Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

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ReefMan692

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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!
Well, I think you are breaking a few guidelines: one guideline is the UV should be whatever your system gallons are /3 (or as close to that as you can get it, mine is more like divided by 4) but in your case the UV is only 50watt for 300gal that is divided by 6 so many would consider not big enough.

Secondly since you are closed loop sump to sump its sort of a passive filtration into the UV not 100% effective so you are not following the guidelines on that front either.

The 1800gph pump sounds like its pushing the water too fast through your UV as previous poster said you want to BROIL them so maybe slow it down with a valve.

Also, since you cant plumb it into the return could you temporarily make it loop from SUMP-> DT? That would be a big improvement IMO

3x tank turnover in my humble opinion is pretty low. Some might say good enough, but its on the low end. That coupled with passive UV filtration could be hindering you.


Something to consider!

The other thing I forgot to mention earlier is some good manual removal I did a good substrate vac and as often as possible I tried to coax the dinos into water column especially at night time when lights go down. (Scrub them off walls, rocks, etc and help get them into the UV)
 
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ReefMan692

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Also can you tell us how old your system is? FWiW the dirty tank method doesnt work "overnight" so to speak. Algae bloom is almost desireable over dinoflagellates.

Seems odd both can be blooming at same time but algae fights dinos for nutrients and "space". So ultimately if it is algae thats blooming -- dont panic because thats preferable to dinos. Let it happen, outcompete the dinos and then solve the algae later.
 

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I have a tooon of hair algae and have left it untouched for months. Amphidinium dinos aren't even phased by their presence in the tank.
 

ScottB

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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!
Your welcome and I hope it helps. I think you are correct about 50 watt size for typical use cases like algae, bacteria, some fish parasites. The general rule of thumb for dinos is 1 watt per 3 gallons. I managed to get by with slightly less, but I was running very slow and TO/FROM the display.

Once you're able to get some decent video of your species, we will have a better idea of further steps.
 

ReefMan692

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I have a tooon of hair algae and have left it untouched for months. Amphidinium dinos aren't even phased by their presence in the tank.
I dont have any experience with amphidinium it may be more difficult to tackle.

I dont think I would let GHA pile up too much tho. Id work on some mechanical filtering of both the GHA and Amphidium..

GHA is a tough one almost as bad as the dinos.

Harder still to deal with both at once I bet!!!
 
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Your welcome and I hope it helps. I think you are correct about 50 watt size for typical use cases like algae, bacteria, some fish parasites. The general rule of thumb for dinos is 1 watt per 3 gallons. I managed to get by with slightly less, but I was running very slow and TO/FROM the display.

Once you're able to get some decent video of your species, we will have a better idea of further steps.
Thanks again. My new microscope just arrived last night. I'll scrape a sample and take pics later today when the little buggers are bubbling.
 

BostonReefer300

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Thanks ReefMan692. I appreciate you continuing to help in the war! Some answers/responses:
Well, I think you are breaking a few guidelines: one guideline is the UV should be whatever your system gallons are /3 (or as close to that as you can get it, mine is more like divided by 4) but in your case the UV is only 50watt for 300gal that is divided by 6 so many would consider not big enough.
The pentair Smart High Output UVs give more irradiation than most UVs. The 50 watt version that I have is designed for up to 330G net water volume, so I'm at the upper limit of its effective range but still within it. Also, after reading some other posts about true UV wattage (ie UV units not operating at advertised wattage), I confirmed with my Apex that it's pulling the power it should.
Secondly since you are closed loop sump to sump its sort of a passive filtration into the UV not 100% effective so you are not following the guidelines on that front either.
I've got it plumbed so that intake comes from the skim compartment (2nd compartment, right after felt filter socks) and output goes into return pump compartment (all water goes directly back to DT from pump compartment). Therefore, I'm missing anything that gets caught up in the socks (>200 micron size, but dinos are ~ 50 micron so they're mostly passing through the socks anyway, right?), but otherwise feel like I can irradiate my net volume pretty efficiently given my tank flow and my ability to tune the UV flow across a wide range. That being said, it direct in/out from/to the DT/UV would irradiate a higher fraction of DT water/hour since I'm obviously limited by what my system pumps and plumbing can move (~900gph total).
3x tank turnover in my humble opinion is pretty low. Some might say good enough, but its on the low end. That coupled with passive UV filtration could be hindering you.
I wish I could get up to 5x turnover, but I'm limited by the Marineland overflow plumbing plus my own plumbing. I've got two Sicce Syncra SDC 9.0s for returns (2500gph each) running full tilt, but I'm maxed out at 900gph system flow. Annoying! Anyway, I've read that large tanks frequently have this problem and that I should be grateful I can get 3x flow.

On other notes: tank is ~ 5 years old, but I did a big overhaul (see tank build thread) at the beginning of the year. I'll try scrubbing a portion of the rocks this evening as you suggest to see how that works. I'll post pics from my new microscope later today as well. Thanks again!
 

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Thanks ReefMan692. I appreciate you continuing to help in the war! Some answers/responses:

The pentair Smart High Output UVs give more irradiation than most UVs. The 50 watt version that I have is designed for up to 330G net water volume, so I'm at the upper limit of its effective range but still within it. Also, after reading some other posts about true UV wattage (ie UV units not operating at advertised wattage), I confirmed with my Apex that it's pulling the power it should.

I've got it plumbed so that intake comes from the skim compartment (2nd compartment, right after felt filter socks) and output goes into return pump compartment (all water goes directly back to DT from pump compartment). Therefore, I'm missing anything that gets caught up in the socks (>200 micron size, but dinos are ~ 50 micron so they're mostly passing through the socks anyway, right?), but otherwise feel like I can irradiate my net volume pretty efficiently given my tank flow and my ability to tune the UV flow across a wide range. That being said, it direct in/out from/to the DT/UV would irradiate a higher fraction of DT water/hour since I'm obviously limited by what my system pumps and plumbing can move (~900gph total).

I wish I could get up to 5x turnover, but I'm limited by the Marineland overflow plumbing plus my own plumbing. I've got two Sicce Syncra SDC 9.0s for returns (2500gph each) running full tilt, but I'm maxed out at 900gph system flow. Annoying! Anyway, I've read that large tanks frequently have this problem and that I should be grateful I can get 3x flow.

On other notes: tank is ~ 5 years old, but I did a big overhaul (see tank build thread) at the beginning of the year. I'll try scrubbing a portion of the rocks this evening as you suggest to see how that works. I'll post pics from my new microscope later today as well. Thanks again!
I say its "passive" because it is not grabbing everything and you cant be sure what it is missing really.

They suggest dt-> dt is best to guarantee you are getting a good bulk of it, but I have mine directly in the return line, which is still a little different from yours.

In your case, you are correct that everything that the UV pump sucks up in the skim compartment gets sent to your DT, but would not be correct to assume this is 100% of the water that is passing through the sump.

I hear ya on the UV rating, mine is rated for 150 but some of the folks in this thread advised me its too small and they are probably right. However, it did seem to do the job. I am at tank volume divided by 4 on UV watts

The gallon volume divided by 3 is a good rule I guess because the UV is supposed to be oversized actually to guarantee the best results. UVs are expensive tho but given your tank size might be time to consider upgrade depending on how fed up you are.

On the bright side if you upgraded you could set it up closed loop dt to dt temporarily while you handle this issue before making it more permanent. Depends on how stressed this issue is making you whether or not you want to spend $$ to solve it but i understand not wanting to. Is it possible for you to just extend the hose and move the pump from the skim compartment into your dt (temporarily?), should be easy enough to get some longer hoses and temporarily re-route it. Could even leave it keep returning to the return chamber but would need a longer hose.

Not sure what else you can try, adjust biome out of its favor, mechanical clean, and wack it with the UV seems to be the best trifecta approach.

Wishing you the best luck!!!
 

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Thanks @ReefMan692. I originally had the UV in my return line, but moved it in order to maximize my tank turnover flow. Granted, I only got an extra 75gph from the move, but I needed any extra system flow I could get per our earlier discussion. I definitely know I'm not touching all the sump water before it gets back to the DT. I'm limited by the relationship between my system flow and whatever I have my UV pump set at. Plumbing a temporary DT direct loop would be a non-trivial undertaking, but something I might have to consider. I might also need to get a bigger UV. You're right, they get darn expensive especially for a tank my size. Given all I've spent on my recent tank re-boot, I think my wife might kill me if she sees another big box get delivered though. Anyway, I may have no choice. Didn't get to do the sample collection and microscopic evaluation last night due to Mother's Day. Will do so tonight. Thanks again
 

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I dont have any experience with amphidinium it may be more difficult to tackle.

I dont think I would let GHA pile up too much tho. Id work on some mechanical filtering of both the GHA and Amphidium..

GHA is a tough one almost as bad as the dinos.

Harder still to deal with both at once I bet!!!
I'm going to pull my sand within the next couple days to see if it helps. I'll tackle the GHA from there if it works
 
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I was reading a few conflicting suggestions for battling Ostreopsis on top of running a UV:
1. Some dosed Microbacter 7
2. Some increased PO4/NO3

To me this seems to be the opposite. Microbacter seems to just increase bacteria growth (is it like NoPox?) to strip the system of even more so that the dinos starve. Is that wrong? Whereas some are increasing po4/no3 which seems to be counter to that completely, and, IMO, feed the dinos.

Also, others are throwing in tons of phytoplankton etc.

But overall, won't the UV just kill all of that?
 

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I was reading a few conflicting suggestions for battling Ostreopsis on top of running a UV:
1. Some dosed Microbacter 7
2. Some increased PO4/NO3

To me this seems to be the opposite. Microbacter seems to just increase bacteria growth (is it like NoPox?) to strip the system of even more so that the dinos starve. Is that wrong? Whereas some are increasing po4/no3 which seems to be counter to that completely, and, IMO, feed the dinos.

Also, others are throwing in tons of phytoplankton etc.

But overall, won't the UV just kill all of that?
For ostreopsis, it is pretty straightforward.
a) Elevate nutrients to 10/.1
b) Run UV at 1 watt per 3 gallons with SLOW flow
c) Run some GAC to knock down toxins

While I am a fan of MB7 under normal or high nutrient conditions, it is cross purpose when you are trying to elevate nutrients. The purpose of nutrient elevation is encourage competitors to hold space -- like film algae.
 

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Hello all (including @ScottB @ReefMan692 @taricha and others that have been so helpful already)
Finally, here's a picture from using my new microscope (which is also a piece of junk by the way). In any case, this looks like prorocentrum right? I saw several of them in the slide. They all looked pretty much the same. None were moving. In macro appearance, you can see previous pictures I posted, but there's very little brown slime associated with the infestation. However, whole bunch of bubbles that reappear in same spots late in the peak light period. Nothing on sand, just on rocks and tend to be middle (~125-150 PAR) and high (~200+ PAR) in my aquascape. (Oddly enough, not on my corner overflow dividers---neither on my loc-line return tubing/jets). I've turned down my UV flow to 100GPH. Assuming this is prorocentrum, I have to encourage them into the water column right? Scrape the affected areas I can get to and turkey baste? Also, do a day or two of no light?
[As a reminder: I'm in the middle of going Cobra Kai on my tank due to algae outbreak following my experiment with dirty tank method. A couple of 10-15% water changes within a week, running GFO, wet skimming, UV (now with flow reduced), Vibrant, and Microbacter7. I also stopped dosing any NO3 or PO4. I realize that I need to keep an eye on nutrients so I don't go double zero or risk a bigger dino explosion. Right now, I'm steady at about 2-4ppm NO3 and 0.03 PO4 which is coming partially from algae die-off. I'm monitoring those values twice a day now given all the moving parts including algae die-off. All my other major parameters are textbook. Recent Triton ICP-OES showed everything else as fine.]
dino.jpeg
 

BostonReefer300

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Hello all (including @ScottB @ReefMan692 @taricha and others that have been so helpful already)
Finally, here's a picture from using my new microscope (which is also a piece of junk by the way). In any case, this looks like prorocentrum right? I saw several of them in the slide. They all looked pretty much the same. None were moving. In macro appearance, you can see previous pictures I posted, but there's very little brown slime associated with the infestation. However, whole bunch of bubbles that reappear in same spots late in the peak light period. Nothing on sand, just on rocks and tend to be middle (~125-150 PAR) and high (~200+ PAR) in my aquascape. (Oddly enough, not on my corner overflow dividers---neither on my loc-line return tubing/jets). I've turned down my UV flow to 100GPH. Assuming this is prorocentrum, I have to encourage them into the water column right? Scrape the affected areas I can get to and turkey baste? Also, do a day or two of no light?
[As a reminder: I'm in the middle of going Cobra Kai on my tank due to algae outbreak following my experiment with dirty tank method. A couple of 10-15% water changes within a week, running GFO, wet skimming, UV (now with flow reduced), Vibrant, and Microbacter7. I also stopped dosing any NO3 or PO4. I realize that I need to keep an eye on nutrients so I don't go double zero or risk a bigger dino explosion. Right now, I'm steady at about 2-4ppm NO3 and 0.03 PO4 which is coming partially from algae die-off. I'm monitoring those values twice a day now given all the moving parts including algae die-off. All my other major parameters are textbook. Recent Triton ICP-OES showed everything else as fine.]
dino.jpeg
And of course, many many thanks!
 

taricha

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@BostonReefer300 if that's the pic we're going off of, then I lean ostreopsis. but that's out of step with the rest of your account.
Got any other pics or vid?
 
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ReefMan692

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I was reading a few conflicting suggestions for battling Ostreopsis on top of running a UV:
1. Some dosed Microbacter 7
2. Some increased PO4/NO3

To me this seems to be the opposite. Microbacter seems to just increase bacteria growth (is it like NoPox?) to strip the system of even more so that the dinos starve. Is that wrong? Whereas some are increasing po4/no3 which seems to be counter to that completely, and, IMO, feed the dinos.

Also, others are throwing in tons of phytoplankton etc.

But overall, won't the UV just kill all of that?
UV can kill live plankton but not necessarily, that does depend on your GPH flow -- live plankton also contributes to the goal of increasing nutrients whether or not it gets zapped by UV. It also feeds pods which tend to reproduce in the refugium and avoid total UV destruction.

I had to stop dosing microbacter/carbon etc because as you stated its counter productive to increasing the nutrients. I mean a regular weekly dose of bacter isnt going to make or break your fight against Dinoflagellates... but when you start feeding it carbon and dosing both often you drive nutrients down and you should not do that while battling the Dinoflagellates

I think the Live Phyto helped me, but I would think the UV was the biggest part. As I said previously, I wouldnt discount the effect of elevating nutrients and shifting the biome to other organisms favor.

Ostreopsis I guess is the easiest to deal with because the UV seems more affective against it, than other species.

Shift the Biome out of the organisms favor by whatever means necessary and attack it with UV and Mechanical filtration -- what else is there to do really
 
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BostonReefer300

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@BostonReefer300 if that's the pic we're going off of, then I lean ostreopsis. but that's out of step with the rest of your account.
Got any other pics or vid?
Thanks @taricha. I'll get some better pics later today. Everything I saw on the slide led me to think prorocentrum because I didn't see the white tip on any of them. Anyway, I'll try to get some better pics today. I'm frustrated that the second microscope I got from Amazon is also a piece of junk despite all the great reviews.
 

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Beautiful Tank! That does give me hope. Some people got in my head I guess made it seem like .1 or higher is a devastation.

Need to forget what I learned and start over lol!

If you dont mind me asking what do you keep your nitrates at?
I don't like running it this high, but after fighting my dinos, my SPS tank is at 50 NO3, 0.4 PO4. Haven't noticed any ill-effect other than one STN on an acro that was getting covered in dino's. Stick has no flesh, but polyps are fully extended.
 

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UV can kill live plankton but not necessarily, that does depend on your GPH flow -- live plankton also contributes to the goal of increasing nutrients whether or not it gets zapped by UV. It also feeds pods which tend to reproduce in the refugium and avoid total UV destruction.

I had to stop dosing microbacter/carbon etc because as you stated its counter productive to increasing the nutrients. I mean a regular weekly dose of bacter isnt going to make or break your fight against Dinoflagellates... but when you start feeding it carbon and dosing both often you drive nutrients down and you should not do that while battling the Dinoflagellates

I think the Live Phyto helped me, but I would think the UV was the biggest part. As I said previously, I wouldnt discount the effect of elevating nutrients and shifting the biome to other organisms favor.

Ostreopsis I guess is the easiest to deal with because the UV seems more affective against it, than other species.

Shift the Biome out of the organisms favor by whatever means necessary and attack it with UV and Mechanical filtration -- what else is there to do really

Thank you!

I added Live Reef Rubble from AquaBiomics, but not sure if anything took. I'm thinking of getting ECOPODS and OceanMagic from AlgaeBarn next. Just hoping my low flow through the UV won't just cook everything.
 
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