Use of Lasers in Controlling Pest Algae and Corals

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by CalmSeasQuest, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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  2. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Woo HOO!
     
  3. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    It great to see Advanced Aquarist covering our work on Lasers.

    In addition to simply "making things quickly go away" I think lasers can/will be helpful in other marine endeavours. I'm currently working on a few videos focusing on,

    Preventing coral battles and potentially limiting allelopathy - The laser is perfectly suited for maintaining margins or a "DMZ" between potentially battling corals. As many of us (guilty as charged) end up with many SPS in tight quarters, a laser can be used to help prune back infringing corals with surgical accuracy without having to remove the coral, or risk damage through traditional pruning methods. I'll be using some fast growing Monties and Acros for these tests.

    Prepping areas for regrowth - With corals subject to receding tissue, the exposed skeletons quickly become covered in various types of algae (no doubt due to the nutrients from the decaying coral.) I've tested using the laser to "scrub" those areas, hopefully creating a host surface that will aid in the coral regrowth. At first glance, it works very well, and the targeted surfaces are squeaky clean. Its especially effective at cleaning deeply grooved skeletons such as Acanthastrea. If successful, I can see potential benefit in the use on high value chalice corals. Time will tell if it provides any benefit to the coral in terms of speeding recovery.

    Prepping areas prior to affixing a frag or coral - It's very simply to use the laser to prep an area before affixing a frag (either on a plug or directly.) In just seconds, and areas can be lased removing any potential pests or nuisance algae, and at least in theory - providing a better place for the coral to adhere to and encrust.

    I'm also curious to see if laser "etching" of frag plugs results in any difference in coral growth or rates of encrusting. There are many others areas to explore including laser fragging of soft corals and whether the cauterization effect is beneficial. Time will tell if any of these provide real benefit, or are just seemingly good ideas that don't work...And of course, I've also got the prerequisite Xenia, GSP, Aiptasia and Majano videos under development for those focusing solely on pest vaporization.
     
  4. Murfman

    Murfman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Question was asked by one of our local club members about the Planula from the Aptasia and using the laser. Since the Planula are microscopic, how do we know that they are killed off? I am assuming that the intense heat kills them off but want to verify.
     
  5. Oregonreef

    Oregonreef Member

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    so which one do you buy to get rid of GSP
     
  6. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    I think It's a bit too soon to say conclusively. I believe if done correctly - the heat will certainly destroy the Planula. I think if you start at the polyp and cause the Aiptasia to withdraw - you can them focus the laser energy in a very small area resulting in localized intense heat that I believe will kill everything. The key is you have to have line of sight acess to the foot or crevice where it is attached. You have to destroy the entire animal, I don't think lasering just the polyp will work. We won't know for sure until enough testing and time after testing to tell if more polyps appear. To my eye, after about ~15 seconds, there is simply nothing left. I'm waiting on delivery of an IR thermometer to enable accurate temperature tests of the target and nearby areas.

    I'm using an 1800mW 445nm - so far, I think it's the highest output being used in marine aquaria. For me, GSP are easy. ~10 seconds and they are vaporized. The unknown is will they return. I just started testing less than a week ago so it's too soon to say. My guess...they are toast.
     
  7. Spsfan

    Spsfan Well-Known Member

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    Wow that's crazy i want one
     
  8. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    I completed a brief series of videos showing the eradication of Aiptasia, GSP and Xenia along with the cutting of a "DMZ" between battling Montipora.

    I'll post them as soon as the uploads are processed by YouTube.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  9. bige

    bige Well-Known Member

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    So I just went to the laser forum, and there are so many options. Which one do I get to control xenia and gsp? What range of size should I look at. I saw the 1800 455 (?) used. Is there a less powerful one that works too?
     
  10. dougers31

    dougers31 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Just wondering how well it would work on neighborhood cats....
     
  11. CJO

    CJO Well-Known Member

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    OK- that didn't work very well. I bought a 3" PVC tube to try out. It reached what I wanted to lase easily and actually scared all the fish away too. However, there were a couple of problems. First, once you got the tube too close, it was too dark to see anything. That was solved with a headband flashlight. Second, even with the flashlight, due to the distance and the movement of the water in the tube, you still couldn't see anything. Looks like I need to look for something else.

    The good news is that the refraction didn't seem to be as much as I thought. A 3/4" tube with a 1" coupling might fit perfectly with the host (laser body) that I'm using, but it would still require a translucent shield at the end.

    CJ
     
  12. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 suggestions - The first is to wait a bit. We're just now learning what works and how to use it safely. We still need more time to see if the items we "think" we've eradicated might regrow. That said, I think more power is good. It allows for hotter temps at the end-beam and shorter burn times (important as most high power lasers have duty times around 60 seconds.) I think 1000mw is probably the minimum I'd recommend with higher output being preferred.

    Lastly, if you're intent on buying now, from what I've seen - the 1800mW unit I'm using is currently the most powerful being used and works very well. 445nm seems to be very effective in water. For reference only (I am not suggestions you purchase this laser) this is the unit I purchased (be warned - although prices are dropping - high power lasers are still very expensive.)

    There are many DIY options that would be far less costly. LaserPointerForums is a great resource. And don't forget your safety glasses!

    I'm sure you are just kidding, but just in case anyone should take it seriously - Instant, permanent blindness and severe burns....Definitely a horrible and illegal idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  13. bige

    bige Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply. What about in a nano tank? Is there a certain water volume that you wouldnt use the laser on.
     
  14. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    Here are a few short videos (HD) showing how different corals respond to the laser. The Montipora were lasered through glass - the rest through acrylic.

    [video=youtube_share;QWnfnc_IdEo]http://youtu.be/QWnfnc_IdEo?hd=1[/video]

    [video=youtube_share;AvPltwSOZDc]http://youtu.be/AvPltwSOZDc?hd=1[/video]

    [video=youtube_share;AvPltwSOZDc]http://youtu.be/AvPltwSOZDc?hd=1[/video]

    [video=youtube_share;Jky0U2MlPwk]http://youtu.be/Jky0U2MlPwk?hd=1[/video]
     
  15. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    The only potential concern based on tank size, (or more accurately water volume) is the amount of byproducts generated by the destruction of the pest organisms. It's the wild west for the use of lasers in marine aquaria - We're not sure the amount of potentially detrimental compounds that might be released through the lasering if any. I beleive the intense heat generated by the laser will break down many of the potentially dangerous compounds (such as palytoxins) but I don't have scientific data to back up those beliefs.

    If you're lasing a few items - probably not a concern. Planning on mowing down hundreds of Majano in a pico tank - you might want to consider running fresh carbon and a water change post laser, if for no reason other than precautionary.
     
  16. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Great videos! You have the perfect voice for the test. "sufficiently neutralized" LOL!
     
  17. Me z

    Me z Well-Known Member

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  18. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    I think I'd hold off a bit. Do a bit of research on Wicked on LaserPointerForums.com That's a lot to spend on a 1 watt 445 laser and there are comments concerning inflated power claims (and for our use, I beleive higher output is better - especially for Xenia which are prettty resistant to laser.) Lazerz seems to have a better reputation. Also, my research is focusing on a different spectrum that might be more efficient for our use...more to follow.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  19. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Well-Known Member

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    In following up on a number of the tests, I'm finding that Xenia seems to be among the most laser-resistant and I suspect it might be associated with it's lighter color and greater mass. I've found that in smaller patches, I'm able to completely destroy it in a single session, with larger groupings requiring multiple laser sessions.

    The Monti test was perfect...
    [​IMG]
    It vaporized all the tissue in the lased area without hurting any of the surrounding polyps or tissue. All that remains is the bleached with skeleton. :)

    Here are a few thoughts I've formulated since starting these tests...
    • More is Better - Although expensive and requiring the maximum safety precautions, I think using lasers with the highest outputs are a plus. This is also important as it appears that many lasers being sold often fail to meet the advertised output. Better retailers will also provide (for a fee) a "power certificate" detailing the actual performance of the laser and diode being purchased.
    • Cooling effect of water requires higher power output - Because were using laser to superheat and destroy pest with the aquarium, were subject to the cooling effect of the surrounding, moving water.
    • Planula - One of the primary pest being targeted is Aiptasia. When attacked, it can release free-swimming larva called Planula. If not destroyed, these can go on to create many hundreds (if not thousands) of new pests. In theory at least, we want to generate the maximum heat possible, in the shortest time possible to destroy any Planula released.
    • Transparency and colors resistant to laser - Some of the pests being tested seem more resistant to destruction by laser. These include Xenia, a much lighter (almost white colored) soft coral that is very fleshy and seems to recover from even extended lase sessions.
    • Use in destroying blue/green algaes - Many algaes also seem resistant to laser destruction. While the sizzling and popping sounds are easily heard during lasering - they seemingly are able to regrow.
    While 1800mw 445nm is proving to be extremely effective, I'm currently researching the use of a different spectrum laser that might provide even better results over the 445.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  20. caudill187

    caudill187 Well-Known Member

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    This is so cool.
     
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