When HCl is added during the growth of Ge islands on Si(001) by chemical vapor deposition, the reduced Ge surface diffusion impedes island development. There is a shift in the relative populations of different island types even when other conditions such as temperature, coverage, and growth rate, are unchanged. The effect of HCl on the net rate of deposition is proportional to the square of the HCl partial pressure, suggesting a surface reaction with the Ge. When larger islands are etched with HCl at high enough temperature, they revert to a shape characteristic of smaller islands, confirming the reversibility of transformations from one island type to another. It has not proved possible to use etching to produce smaller and more uniform islands. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.