Dinoflagelates. A disruptive treatment

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chris_pull

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Not the cause, but definitely the cure. The cause, in most of cases, is a sharp nutrient reduction, but not because organic carbon addition, in my experience and knowledge. Nutrients can de depleted for example because GFO utilization, lanthanum or just naturally. This is quite a favorable scenario for dino and cyano outbreaks
Yes, so an indirect cause where nutrients go to zero with NOPOX. There are many, many people who got dinos this way (there is a FB group for people struggling with dinos and carbon dosing is considered by the "experts" there to be a leading cause), so I'm curious how it can also solve the issue. But there is probably a major difference between dosing a tank without dinos with NOPOX (especially a young, still establishing tank) and one where the microbiome is dino-dominant.

I am not questioning your results in any way, I'm just curious about the mechanisms! I think I will give it a try on my tank.
 
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Yes, so an indirect cause where nutrients to zero with NOPOX. There are many, many people who got dinos this way (there is a FB group for people struggling with dinos and carbon dosing is considered by the "experts" there to be a leading cause), so I'm curious how it can also solve the issue. But there is probably a major difference between dosing a tank without dinos with NOPOX (especially a young, still establishing tank) and one where the microbiome is dino-dominant.
That is because my recommendation on dosing at night , to avoid dinos to leverage on the organic carbon as less as possible
 

sixty_reefer

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No, organic carbon, indirectly produce the dino withdraw. Heterotrophic bacteria are responsible through chemical interference . Dinos also feed on organic carbon, that is why , for this treatment, is better to dose carbon at night
Would it make a difference night Vs day on heterotrophic and mixathrophic species?

I wasn’t aware that heterotrophic bacteria had the potential to produce toxins to kill dinoflagellates, could the toxin be mutated and extracted from the bacteria in a similar way to algaecides harvesting from Roseobacter.
We’re you able to identify the toxin also?
I was under the impression that it would be competing for nutrients or predation.
 
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Would it make a difference night Vs day on heterotrophic and mixathrophic species?

I wasn’t aware that heterotrophic bacteria had the potential to produce toxins to kill dinoflagellates, could the toxin be mutated and extracted from the bacteria in a similar way to algaecides harvesting from Roseobacter.
We’re you able to identify the toxin also?
I was under the impression that it would be competing for nutrients or predation.

No, we have not advanced lab technics to run that experiment. The chemical warfare is an hypothesis , supported by scientific documentation and the fact that cyanobacteria is not receding when organic carbon is dosed. Nutrient depletion alone does not justify the observed effects
 

Miami Reef

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This article is phenomenal!

I had a 20 gallon fishless coral QT. For some reason, the nutrients kept bottoming out despite me dosing 0.15ppm phosphates 3x a week.

Dinoflagellates (coolia) grew out of control and actually got WORSE with raised nutrients, but I still kept at it.

Eventually I had to sterilize the tank because I couldn’t beat it. I even tried 2 rip cleans and ensuring phosphates were dosed.

I’ve been carbon dosing vinegar in my main display for the first time (for other reasons). I really like the low nutrient look and I always wondered how many Zeovit tanks are able to keep ULN without getting Dinos. Carbon dosing does seems to be the common denominator? I’m interested to see if this rings true with my SPS and clam system.
 
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I really like the low nutrient look and I always wondered how many Zeovit tanks are able to keep ULN without getting Dinos. Carbon dosing does seems to be the common denominator?
I strongly believe so...
 

Reefahholic

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In my personal experience, I was able to finally beat my dinoflagellate outbreak (ostreopsis and prorocentrum) with a similar method outlined in this article. That is organic carbon dosing.

There is a lot of conflicting information about dinoflagellates regarding nutrients level and how 0 N/P can trigger an outbreak, but I argue that dinoflagellates rely on N/P for survival and growth just like other photosynthetic organisms in our tank and that low nutrients is not the real cause of these dinoflagellate outbreak. This is backed up by many scientific literatures that saw significant growth of dinoflagellates in high nutrients environment with the growth curve inverse to N and P concentration.
I’ve recently found the same in my system as I’ve been playing with the nutrients to see what they tend to favor the most.

They appear to get stronger at lower nutrient levels as I believe other microorganisms are unable to compete as well at these lower nutrient levels.

However, they also seem to become more dominant in a higher nutrient environment with reduced skimming. I intentionally let my skimmer become less efficient by letting excessive organics buildup in the neck and reducing the amount of skimmate and eventually stopping skim production all together, but still keeping the pH bump. They apparently did enjoy the increased organics and so did the algae. I’ve since cleaned the skimmer neck and dosed bacteria and have already noticed a marked difference in numbers.

They seem to thrive at levels lower than .03 P and 3 N and also with higher levels of organics. I think a good place to be is 0.1 P and 10 N. Keeping the skimmer going efficiently, and dosing bacteria when the water is looking too rich or algae is trying to dominate. If the water is becoming cloudy with brown or red algae and slime taking over that is typically an indicator of nutrients bottoming out. Greens thrive more in higher nutrients.
 

Reefahholic

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the only thing I may be missing is if nutrients need to be detectable at all times, theoretical you can dose and increase bacteria even without the presence of N and P although imo this could lead to coral bleaching if nutrients remain undetectable for a long period of time
I think it’s extremely important when carbon dosing to keep nutrients in optimal ranges.
 

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No, we have not advanced lab technics to run that experiment. The chemical warfare is an hypothesis , supported by scientific documentation and the fact that cyanobacteria is not receding when organic carbon is dosed. Nutrient depletion alone does not justify the observed effects
They both complex organisms that may need to be addressed separately, in regards to dinoflagellates I can see the nutrients being a factor to be outcompeted by heterotrophic bacteria especially now under the new information you have brought forward.

I see it working in a different way from you. The way I see it working is in the different between organic nutrients and inorganic nutrients, as we know in the sea blooms of dinoflagellates can be caused as a result from farming fertilisers that reach the ocean, lakes and rivers, farmers use mainly organic forms of nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium also known as NPK fertilisers. Once dissolved in water they will still be in dissolved organic form that there is evidence that is most preferred to dinoflagellates most likely for being partially a plant, therefore the dissolved NPK will be also important to dinoflagellates.

In our system the same thing is likely to happen all nutrients start from a organic form with the exception of ammonia that is inorganic, organic nutrients don’t stay organic for long as several cycles will transform them into inorganic nutrients the final stage. This means that a rapid decrease in inorganic nutrients can theoretically create a event were organic nutrients become more available than inorganic nutrients allowing opportunistic species that rely on organic nutrients for energy like dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria to bloom.
The other nutrient event that allows for organic nutrients to be high is the situation we’re inorganic nutrients like phosphates and nitrates get fully depleted from a system ( this is the most common situation we observe them to bloom in aquaria).

the reason I see your essay being successful is because it completes the missing link, once a system gets depleted from inorganic nutrients heterotrophic bacteria becomes limited for obtaining energy, mass or tissue depending on the inorganic nutrient limitation this will mean that they can’t use any of the other dissolved nutrient’s until they are artificially replenished. If it’s left to late and dinoflagellates develop they will start consuming the organic nutrients not allowing them to reach the inorganic phase (that heterotrophic bacteria needs) that will ensure that they will be the dominant species until nutritional conditions are changed to favour the growth of heterotrophic bacteria once again.

the reason you may have observed the increase in nitrates and phosphates alone is because most inorganic forms of phosphates contain also organic forms of phosphates that once again may not be sufficient to kickstart the heterotrophic bacteria as there is a energy source for dinoflagellates in those elements, the genius part of your discovery is the addition of dissolved organic carbon that will allow for heterotrophic bacteria to grow in a situation we’re a system may be Dissolved organic carbon limited, meaning that only increasing nitrates and phosphates alone will not always be the solution sometimes a additional increase in Doc will also be needed.

hopefully not to confusing although I believe you just brought to light the missing link in the fight against Dinoflagellates. One a side note I don’t know how heterotrophic bacteria keeps dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria at bay all I know is once they become limited at the inorganic nutrients level this two species always tent to flourish.
 

sixty_reefer

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I think it’s extremely important when carbon dosing to keep nutrients in optimal ranges.
I agree although during one of my experiments I was able to create a bloom in heterotrophic bacteria that consumed a vast amount of nitrates and phosphates, it also depleted the experiment tank from oxygen and definitely not advised to do on a reef thank as it would of killed all organisms present in that system. Curiosity got the best of me and I run the experiment in a controlled way without any organisms besides bacteria. The main goal of the experiment was to determine the phosphates assimilation capacity of heterotrophic bacteria.
 

jrmailo

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I’ve recently found the same in my system as I’ve been playing with the nutrients to see what they tend to favor the most.

They appear to get stronger at lower nutrient levels as I believe other microorganisms are unable to compete as well at these lower nutrient levels.

However, they also seem to become more dominant in a higher nutrient environment with reduced skimming. I intentionally let my skimmer become less efficient by letting excessive organics buildup in the neck and reducing the amount of skimmate and eventually stopping skim production all together, but still keeping the pH bump. They apparently did enjoy the increased organics and so did the algae. I’ve since cleaned the skimmer neck and dosed bacteria and have already noticed a marked difference in numbers.

They seem to thrive at levels lower than .03 P and 3 N and also with higher levels of organics. I think a good place to be is 0.1 P and 10 N. Keeping the skimmer going efficiently, and dosing bacteria when the water is looking too rich or algae is trying to dominate. If the water is becoming cloudy with brown or red algae and slime taking over that is typically an indicator of nutrients bottoming out. Greens thrive more in higher nutrients.
My hypothesis as to why increasing nutrients have help beat dino in some instances is that it overwhelm the Dino’s ability to utilize the existing AVAILABLE nutrients and allow for other competing photosynthetic organism to utilize the extra EXCESS nutrients.

One interesting finding that I found from reading various scientific literatures on many sp. of dino is that they heavily favor ammonia over any other form of N species. This would explain why newer systems or biologically disturbed system are prone to dinoflagellates outbreak due to the inability to efficiently process all trace amount of ammonia before the Dino can consume it.

This might also explain why organic C dosing could be an effect mean to beating dino as the elevated level bacteria could outcompete to process and remove N (especially ammonia) before the Dinos.
 

jrmailo

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I agree although during one of my experiments I was able to create a bloom in heterotrophic bacteria that consumed a vast amount of nitrates and phosphates, it also depleted the experiment tank from oxygen and definitely not advised to do on a reef thank as it would of killed all organisms present in that system. Curiosity got the best of me and I run the experiment in a controlled way without any organisms besides bacteria. The main goal of the experiment was to determine the phosphates assimilation capacity of heterotrophic bacteria.
I would still love to see the sequencing data for the species of bacteria in you experiment
 

jrmailo

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They both complex organisms that may need to be addressed separately, in regards to dinoflagellates I can see the nutrients being a factor to be outcompeted by heterotrophic bacteria especially now under the new information you have brought forward.

I see it working in a different way from you. The way I see it working is in the different between organic nutrients and inorganic nutrients, as we know in the sea blooms of dinoflagellates can be caused as a result from farming fertilisers that reach the ocean, lakes and rivers, farmers use mainly organic forms of nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium also known as NPK fertilisers. Once dissolved in water they will still be in dissolved organic form that there is evidence that is most preferred to dinoflagellates most likely for being partially a plant, therefore the dissolved NPK will be also important to dinoflagellates.

In our system the same thing is likely to happen all nutrients start from a organic form with the exception of ammonia that is inorganic, organic nutrients don’t stay organic for long as several cycles will transform them into inorganic nutrients the final stage. This means that a rapid decrease in inorganic nutrients can theoretically create a event were organic nutrients become more available than inorganic nutrients allowing opportunistic species that rely on organic nutrients for energy like dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria to bloom.
The other nutrient event that allows for organic nutrients to be high is the situation we’re inorganic nutrients like phosphates and nitrates get fully depleted from a system ( this is the most common situation we observe them to bloom in aquaria).

the reason I see your essay being successful is because it completes the missing link, once a system gets depleted from inorganic nutrients heterotrophic bacteria becomes limited for obtaining energy, mass or tissue depending on the inorganic nutrient limitation this will mean that they can’t use any of the other dissolved nutrient’s until they are artificially replenished. If it’s left to late and dinoflagellates develop they will start consuming the organic nutrients not allowing them to reach the inorganic phase (that heterotrophic bacteria needs) that will ensure that they will be the dominant species until nutritional conditions are changed to favour the growth of heterotrophic bacteria once again.

the reason you may have observed the increase in nitrates and phosphates alone is because most inorganic forms of phosphates contain also organic forms of phosphates that once again may not be sufficient to kickstart the heterotrophic bacteria as there is a energy source for dinoflagellates in those elements, the genius part of your discovery is the addition of dissolved organic carbon that will allow for heterotrophic bacteria to grow in a situation we’re a system may be Dissolved organic carbon limited, meaning that only increasing nitrates and phosphates alone will not always be the solution sometimes a additional increase in Doc will also be needed.

hopefully not to confusing although I believe you just brought to light the missing link in the fight against Dinoflagellates. One a side note I don’t know how heterotrophic bacteria keeps dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria at bay all I know is once they become limited at the inorganic nutrients level this two species always tent to flourish.
One interesting observation I found from dosing vodka in my system was the initial bloom of cyanaobacteia in my sump. However due to the positive effect of the organic C against the Dino outbreak, I continued (and increased) my dosing and surprisingly the cyano to disappeared from my system after a few weeks or so and they have not returned even as I had increased amount significantly since.

What is your take on this? I personally think that the cyano took an advantage of the organic C for growth during the initial stage of dosing but was unable to continue growing and ultimately “burn out” due some other unknown nutrient compound(s) being used up.
 

sixty_reefer

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I would still love to see the sequencing data for the species of bacteria in you experiment
That makes 2 of us now, unfortunately I’m not aware of a place that does that in the United Kingdom, the water for the experiment came from a system that was started with terrestrial bacteria that creates some curiosity to the events that happened in that experiment.
 

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That makes 2 of us now, unfortunately I’m not aware of a place that does that in the United Kingdom, the water for the experiment came from a system that was started with terrestrial bacteria that creates some curiosity to the events that happened in that experiment.
Yes it would be quite difficult to perform in our home “lab” without proper equipments and tool kits. This would be something that I would love to venture into doing myself for the sake of curiosity but I no longer have access to the resources necessary since I am out of grad school.

Maybe someone like @Randy Holmes-Farley , with the scientific tools readily available can chime in.
 

anthonymckay

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I have never tried silicate dosing but it may help. IME dinos are removed by competence, not with increment of inorganic nutrient
I don't think you understood my comment regarding silicate dosing. The idea being that diatoms numbers would substantially increase due to the available silica in the water (their outer casing is composed of silica, without it diatoms dwindle). The bloom of diatoms in theory (and some anecdotal evidence) outcompete the dinos.
 

sixty_reefer

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One interesting observation I found from dosing vodka in my system was the initial bloom of cyanaobacteia in my sump. However due to the positive effect of the organic C against the Dino outbreak, I continued (and increased) my dosing and surprisingly the cyano to disappeared from my system after a few weeks or so and they have not returned even as I had increased amount significantly since.

What is your take on this? I personally think that the cyano took an advantage of the organic C for growth during the initial stage of dosing but was unable to continue growing and ultimately “burn out” due some other unknown nutrient compound(s) being used up.
My take on this is not to different, the innitial dose can course a rapid decrease in inorganic nutrients momentarily allowing organic nutrient to be in abundance that could aid the growth of Cyanobacteria if the bacteria is present in the system, Cyanobacteria is also observed during carbon dosing not just in the initial phase, we do have several forms of dissolved organic carbon sources that could cause similar effects during the process I for once had a bloom in Cyanobacteria due to a die off in macro algaes that released a large amount of carbohydrates into the water column that affected my nutrients, this goes in line with folks observing Cyanobacteria blooms after large amounts of pest algaes being killed in a system without a proper means of extracting the nutrients released and the formation of Cyanobacteria maths after a snail or a fish perished in a system.
 

sixty_reefer

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I don't think you understood my comment regarding silicate dosing. The idea being that diatoms numbers would substantially increase due to the available silica in the water (their outer casing is composed of silica, without it diatoms dwindle). The bloom of diatoms in theory (and some anecdotal evidence) outcompete the dinos.
Theoretically diatoms would be competing directly with dinoflagellates for nutrients, besides NPK diatoms will be limited in our system in silica to bloom. This is a big argument between marine biology as some will say that silica should be considered a macro nutrient for phytoplankton as this particular species will be limited by that same element.
Guillards f2 fertiliser contains silica for this reason also, f2 was initially designed to grow several species of phytoplankton including diatoms
 

jrmailo

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My take on this is not to different, the innitial dose can course a rapid decrease in inorganic nutrients momentarily allowing organic nutrient to be in abundance that could aid the growth of Cyanobacteria if the bacteria is present in the system, Cyanobacteria is also observed during carbon dosing not just in the initial phase, we do have several forms of dissolved organic carbon sources that could cause similar effects during the process I for once had a bloom in Cyanobacteria due to a die off in macro algaes that released a large amount of carbohydrates into the water column that affected my nutrients, this goes in line with folks observing Cyanobacteria blooms after large amounts of pest algaes being killed in a system without a proper means of extracting the nutrients released and the formation of Cyanobacteria maths after a snail or a fish perished in a system.
Yes this fits with what I saw. I had a die off of GHA when I began dosing vodka.
 

sixty_reefer

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Yes this fits with what I saw. I had a die off of GHA when I began dosing vodka.
The increase in heterotrophic bacteria will make ammonia less available and as a result starving most invasive algaes that are highly dependent on it. Only if more were to realise that nitrifying autotrophic bacteria has very little impact on ammonia after the initial nitrogen cycle. All aquariums past the nitrogen cycle become dominated by heterotrophic bacteria as main dominant specie (aquabiomics has demonstrated this many times). Many folks commit the error of limitating heterotrophic bacteria growth wile trying to eradicate pest algae by depleting nutrients not realising that they only allowing more ammonia to become available, many do observe GHA going off the rails once Nitrates or phosphates are depleted for that same reason.
 
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