Caulerpa takeover

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Gilberto, 8 Jan 2008.

  1. Gilberto

    Gilberto MASA Contributor

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    Hi all
    please can you help me , my caulerpa (caulerpa sertulariodes) has completely taken over my tank .Do you know of any fish that definately will eat it ?
     
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  3. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Welcome Gilberto!

    I can definitely sympathize with you here. I hate caulerpa. True, it is a great nutrient export, but it's just so invasive! I had the "bubble" type in my tanks and it was quite a pain to get rid off. I used a small tang and several emerald and ruby crabs. There's no guarantee that any one particular fish (or other animal) will eat it. However, if you try several different animals, often the combination will work (along with the assistance of your manual removal). How big is your tank? Do you have any tangs? ...or emerald or ruby crabs?

    On the bright side, at least your caulerpa is sucking up nutrients in the mean time!
     
  4. Gilberto

    Gilberto Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    thanx for your reply ,this particular tank is a farly new set up .Its + - 250 gallons including 4 gravity fed sumps. a bit of an experiment tank with uncured live rock and human entervention. was just curious what woulde develope . its been fantastic to watch it develope except for the caulerpa issue. Any particular tang you would recommend ?
     
  5. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    start pickin, pick what you see everyday it is only the first few days that are bad then it gets easier. your tank will be clean in no time
     
  6. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Good advice.

    If you want to do it with a grazer an urchin or two will quickly clean it up as well. Don't get the Diadema urchins, though - they're pretty useless, but one of the following should really do the trick:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hennie
     
  7. Gilberto

    Gilberto Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    cool , is it safe to have urchins as there is an anenome and a couple of bubble corals in the tank ?
     
  8. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    It should be safe - the only risk is if your corals, etc. are not well secured to the rock, and/or if the rock structure is not stable - urchins are rather strong bulldozers...

    The other (potentially longer-term) problem is that urchins also eat coralline algae, so it would be best if you plan to pass them on to another reefkeeper with algae problems once they've done their job in your tank :)
     
  9. Spracklcat

    Spracklcat

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    You might try a sea hare as well--my personal favorite is Dollabella auriculata. they plow through algae like crazy, eat cyanobacteria, etc. The only thing you need to do is when your tanks is algae-free you should be prepared to feed it nori or another algae, or pass it along to a friend who has an algae problem. And make sure your powerhead intakes are well covered so they don't get pureed. If you have anemoes in your tank your intakes shold be well covered already, so that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  10. Gilberto

    Gilberto Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Never seen a sea hare for sale but sounds good .gonna look out for one as well as an urchin (orange one like in the pic would look very cool). :thumbup:
     
  11. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    They are :)

    Just be aware that both species shown on my photos are slightly toxic to humans - they have hollow spikes which act like injection needles, and if they sting you it hurts like hell...

    Hennie
     
  12. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Ok...

    Urchins:
    Bad news first: You need to be very careful with urchin selection (as I think Hennie has alluded to). There are some that make great reef tank animals which will eat algae, but there are also many which do not make for such wise additions. First off, you have to make sure you get a tropical species (not one from colder waters). Secondly, you should try to get one that's a preferential algae eater. Many urchins are omnivores which will, while eating your algae, also go after your benthic life. And while they won't "intentionally" harm corals, they often end up doing so. One with long sharp spines can irritate corals (such as bubble corals) if they decide that they would like to take up roost at the base of the coral. However, in a tank as large as yours, this might not be such a problem. Good news: most will assuredly devour caluerpa.

    Here's some good reading on urchins:
    Urchins I
    UrchinsII

    "Sea Hares":
    Selection here is even more important/tricky than for urchins. Some types are even potentially dangerous to reef tanks. Many are actually NOT tropical and simply don't survive in aquariums. Some of the ones which are tropical can (when agitated/threatened) eject potentially toxic ink. So, let's start here...

    SeaSlugsOpisthobranchs

    Personally, I would just avoid "sea hares" altogether. They're just too hard to keep, too unpredictable and there are better solutions (such as Hennie's urchin suggestion). Regarding Dolabella sp. specifically, I still think they're just too hard too keep (and much too picky eaters). I couldn't find much on the species Christine mentioned, but here's some info on a species from the same genus...

    The Sea Slug Forum - Dolabella auricularia

    By the way, for any future need to learn anything about sea slugs, the Sea Slug Forum (http://www.seaslugforum.net/) is just awesome!
     
  13. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Hennie- do you know the species are those urchins you have pictured there?

    Btw, I wouldn't buy an urchin off the internet. It's definitely something better selected "in person" so you can be at least somewhat more sure of what you're actually getting.

    In any case, please let me re-emphasis that there's no sure guarantee that any ONE particular animal will solve your problem. You can start with one, but you may have to ultimately consider others too.

    Like Hennie here, I'm a fan of Shimek's articles. So here's one on sea hares/nudibranches/slugs/etc.:
    Naked ...Gills on Snails by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. - Reefkeeping.com

    And here's one by him on urchins...
    Sea Urchins, A Testy Subject by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. - Reefkeeping.com
     
  14. Gilberto

    Gilberto Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thanx for that Sara ,very interesting reading . Didnt realise there were so many diff types . Guess thats the best part of this amasing hobby _its an infinite world to learn and read about !:)
     
  15. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Oh yeah, for sure! In fact, I kept having to re-edit my posts to add more info/articles... there's just so much out there!

    All things considered, I do agree with Hennie that the right urchin might be the best option here. :)
     
  16. Gilberto

    Gilberto Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thanks everybody for all your answers ,very informative :thumbup:
     
  17. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Yes.

    The red and yellow striped one with shorter spines in the first pic is called the Bicoloured urchin, Salmacis bicolor. It grows to a test size of some 70mm - 80mm, is found in lagoons in our warmer (tropical?) waters from around Amanzimtoti northwards. It is IME a very good algae eater, and in some 4 years of keeping them in various tanks have never found them to be harmful to any coral or fish.

    The second one with dark brown and white striped spines is my personal favourite, and makes for a stunning display creature in it's own right. It's called the Banded urchin, Echinothrix calamaris. It grows to a test size of around 150mm in captivity, and as it's primary banded spines are longer than the test diameter one can end up with a specimen of nearly half a meter in diameter "from point to point" (personal observation). It's difficult to see in the above photo, but they also have needle thin secondary spines which have nearly microscopic rear-facing barbs on them (once stuck in your hand it's not easy to remove...), and very visible pedicellaria. Another interesting feature is that it has an external, inflatable anal sack, which looks like a huge eye - one can see it clearly in the above photo (round white bubble visible in the centre of the body amongst the spines. This urchin is also an excellent algae eater, and like the Bicolour urchin is found locally in our sub-tropical to tropical Natal waters.

    The red and blaxk urchin with the thick spines visible behind the Banded urchin in the second photo is a pencil urchin, and is not really suitable to a "normal" marine tank as it primarily eats live rock...

    Hennie
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2008
  18. Smithers

    Smithers

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    Be very careful as everyone has mentioned with the urchin spikes. Went snorkelling in November and managed to get about 8 spines stuck in my foot. Apart from the swelling and discomfort they took forever to get out. You cannot dig them out as they break. So basically be very cautious with them. If you need some to be sent up I am sure us Durban folk can help you out. Plenty of them around at the moment.
     
  19. sihaya

    sihaya

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    Oodles of thanks again Hennie. :)

    Smithers: thanks for the additional note of caution. I'll also add that you can't necessarily judge an urchin's venomousness by its spines.
     
  20. Smithers

    Smithers

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    I wonder if we get some seriously toxic urchins in SA ?
     
  21. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Yes, the potentially lethal Flower urchin, Toxopneustes pileolus occurs from Richards Bay northwards. Check out this link for more info.

    Hennie
     
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