Chemical warfare

Discussion in 'Soft Corals' started by FishThumb, Nov 9, 2013.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. FishThumb

    FishThumb Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I have been told that leathers and other soft corals will engage in chemical warfare with other corals specifically SPS's. Is this true? and if so, where can I find a list of offenders and how strong of toxins they emit?
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,874
    Location:
    USA
    SPS corals may be more sensitive to the metabolites released by softies, but they are not specifically targeted by them; any coral of a different species is susceptible to injury or death from prolonged exposure. Good flow and the continuous use of GAC rectifies the problem quite well.
     
  4. Pdxile

    Pdxile Coral Banded Shrimp

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    363
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    Even with aggressive skimming, keeping both types of corals in the same water column can lead to failure to thrive in what should be good conditions. These chemical defenses are how soft compete with fast growing stony corals and defend themselves against predation.
     
  5. FishThumb

    FishThumb Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Edmonton
  6. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,874
    Location:
    USA
    Granular Activated Carbon. It removes the toxins; a skimmer does not.
     
  7. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,874
    Location:
    USA
    FYI, in nature, there is no competition between the two. Softies grow on a whole different level of the reef. That's why they fare best with less light, less flow, and more nutrient-rich water than what their SPS cousins can even tolerate.

    There are very few corals that do not have some type of defense that works against all other species to protect their space; SPS have stinging tentacles on the polyps, and LPS extend sweepers at night.

    As already stated, a skimmer does not remove toxins/metabolites from the water, where GAC does. The skimmer only removes dissolved organics that would otherwise be broken down into Nitrates.

    Mixed reef tanks have had varying degrees of success for many years; with the continuous use of GAC to thwart chemical warfare, finding the happy medium between light, flow, and nutrients is the tricky part.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  8. Click Here!

  9. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    19,652
    Location:
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Allelopathy: I am one of those hobbyist that believes some corals inhibit the growth and promote the decline of near by corals. It's hard to find good research on the topic. Claims/theories are that Leather Corals (Sacrophyton) and some Sinularia release Terpens, a toxic compound. It's been reported that all soft corals (Octocorals) do as well but to a lesser degree.
    There used to be a stunning sps dominated tank on RC. There as a large Toadstool in the tank I asked the owner if he had noted any issue, he stated he thought that there might be some chemical warfare going on, shortly there after he removed it..
    Personally I would not avoid Leathers, as already posted run decent charcoal, do water changes. It's probably impractical to plan a smaller tank to include large leathers and also incorporate a lot of sps, but I have seen it done, whether those tanks thrived long term I do not know.
     
  10. FishThumb

    FishThumb Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Edmonton
    sounds good. My SPS aren't dying or anything, but they don't appear to be growing except for the hydnophora. I will add some carbon into the filters and see what happens. Thanks all.
     
  11. wez

    wez Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2013
    Messages:
    50
    My candy canes and acans are back to full strength since I got rid of my finger leather and toadstool.
    Someone on here advised me to try and it worked 100 percent. I always run charcoal anyway
     
  12. Greg@LionfishLair

    Greg@LionfishLair 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,095
    Location:
    Coastal So. CA
    Allelopathy...haven't heard that word in awhile. :)

    Just to chime in, depending on how your tank is set up, and what your flow pattern is, you want to keep the more aggressive species "downstream" from the lesser aggressive ones. For instance, IME, colts are a lot more aggressive than finger leathers when it comes to alleopathy.