New way to beat dinoflagellates

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chadfish

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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.
I agree that I don’t think zero free nutrients causes dino outbreaks, but I do think that it’s an impediment to getting rid of them.

I’ll add chaeto again if I ever have high nutrients. As it was, it was sucking so many nutrients, my corals were bleaching. As soon as I removed it, they brightened right up.
 

vpierce3

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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.
Exactly. Concentrating on bacteria and biome is simply returning to the old methods of 30 yrs ago. Think Berlin method.
In the last 15 yrs people have been shifting more towards new tech and devices….tons of additives, different filter media, reactors, uv, sulphur, bio pellets, and the list goes on.
While some problems have been solved, and genius innovation has made some things easier, the success of a tank relies on the basics: biodiversity that mimics nature, good lighting, good flow, and vigilance on our part.
 

Pntbll687

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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.
I could probably do a 2 day black out. And they are photosynthetic, the sand is almost completely gone in the morning before the lights come on

PH is between 8.0-8.2
 
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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.
Hi,

All dinoflagellates we deal with are photosynthetic. I helped kill mine with a “targeted” blackout by covering the sand with filter floss pad. This killed the dinos but left the coral unaffected and gave the new bacteria a chance to become established. (That last bit is hypothesized)
 
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I could probably do a 2 day black out. And they are photosynthetic, the sand is almost completely gone in the morning before the lights come on

PH is between 8.0-8.2
I would give it a try if you feel that your tank inhabitants wouldn’t be at risk during the blackout, from the information you gave they all match with parameters I would expect from photosynthetic dinoflagellates, high ph and increasing parameters of no3 and po4.
 
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I could probably do a 2 day black out. And they are photosynthetic, the sand is almost completely gone in the morning before the lights come on

PH is between 8.0-8.2
If the sand is clean each morning, then the dinos ago swimming at night. I highly recommend filtering them out. Find out what strain you have with a microscope and get the appropriate sized micron filter. A 5micron will most likely work, but you might be able to get away with 20micron depending. UV might work, but you need SUCH a high powered UV that it might be cost prohibitive and it’s not targeted - it kills everything in its path, including the bacteria and algae that are competing with the dinos.
 

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Hi,

All dinoflagellates we deal with are photosynthetic. I helped kill mine with a “targeted” blackout by covering the sand with filter floss pad. This killed the dinos but left the coral unaffected and gave the new bacteria a chance to become established. (That last bit is hypothesized)
There is two types of dinoflagellates going around in the hobby, one gets they’re energy from organic carbon and the other on inorganic carbon. That’s why we can’t just have one method kills all species kind of approaching, they need to be divided in two groups to be able to tackle them the right way.

the photosynthetic kind leave you with high parameters

the non photosynthetic kind leaves you with low parameters

I could expand on this but would probably just create more confusion as why we get this trends in parameter with different dinoflagellates.
 

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All dinoflagellates we deal with are photosynthetic.
Agreed.

There are 2000+ species of dinoflagellates, but the ones that cause issues in our tanks all have the same traits: benthic, photosynthetic, toxin producers, from tropical waters.
When you filter what's found in wild surveys by which ones actually have those traits I listed - there's 5 genera that fit: ostreopsis, amphidinium, prorocentrum, coolia, gambierdiscus. We have all of them in the hobby.
 

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Agreed.

There are 2000+ species of dinoflagellates, but the ones that cause issues in our tanks all have the same traits: benthic, photosynthetic, toxin producers, from tropical waters.
When you filter what's found in wild surveys by which ones actually have those traits I listed - there's 5 genera that fit: ostreopsis, amphidinium, prorocentrum, coolia, gambierdiscus. We have all of them in the hobby.
So you saying that we don’t encounter mixathrophic species in our tanks? Why some species deplete our tanks from nutrients and others increase them?
 
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taricha

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So you saying that we don’t encounter mixathrophic species in our tanks? Why some species deplete our tanks from nutrients and others increase them?
mixotrophy likely occurs. And probably more in some species (amphidinium) than others (ostreopsis).
But all of these are photosynthetic and derive the majority of their energy from photosynthesis and don't grow without it.
I just think the relationships between dinos and nutrients are poorly understood. Not necessarily that some kinds have different relationships to driving nutrients in a tank. I think all our problem dinos grow well enough and store P well enough to deplete PO4 in a system.
 

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mixotrophy likely occurs. And probably more in some species (amphidinium) than others (ostreopsis).
But all of these are photosynthetic and derive the majority of their energy from photosynthesis and don't grow without it.
I just think the relationships between dinos and nutrients are poorly understood. Not necessarily that some kinds have different relationships to driving nutrients in a tank. I think all our problem dinos grow well enough and store P well enough to deplete PO4 in a system.

Regarding nutrition I’ve come to think that most dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria bloom in our tanks wend the nutrient C is in abundance (that’s there main food source), this is normally due to Low to zero residual nitrates and phosphates. The reason I think not everyone gets Cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates blooms in this conditions is purely because they are hitchhikers. Not all tanks will have the seed for them to bloom.
 

taricha

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The reason I think not everyone gets Cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates blooms in this conditions is purely because they are hitchhikers. Not all tanks will have the seed for them to bloom.
It's quite a good question. We think we can list the conditions most tightly associated with dino blooms. But there are some systems with those conditions that don't get them - understanding why would be very helpful. Maybe it's as simple as presence of the cells, like you say. Not sure.
 

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It's quite a good question. We think we can list the conditions most tightly associated with dino blooms. But there are some systems with those conditions that don't get them - understanding why would be very helpful. Maybe it's as simple as presence of the cells, like you say. Not sure.
To me it makes sense, if we agree that there is mixathrophic dinoflagellates this will mean that some will use light and inorganic carbon (N-doc) and other will use organic carbon (Doc) to get energy from dividing most dinoflagellates in two groups.

Heterotrophic and autotrophic

Theoretical the heterotrophic species can be eradicated by removing light and the autotrophic species by reducing the amount of available Doc that cause the bloom in the first place.
Specie that can switch from heterotrophic to autotrophic will be the hardest to eradicate.

n my theoretical formula that I’m debating on another thread it determines that there is a abundance of Doc and N-Doc every time that the residual nutrient N or P starts to lower rapidly in our tanks. This means that the perfect conditions for dinoflagellates are not always zero although as close to zero the higher will be the abundance of Doc and N-Doc.

if we were to look at the moler ratio of dinoflagellates or Cyanobacteria more closely we could determine that they will need a large amount of C compared to N and P, meaning that they need a lot of carbon and a little N and P to thrive.

The presence of the cell, like you put it is the big difference between some getting it and others don’t, it’s becoming more common this days to have dinoflagellates simple because it’s so easy in our time to trade corals and come as hitchhikers. If you were to look 10 years back you would see many tanks running at zero nutrients without the risk of dinoflagellates.
that’s my theoretical anecdotal thoughts
 
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taricha

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To me it makes sense, if we agree that there is mixathrophic dinoflagellates this will mean that some will use light and inorganic carbon (N-doc) and other will use organic carbon (Doc) to get energy from dividing most dinoflagellates in two groups.

Heterotrophic and autotrophic

Theoretical the heterotrophic species can be eradicated by removing light and the autotrophic species by reducing the amount of available Doc that cause the bloom in the first place.
Specie that can switch from heterotrophic to autotrophic will be the hardest to eradicate.
....
Investigation of phagotrophy in natural assemblages of the benthic dinoflagellates Ostreopsis, Prorocentrum and Coolia[pdf]
Abstract

"Mixotrophy has been shown to be a common trait among dinoflagellates and its importance in the nutritional ecology of harmful algae has been hypothesized. Benthic harmful species have not been extensively investigated as their planktonic counterparts and there are major gaps in the knowledge of their nutritional strategies. In this study the occurrence of phagotrophy was investigated in natural assemblages of benthic dinoflagellates using epi-fluorescence microscopy with DAPI and LysoSensor staining. The study was conducted at five sites along the coast of Rio de Janeiro that were visited in January, August and December 2010. In total, 1659 dinoflagellate cells were observed. From these, only 0.4% of 1195 Ostreopsis cf. ovata and 2.2% of 134 Coolia spp. cells presented evidence of phagotrophy with vacuoles stained by LysoSensor or a DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) stained inclusion. Stained vacuoles were not registered in the 330 Prorocentrum spp. cells observed. Few O. cf. ovata cells contained round red inclusions ("red spots") that were not stained either by DAPI or LysoSensor, suggesting that these structures are not ingested prey. The results showed that phagotrophy was not a frequent nutritional strategy in benthic dinoflagellates during the study period."

The literature on mixotrophy in our actual problem dinos (ostreopsis, amphidinium, prorocentrum, coolia, gambierdiscus) looks a lot like the above: perhaps present but nobody has been able to demonstrate it being very important. The best evidence to the contrary that I can point to in favor of mixotrophy is that I kept a beaker of large cell amphidinium in a drawer in total darkness for like ~10 days, and the cells remained active and rapidly swimming/gliding, even though they lost a lot of the color from their chloroplasts suggesting they could get energy from feeding on bacteria etc.

So taking all this into account, is a difference in dino feeding strategies responsible for differences in the nutrient trajectories in hobby tank blooms? Or do we in the hobby just really poorly understand the relationship between nutrients and nuisance growth (dinos & cyano)?
I lean toward the explanation that we poorly understand how nutrients in our system drives nuisances.

The presence of the cell, like you put it is the big difference between some getting it and others don’t, it’s becoming more common this days to have dinoflagellates simple because it’s so easy in our time to trade corals and come as hitchhikers. If you were to look 10 years back you would see many tanks running at zero nutrients without the risk of dinoflagellates.
that’s my theoretical anecdotal thoughts
I tried my best get some data on this question.


https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/a...he-hobby-now-than-years-ago-some-data.780529/

It seems that searching pics at least as far back as 2005-6, reports of "brown algae" that were labeled diatoms or cyano, we woud now ID (correctly) as dinos. From what I can tell, I saw no strong evidence of increase of dinos relative to diatoms, cyano or green algae, only our awareness of them.
 
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So taking all this into account, is a difference in dino feeding strategies responsible for differences in the nutrient trajectories in hobby tank blooms? Or do we in the hobby just really poorly understand the relationship between nutrients and nuisance growth (dinos & cyano)?
I lean toward the explanation that we poorly understand how nutrients in our system drives nuisances.


I tried my best get some data on this question.

Im going to have to look at all that information once im home, it’s a lot to read wile at work.

on the nutrient side of things I’ve come up with a formula that lets us interpret nutrients like never before in the hobby, I’ve been discussing it with Randy for almost 3 weeks now and although he seems very skeptic of how the formula works it seems to be able to explain a lot of what is already known, the formula can interpret what nutrients are being depleted in a system during various factors. I will tag you on the thread to see if that’s of your interest I would start on page 9 as the first few pages is mainly a lot of people saying that it doesn’t exist and is just not possible, from page 9 the evidence becomes more substantial .
 

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I certainly am not the only one saying it but have been saying it for quite some time. It is about microfaunal diversity as said by the OP.

Back in the early 2000’s, everybody had liverock straight from the ocean and almost nobody had dinoflagellates. A lot of these systems were SPS dominant with N and P close to undetectable levels. Additionally, if you test the water of wild ocean reefs you will see the water has undetectable N and P.

I think raising N and P to outcompete Dino’s is a less than ideal way of going about things because then quite often you see the person with all types of nuisance algae outbreaks and cyano after the Dino’s go away.

In my opinion the ideal way to beat Dino’s and replicate nature is to introduce microfauna that outcompetes Dinoflagellates at close to undetectable nutrient levels. This is done by introducing live rock, sand, and mud. Stuff from the Caribbean works but I think if you can get it from the Pacific you will see better results.
 

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I think raising N and P to outcompete Dino’s is a less than ideal way of going about things because then quite often you see the person with all types of nuisance algae outbreaks and cyano after the Dino’s go away.

most if not all dinoflagellates cases seen online start with someone trying to eradicate algae the wrong way, it’s the false narrative that nutrient will grow algaes faster that gets most in this messy situation in the first place. Algae is a natural thing to happen in reef aquaria and nothing good happens wend a tank is stripped of nutrients.
 

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most if not all dinoflagellates cases seen online start with someone trying to eradicate algae the wrong way, it’s the false narrative that nutrient will grow algaes faster that gets most in this messy situation in the first place. Algae is a natural thing to happen in reef aquaria and nothing good happens wend a tank is stripped of nutrients.
I’m sorry, but that isn’t definitive. There are many reef aquariums, more in the past, that kept nutrients stripped without issue.
 

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most if not all dinoflagellates cases seen online start with someone trying to eradicate algae the wrong way, it’s the false narrative that nutrient will grow algaes faster that gets most in this messy situation in the first place. Algae is a natural thing to happen in reef aquaria and nothing good happens wend a tank is stripped of nutrients.
And I also disagree with the first statement. While many cases involve dinoflagellates surfacing after trying to eradicate nuisance algae, you also see a lot of cases of people that have them spontaneously arise on new dry rock and sand.
 
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