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Coral Disease from Halimeda

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Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
Halimeda macroalgae causes coral disease I found this interesting.

An algae often grown in the reef tank has been found to cause a disease in some forms of coral.

According to new research by published in next month's issue of the journal Ecology Letters, direct contact with the macroalgae Halimeda opuntia can trigger a virulent disease called white plague type II.

Nugues, Smith, Hooidonk, Seabra and Bak, claim that white plague type II, which has caused widespread deaths in Caribbean corals, often occurs simultaneously with heavy growths of macroalgae.

To test their hypothesis, the scientists exposed the hard coral Montastraea faveolata to the algae. Some of those exposed to H. opuntia developed the disease, while those that were unexposed did not.

The disease is believed to be caused by a bacterium called Aurantimonas coralicida. This was found to be present on the macroalgae, both near to, and far away from diseased corals, indicating that it acts as a reservoir for the disease.

The team believes that macroalgae are responsible for many coral wipeouts and suggest controlling macroalgae in order to save corals from white plague.

The algae is often sold as an ornamental macroalgae for the reef aquarium, however, on the basis of this research it may perhaps be wise to remove it from your aquarium now.

For more details see the paper: Maggy M. Nugues, Garriet W. Smith, Ruben J. Hooidonk, Maria, I. Seabra, Rolf P. and M. Bak (2004) - Algal contact as a trigger for coral disease. Ecology Letters, Vol. 7.
 

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Interesting, although I'd like to see a lot more scientific study before I go ripping apart my tank trying to get all of it out. Further, they talk about removing it from the tank like you can just pull it out. When I first had my tank I never saw any. After about a year it started to grow out of the rocks. I don't believe you can just "remove" halimeda. You'd have to boil your rock to truely get rid of this stuff.
 

Shoreliner11

Me+NaH2O= :-)
Joined
May 21, 2004
Messages
95
Location
Seattle
I had some halimeda touching corals for quite some time with no ill effects but it will make me think twice about puting the macro into another tank. Thanks for the article. Mine would start to grow out the rock as well Reedman but I didn't like it so I would just pull it out. Over about 5 months the small starts slowly disappeared. Now its been about the same time with no new starts.
 

randythereefer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2004
Messages
56
Location
Spokane Washington
I agree that there are probably many other factors involved. Many times our reef tank environments do not mimic a real reef environment. While I try to control halmedia because it always eventually dies off I think more studies should be done as to its ill affects in a reef tank environment.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Halimeda has its own major issues when it goes sexual, so it has a strike against it already in my book. What I found interesting about this little article/blurb, is they used one coral to test the hypothesis. Montastraea faveolata - so isn't that a pretty broad generalization to indicate issues caused from Halimeda opuntia?

The algae is often sold as an ornamental macroalgae for the reef aquarium, however, on the basis of this research it may perhaps be wise to remove it from your aquarium now.
Interesting statement based on the one coral that was mentioned/tested. I feel more testing should be done, and perhaps more testing was conducted and wasn't noted in the article. Maybe this particular coral is more susceptible, or other conditions make corals more susceptible to the Aurantimonas coralicida, resulting in the white plague type II. All of my questions and statements could already be refuted, and may not even pertain. I look forward to reading the full write-up.
 
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