Struggling with Nitrates, algae and maybe Dinos?

AllanPritchard

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Hi All

Sorry for the long background post. But it may give you some insight.

I have been in this hobby since 2019, things were going OK initially but things started going awry with GHA. I was given advice that my rocks were leaching phosphates and went into a hard regime of Rowa Phos with Vibrant to beat the GHA reducing nitrate and phosphate as much as possible, (Don't beat me up I am still learning), I could never test any Nitrate or phosphate but was told they were locked up in the GHA and excess nitrates were the problem from over feeding, I feed the minimum as possible. After discovering Ich in my tank I removed all of the live stock and target feed the shrimp (ever 4th day) for 3 months and still went hard with Vibrant and also Fluconazole for what looked like Bryopsis. The tank ended up being over taken by what looked like Green Slime Algae and bryopsys or turf algae seemed to die off.
Since early 2020 I have lost 70% of my corals to what I believe was either Cyano or Dinos covering them, Maybe Cyao and then Dinos, also had one of my Radions fail and it took 6 weeks to get a replacement which didn't help the situation. In the display I have a BTA, some sad looking Zoas, 3 very large Toadstools and a Goniopora. Apart from the Zoas which get overgrown by algae the others are growing well. (I have two nano tanks full of rescued corals which are doing fantastically including a trochus snail and pod breeding program)

I am pretty sure I currently have Dinos taking over the tank. My PH Goes from 8.2 at night to 8.75 during the day with lights on. I assume this is something to do with the photosynthesis of the Dinos and their release of O2?. I worked to get my nitrates up and got it to 0.6 (Hanne low range and confirmed by Hanna High Range checker) and my Phosphates were .02 (Hanna Checker). The Dinos slowed down but the GHA was coming back which i though would be easier to deal with. Last Sunday after a big clean, removed top layer of sand, and removed as much algae/Dinos as possible. PH was swinging from 8.2 to 8.5 Things were looking better. I dosed Vibrant again at 1ml per 10 gal to try and get the GHA under control. Today Nitrates are 0 again, Phosphates are .02 and the Dinos are definitely regrowing fast, brown covering on the sand and glass with little bubbles in it. My PH is 8.73 at 6 pm (close to end of light schedule) PH has been checked by Hanna checker but goes out of range at 8.6. The Apex probe seems to be accurate compared to the Hanna.

I don't know what to do, I have been feeding heavy to raise Nitrates but the GHA takes over (and the population of Bristle worms explodes), if I attack that with Vibrant the nitrate bottoms out and the Dino come back, which I think killed all of my snails, I have no snails currently, I understand they die quickly with the Dinos. Snails here are $27 each so i don't want to add more until I know they will survive. Tank has a Yellow Tang, Limerick Angle, 2 firefish, Melanurus Wrasse, 1 banggai cardinal and 1 clown plus a Boxer Shrimp. Tank is 350 lt plus sump.

What should I do to try and get on top of this besides starting over. Also in addition I will be moving in April next year to a temporary house while my future house is built, so will be doing a full tankdown and re-setup so want to get this back on track before then and especially before my new house is built.

Cheers
Al
 
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TheBeardedGuppy

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Hi All

Sorry for the long background post. But it may give you some insight.

I have been in this hobby since 2019, things were going OK initially but things started going awry with GHA. I was given advice that my rocks were leaching phosphates and went into a hard regime of Rowa Phos with Vibrant to beat the GHA reducing nitrate and phosphate as much as possible, (Don't beat me up I am still learning), I could never test any Nitrate or phosphate but was told they were locked up in the GHA and excess nitrates were the problem from over feeding, I feed the minimum as possible. After discovering Ich in my tank I removed all of the live stock and target feed the shrimp (ever 4th day) for 3 months and still went hard with Vibrant and also Fluconazole for what looked like Bryopsis. The tank ended up being over taken by what looked like Green Slime Algae and bryopsys or turf algae seemed to die off.
Since early 2020 I have lost 70% of my corals to what I believe was either Cyano or Dinos covering them, Maybe Cyao and then Dinos, also had one of my Radions fail and it took 6 weeks to get a replacement which didn't help the situation. In the display I have a BTA, some sad looking Zoas, 3 very large Toadstools and a Goniopora. Apart from the Zoas which get overgrown by algae the others are growing well. (I have two nano tanks full of rescued corals which are doing fantastically including a trochus snail and pod breeding program)

I am pretty sure I currently have Dinos taking over the tank. My PH Goes from 8.2 at night to 8.75 during the day with lights on. I assume this is something to do with the photosynthesis of the Dinos and their release of O2?. I worked to get my nitrates up and got it to 0.6 (Hanne low range and confirmed by Hanna High Range checker) and my Phosphates were .02 (Hanna Checker). The Dinos slowed down but the GHA was coming back which i though would be easier to deal with. Last Sunday after a big clean, removed top layer of sand, and removed as much algae/Dinos as possible. PH was swinging from 8.2 to 8.5 Things were looking better. I dosed Vibrant again at 1ml per 10 gal to try and get the GHA under control. Today Nitrates are 0 again, Phosphates are .02 and the Dinos are definitely regrowing fast, brown covering on the sand and glass with little bubbles in it. My PH is 8.73 at 6 pm (close to end of light schedule) PH has been checked by Hanna checker but goes out of range at 8.6. The Apex probe seems to be accurate compared to the Hanna.

I don't know what to do, I have been feeding heavy to raise Nitrates but the GHA takes over (and the population of Bristle worms explodes), if I attack that with Vibrant the nitrate bottoms out and the Dino come back, which I think killed all of my snails, I have no snails currently, I understand they die quickly with the Dinos. Snails here are $27 each so i don't want to add more until I know they will survive. Tank has a Yellow Tang, Limerick Angle, 2 firefish, Melanurus Wrasse, 1 banggai cardinal and 1 clown plus a Boxer Shrimp. Tank is 350 lt plus sump.

What should I do to try and get on top of this besides starting over. Also in addition I will be moving in April next year to a temporary house while my future house is built, so will be doing a full tankdown and re-setup so want to get this back on track before then and especially before my new house is built.

Cheers
Al
Im new to the hobby and am fighting dinos myself I know i dont have the experience to give advice but this video is the most indepth dive into fighting dinos based on thier actual species and is working for me.
 
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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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Im new to the hobby and am fighting dinos myself I know i dont have the experience to give advice but this video is the most indepth dive into fighting dinos based on thier actual species and is working for me.
Cheers, I will give it a watch. I have watched various "how to beat.. (insert issue)" videos I learn something new with each one. Cheers Al
 

Lavey29

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You mentioned some PH swings but what are your complete current water parameters? What is your light source and schedule? Have you tried 3 day blackout? Did you confirm dinos via microscope? What flow do you have going to help clean the substrate?
 
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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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You mentioned some PH swings but what are your complete current water parameters? What is your light source and schedule? Have you tried 3 day blackout? Did you confirm dinos via microscope? What flow do you have going to help clean the substrate?
Current parameters
Salinity 35.1 (Red Sea coral pro) high as eveporation as it is summer here
Temp 25,3 deg c (hot day here)
Alk 9.4
Calcium 443
ph 8.63 ( 8:26pm and lights off peaked at 8.73)
Phos 0.02
Nitrates 00

Lighting is two Radion xr30 blues 10 hr schedule with 1 hr ramp either side. 150 par average at middle of tank reds and greens at 10%

Flow is 2 MP10 at 100% reef crest, one closed loop at 80% off a S1 vectra low and at back and an AC wave maker opposite end of closed loop outlet behind rock work.

Haven’t done blackout as with nitrates at 0 I assume they will just come back.

have lined up with local vet to use microscope but quietly confident it is a variety of Dino as they disappear at night and get more obvious during day

cheers
Al
 
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SHINYSuccubus

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Im new to the hobby and am fighting dinos myself I know i dont have the experience to give advice but this video is the most indepth dive into fighting dinos based on thier actual species and is working for me.
OFF TOPIC: your sig is what i tell hubs *every time*
 

Tyler White

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Uv just may be your solution ol bud. Not sure how you'd implement one but use whatever the manufacturer rates for protozoa and if it truly is the species that goes away at night and come back ostreopsis it should knock em back. Just make sure you run carbon as they are toxic and any manual removal cant hurt either.. ive fought multiple types of dinos at this point unfortunately and the best way ive known to get them out of the tank is to take any ol maxijet type utility pump you have lying around and use a piece of airline tubing on the inlet of the pump (same concept as a skimmer i believe) whilst it is underwater and go around the tank and bubble blast the crap out of the buggers as well as toothbrush up what you can ect but just go all over the tank with the microbubbles and you should be able to siphon them out during water changes or skim them off somehow from the surface of the water.
 
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AllanPritchard

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Uv just may be your solution ol bud. Not sure how you'd implement one but use whatever the manufacturer rates for protozoa and if it truly is the species that goes away at night and come back ostreopsis it should knock em back. Just make sure you run carbon as they are toxic and any manual removal cant hurt either.. ive fought multiple types of dinos at this point unfortunately and the best way ive known to get them out of the tank is to take any ol maxijet type utility pump you have lying around and use a piece of airline tubing on the inlet of the pump (same concept as a skimmer i believe) whilst it is underwater and go around the tank and bubble blast the crap out of the buggers as well as toothbrush up what you can ect but just go all over the tank with the microbubbles and you should be able to siphon them out during water changes or skim them off somehow from the surface of the water.
Cheers I have a UV but i have just learned it’s poorly set up so will try to re configure. I will give the bubble blast a go tomorrow, water change day. Cheers Al
 

Clarkjw2002

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I had similar issues the first time I started with dry rock. Created a Dino mess trying to solve other algae issues. Firmly believe this stems from a lack of biodiversity on the rock. Never had such issues setting up tanks with real live rock.

I IDed my Dinos as Ostreopsis and attacked with UV and nitrate dosing. Did the trick. UV knocked 90% of the Dinos out in 2 weeks or so and the increased nutrients kept them from taking over. I then let the other algae issues take care of themselves with a robust clean up crew. This takes months but you need to let everything run it's course.

The first time I tried fighting Bryopsis chemically and eventually tore the tank down because of Dinos and hydroids. The second time I tried to fight Dictyota with an ARID cheat reactor--sucking nutrients to 0 so did the deep dive of solving. Now I have no issues and everything is happy. The loss of your snails and corals are tell-tale signs of Dinos. I lost the majority of my corals as well but several have come back from the one or two polyps that were left--so there is some hope. There are a few that have come back where I removed the dead frags and I can't even remember what I had there.

Here's hoping you have Ostreopsis, as they seem to be the easier ones to get a handle on. Believe UV is not as effective for other strains but can't remember now.
 

Lavey29

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Current parameters
Salinity 35.1 (Red Sea coral pro) high as eveporation as it is summer here
Temp 25,3 deg c (hot day here)
Alk 9.4
Calcium 443
ph 8.63 ( 8:26pm and lights off peaked at 8.73)
Phos 0.02
Nitrates 00

Lighting is two Radion xr30 blues 10 hr schedule with 1 hr ramp either side. 150 par average at middle of tank reds and greens at 10%

Flow is 2 MP10 at 100% reef crest, one closed loop at 80% off a S1 vectra low and at back and an AC wave maker opposite end of closed loop outlet behind rock work.

Haven’t done blackout as with nitrates at 0 I assume they will just come back.

have lined up with local vet to use microscope but quietly confident it is a variety of Dino as they disappear at night and get more obvious during day

cheers
Al
I think you got good advice with the UV. Kill any white lights to and cut back to 8 hour cycle. If dinos go away at night you can take several hours off their reproduction time by cutting back your light cycle. Just run blues and uv. I would stop dumping vibrant and rowa focus on getting your nitrate to 5 or 10 and phosphate to .07 with doses if need be.
 
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AllanPritchard

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I IDed my Dinos as Ostreopsis and attacked with UV and nitrate dosing.

What did use for Nitrate Dosing. I don't really want to just feed more as has been suggested in other forum posts. I have Red Sea energy A and B which I'm not currently using (bugger all corals) would that work ?

I think you got good advice with the UV. Kill any white lights to and cut back to 8 hour cycle. If dinos go away at night you can take several hours off their reproduction time by cutting back your light cycle. Just run blues and uv. I would stop dumping vibrant and rowa focus on getting your nitrate to 5 or 10 and phosphate to .07 with doses if need be.

I stopped the the Rowa six weeks ago when I had a inkling about what was happening. I have stopped the Vibrant also, I was so happy to get up to 0.6 nitrate and BANG Vibrant appears to knocked it flat to 0. What would you use to get nitrates up. As above I have Red Sea energy on hand but open to suggestions.

Currently my UV is sucking directly out of my sump which I have learned is not a great way to plum UV. I can't plumb it onto my return line easily so was going to rig it up so the pump sucks directly where the overflow return enters the sump. That will hopefullly catch as much water direct from tank as the UV can handle. Not the most ideal but may have to do until I can find a way to plumb it properly

EDIT: After watching the video posted by TheBeardedGuppy I will try and temporarily plumb into the main display.

Cheers
Al
 
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Lavey29

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What did use for Nitrate Dosing. I don't really want to just feed more as has been suggested in other forum posts. I have Red Sea energy A and B which I'm not currently using (bugger all corals) would that work ?



I stopped the the Rowa six weeks ago when I had a inkling about what was happening. I have stopped the Vibrant also, I was so happy to get up to 0.6 nitrate and BANG Vibrant appears to knocked it flat to 0. What would you use to get nitrates up. As above I have Red Sea energy on hand but open to suggestions.

Currently my UV is sucking directly out of my sump which I have learned is not a great way to plum UV. I can't plumb it onto my return line easily so was going to rig it up so the pump sucks directly where the overflow return enters the sump. That will hopefullly catch as much water direct from tank as the UV can handle. Not the most ideal but may have to do until I can find a way to plumb it properly

EDIT: After watching the video posted by TheBeardedGuppy I will try and temporarily plumb into the main display.

Cheers
Al
When I only had 2 fish for 3 month period, I was feeding 3x per day but also had to dose neophos and neonitro to get my nitrates and phosphate up. I double dosed both for several weeks before I started seeing some measurable numbers. This also really made my tank come alive. The corals seemed much happier and the water is crystal clear. Of course the usual GHA problem on an 8 month old tank but it is moderate and with the coraline forming now I think it will outcompete the GHA in a few months.
 

sneekapeek

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I’ve had good luck with dinox with the snaughty air bubble at the end type (ostreopsis). Which turned into cyano. Then treated cyano with chemiclean, which brought algae. I then treated the algae by reducing nutrients and scrubbing rocks and dinos have now appeared again, this time a different form. Currently, the issue is I’m in a vicious cycle, if it’s not dinos it’s either cyano or algae.
What I’m speculating is I did not treat for long enough with each treatment to fully eradicate each one individually. Again with Dino, cyano and algae are opportunistic organisms. If the environment is right they’ll reproduce with no bounds.

I’d say just be patient and be sure to follow directions accordingly. Even though the Dino or cyano is completely gone visibly, doesn’t mean to cut back treatment when your corals or other inhabitants are suffering. This is the reason I speculate why I’m in this cycle of opportunistic organisms. It’s like taking antibiotics for 5 days but at day 3 you feel better so you stop taking medicine!
 

Clarkjw2002

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This is what I used to raise nitrates. Originally had for the ARID scrubber but that was what stripped my nutrients to 0 in the first place.

pax-bellum-nitrate-molybdenum-supplements

Not exactly sure what it is but probably either potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate. I've seen recipes out there for making your own solutions with sodium nitrate preferred--unless you also have a potassium deficiency. You just don't want to raise potassium levels too high.

I bought a little hang on back UV as my tank is only 90 gals. I put the feed pump in the overflow return section of the sump and the UV return obviously went right into the tank. Already have a nice big 50 watt high output for my retirement system the will be plumbed as a closed loop just in case!
 
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