Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

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ScottB

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@ScottB I didn't follow advice, but, hoping this isn't too bad. After a month of battling cyano, I decided to use chemiclean. Before using it I verified I was up against cyano. Well, the chemiclean worked. Sandbed is clean, etc. I noticed some brown goop growing. I was able to get it under scope today and its dinos. Now, it's not all over the tank, just in small spots and I know dino is always present. I'm running a 90w uv on my 275(vol) setup, wondering if I should do anything else? I noticed the dino is starting to cover some corals, but not horribly bad. It's mostly covering some gha on the back wall and very little on the rocks. When I scoped it, it looks like osteo, but it's not moving. Pics and vid below.


Tested params today
35ppt/78*
15ppm no3
0.19 po4 (was 0.08 pre chemiclean)
460ca
1500mg
8.0 dkh
Wow. I have never seen such lifeless ostreopsis like that before. They look kinda crispy as if they are fresh out of the UV sleeve.

@taricha have you ever seen this before?

It is almost a given that you will get a dino bloom after Chemiclean. Otherwise, I think you are running a not-so-hospitable environment for them, so they will likely calm down.
 
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ScottB

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Just got mine in today. I'm impressed how much life (used) to be alive on these rocks, but my god it has stunk up my entire house
Yeah my rock had an extra couple of days to cook so I know what smell you are referring to. I scrubbed and rinsed (w/ salt water) in the garage to keep the stench outside.
 

BostonReefer300

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R2R Friends, I could really use some help as I'm at wits end. To recap briefly, I was battling dinos for the first time in years. Didn't confirm the exact type by microscope, but it was brown snot with bubbles that stayed in the same general places on my rocks. I did a dirty tank method (no water changes, no skim collection). The brown snot went away after 4 weeks, but the bubbles didn't. I still haven't been doing any water changes (6 weeks now), but my skimmer has been collecting again for the past couple weeks. UV and carbon have both been going the whole time. I've struggled to keep my nitrate up at 2.5ppm and my PO4 at 0.02 despite no water changes and only a tiny ball of chaeto in my fuge---and that's dying anyway. Now it looks like I also have a cyano outbreak plus I have a whole bunch of brownish fuzz algae all over my rocks. My corals are losing color, my bubble tip anemone looks stressed (half retracted), my Elegance coral is also retracted and stressed, my sea apple hasn't extended its feeders in several days---and I feel like my whole tank is just going to crap.
I feel like I need to go back to doing water changes, but I'm afraid this will make my dinos worse. I'm also unclear if I need to do regular water changes anymore (other than removing about a gallon of skimmate a week) since I'm dosing Aquaforest's 3-component bundle and all my water parameters look great by Triton ICP-OES testing.
I'm attaching some pictures and would love to know if you think I still have dinos and if you think I'm doing something wrong here. I spent years with a relatively simple tank setup and trying to keep my nutrients at zero since I didn't have much coral. Now that I'm trying to keep more SPS and some detectable nutrients, I've got lots of problems.
My tank equipment can be found in my signature link. My parameters are all solid and stable (80F, 1.026SG, pH 7.9 - 8.2, 8.5 dKH, 450ppm Ca, 1330pm Mg, 2.5ppm NO3, 0.02ppm PO4, and all others by recent Triton Labs ICP-OES looked fine).
Thanks for your help
IMG_3738.JPG IMG_3739.JPG IMG_3740.JPG IMG_3744.JPG IMG_3745.JPG IMG_3746.JPG
 

ScottB

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R2R Friends, I could really use some help as I'm at wits end. To recap briefly, I was battling dinos for the first time in years. Didn't confirm the exact type by microscope, but it was brown snot with bubbles that stayed in the same general places on my rocks. I did a dirty tank method (no water changes, no skim collection). The brown snot went away after 4 weeks, but the bubbles didn't. I still haven't been doing any water changes (6 weeks now), but my skimmer has been collecting again for the past couple weeks. UV and carbon have both been going the whole time. I've struggled to keep my nitrate up at 2.5ppm and my PO4 at 0.02 despite no water changes and only a tiny ball of chaeto in my fuge---and that's dying anyway. Now it looks like I also have a cyano outbreak plus I have a whole bunch of brownish fuzz algae all over my rocks. My corals are losing color, my bubble tip anemone looks stressed (half retracted), my Elegance coral is also retracted and stressed, my sea apple hasn't extended its feeders in several days---and I feel like my whole tank is just going to crap.
I feel like I need to go back to doing water changes, but I'm afraid this will make my dinos worse. I'm also unclear if I need to do regular water changes anymore (other than removing about a gallon of skimmate a week) since I'm dosing Aquaforest's 3-component bundle and all my water parameters look great by Triton ICP-OES testing.
I'm attaching some pictures and would love to know if you think I still have dinos and if you think I'm doing something wrong here. I spent years with a relatively simple tank setup and trying to keep my nutrients at zero since I didn't have much coral. Now that I'm trying to keep more SPS and some detectable nutrients, I've got lots of problems.
My tank equipment can be found in my signature link. My parameters are all solid and stable (80F, 1.026SG, pH 7.9 - 8.2, 8.5 dKH, 450ppm Ca, 1330pm Mg, 2.5ppm NO3, 0.02ppm PO4, and all others by recent Triton Labs ICP-OES looked fine).
Thanks for your help
IMG_3738.JPG IMG_3739.JPG IMG_3740.JPG IMG_3744.JPG IMG_3745.JPG IMG_3746.JPG
Work with what you understand your coral needs are for your system first. In my systems, your residual nutrient levels aren't quite sufficient but mine are accustomed to excess levels. Yours may not be.

Return to husbandry that kept them happy and WATCH. Look at how the corals respond first, then how the dinos are doing. Forget about about cyano for a bit. They are transitional organisms, always coming and going when the biome is in some flux. Ugly and tedious but that is about it.

Get the corals happy first. Then iterate on the dinos. Cyano I don't chase at all. Once my PO4 and NO3 have been stable for a bit they just go away over time. I can take a little bit.
 

BostonReefer300

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Thanks @ScottB I've definitely been super stressed about the dinos since I've never dealt with them before over the past decade. Based on what I've read about them being so toxic potentially, I just got plain panicked---especially with all the new coral and livestock I've put in my tank over the past months. Maybe I'll take things slowly and just do a 10% water change to make myself feel better and see how things look a few days after that. And I'll do my best not to give into any urges to do anything else different in the meantime so as not to put too many variables in play.
 
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I concur. Cyano is a minor nuisance that corrects itself -- sometimes with the help of a little siphon vac.

I had cyano in my bedroom tank for past 2 weeks but remained calm kept to routines cleaned and vacd and as of today it disappeared!

As for the dinos, as I am learning here -- 0.02 is not enough nutrients for your corals, but at the same time given the amount of GHA i see in your picture it seems like your nutrient probably very high but GHA been gobbling it up.

Ive had luck with my big system by raising and keeping po4 raised by increasing tank feeding (fish are happy about it) but also in the beginning going pretty hard with NEOPHOS. Not something to dose daily unless your not feeding, but in my case I needed to jump start system with about 20ml a day for 3 to 4 days (130 gal) before I finally hit 0.1 now its staying there for past few days. I really wouldnt recommend you dose anything though for nutrients given all the GHA.

I also introduced new life to battle with the dinos so, not only shifted the nutrients out of their favor but also directly added live competitors.

I hit tank with live rotifiers, pods, and phyto in the past 2 days. I received a new UV and installed it yesterday, today, i also vacuumed the sand bed.

Ive seen film algae coming on the glass so I think its a good sign.

The dinos were on the losing end of the battle today for sure. Still saw a few especially towards evening hours but it was the best day my tank has had in a few weeks.

For me I had the GHA blues a few months back but I got Juiced up by Brandon and I went KOBRA KAI on them.

Unfortunately reef keeping is about the YING and the YANG -- as I am still learning myself. Sometimes we do need to Kobra Kai the invaders into submission, but we also need to know when to Mr. Miyagi as well. Balance is necessary. Kobra Kai one thing too hard and might replace it with something even worse.
 
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ReefMan692

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Dont under estimate the power of a sand vacuuming direct removal of the dinos, also engage in smart warfare. Hit them when they are bubbling (photosynthesis hitting its peak I suppose).

I dont like 4 day blackouts or whatever and I dont think they work entirely anyways. But I am a big proponent of adjusting your light schedule as needed to dampen their photosynthesis.

On the particularly bad days, i would 24 hour lights out, then the next day tank would always look better until evening so sometimes Id cut lights short. But never did lights off for mroe than 24. I am just using the lights as another weapon to wage this war against the dinosq in a fine controlled way.

The lights helped me keep it from getting out of control while I got my nutrients up, my UV replaced, and made arrangement for other weaponry like pods and phyto and rotifiers

Dont feed them carbon or fatty acids they seem to like it, we can get back to those routines later!

Forget the nonsense about not scrubbing or attacking them if you already have a large outbreak, i say attack them head on especially in evening hours before lights out. This also send them into water column which is good for UV.

At the end of the day when I see them bubbling I just want to go KOBRA KAI on them for the sake of it, because why should they be so happy? Lol;)

Anyways im not an expert but this thread has given me hope and I am still optimistic that I am winning the battle!
 
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ReefMan692

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Just got mine in today. I'm impressed how much life (used) to be alive on these rocks, but my god it has stunk up my entire house
Ive had good luck with LIVEROCKNREEF "Home of da famous Florida Primo Deco Live Rock". Bill, the manager der buried dem rocks himself over 20 years ago da last time da bears won a superbowl.

Im just kidding, but if you ever talk to Bll on the phone you'll realize that he sounds like the old bears skit from SNL -- Bill Schwartzky's Super Fans lol. Must have migrated to florida from up north!

The sweet live rocks didnt save my tank from a dinoflagellste invasion (which actually happened 3 weeks after I added the rock).

But, I was dumb. I added rocks directly into DT didnt let any die off happen in a seperate container or anything... within a week I had quite a lot of detritus building on sand and a pretty "ocean" smell coming from my tank. I remarked to my wife that our tank literally smelled like the atlantic.

I didnt realize why at the time lol. Noobie!

I ended up taking all but one of those rocks out of the tank to stop the dirtying. I figured they spent over a week in there and whatever "biological magic" they had on the surface had to migrate to surrounding rocks.

It wasnt too long after that while attempting to "clean up the tank" that I crashed phosphate down to zero with lanathanum chloride and, you guesssed it.... que the dinos!
 
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taricha

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Wow. I have never seen such lifeless ostreopsis like that before. They look kinda crispy as if they are fresh out of the UV sleeve.

@taricha have you ever seen this before?

It is almost a given that you will get a dino bloom after Chemiclean. Otherwise, I think you are running a not-so-hospitable environment for them, so they will likely calm down.

possible that the UV has done a lot of work on them. Also, when conditions are unfavorable, ostreopsis will add an extra layer to their shell and become resting cysts. This can be for a short time (a few days), or they can be cyst mode for the winter and come back when the temp gets warm again.
 
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I concur. Cyano is a minor nuisance that corrects itself -- sometimes with the help of a little siphon vac.

I had cyano in my bedroom tank for past 2 weeks but remained calm kept to routines cleaned and vacd and as of today it disappeared!

As for the dinos, as I am learning here -- 0.02 is not enough nutrients for your corals, but at the same time given the amount of GHA i see in your picture it seems like your nutrient probably very high but GHA been gobbling it up.

Ive had luck with my big system by raising and keeping po4 raised by increasing tank feeding (fish are happy about it) but also in the beginning going pretty hard with NEOPHOS. Not something to dose daily unless your not feeding, but in my case I needed to jump start system with about 20ml a day for 3 to 4 days (130 gal) before I finally hit 0.1 now its staying there for past few days. I really wouldnt recommend you dose anything though for nutrients given all the GHA.

I also introduced new life to battle with the dinos so, not only shifted the nutrients out of their favor but also directly added live competitors.

I hit tank with live rotifiers, pods, and phyto in the past 2 days. I received a new UV and installed it yesterday, today, i also vacuumed the sand bed.

Ive seen film algae coming on the glass so I think its a good sign.

The dinos were on the losing end of the battle today for sure. Still saw a few especially towards evening hours but it was the best day my tank has had in a few weeks.

For me I had the GHA blues a few months back but I got Juiced up by Brandon and I went KOBRA KAI on them.

Unfortunately reef keeping is about the YING and the YANG -- as I am still learning myself. Sometimes we do need to Kobra Kai the invaders into submission, but we also need to know when to Mr. Miyagi as well. Balance is necessary. Kobra Kai one thing too hard and might replace it with something even worse.
Thanks @ReefMan692! I love the Karate Kid reference! One of the greatest cheesy movies of all time! I appreciate your advice and you sharing your own experience. I don't think I have GHA. The fuzz on the rocks is just a film like algae that historically appears anytime my phosphate level becomes detectable. However, I think you're right in that my peak phosphate level is likely higher than 0.02ppm (which is probably best thought of as the residual level I guess) and that consumption by the corals and algae are masking the peak level. (Same with nitrate.). I've been dosing both Seachem Flourish Nitrogen and Phosphorus a couple times a week to keep the levels of 2.5 and 0.02 ppm...but I probably need to start thinking about these target levels differently in my tank. If I think about them as residual levels and use them (and the appearance of the film algae and the health of my corals) as a way to extrapolate what my peak levels are (impossible to figure out of course given all the variables, but I'll assume that in my tank peak levels equal 3X residual levels---at least at current coral/algae levels), that should help me dial-in what I'm doing about supplementation (and feeding). Here's my immediate plan:
- Skip today's scheduled NO3 and PO4 supplementation
- 10% water change today and wait a day
- test parameters tomorrow
- if NO3 and PO4 are half of previous target (ie 1.25 and 0.01), leave alone for a couple days, otherwise supplement to get to new levels and wait a couple days
- observe and then adjust attack plans accordingly (eg change dosing/feeding, use Vibrant again, start using GFO again, go back to old water change schedule, etc., etc.)
 

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My Dinos are back, killing everything, blanketing everything. I never did a microscope check before, but here it is. Can someone help me identify and give me a good plan of attack?

In the past I tried increasing PO4/NO3 for weeks, and it just made the dinos worse. The way I "won" temporarily was I used DinoX and then started dosing NoPox and built up so much bacteria that nothing could basically live. Dinos were kept to a minimum. Then I stopped dosing NoPox for over a year and there were no issues, but then I started up my chaeto in my algae reactor and started dosing Brightwell Chaetogro. While my chaeto is growing, the dinos came back as well.

Here are the photos with a video as well:

My Microscope (a cheapo kids one I think)

xJztvkl.jpg


Best I could do with the microscope. It was shakey AF:

nYAluGW.jpg


A video of me trying to hold still as possible. This microscope doesn't have a way to keep things still, it's plastic and just has a single layer that I blooped some dinos onto. It's a drop of water that wiggles like a ****. Sorry.

ocV26zr.mp4

 

BostonReefer300

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My Dinos are back, killing everything, blanketing everything. I never did a microscope check before, but here it is. Can someone help me identify and give me a good plan of attack?

In the past I tried increasing PO4/NO3 for weeks, and it just made the dinos worse. The way I "won" temporarily was I used DinoX and then started dosing NoPox and built up so much bacteria that nothing could basically live. Dinos were kept to a minimum. Then I stopped dosing NoPox for over a year and there were no issues, but then I started up my chaeto in my algae reactor and started dosing Brightwell Chaetogro. While my chaeto is growing, the dinos came back as well.

Here are the photos with a video as well:

My Microscope (a cheapo kids one I think)

xJztvkl.jpg


Best I could do with the microscope. It was shakey AF:

nYAluGW.jpg


A video of me trying to hold still as possible. This microscope doesn't have a way to keep things still, it's plastic and just has a single layer that I blooped some dinos onto. It's a drop of water that wiggles like a ****. Sorry.

ocV26zr.mp4

Here's a document by @taricha which someone shared yesterday. Super helpful. To me, it looks like you have Ostreopsis, but I'm definitely no dino expert. I've read on this forum that a UV with correct size and flow is a good way to combat that type of dino
 

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kinetic

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Here's a document by @taricha which someone shared yesterday. Super helpful. To me, it looks like you have Ostreopsis, but I'm definitely no dino expert. I've read on this forum that a UV with correct size and flow is a good way to combat that type of dino

Yeah, I saw that PDF as well. As far as I can tell, it's ostreopsis, but I'm not entirely sure? My microscope is pretty crappy. Hoping someone with a lot of experience might be able to say for sure.

It has a lighter colored tip, it doesn't have an indent, and it's not super round. It also attaches to everything (corals, sand, you name it) and isn't just on the sand.

So I'm guessing it's Ostreopsis.

I'm currently running an Aqua UV 8 watt, with about 100gph running through it. I'm hoping that's going to work!
 

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Yeah, I saw that PDF as well. As far as I can tell, it's ostreopsis, but I'm not entirely sure? My microscope is pretty crappy. Hoping someone with a lot of experience might be able to say for sure.

It has a lighter colored tip, it doesn't have an indent, and it's not super round. It also attaches to everything (corals, sand, you name it) and isn't just on the sand.

So I'm guessing it's Ostreopsis.

I'm currently running an Aqua UV 8 watt, with about 100gph running through it. I'm hoping that's going to work!
Agree ostreopsis. What size is your tank? Edit, I see it’s a 170, so about 45 gallons ish. The 8 watt UV is probably undersized but worth a shot. You will need to run it to and from display tank temporarily to have any chance though. Ideally, you would have at least 1 watt UV per every 3 gallons. So about 15 watts or more.
 
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Agree ostreopsis. What size is your tank? Edit, I see it’s a 170, so about 45 gallons ish. The 8 watt UV is probably undersized but worth a shot. You will need to run it to and from display tank temporarily to have any chance though. Ideally, you would have at least 1 watt UV per every 3 gallons. So about 15 watts or more.

The Aqua UV 15 watt unit looks like the same size as my Aqua UV 8 watt. Could I just swap the bulb out with a 15 watt version?

I guess I can grab a temporary HOB UV and just stick it on the tank?
 

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FWIW my battle with ostreo has been going well. Ive been on the attack following all advice given here -- I did not, however, hook up the UV DT to DT.

My UV is plumbed directly into my return. I am using a 25 watt aquauv on a system with about 100 actual gallons of water.


However, I attacked the dinoflagellates on 3 levels:

1) UV
2) Elevated nutrients following suggestions in this thread (0.1 phos, 10 nitrate)
3) Live Competitors - in the past week Ive added a literal TON of Copepods, Phyto and even live Rotifiers. Different strains from different companies and I didnt mess around with the phyto either. I got some really, really nice phyto from ALAGEN A+ highly recommend. I dosed the full liter straight into the tank 3 days ago along with pods and normal sized dosing of rotifiers.

I believe I have them under total control as of today, no sign of them anywhere in the tank. Tank inhabaitants including acros are all seem to be doing great.

UV that is properly working and serviced is probably the biggest help but dont underestimate changing the biome and shifting the balance out of their favor because I believe at least 50% of the success is stemming from that.

I am watching nutrient levels closely. I dont want them to swing TOO HARD in the other direction but for now all is good in the reef!
 
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BostonReefer300

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FWIW my battle with ostreo has been going well. Ive been on the attack following all advice given here -- I did not, however, hook up the UV DT to DT.

My UV is plumbed directly into my return. I am using a 25 watt aquauv on a system with about 100 actual gallons of water.


However, I attacked the dinoflagellates on 3 levels:

1) UV
2) Elevated nutrients following suggestions in this thread (0.1 phos, 10 nitrate)
3) Live Competitors - in the past week Ive added a literal TON of Copepods, Phyto and even live Rotifiers. Different strains from different companies and I didnt mess around with the phyto either. I got some really, really nice phyto from ALAGEN A+ highly recommend. I dosed the full liter straight into the tank 3 days ago along with pods and normal sized dosing of rotifiers.

I believe I have them under total control as of today, no sign of them anywhere in the tank. Tank inhabaitants including acros are all seem to be doing great.

UV that is properly working and serviced is probably the biggest help but dont underestimate changing the biome and shifting the balance out of their favor because I believe at least 50% of the success is stemming from that.

I am watching nutrient levels closely. I dont want them to swing TOO HARD in the other direction but for now all is good in the reef!
I'm really encouraged by your success although I'm still very much struggling with them. My dirty tank method led to a nuisance algae explosion almost overnight one night this week and I still can't get rid of the dinos---despite a powerful UV with rapid tank turnover. I'm also dosing phyto daily and my system is teeming with copepods despite having 5 wrasses. I decided to abandon the dirty tank approach and start an aggressive approach. We'll see how it goes after a couple weeks. Anyway, congrats on your success and enjoy your clean tank!
 

ScottB

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I'm really encouraged by your success although I'm still very much struggling with them. My dirty tank method led to a nuisance algae explosion almost overnight one night this week and I still can't get rid of the dinos---despite a powerful UV with rapid tank turnover. I'm also dosing phyto daily and my system is teeming with copepods despite having 5 wrasses. I decided to abandon the dirty tank approach and start an aggressive approach. We'll see how it goes after a couple weeks. Anyway, congrats on your success and enjoy your clean tank!
I don't recall which dino you have, but hopefully one that likes to swim at night. If so -- and the UV isn't cutting it -- I would highly recommend VERY SLOW flow through the unit. Dinos are not algae, they are not bacteria nor protozoa. They are armored protists. They can handle some UV exposure just fine. You want to broil these things not tan them.
 

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I don't recall which dino you have, but hopefully one that likes to swim at night. If so -- and the UV isn't cutting it -- I would highly recommend VERY SLOW flow through the unit. Dinos are not algae, they are not bacteria nor protozoa. They are armored protists. They can handle some UV exposure just fine. You want to broil these things not tan them.
Thanks ScottB! I’m waiting on another microscope for ID bc the first one I ordered was a useless piece of . I have a Pentair 50 watt Smart HO UV for my system (300G net water volume) which is designed for saltwater systems up to 330G net volume. I have it on a closed loop system in my sump fed by a dedicated 1800gph pump with a ball valve for flow control. Changing plumbing to have UV direct inline with DT isn’t an option for me, but I’ve got 3X/hr system volume turnover going through my sump so I think I’m ok on that front. For uV flow, I’ve got it tuned high flow for bacteria and algae currently. I’ll take your advice and lower flow to nuke things to a crisp. Will report back in a few days. Thx!
 
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