Sea Lettuce smell question


Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I decided to give sea lettuce a try in my refugium in place of Cheato. Does it normally smell really bad, if so does the smell emanate from the fish tank once you put it in?

Full story; I ordered a baseball sized amount from Algae Barn along with some Pods. I received the sea lettuce along with the pods but the water had drained out of the container it came in and man did it stink when I opened the container. My wife came running downstairs wanting to know what the smell was, I opened all the windows, lit candles and it took 3-4 hours before you could not smell it anymore. I sent algae Barn the images of the waterless container and how bad it stunk and they replaced the product. No problem, stuff happens.

Received my replacement Saturday, same thing. Inside of box was all wet and the container was drained of water. This time I knew better and opened the jar outside and yup did it stink, not as bad as the first but close. The lettuce was still wet and dark green so I rinsed it in saltwater hoping some would survive and sent Algae Barn another DOA claim with the images and this was their response.

"Sea Lettuce is naturally repugnant in its smell. Based on color and texture your sea lettuce is in good condition. Please rinse with salt water and use. Thank you"

I did rinse and have it sitting in a container in the house and while it does not smell as bad as when it first came in I still cannot open in the house and leave it open.

For anyone who has used sea lettuce is a strong rotten smell normal? I will not be putting anything that smell like this in my tank. It is still green and does not seem to be decaying so I might try another rinse just looking for other expereince with Sea lettuce.

Picture is just how it came out of the box.



Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I wonder if Algae Barn is collecting this sea lettuce from a nasty spot. It does like nasty areas (high nutrient mud flats) and may be that they are collecting from a nutrient loaded area that smells sulfurous. (Rotten Eggs). Mud flats produce this smell due to Hydrogen Sulfide production in the anoxic sediments.


Well-Known Member
BRS Member
I had to DIG to find an actual street address for Algae Barn. Commerce City Colorado.
I have to believe the guys that run Algae Barn have no idea where the product is collected for real, as they are no where near the ocean and the employees that collect the sea lettuce. That said, Wash it with Salt water and place it in the sump. It will most likely not kill anything. Although, they remove all blame on them conveniently.


Granite State Aquatics
I’ve bought sea lettuce several times and also from algae barn and never smelt it but never noticed it smelt bad. I keep in refugium and feed to tangs here and there.

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