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Old 10-30-2003, 05:10 PM   #1
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Eradicating Caulerpa from display?

I'm about at the end of my wits here.

I had this pesky patch of Caulerpa crop up in my display tank (180g sps tank) a few weeks back. No idea where it came from, but suddenly it's just *there*. To the best of my knowledge, it's feather caulerpa (Caulerpa sertularioides).

I kalk pasted the heck out of it, it turned yellow, seemed to die off a bit, and within a day or so was back in it's full glory. I've tried to manually remove it, but it breaks off easily, and I'm nervous about sending little shoots all over the tank. At least right now it's only in one spot.

Over the past weekend, it decided to take up home in, and totally engulf one of my favorite sps - my Anacropora sp. It has almost killed the coral completely.

I'm going to be breaking the coral off it's rock tonight, placing it in a bucket, and manually removing all of the macro. Hopefully the coral will recover, but I know there are at least a few healthy branches I can frag if need be.

Unfortunately, the Caulerpa isn't confined to this coral. It's gotten pretty intertwined in the entire rock structure, and is heading for a couple other corals. I've toyed with the idea of removing the entire rock and scrubbing - but that's kind of a "last choice" - the rock is huge - probably 25lbs, and about 1/2 the left side of my tank, with several corals on it.

Any suggestions at all? None of my three Tangs (Hippo, Yellow, and Purple) touch the stuff. I'm not really one for adding a fish just to solve one problem.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Here's a side view of the Coral & Caulerpa ... you can see how the coral is bleaching...
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Old 10-30-2003, 05:12 PM   #2
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A close-up shot:
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Old 10-30-2003, 05:38 PM   #3
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I found a humongous FAQ with posts regarding this here:

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caulerpafaq3.htm

Lots of people dealing with the same issue. I hope you can find something interesting in there.

One of the things mentioned was a lettuce nudibranch.

HTH
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Old 10-30-2003, 05:51 PM   #4
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Ahh, the dreaded Caulerpa Taxifolia... Nothing will kill that stuff... It just lives forever... Even Jacques Cousteau couldn't get rid of the stuff after he introduced it to the Ocean in Italy (Mediterranean).. It took over the coast and pretty much killed off every bit of life other than itself.... No fish will touch it because of the toxins in it... In California, they had to resort to Chlorine treatments to eradicate much of their outbreaks. It is a shame that it is even sold in our LFS's... I wish I could tell you how to get rid of it, all I know is some history behind the nasty specie of Caulerpa...
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:20 PM   #5
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Well, I decided to go for broke. Pulled the coral out (plus three others off the rock), and took the whole rock out. Toothbrushed the rock to death.

Caulerpa mess, anyone?
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:22 PM   #6
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That poor coral is so brittle to start with - it basically fell apart like Ritz crackers.

Anacropora frags?
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:27 PM   #7
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Put thw rock back in, glued a few frags of the Anacropora to a small piece of rock. Hopefully it will grow back to its former glory, and the Caulerpa won't!
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:50 PM   #8
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hmmm, sorry you had to go to such extremes. Hopefully the Anacropora will grow back even bigger than before.
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:20 PM   #9
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Thanks, timbo. I didn't wan't to have to do it twice ... or three of four times, and I've been fighting this stuff for a few weeks now. It stunk to see the coral just crumble into a zillion pieces, but what I managed to glue onto the rock is still bigger than the original frag I got back in January:

]

Now I just need to find a home for the other 20-odd frags of it I have left. 8)
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:29 PM   #10
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I'll take one or two
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:36 PM   #11
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timbo,

If you're serious, I may have an open day next week (looks like Tues.) that I'll be able to escape from work & due some shipping. PM me if you're interested.

Obviously, the frag(s) would be unmounted.
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Old 10-30-2003, 09:39 PM   #12
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Btw, snap -- thanks for link, appreciated! It was an interesting read.
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Old 10-30-2003, 10:21 PM   #13
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Timbo,

I believe it was Cousteau's museum and not Cousteau himself that accidently introduced the stuff into the Med.

There is a snail that eats this strain of Caulerpa, but most countries are scared on introducing ANOTHER foreign species to fight of the caulerpa...

Sad that the whole Med. may be effected by what is essentially a human-enhanced weed...
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:14 AM   #14
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keep us updated Terri!
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:05 AM   #15
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Yes it was the Museum, thanks for the pull up. I even have the tape from PBS ... Off the top of my head, I remembered Cousteau....
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:19 AM   #16
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Whats amazing is how much some people want these things in their tanks and then others have the stuff just grow like a week and litrally choke out the corals.

I have been working on thining and removing some grape caulerpa from my 20.

Good luck on your eradication.
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:26 AM   #17
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you really have an awesome tank, reeflady!
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Old 10-31-2003, 04:28 PM   #18
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Thanks, ohio - appreciated!
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:41 PM   #19
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Hmm, maybe try a deception routine with the caulerpa outbreak vs trying to fight it.

Basically, setting up a refugium with some other competing but more benign versions of caulerpa so they can strip the specific nutrient stack out of the water and starve the bad stuff out? Usually the faster the grower, the more it's sensitive to required nutrients.

I'm not entirely sure on this, but I thought caulerpa required iron and/or manganese to grow while nitrate was just dessert. Iron and manganese require replenishment from somewhere be it bad tap water, RO in need of repair, or just plain old salt mix.

Caulerpa *will not grow* in my older 55 that I do very infrequent water changes. It will grow in my FO tank with weekly water changes.
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:50 PM   #20
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You should check out Teri's setup... It definately has all the required equipment... Caulerpa Taxifolia is not a Caulerpa worth playing with... It will live regardless. It takes over and keeps on killing as it does...
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