The Family Vibrionaceae

Vibrionaceae is a very diverse family of Bacteria mostly found in aquatic habitats, especially the marine environment. They also include some important pathogens not only of fish, corals, and molluscs, but also humans. 

Bacteria in this family are generally rod-shaped and motile. Metabolically they are generally aerobic chemoheterotrophs, but some are also facultative anaerobes. They play important roles in the nitrogen cycle, with some members reducing nitrite to nitrite and others fixing nitrogen gas to ammonia. 

These Bacteria form close associations with many marine animals and algae, ranging from beneficial symbioses to disease. The group is most widely studied because of the large number of pathogens it contains. 

Vibrionaceae on coral reefs

The family Vibrionaceae is a ubiquitous member of the microbial community on natural reefs. 

This is due in part to their direct association with corals. They play important functional roles in the coral microbiome, including nitrogen cycling. Many of these also cause disease (see below). 

On natural reefs, this family is found at higher levels in degraded, algal-dominated reefs. The growth of this group is promoted by coral exudates, consistent with their known association with corals. 

Pathogens in the family Vibrionaceae

The family Vibrionaceae includes numerous pathogens of fish and corals that are relevant for the aquarium hobby.

Known fish pathogens in this family include:

Known coral pathogens in this family include:

Vibrionaceae in reef tanks

Bacteria from the family Vibrionaceae are present in nearly all reef tank samples.

The levels of Vibrionaceae in reef tanks are highly variable, ranging from <1% to >50% of the community.

Vibrionaceae make up a larger fraction of the community in water than in biofilm samples. Although these Bacteria are often closely associated with animals or algae, they are generally free-swimming and travel freely throughout the water column.

Read more

Wikipedia: Vibrionaceae
OBIS: Vibrionaceae

Adjusting your Vibrionaceae levels

  • Increasing your levels
  • Promoting this group is not recommended
  • Decreasing your levels
  • Unfortunately, we aren't aware of any practical strategies for reducing levels in the tank - diseased animals should be treated in a separate tank instead

Testing your tank for Vibrionaceae

Our standard Microbiome Test includes information on the levels of Vibrionaceae in your tank.

This family includes numerous pathogens of fish and corals, including some of the most common pathogens in the hobby. They’re present in almost all tanks, but the types vary widely across tanks. Test your tank today and find out what kinds are in your tank!