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cwcross
11-14-2004, 10:25 PM
I have been taking an effort to better understand Caulerpa toxicity. It seems that Caulerpa was widely used and considered AOK to the aquarium industry until some point where at a Boston Reef Meeting, somebody announced the finding that Caulerpa was toxic. Since then there seems to have been a spread of this finding throughout the hobby. Upon searching upon this topic I found may interesting things. In fact, most species of Caulerpa contain secondary toxins. The most notorious of which is called Caulerpenyne which is a sesqiterpenoid. If one will go to google and search "Caulerpa toxicity" you will come up with massive hits regarding Caulerpa Taxifolia. The study below shows that Caulerpa Taxifolia (which is now illegal) has a minimum of 38 times the toxin as does C. Racimosa (grape caulerpa I think), which is even higher than C. Prolifera (what I have):

http://sgnis.org/publicat/dumaperg.htm

Interestingly, this shows that toxin levels were lowest compared to C. Taxifolia, when the algea was in competition for light with other algeas (like hair algea).

Furthermore, it appears that most species of Caulerpa are grazed by herbivores in most reefs (although maybe it is not the most tasty). This abstract indicates this finding:

http://sgnis.org/publicat/paul2002.htm

This shows that most caulerpa's are not considered "killers" as is C. Taxifolia.

The following publication shows that C. prolifera was not found to inhibit microorganisms compared to a control.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1517-83822002000400006

This is just a chemistry paper dealing with the total synthesis of the toxin, but points out that it was first isolated from C. prolifera but is present in much greater levels in C. Taxifolia.

http://www.symbio.u-3mrs.fr/fichiers_pdf/parrain_commeiras_orglett_2001_1713.pdf

In a note that is inline with my thoughts about C. prolifera, you can find below that:

http://www.masla.com/reef/caulerpa.html

some even believe that the ecological hype about C. Taxifolia is severely exagerated.

Finally to put things into perspective, terpenes of many types are excreted by all sorts of corals. One of the professors when I was in school ran a natural products lab. They went diving each year to collect gorgonians. From these they isolated and identified all sorts of terpenes and sesquiterpenes. The point is that most of our corals have biological defenses against herbivores and secrete chemicals that are toxic or provide antimicrobial or cytotoxic effects of various sorts. We plan our whole aquariums around these species who have equal or greater toxicity that that of C. Prolifera or C. Racemose. Following is an article that supports this though:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/cw.htm

In my opinion, the mistrust of these algeas is quite possibly over-exagerated. Especially, in light of their ability to bind and provide export of nutrients, as well as many other toxic substances. I ran across many of these articles also.

The key problem with these algeas is the C. Racemosa's exagerated tendency to go "sexual" causing it to be of a more aggressive persuasion, if not managed properly. C. Prolifera has less of a tendency to do this. Most people agree that these plants, if added to the main tank, need to be managed carefully to prevent them from overgrowing corals or coralline algea's. However, in a fuge, they are recognized as being much easier to control if 24/7 lighting is used.

In summary, I saw nothing in the literature, either scientific or lay oriented, that would lead me to believe that C. Prolifera, and to a lesser degree C. Racemose or even other sorts of Caulerpa (of which there are many), can not or should not be successfully used to provide benefit to a marine aquarium.

However, I would be happy if anyone can provide documentation or research that can dispute this.

Sincerely...Collin

cwcross
11-14-2004, 10:55 PM
P.S. All that being said, as was pointed out by several. There are likely better algeas to use....Collin

mojoreef
11-14-2004, 11:10 PM
P.S. All that being said, as was pointed out by several. There are likely better algeas to use....Collin
LOL
Collin I think the number would change a tad when looked at in a closed system or systems the size of our tanks. Claupras can be used with good sucess as long as they are managed and farmed properly. I would tend to shy folks away from using it when they are trying to keep more sensative corals such as SPS and simular. When raising soft corals and some lps they play under the same rules and thus are more prone to not to be effected by the toxins.
If your are truely looking for nutrient uploaders look to cyanobactor it takes up about 500 time more and faster then any calurpas. Hair is alot better to.

Mike

cwcross
11-14-2004, 11:17 PM
LOL
I would tend to shy folks away from using it when they are trying to keep more sensative corals such as SPS and simular. When raising soft corals and some lps they play under the same rules and thus are more prone to not to be effected by the toxins.

Mike

Why so? Can you point to a single study that validates this statement? I'm not talking about some anecotal evidence, but a quantitative study that supports this? I would be interested to see it. I couldn't find any such. Reason being is that I did find may individual reports of people growing SPS very successfully in the presence of caulerpa. I don't see any reason to steer people away from it per say. The toxin seems directed toward herbivores and other algeas. I found no evidence of corals being affected by the toxin directly.

Collin

Llarian
11-15-2004, 03:50 AM
This is anecdotal, do it doens't answer your question as asked, but a good portion of the nutrients for SPS come from algae zooxanthelle as we all know. I can't find solid scientific studies, but I've seen too many reports from people with closed systems of the proximity of alleopathic life, be it algae or soft/LPS corals stunting the growth of nearby SPS. Removal of the offending toxic life made the SPS beging to grow again and flourish.

Anecdotal, so not at all what you wanted, but I guess it seems that after you see enough anecdotal data out there it lends some credence. I'd like to see some scientific data either way as well.

-Dylan

cwcross
11-15-2004, 02:15 PM
This is anecdotal, do it doens't answer your question as asked, but a good portion of the nutrients for SPS come from algae zooxanthelle as we all know. I can't find solid scientific studies, but I've seen too many reports from people with closed systems of the proximity of alleopathic life, be it algae or soft/LPS corals stunting the growth of nearby SPS. Removal of the offending toxic life made the SPS beging to grow again and flourish.

Anecdotal, so not at all what you wanted, but I guess it seems that after you see enough anecdotal data out there it lends some credence. I'd like to see some scientific data either way as well.

-Dylan


Well, this is the danger. I deal with this all the time in my industry. Ideas are mis-interpreted, based on a specific case, and then expanded to other cases that are not truly relevant. Alternatively, they may be taken out of context and fiction tends to then become reality over time. I have a specific example of total non-reality I have been battling for two years now, that people accept as fact. This situation is a detriment to our customers. We call these situations myths or legends. In mainstream they are often called urban legends.

As one example of urban legend, I have had at least 5 people in my lifetime swear to me that hot water freezes faster than cold water. They have all told me that they tested it themselves and so on. Anyone familiar with energy fluxes from a thermodynamic standpoint will not even take time to measure this. It is simply impossible. If this were true then life, and the universe as we know it, would not exist for a multitude of reasons. It was proven as a physical law some 200 or more years ago. Nevertheless, the individuals involved were willing to "bet the farm" on thier experiences, however wrong they are.

Another instance. People thought the world was flat for hundreds of years. They were all sure of this, and there was loads and loads of anecdotal and experiential data to support this supposed fact. The first astronomers to dispute this were outcast as heretics or worse. Some were even burned at the stake, people felt so strongly about it. Most everyone knows the story.

However, anecdotal evidence, or even peoples experiences as individuals, have to be challenged because there are frequently too many variables to draw valid conclusions from unless proper methodology is utilized to isolate variables and determine statistical certainty. Techniques or advice based on urban legend or anectodal/experiential evidence can frequently prevent forward progress in any area. This is why it is important to separate fact from fiction and base decisions on data if at all possible.

This is what science is all about. The null hypothesis has to be "no change" or "no problem" until PROVEN otherwise. Elsewise far reaching mistakes can be propogated based on fear and uncertainty.

This situation involving caulerpa strikes me as having the potential to lie in this category. People used caulerpa for many years and were happy with it. Now, it is touted as a killer. In reality, the situation is likely in the middle somewhere. Furthermore all Caulerpa's are not equal. Also, using proper husbandry techniques can be used to minimize adverse effects.

I am not touting Caulerpa or suggesting anybody use it over something else. I am also not touting the ecosystem method over berlin. I think both methods work. However, I want people to make decisions based on fact and not hearsay. I think this helps the hobby go forward. If we have some evidence that caulerpa prevents SPS from growing, lets bring it out.

And I'm not trying to be difficult here. I'm glad you share my search for actual data and thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

However, I will take your statement above and ask you some questions regarding it. I think you might find the answers challenging, but possibly also enlightening.

You make the statement below:

"but I've seen too many reports from people with closed systems of the proximity of alleopathic life, be it algae or soft/LPS corals stunting the growth of nearby SPS. "

1.) What experts?
2.) Did you actually "see" them, or their results, or hear about them from somebody else?
3.) How did they determine this information?
4.) Did they do it themselves or hear some other expert talk about it?
5.) What sorts of specific organisms were involved?
6.) Do conclusions from these organisms relate to other specific organisms?
7.) If so, within what parameters are the conculsions valid?
8.) How many times were the expermiments replicated?
9.) What were the margins of uncertainty with their observations?
10.) Did any other variables change during the observations?
11.) Is there any existing literature to support these observations?
12.) Were the observations recorded, published or subject to any peer review?

etc. etc. etc.

If you don't know the answers to at least most of these questions, then you are likely dealing with urban legend. Not so say Urban legend can't be ture. However, until it is studied in a controlled enviroment with proper technique any such observations are subject to debate and must be viewed with skepticism.

So again...show me the data? Anybody?

I have spent quite some time looking and couldn't find it myself. I would love to prove myself wrong. In fact, I found no cases of people claiming that caulerpa slowed the growth of SPS or any sort of coral. What is easy to find, are numerous cases of people growing SPS successfully in the presence of caulerpa. So...if all we have to go on is circulstantial, anecdotal and experiential data, it is far weighted towards caulerpa (excepting C. taxifolia) being quite benign.

Sincerely...Collin

Llarian
11-15-2004, 03:12 PM
Actually, I can easily answer no to all of those. I was mostly being an ass because I wanted you to expand on what you're looking for a little bit, which worked nicely.

I was more or less playing off of Mike's comparison of caulerpa and soft corals having similar "rules" and made a really bad inductive leap, as I believe there is documented evidence of some alleopathic soft corals impacting SPS, especially in some smaller closed systems. (Even that's anecdotal though, all I have is a softie tank right now).

In case you haven't noticed elsewhere, I like poking people to get further discussion out of it for my own education, which you're doing incredibly well at, although I admit I suppose its probably a bit of a pain for you.

So, thanks Colin, for humoring me! =)

-Dylan

cwcross
11-15-2004, 05:17 PM
Actually, I can easily answer no to all of those. I was mostly being an ass because I wanted you to expand on what you're looking for a little bit, which worked nicely.

I was more or less playing off of Mike's comparison of caulerpa and soft corals having similar "rules" and made a really bad inductive leap, as I believe there is documented evidence of some alleopathic soft corals impacting SPS, especially in some smaller closed systems. (Even that's anecdotal though, all I have is a softie tank right now).

In case you haven't noticed elsewhere, I like poking people to get further discussion out of it for my own education, which you're doing incredibly well at, although I admit I suppose its probably a bit of a pain for you.

So, thanks Colin, for humoring me! =)

-Dylan


I enjoy it. No pain at all...thanks. As for soft corals causing problems for SPS's, that is actually fairly well documented and there have been some studies on it. I have no problem with that. Softies and LPS naturally compete with SPS, so it stands to reason that they will have offensive/defensive strategies toward one another.

Caulerpa on the other hand more typically grows in lagoons and muddy bottoms. As Mike pointed out, this is not normally found near a coral reef. The species are not typically direct competitors to the same extent. Caulerpa is much more worried about fish eating it, than corals overgrowing it. Caulerpa is a lightening fast migrator compared to a coral. It can just move the population if it needs to. It is an easier jump to surmise that the biological defense of an algea would be directed more towards a fish than a coral.

All that being said though. Just because an LPS or softie terpenoid affects an SPS, is no reason to think that an algea terpenoid will affect an SPS. They may, but there is an equal and possibly larger chance that they may not. Until we see data, it is up for grabs. However, since people have used them for years in successful softie/lps tanks and sps tanks, it can't be all that bad.

Is there something better? There usually is. Is it an impending disaster? I doubt it.

Sincerely...Collin

jlehigh
11-15-2004, 05:57 PM
cwcross: I won't speak for anyone else but I don't join and follow threads for scientific studies. I am hear to learn the practices versus the policies. I have seen very few hobbyists nor scientists with well conducted studies that help me outside of the measurments that stare us in the face in captive systems (light, chemical levels ect..). To accomplish your requirments means narrowing the scope of the study.

Extrapolating the logic of studies to apply in other related areas of reefkeeping isn't an issue in my view so much as an exploration. The idea I used to build a deck enriched the construction of my arbor which led to other ideas and creations.

Since you are involved in using Calurpa why not perform the study, it'd probably be allot of fun. You will need to draw your own conclusions extrapolated from other scientific studies I'm sure.

mojoreef
11-15-2004, 06:31 PM
This situation involving caulerpa strikes me as having the potential to lie in this category. People used caulerpa for many years and were happy with it. Now, it is touted as a killer. In reality, the situation is likely in the middle somewhere. Furthermore all Caulerpa's are not equal. Also, using proper husbandry techniques can be used to minimize adverse effects.
Collin you are also making alot of assertions here to. I will see if I can find you some stuff, but you have to remember caulerpas do not happen in reef top locations where the vast majority of sps grow and thrive. Also the sign of macro algae on a reef is the first sign of the decline of said reef. As per ancedotal evidence I have seen and replied to thousands of posts/threads/problems with folks that have had problems with caulerpas going sexual or inhibiting growth through overgrowing or toxin release.

It seems that Caulerpa was widely used and considered AOK to the aquarium industry until some point where at a Boston Reef Meeting, somebody announced the finding that Caulerpa was toxic.
LOL you must be looking way back into the macna's, maybe 94??? You seem to be saying that all was well until someone cried wolf and that we are all just following like sheep. Not sure I understand this statement.
Their are over 70 different types of caulerpas out Their, some are very toxic, some not so much and everything in between. You mentioned that most of the info out Their is on taxifolia, well racemosa is even worse in taking over the wilds, it can even out compete taxifolia. Prolifera is another one in that group.
Toxicity: caulerpenyne, oxytoxins, taxifolials a host of other terpenes, Caulerpin. These toxins are released into the water through Their frond ends even with out disturbance and can effect and poison all sorts of herbivores(Pesando et al., 1996 should give you some info).Bellan-Santini et al., (1996) should give you some info on how the toxins can inhibit the growth and reproduction of polychaetes, molluscs and amphipods just by the release and not through the eating of it. I would say this pertains a bit about a sps's defence against it??
Pedrotti & Lemée (1999) can give you some info on the devastating effects it can have on phytoplankton and urchin larvae. Their urchin larvae survival tests came back 0 survivability. The effect on phytoplankton can be linked back to zoox population in sps and they are close in biological make up.
Lemée et al., 1993 has some good studies on how the toxins from caulerpas build up in herbivore fish and result in Their eventual death.
Giannotti et al., 1994 has some good stuff on how the toxins effect bacterial activity, reproduction, and survivorship.
Dini et al., 1994. This is a goodie, they show how the toxins released effect and inhibit larvae development, metabolisms, fertilizations.
Barbier et al., 2001 did a good study on the effects of the toxins in regards to protein development (some proteins found in corals also)
Brunelli et al., (2000) and Barbier et al (2001) did some stuff that shows the caulerpenyne inhibits ATP (this alone should mean keep it away from coral) affects some other ion channels accounting for reduced or severely decrease of cellular membrane resistance.
Oh and don't forget about toxic secondary metabolites (mono- and sesqui-terpenes) Their not very nice either.

Anyway thats enough of that. Here are a couple of other things to look at. Events happen in a reef tank, big temp swing, ph drop, fluxes in nutrients and so on, any of these events can kill your caulerpa fields or cause its decline severely, from their the effects of it on the tank can be devestating, so why bother. It can and has gone sexual, most caulerpas even spore with out disturbance, this can have a devastating effect of your corals, so why bother? Harvesting it by breaking the stalks or fronds release the strongest and most toxic portions of it, do you break any of these?? hard not to. So.........??


Softies and LPS naturally compete with SPS, so it stands to reason that they will have offensive/defensive strategies toward one another
Where would this be?? I know of no strategy that SPS corals have to deal with lps or softie offences or defences. Slime coatings dont work, Their main competitors are themselves and the strategy is to over grow or base out. (hydro excluded). When then come together they both die.

Mike

cwcross
11-15-2004, 07:00 PM
cwcross: I won't speak for anyone else but I don't join and follow threads for scientific studies. I am hear to learn the practices versus the policies. I have seen very few hobbyists nor scientists with well conducted studies that help me outside of the measurments that stare us in the face in captive systems (light, chemical levels ect..). To accomplish your requirments means narrowing the scope of the study.

I'm not exactly sure what to say to this. It seems that your point is that studies can't help us learn about aquariums. If this is what you are saying I'll disagree wholeheartedly. I would agree that there are not nearly enough applicable studies done.

Ok, then to the point. What do you think about Caulerpa? Find me someone that has had problems related to Caulerpa toxicity affecting the growth of SPS corals or thier reef in general. I would be happy to speak with them. If there are any such, I am interested in thier perspective. Perhaps you are one? I don't know. I will happily eat my words. After all, that is what I am trying to do is prove myself wrong. I really want to know how bad Caulerpa is?



Extrapolating the logic of studies to apply in other related areas of reefkeeping isn't an issue in my view so much as an exploration. The idea I used to build a deck enriched the construction of my arbor which led to other ideas and creations.

Yes, you are right. I'm glad you didn't stop building your deck because you were afraid you might cut off your finger with a saw. I agree with you. In fact, that is the business I am in. Technology development. I make new undiscovered things. However, you can waste quite a few dollars and resources if you don't do it correctly. Acting on misinformation is a sure way to get started incorrectly.

However, I am not sure that this is an appropriate analogy. However, I'll render it in a light I think is more appropriate a above. For instance, what if I told you that you shouldn't use a hammer or saw to build your deck because people had cut their fingers off or bashed thier toes. Furthermore, that no one should recommend to anyone else the use of hammers or saws for building anything. Would this cause you to go around and tell everyone not to build arbors or decks?

I'll bet it wouldn't. It is one of understanding an area. Everybody is familiar with hammers and saws so it's obvious. Now what if I tell you that dimer-diamines should never be used as corrosion inhibitors because they can crystalize at low temperature? Do you believe me? Does this seem reasonable? The answer might be of interest if you were in the market for some corrosion inhibitors.

Most of the suggestions to not use caulerpa in reefs in my search the last nights came from wetmedia.com. There are many "experts" there suggesting people not to use caulerpa. In one thread, he suggested a person just go online and search for Caulerpenyne and their client would "see" why they are so bad. Now how many people do you think performed that search? I did. You know what I found? Nothing indicating that C. prolifera and racemosa slows or harms corals. So, where did these people get thier information. There is a lot of information regarding C. taxifolia toxicity. So I am wondering why everybody is doing this? I know of lots of people who use Caulerpa prolifera and racemosa and have no problems. Just like I know a lot of people who use hammers and saws with no problems. Now I do also know a guy that cut off three fingers with a saw. Should we stop using saws? It is a question of relativity. For instance, if I could show you data that made you believe that if you used a saw you had a 95% chance of cutting off your fingers. If this was true you probably would not use saws anymore and this would be very reasonable. Most people wouldn't. Conversely, If I had data that said that only 0.0001% of people will cut off thier fingers with a saw, you would most likely proceede to use one but be careful. This is what I do personally. But wait a minute. Should we stop using all saws? Or which is more dangerous. A table saw, skill say, miter saw, band saw, hack saw. If somebody cut their finger with a table saw, should we stop using hack saws too?

So what about caulerpa? What percentage of people who use caulerpa have had a tank problem that they are 100% certain was caused by Caulerpa and nothing else? (after all if you cut off a finger with a saw, its pretty clear it wasn't the hammer that did it). If it was definitely caulerpa, what kind was it? etc. etc.




Since you are involved in using Calurpa why not perform the study, it'd probably be allot of fun. You will need to draw your own conclusions extrapolated from other scientific studies I'm sure.

I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic here or serious? I'll assume you are being serious. I know somebody I trust who has about 50 aquariums with Caulerpa Prolifera in them. They are of all types of aquariums, SPS and Softie. They don't have problems and stuff grows out the tops of them. This is good enough for me. If people want to believe they shouldn't use this macroalgea, that is fine with me. Please don't use it. However, I would like to think that you won't use it based on some good reason other than you heard from someone who heard from thier friend that read on a website from someone who heard from a conference or something that Caulerpa is bad stuff.

Just my opinion. Maybe I'm way off base though...C

jlehigh
11-15-2004, 07:16 PM
I was serious about the study and appreciate your time dedication to the thread. I don't really have the time to go back through this and speak to your points but all I was trying to get across was:

Your requirements for advice on these forums are too high
I don't share your requirments
If you want data on the subject than go for it

Your buddies 50 tank sample does not meet your list of requirements for proof the stuff isn't toxic so I'm not sure why the sample suffices..

Word of mouth is how history turned legend :) I think everyone with an operational tank knows to be as dicernful as possible

mojoreef
11-15-2004, 09:06 PM
I think is where different folks take different paths to acquire knowledge. In some folks case they can take a large group of ancedotel evidence and draw a conclusion on probability. Where as other require more scientific studies and harder evidence. I find my self on the harder evidence side of things as I have seen alot of smoke blown by those that play in that category (no one on this board).
In this case (caulerpas) and I think Collin you would agree that it is going to be hard to get hard evidence or scientific study done on peoples reef tanks. So it is tough to put that nail in the coffin. But we do have alot of differing evidence that can lead us to a logical conclusion. For me it is as follows.
1. I have seen and heard alot of ancedotel comment from experienced reefers that have had problems with caulerpa toxins. By means of it going sexual by harvesting, by an event in their tank, and by no apparent means. I have seen this happen twice in previous tanks I have had.
2. I have heard from experienced reefers including myself that have seen sps coral grow (other corals to) that have had completely stunted growth or no growth when in close proximity to caulerpas.
3. In reading very very many scientific studies (some outlined above) we can determine that caulerpas do leach toxins in a variety of ways and in a variety of degrees.
4. We do know from ancedotel evidence and scientific studies that alot of soft and lps type corals do release and use very simular toxins in offence, cleaning and defensive measures
5. We do know from ancedotel evidence that soft corals/lps can and do effect sps type corals through release of said toxins. One can draw and educated line between the two or at least say their is a very good chance.
6.From scientific studies (some listed above) we can see that their is good evidence that caulerpas toxins effect a whole host of organisms, from means of growth inhibitors, to protein inhibitors and really screw up critters at the molecular level. This would say to me that a person that is keeping a refugium for the growth of pods, larvae and so on could do with a better choice is finding a nutrient absorber?? or at least one that is not so risky.

I think once you summarize all of the ancedotel evidence and closely related scientific study that one ca come up with an educated choice no problem. But truly one can also ignore the above and just say until I see it with my own eyes or scientifically proves it to me I choose to use it. Which is cool with me, I just like to throw out what I know, the choice is always up to the user.

Mike

cwcross
11-15-2004, 09:13 PM
I was serious about the study and appreciate your time dedication to the thread. I don't really have the time to go back through this and speak to your points but all I was trying to get across was:


Ok, thanks.


Your requirements for advice on these forums are too high

For who? I'm not sure of your point here? To stop thinking about things and soliciting ideas from others? What do you mean too high? Do you feel I am wasting your time and the time of others?



I don't share your requirments


Good, I am glad. The world would be boring if that was the case. However, I think you are missing the point. I realize that I made a mistake by following up on a topic of another thread by starting a new one on this forum. Here is the link to the previous thread if you are interested or others are:
http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4952

The point is that many people are being advised not to use caulerpa and that it is bad and will hurt your corals or slow down their growth. This is contrary to many years of successful reefing and most books on the subject. I am trying to pin down the source of this information and either understand it as true of false. I think this is beneficial to the hobby and so I am spending my time to do so. I urge anyone to help in whatever way.



If you want data on the subject than go for it


That is exactly what I am doing. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear there is any out there. Only rumors.



Your buddies 50 tank sample does not meet your list of requirements for proof the stuff isn't toxic so I'm not sure why the sample suffices..

I don't know about that. 50 tanks set up in the same way be a single individual using relatively consistent techniques is probably about as good as it gets in this hobby. Especially if they all do well. However, that is why I am searching for something better. Anyway, the question really isn't if caulerpenyne is toxic. It is more a question of at what levels and to what organisms. If we have 50 aquariums with Caulerpa Prolifica and the corals in the tanks are all growing, that is pretty good evidence to me that something is wrong with scattered rumors that corals are adversely affected by this algea.




Word of mouth is how history turned legend :) I think everyone with an operational tank knows to be as dicernful as possible

It seem you are saying something negative about my posting in a polite way. I think it is clear that you disagree with what I am saying or the way I am saying it, but I am not really clear about what you are suggesting I should do. Stop posting? Stop asking for opinions? Stop questioning practices I think are false? Do so in a different way? That you don't want to think about or are not interested in Caulerpa? Something else? Feedback is appreciated...sincerely...Collin

mojoreef
11-15-2004, 09:20 PM
I think it was addressed to the scientific evidence you required Collin. Personally I love threads like this, but for some it goes beyond thier interest or maybe comment, but I can tell you most every one is reading, so keep it up and reply to my threads, lol


Mike

cwcross
11-15-2004, 09:41 PM
I think it was addressed to the scientific evidence you required Collin. Personally I love threads like this, but for some it goes beyond thier interest or maybe comment, but I can tell you most every one is reading, so keep it up and reply to my threads, lol


Mike

I will read and respond to your posts Mike. First I have to read your references though. And...thanks, that is what I was asking for. I will happily eat my words if I think it appropriate. I like threads like this also. However, I am not really requiring scentific evidence. I don't think I am being clear. I want evidence that can show a consistent pattern that is unbiased. ...C

cwcross
11-16-2004, 12:12 AM
Ok, here we go!

I do not feel that I am making assertions. I feel that I am stating a null hypothesis regarding the use of C. prolifica in a reef tank




but you have to remember caulerpas do not happen in reef top locations where the vast majority of sps grow and thrive. Also the sign of macro algae on a reef is the first sign of the decline of said reef.

This is true. All toxicalogical studies have been done with C. taxifolia extracts and have been performed on benthic organisms found in the substrate as well as fishes. None performed in corals I have found. I will re-stress. C. Racemose was found to have 80x less CYN (the precursor to the toxin). All toxicological were performed with the pure toxin extract. It is interesting to note that the studies of mortality of organisms all focus on organisms that are algal feeders or otherwise predators of the algea. The release of the toxin is a predation defense.

This is a chicken and egg thing. What comes first, the corals dying and the algea moving in or the algea moving in and the corals dying?



As per ancedotal evidence I have seen and replied to thousands of posts/threads/problems with folks that have had problems with caulerpas going sexual or inhibiting growth through overgrowing or toxin release.


thousands out of how many? Thousands out of a million isn't very many. Thousands out of 10 thousand is a lot. Thousands by itself means nothing. Thousands of people a year cut off their fingers with saws. However, saws are useful tools.

Is it really thousands? I am a doubting thomas? If you make 1 posts/day on average regarding caluerpa, it would take three years of continuous posting to make roughly a thousand responses. This assumes that every caulerpa post was regarding a problem that occured such as you describe. That is a lot of problems. Is this accurate?

Was there any common thread that gives you an indication of what caused the algea to go sexual or otherwise lead to a massive release of the toxins?

Could whatever have led to this release also have affected other aquarium inhabitants?

How were lights controlled. 24/7? Inverted day/night? In main tank?

What were the effects of the toxin release? Were they the same in all cases?

What species of caulerpa caused the most problems?

If overgrowth was a problem, this is not necessarily related to toxins. Tippets related anoxic conditions caused by Caulerpa overgrowth as one possible explanation of benthic community depression. Maybe this relates to corals as well?



LOL you must be looking way back into the macna's, maybe 94??? You seem to be saying that all was well until someone cried wolf and that we are all just following like sheep. Not sure I understand this statement.

This statement is made because C. Taxifolia is obviously a problem. I believe there is an overreaction to this fact and the studies that have looked at it. Other sorts of aleas are much less a problem. Cucumbers can emit toxins too. However many people keep them because they are either beautiful or useful.



Their are over 70 different types of caulerpas out Their, some are very toxic, some not so much and everything in between. You mentioned that most of the info out Their is on taxifolia, well racemosa is even worse in taking over the wilds, it can even out compete taxifolia. Prolifera is another one in that group.


Yes, racemosa is very aggressive but not very toxic. Prolifica is even less toxic and not as aggressive as racemosa. Hair algea outgrows them both. In fact my prolifica doesn't grow fast at all because it is always covered with hair algea. This has been shown to even further reduce CYN concentrations. Also, CYN concentrations are highest in autum. This is triggered by the shortening days. This would suggest not to cut back lighting if caulerpa is present and let hair algea grow all over it. This would further reduce any toxicity potential.



Toxicity: caulerpenyne, oxytoxins, taxifolials a host of other terpenes, Caulerpin. These toxins are released into the water through Their frond ends even with out disturbance and can effect and poison all sorts of herbivores

OK, now we get into the meat of it. These articles you reference below show that CYN itself is not the toxin. When a predator chews on a leaf, the CYN is converted to activated forms of the molecules. These activated forms, call them secondary-metabolites or other such, are very short lived in low concentrations. Even at full strength the dosage drops to non-toxic levels within 4 hours in a control system. Furthermore, the active precursors only have full strength at the edge of the frond. The concentration drops off rapidly until it reaches zero some millimeters from the frond edge. This shows that the toxic activated forms of CYN are very short lived in seawater and will degrade rapidly. This is actually true of any "yne" moiety. They are very reactive and short lived when activated. That is what makes them toxic. Most of this stuff will kill free floating plankton and bacteria unless you have a blanket of it or it is right by something (like touching it). This will let our skimmers work less :-).



(Pesando et al., 1996 should give you some info).Bellan-Santini et al., (1996) should give you some info on how the toxins can inhibit the growth and reproduction of polychaetes, molluscs and amphipods just by the release and not through the eating of it. I would say this pertains a bit about a sps's defence against it??


I'm not sure how this relates to SPS. However, this is an important part. activate CYN products kills benthic animals that live among them. Most of these studied are herbivores that prey an algea. In one alternative study calcerous fan worms were studied and found to be affected. And this is the part I like. When I look into my refugium it is full of ampiphods, copepods, calcerous fan worms, polychaets etc. Whole swarms of them living right in the middle of the Caulerpa. Before you suggested I stop just cutting the top of the fronds off, I just mowed the grass. All this goop would come out. I now understand this is the algeas defense mechanism. However, all my pods and worms were not visibly affected. However, I think it good advice to pull it out without breaking it so I do that now. However, if that was toxifolia and not prolifica, I wonder what the effect would have been. 80x would have been released and lasted 16 hours rather than <10 mintues in solution according to, Ammade and Lemée (1998).



Pedrotti & Lemée (1999) can give you some info on the devastating effects it can have on phytoplankton and urchin larvae. Their urchin larvae survival tests came back 0 survivability. The effect on phytoplankton can be linked back to zoox population in sps and they are close in biological make up.


Plankton growth rates were positive until soaked in 250 ug/ml.

Urchin larvea were fed plankton soaked in toxin. Only after eating for 2 weeks did the survivorship decrease drastically. Basically they pumped fed them nothing but toxin saturated food for 2 weeks.



Lemée et al., 1993 has some good studies on how the toxins from caulerpas build up in herbivore fish and result in Their eventual death.
Giannotti et al., 1994 has some good stuff on how the toxins effect bacterial activity, reproduction, and survivorship.
Dini et al., 1994. This is a goodie, they show how the toxins released effect and inhibit larvae development, metabolisms, fertilizations.
Barbier et al., 2001 did a good study on the effects of the toxins in regards to protein development (some proteins found in corals also)
Brunelli et al., (2000) and Barbier et al (2001) did some stuff that shows the caulerpenyne inhibits ATP (this alone should mean keep it away from coral) affects some other ion channels accounting for reduced or severely decrease of cellular membrane resistance.
Oh and don't forget about toxic secondary metabolites (mono- and sesqui-terpenes) Their not very nice either.



All these studies on Taxifolia. Taxifolia is BAD. No doubt.



Anyway thats enough of that. Here are a couple of other things to look at. Events happen in a reef tank, big temp swing, ph drop, fluxes in nutrients and so on, any of these events can kill your caulerpa fields or cause its decline severely, from their the effects of it on the tank can be devestating, so why bother. It can and has gone sexual, most caulerpas even spore with out disturbance, this can have a devastating effect of your corals, so why bother? Harvesting it by breaking the stalks or fronds release the strongest and most toxic portions of it, do you break any of these?? hard not to. So.........??


Bottom line. CYN toxin is bad. If you get enough of it is kills some stuff for sure. However, nothing in any of this regarding corals. Mollusks, worms, urchins.... All predators of the caulerpa and it can hurt them. However, prolifica is very low in CYN. The amounts secreted by this algea will not reach a high equilibrium level in the tank as it is too short lived at low concentrations. If you have a lot of it, or let it spread. It could be bad. If it sits right next to your corals. Maybe that is bad.

Do I think it is overexagerated...yes. Will I take it out of my tank...probably eventually. Do you have some Cheato??

sincerely...Collin




Where would this be?? I know of no strategy that SPS corals have to deal with lps or softie offences or defences. Slime coatings dont work, Their main competitors are themselves and the strategy is to over grow or base out. (hydro excluded). When then come together they both die.

Mike

Point taken...night...C

NaH2O
11-16-2004, 10:20 AM
Let me first apologize for posting about early points (I have finally read through the thread), and if my post seems to be all over the place. Trying to read through this thread, the links, take care of my 3 year old girl, and handle the miriad of phone calls, has left me scatter brained. :)

I think this thread is great for the mere point of getting people to search, read, and try to understand. For many hobbyists, myself included, trying to find studies (and for some interpretting them) can prove to be quite a task. Some people may not know where to look, know if the study is good, or if the study was put out by a reliable source. You posed a list of questions early in the thread, and question one: What Experts? I feel this needs definition, as in this hobby there are many "Experts", but what type of credentials does one need to be considered an expert? Someone that has kept successful and beautiful reef tanks for 20+ years, or someone with Ph.D. after their name....perhaps both. I have read one article put out by a so-called "expert" (so named by hobbyists, I guess) that I had a good laugh at. Do we, as aquarists, have a published peer reviewed scientific journal specific to closed systems? I can't think of any, but there may be one or more for that matter. For me, I have to go on studies available on the web, and try to imagine what effect it would have on a closed environment.



Should we stop using all saws? Or which is more dangerous. A table saw, skill say, miter saw, band saw, hack saw. If somebody cut their finger with a table saw, should we stop using hack saws too?


I see this point, and although it is hard to apply to the issue at hand, it did bring up a thought for me. I have an allergy to a specific medication. The concentration doesn't matter....I simply can't have any medications that contain the allergen. So, does it matter to the SPS the concentration of toxin? Perhaps being continuosly bombarded with a low concentration of toxin is enough to hinder their growth or coloration. Maybe the friend you pointed out would see an increase in SPS growth and coloration if the algae was removed from the system? Maybe not. A lot of variables. I could be way off base, and if so, I hope someone corrects me.



Pedrotti & Lemée (1999) can give you some info on the devastating effects it can have on phytoplankton and urchin larvae. Their urchin larvae survival tests came back 0 survivability.


Urchin larvae study!! Everybody run! ;) (Had to add that, Mike :) )

mojoreef
11-16-2004, 11:43 AM
I will re-stress. C. Racemose was found to have 80x less CYN (the precursor to the toxin). All toxicological were performed with the pure toxin extract. It is interesting to note that the studies of mortality of organisms all focus on organisms that are algal feeders or otherwise predators of the algea. The release of the toxin is a predation defense.
Collin you are comparing Racemose with the most toxic form of Caulerpa out their, so the 80X looks pretty good, but perhaps we should just look at the amount released by the caulerpas we are talking about. On the studies they were not all related to organisms that were eating the caulerpa. various forms of larva and planktonic life forms has nothing to do with eating, just general vicinity. The toxin is definalty released as a defensive measure, but the breaking of the plant is not required, it leaches all on its own. Remember caulerpas are competitors and very aggressive at doing so.

This is a chicken and egg thing. What comes first, the corals dying and the algea moving in or the algea moving in and the corals dying?
Nope not really, its more to do with enviromental conditions. Every critter from corals to algae with thrive if the conditions are correct. So if you have a pristine reef with low nutrients and thriving corals that is all of a sudden subjected to a nutrient load the enviroment has been skewed and now it is more to the liking of algaes.

Was there any common thread that gives you an indication of what caused the algea to go sexual or otherwise lead to a massive release of the toxins?
I would say the most common was nutrient fluxes. High original fluxes allowed for excellerated growth and over population. Once the food source was greatly deprecated the caulerpa crashed. Second most common was lighting. Not so much the 24/7 as much as the caulerpa that was under the canopy of caulerpa crashed. their are a lot of reasons, some more common then others

Could whatever have led to this release also have affected other aquarium inhabitants?
Absolutely!! but the caulerpa crash was but one more in the house of cards that multiplied the severeness of the crash. Kinda like a tank with a DSB, ;) If you build a system like it was a house of cards, it tends to have harder crashes and less chance of surviving events. Thats where a good skimmer can save your tank.

How were lights controlled. 24/7? Inverted day/night? In main tank?
mute point, although 24/7 lighting seems to be the safest bet, coupled with constant harvesting.

What were the effects of the toxin release? Were they the same in all cases?
In the case of an event it was just more fuel to the fire. In the case of close proximity it was stunted growth, not really any damage up to the point where the coral just bleached out.

What species of caulerpa caused the most problems?
Mostly racemose, feather was another big one.

Other sorts of aleas are much less a problem. Cucumbers can emit toxins too. However many people keep them because they are either beautiful or useful.
Agreed for sure. When a person is selecting an algae to use as an export medium they should take alot of things into consideration. Amount exported, toxicity, potentcal for going sexual and so on. If they are just looking for a pure bulk remover I would suggest cyanobacter as it uptakes 500x more then your best caulerpa, hairs is also better, xynia is way up their to. Oh and I wouldn't keep a cucumber either, just got to much invested in the tank and my luck really sucks.

OK, now we get into the meat of it. These articles you reference below show that CYN itself is not the toxin
Again it becomes a why bother when their are better alternatives???

I'm not sure how this relates to SPS
It shows that toxins are released with out any damage being done to the caulerpa.

Urchin larvea were fed plankton soaked in toxin. Only after eating for 2 weeks did the survivorship decrease drastically. Basically they pumped fed them nothing but toxin saturated food for 2 weeks.
ok try this one Lemée et al., 1997. heres a quote

CYN exhibits antibiotic activity , it is toxic for molluscs, sea urchins, herbivorous fish, and capable of killing off many microscopic organisms and other submarine flora. CYN extract inhibits or delays the proliferation of several phytoplanktons of the marine food chain

All these studies on Taxifolia. Taxifolia is BAD. No doubt.
all these studies were on the toxins that are shared amongst most all caulerpas

Do I think it is overexagerated...yes. Will I take it out of my tank...probably eventually. Do you have some Cheato??
I don't think any of it is an exageration. Its just the other side of a particular method. One can still use caulerpas as a great nutrient absorber all we are saying is that their is a risk or a possibility that it may hurt your inhabitants. The choice is always the individuals. The risk goes up when the tank is full of more delicate species such as sps (who's defence against these toxins are not thier) and the risk lowers when the tanks is full os softies and lps that have a greater defence mechanism against simular chemicals thats all.
Cheato is a far better choice, so is Ulva (pods love nest).

take care


Mike

jlehigh
11-16-2004, 12:03 PM
Hey Collin,

The thread is back on the right track.
Apologies to readers for any distraction.

Keep it coming.

NaH2O
11-16-2004, 12:36 PM
jlehigh - no apologies necessary! We are all trying to learn something on this thread. I don't know if my post contributed much for the discussion, but I wanted to make a few points that came in my head. Quite possible I'm wrong, quite possible I don't make sense, and it is quite possible no one cares. :)

cwcross
11-16-2004, 01:35 PM
Urchin larvae study!! Everybody run! ;) (Had to add that, Mike :) )

Yea, ha ha..!! I'm glad you brought that up. I let him go on that one :-). I can't believe Mike is using urchin studies to back up his arguments. That's a good one...LOL.

I'll get to your posts, Nikki and Mike, later today. I largely agree with what you are saying. That is what I meant by "what experts?". This is one problem with this hobby. Much speculation and little study. That is the nature of the beast though. However, a healthy discussion never hurts.

Sincerely...Collin

cwcross
11-16-2004, 11:23 PM
I think this thread is great for the mere point of getting people to search, read, and try to understand. For many hobbyists, myself included, trying to find studies (and for some interpretting them) can prove to be quite a task. Some people may not know where to look, know if the study is good, or if the study was put out by a reliable source. You posed a list of questions early in the thread, and question one: What Experts? I feel this needs definition, as in this hobby there are many "Experts", but what type of credentials does one need to be considered an expert? Someone that has kept successful and beautiful reef tanks for 20+ years, or someone with Ph.D. after their name....perhaps both. I have read one article put out by a so-called "expert" (so named by hobbyists, I guess) that I had a good laugh at. Do we, as aquarists, have a published peer reviewed scientific journal specific to closed systems? I can't think of any, but there may be one or more for that matter. For me, I have to go on studies available on the web, and try to imagine what effect it would have on a closed environment.

Experts are Experts. It does not matter how much education one has. Give me a 20 year veteran over a green Ph.D. any day. However, Ph.D's, if nothing else, have been trained in two things. How to find and read literature and educate themselves quickly. And two, how to use a theoretical framework but build new thoughts on. A Ph.D. with 20 years experience in an industry is likely a good expert if worth his salt.

All I have access to is the web. I do not have a library stocked with the correct journals to search this topic. Mostly I can find only abstracts. However, they are out there. Problem is that scientific articles are filled with Jargon. Many people are not familiar with the language and so reading such an paper loses thier interest quickly. Also, it is often difficult to discern nuances of the methodolgy used and how it is relevant. This frequently leads to mis-interpretation by lay audiences. Most people have heard the phrase "enough information to be dangerous". It is easy to take things out of context if not careful in a technical paper.

Believe it or not, often (but not always) 20 year veterans can be poor sources of innovation or acceptance of new ways or things they are not familiar with. Being in an industry too long lead to "inbreeding". People can literally get so comfortable in a position that they lost the fire to forge ahead. These people can great consultants for past events or history, but frequently poor at inducing or embracing change. This is a pitfall of experience I believe we should all try to overcome.




I see this point, and although it is hard to apply to the issue at hand, it did bring up a thought for me. I have an allergy to a specific medication. The concentration doesn't matter....I simply can't have any medications that contain the allergen.

Toxicity can take many forms. The nature of the effect depends upon many variables. This is why I am challenging this topic (plus I like to play the devils advocate sometimes :) ). In the case of certain neurotoxins, a toxin can cause what is called a "cascade reaction". This means that a single molecule can start a chain of events leading to many-many more problem molecules. Imagine a single molecule catalyzing 20 more different molecules which each them catalyze 20 more molecules. In this case, you get a geometrical form of amplification to the original foreign molecule. Extreme allergies also can fall into the category, where the toxin starts a cascade of hormones that basically cause the body to run wild. The adrenaline response also uses cascade reactions to get an extreme response in very little time, although this is not caused by a toxin.

A second form would be long term buildup. In this case, the offending species must reach a "critical dosage" before harm is done. This is the most complicated case because it depends upon the rate the toxin is introduced to the organism compared to the rate of elimination through either oil or water solubility in the tissues and thier excretion coupled with metabolic degredation. If something is eliminated quickly and introduced slowly, you will never reach a toxic dose, even if the material is itself toxic. The other extreme of that is if it is eliminated very slowly and introduced rapidly. In this case it will build up to a toxic level very quickly. Intermediate cases are more complicated, expecially in a random environment, such as an aquarium, where a toxin can be periodically introduced at varying levels, but elimination via metabolism or excretion is relatively constant.

Then there is hypersensitivity. In this case, when first introduced to a toxin, organisms are very immune and even un-affected. Then though over time with continuous exposure, the sensitivity to the toxin grows greater and greater. At some point then even a miniscule amount can have drastic effects. Latex gloves as worn by nurses and such are frequently cause of "hypersensitization".


The point of all this is that toxicity is a complicated subject. One animals toxin is another animals food source. It is not appropriate to make an inductive leap that because mullusks, crustacea and polycheates are affected by a toxin that a coral will be. The two organisms have completely different physiology and internal defense strategies. Every organism has defense stratgies. Immune systems, nucleases to scavange foreign DNA/RNA nuclear material, elimination etc. An example is simple bug spray...raid for instance. The active ingredients in these formulations are powerful neurotoxins to insects. However, they have absolution no effect on mammals. You can spray some right in your mouth if you want. I don't suggest it. You will get sick, but not from neurotoxicity. I think it is the mongoose that is immune from cobra venom for the most part? Or maybe I am getting confused. Point is that just because one thing is toxic to one family does not mean it is toxic to another. This is a simple fact and not subject to debate.

Are corals affected by herbivore toxins? I still haven't seen anything to convince me of that. Stunted growth is a very subjective terminology. How is this determined? Compared to what? How do you get a control sample? Corals grow pretty slowly. How long did these measurements take? Even if growth was stunded, could anything else have caused it, like shade or CO2 depletion, oxygen saturation etc. Do you want to let Caulerpa grow next to your corals or take over your main tank? No. Surely not! Are they poisoning something? That is another story.



So, does it matter to the SPS the concentration of toxin? Perhaps being continuosly bombarded with a low concentration of toxin is enough to hinder their growth or coloration. Maybe the friend you pointed out would see an increase in SPS growth and coloration if the algae was removed from the system? Maybe not. A lot of variables. I could be way off base, and if so, I hope someone corrects me.


No, I think these are valid questions. The answer is one of relativity. First, his corals and reefs look great. First class tanks. One is a 300 gallon custom cube that sits in this really rich guys bedroom floor. You can walk all the way around it. It is filled with SPS. It runs on ecosystem and has C. prolifera in it and has had for a long time. He has another about 40 gallon cube in his daughters bedroom that has both softies and sps under T5's at the top. You can nearly see them growing.

If one is happy with color and growth rates, does it really matter if it grows faster or could have a little more color? Personally, I have a few corals I wish would slow down some. My colt coral and frogspawn for instance. They are both outgrowing my tank right now and I'm going to have to split them up and get rid of most of it in the near future. I can't image the caulerpa is slowing them down any. Maybe I need more of it, or to plant some right by them :).

I will get to Mikes post tomorrow. I'm getting tired.




Urchin larvae study!! Everybody run! ;) (Had to add that, Mike :) )

Ha Ha...I love it!

wrightme43
11-17-2004, 01:59 AM
I have been following and enjoying this post. Some (well more than that) is over my head. LOL. I am enjoying it though. Here is one thing I know, if you take grape calupera and let it sit in a collection cup overnight with only the water that came off of it, and smell it in the morning. It will make you dizzy and light headed and kind of sick feeling. Well maybe not you but it sure did me. Is that the toxins? Or just my imagination? Here is a photo of a tank that uses calupera, grape and racemoesa its in a 55 gal refugium attached to the sump.

wrightme43
11-17-2004, 02:00 AM
The corals seem to grow very well. Hope this helps. Steve

FishyinKy
11-17-2004, 09:13 AM
Okay okay I just had to stick my two cents in. Mike, you made a point earlier about how there are no caulerpas on a reef. BUT there are grasses and caulerpas on lagoons. My point is pretty simple and one that I think most people are missing. The ocean is made up of all its parts. When we do a tank we are trying to stimulate a part of the ocean. I think as we become more sophisticated we try to add more parts to this "simulation". I personally think that's why refugiums work so well, because they are another "part" to the system. (And yes Mike I know you might disagree about refugiums working so well lol).
I'm lovin this thread, and for the record Mike I think when these threads go over peoples heads it just stimulates them to get busy learning.

NaH2O
11-17-2004, 10:56 AM
When we do a tank we are trying to stimulate a part of the ocean. I think as we become more sophisticated we try to add more parts to this "simulation".


Trying to simulate a biotope is fine, IMO. When you start adding things like caulerpas to a SPS closed system reef, you are not simulating that particular biotope. You indicated in your post that caulerpas and sea grasses are present in lagoons.....so, simulate that biotope with corals that grow in the lagoon. Adding more parts isn't always good.....as it adds to Mike's house of cards scenario.

FishyinKy
11-17-2004, 03:03 PM
I agree to a point Nikki, its just that each biotope is a part of the whole. I'm not advocating growing the grasses within the tank but instead its the idea of a separate refugium that like a lagoon feeds the other parts of the ocean. Hey its just a thought.

NaH2O
11-17-2004, 05:20 PM
its just that each biotope is a part of the whole.


I don't agree.....IMO, each tank is the whole biotope. Trying to mix biotopes in the same tank is rough....again, IMO.

mojoreef
11-17-2004, 05:24 PM
Hiya Mac

Okay okay I just had to stick my two cents in. Mike, you made a point earlier about how there are no caulerpas on a reef. BUT there are grasses and caulerpas on lagoons. My point is pretty simple and one that I think most people are missing.The ocean is made up of all its parts. When we do a tank we are trying to stimulate a part of the ocean.
Sure in the wild we a reef, and a few hundred miles away a huge lagoon and a few hundred miles from that some beaches. The only thing you cant simulate is the billions of gallons of water inbetween them and around them. ;)

I think as we become more sophisticated we try to add more parts to this "simulation".
See I look at that as a step backwards. What you end up doing is building a house of cards in which when one card falls it brings down the next and so on and so on.

Their is nothing wrong with running a refugium if you so decide. People that run high nutrient tanks (dsb/no skimmer :eek2: ) have no choice when tyring to reduce nutrients. What I am saying is that when you design one and want to use some form of vegetation that you match it up with the type of corals you are keeping. If you are keeping softies/gorgs/and some kinds of LPS you have a much broader range of vegetation that you can choose from safely. If you are keeping more delicate corals such as sps you can still do it, but it would be wise and safe to choose a less toxic form of vegetation.
Now if you want to do it the opposite go for it!! I am not here to tell folks how to run Their tanks, just make suggestions and share what I have learned over the years.

Mike

mojoreef
11-17-2004, 05:28 PM
Yea, ha ha..!! I'm glad you brought that up. I let him go on that one :-). I can't believe Mike is using urchin studies to back up his arguments. That's a good one...LOL.
It was hard Collin it was hard. At least these ones were done properly and not in some ones garage after a night with his little friend :D

cwcross
11-17-2004, 09:17 PM
I have been following and enjoying this post. Some (well more than that) is over my head. LOL. I am enjoying it though. Here is one thing I know, if you take grape calupera and let it sit in a collection cup overnight with only the water that came off of it, and smell it in the morning. It will make you dizzy and light headed and kind of sick feeling. Well maybe not you but it sure did me. Is that the toxins? Or just my imagination? Here is a photo of a tank that uses calupera, grape and racemoesa its in a 55 gal refugium attached to the sump.

Wow, I like that tank!

Well the dizziness could be you are just sniffing to hard and hyperventilating...just kidding.

I guess it would depend upon how volatile the toxins are. If they can evaporate, you might get some. However, if this was the case then they really wouldn't last long in water. Who knows. I've never heard of it or tried it...Collin

cwcross
11-17-2004, 09:20 PM
Okay okay I just had to stick my two cents in. Mike, you made a point earlier about how there are no caulerpas on a reef. BUT there are grasses and caulerpas on lagoons. My point is pretty simple and one that I think most people are missing. The ocean is made up of all its parts. When we do a tank we are trying to stimulate a part of the ocean. I think as we become more sophisticated we try to add more parts to this "simulation". I personally think that's why refugiums work so well, because they are another "part" to the system. (And yes Mike I know you might disagree about refugiums working so well lol).
I'm lovin this thread, and for the record Mike I think when these threads go over peoples heads it just stimulates them to get busy learning.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. My system seems to work very well. Also, it is chock full of swarms of pods and stuff I don't even know what it is. Also, a lot of stuff grows right on the caulerpa leaves. All of it lives under the leaves. It can't be too poison for sure...C

cwcross
11-17-2004, 09:23 PM
Trying to simulate a biotope is fine, IMO. When you start adding things like caulerpas to a SPS closed system reef, you are not simulating that particular biotope. You indicated in your post that caulerpas and sea grasses are present in lagoons.....so, simulate that biotope with corals that grow in the lagoon. Adding more parts isn't always good.....as it adds to Mike's house of cards scenario.


There have been numerous studies showing how lagoons near reefs, coupled with tidal and wave action help to process nutrients from the reef.

Here is an excerpt from a review, illustrating the point:


The description of nutrient flow (flux) over a coral reef is complex and not entirely known. However, a brief description is necessary. In the simplest scenario, upwellings and currents bring plankton rich water across a coral reef. There, the incredible array of life strips the water of its "food." Much of the energy from this food is recycled and conserved within the reef habitat though the food chain within the reef community. The primary production of food by sunlight, creating and sustaining plants and algae which are in turn eaten by progressively higher consumers, is not considered here. As waves and currents wash over the reef, waste, mucus, sediment, and particulate organic matter (detritus) is carried across the reef and deposited into near shore communties. These communities depend to some degree on the organic input of the coral reef community to fuel their own growth and productivity. To some degree, like the reef, they are self sufficient. Nonetheless, the flow of nutrients does foster and influence these adjacent communties (Hansen1987, Johnstone, 1990 et. al.).

Bottom sediments and their accompanying flora and fauna are among the most important ways of recycling organic reef material (Sorokin 1981). The coral reef and its adjacent communties are very effective in absorbing nutrients and recycling them within the community, preventing loss of such energy sources back to the ocean, and therefore allowing the vast complex web of species to exist (Crossland, Barnes 1983). They are largely dependent upon each other. Kinsey (1985) states that, "gross production and calcification in coral reefs are, nevertheless, clearly dominated by benthic processes..." To further illustrate their importance, Ogden (1988) states, "Mangrove and seagrass systems are sinks, trapping and accumulating organic and inorganic material and permitting the growth of coral reefs offshore (while) coral reefs buffer the physical influence of the ocean and permit the development...of lagoon and sedimentary environments suitable for mangroves and seagrasses."


Even if the system is not realistic, I don't think it matters to me.

mojoreef
11-17-2004, 10:16 PM
Bottom sediments and their accompanying flora and fauna are among the most important ways of recycling organic reef material (Sorokin 1981).
Ahhh here ya go.. the key is in this statement "Reef Material" !!!! thats the source.

As waves and currents wash over the reef, waste, mucus, sediment, and particulate organic matter (detritus) is carried across the reef and deposited into near shore communties
Ahhh old thoughts.. you need to look at some more new ones. Same waves pull the same material off the reef and deposit it in abyasal (or simular) you can see this on almost every deep dive off shore of a reef...its like a white out.

These communities depend to some degree on the organic input of the coral reef community to fuel their own growth and productivity
yep they are relient on it for sure and must be feed just as much as you would feed your fish. they are a bioload and organism unto themselfs. Great for folks that wish to try to recreate this type of system in thier home. My interest however dweel more to the keeping of corals and such.

To some degree, like the reef, they are self sufficient. Nonetheless, the flow of nutrients does foster and influence these adjacent communties (Hansen1987, Johnstone, 1990 et. al.).
Yep again the reef sure does foster life in adjacent communities

Kinsey (1985) states that, "gross production and calcification in coral reefs are, nevertheless, clearly dominated by benthic processes..."
that one I would like to have clearified. No wonder they pulled his permit and wont allow him to operate in florida anymore

Ogden (1988) states, "Mangrove and seagrass systems are sinks, trapping and accumulating organic and inorganic material and permitting the growth of coral reefs offshore (while) coral reefs buffer the physical influence of the ocean and permit the development...of lagoon and sedimentary environments suitable for mangroves and seagrasses."
Ogden did most of his work in Florida Bay. What he is talking about is that the mangrove swamps and sea grass fields have the everglades plugged, and with that decades of pollutants and nutrients that are stored with in it. If you disturb that sink/blockade you can kiss all life (ecept for algae) good by.


Hey Collin thier is a great old reefer in your neck of the woods. Her name is Sue Truet (awesome reef). She had a MM refugium set up by your maintenance company friend. You should shoot her an email. Just a side note thing..no biggie and off topic.

Hey do you have any pics of your reef my friend?? I would love to see it.


Mike

NaH2O
11-17-2004, 11:17 PM
Here is a post by Sue (I'm not trying to get this anymore off topic), but I thought it may help, at least to get in touch with her, if you are interested, Collin: SueT - Single Post, Filtration Concept (http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/showpost.php?p=23184&postcount=71)

cwcross
11-17-2004, 11:29 PM
Collin you are comparing Racemose with the most toxic form of Caulerpa out their, so the 80X looks pretty good, but perhaps we should just look at the amount released by the caulerpas we are talking about.

Yes, exactly. Many studies have been done on the amount of toxin contained by C. taxifolia and then studies were done to ascertain how toxic the CYN isolated from the taxifolia extract is. Racemose has 80x less CYN than taxifolia and Prolifera even less than that. By doing this we can, to at least some degree extrapolate the relative toxicity by comparison. It would be expected to be about 80 times less.



On the studies they were not all related to organisms that were eating the caulerpa. various forms of larva and planktonic life forms has nothing to do with eating, just general vicinity. The toxin is definalty released as a defensive measure, but the breaking of the plant is not required, it leaches all on its own. Remember caulerpas are competitors and very aggressive at doing so.


Yes, the toxin is released from the leaves even without being broken. However, some of the studies you referenced to me showed that the toxin concentration is at a maximum (called 100%) at the very border of the leaf. The concentration then falls off rapidly such that within a very short distance, it falls to zero. The CYN toxin is very shortlived in seawater. Kinetic studies were performed to understand it breakdown. The rate study showed nearly perfect 1st order kinetic laws. From this we can understand how long it takes the toxin to degrade by being exposed to naked sea water.

So. Here is a few graphs to illustrate, taken from some of the references you quoted:

http://www.sbg.ac.at/ipk/avstudio/pierofun/ct/scans/fig4c.jpg

So, lets do some back of the envelope calculations. C. Taxifolia has, at max at the height of its toxin in Autum I believe, 2% by dry weight CYN. Lets assume that a regufium has about 1 oz or 1/16 of a lb of prolifica in it. Lets also assume a 100 gallon aquarium with seawater at 8 lbs/gallon. So, if the taxifolia released ALL of its toxin instantaneously the concentration in the water would be:

(1/16)*0.02/(100*8)= 0.0625/800=0.000078 = 1.6 ppm

Now Racemosa has 80x less so this would equate to about:

0.02 ppm or 20 ppb of CYN if all was Racemose CYN was released instantaneously into a 100 gallon tank.

Now lets refer to the chart above. Growth rates do not become negative until being soaked for 2 weeks at 250 ug/ml which is 250 ppm. At 0.02 ppm, we are right next to the control. Thus we are far from the rate at which growth rates are affected significantly. Now, that being said the caulerpas so have other toxins other than CYN, so lets multiply by 100 just to be safe. Even then we are at only 2 ppm. I think this is very conservative, or in other words...overkill.

So the next argument is probably, but we are in a closed system so it will buildup over time and get higher? Let's address that. To re-interate, even if everything was released instantaneously (which is far from correct) we are nowhere near toxic levels. However, lets even assume that something like 1% of this amount is released on some continuous basis.

Now, another set of charts:

http://www.sbg.ac.at/ipk/avstudio/pierofun/ct/scans/fig4h.jpg

please look at the upper left hand chart. This is a chart of the time decay of the toxin in seawater that I refered to earlier that exhibits nearly perfect 1st order kinetics. From this chart we can see that a given concentration of CYN will degrade to effectively zero within 24 hours. From these two sets of data, I could actually calculate the equilibrium steady state concentration of CYN in the aquarium. I have done such pharmokinetic calculations many times in my career. Such calculations are beyond the scope of this discussion, however, suffice it to say that the equilibrium concentration will not come close to exceeding that of an instantaneous release of all the toxins at once. It will be more like 5% of that number of ballpark around 0.1 ppm which is 100 ppb...very very low.

Thus it can be seen that prolifera or racemosa will not provide enough toxin into the tank to stunt growth at steady state or even the instantaneous release of all toxin. Now if a caulerpa continually brushes up on a coral, I might buy that it is somewhat affected (but I'll barely buy that).

So, I have done what you suggested. Roughly quantified the amount of CYN capable of being introduced, in a worst case scenario, into at reef tank and compared it to published toxicology information.

Now, I am even more convinced that my theoretical rambling is in the ballpark.

Also just some trivia, vitamin A is necessary for us to live. However, at too high of a dose it is toxic. This shows that at low levels, some "toxins" can either be beneficial or a non-event.

Similarly, qur drinking water if full of "toxins" however, the EPA regulates the amounts that can be present such that our metabolisms can handle them without problem. I find it hard to believe that low levels of CYN can really be a problem. Like I said. My Prolifera is FULL of life. Stuff even grows right on the fronds themselves.




Nope not really, its more to do with enviromental conditions. Every critter from corals to algae with thrive if the conditions are correct. So if you have a pristine reef with low nutrients and thriving corals that is all of a sudden subjected to a nutrient load the enviroment has been skewed and now it is more to the liking of algaes.


again, a chicken and egg. If the corals get nutrient loaded water for a long enough time, they are sick anyway. At that point the algea will invade. However, they are likely already in decline. However, I agree. Caulerpa does not belong next to corals in a mini-reef or real reef.



I would say the most common was nutrient fluxes. High original fluxes allowed for excellerated growth and over population. Once the food source was greatly deprecated the caulerpa crashed. Second most common was lighting. Not so much the 24/7 as much as the caulerpa that was under the canopy of caulerpa crashed. there are a lot of reasons, some more common then others


OK, why were the nutrient fluxes so high for a long enough time to let the caulerpa overgrow to such an extent without being pruned? This sounds like poor husbandry. We have to understand the needs of the organisms in the tank. If we don't feed our fish for a month, they will probably die also and poision the tank.



Absolutely!! but the caulerpa crash was but one more in the house of cards that multiplied the severeness of the crash. Kinda like a tank with a DSB, ;) If you build a system like it was a house of cards, it tends to have harder crashes and less chance of surviving events. Thats where a good skimmer can save your tank.


I don't buy the house of cards argument. If a tank crashes it crashes. Who can say it would survive with or without the algea. How can we make this conculsion?



mute point, although 24/7 lighting seems to be the safest bet, coupled with constant harvesting.


I agree completely.



In the case of an event it was just more fuel to the fire. In the case of close proximity it was stunted growth, not really any damage up to the point where the coral just bleached out.


So this doesn't sound so severe really.



Mostly racemose, feather was another big one.


Racmose, as you pointed out, is nearly as aggressive as taxifolia from a growth rate perspective and has a much larger tendency for going sexual than prolifera.



Agreed for sure. When a person is selecting an algae to use as an export medium they should take alot of things into consideration. Amount exported, toxicity, potentcal for going sexual and so on. If they are just looking for a pure bulk remover I would suggest cyanobacter as it uptakes 500x more then your best caulerpa, hairs is also better, xynia is way up their to. Oh and I wouldn't keep a cucumber either, just got to much invested in the tank and my luck really sucks.

Again it becomes a why bother when their are better alternatives???

I'm just not convinced prolifera is a bad alternative. Maybe racemosa or some others are a little worse but still not an avalanche.



It shows that toxins are released with out any damage being done to the caulerpa.


Yes this is considered a fact.



ok try this one Lemée et al., 1997. heres a quote


all these studies were on the toxins that are shared amongst most all caulerpas

I don't think any of it is an exageration. Its just the other side of a particular method. One can still use caulerpas as a great nutrient absorber all we are saying is that their is a risk or a possibility that it may hurt your inhabitants. The choice is always the individuals. The risk goes up when the tank is full of more delicate species such as sps (who's defence against these toxins are not thier) and the risk lowers when the tanks is full os softies and lps that have a greater defence mechanism against simular chemicals thats all.
Cheato is a far better choice, so is Ulva (pods love nest).

take care


Mike

I just don't see that the caulerpas stack up that poorly. And also, the main point of all this is that there is no data showing that corals are even affected by this toxin. I'd say that there is a good chance if the concentration is high enough, but I just don't see how it could get to that stage unless you have A LOT of caulerpa and don't take proper care of it.

Best Regards...Collin

cwcross
11-17-2004, 11:34 PM
Hey do you have any pics of your reef my friend?? I would love to see it.


Mike

I do. I will get them uploaded sometime in the not toooo distant future. My current reef is just about a year old and is just starting come to life really. Its nothing like yours but I enjoy it.

....C

mojoreef
11-18-2004, 11:09 AM
Collin you are calculating under the premise of taxifolia being 80x more toxic in regards to cyn. When in the wild with out competition it is closer to 25x. Also if their is no competition it can increase its cyn output by 42% This will change the numbers a tad. You are also comparing a freak aquarium version of Taxifolia to a native racemosa, Can it be assumed that the racemosa has not morphed in our aquariums exactly like the taxifolia has??Also we can assume that in a refugium its going to be non competitive and perfect light and heat conditions, Prime for the production of CYN.
Regardless Collin, IMHO if a person wants to run a refugium and they are choosing a macro algae to use in it. When choosing you have to take a number of things into consideration, including secondary chemicals, possibility of sexual, growth rates and so on. Here is a table of the growth rates of a few algaes
Halimeda: ~4% / day (20-40 mg/g/d)
Dictyota: ~ 10% (50-100 mg/g/d)
Padina: ~ 10% (75-100 mg/g/d)
Caulerpa: ~ 10% (50-100 mg/g/d)
Thalassia: ~1.5% (10-15 mg/g/d)
Palmaria: ~25% (tripled in 1 week)
Enteromorpha: 20% (7 fold increase in 1 month)
Gracilaria: 10% / day
Cheleto: 15% (5 fold increase in 1 month)
cyanobactor: 35% (300-400 mg/g/d)

Now when you look at these and say eliminate the most toxic (caulerpa, dictyota and Padina), then eliminate cyano because it is gross and tough to harvest, you are left with several great exporters, that are easy to grow and harvest, have a low sexual rate and you dont have a problem with toxins. Now if you still wish to use caulerpa, by all means


Mike

cwcross
11-19-2004, 12:41 PM
Collin you are calculating under the premise of taxifolia being 80x more toxic in regards to cyn. When in the wild with out competition it is closer to 25x. Also if their is no competition it can increase its cyn output by 42% This will change the numbers a tad. You are also comparing a freak aquarium version of Taxifolia to a native racemosa, Can it be assumed that the racemosa has not morphed in our aquariums exactly like the taxifolia has??Also we can assume that in a refugium its going to be non competitive and perfect light and heat conditions, Prime for the production of CYN.

Yes, all this is true. I this most likely accounts for about a factor of 2-5X. I multiplied by factor of 100X to take such things into account conservatively. Thus the actual numbers I calculated are 100 times less than than what I wrote down. Also, according to what I read, I would think that being in an aquarium would cause LESS toxicity than in the wild having 24/7 lighting, being thinned frequently, and having hair algea growing over the top, as long as it doesn't cover it all up. Competing with other algeas for light was shown to reduce toxicity as more energy is shunted to leaf growth.



Regardless Collin, IMHO if a person wants to run a refugium and they are choosing a macro algae to use in it. When choosing you have to take a number of things into consideration, including secondary chemicals, possibility of sexual, growth rates and so on. Here is a table of the growth rates of a few algaes
Halimeda: ~4% / day (20-40 mg/g/d)
Dictyota: ~ 10% (50-100 mg/g/d)
Padina: ~ 10% (75-100 mg/g/d)
Caulerpa: ~ 10% (50-100 mg/g/d)
Thalassia: ~1.5% (10-15 mg/g/d)
Palmaria: ~25% (tripled in 1 week)
Enteromorpha: 20% (7 fold increase in 1 month)
Gracilaria: 10% / day
Cheleto: 15% (5 fold increase in 1 month)
cyanobactor: 35% (300-400 mg/g/d)

Now when you look at these and say eliminate the most toxic (caulerpa, dictyota and Padina), then eliminate cyano because it is gross and tough to harvest, you are left with several great exporters, that are easy to grow and harvest, have a low sexual rate and you dont have a problem with toxins. Now if you still wish to use caulerpa, by all means

Mike

I agree with all this. I am not trying recommend that people use caulerpa's. Your data clearly shows that there are better algeas out there to achieve the goal of nutrient export. I am not debating that point.

My goal is to illustrate why I believe that the perception of caulerpas being toxic is overexagerated. I firmly believe this is true. There is an argument, you and others have stated that "any" toxicity is bad. This is an easy argument to accept. I do not necessarily agree with it for reasons I have stated earlier in the thread. However, I do agree with you that there are other better algeas to use so why not use them instead. I have no problem with that and it is good advice.

I just don't want people to run screaming when they hear of someone using caulerpa, or find that they are using it when they hear the news about toxicity.

If you have C. Taxifolia in your tank. Then maybe drastic action should be taken.

So, I will summarize my opinion on Caulerpa:

I think the reports of Caulerpa toxicity, although true, are mostly overexagerated,excepting C. taxifolia.

There are more effective algeas to use than Caulerpa

Amoung Caulerpas, prolifica is safer than racemosa. Also, racemose is a very aggressive grower and has a greater tendency to go sexual than prolifica.

If one keeps caulerpa, one should make sure to thin it relatively frequently but pulling the whole plant out and not breaking or cutting it. Also, hair algea or other algeas (even itself) should not be allowed to completely obstruct the light.

Don't keep caulerpa in your main tank, especially next to delicate corals, especially SPS.

Caulerpa toxicity for Prolifica and Racemosa, is very mild at worst, to the extent that steady state levels of toxins in a closed system are practically non-existent if the algea is kept to reasonable levels and not allowed to get out of control or fill the refugium.

Thanks for everybodies input. I will be happy to continue the thread if anybody is intersted but can't think of anything else to add right now.

Best Regards...Collin

mojoreef
11-22-2004, 05:04 PM
Good summarization Collin I do agree. Folks can use a lot of different things and as with most things reefs they ALL come with pros and cons. Knowing how to work with them and how they work is key.

mike

wrightme43
11-22-2004, 06:09 PM
I would like to thank you guys for taking the time to write all this down for me. I have enjoyed this post very much. I learned alot. Thanks again. Steve