Sea Hare

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Dolabella auricularia

Sea Hares are Opisthobranchs, also commonly known as Sea Slugs. There are a variety of species, some of which are not reef-safe. This species is an algae eater.

As some of you know, I have been battling a major hair algae problem in my 120 gallon since December 1999. I have tried various janitors and methods to overcome the algae, including removing all corals and shutting the lights off for weeks at a time. I have been unsuccessful in fully eradicating the problem. I am happy to report I have found the cure!

I stopped by my LFS on 10/21 and they had received some of these Sea Hares. I figured I had tried everything else, so why not this? And it was so ugly it was kind of cute! Within 10 minutes of placing it in the tank, it began to eat the hair algae. I spent the evening following his progress around the tank (I never knew watching a slug could be so entertaining!) and was totally amazed! He was absolutely devouring the algae from every surface in the tank - powerheads, powerhead cords, glass, rocks, you name it! By this morning he had made his way to the other side of the tank and is still plowing through!

I took pictures of a rock that had a fairly heavy growth of algae as he was approaching it and then some pictures of him in action. The whole process took about 20 minutes.

Note the rock with the algae and the Sea Hare on the rock below and slightly to the right.
The Sea Hare begins his climb up onto the algae infested rock.
He is now feasting on the algae!
20 minutes later, barely a trace of algae remains! Note the underside of the Sea Hare below the rock - he was so full he rolled off! It's also amazing how quickly he is able to right himself!
 

 

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