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Use of Lasers in Controlling Pest Algae and Corals


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  1. #1
    CalmSeasQuest - Reefkeeper
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    Default Use of Lasers in Controlling Pest Algae and Corals

    I've been doing some research on the use of Laser light in eradicating and/or controlling certain pests frequent in marine aquaria. These include,

    • Aiptasia / Mojano
    • Blue/Green Algae including Valonia and Bryopsis
    • Xenia
    • GSP
    • Virtually any other unwanted pests such as vermetid snails, predatory crabs...

    In theory, it should be a simply process to eliminate any unwanted life from an aquarium, and easily prune others (think of it as a lawn edger for an area of Xenia or GSP.) I'm also curious about the possibility of using Laser to "cauterize" part of a coral subject to RTN. It might also work well for laser-fragging soft corals such as Z&Ps as it could be done while the coral was still in the water.

    The most common laser pointers (< 5mW) do not generate anywhere near enough energy to be effective. Higher power lasers are now available that can emit enough energy to instantly "boil" the targeted pest, while avoiding damage to adjecent corals. The primary challenges with this approach,
    • Cost - Higher power lasers are expensive.
    • Safety - Eye protection is an absolute nesessity as intant blindness is possible should the beam (or potentially a reflection) strike your eye.
    • Legality - There are FDA imposed restrictions on the sale of Class IV lasers (<50mW) that make them difficult (read expensive) to acquire.
    • Risk to livestock - Caution will have to be mainted to prevent fish from being struck by the laser. At very high power settings, even viewing the point being lased "might" result in damage to their eyesight (still investigating this concern.)

    I've ordered the components to build a 1800mW / 445nm laser to test the above theories and develop effective practices. More to follow...

    ps. Sorry for including this in the LED section - It required a sub-prefix and no others seemed appropriate. The light source in a laser is a light emitting diode
    Last edited by CalmSeasQuest; 11-28-2011 at 08:40 PM.
    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw
    Likes AJ :), tazzy695, MizTanks liked this post

  2. #2
    MizTanks - Reefkeeper
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    I can't wait to see this! You go CSQ!!
    There's nothing like being a Reefer! www.upmmas.com

  3. #3
    Sir Patrick - Reefkeeper A2 Club Coordinator
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    Tagging along and looking forward to seeing this laser in action!

  4. #4
    larryandlaura - Reefkeeper
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    Sweet dude I want one!
    Hi my name is Larry and I'm a coral addict!

  5. #5
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    CSQ ---> Dr. Evil


    Sounds intriguing!
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    Likes AJ :) liked this post

  6. #6
    redemer123 - Reefkeeper
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    I'll be following along on this one pal, I too have considered such means of eradicating pests but lack to know how to figure it out. please keep us updated.
    It takes a long long time to build a coral reef. Step by step the reefs survive on partnerships. And the most important partners are you and I.

  7. #7
    CalmSeasQuest - Reefkeeper
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    Here's what the components look like (you can't purchase pre-built due to FDA regs)...

    1800mW445nm - Use of Lasers in Controlling Pest Algae and Corals

    The next challenge is safety (mine as well as that of the livestock.) At this power output, blinding could be instantaneous if shined in ones eye (including a reflection of the beam.) Even looking at the beam endpoint unprotected is dangerous. Safety goggles provide user/viewer protection. I'm still working on a shield to prevent injury to livestock.

    This idea was suggested by Lotus-Darkrose, a user in the Laser Pointer forums - albeit a bit difficult to deploy

    Clownfish shades - Use of Lasers in Controlling Pest Algae and Corals

    I hope to be able to begin testing in a few days.
    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

  8. #8
    iyachtuxivm - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    This may sound like a dumb question but are you able to use this through the glass? Or is it submersible?
    "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

  9. #9

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    Tagging along. Those are a pain to deal with

  10. #10
    slapshot - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by iyachtuxivm View Post
    This may sound like a dumb question but are you able to use this through the glass? Or is it submersible?
    Not dumb at all, I was wondering the same thing. If this works Calm you could start a business frying everyone pests. I tried once to fry the eyes of a bad crab with one of those pointers, assuming it would make him a meal for someone but it did not work.

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