My Dinoflagellate Experience - Prorocentrum

JayinToronto

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Current Tank Info: 400g mixed reef with refugium/sump, Orphek V4 LEDs, Deltec protein skimmer, Ecotech MP40s, phosphate reactor (now off-line), charcoal reactor, Apex controller, 3 part dosing.

My saga started 6 weeks ago. Before heading on vacation at the end of July (six weeks ago) I noticed what I though to be a little Cyanobacteria forming in my aquarium. This was a usual occurrence for me in the summer which always seemed to go away in the fall. My tank is in the main room of a loft and thus receives quite a bit of natural light. This seemed to happen every summer and I always blamed this excess light during these long Canadian summer days as causing my annual cyano blooms. I’ve always ran a fairly low nutrient tank as I believed what most sources in the hobby said. Consequently whenever I had any trouble I always did some large water changes and beefed up my carbon and GFO. Worked for the most part over the years.

This year, before heading away on vacation I decided to “really get on top of things”. I did a large 30% water change, suctioned the detritus out of my sump, suctioned my sand bed, rinsed my Chaeto, and replenished my GFO and Charcoal. Then I hopped on a plane for a 2 week vacation. Literally 2 days later the person coming to feed my tank sent me pics of this “brown stuff that was growing everywhere”. I thought it was just more cyano. I reassured them and told them to reduce the feedings. Of course this only made things worse. By the time I got home the tank was absolutely covered in brown slime. As the guys from my LFS who help maintain my aquarium from time to time when I'm away had seen this in previous years and confidently identified this as a type of Cyano I just assumed it was. When I got home after 2 weeks I went to town battling "Cyano". More water changes, aggressive suctioning and driving down any traces of nitrate and phosphate with a 24h Chaeto fuge cycle.... and yup, you guessed it things only worsened. I was getting nowhere. I was getting desperate. Over the years I strongly believed in the natural approach to dealing with problems and had never added any antibiotics or the like to my system, but I was at my whits end and decided to try Chemiclean for my "cyano". And guess what? It didn't work! During my experience with Chemiclean I posted some pictures of my tank and posted some youtube vids. From this someone said "I think its dinos that you are fighting, not Cyano". They were right :eek:. And looking back at pictures of my "summer blooms" I think I've been battling dinos for years and years. Just never this bad.

I bought a microscope and confirmed diagnosis (see below) and subsequently started reading everything I could on Dinos. @mcarroll I can't thank you enough for your thread. It's given me hope!

Thus my approach has been:
-Stop water changes.
-Take GFO off line.
-Change Charcoal frequently (q 5-7 days)
-Add UV sterilization (I first picked up a 12x turbo twist as that was all my LFS had, but have since added a 90 watt high output promax UV sterilized from lifeguard aquatics for a total of 126 watts. The 90 is now hard plumbed into my main return running at 600gph. The TT is running off a second parallel pump at 300gph for a total of just over 2x /h turnover).
-Dose Seachem phosphate and nitrate (this has been a bit of a rollercoaster so far. I started at 30ml / day of each and measured with my Salifert kits each day. After 2 days Nitrate showed a trace but phosphate was still undetectable so I upped it, first to 40, then to 50ml. Finally after 5 days I had my first positive reading of phosphate! I added a total of 120mls before I got my first + reading. I'm now at 5-10 nitrates and approx .5 for phosphates.)
-Daily night time blowing all the dinos into the water column with a powerhead.

Now it's really only been 2 days since I've had my nitrates and phosphates above my goal level and plumbed my UV sterilizers into the system so of coarse I haven't seen any improvment yet. WISH ME LUCK!

And if anyone has any criticism or advice, this is what I'm posting for! Fire away!

Video I posted pre-Chemiclean when I thought I was battling Cyano:


Attached are some pics of the aquarium when this all started as well as some pics of my dinoflagellates looking through my microscope.

Will update regularly.

IMG_4844.jpg IMG_4845.jpg IMG_4847.jpg IMG_4878.PNG IMG_4871.jpg IMG_4846.jpg
 
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Bret Brinkmann

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Remember at some point your dosage requirements are going to change. You're doing everything right. Just remain diligent and patient.
 
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JayinToronto

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Yea, they have already. Since getting my UV lights on-line I haven’t had to add any phosphate and nitrate input is way down. Could the dead Dino’s from the UV be adding phosphate and nitrate back to they system? Either way, I’ll be checking and adjusting daily. No real change in the system yet.
 

Bret Brinkmann

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Yes, when they die they breakdown and release nutrients back into the water. Also, they aren't alive in as high numbers to consume nutrients anymore.
 

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I don't feel that 0.5 ppm PO4 is necessary or has any real advantages over say 0.1-0.15.

I know you were just trying to get a "not zero" reading.
I'm just pointing out that removal of P limitation/starvation from the system is the point. Not hitting a high P number.
I think you'll succeed. Good thread start.
 
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JayinToronto

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So It's been one week since I've had my UV sterilizers going and my phosphate and nitrates up. Overall things are going well. There are definitely signs that my clean up crew is starting to win! (I have a strong fleet of mexican turbo snails and a ton of hermits). There are still sheets of dinos all over the tank, but there are also now some bare areas on the rocks. However, my sand is as bad as ever.

My regular chemistry has been a bit out of whack. Suddenly my alk shot way up (dkh 13) and my magnesium is running a bit low (1275). Have been correcting slowly over the week.

My phosphates and nitrates are stable. I got one of the Hanna phosphate testers to get a more precise reading. It read .24 and .25 yesterday and today respectively. I haven't added any phosphate in 3 days but am still feeding frozen foods and nori about double what I did pre-dino.

I've taken @taricha 's advice from the main dino thread and decided to keep my cheato going and just continue with fresh water rinses every couple of days.

Livestock and corals seem to be doing ok. The only major casualty I've had is my giant clam. Not surprised given all the toxins that were in the water, but very sad as I've had him for about 6 years.

Will post some pics in the day light tomorrow.
 

Bret Brinkmann

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GAC will help with the toxins. Inorganic forms of nutrients will help correct things faster than over feeding. Dinos don't extract inorganic nutrients from the water as well as the competition giving them an easier time to reestablish a foothold over the dinos.
 

HomeSlizzice

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A year or 2 ago I had a bad case of Dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum). So this is what I did. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dinoflagellates-–-are-you-tired-of-battling-altogether.293318/post-4646352

"Alright so here is a the update on battle with Dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum). Like I mentioned about a week ago. I did the following protocol after about a 7-10 days of running my Ozone generator (AquaMaxx Tech-O3 UPS300 Ozonizer - 30 mg/hr) with only minimal results on the dinos. I decided to do the following as an all out attack on the dinos. I gleaned my approach from Leonard Ho ( https://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/how-i-beat-dinoflagellates-and-thelessons-i-learned ) and Sonny Harajly( http://reefsite.com/2015/01/dinoflagellates-and-the-treament-of/ ).


1. 3 day blackout. I didn't cover my tank though, just no lights. (Skimmer, Ozone, and GAC all running during the black out)

2. dosed DIY Zeo Coral Snow daily (Calcium Carbonate https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/diy-kz-coral-snow-with-97 purity.211722/ ) This is a flocculent to help bind and remove the free floating Dino’s.

3. Turkey bast the rocks and sand to get as many dinos free floating as possible so they get bound to the Calcium Carbonate slurry. Turkey Baster combined with the blackout was key to getting the dinos free floating so they could bind to the "Coral Snow".

4. Ran my ozone. (1 hour on / one hour off; 30mg/hr is my unit and my tank is around 75 gallons total volume) Leonard Ho and Sonny in their articles both recommended Hydrogen Peroxide since neither ran Ozone, but the goal is they are doing a similar job.

5. After the 3 day blackout, most of the dinoflagellates appeared to
gone. I did a 15 gallon water change at the end of the 3 day blackout
while vacuum siphoning as much of the sand bed as possible (not removing
the sand, also there was a ton reddish-brown residue (dinos) at the
bottom of my water container), and added some Dr Tim's Eco Balance after
the water change.

6. Run GAC the entire time because some dinos are toxic and can/will smell (my prorocentrum did)

7. After the 3 day black out, I ran my lights (AI Hydra 26HD's) with only blues and violets at 50% for 4 hours total. So 1 hour ramp up, 2 hour peak, and 1 hour ramp down. Again the peak was only 50% and only blues and violets. I have then increased my peak photo period by 30 minutes to an hour each day, but am keeping the same intensity and still only running blues and violets.

8. After about 5 days or so (Friday) I did another 15 gallon water change while primarily vacuum siphoning of my sandbed again. At this point, there was not really any reddish brown color (dinos) in my waste water, just the more common lighter brown waste water color from vacuuming sand.


I am going to continue to run Ozone daily (for the same 1 hour on / 1 hour off) and dose my DIY Coral Snow every few days. I am also going to continue to slowly increase my photo period (currently at 7 hours total, with a 5 hour peak until I get to my desired 12 hours total, and will then add in my other color LEDs to get my preferred daylight look). Also that $15 microscope was a great investment in figuring out what I was fighting in the first place, thank you for the recommendation.

Lower feeding amount slighty, I also dosed some MB7. I also lowered my 2 part dosing to slowly drop levels to desired parameters, I think they got out of whack because of my salinity issue and having several coral deaths as a result of the dinos."
 
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JayinToronto

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GAC will help with the toxins. Inorganic forms of nutrients will help correct things faster than over feeding. Dinos don't extract inorganic nutrients from the water as well as the competition giving them an easier time to reestablish a foothold over the dinos.
Thanks for the advise!
 
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JayinToronto

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A year or 2 ago I had a bad case of Dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum). So this is what I did. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dinoflagellates-–-are-you-tired-of-battling-altogether.293318/post-4646352

"Alright so here is a the update on battle with Dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum). Like I mentioned about a week ago. I did the following protocol after about a 7-10 days of running my Ozone generator (AquaMaxx Tech-O3 UPS300 Ozonizer - 30 mg/hr) with only minimal results on the dinos. I decided to do the following as an all out attack on the dinos. I gleaned my approach from Leonard Ho ( https://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/how-i-beat-dinoflagellates-and-thelessons-i-learned ) and Sonny Harajly( http://reefsite.com/2015/01/dinoflagellates-and-the-treament-of/ ).


1. 3 day blackout. I didn't cover my tank though, just no lights. (Skimmer, Ozone, and GAC all running during the black out)

2. dosed DIY Zeo Coral Snow daily (Calcium Carbonate https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/diy-kz-coral-snow-with-97 purity.211722/ ) This is a flocculent to help bind and remove the free floating Dino’s.

3. Turkey bast the rocks and sand to get as many dinos free floating as possible so they get bound to the Calcium Carbonate slurry. Turkey Baster combined with the blackout was key to getting the dinos free floating so they could bind to the "Coral Snow".

4. Ran my ozone. (1 hour on / one hour off; 30mg/hr is my unit and my tank is around 75 gallons total volume) Leonard Ho and Sonny in their articles both recommended Hydrogen Peroxide since neither ran Ozone, but the goal is they are doing a similar job.

5. After the 3 day blackout, most of the dinoflagellates appeared to
gone. I did a 15 gallon water change at the end of the 3 day blackout
while vacuum siphoning as much of the sand bed as possible (not removing
the sand, also there was a ton reddish-brown residue (dinos) at the
bottom of my water container), and added some Dr Tim's Eco Balance after
the water change.

6. Run GAC the entire time because some dinos are toxic and can/will smell (my prorocentrum did)

7. After the 3 day black out, I ran my lights (AI Hydra 26HD's) with only blues and violets at 50% for 4 hours total. So 1 hour ramp up, 2 hour peak, and 1 hour ramp down. Again the peak was only 50% and only blues and violets. I have then increased my peak photo period by 30 minutes to an hour each day, but am keeping the same intensity and still only running blues and violets.

8. After about 5 days or so (Friday) I did another 15 gallon water change while primarily vacuum siphoning of my sandbed again. At this point, there was not really any reddish brown color (dinos) in my waste water, just the more common lighter brown waste water color from vacuuming sand.


I am going to continue to run Ozone daily (for the same 1 hour on / 1 hour off) and dose my DIY Coral Snow every few days. I am also going to continue to slowly increase my photo period (currently at 7 hours total, with a 5 hour peak until I get to my desired 12 hours total, and will then add in my other color LEDs to get my preferred daylight look). Also that $15 microscope was a great investment in figuring out what I was fighting in the first place, thank you for the recommendation.

Lower feeding amount slighty, I also dosed some MB7. I also lowered my 2 part dosing to slowly drop levels to desired parameters, I think they got out of whack because of my salinity issue and having several coral deaths as a result of the dinos."
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm yet to mess with my lights as most of my corals are still doing quite well and I'm afraid to mess them up. Fortunately I do seem to be making progress right now, but if things go the other direction your approach is definitely something I would try.
 

HomeSlizzice

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Thanks for sharing your story. I'm yet to mess with my lights as most of my corals are still doing quite well and I'm afraid to mess them up. Fortunately I do seem to be making progress right now, but if things go the other direction your approach is definitely something I would try.
Good to hear your corals are doing well! If you are making progress than I would proceed as are you, but definitely keep this as a plan B. It was basically my last resort and thankfully worked really well for me.
 
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JayinToronto

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Yesterday I managed to siphon 400 litres of tank water onto my condo floor (made a stupid mistake, left the return pump spout deep in the water then went to work, then there was a power outage.....) Fortunately it’s a cement floor and all the cracks have been sealed, but that didn’t prevent all the water from going into all my rooms as well as the neighbours. Stupid stupid stupid.

Anyway, it’s all cleaned up and I mixed up 4 garbage pails of H2Ocean to add back to the system last night (I love how quickly that stuff mixes). Soooo , we’ll see what doing a large (1/4 system volume) water change does to the dino situation.
 
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JayinToronto

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Everything looks fine in the tank. Neighbour seems to be cool with everything. Dino’s still in recession mode.
8DD5A1D8-C437-49F8-9BA2-522288AA8710.jpeg
 
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Bret Brinkmann

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You can drill a small hole in your return line just above the water surface and inside the tank so when the pump is turned off it will break the syphon automatically. When the pump is turned on only a little bit of flow will come out into the tank.
 
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JayinToronto

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2 weeks in and everything is going well. Definitely winning the war. The sand is the final battleground. I've manually removed the top lay of my sand multiple times, only to have it back basically the same the next day. I sure hope I'm not forced to go the way of some people on the dino forum that ultimately had to remove their sand to beat the dino problem. I tried just blowing it off the sand tonight with a power head, maybe that's better than scooping it out.

One observation, I'm not sure about blowing off the dinos with a power head in the evening to help them get up into the water column and thus into your uv sterilizer. Every time I do this it seems to set me back a step. Just waiting and slowly watching my cleanup crew take care of business seems to be the best approach for me. Whenever I'm blowing the rocks off at night I can't help but think of the dandelion analogy, and I feel like I am just spreading the dinos around and helping it colonize new areas.
 
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JayinToronto

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Noticed my Phophate has crept up a bit. Was 2.2-2.3 the last 3 days. I’ve been dosing on and off depending on numbers. Today it’s 3.0 (I did dose 10mls last night). My thoughts are as follows. First, with all the dinos dying the overall consumption of the system must now be going down. Second, I have been feeding more than usual for my system. And third, my Chaeto bed has taken a major S$&t kicking over the last month So my normal phosphate export system is weak.

My plan is to stop the phosphate dosing and go back to my pre-dino feeding regime and hope that the system is stable.

Also, I’m still chasing my alk, ca, and mg levels around quite a bit. I haven’t dosed any Ca for 3 days now and my level is staying still at 480. I’ve finally got my mg to get back up above 1300 (1320 today), and my alk has come back down from a high of 13 to its more normal 8.8. Before all this I didn’t have to check my system any more than each week or 2. Now I feel like Salifert is my new best friend. Honestly it’s getting annoying. But it will all be worth it in the end. Right?!
 
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JayinToronto

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You can drill a small hole in your return line just above the water surface and inside the tank so when the pump is turned off it will break the syphon automatically. When the pump is turned on only a little bit of flow will come out into the tank.
How big of a hole do I need to quickly and reliably break the suction?
 

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