Dinoflagellates everywhere, is it too late?


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Sep 6, 2019
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Eastern PA
Good morning all. I believe I have a huge problem. This started several weeks ago. I am new to this hobby so I am trying to learn as I go. So I originally thought that I was starting to have a Cyanobacteria gathering. I looked up what i was seeing on this forum and I had thought I confirmed it. Several weeks later, it is all getting worse. I tried the stain remover for it and it did nothing. That made me curious because everyone seemed to have amazing success with it. I am across a thread on this forum about Dinos. I had no idea what that was and now after doing a lot of looking to confirm I am 99% confident that I misdiagnosed my issue and I am afraid it might be too far gone.

I know people say to look under a microscope to see what type i have but I feel like I do not have time for that. (could be panicking a little, But look at that tank!)

My plan of action.

-UV sterilizer 15W (30GAL tank)
-Remove the GFO to start making it easier to raise phosphates. I have had 0 since I have started this because I wanted to start of keeping my different levels from getting away from me. Little did I know I was making a breeding ground for Dino. 0.2 is what i will be shooting for. I already have about 10-20 ppm of nitrates so I feel that it is good enough.
-maybe do a blackout. I have a lot of corals in there and I do not know if it is a good idea to do 72 hour blackout.
-I usually Feed my tank once every other day. I will be switching to once a day.
-Maybe 2-10 Micron sock filters
-Put a new bag of carbon in the tank to keep the potential poison down.

Any input would be awesome. I would not have figured out this issue without R2R and the community you all have created.

Thanks! I hope this works.


Tuan’s Reef

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Dec 27, 2018
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Nitrates that high and 0 phos isn’t good for your corals. Take the gfo out and raise phosphate with an additive. You can also add some bacteria microbacter 7 by brightwell. You are going to need some manual removal and siphon. I did had some good success with Dino X when I used it in accordance with instructions. Good luck , hopefully your corals can survive the process.


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May 30, 2017
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how old is the tank, looks more like hair algae to me, i dont see the stringy air bubbles that dinos give off

Gareth elliott

Read, Tinker, Fail, Learn
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May 7, 2017
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Hold off on those small micron socks till you see an abatement, regardless of algae type this will only lead to either a noisy tank or a flood. They will fill up very quickly during a full algae outbreak.
How your plan will work really will depend on the species at play here.
Recommend following the id section of this thread and posting in there to verify with better hands :)


walked the sand with the crustaceans
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Sep 14, 2017
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Near Seattle
First, it's important to confirm that they're dinos.
You can get a cheap wifi microscope on Amazon that will work with your phone.
I agree with above, a lot of that looks like hair algae, not dinos. You might have both.
Here's how I've beaten dinos without harm to livestock:
Remove carbon, gfo, and other media. Remove inline filter socks. Stop water changes.
Raise nitrate and phosphate to low but detectable levels.
Begin treatment with Dino X or Red X, and follow the instructions exactly.
Begin frequent water filtrations through a 1 micron filter sock, combined with sand siphoning.
Note that these aren't water changes; you filter the water and return it to the tank.
You can do as many of these water filtrations as you want or have time for; water chemistry won't be affected.
Adding a UV sterilizer is ok, but not necessary.
Continue this approach for 2-3 weeks, and your dinos will be likely be gone.

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