New way to beat dinoflagellates

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chadfish

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I just got the upper hand on my dino problem. I won’t say “won” the war, but I’m feeling more confident every day that goes by.

The concept is fixing the micro-biome. If dino outbreaks occur because there is an imbalance in the micro-biome, then the long-term cure is restoring balance and diversity.

My dinos were on the sand and did not fully go into the water column at night. I’ll skip what didn’t work and get right to what did.

1) I ditched the chaeto. That was keeping my nutrients too low. After I removed it, I had a stable 2.5-5ppm NO3 and 0.03-0.05 phosphate . This gave me the nutrients to feed the competitors

2) I started by siphoning the sand as much as I could and getting the rest of the dinos into the water column

3) I used 5 micron filter sock at night to remove any dinos that did enter the water column

4) I introduced live Florida Keys sand and mud from Florida Pets. This adds a huge amount of bacteria and diversity. Florida pets is online and the sand is cheap, like $20 shipped or something. I got the idea from @AquaBiomics Thread 'Effects of live sand & mud on the microbial communities in my tanks (updated with new data)'

5) I covered the sand with filter floss pad. I have a huge roll of it and cut it to fit in between the rocks and coral. This singles out the photosynthetic dinos and gives the new bacteria time to settle in. It also avoids a total blackout which can be stressful on coral. To be honest, I started off with a 2-day blackout then kept the filter pads there another 3-4 days. I got this idea from @Just John Post in thread 'Losing battle w/ Dinos'

6) I disturbed the new live sand&mud every once in a while to make sure the tank was seeded

7) I began this process in low-light mode to help control the dino’s, but throughout the process I increased the lights to full PAR that my tank requires. I’m now up to ~100 PAR on the sand and 250 at the top of my Acros

Since then, I’ve had to siphon the sand once a week as small numbers of dino’s remained. But their numbers are greatly reduced and decreasing.

People say dinos appear when there is an imbalance in the micro biome. So I fixed the mocrobiome. No heterotrophic bottle bacteria that is transient - I added real bacteria from the ocean.
 
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ahiggins

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I like this post and I like seeing new ways to deal with things. I’ve beat ost. dinos in the past by blackout and uv with letting the tank get super dirty-that’s what worked for that point in time. Fast forward 5 years and the same tank now has an outbreak of amp. small cell. I didn’t know what frustration really was until I started trying to beat them back. Here’s what didn’t work: peroxide, blackout, uv, sand disturbance, going dirty, adding 4-5 different bacteria bottles. All of this because I added chaeto and let the P bottom out.
After 7 months with little success, I’m dosing silica, a more robust bacteria, and pods every week. Keeping the tank at higher N and P is helping too. It’s better but I’m no where near out of the woods.
Good luck with your process, I hope it works for you! I very much agree with your thought process of introducing the best bacteria you can possibly get.
 

Pntbll687

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I just got the upper hand on my dino problem. I won’t say “won” the war, but I’m feeling more confident every day that goes by.

The concept is fixing the micro-biome. If dino outbreaks occur because there is an imbalance in the micro-biome, then the long-term cure is restoring balance and diversity.

My dinos were on the sand and did not fully go into the water column at night. I’ll skip what didn’t work and get right to what did.

1) I ditched the chaeto. That was keeping my nutrients too low. After I removed it, I had a stable 2.5-5ppm NO3 and 0.03-0.05 phosphate . This gave me the nutrients to feed the competitors

2) I started by siphoning the sand as much as I could and getting the rest of the dinos into the water column

3) I used 5 micron filter sock at night to remove any dinos that did enter the water column

4) I introduced live Florida Keys sand and mud from Florida Pets. This adds a huge amount of bacteria and diversity. Florida pets is online and the sand is cheap, like $20 shipped or something. I got the idea from @AquaBiomics Thread 'Effects of live sand & mud on the microbial communities in my tanks (updated with new data)'

5) I covered the sand with filter floss pad. I have a huge roll of it and cut it to fit in between the rocks and coral. This singles out the photosynthetic dinos and gives the new bacteria time to settle in. It also avoids a total blackout which can be stressful on coral. To be honest, I started off with a 2-day blackout then kept the filter pads there another 3-4 days. I got this idea from @Just John Post in thread 'Losing battle w/ Dinos'

6) I disturbed the new live sand&mud every once in a while to make sure the tank was seeded

7) I began this process in low-light mode to help control the dino’s, but throughout the process I increased the lights to full PAR that my tank requires. I’m now up to ~100 PAR on the sand and 250 at the top of my Acros

Since then, I’ve had to siphon the sand once a week as small numbers of dino’s remained. But their numbers are greatly reduced and decreasing.

People say dinos appear when there is an imbalance in the micro biome. So I fixed the mocrobiome. No heterotrophic bottle bacteria that is transient - I added real bacteria from the ocean.
Glad to see you found a way to beat dinos! It's always good to hear when someone wins the battle and gets the tank moving in the right direction.

So you siphoned out and removed dinos in multiple ways. Removed Cheato and added bacteria via live sand/mud

So, here's a couple of questions
1) Did you get an biome test before adding the live sand?
2) did you get a biome test of the live sand/mud?
3) How did you know you were adding the right bacterias to outcompete the dinos?

I think the major factor in your results was the fact you kept siphoning out the dinos in multiple ways. You weren't letting the dino population get out of control, and were actively reducing the their population. This allowed "good" bacteria to repopulate the tank. Without before and after biome tests, along with a biome test of the sand/mud you can't say for certain that adding that product had the effect you were looking for.

You may have had very similar results be siphoning and removing dinos like you did and not adding the live sand/mud, but simply letting the bacteria in your tank repopulate.

Don't take my skepticism and questions on some things as not believing you. You provided good detail on what you did, and what the outcome was. This is great anecdotal evidence! We just need some scientific analysis to catch up to what reefers are doing to validate some of our hypothesis.

I do believe that dinos ARE effected by the biome of the tank, but to what degree?

I currently have dinos on the sand of my tank, but with HIGH nutrients, 40+ppm nitrate and over .6 ppm phosphate. It's controllable with siphoning, and not too much of a hassle. I think I might go grab a bag of ocean direct live sand and see if I have similar results as you.
 
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chadfish

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Glad to see you found a way to beat dinos! It's always good to hear when someone wins the battle and gets the tank moving in the right direction.

So you siphoned out and removed dinos in multiple ways. Removed Cheato and added bacteria via live sand/mud

So, here's a couple of questions
1) Did you get an biome test before adding the live sand?
2) did you get a biome test of the live sand/mud?
3) How did you know you were adding the right bacterias to outcompete the dinos?

I think the major factor in your results was the fact you kept siphoning out the dinos in multiple ways. You weren't letting the dino population get out of control, and were actively reducing the their population. This allowed "good" bacteria to repopulate the tank. Without before and after biome tests, along with a biome test of the sand/mud you can't say for certain that adding that product had the effect you were looking for.

You may have had very similar results be siphoning and removing dinos like you did and not adding the live sand/mud, but simply letting the bacteria in your tank repopulate.

Don't take my skepticism and questions on some things as not believing you. You provided good detail on what you did, and what the outcome was. This is great anecdotal evidence! We just need some scientific analysis to catch up to what reefers are doing to validate some of our hypothesis.

I do believe that dinos ARE effected by the biome of the tank, but to what degree?

I currently have dinos on the sand of my tank, but with HIGH nutrients, 40+ppm nitrate and over .6 ppm phosphate. It's controllable with siphoning, and not too much of a hassle. I think I might go grab a bag of ocean direct live sand and see if I have similar results as you.
Yeah good questions. I didn’t test the biome before or after, I am relying on the work done by @AquaBiomics as per my post. Check out his Thread. Cool stuff.
 

Pntbll687

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Yeah good questions. I didn’t test the biome before or after, I am relying on the work done by @AquaBiomics as per my post. Check out his Thread. Cool stuff.
I read the write up on the opening page of the thread.

I like where it's heading, but he even says that without having control over the tanks he's testing it's hard to say that adding different bacterias and increasing the biome is what drives results like beating dinos and cyano.

I think the science just needs to catch up to what we're doing.

It's very hard for me to add something to the tank when I'm unsure of what I'm getting. Biome and bacteria are the new buzzwords and people seem to be flocking to them. Buying bottle of bacteria that don't even state what strains are in them. I get that it's a "proprietary" blend from a manufacturer, but at least list the bacterias in order from greatest to least in the product. If I've done a biome test I don't want to be adding more of what I already have an abundance of.

Not to mention the debacle and scam that Vibrant was.
 
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I read the write up on the opening page of the thread.

I like where it's heading, but he even says that without having control over the tanks he's testing it's hard to say that adding different bacterias and increasing the biome is what drives results like beating dinos and cyano.

I think the science just needs to catch up to what we're doing.

It's very hard for me to add something to the tank when I'm unsure of what I'm getting. Biome and bacteria are the new buzzwords and people seem to be flocking to them. Buying bottle of bacteria that don't even state what strains are in them. I get that it's a "proprietary" blend from a manufacturer, but at least list the bacterias in order from greatest to least in the product. If I've done a biome test I don't want to be adding more of what I already have an abundance of.

Not to mention the debacle and scam that Vibrant was.
I get what you are saying. I said a prayer before introducing the live sand and mud. But I kept thinking about all those folks with live rock from the ocean and folks like @Paul B who have had success with ocean water and taking an overall less sanitized approach.

Im not advocating one method or another, just reporting my success because this is such an issue with varied success with different methods. I tried the blackouts and the bottles and UV but they didn’t work. I even tried just the filter floss blackout prior to the live sand and that didn’t work either. This method did work for me and it would be interesting to hear any other success with this method.

Again, the dinos are not *gone*, they never will be. My hope is that they don’t bloom out of control again because there are a host of other microbes competing for those nutrients.
 

Mibu

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That's a pretty good write up. I used about 20lbs of "mud" I got from marine depot, about 10 years ago for my old system. I never had cyano or dinos. I had a very filthy system to keep my christmas worms fed. Which I kept for 5+ years. Thank you for the links. Much appreciated.
 

sixty_reefer

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Glad to see you found a way to beat dinos! It's always good to hear when someone wins the battle and gets the tank moving in the right direction.

So you siphoned out and removed dinos in multiple ways. Removed Cheato and added bacteria via live sand/mud

So, here's a couple of questions
1) Did you get an biome test before adding the live sand?
2) did you get a biome test of the live sand/mud?
3) How did you know you were adding the right bacterias to outcompete the dinos?

I think the major factor in your results was the fact you kept siphoning out the dinos in multiple ways. You weren't letting the dino population get out of control, and were actively reducing the their population. This allowed "good" bacteria to repopulate the tank. Without before and after biome tests, along with a biome test of the sand/mud you can't say for certain that adding that product had the effect you were looking for.

You may have had very similar results be siphoning and removing dinos like you did and not adding the live sand/mud, but simply letting the bacteria in your tank repopulate.

Don't take my skepticism and questions on some things as not believing you. You provided good detail on what you did, and what the outcome was. This is great anecdotal evidence! We just need some scientific analysis to catch up to what reefers are doing to validate some of our hypothesis.

I do believe that dinos ARE effected by the biome of the tank, but to what degree?

I currently have dinos on the sand of my tank, but with HIGH nutrients, 40+ppm nitrate and over .6 ppm phosphate. It's controllable with siphoning, and not too much of a hassle. I think I might go grab a bag of ocean direct live sand and see if I have similar results as you.
High parameters with dinoflagellates are normally photosynthetic, is black out a option for you? The op seems to have the non photosynthetic species that can be associated with low nutrient and are sometimes easier to outcompete as is normally just needs increasing nutrients to beat them.
can I ask you what’s you ph levels.
 
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taricha

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5) I covered the sand with filter floss pad. I have a huge roll of it and cut it to fit in between the rocks and coral. This singles out the photosynthetic dinos and gives the new bacteria time to settle in. It also avoids a total blackout which can be stressful on coral. To be honest, I started off with a 2-day blackout then kept the filter pads there another 3-4 days. I got this idea from @Just John Post in thread 'Losing battle w/ Dinos'

This is a clever innovation. It's sort of a blackout (really just dropping light a lot - not close to black) for the sand + selective manual removal. My hunch is that even for sand-dwelling dinos, if you laid a pad over a nasty patch and had a rock or something to hold it in place, you could probably get a large chunk of the dinos to move up into the pad and if you pulled the pad at noon, you'd get a big population on it and could rinse them dead in tap water and replace the pad.
 

hart24601

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Glad it worked for you! I have struggled with Dino’s are bare bottom for years and have ordered several orders of live sand and live mud both keys and regular from FL pets and never saw any improvements along with garf grunge and lots of other bacterial additives.

uv controlled them but always wanted to be free of them.

on a whim I bought some rubble from aquabiomics and after 3 years I was able to take the uv off! Have to give them credit. Possible it was coincidence but I have tired many times to go without UV with no success so have to give them credit.
 
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This is a clever innovation. It's sort of a blackout (really just dropping light a lot - not close to black) for the sand + selective manual removal. My hunch is that even for sand-dwelling dinos, if you laid a pad over a nasty patch and had a rock or something to hold it in place, you could probably get a large chunk of the dinos to move up into the pad and if you pulled the pad at noon, you'd get a big population on it and could rinse them dead in tap water and replace the pad.
I thought so too based on the posts I read, but in my case the dinos were not so aggressive. They were aggressive on the sand but not on the top of the floss. I was surprised by that. So I left them in for several days and yes, eventually they started to grow some here and there but I removed completely to find white sand.

Like I said before, my sand is now a patchwork of white and brown, but it looks more like dusty, like a small diatom outbreak. The dinos are present but not taking over.

Question for you: do you think I should continue to vacuum the dinos out of the sandbed, or should I leave the sandbed undisturbed? It’s not a DSB, just 1-4 inches depending on my pistol shrimp’s whims - so that aside, better to let the sand biome sit undisturbed, or cleaned and aerated?
 
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Glad it worked for you! I have struggled with Dino’s are bare bottom for years and have ordered several orders of live sand and live mud both keys and regular from FL pets and never saw any improvements along with garf grunge and lots of other bacterial additives.

uv controlled them but always wanted to be free of them.

on a whim I bought some rubble from aquabiomics and after 3 years I was able to take the uv off! Have to give them credit. Possible it was coincidence but I have tired many times to go without UV with no success so have to give them credit.
I’m glad I’m not the only one trying a biological method. Did you run the UV at the same time as adding the live sand / mud?
 

hart24601

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I’m glad I’m not the only one trying a biological method. Did you run the UV at the same time as adding the live sand / mud?

Yes had it off. And no I had it on! I fought them long enough to try many techniques! Including adding keys sand and mud both ways. Either way, and with without skimmer as well made no absolutely not a hint of difference sadly. Elevated nutrients as well of course.
 

taricha

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Question for you: do you think I should continue to vacuum the dinos out of the sandbed, or should I leave the sandbed undisturbed? It’s not a DSB, just 1-4 inches depending on my pistol shrimp’s whims - so that aside, better to let the sand biome sit undisturbed, or cleaned and aerated?
Anywhere that dinos are concentrated enough to discolor brown, there is more gain by removing them than any loss of "good stuff" in that section. That's how I feel, anyway.
 
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Yes had it off. And no I had it on! I fought them long enough to try many techniques! Including adding keys sand and mud both ways. Either way, and with without skimmer as well made no absolutely not a hint of difference sadly. Elevated nutrients as well of course.
I feel your pain. Many, many, many months. I got to a point when I thought “maybe if I do nothing at all, they’ll just magically go away “.
 

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This is a great post. I’ve been saying the same thing for years. It’s important to look at our tanks as ecosystems and to maintain the biology in our “mini reefs”.
The only thing I would add is that bacteria isn’t the only part of the biodiversity of our tanks that out-competes dinos. There must be amphipods, copepods, phyto, etc.
Personally I don’t think that nutrients, high or low, are the true cause of Dino outbreaks.….it’s the sudden change (adding chaeto) which caused a die-off of beneficial bacteria that provided an opportunity for the dinos to take hold.
Back in the 90s, when most were starting their tanks with live rock from the ocean, dinos and cyano weren’t much of a problem at all. This is because we had all the myriads of little sea creatures our rocks which seeded the entire tank.
Concentrate on natural processes. Think about it, every time man goes out and tries to manipulate mother nature, they screw things up.
IMHO, keep using chaeto in a refugium to breed and maintain all those little creatures that contribute to the health and stability of our tanks.
 

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I've had an almost identical journey in my main tank (the one tank I started with dry rock and dead sand). I posted about it in the "Are you tired of battling altogether" thread here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/d...ed-of-battling-altogether.293318/post-9740650

I've tried pretty much every remedy except for the more extreme bottled products like ChemiClean. I stayed calm throughout the process and only worked one method at a time. I eventually added live rock from KP Aquatics and watched the dinos recede within a day and almost completely gone within a few more days.

I understand that each dino battle is different and the effective weaponry is different too. I was frustrated by the processes that other people had success with but didn't help me, like blackouts and UV.

@chadfish I'm glad you knocked those suckers out. In response to your thread title, I would even suggest that battling with microbiome is not necessarily "new" because beneficial bacteria and tiny critters have been keeping dinos battled back for a long time, but it is a newer concept for many that are fighting dinos.
 

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It's very hard for me to add something to the tank when I'm unsure of what I'm getting. Biome and bacteria are the new buzzwords and people seem to be flocking to them. Buying bottle of bacteria that don't even state what strains are in them. I get that it's a "proprietary" blend from a manufacturer, but at least list the bacterias in order from greatest to least in the product. If I've done a biome test I don't want to be adding more of what I already have an abundance of.

Not to mention the debacle and scam that Vibrant was.
I'm not sure how relevant this is. Sand, live rock, etc. collected from the ocean is not the same as a bottled bacteria or some proprietary blend.

Also, bacteria and biome are not buzzwords. I get that people are talking a lot more about them now, but many have been talking about them for a long time, and these notions are not buzzy or new.
 
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