How To Remove Hair Algae: Fight the Hair with a Hare
It’s the never ending battle of algae…..Ugh. Finding the right balance and the adequate amount of algae eating inhabitants can be tricky and extremely frustrating. Traditional Clean-Up Crews (snails and hermit crabs) are commonly added to aquariums to help combat this issue of pesty nuisance algae. But what happens when you have a hair algae bloom and your tangs, hermits and snails can’t or simply won’t keep up… why not fight the hair with a hare?
Sea Hares are interesting sea critters. These herbivores are often brown or tan in color and have spongy bodies with a soft internal shell made of protein. Naturally found in sea grass and rubble areas of the Indo-Pacific , these mollusks thrive on caulerpa and other macro algaes, making them perfect for algae control.
Just because they are slow and squishy doesn’t mean they are defenseless. Sea hares can hold their own in aquariums. However, caution should be taken with aggressive tank mates as sea hares can secrete a purple toxic dye when threatened. Chemical media (carbon) should be used in an aquarium housing these little algae-consuming machines to detoxify any dye.
Sea hares have extremely interesting mating habits. They are hermaphroditic, which means they have both male and female sex organs. When they are feeling frisky, sea hares call the whole neighborhood to join in, the more the merrier. During the mating ritual, each sea hare uses both its male and female parts simultaneously. They create a long line beginning with the lead sea hare acting as a female. The next in line attaches to her acting as a male on one end and female on the other, creating long breeding lines which can produce millions of eggs. It’s a true love train!
All in all, these soft bodied mollusks make great aquarium inhabitants for algae ridden aquariums. Not only do they mow down algae but they are “so ugly they are cute”, inexpensive and are fun to watch. However, if they run out of algae to eat, they need to be fed seaweed or caulerpa or they will slowly starve to death.
Coloration: Tan, Brown or Greenish
Reef Compatibility: YES