Saturday, May 10, 2008

Caulerpa Invasions

Good algae, bad algae. As aquarists we sometimes battle nuisance algae in the aquarium. Diatoms, bryopsis, derbesia, valonia and cladophora's are all evasive algae. All of these algae can be difficult to control and can often be the make it or break cause for a new aquarist to continue with aquarium keeping.

But what about algae in our oceans? And worse yet, what about aquarists that have introduced aquarium algae to the ocean? It has happened and now there is a group dedicated to educating aquarists, divers, pet shop owners, boaters, anglers, harbor masters and port captains about protecting California's coastal marine life from the invasion of caulerpa seaweed.

Southern California Caulerpa Action Team, (sccat), is a committee designed to quickly and effectively respond to notifications of Caulerpa taxifolia in the Southern California area. They have efficiently eradicated two aquarium introduced invasions since 2000 in the Huntington Harbor and Agua Hedionda Lagoon south of Los Angeles.

California state law sites, it is illegal to possess, transport, transfer, release alive, import, or sell Caulerpa taxifolia, Caulerpa sertularioides, Caulerpa mexicana, Caulerpa ashmeadii, Caulerpa scalpelliformis, Caulerpa racemosa (and all varieties of C. racemosa), Caulerpa cupressoides, Caulerpa verticillata, Caulerpa floridana (California Fish and Game Code 2300).

If you are in California and have any of these Caulerpa's, please be sure to dispose of properly when removing them from your aquariums. When breaking down an aquarium with any Caulerpa in use, it is best to drain the water down a sink so it can be processed in a municipal water treatment plant. Bag and freeze Caulerpa for twenty-four hours to destroy.