Dolabella auricularia
Source: Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Dolabella auricularia
Source: Kasper Hareskov Tygesen

Facts

Latin name Dolabella auricularia
Common name Blunt-end Sea Hare
Family Aplysiidae - Dolabella
Origin East Indian Ocean, The Red Sea
Max length 50 cm (19.7")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 200 l (53 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)

Sensitive during transportation

This species is very sensitive during transportation and acclimatizing into the aquarium.

Effective algae-eaters

This species can eat large amounts of algae (relative to their size) from rocks, like green hair algae and filamentous algae.

As it doesn’t eat every algae type, in case of a specific algae plague, find out more precise information.

Family description (Aplysiidae)

Sea hares are very effective at eating most types of algae, although not all of them, so do research this beforehand. 

As opposed to Nudibranches they have an internal shell for protection. Furthermore, they will release a kind of ink when feeling threatened. This is not poisonous, but should be removed by changing the water.

Sea hares require a great deal of algae to survive, so it is advisable to pass it on when its task is accomplished.
When it dies, a large amout of nutients are released to the water, so it must not be kept too long without sufficient algae.

Most species are easy to keep in an aquarium as long as there are enough algae, although some species do have slightly more specific food requirements.

References and further reading

About references

Ronald L. Shimek. 2004. Marine Invertebrates (PocketExpert Guide) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Robert Toonen. 2004. Aquarium Invertebrates: Sea Slugs - Part 1Part II - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Stomach-Footed Mollusks, Class Gastropoda, Subclass Opisthobranchia, Sea Slugs - Wet Web Media - (English)

Tags

algae eater, herbivore
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