Tank fumes warning

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Reedfish, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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  3. SalmonAfrica

    SalmonAfrica Batfish

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    The article isn't very clear on how it actually got to the point of affecting so many people. All it says is that the tank was "being cleared".

    They say it was identified as a palytoxin, which typically originates from specific zooanthid species; I'm unsure if many coral species carry the toxin, too, but the article states that corals caused it (I'm doubtful). They release them when stressed and/or eaten, but normally such toxins affect humans in close-contact situations, either ingestion or directly into the bloodstream (through injuries). The way it was described in the article above, it affected a great number of people over a greater area... or in other words, the toxin must have been vaporized.

    This isn't a wholly uncommon scenario. Apparently many aquarists "cleanse" their live rock by boiling them. Zooanthids commonly hitchhike on live rock. Under this duress, toxins would be released, and the steam resulting from the boiling process can (and does) carry the palytoxins. It can can up to a few hours for symptoms to show (flu like, as described in the article), but as far as I am aware vaporized palytoxin is not as deadly as contact palytoxin, or at least the gaseous delivery disperses the dosage and minimizes the effects.

    It has popped up on forums and aquarium sites several times over the past decade. Long story short - never boil your live rock, or any organic materials that you cannot identify.
     
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  4. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Very interesting..

    I was just wondering why would anyone boil the live rock?
    I thought you need the organisms it carries in order to set up a marine tank?
     
  5. SalmonAfrica

    SalmonAfrica Batfish

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    The organisms that come with live rock aren't necessary to the running of a marine tank. They've typically invertebrates of a wide range of taxa. Some are a gift - corals, zooanthids, shrimps, fan worms, etc. that add colour or serve a function in the tank. Others are a curse - predators like crabs or bobbit worms, or invading Aptasia. Live rock, as a structure, also forms a substrate upon which sessile invertebrates can establish.

    Live rock can serve as a form of biological filtration, having a large surface area upon which beneficial bacteria can settle. Can act as a seed for a tank starting up, or add to your overall biological filtration volume. Not necessary but can be very beneficial.

    Anyways, people boil live rock to get rid of the potential risks of adding live rock, such as the unwanted organisms. They may want to utilise the structure of the rock without potentially transferring annoying or harmful creatures into a new display.
     
  6. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Thanks for the explanation @SalmonAfrica

    I don't have much experience with marine tanks but have seen people buy the live rock to put inside the tank when they start up so I thought this was necessary to start up a marine tank
    Your explanation does make sense though
     
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    Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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