5 Reasons Why the Coralline Algae Turning White [Solution]

Coralline algae alleviate the beauty of your aquarium when they are placed at the edges. It basically shows a red or pinkish hue with a crusty coating on live rock. However, over time you may discover your coralline algae is turning white losing its soft and pretty hue.

If you have already discovered your coralline algae is turning white, then you have come to the right site. What can be the possible reasons for the algae turning white? And also, what can be the solutions?

Well, coralline algae provide a great contribution to the ecosystem of aqua. They are mostly discovered in coral reefs. Moreover, they are a group of Rhodophyta hence, the algae look red. Nonetheless, coralline algae can turn white naturally due to their structure.

However, the environmental reasons for coralline algae turning white might include the pH level, light, temperature, stressing environment, and others. Nonetheless, it is possible to stop them from turning white if you have kept them in your tank or aquarium.

Let’s discuss this in detail.

Why the Coralline Algae Turning White [Fixing Guide]

White Coralline Algae

1. Level of pH

The pH level is the main reason for coralline algae turning white. Due to several drastic changes in the environment, the pH level is increasing slowly in the ocean water. When the level of pH increases, the coralline algae start to turn white as well.

Nonetheless, when the algal cells of their internal part depart, the algae leave their outer coating that is crunchy and also white. It has to be precise. Though the freshwater tank does not require a precise pH level yet when it is the saltwater tank, it becomes important to maintain.

It is simply because most marine species be it fish or other invertebrates require a narrow range of pH levels. Hence, the level has to be optimum. It never should get too acidic or too alkaline. Otherwise, the inhabitants in your aquarium may not make it and survive longer.

Moreover, if the seawater has increased acidity, then it will turn the coralline algae white whereas they were red or brownish in color in the first place. Therefore, you have to ensure a stable pH in the tank.

Again, alkalinity in the tank helps in buffering pH. It also declines the rapid shifts. The remaining carbonates of the water help to make it. Hence, a constant presence of certain alkalinity is desirable in the tank.

Control Measure

  • Keep monitoring the carbonate hardness or kH of the tank to inspect the alkalinity and ensure a stable pH level. Here, kH refers to the carbonate hardness. You can use a photometer along with Plaintest Alkalinity tablets for the test.
  • To maintain and augment the supply of alkalinity you can change the tank water on a regular basis.
  • Or, you can also let other sea shells containing carbonates in the tank break down and supply alkalinity.
  • Always choose the right and proper salt mix for your saltwater aquarium. Coralline-containing tank requires a different type of salt mix. Whereas, if the aquarium just contains fish, then it also has a specific kind of salt mix.

So, from the above statement, you can simply predict that buffering of pH is important if the tank contains coralline algae.

2. Improper Lighting

Light plays a great role in coralline algae. In fact, it is considered the most crucial element. Light helps in maintaining healthy corals and algae. However, you need to know that different type of coralline algae requires different spectrum and intensity of light.

Moreover, the duration of light also differs according to the coralline algae types. Therefore, it becomes quite a tough job to maintain the light effect and its length. Moreover, the requirements may vary seasonally.

Therefore, your aquarium requires a bit of light manipulation otherwise, it will turn the coralline algae into white. Again, unknown coralline algae species and their habitat might leave you clueless and later turn white.

Control Measure

  • First of all, know the type of coralline algae species you own and their requirements for light.
  • Research for the proper lighting and the specific intensity the algae would need or require.
  • According to the requirement maintain the time length of light exposure of the aquarium as well.

Thus, to get rid of the coralline algae from turning white, maintain the exposure duration and intensity of light.

3. Aquarium Temperature

The temperature of the saltwater aquarium also affects coralline algae. If the temperature is not in favor then they start turning white in color. hence, the temperature is also a critical parameter.

Generally, the temperature of the aquarium environment and the movement of water are related in this case. You might use the best heater for controlling the aquarium but if the water flow is not up to the requirement, then the system might fail.

Moreover, cold spots attract coralline algae. Hence, they get stuck in cold spots and gradually turn white. It is because the spots have poor environmental conditions. Again, in some cases, the aquarium thermometer also fails to show the correct temperature.

It mostly happens in nanosystems. They do not show the proper temperature but rather always show a temperature range that seems suitable and acceptable.

That is exactly why it is always better to have a backup heater along with a digital thermometer. This idea is reliable and helps in double-checking the temperature.

Control Measure

  • Maintain proper and consistent water movement in the tank.
  • Use the best and most reliable heaters only. Do not just trust only the built-in nanosystems of the aquarium.
  • Buy the best quality aquarium heater to obtain the proper temperature (our pick: Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater) 
  • Also, have the best digital thermometer to inspect the right measurement of temperature (our pick: Zacro LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer) 
  • Do not allow the aquarium to have cold spots. Otherwise, it will make the coralline algae turn white.
  • Again, to bring consistency in the aquarium temperature, the addition of some insulating components in the tank might help as well.

Moreover, you can also keep the aquarium in a place where it will have the right amount of temperature.

4. Bacterial Infection

If your coralline algae have developed white patches on it then it could be the bacteria. Bacterial infection can occur in the aquarium affecting the beautiful reddish coralline algae. Eventually, the bacteria kill the algae.

However, there are some beneficial bacteria as well that are the main food of fish. Yet, in some cases, they affect the algae adversely.

Control Measure

  • To get rid of the bacterial infection from the coralline algae, you can take the algae to the quarantine tank for the time being and later take them back.

Whatever you use, just do not use chlorine in your tank to get rid of the bacteria. It will not help. In fact, it might kill the fish.

5. Excessive Nutrients or Toxins

It is another reason for the coralline algae to turn white. Many cannot detect this reason sometimes. Excessive nutrients pollute the water of the tank. Also, excessive toxins do the same. It happens when you provide too much food to the fish in the aquarium.

Thus, it becomes important to clean up the excessive stuff inside the tank. But you need to be aware of the fact that coralline algae also need food to survive. They are basically organisms. These organisms can make food by using sunlight.

Their other sources of food are zooplankton, nitrogen, and some minerals. Nonetheless, excessive fish food can take the duty of turning the coralline algae into white.

Control Measure

  • Take out excess food from the aquarium to fix this problem.
  • Keep changing the tank water up to 20 to 30% regularly until the tank gets completely pollution-free.
  • Feed a proper amount of food to the fish and coralline algae.
  • Keep the water always clean and toxin-free.

Natural Reasons for Coralline Algae Turning White

Coralline algae have distinct structures and they have calcium carbonate in them. Therefore, algae leave the white exoskeleton once it dies. However, coralline algae include several species and all of them have distinct structures.

Moreover, many studies say that an increase in the water temperature is responsible for the algae to expel their tissue and declining the pinkish hue. Consequently, they turn white. This is known as coral bleaching.

Can You Bring Back the Normal Color of Coralline Algae Once It Turns White?

natural Color of Coralline Algae

Well, the answer is simple. Once, the coralline algae totally turns white in color, you cannot bring its original hue back. However, bleaching out is common in coralline algae. And inside aquariums, it happens the most due to sudden changes in environmental conditions.

So, if you discover the coralline algae just starts to turn white you might prevent it from being completely white.

Thus, when you notice something like this, go on to check all the parameters for water quality. Make sure the tank water has a consistent temperature and pH. Also, go for the proper light settings. We have already mentioned the important role of light in this topic. So, do not mess with it.

Overall, what you have to do is just to bring a balanced environmental condition to stop the coralline algae from turning white anymore.


Do Coralline Algae Need White Light?

Well, it is known that coralline algae need the right light settings. However, the light wave and intensity depend on their types. Some might need much or higher lighting. On the other hand, some might require low lighting.

How Can You Prevent Coralline Algae From Turning White?

The easiest yet best way to keep the coralline algae from turning white is to check the water quality regularly. You can use a test kit that is liquid-based for this purpose. However, go through the instruction first and then use them.

Can You Grow Coralline Algae In Your Aquarium?

Yes, you can grow your own coralline algae in the aquarium by ensuring the right environment. To grow them, ensure sufficient indirect sunlight and warm water temperatures. As long as you manage to maintain the right water quality and temperature, you are all okay to grow coralline algae.

Final Words

Coralline algae play a great role in the marine ecosystem but only when they have a reddish charm on them. Hence, the problem of coralline algae turning white has solutions. You have to make them survive to bring a natural balance to the saltwater tank.

So, help these aquatic organisms to grow beautifully ensuring the best environmental conditions possible.

If our article has contributed to increasing the beauty of your aquarium, then let us know with your feedback. Also, you can shoot any queries.

Howard Parker

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