Saturday, July 02, 2005

Sea Hare: Beauty Is In The Eye of the Beholder

I have recently added sea hares to my inventory and am using them on a few clients' aquariums with hair algae problems. Hair algae grows from having high phosphates in the aquarium. Phosphates are often created from overfeeding. The sea hare is a ferocious algae eater. A sea hare will devour an aquarium's nuisance algaes until it no longer has a food source. At this time a dedicated aquarist will transfer the animal to another home.

According to The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Living Species List, each sea hare is both male and female, but they still need to mate. Dozens pile up for sea hare orgies. They mate in lines and circles: each is male to the one in front and female to the one behind, so each is both a mother and a father. Sea hares may lay up to eighty million eggs apiece. But most of these mother-fathers' eggs are eaten by predators.


Anonymous said...

I was told that sea hares will also eat seaweed. I tried putting a peice of H2O Life Green Seaweed (100% Natural Marine Algae)right in front of mine and there was no interst shown. Several of my snails really enjoyed the seaweed! Someone else told me that they eat kelp and to just go to the ebach and harvest some that has washed up on the shore. i haven't tried that and must admit to being morethan a little nervous about introducing parasites into my reef tank. Are there any other ideas or are there other good hair algae eaters i should investigate?

Robert Ordway said...

Hello Eric - I would not recommend adding anything to a display from your local beach. (You must live in a nice area!) The Sea Hare's that I have kept have shown no interest in anything other than the hair algae. If your animal has done its job, why don't you donate it to a local marine aquarium club? I am sure that you could find a good home for the animal through that route and it can be passed about after each persons aquarium has been cleaned up. Please don't hesitate to contact me with further questions. -Robert