Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

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taricha

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Still seeing groupings of air bubbles across the top of my rock work and some on my frag rack mostly upper third of the tank. I'm assuming these are amphidinium?
I see ostreopsis and diatoms.
 
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ScottB

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Just sticking my nose in Scott. I’ve never battled Dino’s (yet), although my new tank is a bare bottom, dry rock start assisted with 2 lumps of previously used aquarium rock. There seems to be anecdotal stuff around about dosing Phyto, the acceptance that low N & P at least in some cases give Dino’s an advantage somehow. I think there’s gotta be more than one cause and I see no reason why it couldn’t be another nutrient which would be available in the f2. To be honest I was half hoping someone had tried dosing it, instead of Phyto as I can only see Phyto as a mechanism to deliver nutrients. I’d better read this thread from the beginning I reckon. :)
10,000+ posts is a lot to get through. I've read my share of them and now need reading glasses :)

You could cheat by just reading @taricha posts. Unless you are a sadist. In that case, many hundreds of suffering reefers have visited this thread. For further wailing and gnashing of teeth, do visit the Amphidinium Treatment thread. Honestly, that is the dino species that vexes the most reefers the longest. They have such brilliant defenses that challenge even the most patient. There is a fairly reliable plan for the rest.
 

taricha

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Tank, 20 gl tall
Water change of 4 gallons every 2-3 weeks.

No skimmer, HOB filter for surface agitation, small amount of carbon in a mesh bag inside. Not running a filter cartridge anymore.

Very little nuisance alga

Do have a palm size chunk of blue olgo for decoration and see if it would help with nitrates.
FDBDBA8F-DC12-4A94-82B8-88CE5B1CCE79.jpeg

FTS, tank is 7 years old. Appreciate your input!
Interesting that you get that PO4 drop with such little export and no sand.
Something is rapidly consuming it.
Healthy tank. Lots of good candidates in there for what could be hungry.
 

hans4811

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Thought I’d report back with what I did that worked. read the details on page 515 if you want.

Id’d it as ostreopsis. Raised my nutrients first to 5 nitrates, 0.12 phos. Started heavily dosing MB7 and Phyto and dumped a bunch of copepods/amphipods in. That took care of about 90% of it. Hooked up a 25 watt UV from Lifegard...
C154841B-C396-4F46-ABF6-88182C181E02.jpeg

...ran it 24/7 at about 3x turnover rate. Has been on now for only 4 days and all gone ! I just rigged it like this temporarily for now, will eventually add it to my manifold, but still dump it back directly into the tank, just hidden a bit better.

You were right @ScottB ... about issuing last rights ! lol...

Wate
 
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Shuladog

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I don't know what percentage of folks had luck battling dinos with any of the methods in the old Dino thread but it's obviously a very low percentage, so I'd like refresh folks on the natural alternatives and lay out three areas of info:
  • some of the factors that contribute to a dino outbreak
  • how to avoid common dino outbreaks
  • and what do if your tank is already having an outbreak
Let's get started!

Common Contributing Factors
Some of the most common factors that contribute to the dino outbreaks we cover in this thread are:
  • the tank being new, rock being immature or the tank being otherwise highly disturbed, such as by other harsh tank treatments
  • hard core nutrient reduction tools being used, such as
    • organic carbon dosing
    • excess "bio media"
    • algae filtration
    • nutrient adsorbing media like GFO
These four factors, or excess nutrient removal generally, play – usually in combination; rarely just one factor alone – pretty directly into dino's conversion to the blooming, phagotrophic, mat forming, toxin-producing side of their nature.
  • Starvation Is Their Cue
    • Dino's seem to prefer life as autotrophic epiphytes on macro algae – chaeto morpha seems to be one of their favorite types to host in. (Maybe this fact can be useful to us; maybe sometimes chaeto ought not be used, or used with special consideration)
    • For several reasons, dino's seem to be terrible at nutrient uptake. This means they are more prone to starvation than many or most other microorganisms they have to compete with.....especially bacteria, which can scavenge free nutrients down to CRAZY low levels...low enough to starve out other microbes or algae.
    • With their protective mucus mats, potential to generate wicked toxins, and ability to survive not only by way of photosynthesis and dissolved nutrients, but alternately, when times get tough, by "eating their neighbors". (The least of their tricks.)
    • Dino's generally gain a competitive edge against their competitors AND their predators in a nutrient-starved environment. Keep reading!
How To Avoid Having A Dino Outbreak
In a nutshell, here's how to avoid dino outbreaks and begin to normalize your tank if you already have an outbreak:
  • Phosphate Control
  • Nitrate Control
  • Starvation conditions (zero or near-zero nitrate or phosphate levels) should be avoided.
    • Keep in mind that dissolved nutrients are not "waste products" to be eliminated
    • They are nutrients for the critters you care about like corals
    • The are also nutrients for a potential multitude of mostly-unknown/anonymous microbes that are needed to bring stability to a new tank.
    • Once excess nutrients have an impact, in fact, they usually can't be simply eliminated with media anyway – they've probably already had an impact on the tank's microbial cycle. (See blog link #3 at bottom.)
    • This all adds up to skipping almost all "extra" nutrient removing steps during the tank's initial development. This period seems to be especially critical, and longer in a tank started with dry, dead rock. Don't use anything until it's absolutely needed and other options have been fully exhausted...and be conservative with how you apply any nutrient removing tool.
What to do if you're tank is already having a dino outbreak
When attempting to control an organism like a dinoflagellate, confirming the ID will help, if possible:
  • So to begin with, make sure you have Dinos – you should have multiple factors at work...these factors were mentioned in the first section above. The less these factors seem to describe your tank, the less likely any of this advice will be correct for your situation – so post questions! :)
    • no special equipment is needed to confirm whether your algae sample has dino's and/or other algae
    • Use @taricha's dino confirmation guide on posts #986-987.
  • Once you have confirmed that you have dino's you should ideally figure out what type(s) your tank is hosting. (Multiple species blooms seem almost as common as single-strain blooms.)
    • A basic 1200x microscope will be useful and doesn't have to be fancier than a $15 toy scope. Even a $50 scope is a lot nicer, if you think you might be more serious about it.
    • See: Selecting a microscope for more discussion.


  • Extra Measures
    Generally, these tools will give extra control in terms of removing and/or killing cells in the water column....usually, along with other measures explained here, expediting the close of the dino bloom.
    • UV
      You can find discussions throughout the thread by using this search, with a great breakout of spec's on post #3770.
    • Diatom Filtration
      Effective, but not that popular. The more common units like the classic Vortex are somewhat difficult to use, and the newer units like the new Marineland Polishing Filter are relatively unknown. Still worthy of consideration.
So, after you get a measure of control, make sure you read What is the End Game?

Miscellaneous Goodies

  • Take measures to assure that your feeding system is very consistent. An auto-feeder is an overlooked tool on most tanks. Look at Eheim's feeders...set them on low with high quality flake food. Just don't let them run your whole feeding program as flake isn't great food.

  • Find out what inconsistencies you can eliminate with your husbandry to prevent more unneeded disturbances and the resulting microbial/algal changes. This could be changes to lighting or water chemistry – make them as consistent as you can.

  • E.g. If you're adding new livestock all the time, stop it. If you have a color-tunable light fixture, stop re-tuning the colors. If you don't have an ATO keeping your salinity stable, get one. If you're still managing your dosing by hand, get an $80 4-head doser. Etc.

  • If you provide the stability, then your dino's competitors will start competing with them and their predators will start eating them!!

  • One thing that seems to help things progress is to stop scraping down the algae off your glass....once the dino's start giving up space that is. Mechanical removal is a legit short-term strategy and might help give competitors a leg up too.



Other interesting more-or-less related links on my blog:
(Also cross-posted in the old Dino thread!)
I seem to be battling Dinos but I do not have a microscope to confirm. My nitrates are at 0 and I have been dosing Reef Roids in an attempt to raise them. The problem seemed to coincide with me adding Brightwell Bio dimpled bricks to my sump to use as a skimmer stand. Is this the type of "excess bio-media" that is listed as a contributing factor for Dinos?
 

Aqua Man

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My nitrates are at 0 and I have been dosing Reef Roids in an attempt to raise them
The consensus is 0 of N or P and Dino is very likely. How’s the reef roids working out? I am adding reef roids to hopefully raise my po4.

I just started a refugium and broke out on my sand bed. I assume too much nutrient uptake ?
Likely. Especially if your nutrients were low to begin with.
 

Aqua Man

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Supplementing Coral b+ would be the same as Reef roids I assume
Reef roids is a powder of different phtytoplankon. Would need to break down before Dino can get it.

Coral B+ is liquid? I’d say, Dino would love it! Most stop dosing aminos, Dino food.
 
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Aqua Man

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Interesting that you get that PO4 drop with such little export and no sand.
Something is rapidly consuming it.
Healthy tank. Lots of good candidates in there for what could be hungry.
Been dosing in morning.

So, it’s possible that the amount I’m adding is just getting used before the rock can bind it?

Also considering upping my dose. Been going slowly. Seems it’s not working. Need a new plan.
 

ScottB

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Thought I’d report back with what I did that worked. read the details on page 515 if you want.

Id’d it as ostreopsis. Raised my nutrients first to 5 nitrates, 0.12 phos. Started heavily dosing MB7 and Phyto and dumped a bunch of copepods/amphipods in. That took care of about 90% of it. Hooked up a 25 watt UV from Lifegard...
C154841B-C396-4F46-ABF6-88182C181E02.jpeg

...ran it 24/7 at about 3x turnover rate. Has been on now for only 4 days and all gone ! I just rigged it like this temporarily for now, will eventually add it to my manifold, but still dump it back directly into the tank, just hidden a bit better.

You were right @ScottB ... about issuing last rights ! lol...

Wate
Perfect hardware choice (beautiful beast), perfect (temporary) install. Not surprised but still pleased it worked so quickly.
 
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Willis19

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Dinoflagellates prefer the pronoun "they".

Which of "them" are visiting this time? And don't answer large cell amphidinium. Don't say it.
Apologize for my English. They came back after a month free. I was using a product called red x algae control from fauna marine, it worked well for that time, all the bad algae was just dying, followed the treatment per instructions. So, not sure what happened. I havent added corals or fish. Here some photos under white light.

Per instructions, needed to stop dosing nopox, no UV light, and remove the carbon filter. What I did not do was stopping AB+ red sea solution.

IMG_1081.JPG IMG_1080.JPG
 
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Shuladog

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The consensus is 0 of N or P and Dino is very likely. How’s the reef roids working out? I am adding reef roids to hopefully raise my po4.


Likely. Especially if your nutrients were low to begin with.
As for the using the reef roids...I have been dosing a couple times a week and also brushing rock and sweeping sand bed. I haven't seen much improvement. I am now at the tail end of a 72 hour "blackout" and hopefully will see some improvement.

I recently lost 4 fish in 5 days to what seemed to be different problems. I am now wondering if the Dino strain that I have in my tank is "toxic". I have not heard of Dinos killing fish before, can anyone weigh in on that?
 

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ScottB

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As for the using the reef roids...I have been dosing a couple times a week and also brushing rock and sweeping sand bed. I haven't seen much improvement. I am now at the tail end of a 72 hour "blackout" and hopefully will see some improvement.

I recently lost 4 fish in 5 days to what seemed to be different problems. I am now wondering if the Dino strain that I have in my tank is "toxic". I have not heard of Dinos killing fish before, can anyone weigh in on that?
Very unlikely to kill fish. Some can knock out snails.

Invest 25-$50 on a microscope that does 400X to find out which species you have. Use your phone up to the eye piece to get video and share here and we will get you on the right path to recovery. Treatment depends on the species.
 

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Apologize for my English. They came back after a month free. I was using a product called red x algae control from fauna marine, it worked well for that time, all the bad algae was just dying, followed the treatment per instructions. So, not sure what happened. I havent added corals or fish. Here some photos under white light.

Per instructions, needed to stop dosing nopox, no UV light, and remove the carbon filter. What I did not do was stopping AB+ red sea solution.

IMG_1081.JPG IMG_1080.JPG
Sorry I forgot to attach the smiley face as I was joking around.

That very much looks like dinos, but the treatment protocol to choose depends on the species. Spend $25-75 on a student microscope. Use your phone to shoot video through the eyepiece at 400X and post back here.

Also, get measures of:
NO3 any kit will do
PO4 only Hanna ULR will do

Stop NOPOX until you have a lot of bioload.
 
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