Coralline Algae is vital to a successful saltwater tank as it inhibits the growth of nuisance algae as well as making your live rock beautiful by covering it in shades of pink, purple and green. Coralline algae has the same requirements as many corals with the exception of it doing better under higher concentrations of actinic lighting.
There are a few things that you can do in order to promote coralline algae growth.
1. Coralline Algae
This is perhaps the easiest to overlook. You simply cannot growth coralline algae without having it in your tank in the first place. One of the best ways is to find a tank with established coralline algae growth and scrape it of the back wall with a razor while collecting it with a turkey baster or a siphon. Keep it submerged as it is very sensitive when exposed to air and will likely turn white and die if left out of water for more than a few minutes.
There also may be some on your live rock if you have some. It is more difficult to scrape off the rock (and you may not want to. Regardless of where you get the coralline algae once you add it to the tank turn off your protein skimmer and mechanical filtration and allow it to be stirred up and settle on your live rock for about an hour.
As coralline algae is a calcareous algae calcium is necessary in order for it to grow successfully. Think if it just like a stony coral, it needs calcium in order to grow. Your calcium levels should be 420ppm-450ppm+
Strontium is absolutely essential to coralline algae growth. I have used Kalkwasser, B-ionic and Kent Marine liquid calcium. In all cases without adding strontium I had little to no coralline algae growth.
4. Carbonate Hardness
I have had the best luck between 10-12 dkh.
Not only will growing coralline algae make your tank look great, but it also makes it much more difficult for nuisance algae to take hold. Also, if you are able to successfully promote the growth of coralline algae you are likely meeting the needs of your stony corals as well.
I have experimented with nearly every type of snail available to aquarists and found one clear winner when it comes to lifespan, reproduction, and of course algae control. The Banded Trocus Snail is a champion among snails.
When it comes to lifespan I haven’t had any other snails outlast the Banded Trocus. I have had them live for years and rarely had to intervene to flip them over when they fall off the rocks. Unlike most snails they have the ability to self right their shells. If you have hermit crabs and other aggressive tank mates you know how expensive it can be to continually replace your snails as they are completely vulnerable when on their backs.
They are also one of the most successful breeders in captivity and readily breed in healthy systems. So with 5 original snails I was able to not only populate other tanks of mine but was able to trade them with friends for coral frags. As you know we are very interested in responsible reef keeping and Banded Trocus Snails are a perfect example of how the best choice for your tanks can also be the best choice for sustaining coral reefs and our hobby.
When it comes to algae control there are few rivals to the Banded Trocus. They will readily consume many types of nuisance algae including cyanobacteria and film algae. While some say they are not great for hair algae, I haven’t had any snails that will consume it when it gets over about a millimeter in length. Combining other algae grazers with Banded Trocus snails will provide the most complete coverage as there isn’t a single algae solution that is 100% effective. If you are new to the hobby or you have been viewing snails as a monthly purchase give these guys a try you won’t be disappointed.