 2010
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