Algal Accident

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Algal Accident

Post by 4PacNW on May 19th 2011, 5:45 pm

In order to feed the filter feeders in my tank I was using dried and ground macroalgae. Unfortunately the most prevalent algae I could find around here is the invasive Sargassum Muticum. So, after drying it at about 100 degrees centigrade and grinding it up I added some. Next day, almost every animal was dead or dying with symptoms of hypoxia. It turns out that S.muticum like other macroalgae contains halocarbons in this case dicholormethane that is metabolized in the bodies into carbon monoxide resulting in carboxyhaemoglobinaemia where haemoglobin or other oxygen transporting proteins are unable to release oxygen to the tissues. Obviously the invasiveness of S.muticum is due to certain chemicals such as or like this which inhibt grazing. It maybe that heating the algae for drying created more toxic chemicals but the fact remains: invasive species are invasive because they are relatively highly resistant to predation by native predators which have not evolved to be resistant to the chemicals produced. Interestingly though, fish and shrimp seem to suffer the most while crabs , are less affecexcept hermitsted as are sea cumumbers and bivalves. This is probably because most molluscs and some arthropods use a different oxygen carrying protein (haemocyanin) than most vertebrates (haemoglobin). Anyway, my tank is wrecked after hours of carefull collecting but fortunately this won't happen again as I'm never again collecting non-native species for culture.
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Re: Algal Accident

Post by Brent on May 24th 2011, 3:07 pm

Sorry to hear about this, but it's definitely a good reminder of how careful we need to be with our tanks (and especially what we put in them).

Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your tank as it stands. Smile

PS: You sound fairly educated in marine biology/biology in general. Just saying. d:
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Re: Algal Accident

Post by Hero on June 8th 2011, 4:47 pm

Thanks for sharing. That's a valuable lesson that unfortunately had to be learned in a hard way.

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Re: Algal Accident

Post by Rvs on October 4th 2011, 1:16 pm

So, Sargassum muticum is a bad option for NON european biotope species... ¿right?
Sorry about what happens, but now we Know we should avoid it..

Is there a topic of dangerous algae species?
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Re: Algal Accident

Post by norskfisk on October 9th 2011, 4:38 am

I just want to add that I had live Sargassum muticum in my tank for some time. It grew well and didn't seem to have any negative effects. Is it an invasive species in the US too? In Norway it is an invasive species. We call it "Japanese driftweed". Its native area is Asia acoording to algaebase.
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Re: Algal Accident

Post by 4PacNW on October 10th 2011, 2:48 pm

I guess the effects depend on if and how much it is disturbed. If it's just growing by itself without any grazers to stimulate a release of any anti-herbivore chemicals it should be fine like you said. It maybe also be fine with grazers since they should be ingested by whatever is eating at it. In my case it was completely shredded so all of any releasable chemicals would have been released. I would think that most if not all algae have some type of anti-herbivore compounds, some, ex. Desmerestia sps even release sulfuric acid.
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