FACT: RTN, STN and Coral Bleaching are caused by an infection due to microscopic parasites.

Discussion in 'Prime Coral' started by Prime Coral, Mar 13, 2019 at 10:44 AM.

  1. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Tissue necrosis is when a coral loses its skin/flesh which results in exposed coral skeleton or coral melting. Coral bleaching is when the coral loses its zooxanthellae causing the coral skin to turn white. There are two kinds of tissue necrosis, Rapid Tissue Necrosis (RTN) and Slow Tissue Necrosis (STN). Rapid Tissue Necrosis can occur in the matter of hours, usually within 24 hours. Slow Tissue Necrosis can take days to months.

    Both coral RTN and STN are caused by an infection of the coral tissue and skeleton by microscopic protozoans. These protozoans are a family of single cell microscopic organisms with cilia that are found both in the water column and within the coral tissue and skeleton. In 2018, Dr. Ara Deukmedjian performed a series of tests at Prime Coral Labs proving these protozoans are the cause of coral dieases RTN and STN by culturing and infecting coral samples with the protozoans. Because colonization of a healthy coral by the protozoans ultimately and ALWAYS leads to coral disease (RTN, STN and bleaching) and death, we must classify these protozoans as parasites. The parasites do not benefit the coral in any way and always cause coral tissue necrosis by consuming the coral tissue along with its zooxanthellae. These parasites cannot be seen with the naked eye or a magnifying glass. They can only been seen under a light microscope.

    Microscope.jpg

    Findings
    1. All corals demonstrating rapid tissue necrosis were infected with an infestation of philaster lucinda and philaster guamense without exception.
    2. RTN’ing coral typically had approximately 500 to 1000 individual philaster per cubic centimeter of infected coral tissue (including the skeleton) in the RTN zone.
    3. Corals experiencing slow tissue necrosis (STN) were infected with a varity of non-philaster ciliated protozoans including Euplotes, Dysteria, Cryptocrayon, Varistrombidium, and Litonotus.
    4. These RTN and STN parasites were found in large numbers consuming coral tissue and zooxanthella in ALL corals with tissue loss typically seen in diseases commonly referred to as white band syndrome, white patch syndrome, white plague, brown jelly, and coral bleaching.
    5. Healthy corals did not have the RTN or STN parasites present in their tissue under microscopic examination. Healthy coral fragments were placed in isolation and allowed to die. After the corals expired, none of the RTN or STN parasites were found on the coral or in the water column.
    6. RTN or STN parasites were only found in diseased corals with tissue loss.
    7. RTN and STN parasites were isolated from diseased corals and cultured.
    8. Normal healthy coral was exposed in isolation to the RTN and STN parasites. After several days the healthy corals began to show signs of infection and disease with the RTN and STN parasites. Bleaching and tissue loss on coral branches occurred that was consistent with RTN and STN previously described.
    9. RTN and STN parasites were isolated from the newly infected and diseased (previously healthy) corals. Histologically they were identical to the ciliated protozoans that were isolated from corals demonstrating spontaneous tissue necrosis.
    10. These experiments utilize Koch’s Postulates to prove a causal relationship between the ciliated protozoans (RTN and STN parasites) and coral tissue necrosis.


     
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  2. ajhudson15

    ajhudson15 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2019

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    cant a big alk swing cause rtn. and how does an alk swing that caused rtn mean that all of a sudden there are infectious parasites that eat the coral. I would think if the parasites are there then they could possibly eat the coral anytime
     
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  3. sbash

    sbash Not Just a Potato R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    From what I have read (and still reading) in the other posts around this, the theory is that the alk swing would cause stress, which allows the philaster parasite to take advantage of the stressed coral and start munching away. Much like the claims we all have ich in our tanks, but it only affects the stressed out fish.

    What do we do to kill these parasites? And can I get it in Canada? I'm all for testing this out, I've lost three corals to RTN this last month (turns out the source of the stress was a burst impeller in my skimmer). I am also losing one to STN right now (different system), but have lost a couple smaller pieces to STN over the last six months.
     
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  4. ajhudson15

    ajhudson15 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2019

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    I can see where the stress could make it possible for parasites to attack the sps but I find it hard to believe that if you have a big alk swing and lose an sps OVERNGIHT that this is from a parasite being able to destroy it that quick.
     
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  5. Monkeytank

    Monkeytank Active Member R2R Supporter

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    If healthy corals didn't have any of the parasites before, but became infected by them when placed in isolation, what would you say caused them to become infected? Did you stress them on purpose to make them vulnerable? Where I'm going with this is, assuming eradication of the parasites from our systems is unlikely, what could be done to protect healthy corals from becoming infected instead of treating them once they are harmed?
     
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  6. pirate2876

    pirate2876 Valuable Member

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    Would antibiotics in the tank help stop the RTN?
     
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  7. IslandLifeReef

    IslandLifeReef Valuable Member Hospitality Award

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  8. Stephen Petruzzo

    Stephen Petruzzo Active Member

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    Nice findings and research! Another thought, have you guys tried to have a healthy coral and a coral that's RTN is the same system next to each other (place the RTN in the container with healthy)? If RTN is caused by these microscopic parasites, then if you place a RTN coral next to a healty coral (maybe a few inches apart) and you keep the water quality good and stable, should the healthy coral start to RTN?
     
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  9. vanpire

    vanpire Active Member AZ FRAG Member

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    I think this is interesting. Would like to see more research. I find it hard to believe that bleaching, RTN and STN are solely caused by the parasites. None one the research shows that. It does show the parasitic infection is one cause and maybe even a major cause of bleaching, RTN and STN.
     
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  10. Stephen Petruzzo

    Stephen Petruzzo Active Member

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    Completely agree. That's one thing that's hard for me to wrap my head around. Like major temp swings won't cause RTN and STN? The title is very misleading.
     
  11. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Hi there and thank you for commenting.
    I know this announcement will come a s a HUGE surprise to many people around the world and we have already announced it on different sites. Alk swings are one of the most commonly blamed reasons for coral RTN and STN but it is merely a myth and completely unfounded. There have been millions of Alkalinity swings in peoples reef systems and 98% of them result in NO coral tissue loss whatsoever. For example Rob Arnold (Robs Reef) just called me last week and told me his alk doser broke and his coral system Alk was 3.2 for days. Zero corals died or RTNd or STNd. He treated his system with Prime Coral Prevent RTN and his system is free of the RTN and STN parasites so he had NO coral death. As a matter of fact he said all his corals looked amazing. He brought his alkalinity back up to 8.5 eventually but this is just one of many examples of alk swings, no coral tissue necrosis
    Also if alk swings were the cause of coral TN then why don't all corals in system die with an alkalinity swing? Why don't corals die with every swing??
    Unfortunately for decades we have been trying to find the cause and you never will find the cause without a microscope. Very few have ever looked and even then theRTN and STN protozoan parasites are VERY difficult to see because they live under the coral tissue and in the skeleton gastrovascular cavity.
     
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  12. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Thank you. I will do my best to keep up with the comments. This announcement always generates a lot of commentary and understandably so.

    See here https://coralrtn.com/experimental-evidence/
     
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  13. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Stephen,
    Yes you are correct,some will get infected and will RTN. The cause is a microorganism called a protozoan. They are all less than 2 mm long. There is ONE that causes all coral Rapid Tissue Necrosis (RTN) and there are about 5 that cause coral Slow Tissue Necrosis. https://coralrtn.com/rtn-parasites/
    You cannot see them with your eyes and they are only visible with a microscope. When you do see them they are eating flesh off of the coral. They have a predilection for SPS (especially acropora and montipora), acanthaestrae, LPS (they are the cause of Brown Jelly). They attack and eat ALL types of coral and anemones. Their bodies are filled with zooxanthella and coral tissue. Only recently was the discovery made by Prime Coral and Dr. Ara Deukmedjian in 2018.
    https://coralrtn.com/experimental-evidence/
     
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  14. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    The RTN and STN protozoan parasites are immune to antibiotics. Antibiotics have been tested and they do NOT kill the parasites. A treatment has been discovered.

     
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  15. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Monkeytank,

    Great question. The RTN and STN parasites are transmitted from coral to coral through the water in the tank or when adding new coral or invertebrates. The whole process is consistent with infection. All microorganism infections require a "transmission route". For example people infect eachother with the flu virus. The virus is transmitted through contact with virus in respiratory droplets. If you don't ever get exposed to the virus by respiratory droplets you will never get the flu. Your corals that are uninfected and remain in isolation will never get RTN or STN.

     
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  16. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    One of my tanks hit 93F a few months back with no coral stress or death. This is a common story you hear a lot from reefers. If you boil coral the tissue will slough off and it wont be due to the RTN parasite
     
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  17. Lowsingle

    Lowsingle Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great research and microscopic evaluation....the engineer in me always prefers study over anecdotal information. Do you plan on running a study in which you induce alk swings with similar corals and systems with one under treatment and the other not (as a control)? Seems like that could be a nice way to validate your hypothesis--especially if that study is completed blind by the individual doing the microscopy.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for your efforts in this field,
    Darren
     
  18. Prime Coral

    Prime Coral Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    sbash,

    I used to think the same that there may be a stress that precipitates the Philaster to attack the coral after the stress but after studying over 600 coral RTN events personally with the microscope I can tell you that over 90% of the cases had absolutely NO water chemistry aberration or temp change.
     
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  19. vanpire

    vanpire Active Member AZ FRAG Member

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    OK. I occasionally lose coral colonies for no apparent reason, ie a frag from the same colony located nearby is fine but the mother colony STNs or even RTNs.

    Given your research, what are some practical applications you recommend? Obviously, it has to do with Prime but what specifically?

    I am game to trying something new. And do you think your recommendations might improve survivabilty if wild/mariculture SPS?
     
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  20. KrisReef

    KrisReef Valuable Member

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    Ok Prime Coral,
    I'm a skeptic by nature but I will set that aside for now. At least you have brought some evidence along with your claims and I have no evidence to counter your claims with at the moment. Thanks for posting.
    I am wondering where I get the cure, is it for sale?

    And you (or your business?) are new here, so WELCOME TO REEF@REEF!.

    (That's how this site roles, right folks?)
     
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