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Caulerpa Toxicity in perspective

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cwcross

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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

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P.S. All that being said, as was pointed out by several. There are likely better algeas to use....Collin
 

mojoreef

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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

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mojoreef said:
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

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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

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Llarian said:
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

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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

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Llarian said:
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

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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.
 
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mojoreef

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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

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jlehigh said:
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

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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

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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

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jlehigh said:
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

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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

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mojoreef said:
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

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
250
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

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Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
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.

cwcross said:
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.

mojoreef said:
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

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Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
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Sumner
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
 
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