Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

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ScottB

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Hi. Just looking for a little advise. Tank only 2 months old. Think have some Dino’s. Maybe other things. I’ll invest in a microscope but will be a few days before I get one. Don’t have UV sterilizer either. Probably should have one of them. Maybe a week or two out from having that in hand. But for now maybe some advise on things to be doing. I don’t have good pics but just picture the typical dirty tank. 2/3 was dry rock. 1/3 live. The dry has some green algae on it. Most of the long stringy things (dinos?) are gone. Half of the sand is mainly clean as it was all brown a week ago. I’ve got lots of clumps of bush like Algae on my rocks I just can’t get off. Even with my hand. No idea what it is. But I’m sure there are still some kind of dinos in here just not as bad as it was before. I only have 5 fish, CUC, and one zoa polyp which actually is looking great. I put lights to 15% blue for 12 hrs and zero white on Friday. Don’t want them totally off because they do seem to regulate day and night for my leopard wrasse and yellow coris wrasse. No gfo. Do run carbon reactor. I replace filter socks and some floss in sump 5x per week. I baste 2-3 rocks a night. Wasn’t sure if it would be bad to overload the water with so much gunk. Glass is getting covered with film algae. Should i clean that off? Phosphates are .08 and nitrates are .5-1. Never dosed nitrate but think I should. I have some copepods in the tank so I put in 20 mg phyto every other day or so. I think things are slowly getting better. It’s the uglies so I’m not in such a bad position. Should I stay the course and give it a few weeks? Maybe dose nitrates? In the past week I’ve dosed microbacter 7 twice too. I’m getting some slightly mixed signals reading through all of these threads. Probably just me being a little confused. So any advise will be well received. I’ll take some pics in the morning when I have some daylight. Well I’ll post a few pics. Tried to get pictures of the bushy algae but you can at least see what the rocks look like. Don’t think there’s much useful here. Unless somebody knows what this is. Might as well post it even if it might not be useful. Thanks.
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380EE64D-313E-428B-9AC5-D659EF3692EA.jpeg
At two months, I would not sweat this too much. Whatever blend of stuff it is, it will soon be replaced by a slightly different blend. Then another. And another. The biome will go through a lot of ugly phases. Totally natural. Keep to the basics and let it do its thing.
 

Biff0rz

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Agree with @CDavmd on small cell and ostreopsis. Also like the suggestion to clamp a bunch of filter floss to the glass in high light and flow areas. Ostreos in particular loved to cling to the stuff.

I see the acro damage. If the flow is direct that could contribute to necrosis for sure. Clip back the dead skeleton well back into the flesh.

Ostreos do possess toxins for sure. Run some GAC to remove.

Lastly, what is your UV setup again? Wattage and flow approx? Assuming all good there, your ostreos will clear first. Small cell are a little more challenging. Keep up on the PO4 testing. Don't add any aminos for a long time. Stay patient.
So I've been running gac this whole time, maybe it's time to change it if the corals are getting hurt?? My UV is a 90w lifeguard pro 3"...which has also been running this whole time. I have it setup as a closed loop hanging over the back of the tank with a varios 6 pump. I don't have a way to measure flow (yet) so I can't confirm what it's running at.

What aminos are you talking about? My only additives are from the carx and some Phyto.

I think I've been patient, been battling this for over 2mo now. Both of these 'came back' while nitrates and po4 have been high... I'm at a loss of what else I can do. Will a blackout hurt the corals even more?
 

Biff0rz

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Hey one other thing you can do to encourage the small cell to take a swim at the UV. Wrap the tank with large black trash bags and do a lights out. This assumes a proper UV set up is in place.

I crushed a prorocentrum explosion that way in 36 hours.
So I think it's set up properly. Closed loop, low flow.
 

ScottB

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So I've been running gac this whole time, maybe it's time to change it if the corals are getting hurt?? My UV is a 90w lifeguard pro 3"...which has also been running this whole time. I have it setup as a closed loop hanging over the back of the tank with a varios 6 pump. I don't have a way to measure flow (yet) so I can't confirm what it's running at.

What aminos are you talking about? My only additives are from the carx and some Phyto.

I think I've been patient, been battling this for over 2mo now. Both of these 'came back' while nitrates and po4 have been high... I'm at a loss of what else I can do. Will a blackout hurt the corals even more?
Amino acids are a coral food and dinos love them.

Sounds like you are ticking all the boxes -- especially for the ostreopsis. The amphids (large and small) are just tougher to solve for. They are strong competitors for space.

A 36 hour blackout isn't really all that stressful for corals. Think of it as 2 nights and one super cloudy day. I get it that you are concerned that the coral are already compromised, but I think it is worth the tradeoff. We need to get the SC Amphids swimming.

Lastly, I know it is frustrating, but you are doing the right stuff. Amphids often take a long time to solve for. I am going to tag @taricha to make sure I am not missing anything for your small cell.
 
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ScottB

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Not sure if this helps at all but this was his experience with blackouts
5 days is pretty drastic. And he never mentions the dino species. They are not all alike. Large cell amphids cling to sand and never swim, so blacking out for them is completely pointless.
 

Ricksreeefs

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5 days is pretty drastic. And he never mentions the dino species. They are not all alike. Large cell amphids cling to sand and never swim, so blacking out for them is completely pointless.
Oh, ok not sure I just remember watching it and finding it interesting sorry
 

ScottB

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So I've been running gac this whole time, maybe it's time to change it if the corals are getting hurt?? My UV is a 90w lifeguard pro 3"...which has also been running this whole time. I have it setup as a closed loop hanging over the back of the tank with a varios 6 pump. I don't have a way to measure flow (yet) so I can't confirm what it's running at.

What aminos are you talking about? My only additives are from the carx and some Phyto.

I think I've been patient, been battling this for over 2mo now. Both of these 'came back' while nitrates and po4 have been high... I'm at a loss of what else I can do. Will a blackout hurt the corals even more?
2 things I missed.

The Varios 6 is rated to 1720gph. It is a variable pump. Run it at about 25% so it is running only 3-400gph. Dinoflagellates are not like algae or bacteria. They have a protective shell around them. The UV needs some decent contact time to kill or damage these critters. I know the manufacturer calls for much higher speeds which is fine for bacteria and algae. Just check that the water coming out of the UV is not noticeably warmer than tank water.

I don't run GAC often myself, but when I do it is to clean things out. You should be changing it every 1-2 weeks during this adventure.
 

ScottB

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Oh, ok not sure I just remember watching it and finding it interesting sorry
Don't apologize at all Rick! That was a perfectly valid and interesting story to share.

I did not intend to flame you; sorry if that came out wrong. Happy reefing!
 
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taricha

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So I've been running gac this whole time, maybe it's time to change it if the corals are getting hurt?? My UV is a 90w lifeguard pro 3"...which has also been running this whole time. I have it setup as a closed loop hanging over the back of the tank with a varios 6 pump. I don't have a way to measure flow (yet) so I can't confirm what it's running at.

What aminos are you talking about? My only additives are from the carx and some Phyto.

I think I've been patient, been battling this for over 2mo now. Both of these 'came back' while nitrates and po4 have been high... I'm at a loss of what else I can do. Will a blackout hurt the corals even more?
The microscope and the coral tip with accumulating dinos are telling the same story:
You have water-going types that are attaching in high flow areas (on coral tips even) from out of the water column. A properly functioning UV would be effective, which tells us yours isn't doing very well. I'd attempt to take everything apart and clean it. Attempt to verify the bulb is lighting - replace bulb if possible.
In the mean time, see my post a page or so back where I link to details on "Poor man's UV" a filter floss hung in high flow that creates an ideal attachment site for water-going types.

Large cell amphids cling to sand and never swim, so blacking out for them is completely pointless.
Not only that, I once kept a culture of large cell amphidinium in a beaker in a drawer in total darkness for almost two weeks. They lost a lot of pigment, but still zoomed around very actively and there was no noticeable decrease in population either.
 

taricha

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2 things I missed.

The Varios 6 is rated to 1720gph. It is a variable pump. Run it at about 25% so it is running only 3-400gph. Dinoflagellates are not like algae or bacteria. They have a protective shell around them. The UV needs some decent contact time to kill or damage these critters. I know the manufacturer calls for much higher speeds which is fine for bacteria and algae. Just check that the water coming out of the UV is not noticeably warmer than tank water.

I don't run GAC often myself, but when I do it is to clean things out. You should be changing it every 1-2 weeks during this adventure.
@Biff0rz This might help explain the UV issue and also I think I read that you are running GFO, which should be avoided during dinos.
 

Biff0rz

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The microscope and the coral tip with accumulating dinos are telling the same story:
You have water-going types that are attaching in high flow areas (on coral tips even) from out of the water column. A properly functioning UV would be effective, which tells us yours isn't doing very well. I'd attempt to take everything apart and clean it. Attempt to verify the bulb is lighting - replace bulb if possible.
In the mean time, see my post a page or so back where I link to details on "Poor man's UV" a filter floss hung in high flow that creates an ideal attachment site for water-going types.


Not only that, I once kept a culture of large cell amphidinium in a beaker in a drawer in total darkness for almost two weeks. They lost a lot of pigment, but still zoomed around very actively and there was no noticeable decrease in population either.
Hmm the unit is fairly new. It has 60 days on it (it has a 365 day countdown on it). It's definitely lighting, I'll look at it to see if it's dirty at all inside. The intake is about 6" from the top of the water if it matters. Should I reduce or cut lighting to get the dinos swimming more? I added some filter floss in a high flow/light area, hasn't caught much yet. How can I verify the health of the bulb other than it lights up? For a period of time I had the flow on the varios up higher (also, I was mistaken, its a varios 4 now on the lowest 1/4 setting. It was on the 3/4 setting before.)

@Biff0rz This might help explain the UV issue and also I think I read that you are running GFO, which should be avoided during dinos.
OK, I did turn the flow a low as it'll go. Yea I'm running gfo and gac. I guess it's time to turn off the gfo.
 

Thor2j

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2 things I missed.

The Varios 6 is rated to 1720gph. It is a variable pump. Run it at about 25% so it is running only 3-400gph. Dinoflagellates are not like algae or bacteria. They have a protective shell around them. The UV needs some decent contact time to kill or damage these critters. I know the manufacturer calls for much higher speeds which is fine for bacteria and algae. Just check that the water coming out of the UV is not noticeably warmer than tank water.

I don't run GAC often myself, but when I do it is to clean things out. You should be changing it every 1-2 weeks during this adventure.

How far is he pumping the water?? If it's normal from sump, through UV and up back of a tank, no way he will come close to 3-400 gph at 50%.
 
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ScottB

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How far is he pumping the water?? If it's normal from sump, through UV and up back of a tank, no way he will come close to 3-400 gph at 50%.
Fair point. Consulting the head pressure / flow rate chart is always a good idea.
 

ScottB

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Hmm the unit is fairly new. It has 60 days on it (it has a 365 day countdown on it). It's definitely lighting, I'll look at it to see if it's dirty at all inside. The intake is about 6" from the top of the water if it matters. Should I reduce or cut lighting to get the dinos swimming more? I added some filter floss in a high flow/light area, hasn't caught much yet. How can I verify the health of the bulb other than it lights up? For a period of time I had the flow on the varios up higher (also, I was mistaken, its a varios 4 now on the lowest 1/4 setting. It was on the 3/4 setting before.)


OK, I did turn the flow a low as it'll go. Yea I'm running gfo and gac. I guess it's time to turn off the gfo.
Any noticeable change 6 days in? Keeping some available nitrates/phosphates, right?
 

Biff0rz

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Any noticeable change 6 days in? Keeping some available nitrates/phosphates, right?
Nope, nothing good to report. In the past two weeks I did an icp test. In the last 6 days I did a 36hr blackout except to feed. I refreshed my gac. Turned off gfo. Turned off water changes. Lowered the flow on the uv. Blew off rocks with a pump and then scrubbed the rocks with a toothbrush - lots of stubborn gha is still there but the 'dead' gha/dino stuff came off. It appears to be growing again. I've added filter floss, cleaned it nightly with hot water and peroxide. I've kept my same feeding schedule.

Results:
Corals are dead or dying. Some from the base, some from the middle, some from the tips. Some have white tips, some are brown with dino. Three sps that were happy pre-blackout are showing signs of stn. The Monti has lost color, bleached in areas, and looks sad. I have some bambam zoas and a fl ricordia mushroom that are happy (meh). Everything else is upset.

I tested po4 and no3 tonight. 15ppm no3 / 0.25 po4.

Here are the icp results-
Display
Test689410858_Results.jpeg


Rodi
Screenshot_20210617-212144.png

Screenshot_20210617-212151.png



I don't see anything that's off.

I can't win and I pretty much want to quit. This shouldn't be this hard for someone who's tried their heart out.
 

ScottB

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@ScottB - I've been having some major sps issues, I still think its related to dino's. I took this video today, what kind are these?

1623092438334.png

This is where I took the sample from, on the intake to my UV. It looks like a combination of dead gha and dino, maybe my flow on the uv is incorrect? Nitrates haven't dropped from 25-40 for a while now except this week they are just above 10.

One of my rocks keeps getting covered in this:
1623092466322.png


sps aren't happy:
1623092493185.png
@taricha you wanna confirm small cell plus a little ostreopsis on this video? I don't see anything in the ICP (linked below) I recognize as a problem, although I don't know the reference value for chlorine. Anybody have a reference value? That is a BIG number.
Nope, nothing good to report. In the past two weeks I did an icp test. In the last 6 days I did a 36hr blackout except to feed. I refreshed my gac. Turned off gfo. Turned off water changes. Lowered the flow on the uv. Blew off rocks with a pump and then scrubbed the rocks with a toothbrush - lots of stubborn gha is still there but the 'dead' gha/dino stuff came off. It appears to be growing again. I've added filter floss, cleaned it nightly with hot water and peroxide. I've kept my same feeding schedule.

Results:
Corals are dead or dying. Some from the base, some from the middle, some from the tips. Some have white tips, some are brown with dino. Three sps that were happy pre-blackout are showing signs of stn. The Monti has lost color, bleached in areas, and looks sad. I have some bambam zoas and a fl ricordia mushroom that are happy (meh). Everything else is upset.

I tested po4 and no3 tonight. 15ppm no3 / 0.25 po4.

Here are the icp results-
Display
Test689410858_Results.jpeg


Rodi
Screenshot_20210617-212144.png

Screenshot_20210617-212151.png



I don't see anything that's off.

I can't win and I pretty much want to quit. This shouldn't be this hard for someone who's tried their heart out.
@Randy Holmes-Farley what do you make of a "Chlorine" value of 19,784 ppm? ATI and Triton don't report this measure (or did not used to) and I have no idea of a reference value.
 
Maxout
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