Dinoflagellates – Are You Tired Of Battling Altogether?

Deltec

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How’s my battle with diatoms? Great! (Sarcasm). I found out I was underdosing silicates because my tank is very large. Very minimal diatom growth. Maybe 1 or 2 cells with millions of coolia dinos. Think I’m starting to see other dinos too!

Here’s my new steps: bottle of concentrated silicates coming in 2 days. I found my phosphates are STILL dropping even though I’m feeding fish frozen multiple times a day - 0.07ppm from 0.09ppm - adding pellets and feeding more heavily. Skimmer offline and might even remove socks.

I don’t like UV, I actually sold my 80 watt sterilizer before my Dino’s issue because I was having particles that the UV wasn’t taking care of. I need a pool diatom filter…

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ScottB

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Anyone want to identify the Dino in the center? It looks different than the rest.
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The almond shaped one is ostreopsis. It is common to have more than one species.
 

Miami Reef

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Not all sources of nutrients are the same. Some published lit suggests Dinos are good at uptaking complex (organic) forms of N, and less good - relatively at taking in simple (inorganic) forms. Green algae is the reverse - better at taking the simple stuff, and worse at the complex organic forms of N. And it looks like the story may be similar with P.
So you might find that for Nutrient elevation - dosing simple things rather than feeding - works better at disfavoring Dinos and favoring other things.
Anecdotes like Zach and Steven, among others point this way, too.

This is from a convo I had with @mcarroll



Beware Acropower (Amino Acids) in a tank with dinos. In a tiny test tank I had a mix of Dinos and macroalgae, So I dosed acropower to test the above - and the macros faded, and dinos dominated.

Edit: Simple sources of N - KNO3, Simple sources of P - Seachem Flourish Phosphorus - derived from Potassium phosphate.
From Page 8…

Do skimmers remove the “simple” nutrients, or the “complex” ones? I want to know if running a skimmer will make this worse or better. I’m trying to make simple nutrients more dominant in my tank.

Dosing fish pellets and reef roids made Dino’s worse. I think those are the “complex” nutrients…
 
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Aqua Man

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So from what i’m understanding it’s most likely not dinos because there would need to be a spike in nutrients somewhere?
Actually the opposite. Most of the time Dino is caused by nutrient being too low.
Since you’re running phosgard, GFO and purigen, your chances of getting/having Dino are very high.
 

MikeSavino

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Actually the opposite. Most of the time Dino is caused by nutrient being too low.
Since you’re running phosgard, GFO and purigen, your chances of getting/having Dino are very high.
Ahhh crap, Ok i’m gonna slowly get rid of what I don’t need in the tank, would you recommend running one thing over the other? or a combination? I have no skimmer on the tank so i definitely over compensated with chemical media.
 

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Ahhh crap, Ok i’m gonna slowly get rid of what I don’t need in the tank, would you recommend running one thing over the other? or a combination? I have no skimmer on the tank so i definitely over compensated with chemical media.
Agree with @Aqua Man comment about too low nutrient conditions that starve out "good" competitors.

What problem are you trying to solve with all the phosphate removers? How high are your phosphates?
 

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Agree with @Aqua Man comment about too low nutrient conditions that starve out "good" competitors.

What problem are you trying to solve with all the phosphate removers? How high are your phosphates?
My phosphates never got high, I was just trying to preventatively maintain low phosphates and nitrates. I added the phosguard and the purigen when I got rid of the skimmer (Fluval Sea mini) that I was using, I stopped using the skimmer because the pump was way too loud to let me sleep. @ScottB
 

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Agree with @Aqua Man comment about too low nutrient conditions that starve out "good" competitors.

What problem are you trying to solve with all the phosphate removers? How high are your phosphates?
The media has been in there for a few months no problem, but I guess the lack of nutrients caused either dinos or cyano? It doesn’t look stringy to me like I hear dinos are supposed to be.
 
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The media has been in there for a few months no problem, but I guess the lack of nutrients caused either dinos or cyano? It doesn’t look stringy to me like I hear dinos are supposed to be.
There are a few species that don't generate the mucus strands and they often generally prefer the sand bed. Amphidinium in particular.
 

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

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


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

Miscellaneous Goodies

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

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

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

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

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



Other interesting more-or-less related links on my blog:
(Also cross-posted in the old Dino thread!)
Great write up, you should post this as an article!
 

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FECD9946-90CB-4E08-A65A-46707EE5DFB9.jpeg

what type of Dino is this? I’m thinking amphi or proro but I’m not sure.

it’s a major infestation so my current plan of removal is dosing neonitro and neophos to I’m not sure what level yet. Dose microbacter7, Manual removal, directly afterwards a 3 day blackout period, and increased flow. Does this sound good?
 

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FECD9946-90CB-4E08-A65A-46707EE5DFB9.jpeg

what type of Dino is this? I’m thinking amphi or proro but I’m not sure.

it’s a major infestation so my current plan of removal is dosing neonitro and neophos to I’m not sure what level yet. Dose microbacter7, Manual removal, directly afterwards a 3 day blackout period, and increased flow. Does this sound good?
Am taking both no3 and po4 are at zero, it sounds like a good plan to me. Increase both to normal values and leave it for 6 days if they not gone by themselves then black out would finish it of.
 

marcus aurelius

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I’ve been having problems on and off. Hopefully someone can help. I will add microscope pictures hopefully tomorrow. Scope just showed up
 

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Yodeling

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Can someone ID this for me? Sorry for the poor quality.
 

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Miami Reef

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Can someone ID this for me? Sorry for the poor quality.
I’m going to go with osteoporosis. These are the most toxic Dino’s. A UV sterilizer 1watt per 3 gallons plumed inside the DT is the best solution for you.

What are your nutrients levels? The most likely cause of Dino’s is too low nitrate and phosphate.

Disclaimer: I’m new to Dino identification, so be sure to keep an eye out for Taricha or Scott. If they like this post or if they respond, you will know if my identification is accurate.
 

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I’m going to go with osteoporosis. These are the most toxic Dino’s. A UV sterilizer 1watt per 3 gallons plumed inside the DT is the best solution for you.

What are your nutrients levels? The most likely cause of Dino’s is too low nitrate and phosphate.

Disclaimer: I’m new to Dino identification, so be sure to keep an eye out for Taricha or Scott. If they like this post or if they respond, you will know if my identification is accurate.
So hopefully someone can confirm that ID. Anyway, I’ve known for a while that my phosphates are too low (zero) so I’m actually going to start dosing it tonight. Nitrates are usually in the “acceptable range” 3-5 ppm.

So anyway after some searching, it looks like the recommended way is to raise phosphates significantly (to fall below Redfield ratio?). If I understand the recommendations correctly, the suggestion is to raise Po4 to pretty extreme levels. Not sure how I feel about that.
 

Miami Reef

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So hopefully someone can confirm that ID. Anyway, I’ve known for a while that my phosphates are too low (zero) so I’m actually going to start dosing it tonight. Nitrates are usually in the “acceptable range” 3-5 ppm.

So anyway after some searching, it looks like the recommended way is to raise phosphates significantly (to fall below Redfield ratio?). If I understand the recommendations correctly, the suggestion is to raise Po4 to pretty extreme levels. Not sure how I feel about that.
Why would you raise phosphates to extreme levels? 0.10ppm PO4 is the max recommended, but anywhere from 0.03ppm - .10 ppm is fine. As long as it’s not 0.00.
 
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