Why no EI in reef?

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
455
Location
Canada
Hi all!

A friend of mine is a reefer and swears on the fact that you need to have minimal N and P in the system. He has reactors and remover pads to keep the “parameters low”. The tank is nice. Corals are different than plants - I know this - but surely we can still apply Liebig and algae is algae ... so why no “EI” approach in Reef?


Can we focus on “growing healthy coral” and the algae will stay in check? Or is it truly an entirely different beast and “limited” approach has to be used.

The other thing we do (because of the “relatively minimal” cost) is lots of large water changes which can’t be done in reef for the cost of salt (though it is done in nano “pico” tanks ... 100% change a week). I am not sure that an economic argument can be made for salt in salt water as we have one in freshwater.

I am curious what everyone thinks! I keep bringing it up to him and he likes the idea and principles
but isn’t going to try it.

Josh
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Hi all!

A friend of mine is a reefer and swears on the fact that you need to have minimal N and P in the system. He has reactors and remover pads to keep the “parameters low”. The tank is nice. Corals are different than plants - I know this - but surely we can still apply Liebig and algae is algae ... so why no “EI” approach in Reef?


Can we focus on “growing healthy coral” and the algae will stay in check? Or is it truly an entirely different beast and “limited” approach has to be used.

The other thing we do (because of the “relatively minimal” cost) is lots of large water changes which can’t be done in reef for the cost of salt (though it is done in nano “pico” tanks ... 100% change a week). I am not sure that an economic argument can be made for salt in salt water as we have one in freshwater.

I am curious what everyone thinks! I keep bringing it up to him and he likes the idea and principles
but isn’t going to try it.

Josh

He's wrong - many reefers keep some N and P in the system and corals actually need some of it. Some people are actually now dosing N and P to keep levels present.

If you have the rock packed out with coral then there is no room for algae to grow. But other than that not sure that a growing coral will eliminate algae growth in the same way freshwater plants are meant to.

I'm not sure that many if any people every do 100% water changes, 10% is most common I think. This is because tank corals tend not to like sudden changes.

In terms of EI suppling macro and micro nutrients to plants actually Ca and HCO3 are the most analogous things to dose in a reef tank rather than N and P. This is because corals need these to build their skeletons. An excess principle for Ca and HCO3 is not followed because levels that are too high may cause chemical imbalances in the tank and negative impacts for coral health. Instead reefers dose Ca and HCO3 in attempt to keep fixed and stable values each day, and the test kits for these things are relatively good. There are many other nutrients that corals require but Ca and HCO3 are by far the most important and I think many can get away with replenishing the others through water changes etc, or trace elements that are already mixed with commerical Ca and HCO3 systems.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,215
There are a few reasons but the main ones are, corals don't utilise the nutrients in the same way as plants because they aren't plants, and excess nutrients will turn your corals brown.
We can't really compare fw and sw because they are very different environments. Sw thrives on stability and guessing at parameters is a sure fire way to kill things.

If you wanted to take this approach with a saltwater macro algae tank then it would likely be ok.
 

becks

Member
Joined
8 Jul 2018
Messages
96
Location
England
The line of thinking use to be no n & p in reefs, however the last few years has seen people dosing n&p to raise them. People have experienced dinoflagellates when bottoming out n&p.

however, I certainly don’t miss keeping a reef at the moment no matter how itchy the itch is
 

Nick potts

Member
Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
197
He's wrong - many reefers keep some N and P in the system and corals actually need some of it. Some people are actually now dosing N and P to keep levels present.

If you have the rock packed out with coral then there is no room for algae to grow. But other than that not sure that a growing coral will eliminate algae growth in the same way freshwater plants are meant to.

Indeed the general trend has changed slightly in the last few years, with small amounts of both nitrate and phosphate being shown as good. However, it is a minute amount compared to a freshwater planted tank with nitrate of 1-2ppm and phosphate in the part per billion range.

Algae do not need rock space/lack of coral to grow, in a marine tank that is not right algae will easily and quickly on any surface and quickly smother corals.


Can we focus on “growing healthy coral” and the algae will stay in check? Or is it truly an entirely different beast and “limited” approach has to be used.

You have to remember that corals (especially stony corals) grow many many times slower than plants, many taking years to grow to any size, and while they do use small amounts of N & P it is the zooxanthellae that live in their tissues that use most of it.
The other thing we do (because of the “relatively minimal” cost) is lots of large water changes which can’t be done in reef for the cost of salt (though it is done in nano “pico” tanks ... 100% change a week). I am not sure that an economic argument can be made for salt in salt water as we have one in freshwater.

Josh

As mentioned, the oceans where these animals are found is extremely stable, with parameters rarely changing, large water changes unless exactly matched can causes swings, which in turn can cause issues with the corals. Then as you say, there is also the cost that is constantly going up.

I think another thing that stops a lot of people from experimenting is the costs involved in a lot of reef tanks.
 

Nick potts

Member
Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
197
however, I certainly don’t miss keeping a reef at the moment no matter how itchy the itch is

I certainly miss the colours and variety of my reefs, I don't miss paying the same for a 2in frag as I did for my entire FW setup lol
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
There are a few reasons but the main ones are, corals don't utilise the nutrients in the same way as plants because they aren't plants, and excess nutrients will turn your corals brown.
We can't really compare fw and sw because they are very different environments. Sw thrives on stability and guessing at parameters is a sure fire way to kill things.

If you wanted to take this approach with a saltwater macro algae tank then it would likely be ok.

Corals aren't plants, but they are heavily reliant on their endosymbiotic algae which are essentially plants.
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Indeed the general trend has changed slightly in the last few years, with small amounts of both nitrate and phosphate being shown as good. However, it is a minute amount compared to a freshwater planted tank with nitrate of 1-2ppm and phosphate in the part per billion range.

Algae do not need rock space/lack of coral to grow, in a marine tank that is not right algae will easily and quickly on any surface and quickly smother corals.




You have to remember that corals (especially stony corals) grow many many times slower than plants, many taking years to grow to any size, and while they do use small amounts of N & P it is the zooxanthellae that live in their tissues that use most of it.


As mentioned, the oceans where these animals are found is extremely stable, with parameters rarely changing, large water changes unless exactly matched can causes swings, which in turn can cause issues with the corals. Then as you say, there is also the cost that is constantly going up.

I think another thing that stops a lot of people from experimenting is the costs involved in a lot of reef tanks.

Re - algae smother corals. Algae will have a hard time smothering live corals unless there are space around them for the algae to grow.

Re - stable environment. Not necessarily true for all coral reefs. Inshore and macrotidal envrionments can have extreme daily swings in parameters and the corals have adapted/acclimated to them. Not something you want to try on your LFS coral though.
 

Nick potts

Member
Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
197
Re - algae smother corals. Algae will have a hard time smothering live corals unless there is space around them for the algae to grow.

Re - stable environment. Not necessarily true for all coral reefs. Inshore and macrotidal environments can have extreme daily swings in parameters and the corals have adapted/acclimated to them. Not something you want to try on your LFS coral though.

Just like in the FW hobby, algae is probably the number one issue faced by most and the biggest reason (other than expense) for leaving the SW hobby. There is always going to be space for algae to gain a foothold, it is impossible to cover every mm of space and that's all they need,

Inshore reefs can experience large changes in temperature, possibly salinity, and some corals are exposed to the sun on a low tide, when this happens there excrete slim to protect themselves, but the water they live in is generally pretty stable across the board. Anyone with experience of some of the harder stony corals will attest to how they can just drop dead if you even look at them the wrong way :)


Corals aren't plants, but they are heavily reliant on their endosymbiotic algae which are essentially plants.

They do rely on their zooxanthellae for food and other functions, but their uptake of macronutrients is smaller than that of plants, and as mentioned above, excess nutrients cause browning in corals.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,215
As Nick mentions, algae doesn't need much space to create a foothold in a tank. Hair algae and bryopsis can quickly take over, shading corals and causing recession that opens more area for algal spread. If you get any algae on a coral base it can be very hard to eliminate unless you have a lot of herbivores or cuc.

The symbiodinium, corals partner with can rapidly cause browning in corals when nutrient levels are high. On the flip side ultra low nutrient systems can maintain really colourful corals, albeit on a knife edge, because the corals rely more on food than these symbiotic dinoflagellates. Pumping excess nutrients over a prolonged period of time can bite you in the rear end if they are not fully utilised. We often call it old tank syndrome when effectively the nutrient sinks in your tank become full and you get leaching of these elements back into the aquarium water.
 

reefaddict

New Member
Joined
15 Jul 2020
Messages
12
Location
Italy
Barrier reefs are often called nutrient deserts. This is a well know fact. I must be clear though. There's plenty of life on the reef and this is often compared to a tropical forest for biodiversity, but levels of dissolved inorganic N and P are absolutely low and effectively limiting for some. In pristine reefs N as NO3- is around 0.1 ppm and below, P as PO4- is below 0.03 ppm.

The nutrient limitation led to an incredible strategy for reef building stony corals: living in symbiosis with zooxanthellae: microscopic algae that live within the tissue of the coral and provide sugars as main source of food to the coral, besides creating excellent conditions for precipitating CaCO3 and forming new skeleton. The algae gives sugars to the coral and feeds on CO2 from coral respiration and N and P from the coral waste products.

Since (us...) reef aquarists usually want to keep a variety of stony corals with a more than adequate fish population that eats a lot and makes lots of poo (!), we generally adopt some well known strategies:
- reduce dissolved organic matter to a minimum with protein skimmers (generally considered mandatory), activated carbon (for short periods) and sometimes zeolite (adsorbs ammonium/ammonia)
- reduce strong nitrification: this is hard to explain to a fresh water enthusiast... a biological filter is mainly run for nitrification in freshwater; if you run it in a barrier tank that will become a nitrate factory; reef aquarists prefer to reduce DO and NH4/NH3 to a minimum before nitrification and introduce live rock or live sand for a complete nitrification/denitrification in thight proximity; this leds to natural values of NO3-, well below most test kits can detect.

Said that, reef aquarist always introduce a "cleaning crew" of crabs, snails and algae-eating fish to take care of algae. This is absolutely natural since 0.1 ppm NO3 and 0.03 ppm P are NOT limiting at all for algae under 800+ PAR lighting :oops:.

So, no EI doesn't simply makes any sense in reef aquaristic. No macrophytes to fertilize. Zooxanthellae will turn corals brown, worst nightmare for a reef keeper.
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Just like in the FW hobby, algae is probably the number one issue faced by most and the biggest reason (other than expense) for leaving the SW hobby. There is always going to be space for algae to gain a foothold, it is impossible to cover every mm of space and that's all they need,

Inshore reefs can experience large changes in temperature, possibly salinity, and some corals are exposed to the sun on a low tide, when this happens there excrete slim to protect themselves, but the water they live in is generally pretty stable across the board. Anyone with experience of some of the harder stony corals will attest to how they can just drop dead if you even look at them the wrong way :)




They do rely on their zooxanthellae for food and other functions, but their uptake of macronutrients is smaller than that of plants, and as mentioned above, excess nutrients cause browning in corals.

This paper is a good read and provides a number of examples of corals living in definitely not stable conditions: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2018.00004/full

Brown corals =/= unhealthy corals. In fact I argue somewhat the opposite: https://www.cell.com/trends/microbiology/fulltext/S0966-842X(19)30068-X

I would also argue that there are many dense SPS tanks examples where algae would and does seem to struggle to gain a foothold to due to lack of availabile space/light. This is the same as it works on natural reefs.

As Nick mentions, algae doesn't need much space to create a foothold in a tank. Hair algae and bryopsis can quickly take over, shading corals and causing recession that opens more area for algal spread. If you get any algae on a coral base it can be very hard to eliminate unless you have a lot of herbivores or cuc.

The symbiodinium, corals partner with can rapidly cause browning in corals when nutrient levels are high. On the flip side ultra low nutrient systems can maintain really colourful corals, albeit on a knife edge, because the corals rely more on food than these symbiotic dinoflagellates. Pumping excess nutrients over a prolonged period of time can bite you in the rear end if they are not fully utilised. We often call it old tank syndrome when effectively the nutrient sinks in your tank become full and you get leaching of these elements back into the aquarium water.

Agreed purposely bleaching your corals to make them "look nice" does not seem like a good idea to me.

Barrier reefs are often called nutrient deserts. This is a well know fact. I must be clear though. There's plenty of life on the reef and this is often compared to a tropical forest for biodiversity, but levels of dissolved inorganic N and P are absolutely low and effectively limiting for some. In pristine reefs N as NO3- is around 0.1 ppm and below, P as PO4- is below 0.03 ppm.

The nutrient limitation led to an incredible strategy for reef building stony corals: living in symbiosis with zooxanthellae: microscopic algae that live within the tissue of the coral and provide sugars as main source of food to the coral, besides creating excellent conditions for precipitating CaCO3 and forming new skeleton. The algae gives sugars to the coral and feeds on CO2 from coral respiration and N and P from the coral waste products.

Since (us...) reef aquarists usually want to keep a variety of stony corals with a more than adequate fish population that eats a lot and makes lots of poo (!), we generally adopt some well known strategies:
- reduce dissolved organic matter to a minimum with protein skimmers (generally considered mandatory), activated carbon (for short periods) and sometimes zeolite (adsorbs ammonium/ammonia)
- reduce strong nitrification: this is hard to explain to a fresh water enthusiast... a biological filter is mainly run for nitrification in freshwater; if you run it in a barrier tank that will become a nitrate factory; reef aquarists prefer to reduce DO and NH4/NH3 to a minimum before nitrification and introduce live rock or live sand for a complete nitrification/denitrification in thight proximity; this leds to natural values of NO3-, well below most test kits can detect.

Said that, reef aquarist always introduce a "cleaning crew" of crabs, snails and algae-eating fish to take care of algae. This is absolutely natural since 0.1 ppm NO3 and 0.03 ppm P are NOT limiting at all for algae under 800+ PAR lighting :oops:.

So, no EI doesn't simply makes any sense in reef aquaristic. No macrophytes to fertilize. Zooxanthellae will turn corals brown, worst nightmare for a reef keeper.

There are a lot of examples where corals are living on reefs with high nutrients. At the same time equating low standing stock of nutrients in a reef tank to low standing stocks of nutrients on oceanic reefs is wrong. In oceanic reefs standing stock of nutrients may be low but they will be being cycled within the ecosystem extremely efficiently and there will be external inputs. The same can't be said necessarily for an isolated volume of water like a reef tank.

Again I would argue that brown and healthy corals is much less of a nightmare than dead corals.
 

Nick potts

Member
Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
197
Brown corals =/= unhealthy corals. In fact I argue somewhat the opposite: https://www.cell.com/trends/microbiology/fulltext/S0966-842X(19)30068-X

I would also argue that there are many dense SPS tanks examples where algae would and does seem to struggle to gain a foothold to due to lack of available space/light. This is the same as it works on natural reefs.

There are a lot of examples where corals are living on reefs with high nutrients. At the same time equating low standing stock of nutrients in a reef tank to low standing stocks of nutrients on oceanic reefs is wrong. In oceanic reefs standing stock of nutrients may be low but they will be being cycled within the ecosystem extremely efficiently and there will be external inputs. The same can't be said necessarily for an isolated volume of water like a reef tank.

Again I would argue that brown and healthy corals is much less of a nightmare than dead corals.

We could go round all day, but the fact remains that reef keepers have developed low nutrient systems because they work in our glass boxes, what we have in our living room is in no way anything like a natural reef, and high nutrient loads do more harm than good in a closed system.

I would also argue there is more limiting the lack of algae in any reef tank than a lack of space or light, as even a "low tech" reef requires relatively high light levels which would easily be taken advantage of by algae if the system was out of balance somewhere.

While brown corals does not mean unhealthy, that is not why most keep corals, we keep them for the amazing colours, a tank full of brown lumps isn't very appealing :)
 

reefaddict

New Member
Joined
15 Jul 2020
Messages
12
Location
Italy
There are a lot of examples where corals are living on reefs with high nutrients.

I agree of course, but we also must explain to fellow freshwater aquarists that "corals" refers to a wide variety of cnidarians,found in different places with different levels of nutrients. We should also agree on the word "high", just not to be misunderstood by fw aquarists that use EI with concentrations of N and P that are at least one order of magnitude higher than in seawater.

Besides that, after 45 years in the hobby, I still have to met a guy who wants a dull brown Seriatopora hystrix instead of a purple one. That's why many aquarists, especially in Germany, use zeolites to remove ammonia from the water column (at some risk). In nature, Seriatopora hystrix can be found more commonly in high nutrients lagoons (and yes, it's brownish-pink) than in outer reefs with extremely low levels of nutrients (where it's purple).

In oceanic reefs standing stock of nutrients may be low but they will be being cycled within the ecosystem extremely efficiently and there will be external inputs. The same can't be said necessarily for an isolated volume of water like a reef tank.

This is exactly what most reef aquarist try to do: minimize nutrients in the water column and maximize the nutrient cycling. In other words: lots of food inputs (phytoplankton, zooplancton, home made recipes, etc.) and lots of waste removal to keep nutrients at bay. Many also love DSB (Deep Sand Bed) that helps in nutrient cycling. Of course, in a ridicolous limited volume such as home aquaria this is barely possible.

Again I would argue that brown and healthy corals is much less of a nightmare than dead corals.

I perfectly understand you but I'm speaking from a hobbyist standpoint where the risk of dead corals starving to death seems overestimated. 99% reef aquarist struggle to maintain oligotrophic conditions in their tanks while keeping fish and inverts healty and well fed. They do their best to keep N and P at acceptably low levels, otherwise the tank will turn eutrophic and corals will eventually become dull brown (and sometimes also not that healty). Exceeding in such a struggle for low nutrients is extremely rare: there's a few aquarist, mainly in Germany, that attempting to reduce ammonia with zeolites reached a dangerous low level of nutrients with some tissue necrosis of the corals.
Most expert reef aquarists know that lightly zooxanthellates corals are perfectly healty and show better colors. Of course aquarists see this as a goal. To be clear this has nothing to do with bleaching (of course you know it ;)) and it's a natural conditions of stony corals exposed to very high light in a nutrient poor environment, like outer reefs or reef's edges.
So we are not on a knife's edge, we are more safely standing still on a ravine's edge that is very unlikely to fall from.

One more word about the topic: EI is a great method for growing aquatic plants, especially if you do this for a living and need fast growing. In reef aquaria we do not grow plants and food for fish and corals provide already a great amount of organics to deal with. So there's plenty of N and P in excess to manage in most tanks. Reef tanks have one point in common with high-tech plant tanks: the more the photosyntetic corals/plants the more the adsorption of nutrients. In fact many suggest to plant a lot since the beginning and many reef experts suggest to have plenty of corals from the beginning (they adsorb mainly P and N as NH4). This is a point where reef aquaristic seems a bit easier: you can simply add fish and/or food to keep up with nutrient inputs.



DSCN6411_ridotta.JPG
 

Attachments

  • DSCN6369.JPG
    DSCN6369.JPG
    997.5 KB · Views: 8

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
I agree of course, but we also must explain to fellow freshwater aquarists that "corals" refers to a wide variety of cnidarians,found in different places with different levels of nutrients. We should also agree on the word "high", just not to be misunderstood by fw aquarists that use EI with concentrations of N and P that are at least one order of magnitude higher than in seawater.

Besides that, after 45 years in the hobby, I still have to met a guy who wants a dull brown Seriatopora hystrix instead of a purple one. That's why many aquarists, especially in Germany, use zeolites to remove ammonia from the water column (at some risk). In nature, Seriatopora hystrix can be found more commonly in high nutrients lagoons (and yes, it's brownish-pink) than in outer reefs with extremely low levels of nutrients (where it's purple).



This is exactly what most reef aquarist try to do: minimize nutrients in the water column and maximize the nutrient cycling. In other words: lots of food inputs (phytoplankton, zooplancton, home made recipes, etc.) and lots of waste removal to keep nutrients at bay. Many also love DSB (Deep Sand Bed) that helps in nutrient cycling. Of course, in a ridicolous limited volume such as home aquaria this is barely possible.



I perfectly understand you but I'm speaking from a hobbyist standpoint where the risk of dead corals starving to death seems overestimated. 99% reef aquarist struggle to maintain oligotrophic conditions in their tanks while keeping fish and inverts healty and well fed. They do their best to keep N and P at acceptably low levels, otherwise the tank will turn eutrophic and corals will eventually become dull brown (and sometimes also not that healty). Exceeding in such a struggle for low nutrients is extremely rare: there's a few aquarist, mainly in Germany, that attempting to reduce ammonia with zeolites reached a dangerous low level of nutrients with some tissue necrosis of the corals.
Most expert reef aquarists know that lightly zooxanthellates corals are perfectly healty and show better colors. Of course aquarists see this as a goal. To be clear this has nothing to do with bleaching (of course you know it ;)) and it's a natural conditions of stony corals exposed to very high light in a nutrient poor environment, like outer reefs or reef's edges.
So we are not on a knife's edge, we are more safely standing still on a ravine's edge that is very unlikely to fall from.

One more word about the topic: EI is a great method for growing aquatic plants, especially if you do this for a living and need fast growing. In reef aquaria we do not grow plants and food for fish and corals provide already a great amount of organics to deal with. So there's plenty of N and P in excess to manage in most tanks. Reef tanks have one point in common with high-tech plant tanks: the more the photosyntetic corals/plants the more the adsorption of nutrients. In fact many suggest to plant a lot since the beginning and many reef experts suggest to have plenty of corals from the beginning (they adsorb mainly P and N as NH4). This is a point where reef aquaristic seems a bit easier: you can simply add fish and/or food to keep up with nutrient inputs.



View attachment 155269

If these corals were on natural reefs they would be counted as bleached no doubt about it - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982220305716

The health is definitely sub-optimal - in many ways there is not much difference between corals bleached by temperature or a lack of nutrients.

It is quite impressive how they are able to be kept in a perpetual state like this (bar those you mentioned who completely starved their corals to death).
 

reefaddict

New Member
Joined
15 Jul 2020
Messages
12
Location
Italy
Can we focus on “growing healthy coral” and the algae will stay in check?

Yes and no. Yes, because corals (their symbiont algae) do adsorb N and P, but no because unless you keep a "clean up crew" of crabs, snails and other critters you will not see clean stones or sand (as you won't see it in nature). So focus on plenty of healty corals since the beginning (actually, the end of a break in period) and plenty of herbivores.

The other thing we do (because of the “relatively minimal” cost) is lots of large water changes which can’t be done in reef for the cost of salt (though it is done in nano “pico” tanks ... 100% change a week). I am not sure that an economic argument can be made for salt in salt water as we have one in freshwater.

Why you do WC in a planted tank? I think mainly to reset nutrient levels because you use batch fertilization, probably to remove some ammonia and that "don't-know-what" that exudates from plants, in a word: accumulation of something, am I right?

In a reef tank water costs a lot :oops: and we do WC whit the unconfirmed idea to re-balance an excess of trace elements (but not nutrients). We do not do WC for nutrients, for DO, for Calcium, for carbonates, for magnesium, for strontium, for anything else that must be keep steady all the time. In the last years the availability of cheaper ICP-MS tests made easy to check for microelements imbalances so the amount and frequency of WC reduced. You can have your water analysed twice a year and WC accordingly. On the average I'd say we do 5-10% montly in large (500+ liters) tanks up to 20% bimontly in smaller tanks.
 

reefaddict

New Member
Joined
15 Jul 2020
Messages
12
Location
Italy
If these corals were on natural reefs they would be counted as bleached no doubt about it - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982220305716

Those who use zeolites have corals that would definitively be counted as bleached: Use of zeolites
I can't resist making this question: bleaching is defined as loss of zooxanthellae because of a stress (mainly temperature) , so we can't say a coral bleached if there is no loss of symbionts, right?

btw: thank you for all the interesting links, almost like sweet candies to me...
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Those who use zeolites have corals that would definitively be counted as bleached: Use of zeolites
I can't resist making this question: bleaching is defined as loss of zooxanthellae because of a stress (mainly temperature) , so we can't say a coral bleached if there is no loss of symbionts, right?

btw: thank you for all the interesting links, almost like sweet candies to me...

Bleaching can be loss of algal symbionts and/or photosytnhetic pigments. It's an interesting question but I would bet that there has been significant bleaching of these corals since the original colonies were taken from the ocean.

You might also like these that also describe the nutrients and bleaching: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877343513001917, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2015.00103/full, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17301601.
 
Joined
30 Aug 2020
Messages
75
Location
Bristol
This paper is a good read and provides a number of examples of corals living in definitely not stable conditions: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2018.00004/full

Brown corals =/= unhealthy corals. In fact I argue somewhat the opposite: https://www.cell.com/trends/microbiology/fulltext/S0966-842X(19)30068-X

I would also argue that there are many dense SPS tanks examples where algae would and does seem to struggle to gain a foothold to due to lack of availabile space/light. This is the same as it works on natural reefs.



Agreed purposely bleaching your corals to make them "look nice" does not seem like a good idea to me.



There are a lot of examples where corals are living on reefs with high nutrients. At the same time equating low standing stock of nutrients in a reef tank to low standing stocks of nutrients on oceanic reefs is wrong. In oceanic reefs standing stock of nutrients may be low but they will be being cycled within the ecosystem extremely efficiently and there will be external inputs. The same can't be said necessarily for an isolated volume of water like a reef tank.

Again I would argue that brown and healthy corals is much less of a nightmare than dead corals.

yeah, colour we are forcing in corals is just that, a stress response to living on the edge, you see it in corals in the intertidal zone

on a true reef, algae would easily grow, but a abundance of grazers keeps it in check, many of the reefs in poor health are that way because of removal of the grazers
 
Top