Parameters right where they should be but struggling with Dino's and cyano

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JCM

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The problem is they are not algae and no herbivore eats dinos or cyano, in fact, dino's kills your snails when they are forced to eat it. The issue is that yes I do have low nutrients but not super low and according to all the literature I have what should be perfect for what I am trying to achieve. So i want to know how to balance out and reduce the dino's and cyano so that they are no longer a visible problem yet still maintain great conditions for a sps reef tank that is full of colorful growing coral. Simple lol

Don't we all...

How old is the tank? I would never intentionally keep nitrates that low, I don't care what red sea or anyone else says. Not that you're doing it intentionally, but you're either importing too little or exporting too much.. Too many things can go wrong bottoming out nutrients and plenty of people have colorful healthy sps tanks with 25+ ppm nitrate. I personally consider .25 ppm super low.
 
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schuby

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I contend that reefkeepers didn't have dinos in the past (10-15+ years ago) due to the tremendous biodiversity of live rock from the ocean. Why does raising nutrients up typically make dinos go away and stay away? I think its because dinos' competition aren't as efficient as dinos and they need more readily available nutrients. Good biodiversity is the missing element and not just non-zero nutrients.
 
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recci

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I started the tank with good old-fashioned live rock, but over time the biodiversity seems to have died off. Still plenty of bristle worms and little star fish but the live rock originally had a lot more things on it that all seemed to died out.
 

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The problem is they are not algae and no herbivore eats dinos or cyano, in fact, dino's kills your snails when they are forced to eat it. The issue is that yes I do have low nutrients but not super low and according to all the literature I have what should be perfect for what I am trying to achieve. So i want to know how to balance out and reduce the dino's and cyano so that they are no longer a visible problem yet still maintain great conditions for a sps reef tank that is full of colorful growing coral. Simple lol


Keep in mind that literature on corals refers to natural habitats whereby they are constantly feeding to obtain nitrogen and phosphorus. Our tanks, often skimmers which make the issue worse, are sterile compared to a wild reef.
 
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recci

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Yeah, i get that, I only have an old Bubble magus Nac 7 skimmer that seems to a decent job. But i have a clarisea roller filter instead of filter socks I wonder if that is pulling out much from the water column.
 
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schuby

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What all do you run to remove excess nitrate or phosphate? Skimmer, GAC, GFO, ATS, filter-socks, roller-mat, Lanthanum Chloride (LC to some), carbon-dosing, denitrifier, other...

Myself, I also think such low levels are living on a razor's edge between success and disaster. Only a few such reefers have long-term success and they all seem to have high import (feeding, dosing) and high export (nutrient removal methods): high nutrient throughput with super low residuals.
 
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recci

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I dont run anything to remove nitrate or phosphate, I am dosing nitrate! I have a skimmer a Clarissa sk3000 and a small algae turf scrubber which is to stop algae rather than reduce nutrients.
 

ScottB

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I dont run anything to remove nitrate or phosphate, I am dosing nitrate! I have a skimmer a Clarissa sk3000 and a small algae turf scrubber which is to stop algae rather than reduce nutrients.
Relative to your nutrient IMPORT, those EXPORT tools + ample live rock are too effective at removing nutrients. Full stop.

Drop the algae scrubber. It "stops algae" by removing nutrients.

The old rock came with some phosphate so you have enough of that but you are nitrate deficient relative to phosphate.

The dinos and the cyano (in particular) are solving for that imbalance and they will continue to do so.
 
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recci

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Relative to your nutrient IMPORT, those EXPORT tools + ample live rock are too effective at removing nutrients. Full stop.

Drop the algae scrubber. It "stops algae" by removing nutrients.

The old rock came with some phosphate so you have enough of that but you are nitrate deficient relative to phosphate.

The dinos and the cyano (in particular) are solving for that imbalance and they will continue to do so.
I thought the scrubber provided a haven for algae so it would encourage it to grow there rather than on my glass and rocks. Either way, it was exactly the same before I added the scrubber.

I am not sure what you mean by solving for that imbalance?
 

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I run an sps dominated reefer 350 and my parameters have been pretty close to the Redsea reef recipe for an sps dominated tank for quite a while.
Salinity 35 ppt
Calcium 430 ppm
Magnesium
1280 ppm
Alkalinity around 8 dKH
Nitrate around 0.25 ppm to 0.5ppm
Phosphate 0.08
I also dose reef energy. But use the ATI essential pro for dosing.

But at these super-low nutrient levels, I struggle with both cyano and dino's in the tank. My tank naturally has low nitrate levels of near-zero but my phosphates would creep up over time. The thing is how do you prevent dino's and cyano with these numbers? They are caused by a lack of nutrients, not an excess. I find it hard to believe the pristine sps dominated tanks shown by Redsea can be maintained for any length of time without similar issues to what I am seeing develop.

If i try to reduce my phosphates down to around the 0.03 mark (which is where they recommend) it just makes the dinos and cyano worse.

My bio-load is quite high with over 14 small fish and two tangs that are too big for the tank. I have quite a lot of live rock and surface area for the volume of water which is why my nitrates are always low. It almost feels like I have too much live rock. Plus most of it was a proper mature live rock when I started the tank.

I feed flakes, pellets and frozen and feed twice per day.

I have plenty of flow 2 x mp40s on nutrient transport mode most of the day. I use ATI sunpower T5 lights.

I am pretty much doing everything right according to what I am reading yet I still have these issues.

Don't get me wrong the health and growth on most of my corals is great it's just this constant formation of dino's on frag racks and hard surfaces and cyano on the rocks and sand that I find so frustratring.
The answer is in your text. Consider that the fact that at any given time the levels of nitrate and phosphate are low still does not provide you with information on their fluxes. I would guess that as the input is very high (feeding a high bioload) the wrong bacteria/diatoms/algae are rapidly consuming it. Maybe slowly rising carbon dosing will divert the phosphate/nitrate fluxes away from the bacteria/diatoms/algae
 
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homer1475

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I run an sps dominated reefer 350 and my parameters have been pretty close to the Redsea reef recipe for an sps dominated tank for quite a while.
Salinity 35 ppt
Calcium 430 ppm
Magnesium
1280 ppm
Alkalinity around 8 dKH
Nitrate around 0.25 ppm to 0.5ppm
Phosphate 0.08
I also dose reef energy. But use the ATI essential pro for dosing.

But at these super-low nutrient levels, I struggle with both cyano and dino's in the tank. My tank naturally has low nitrate levels of near-zero but my phosphates would creep up over time. The thing is how do you prevent dino's and cyano with these numbers?

This is an easy one.....

Your parameters are not "right were they should be", but rather on the real low side which is why you have dino's.

Just like red sea recommends running your ALK at 11 too, which will kill more corals then make them grow faster. I take anything red sea says with an extra grain of salt. Red Sea is great at marketing(just look how many people try to run their tanks at their recommendations to only lower their values), but IMO very poor in communicating why they actually recommend the values they do, and what other processes need to be raised to keep those elevated levels.

To combat the dino's, simply just raise your nutrient levels. .25 to .5 nitrate, and .08 phosphate is a recipe for dinos.

Your tank, and SPS will ove you more if you raised those levels to around 5 to 10 nitrate(yes 5 to 10 ppm not .5 to 1.0), and phosphates to 0.1 to 0.2.

Ask anyone that keeps and colors up acros, what there nutrient levels are. Pretty sure, no almost 100% confident you won't find too many running ULNS anymore. We know better now.
 
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recci

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But I have had my nitrates as high as 16ppm for several weeks and the situation was no different. I dosed seachem flourish nitrogen which is much more potent than the current nitrates I am dosing.

I need to solve this somehow without involving any blackouts or anything like that. My tank consumes 1.7 dkh a day so anything like that would disturb my tank far too much and cause me to have to adjust all my dosing etc. Also, my ph would sink far too low in an extended blackout.
 

ScottB

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I thought the scrubber provided a haven for algae so it would encourage it to grow there rather than on my glass and rocks. Either way, it was exactly the same before I added the scrubber.

I am not sure what you mean by solving for that imbalance?
Having steadily available trace amounts of nutrients (NO3, PO4) in the system encourages the growth of competing microorganisms and bacteria that cover you rock and sand. Bacterial film, film algae, diatoms, etc etc.

When you are deficient in PO4, certain of those competitors die off and are consumed by dinoflagellates. When you are deficient in NO3, a slightly different set of competitive (mostly bacteria) starve out and are replaced by cyanobacteria.

These transitions (good & bad) don't necessarily happen quickly. Cyano & dinos can take months to be outcompeted by good guy microorganisms.
 
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recci

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Having steadily available trace amounts of nutrients (NO3, PO4) in the system encourages the growth of competing microorganisms and bacteria that cover you rock and sand. Bacterial film, film algae, diatoms, etc etc.

When you are deficient in PO4, certain of those competitors die off and are consumed by dinoflagellates. When you are deficient in NO3, a slightly different set of competitive (mostly bacteria) starve out and are replaced by cyanobacteria.

These transitions (good & bad) don't necessarily happen quickly. Cyano & dinos can take months to be outcompeted by good guy microorganisms.
So increase nitrates up to around 5ppm, leave phosphate as it is and try to introduce new bacteria and bio-diversity into the system?
 

ScottB

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So increase nitrates up to around 5ppm, leave phosphate as it is and try to introduce new bacteria and bio-diversity into the system?
Sounds great to me. Refresh me (us) again, the dominant nuisance right now is cyanobacteria, correct? Keep manually removing it as often as possible. We all hate doing it over and over, but it is a part of the solution. The other is keeping a balance of nutrient flowing through the system to feed the rest of the biome that isn't so ugly and visible.
 
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recci

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Sounds great to me. Refresh me (us) again, the dominant nuisance right now is cyanobacteria, correct? Keep manually removing it as often as possible. We all hate doing it over and over, but it is a part of the solution. The other is keeping a balance of nutrient flowing through the system to feed the rest of the biome that isn't so ugly and visible.
I would say the dominant nuisance is Dino's. I get the odd bit of cyano in low flow area's but dino's forms on hard surfaces like frag racks and I even see little bits of snot hanging on corals. Neither one is really bad but they are just enough to annoy me.
 

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I've been battling both cyano and dinos for months. I finally got my nutrients steady at ~ 10-15ppm NO3 and 0.1-0.2 ppm PO4 a couple weeks ago. I still have cyano and dinos, but I'm fighting my urge to "do something" and seeing if keeping the nutrient target levels for a while will do something positive. I'm now managing the nutrient levels with water changes and my skimmer. I'm also running my UV on low flow rate all the time.,
 
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