Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

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ReefMan692

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Everyone seems to recommend ideal Phosphate to be under 0.1 and it seems difficult for me to get mine there. I was happy to see 0.07, I feel like that is a good number, but obviously very disappointed that I let my nitrates get so depleted.. The thing is, I definitely don't disagree with your assessment, I think you are 110% correct and a lot of the other information I have read over the past 6 months is actually a bit off. I think obsessing over the phosphates being "high" (in my mind, based on information I have read from multiple places) is what led to the overall problems which I kind of acknowledged in my OP

As an update, today I went lights off -- it's been a while since I've done that and I figure that would be a quick way to stunt this since it hasn't overwhelmed the tank at this point while developing a more robust approach for handling it fully. I also began doing a treatment of Kalkwasser in the ATO following instructions I read on battling Dino's that seemed credible enough not sure which thread it was in. The goal of the kalkwasser dosing was to get my PH up to a range of 8.4, I am following the instructions precisely and added one teaspoon per gallon of ATO, I am supposed to double it and then tripple it if needed to get to 8.4 over the course of a few days.

I have some experience with the Kalk, and I know for my system it is difficult to use at the current time because I lack real solid 'uptake' of the alkalinity, so while it may raise my pH, the issue is it is also going to raise my alkalinity/calcium and I don't have much to consume it at least not at a rate fast enough to keep up with what is required to shift my ph 4 points

So I am kind of monitoring that closely, as of today my PH has risen to about 8.15 (apparently the target to kill the dinos is 8.4). The alkalinity, which had previously dipped a little low down to 8 (not that low, but I prefer 9) is now back up to 9 and that took place over the course of about 24 hours. So at this point I am hesitant to 'double the dose' of the Kalkwasser as per the instructions because I lack the alkalinity/calcium uptake.

Last night I also began to dose the Neonitro and I have been slow-dosing it through out the day at various times. So that's been going for 24 hours now as well.

I fed a little more rigorously today, which I had been being stingy about while still keeping my fish fed multiple times per today. Today I was a little more cavalier with the feeding, a few cubes in the morning and another one in the evening (yikes!) but I skipped the smaller in-between feeds that usually make up the day. Balancing the health of the 26 fish inhabitants while keeping the phosphate and nitrate low enough for my corals is an on going struggle.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken it a little easier on the fish stocking, but we all have our own dream for what our reefs should be, sometimes reality says 'Not so fast'.

My clean up crew was at work today, hermits & snails, urchin, some turbos actually they were munching down pretty good so that makes me hopeful -- I'm a little confused what they are eating though. I guess it's not always black and white your tank isn't all dinos and no algae, but things do start to tip one way or the other and it seemed like the Dino's were "coming on" so I don't think I'm over-reacting by taking action.

Some good news: Dino's were not readily apparent in the tank today, the red snotty strands that were popping up on glass and sand and rocks was not readily visible but that could be a product of the lights being out (not a total blackout, there was residual room light) for most of the day besides for a few minutes when I fed the fish. When I had the light on for a few minutes, I could still see vertical strands with bubbles on top on a few of the rocks.

Okay, so to address a few other things:

On Chemiclean: I ended the chemiclean treatment, it's only a 24 hour treatment anyways, I turned GAC on I'm probably not going to do the recommended water change. I don't think it does as much harm as you seem to think it does as I have succesfully applied the treatment for actual Cyano in my bedroom tank (a smaller, 35 gallon tank) which is actually fairing quite well these days as far as a mixed reef goes. It had a bit of green algae before the treatment and retains some green algae now still even after that treatment. It knocked out the Cyano for me and I followed the instructions and didn't over do anything.

The main difference between the little tank in my bedroom and the larger main tank is that the little tank has no bells and whistles. It's got an oversized skimmer and thats about it. I dont' even know the numbers but low and behold that tank is performing just fine. Goes to show you!

So Obviously in this case the chemiclean was a bad move in my larger DT because what I thought initially was Cyano turned out to be Dinos. I don't think this move will result in any long lasting disruption of my tanks ecosystem as that has not been my previous experience with the product -- just throwing that out there for anyone who comes along and reads later down the road.

The Algae Scrubber: I invested in the scrubber because I struggled to get Macro Algae going in my refugium and I think of it as an integral part of the nutrient control. I was getting desperate for phosphate control (again, 0.2 is "Bad" according to many people). The scrubber itself is about 4 weeks old and it has been struggling to grow algae about as much as I was struggling to grow chaeto. Well of course, if my nitrates have been hovering near zero that kind of makes sense in retrospect. So, the scrubber is still mostly white with not a lot of growth, I am still attempting to get it going maybe this is the perfect opportunity if I can manage to promote algae growth to fight out the dino's.

Would there be a good reason not to grow some kind of algae in the fuge? Rather grow it there than in the DT right?


Oh No its Phosguard & GFO -- I guess I did get a little carried away=!P

Lanthanum Chloride
I have stopped dosing the LC for about 3 or 4 days now especially since this began, I was dosing it pretty heavily for a while but everyone recommends Phosphate to be under 0.1 and it seems difficult for me to get mine there. LC does seem to be what helped drive my Phosphate under the 0.1 range which I think a lot of people would say 0.07 is perfect phosphate. I agree with you that it's a tool for the tool belt to be used but I might need to be a bit less 'cavalier' with it.

Microscope: I had a foray into beer making and I splurged on a silly microscope I barely used for identifying yeast cultures so I got a good picture of the stuff this morning it's on my cell, I'll update the post with it soon.


I am going to follow your instructions and appreciate the heck out of you for taking the time to give such a detailed response, I am trying to be a little light hearted about my trials and tribulations but to also document them for future readers -- I would love to hear your feedback on the Kalkwasser ATO "PH" treatment that I mentioned at the top of this post -- do you think that can be successful? I already kind of know that I can't do it enough to get PH to 8.4 because I lack consumers for the Calcium and Alkalinity. Do you think there is any validity to raising the PH up when fighting the Dinos?


I'll report back as things go, but I think I'll end up winning this thing;)
 
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MotorCityCorals

ReefMan692

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I think this is Ostreopsis right?

20210421_111142.jpg 20210421_111500.jpg
 

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Kongar

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Can we discuss cleaning your sandbed and it’s affect on dinos? I’ve been struggling with these buggers for some time as evidenced by posts lost to the pages of this monster thread ;) Anyway, as it’s ebbed and flowed from terrible to good to anywhere in between, I’ve finally recognized a pattern. My Dino outbreaks are proportional to the “vigor?” I’ve used with respect to cleaning my sandbed.

So I’ve started some tests. Namely cleaning a very small portion of the bed (like just a coffee mug sized circle) and going out of my way not to disturb or change anything else in the tank. Like clockwork, the portions of the bed I cleaned become infested with dinos after about a week or so. It spills outside the circle, but not into other areas of the undisturbed bed. It appears that an undisturbed bed has whatever balance of biodiversity that makes it inhospitable to the dinos - eventually beating them back. I’m going to do it again, take some pictures before and after, and post here, because it’s quite pronounced.
So what’s going on here? Is it as simple as “my tank lacks biodiversity and a sandbed disturbance is all that’s needed for dinos to flourish?” What should be my course of action here? How many people fighting dinos are seeing reoccurrences after cleaning their sand?
 

ScottB

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I think this is Ostreopsis right?

20210421_111142.jpg 20210421_111500.jpg
Good news. Indeed those are ostreopsis. They move around as if they have a tether off the pointy end right? They are the easiest to overcome.

Get a UV going asap. 1 watt per 3 gallons. super slow flow like 2 or 3X turnover per hour. Not through your return pump right now, run it with the feed pump in the display and return water to display.

Keep nutrients up and stable. Also, they have a high level of toxicity, so run some GAC at least a few hours each day.

You will know you are making progress when you see some green film algae on glass (not so brown) and some cyano starting up. Just keep going.

You can also do some manual removal if you wanna be more hands on. Clamp a bunch of filter floss to the glass in high flow/light areas. They love to attach there. Rinse each evening.

If you have nutrients and properly set UV you will notice a difference in a few days and be done in a few weeks.

Oh, and while I hate this part, skip WCs for a while longer until you really have these under control. And no amino acids either; they crave those.
 

ScottB

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Can we discuss cleaning your sandbed and it’s affect on dinos? I’ve been struggling with these buggers for some time as evidenced by posts lost to the pages of this monster thread ;) Anyway, as it’s ebbed and flowed from terrible to good to anywhere in between, I’ve finally recognized a pattern. My Dino outbreaks are proportional to the “vigor?” I’ve used with respect to cleaning my sandbed.

So I’ve started some tests. Namely cleaning a very small portion of the bed (like just a coffee mug sized circle) and going out of my way not to disturb or change anything else in the tank. Like clockwork, the portions of the bed I cleaned become infested with dinos after about a week or so. It spills outside the circle, but not into other areas of the undisturbed bed. It appears that an undisturbed bed has whatever balance of biodiversity that makes it inhospitable to the dinos - eventually beating them back. I’m going to do it again, take some pictures before and after, and post here, because it’s quite pronounced.
So what’s going on here? Is it as simple as “my tank lacks biodiversity and a sandbed disturbance is all that’s needed for dinos to flourish?” What should be my course of action here? How many people fighting dinos are seeing reoccurrences after cleaning their sand?
Yes we have debated this in previous pages and I am convinced that "Do not disturb" is the better path of the two when it comes to dinos on/in the sand bed. Those that cling to rock/glass can & should be removed.

Dinos are "edge competitors" doing well when the biome is stressed, rapidly shifting, imbalanced, or under nourished.

I cannot explain why we should baste rock/glass but not the sand bed, but anecdotally, the evidence suggest you not disturb the sand until the outbreak is under control and competition is restored.
 
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Kongar

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Yes we have debated this in previous pages and I am convinced that "Do not disturb" is the better path of the two when it comes to dinos on/in the sand bed. Those that cling to rock/glass can & should be removed.

Dinos are "edge competitors" doing well when the biome is stressed, rapidly shifting, imbalanced, or under nourished.

I cannot explain why we should baste rock/glass but not the sand bed, but anecdotally, the evidence suggest you not disturb the sand until the outbreak is under control and competition is restored.
Any idea on how long it takes for "competition to be restored?" I've gone months with no signs of them before - tank is a year old. Is it ok to just not clean my sandbed at all for like... I dunno, some amount of time that sounds really long and bad? Another year? 0_0 I don't want my sandbed to be the unflushed toilet bowl of my tank :)
 

kinetic

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It's been almost two years without dinos, and I've had some regular bits of algae here and there. I decided to spin up my algae reactor again with chaeto to try to combat that. Chaeto would never grow in my tank without something like chaetogro, so I started dosing Chaetogro and yup, my chaeto is growing nicely.

Of course, the dinos seem to be back suddenly as well.

My options:
1. Forget the algae reactor, go back to what I had before and try to solve the algae issue with a massive cleanup crew
2. Continue the algae reactor, tweak the dosing amounts of chaetogro and hope that the chaeto will outdo the dinos

I'm thinking the second option will not work out, but I'd love for the chaeto to just win all the battles.

My tank has always been ULN for strange unknown reasons. I battled dinos successfully not by dosing phosphates/nitrates, but actually dosing NoPox to build up so much bacteria that there was literally nothing for dinos to eat. My SPS and anemones have survived, but really have had no growth because of it.

So here I am, trying to get to the next level...

Any thoughts? Can enough chaeto do the trick?
 
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ScottB

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Welp, I got the dinos... What kind?
PXL_20210423_001607222.jpg
You have some ostreopsis there. Most toxic, but least difficult to manage away.

UV @ 1 watt per 3 gallons plumbed TO/FROM display temporarily.
Raise nutrients > 10/.1 NO3 and PO4
Run some GAC for toxins
No amino acids.
 

reefinnewb

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You have some ostreopsis there. Most toxic, but least difficult to manage away.

UV @ 1 watt per 3 gallons plumbed TO/FROM display temporarily.
Raise nutrients > 10/.1 NO3 and PO4
Run some GAC for toxins
No amino acids.
Thanks! luckily I anticipated and the uv will be here tomorrow. Funny enough when I had 0/0 I didn't have them. I started dosing no4/Po4 and the next morning had them.. do they happen to make the tank smell sweet?
 

saltyhog

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It's been almost two years without dinos, and I've had some regular bits of algae here and there. I decided to spin up my algae reactor again with chaeto to try to combat that. Chaeto would never grow in my tank without something like chaetogro, so I started dosing Chaetogro and yup, my chaeto is growing nicely.

Of course, the dinos seem to be back suddenly as well.

My options:
1. Forget the algae reactor, go back to what I had before and try to solve the algae issue with a massive cleanup crew
2. Continue the algae reactor, tweak the dosing amounts of chaetogro and hope that the chaeto will outdo the dinos

I'm thinking the second option will not work out, but I'd love for the chaeto to just win all the battles.

My tank has always been ULN for strange unknown reasons. I battled dinos successfully not by dosing phosphates/nitrates, but actually dosing NoPox to build up so much bacteria that there was literally nothing for dinos to eat. My SPS and anemones have survived, but really have had no growth because of it.

So here I am, trying to get to the next level...

Any thoughts? Can enough chaeto do the trick?

I can't think of any scenario where chaeto or any other macro algae help with dinos. In fact chaeto lowering nutrients could have quite the opposite effect.

Going forward, I would be very cautious about trying to battle other pest algae with nutrient lowering efforts. What kinds of algae were you having that triggered the algae reactor restart?
 

ReefMan692

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To be honest I have a 36 watt uv plumbed directly into my return for this entire time and it doesnt seem to magic away or the dinos nor did it prevent them. I push about 400gph through it straight into display.

I mean I guess the feed for the return does come from the sump, not the DT... but thats just also a round about way of saying it comes from the DT because the DT drains to the sump. Dont see the difference is there an explanation?

Maybe my UV needs to be cleaned and stopped functioning properly... thats something ill check into tomorrow!

My update for today is following the instructions given raising nitrates tested at 6pm they seem to be between 5-10 i might dose a little more but this was second day of heavy feed (4 cubes) so maybe not dose anymore.

Monitoring closely.

Kalkwasser in ato didnt work as expected my calcium and alkalinity were rising too high so I couldnt use enough to get ph to 8.5, oh well.

Currently at 9.5alk 580 cal 1300mg 8.1ph
 

saltyhog

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To be honest I have a 36 watt uv plumbed directly into my return for this entire time and it doesnt seem to magic away or the dinos nor did it prevent them. I push about 400gph through it straight into display.

I mean I guess the feed for the return does come from the sump, not the DT... but thats just also a round about way of saying it comes from the DT because the DT drains to the sump. Dont see the difference is there an explanation?

Maybe my UV needs to be cleaned and stopped functioning properly... thats something ill check into tomorrow!

My update for today is following the instructions given raising nitrates tested at 6pm they seem to be between 5-10 i might dose a little more but this was second day of heavy feed (4 cubes) so maybe not dose anymore.

Monitoring closely.

Kalkwasser in ato didnt work as expected my calcium and alkalinity were rising too high so I couldnt use enough to get ph to 8.5, oh well.

Currently at 9.5alk 580 cal 1300mg 8.1ph

I can't explain it for you but our experience is overwhelming that UV plumbed from the sump and back to the sump does not work the vast majority of the time. How big is your tank? Your UV also could be undersized.

Do not chase pH. Not sure where you heard that makes any difference with dinos but as far as I know it doesn't. Sounds like you're doing well with nitrate but get your phosphate up around 0.1.
 

ReefMan692

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I can't explain it for you but our experience is overwhelming that UV plumbed from the sump and back to the sump does not work the vast majority of the time. How big is your tank? Your UV also could be undersized.

Do not chase pH. Not sure where you heard that makes any difference with dinos but as far as I know it doesn't. Sounds like you're doing well with nitrate but get your phosphate up around 0.1.
Tank is about 120 gal total system volume I do understand the sump to sump part, but in my case the UV is plumbed directly in the return so for me the flows DT->sump->return->UV->DT

So that should be good, right? But i need to check into the cleanliness of the unit its about 3 months old at this point probably not working correctly any longer.

On the PH thing, some where i read that seemed credible spiking ph to 8.5 killed dinos but I cant do it with Kalk cause I lack alk/CA uptake by organisms. I dont wanna use any other buffer or anything so i agree with you on that one not chasing it for treatment

Nutrients are up now but the dinos looked bad today -- its only the first day I am fighting tho so I need to give it time.

Should i try another black out tomorrow or would that be worthless at this point? Just thinking maybe itll slow em down but competitors to dinos need light too undoubtedly
 

saltyhog

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Tank is about 120 gal total system volume I do understand the sump to sump part, but in my case the UV is plumbed directly in the return so for me the flows DT->sump->return->UV->DT

So that should be good, right? But i need to check into the cleanliness of the unit its about 3 months old at this point probably not working correctly any longer.

On the PH thing, some where i read that seemed credible spiking ph to 8.5 killed dinos but I cant do it with Kalk cause I lack alk/CA uptake by organisms. I dont wanna use any other buffer or anything so i agree with you on that one not chasing it for treatment

Nutrients are up now but the dinos looked bad today. Should i try another black out tomorrow or would that be worthless at this point?

No, plumbed that way will not work. Your UV is also undersized for your tank (a little).

It is a good idea to check the sleeve on your UV....with your efforts at raising pH you may have caused precipitation on the sleeve that makes the UV ineffective.

I wouldn't worry with a black out. Ostreopsis go in to the water column at night anyway. A total blackout may just provide more stress to already compromised corals. Are you running GAC? Ostreopsis is very toxic.
 

ReefMan692

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I can't think of any scenario where chaeto or any other macro algae help with dinos. In fact chaeto lowering nutrients could have quite the opposite effect.

Going forward, I would be very cautious about trying to battle other pest algae with nutrient lowering efforts. What kinds of algae were you having that triggered the algae reactor restart?
I mean really though this doesnt make the most sense to me. Isnt chaeto a competitor for resources? It seems to me a healthy fuge growing chaeto efficiently neccesarily would hinder the onset of Dinoflagellate blooms if anything we ever float as theory is even remotely true.

Thought experiment -- If a tank has high nutrients spurring chaeto growth, which in turn lowers the nutrients. Is that a high nutrient system or a low nutrient system. I would argue the former.

If algae is a competitor against dinos and relies on elevated nutrients for growth, then a healthy fuge growing chaeto should mean your not likely to encounter the dinos according to the best info available.

First of all, isnt the fact that chaeto is growing well in a fuge evidence that the system has ample nutrients? Secondly, while tested nutrients might be low because of the succrss of the algae, surely this would lead to stifling the dinos from blooming.

Maybe I am a moron but I cant understand some of the advice that floats around tis very confusing but I start to get idea nobody knows what they are talkin about! Lol.

Of course, i dont know what Im talking about either-- so there is that.
 
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WHAT WATER CHANGE "PERCENTAGE" MAKES IT WORTH DOING?

  • 5% - 10%

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  • 10% - 20%

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  • 20% - 30%

    Votes: 183 23.5%
  • 30% - 40%

    Votes: 25 3.2%
  • 40% - 50%

    Votes: 18 2.3%
  • 50% or more

    Votes: 8 1.0%
  • No water change is worth it

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    Votes: 23 3.0%
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