Second Opinions Never Hurt - Dinos?

Deltec

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Hi, all! First time posting but here’s another algae ID post. I don’t believe they’re diatoms. They sorta look like dinos but don’t have the characteristic trapped air bubbles. It’s brown, it covers the rocks, tank walls, and only the sand that is in the light. What do you guys think?

Tank has been running for about 4 months. I cycled it for about a 7-8 weeks. Here are my relevant nutrient levels:

pH: ~8
Nitrates: 0
Phosphates: 0.04 ppm
Temp: 78
Salinity: 1.025

I assume Dinos but it can never hurt to have a more experienced opinion!
 

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Here’s pictures in case you can’t download the video!
 

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BostonReefer300

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A picture like the first one under white light would help me tell for sure---and greater magnification.
If hair algae, you have it because your nutrients are high enough to support them. What tests are you using for NO3 and PO4? Also could you give some more info on your tank? Size, sump, skimmer, livestock, how frequently and how big your water changes are?
 
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I can take a picture under whiter lights tomorrow. As for your other questions:

NO3: API
PO4: Hanna Phosphate ULR Checker
Tank: 20g waterbox cube
Sump: Built in with sock filter, bioballs, carbon, 2 mangrove plants
Skimmer: I had a skimmer being used in the return pump but after I saw that Dinos thrive when PO4 is 0, I turned off the skimmer.
Livestock: 2 clowns, 1 clingfish, 1 blood red shrimp, 3 nassarius snails, 1 trochus snail, 1 black widow anemone, 1 bgsp
Water changes: at least once a week at ~20%. However, since the outbreak, about every 3-4 days because otherwise the algae takes over.
With all that being said, I can’t imagine that it’s because nutrients are too high? My tds reads at 4 for my RODI water. Could it be that?
 

BostonReefer300

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Thanks for the extra info. Glad to see you're using the Hanna for phosphate. For NO3 I'd recommend getting salifert, nyos, etc. (or Hanna High Range if you can find it anywhere). Basically, throw away any API test kit you have because they're all garbage IMO and that of most people on this site.
All that being said, I'm now having a hard time believing you have a nutrient problem based on everything you've said unless you're feeding outrageous amounts. BTW, IMO you're doing everything right with your setup. (And, you don't need to use a skimmer in your setup with your stocking if you're doing a 20% WC weekly.)
Your end product RODI water should really be 0 TDS. If you have a good TDS meter, you can probably trust that your 4 reading is correct, but if you're worried you can go buy some steam distilled water from the grocery store and check it. Having some small amounts of impurities in your water could be feeding nuisance algae/bacteria.
Let's wait to see what the pics under white lights look like. Also, if you try to blow it off the rocks gently with a turkey baster, what happens? Any chance you have a cheap digital microscope lying around?
 
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I feed mysis once a day and the fish usually eat everything before it hits the floor. Looks like I’ll be getting a new test kit the ! Haha
After seeing the tank under whites, it might be a little more obvious what the culprit is… let me know why you think!
 

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Reef.

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It looks like a mix of diatoms and algae to me.

Until your TDS is zero and even then stuff can be getting through as zero is not absolute zero then you can not be sure what nutrients are getting into your tank.

Once you have some algae it's hard to say what your true nutrient lvl is as the algae will be taking up the nutrients so you may not be getting a true reading from your tests.

I would first look to get your rodi to zero, as the 4 TDS could be PO4 or silicates or any number of things, the way a rodi system works could mean the 4 TDS is all silicate or PO4 etc it will not necessarily be a mix of many different nutrients so whilst 4 might not sound too bad, if the 4 is all one nutrient it will cause more harm than if it was a mixture of different nutrients.
 

BostonReefer300

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It looks like a mix of diatoms and algae to me.

Until your TDS is zero and even then stuff can be getting through as zero is not absolute zero then you can not be sure what nutrients are getting into your tank.

Once you have some algae it's hard to say what your true nutrient lvl is as the algae will be taking up the nutrients so you may not be getting a true reading from your tests.

I would first look to get your rodi to zero, as the 4 TDS could be PO4 or silicates or any number of things, the way a rodi system works could mean the 4 TDS is all silicate or PO4 etc it will not necessarily be a mix of many different nutrients so whilst 4 might not sound too bad, if the 4 is all one nutrient it will cause more harm than if it was a mixture of different nutrients.
I agree with all of this. Also, under the white lights, I'm more convinced that its standard hair algae. Try to get your TDS to zero, do a couple water changes on your normal schedule, and see how it goes for a month. In the meantime, you can scrub the rocks with a brush before your water changes and or try to siphon the algae up directly during a WC
 
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Not sure how much of your rock was live versus dead but this looks like very standard new tank uglies. So it doesn't matter much what it is as it will soon (a month, two) be replaced by something else. Then something else.

Mind your parameters (heat, salinity, eventually nutrients) and keep up with general husbandry. No big changes and just let the system fight its way into/through puberty.

If it was a dead rock start and you want to accelerate things then add some live sump rock.
 
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Thank you all for the great tips and help! Just waiting on new cannister refills for my RODI system, in hopes to get the TDS down to 0. Once that comes in, I'll do a deep clean, water change, and then probably dose some beneficial bacteria to give them a better foothold and keep the algae at bay.
 
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