Monday, January 14, 2008

The Dirty Bubble

I performed a water change this evening. In the process I decided it was time to remove the bubble algae infesting a piece of my live rock. I noticed a few pieces of bubble algae on the rock right after I bought it. I left it because I thought it added diversity and looked kind of cool. The emerald crab I purchased to keep it under control wouldn't touch the stuff. From pictures I've seen on the web I'm guessing that the species of bubble algae on the rock was Valonia Macrophysa. I placed the infested rock in a bucket full of water I just removed from the tank. I did this to keep the coralline algae and any desirable critters on the rock alive.

The algae grows in clusters and was a lot firmer than I imagined it would be. Supposedly, the large bubble pieces are full of spores so I needed to be as careful as possible to avoid breaking open the bubbles. I then started picking off the bubble algae. Some pieces came off in chunks very easily.

Then suddenly it happened. I got squirted in the eye. Now, you probably have never been squirted in the eye by the reproductive spores of an algae before. Let me tell you it wasn't very pleasant. I now also had a bucket full of spores ... allegedly. So, what was I supposed to do?

Beats me. I decided to leave the rock in the bucket of water for now. I can't put it back in the tank as is since I would risk contaminating the rest of the tank. Plus there are small colonies all over that rock. The rock was a really nice weighing about 8 lbs and had a lot of surface area. Lots of branches of former coral skeleton. It probably cost close to $50. However, if I put it back in the tank I risk an infestation and a much bigger loss.

What have I learned? Once you see even one bubble remove it! Don't wait and see if it will stay under control because chances are it won't.

For now, I'll leave it in the bucket until Mermaidman and Barnacleboy show up to defeat The Dirty Bubble. Or, I can think of something else to try.